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Samsung Series 5 T27A550 review

A fine LED HD monitor, but can you really use it as a TV?

Samsung series 5 t27a550 review

An all-in-one screen that covers all your video viewing and playback needs in a single, slick-looking device is an awfully tempting proposition. That the Samsung Series 5 T27A550 does this for a price of around £414/$430 while offering a generous 27-inch screen diagonal only sweetens the deal.

In use, however, there are issues. It's weakest as a PC monitor on several counts. The lack of DVI or DisplayPort connectivity can lead to scanning issues, and the tilt-only stand lacks the flexibility you really want from a PC. Plus, while the Full HD resolution is perfect for HD TV and movies, it makes less sense on a 27-inch PC panel. Even 22-inch monitors now offer the same resolution. So all you're getting is larger pixels, not more usable desktop real estate.

It's also worth noting that BenQ offers its EW2730V 27-inch monitor for a very similar price. OK, it lacks a TV tuner. But it sports a much higher quality VA LCD panel with a 3,000:1 native contrast ratio and thus significantly betters colours and black levels.

As an HD TV, the news isn't that much better, even if the context is a little different. For starters, 27 inches is no big deal in the world of HD TVs. Prices for large HD TVs have positively collapsed in the last 18 months.

You can now buy a Full HD 42-inch plasma screen for under £400. The Samsung Series 5 T27A550's price will get you at least 32 inches of conventional LCD HD TV. And given the screen's lack of DVI or DisplayPort connectivity, it's hard to see how it's more or less of a PC monitor than any HD TV with HDMI connectivity. What's more, the lack of native Freeview HD support means you'll need some kind of external box to watch HD broadcasts.

That said, the My Downloads USB playback feature does give it a lift above both the HD TV and PC monitor norm. It certainly makes it more flexible for playing back video files. However, it's hard to imagine using this feature frequently if you have the Samsung Series 5 T27A550 hooked up to a PC. At best, it might be handy as an alternative to booting your PC.

We liked

If space is at a premium, a single display that provides monitor duties, a TV tuner and supports set-top boxes and games consoles is extremely handy. For a TN screen, it also offers decent image quality, in part thanks to the use of an LED backlight. The relatively modest 1080p resolution also means you won't need an epic graphics card to play games.

We disliked

Jack of all trades, master of none, we're afraid. As a PC monitor, the pixel pitch is too coarse. Worse, the lack of DVI or DisplayPort connectivity could cause problems with AMD graphics cards. As an HD TV, it's not terribly big and lacks native Freeview HD support.

Final verdict

Inevitably, the attempt to provide all-in-one capability results in a lack of excellence in any one metric. To keep the price bearable, Samsung had to use a TN panel and that puts a cap on image quality and vibrancy, despite the use of an LED backlight.

As a PC monitor, the 1080p resolution isn't a great fit with the 27-inch size, which ironically limits its appeal at this price point as an HD TV. As does the missing Freeview HD support.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG4), DVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports2
Product FamilySyncMaster 550
Brand NameSamsung
Screen Size68.6 cm (27")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Horizontal Viewing Angle170°
Vertical Viewing Angle160°
USBYes
HDMIYes
Backlight TechnologyDirect LED
VESA Mount Standard200 x 100
Operating Power Consumption65 W
Standby Power Consumption290 mW
RMS Output Power10 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
VGAYes
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand485.70 mm
Width with Stand648.10 mm
Depth with Stand235 mm
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Media PlayerYes
Height398.9 mm
Width648.1 mm
Depth31.8 mm
ColourRose Black
Brightness300 cd/m²
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, Surround Sound
Product Series550
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesTeletext, Auto Program, Sleep Timer, Picture in Picture
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelT27A550
Product NameSyncMaster T27A550 LED-LCD TV
Product LineSyncMaster
Manufacturer Part NumberLT27A550EW/EN
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

For a truly expansive monitor experience where almost anything is possible, the Samsung HDTV monitor TA550 is a must-have piece of technology. With all your multimedia on the one screen, the Samsung HDTV monitor TA550 achieves new levels in entertainment and communication, and is sure to change the way you live life. It features enhanced connectivity, such as ConnectShare, so sharing content is easier than ever before. And with the advanced picture clarity, Magic Angle Vertical technology and a sophisticated design with transparency, the TA550's stunning colours, sharpness and overall detail will impress even the most discerning eye.

Package Contents
  • SyncMaster T27A550 LED-LCD TV
  • Remote Control
  • Signal Cable
  • Power Cable
  • Driver CD
  • Manual (CD)
Response Time5 ms
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty2 Year
Weight (Approximate)5.60 kg