Features and specifications

Central Station is not available yet but Samsung has updated their product page to include specifications for two soon-to-be released monitors utilizing Central Station:

Central Station Product Comparison
  C23A750X C27A750X
Screen size 23" 27"
Resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080
Brightness 250 cd/m2 250 cd/m2
Response time 2ms 2ms
Viewing angles 170°/160° 170°/160°
Color support 16.7 million 16.7 million
Video inputs HDMI, VGA HDMI, VGA
Other inputs 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, Megabit Ethernet 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, Megabit Ethernet
Outputs Audio out (3.5mm), USB 3.0 Audio out (3.5mm), USB 3.0
Dimensions (WxHxD) 21.7" x 17.1" x 9.2" 25.1" x 19.1" x 9.2"
Weight 9.7 lbs 11.5 lbs
Price $449 $599

As the table shows, the only differences between these two are the screen size, dimensions, and price. Both offer the same resolution, brightness, viewing angles, and other features. 

Update: Best Buy is selling the 23" model for $449 and Micro Center is selling the 27" model for $599 so it appears that the rumored prices were correct. 

The Screen

Screen wise these new monitors remind me of Samsung’s Class 550 Series monitors which offer the same screen sizes, resolution, brightness etc. It could be that these monitors are actually using the same panels with just the Central Station hardware bundled with them. The viewing angles suggest that the panel type is TN, which might be bad news for people who need more accurate colors, or just an overall better quality display.

 

Ports

Each monitor has a total of four USB ports. Two of them are USB 3.0 but here comes the downside of using a wireless connection: your bandwidth will be limited to USB 2.0 speeds when connecting wirelessly. Samsung acknowledges that USB 2.0 speeds may not always be enough, and thus a USB 3.0 output is also present so if you want to enjoy USB 3.0 speeds; you just plug in a single USB 3.0 cable to your laptop and you can use the USB 3.0 devices connected to your monitor at full speed. However, this kind of kills the idea of paying extra for Central Station technology as there are plenty of other monitors and USB 3.0 hubs that can basically do the same thing for less money.

Samsung says that the wireless range is 5 feet, which means that you have to be on the same desk to use this feature without lag, so don’t imagine sitting across the room and using the screen as it won’t work. While wireless connection is the selling point of Central Station, these monitors also come with VGA and HDMI connections, so for instance you can plug in a Blu-Ray player and use the monitor “normally”. There is also a 100Mb Ethernet port (yeah, you heard it right, Megabit) which can be useful for businesses if there is no WiFi due to possible security concerns.

Ergonomics

The stand offers height adjustment so using the monitor should be comfortable no matter how tall you or your desk are. For a dual display setup, it’s even handier because you can adjust the display to be on the level of your laptop’s display (or very close to it). There is also something that Samsung calls MagicAngle which lets you to adjust the angle of the monitor.

System Requirements

Windows XP and Windows 7 will be supported at launch, but users of Windows Vista and Mac OS X will have to wait for a driver, which is set to be released later in 2011 (NY Times quotes October). On the hardware side, Samsung states that a 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo or better is required along with 2GB of RAM. Intel, ATI/AMD, and NVIDIA graphics are supported but it’s unclear whether this includes all GPUs made by these companies or only certain models. A 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo actually sounds pretty high as a requirement; personally I would expect Central Station to run fine on a 2010 MacBook Air, which has a slower CPU. 

Introduction and background Performance and final thoughts
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  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    It's apparently using a proprietary wireless connection, which would limit it to the handful of laptops supporting in; just like current docking stations are limited to the handful of laptops using their dock connector.

    If it used Intels wireless display tech I could potentially see the point, although at least initially the same problems would be present there's a reasonablish chance if it becoming common in the next few years.
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  • Reikon - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    Uh... because it sounds like the USB dongle handles all the communications, so it would work with pretty much any laptop. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    Yes, that is the idea. Any laptop with appropriate specs (see the System Requirements) should be able to use Central Station. Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    I missed the bit about the dongle. The question becomes how big is it? Leaving the traditional thumbdrive sized ones is dangerous since they're easily bashed while moving the laptop. Unless it's the very small plug sort you'd just change having to plug a cable for having to plug a dongle in every time you went back to your desk.

    Simple video cable standards are gaining sub channels large enough to do most of what you need for other accessories. HDMI can carry 100MB ethernet on a subchannel, DP1.2 has a 720Mb/sec sub channel which is enough headroom to carry USB2 as well.
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  • Kristian Vättö - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    http://blog.laptopmag.com/wpress/wp-content/upload...
    http://blog.laptopmag.com/wpress/wp-content/upload...

    There are two good pictures (Anand doesn't like to use other people's pictures so I left them out. Besides, there is nothing on Samsung's site so could be that these connectors are not the final ones).
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  • DanNeely - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    I suppose folding up is less of a problem than sticking out, but it's still probably not something I'd be comfortable with leaving on my laptop 24/7. Especially since with intel pushing to make ultra thin laptops the default that's going to end up well over the top with the lid closed. Maybe it if could rotate 90* and run parallel to the laptop body, although you'd be dependent on the plug layout letting you do that without blocking anything important. Reply
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - link

    How does USB have enough bandwidth to drive a 1080p monitor (along with all the other docked features like keyboard, mouse, etc) Reply

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