With our workstations shifting to 4K monitors and more people looking for inexpensive screens for their new PS5 or XBox consoles, we’re reviewing some budget offerings available. Today we have the 32” 4K Samsung U32J590, a good brightness VA monitor, which we’ve used for about 100 hours already for footage playback, editing and Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K 60 Hertz.
So this will work with PS5 and XBox Series X, 4K content and PC gaming. Yeah, all of those, though for PC gaming, action adventure titles at 60 Hertz will be best. Those looking to compete in online shooters like Cold War should be looking at a 1440p 144 hertz display.
There are 4K 144 hertz displays, expensive though, starting at 900 to 1100usd. 4K needs double the GPU power over 1440p, and 120 hertz is double the GPU power over 60 hertz again, so 4K 144hertz is over 4 times the power needed from your GPU over a basic 1440p 60 hertz rate.
Even on the RTX 3090 you’d need to turn down details to high or medium to reach 4K 144 hertz, it depends on the game, but likely medium to low, and newer triple A titles might not get close. So for online shooters, get a 1440p 144 hertz instead.
Right. Today we’ll review this 4K Samsung panel, and if you decide to snag this through our affiliate links below, it does help us out a bit here, so thanks for your support.
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Samsung U32J590: Quick summary
A quick summary- the 32” 4K 60 Hertz Samsung U32J590 is a great looking 10-bit monitor with highs and lows. It has Freesync and super low 10 millisecond input lag, great for gaming; a sharp vivid picture at 270 candala, and 178 degree viewing angles and excellent upscaling.
With no HDR support, Motion blur is ok, and sRGB is pretty covered for photo and video work. But with no speakers, a wobbly stand, only 2 out of 3 inputs actually deliver 60 hertz, and a consumer reported problematic AC adapter, well… If you need super low input lag, this might be a great choice, but otherwise, it’s a mixed bag.
Samsung U32J590 Features
I have very fond memories of my first TV I owned, a Samsung, and while I have some brand loyalty personally, we’re gonna review this monitor objectively. The Samsung U32J590 comes in at roughly 350 to 420 usd, 370 british pounds, 500 Celine Dions on Best Buy, around 520 Auzzie bucks, and 10,900 NT here in Taiwan.
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This Samsung U32J590 is a 31.5 inch 3840 x 2160 16:9 4K VA panel at 60 hertz, this 10-bit color panel has a brightness of 270 cd/m2 (candala), with a 3000:1 contrast ratio and max 59 watts power consumption. Ending characters on U32J590 vary by region, US has UQN, UK has UQU, Taiwan has UQE, and so on.
Measuring 73 centimeters wide by 54 high and 25 deep, it weighs in at 6.3 kilos, which is 17 pounds. Without stand, the monitor shrinks to 43 high by just 5.6 centimeters deep, at 5.5 kgs or 12 pounds.
The matte finished VA panel was tested by rtings.com for a *99% sRGB color gamut with 178° degree viewing angles both horizontally and vertically, giving a standard gamma and small color shift as you move around, pretty good. Blacks also look pretty good on this screen.
The monitor supports AMD Freesync, and with a response time of 4 milliseconds gray-to-gray, we found a test online that quoted around a 10 millisecond time for input lag, which is really fast and great for gaming, but no speakers, only a simple headphone jack. Milliseconds are thousandths of a second, at 60 hertz every 16.7 ms is another frame, so this means a mostly zero frame delay, which is very good.
Samsung U32J590’s 4K 60Hz picture
Backlight bleed is a bit noticeable from all four corners, and we’ll try to show it the best we can on camera, however with an image, we didn’t feel it was that noticeable for a non-OLED panel. There’s minor ghosting in fast action games, noticeable more in darker scenes. This monitor uses PWM to modulate brightness, we saw reports that under 30 brightness there can be some noticeable flicker for those susceptible to seeing this.
Personally, I can catch a projector color wheel only when turning my head quickly, and tried this method, snapping back to the monitor but couldn’t see any flicker even down at 10. Usage will tell if this issue will present itself more over time, and with any updates, they will get added to the description and techspinreview.com post.
The bezel of the Samsung U32J590 measures 12 millimeters wide, pixel to air is actually 14 at the sides and 15 millimeters at the top, the bottom takes up 17 mils. There’s no height adjust, swivel or rotate, the stand itself is very sturdy and gives a tilt adjustment of -2° to 15° degrees, but boy, does this monitor wobble with its single pillar design.
Just below center there’s a standard 100 mil VESA mounting spot, and the only control is a 4 way joystick on the right as you’re using it, and we’ll check out the menu in a bit. Apart from the wobble, overall build quality seems very good.
Picture on the Samsung U32J590
270 candala or nits, same thing, is an okay brightness for a display of this size that’s close to you, other 4K monitors start at 250 but we just saw a 300 candala monitor, link up here for that video. It’s decent brightness, but in a pretty bright room it might seem a little dark, again, no HDR support here.
In the box comes just an HDMI cable and AC adapter. On the back of the Samsung U32J590 there’s HDMI 1 which is 1.4 and HDMI 2 which is 2.0, a display port 1.2, and a headphone jack. Having HDMI1 being version 1.4 is a big issue- when we hook up monitors we generally choose HDMI 1 as you tend to get all connectivity without issues on the first port; why Samsung chose to hobble this port is beyond us, as you only get 4K at 30 hertz with this legacy connection, the other HDMI and DP can do 60 hertz.
