Samsung CHG90 49-inch monitor review: Bigger really is better
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TL;DR review: Samsung’s 49-inch CHG90 monitor, the world’s largest gaming display, is a beast for play and work.
Cool Factor: 😎😎😎😎😎 (5 out of 5)
Learning Curve: 📘📘📘📘 (4 out of 5)
Performance: 💪💪💪 (3 out of 5)
Bang for the Buck: 💸💸💸💸 (4 out of 5)
⚡⚡⚡⚡ (4 out of 5)
Nobody needs a 49-inch curved ultra-wide computer monitor. But after using one, you’ll be convinced you do.
That’s what I keep telling myself after using Samsung’s ridiculous 49-inch CHG90 QLED gaming monitor for a lengthy amount of time.
In almost every way, the monitor is pure overkill. But that’s the beauty of it. The display is classic Samsung doing what it does best: pushing the most mundane consumer tech to the extreme until it’s exciting again.
At about $1,100 (though I’ve seen it for $900-950 online), Samsung’s humongous screen is considerably expensive. You could buy two 27-inch curved monitors with similar features (resolution, brightness, color accuracy, refresh rate, etc.) and hook them up together for a few hundred dollars less, but you don’t get the single, uninterrupted display. Becoming the envy of all your friends is worth it, too.
Sucks you right in
Sitting down in front of Samsung’s 49-inch display is like plopping yourself into a cockpit. You feel like you’re at a battle station, ready to get a lot of shit done, even if that’s just checking emails and watching and watching YouTube videos. This screen makes you feel like a boss because it covers almost your entire field of view.
Every one of my coworkers who has seen the 32:9 aspect ratio monitor (most widescreens are 16:9 or 21:9) were unable to resist stopping to take in the massive panel. If there’s any display that can be likened to an Imperial Star Destroyer looming over minuscule freighters, it’s this.
Samsung says the screen’s equivalent to dual 27-inch monitors so I pulled over two 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Displays and sure enough it was about as wide. If you have a messy desk like I do, brace yourself for a cleanup because you’ll have to move everything to make room for this beast.
The 49-inch monster is sold as a gaming monitor, so it has a full list of display performance specs to meet gamer standards: 144Hz refresh rate, 1-millisecond response time for less motion blur during fast-paced gaming sessions, HDR (high dynamic range), and AMD Radeon FreeSync 2 graphics technology.
Samsung’s own Quantum Dot technology, or QLED as the company likes to call it, also serves up to a billion shades of color (I tip my hat off to you if you can actually see so many shades).
Pixel geeks will probably balk at the display’s 3,840 x 1,080 resolution, which is definitely lower than you might expect for something this big, but it honestly didn’t bother me. 1080 vertical lines of resolution is enough on a screen that’s specifically designed to maximize horizontal resolution. There are some gigantic ultra-wides with more vertical resolution if 1080 isn’t enough. Acer’s XR382CQK is one, but it’s also 10 inches smaller.
So you end up trading size for resolution. If you’re spending big money on a big-ass screen, you might as well get the biggest you can. And size really is the primary reason to buy this screen.
The 49-inch display is so large that my neck hurt after a few minutes of turning from one side to the other post-setup. My mistake, of course, was I sat too close to the monitor. Samsung recommends sitting 15-20 inches away from the display for the best experience. After I moved back, I stopped having neck pains.
You also want to make sure the display sits at the right height, which you can easily adjust with the stand. The screen slides up and down, tilts slightly down and upwards, and swivels a few degrees.
The screen is excellent for gaming and is a good substitute for a dual-monitor setup. I’ve always disliked seeing the bezel division between two connected displays and now it’s not a problem on Samsung’s big screen.
Some of my gamer colleagues nitpicked at games looking fuzzier than on their own dual- or triple-monitor setups, but my nonpro-gamer eyes thought they looked fine. I played several games including Rise of the Tomb Raider, Rocket League, and Battlefield 3 that support native 32:9 aspect ratio and they looked pretty darn crisp and smoother than on my 120Hz monitors at home. Not all PC games support the ultra-wide aspect ratio and many stretch out the resolution, so definitely check if your favorite games do before buying one of these bad boys.
Seeing more and doing more
Despite being marketed as a gaming monitor, you absolutely don’t need to be a gamer to fully appreciate and use this gargantuan beauty.
Hell, I used the monitor for work most of my days. You’ve never experienced true multitasking until you’ve opened three or four windows side-by-side on such a wide screen.
Looking at Google Maps is so much more immersive, juggling three or more windows of social media is manageable, and holy crap, using Trello, a popular project management app, will never be the same again:
Oh, and TweetDeck…holy cow. Really, apps like Excel/Google Sheets or column-based service like Trello or TweetDeck really benefits the most from all the horizontal space.
Exploring Google Maps is an entirely unreal experience on such an ultra-wide screen:
Content that’s not optimized for the wideness get a little wonky, though. In fullscreen, sometimes text can be formatted so that it stretches the entire screen. For example, in Gmail, some emails came through like this:
Videos that aren’t made for 32:9 are pillarboxed as well:
And don’t even try to play Solitaire or Minesweeper; it’s just a lot of wasted space:
I’m sad — sad because I have to box up Samsung’s monster display and send it back. I’m gonna miss this huge-ass screen. I’m gonna miss the “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” from everyone who sees it.
I’m gonna miss it doubling as a wall to block off our Deputy Tech Editor Mike Nuñez who sits across from me. And I’m sure he’s gonna miss being able to hang up his headphones on the little pop-out hook on the backside of the stand. But we’ll work through it. We’ll have to look into each other’s loving eyes again, but at least this giant thing isn’t blocking the office lighting anymore.
One thing I won’t miss is the monitor’s lack of built-in speakers. How the heck does a $1,000+ monitor not come with any speakers? I get that gamers who’d buy this thing probably wear fancy gaming headphones, but it feels like Samsung cheaped out here.
Samsung’s 49-inch monitor seems absurd. Who needs a screen this wide and this big? But that’s what everyone said about dual-monitor setups years ago. “Only day traders will need that kinda setup,” people said. I predict in a few years, screens like this one won’t be as much of an outlier as it is today. Dual screens will be a thing of the past once new ultra-wides like this replace them.