External display of my dreams?

Story Highlights

  • Finally a display to get excited about
  • Modern design taking up little desk space
  • Versatile positions and angles

After years of waiting for Apple to release a display that I could fall in love with, it appears Samsung is ready to deliver.  Could this be my dream external display?

Apple discontinued its Thunderbolt Display back in 2016 and started selling two LG UltraFine models instead.  Since then, this has been Apple’s only official solution for external displays.  Over the last few years, there have been numerous rumors about an imminent release of a much-anticipated display refresh.  The most recent “leak” came about when Apple started selling the refreshed Mac Mini in late 2018.  The Quick Start guide that ships with the Mac Mini shows a non-existent external display which everyone started hoping was a sign of things to come.

Image: Apple

In fact, at the time this article was written, the same Quick Start Guide is still up on Apple’s site.  But to date, there have been no announcements.

Whilst playing the waiting game, the only time in recent years I’ve lusted after a display was when Microsoft released the Studio Pro, its iMac competitor.  Without getting into the all tech specs, operating system etc. side of the equation, it is ultimately a beautifully designed machine.  The screen, in my opinion, sees it take the mantle from Apple’s iMac as the most revolutionary all-in-one designed machine.

Image: Microsoft

Besides the size and lack of iMac chin we’ve become so accustomed to, the pedestal design is what tipped me over the edge.  It allows you to bring the screen down to a lower position and whilst part of the drawcard there is for designers and artists to use the accompanying stylus, the flexibility here for screen positioning was appealing to me.

Image: PCWorld

But alas, Microsoft never released just the screen as a standalone device and so it was not meant to be.

Fast forward to CES 2019 and Samsung announced a new display (as they often do at CES) but this time, they also looked at the monitor stand and actually made improvements from the traditional approach.  With the introduction of the SR75 monitors – available in two sizes – an iMac comparable 27″ and an even bigger 32″.

Monitor Setup

You attach the monitor to the back of your desk using the clamp at the bottom of the stand.

Samsung SR75 Space Monitor Clamp

The concept behind the new display stand is that Samsung is trying to minimize the desk footprint the device occupies.  In its upright position, the monitor stands at the back of your desk, upright and against the wall.

Image: Samsung

The monitor “arm” then allows you to pull the monitor closer to you and adjust the viewing angle to your preference:

Image: Samsung

Not only does this give you maximum flexibility with how you position your monitor (a la the Microsoft Studio Pro), it really does create for an amazing setup.  Compared to the iMac’s “rigid” positioning, this is quite frankly, a breath of fresh air when it comes to external displays.

Image: Samsung

And it really does seem that Samsung thought of nearly everything this time around…

Cable Management 

Always a problem with external displays, this design allows you to neatly hide cables:

Image: Samsung

Bezels

These are virtually non-existent on the top and sides.  I honestly don’t think anyone can make these three bezels any smaller.   Unfortunately, there is a small chin but this isn’t that large and a small compromise to make for what is otherwise, a beautiful looking display.

Tech Specs

Only the 32″ display is 4K so I’ll just focus on the tech specs for that model.  But with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, a contrast ratio of 2500:1, and a viewing angle of 178º, this might just be the perfect partner for your Mac Mini (connected via HDMI).  Sure, it doesn’t compare to the iMac’s 5k resolution but the SR75 is probably just about the right compromise between screen specs and design.

Key specs include:

  • Resolution: 4K UHD 3,840 x 2160
  • Response Time: 4ms
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Typical Brightness: 250cd/m2
  • Minimum Brightness: 200cd/m2
  • Contrast Ratio: 2,500:1
  • Inputs: HDMI & Mini Display Port
  • Viewing Angle: 178°(H)/178°(V)

Pricing & Availability

In the US, the monitors cost $399 and $499 respectively and are due to ship at the end of February 2019.

The Verdict

Whilst not perfect, the SR75 is probably the closest I can get right now to a dream external display.  That is unless Apple finally comes to the party and delivers something truly revolutionary.  Right now, I’m not holding my breath.

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