The Samsung U32J590’s 4-way joystick is the only control for this monitor, not ideal. Pressing up or down brings up eye saver/brightness and contrast, left and right gets you volume control with mute, and straight down brings up the initial menu, top is main menu, left is source, right is PIP, and down is power which means turning off the monitor is a three step process, though it has top to bottom wrapping menus for easy navigation. Auto power off time when a source is disconnected, can’t be adjusted, and takes a staggering 5 minutes.
Menu options on Samsung U32J590
Choosing the main menu, we have Picture, with Samsung Magic Bright, settings are Custom, Standard, Cinema and Dynamic Contrast. Sliders for Brightness, Contrast and Sharpness are followed by a color submenu, with RGB sliders and Color Tone, Cool, Normal, Warm and Custom.
Gamma has Modes 1, 2 and 3. HDMI Black Level has normal or Low which you can toggle, and this is greyed out when using DisplayPort. Eye Saver Mode Off or On, Game Mode off, on or always on, Response time standard, faster or fastest, and Picture Size Auto or Wide. We didn’t see Screen Adjustment become ungreyed in testing. Picture in Picture or By Picture, has options for size, position, sound source, Source select, Picture Size and Contrast. Next is OnScreen Display, with Transparency Off or On, 14 different Languages, and Display Time has 5, 10, 20 or 200 seconds.
System has a Self Diagnostic, and Freesync has off, Standard or Ultimate Engine settings. Eco Saving Plus has Off, Auto, Low or High. Off Timer Plus has a setting in hour increments for 1 hour to 23 hours, Eco Timer has 10 minute increments from 10 to 180 minutes or 3 hours. Why these are in further sub menus, we don’t know.
There’s a PC/AV select for each input, a DisplayPort 1.1 version toggle, and Source Detection either Auto or Manual. Key Repeat by Acceleration, 1 or 2 seconds, or none; Power LED can choose working or Standby, and Reset All. Finally Info tells you about your monitor and current signal source.
Samsung U32J590 Conclusion
So the Samsung U32J590 has impressive color and brightness with sharp 4K resolution to a more affordable price range. It’s suitable for 4K console gaming with PS5, XBox Series X and PS4 Pro, and we did PC gaming at 4K 60 hertz with a bunch of Cyberpunk 2077 which looked amazing.
With possibly best in class input lag, and 99% sRGB coverage suitable for photo and video work, it does have wobble issues, one input is only 30 hertz, and there’s no speakers. Overall build quality is pretty decent but for 350 to 420 dollars, we feel this relies on Samsung’s brand name more than the features it offers.
For graphic designers and content creators the SRGB accuracy is good after calibration, making this a decent choice for budget 4K media creation. Viewing angles and contrast are decent also, with typical gamma and slight color shifts, though better than other VA panels we’ve tested.
Peak brightness is just okay, if you’re working in a bright office, the 270 for candala is just average and may be a little dark for you, the low end for 4K monitors is generally 250, but we recommend 300 candala panels or better, and not having HDR may be a consideration for you. And we didn’t have a chance to play with VESA mounting it but it seems straightforward and the positioning should mean that portrait orientation should be do-able.
Performing well with consoles is important and there was no issue with PS4 Pro, and the color and details were great, and this should work well with next gen consoles also. For PC gaming, this is a decent choice and the experience was great, but those looking for 144 or 240 hertz refresh rates should be looking at a fast 1440p screen anyways.
Samsung U32J590: The harsh truth
Considering this Samsung U32J590 is the most expensive out of available budget options in Taiwan, we’re looking for excellence and innovation, not just brand name to justify the price. Reviewing other 4K monitors and what they offer, the omission of a DisplayPort cable to get you up and running is disappointing.
Speaking of inputs, Samsung, if you’re going to hobble one HDMI so that it can only do 30 hertz, you need to mark that somehow near the input, we caught this in the tech specs so we knew what to expect but most consumers will just plug in a source and wonder why they’re having trouble, not cool.
In a rare move, I actually looked for software updates for this mon to see if there could be any improvement, and found version 1.0 from April 2018. Ran the EXE file, drivers were installed so the PC recognized the monitor, but there were no extra controls available. Without a USB port, updating firmware on this monitor isn’t possible, so keep this in mind.
The 4-way joystick with one button control we’ve seen on our older Asus VP28U 4K monitor, but since we were usually connected to PC, we didn’t really turn off the unit with a power button.
Furthermore that monitor has a 15 second auto power off time, whereas this screen has a whopping 5 minute auto-off, which is not controlled by the Onscreen Display Time setting. Samsung, if you’re going to not provide a power button, you need to have either an adjustable auto-off time or at least, much, much shorter.
Samsung U32J590 Consumer reports
Finally we’re concerned with consumer reports of AC adapter connector issues on the Samsung U32J590. While this may have been easier for Samsung to produce, a standard three prong plug would remove all possibilities of problems. While most consumers likely won’t experience this, at Techspin we’re much more likely to, as we often move monitors when testing new gear.
Since the PS5, XBox Series X and PC gaming are moving towards 4K, more people are looking for a good cheap 4K monitor to jump to. While this Samsung U32J590 has a number of things gamers are looking for, including low input lag, overall it’s hard to recommend this hands down over other monitors like the Acer 4K we just tested, which has speakers, colorspace options, a clean startup and nice menu, and HDR.
However for gaming this might be what you need, and if you decide to grab this Samsung or start shopping for a 4K monitor, shopping through our affiliate links will help us here with no extra cost to you. And follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at techspinreview. Future updates on the Samsung U32J590 usage, or issues we find over time will be added to this post.
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