2011 Samsung monitor preview: Central Station, now boarding

We take a look at Samsung's early 2011 monitor lineup. Today we feature Central Station.

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This is part two of our three-part early-2011 Samsung monitor preview that began on Monday.

During Samsung's CES press conference, the company debuted a product difficult for me to wrap my head around from the remote vantage of a stage demo. It wasn't until I actually saw the device running at Samsung's booth that I understood what the company was going for.

Samsung refers to Central Station as an IT hub. It's a standalone monitor with a number of connection inputs on its base. First, you connect your desktop peripherals (keyboard, mouse, etc.) via USB to Central Station's base. Then, (for the wireless version) you insert the included USB dongle into your notebook's USB 2.0 port. Now, whenever your notebook comes within a one meter radius of Central Station, it will connect to all of your desktop peripherals wirelessly, without the need to touch any cords or adjust any settings. It will simply work.

That's according to Samsung at least. We can't say that for certain, since we've yet to get a unit into our offices to play around with.

Samsung will release three different versions of Central Station at both 23- and 27-inch screen sizes:

  • Wired version: (23-inch: C23A550U; 27-inch: C27A550U)
  • Wireless Consumer: (23-inch: C23A750U; 27-inch: C27A750U)
  • Wireless Professional: (23-inch: C23A650U; 27-inch: C27A650U)

Here are some basic specs:

  • 1920x1080-pixel resolution
  • Response Time: 2 ms
  • Contrast ratio: 1000: 1
  • Connectivity: 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, Audio output jack, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, Upstream USB 3.0 port (for connection to notebook)
  • (Notebook must support USB 3.0 to take advantage of USB 3.0 speeds on connected peripherals)
  • Wireless version: Proprietary wireless connection to laptop (via included USB dongle)
  • WLED backlit

All Central Station consumer models sport a dual-hinge base, making them height adjustable. The professional model features a more traditional, fully height-adjustable stand in place of the dual-hinge. Additionally, the USB ports on Central Station can charge mobile devices connected to them.

According Samsung, "Central Station is designed to reduce companies' long-term equipment costs. By eliminating the need to purchase device-specific docking stations, a single Central Station will last through multiple generations of PCs."

Samsung's new monitors (photos)

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Samsung will offer Central Station with either a crystal or metallic finish. The device will also feature Samsung's Touch of Color highlight.

I'm intrigued by the prospect of Central Station. It feels like one of those things that should have been attempted years ago, but for some reason has taken until now to be fully realized. I'm looking forward to seeing how well it works in the real-world. We hope to get a unit in the coming weeks.

The Central Station will be available in March, 2011. Pricing will be announced at a later time.