Tech manufacturers who develop curved monitors have never truly hit a stride with consumers. While the monitors look pretty and stand out from the crowd of flat panels, it’s their supposed enhanced viewing experience and unique feature set that has left people questioning if they only exist as a sucker’s purchase. However, with my latest experience reviewing the Samsung CF591 27” Curved Monitor, I can safely say that curved monitors do actually deliver a unique experience worth their price, but only if you want your monitor to meet certain criteria.
The CF591 is an attractive monitor, sporting bright silver bezels and a near seamless assembly. While the monitor can’t adjust, its static position was designed so that the users eyes would always be in the optimal viewing angle of the monitor. In a world of tech that relies heavily on hard edges to look pleasing to consumers, curved products breathe some fresh air into the industry with their soft edges and sleek aesthetics. The screen itself boasts an impressive 3000:1 contrast ratio as well as a tested 4ms response time before inputs register.
Samsung is releasing this monitor at a weird time. Instead of experimenting with 4K resolutions or offering solid 1440P monitors like other manufacturers, they doubled down and developed this curved monitor to deliver the best 1080p experience possible. The monitor appears barebones with only one display port and HDMI port, but it also features a little joystick on the back of the case called the Jog button, which offers an easier way to access and maneuver through configuration menus in the dark. The CF591 supports AMD Freesync to smooth out textures and stop screen tearing, but it also includes an included eye saver mode that reduces the harmful blue light emissions our eyes have been soaking up for years.
Out of the box, the CF591 has a gamma setting of 2.5, which makes dark colours too dark to actually make out defined details. The monitor can be adjusted to a more pleasing 2.1 and this is where Samsung’s advertised Crystal Color technology comes into play. Games look strikingly vibrant due to the 98% RGB colour spectrum and even the smallest shade details in both models and textures start to pop out at you as you explore various titles in your library. The resolution might be low for PC gamer’s standards, but the colours this monitor delivers make every pixel look so sharp that it feels like you’re getting a 1440p experience without having to put any added stress on your GPU.
The curved viewing experience itself was a mixed bag. It’s hard to explain the exact differences that make this monitor’s viewing experience different from others because everyone I had test the CF591 had a different opinion on what they liked or found annoying. Comparing my 27” Asus, the 1800R curvature of the CF591 felt like it naturally took up my field of view more than a traditional flatscreen monitor. Third-person action games appeared grander in scale and first-person titles, like SOMA and Battlefield 4, felt like a more intimate experience because my field of view was fully encompassed. This kind of immersion breaks whenever you need to adjust your perspective to the edge of the screen however, which makes fighting game characters from Street Fighter V or Guilty Gear Xrd: SIGN appear weirdly proportioned.
The curved experience is a conditional one. Games that keep the action in the centre of the screen look great, but retro titles and fighters that skew your perspective towards one side break the experience. Curved monitors feel like manufacturers pushed the innovation button too early in development and the result creates a product that only will find it’s way into niche homes and users who will greatly enjoy the experience if it meets their criteria. While I still prefer flatscreens because they are not situational, I really enjoyed my time with the Samsung CF591 and recommend it to users who prefer this different type of viewing experience.