Sleek design. Bright colors. Dark blacks. AMD FreeSync enabled. Excellent gaming performance.
Expensive. Middling dark-grayscale performance. Slightly skewed greens. Stingy warranty.
- Bottom Line
Despite some minor color accuracy issues, the beautifully designed 34-inch curved Samsung CF791 monitor delivers top-notch gaming performance.
The Samsung 34-inch CF791 Curved Widescreen Monitor ($949.99) is a gorgeous extra-large-screen gaming monitor that uses Quantum Dot technology and a Vertical Alignment (VA) panel to deliver vibrant colors against an inky-black background. This massive display requires lots of desktop space, and as is the case with most high-end gaming monitors of this size, it doesn't come cheap. Although its color accuracy and feature set can't match that of our top pick for extra-large-screen gaming monitors, the 38-inch Acer XR382CQK, gaming performance is top-notch.
//Compare Similar Products
Design and Features
The CF791 is based on a 34-inch Vertical Alignment (VA) panel and employs Quantum Dot technology, which uses nano-size light-emitting crystals to deliver vivid colors without consuming a lot of power. Not only is this the first Quantum Dot monitor we've tested, the CF791's 1,500R curvature (which means that if you put several of these monitors edge to edge to create a complete circle, the circle's radius would be 1,500mm) gives it the most pronounced curve we've seen. By way of comparison, the LG 34UC79G-B has a 3,800R curvature, and the AOC C3583FQ's curvature is 2,000R. The panel has a 3,440-by-1,440 resolution and a 100Hz refresh rate, a 21:9 aspect ratio, a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, a 300 cd/m2 peak brightness, and a 4-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response. It's a wide-gamut panel that covers 125 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, and it supports AMD's FreeSync anti-tearing technology.
The screen is housed in a sleek, white, bezel-free cabinet with silver trim and is supported by a round base and an arm that provides 36 degrees of tilt and 4 inches of height adjustability. Behind a removable panel at the rear of the cabinet, facing downward, are two HDMI 2.0 inputs, a DisplayPort input, a power jack, and a USB 3.0 upstream port. Also at the rear of the cabinet, facing outward, are two USB 3.0 downstream ports, a headphone jack, and a small joystick controller that is used to power up the monitor, select an input source, enable Picture-in-Picture (PiP) modes, and access the settings menu. The bottom edge of the cabinet holds two down-firing 7-watt speakers that are moderately loud and offer a smattering of bass.
In addition to Brightness, Contrast, Gamma, and Sharpness, the CF791 offers Red, Green, and Blue intensity settings, six Color Temperature settings, an Eye Saver (low blue light) setting, and a Game mode. Samsung's MagicBright picture presets include Custom, Standard, Basic (sRGB), Cinema, Dynamic, and High Bright (maximum brightness) modes. There are also several PiP and Picture-by-Picture (PbP) sizing and positioning settings. Missing are the advanced six-color settings that you get with the LG 38UC99-W and the Acer Predator line of gaming monitors.
Samsung covers the CF791 with a rather short one-year warranty for parts, labor, and backlight (most monitors in this price range are covered for three years). Included in the box are DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB cables, a mini-DisplayPort adapter, a VESA wall-mounting plate, and a Quick Setup guide.
The CF791 provided mostly accurate colors out of the box, but greens were a bit skewed. As you can see on the chromaticity chart below, red and blue colors (represented by the colored dots) are closely aligned with their ideal CIE coordinates (represented by the boxes), while greens are outside of the box. Despite the flaw, colors appeared even and well saturated in the DisplayMate Uniformity and Purity tests. In a side-by-side comparison with the NEC MultiSync EX341R-BK, the CF791 produced much brighter colors in this test and while displaying scenes from Marvel's Deadpool on Blu-ray. The panel's ability to display dark blacks gave colors a little extra pop as well.
The CF791 did a good job of displaying light shades of gray in the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test, but had a little trouble with gradation at the dark end of the grayscale, causing the two darkest shades to appear black. Shadow detail in my test images was still sharp, however. The VA panel provided wide viewing angles, with no color shifting when viewed from an extreme top, bottom, and side angle.
Gaming performance was superb in testing. The CF791 handled fast motion in our Crysis 3 (PC) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sony PlayStation 4) tests with aplomb. There was no evidence of ghosting, blurring, or choppiness, and screen tearing was minimal. Enabling FreeSync completely eliminated the tearing effect and gave gameplay a somewhat smoother look. The heavily curved screen provided good immersion and an enhanced sense of peripheral vision. More bass response from the embedded speakers would be welcome here. Input lag, as measured with a Leo Bodnar Video Input Lag Tester, came in at 23.9 milliseconds. That's not terribly slow, but it's a significantly longer lag time than the 9.5 millisecond of our fastest monitor, the BenQ SW2700PT.
While operating in Standard mode, with Eco Saving Plus disabled, the CF791 consumed 45 watts of power. That's a good deal more energy efficient than the NEC EX341R-BK (59 watts) and slightly better than the Acer Predator X34 (49 watts). The CF791 used 36 watts with Eco Saving Plus set to Low, and 28 watts with it set to High. The NEC EX341R-BK used 46 watts with ECO mode 1 enabled and 30 watts with ECO mode 2 enabled. The Acer X34 only has one ECO mode that reduced consumption to 36 watts.
There's a lot to like about the Samsung 34-inch CF791 Curved Widescreen Monitor. It uses Quantum Dot technology to deliver rich, vibrant colors, it produces nice, dark blacks, and its 34-inch curved screen is as immersive as it gets. It's also a great-looking monitor. Gamers will appreciate the panel's 100Hz refresh rate, as well as AMD's FreeSync technology, both of which combine to deliver smooth, artifact-free gaming action. Its dark grayscale performance and green color accuracy could be better, however.
If the CF791's 34-inch screen just isn't big enough for you, consider our Editors' Choice for extra-large-screen gaming monitors, the Acer XR382CQK. It offers a larger 38-inch, curved, In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel, a digital output for daisy-chaining multiple displays, USB-C connectivity, more accurate greens, and advanced color settings. Just be prepared to spend around $350 more than you will for the CF791.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
More Stories by John R.
- Abode Home Security Starter Kit
The Abode Home Security Starter Kit is a fantastic do-it-yourself security system that offers no-con… More »
- The Best Wireless Range Extenders of 2017
Bring your home's Wi-Fi dead zones back to life with a wireless range extender. Here's what you need… More »
- Dell UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 4K Monitor (UP3216Q)
The Dell UltraSharp UP3216Q is a pricey 32-inch, professional-grade monitor that delivers precise co… More »