As LCD technology became commonplace, the line between “monitor” and “television” began to blur. Today, the line sits primarily on the size, and whether or not there is a tuner in place.
For many applications, this makes sense. Nobody wants to come to work and edit spreadsheets on a 60” 4K television. Having your entire visual field occupied with work sounds like our worst nightmare. But if we’re talking about the latest games, then this same display might just be a part of our dream gaming station.
Unfortunately, there are a few reason why you wouldn’t want to use a television as a gaming monitor. For starters, they’re designed to be viewed from 5 or more feet away. Even the curved models look a little off when you sit too close, and the risk of eyestrain is a very real possibility.
Samsung’s CGH90 is the screen designed for those of you who love the idea of having a big screen TV as your monitor. But it’s unique display and aspect ratio mean that it’s different from any other large monitor you’ve come across. In this review, we’ll be going hands-on to find out what this monitor has to offer. After, we’ll help you decide if this is a worthwhile investment, or a trendy gimmick.
The Samsung CHG90 QLED Monitor measures 49 inches diagonally, but it looks different from any other 49 inch screen you’ve come across. This is a 32:9 display. For every 9 inches high, it’s got 32 inches of width. It’s very wide. Samsung also made sure that this screen was heavily curved, so you get a cinematic experience unlike anything you’ve experienced with a flat monitor. It gives you a plethora of connections including DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, Dual HDMI ports, and three USB 3.0 ports. All of this combined with a 1 millisecond response time makes this look like one advanced monitor. But does it hold up in real world usage?
You can imagine how big this monitor is compared to a standard model, but how does it really feel to sit in front of a 49 inch display? In reality, it’s almost exactly like sitting beside two 27” displays. This monitor isn’t any taller, but it’s twice as wide. When you think of it like this, you’ll realize that this display isn’t as unusual as you’d think. Dual monitor setups are extremely common, and highly regarded. But there is one key difference – the bezel. On this display, there is nothing in the center dividing your two screens.
There have been monitors this wide released before, but many of them are actually two separate LCD panels in a single case. On this one, the whole screen is one panel. There is no bezel down the center, and there is not even a subtle line. This has always been the one issue preventing dual-screen setups for being used for gaming, or movie watching.
The effect is certainly stunning. You actually have to move your head to see either side of the screen. For gaming, this can really enhance your experience. You’ll catch yourself jumping as you see something move out of the corner of your eye. For online gaming, you’ll have an edge over your competitors as you can see movement in areas that would be out of your competitor’s field of view. It’s much more realistic, and creates an immersive experience.
HDR technology is all the rage, but it hasn’t quite caught on with games as it has with movies. Samsung has their own HDR style technology called QLED. This abbreviation means four (quad) LEDs. Most screens only have red, green, and blue sub pixels. On this screen, there is also a yellow sub pixel. This allows the display to produce images that cannot be made on standard models.
It’s important to note, however, that this is not the same as HDR. HDR requires an expanded color pallet. There are more colors being sent to the screen. But this display only takes the standard RGB input, just displays them move vividly. In essence, this is a filter.
The end result is that colors look deeper, richer, and more vibrant. For games and movies, the appeal is obvious – the screen simply looks great. But this isn’t the true color. Graphic designers and videographers might not benefit from this technology. If you’re enjoying content, QLED will improve your experience. If you’re creating it, you’ll lose accuracy.
Detail & Frame Rate
This screen has the resolution of 3840×1080. This is the same number of horizontal pixels as a 4K screen, but the same height as a 1080p screen. For gaming, this is ideal. Even the best graphics card on the market is just capable of playing games in 4K with the video settings turned up. But this resolution has half the pixels of 4K and twice the pixels of 1080p. This is a good compromise. You’re definitely going to need a decent graphics card to run this, but you won’t necessarily need a top-tier model. However, the additional pixels mean that this display still looks incredibly sharp, and highlights all the subtle graphical nuances of your game.
This monitor also supports up to 144 hz refresh rate. The reason we say “up to” is because it also supports AMD FreeSync 2. What this does is allow your monitors refresh rate to match the frame rate of your graphics card. Why is this important? Consider the following example.
Let’s say your graphics card is producing 60 frames per second. If your monitor is running at 144hz, your graphics card will produce one frame of video every 2.4 refreshes. This means that the monitor will already be 40 percent complete the second refresh when the new frame is available. It won’t be able to draw that frame until the next refresh, inducing lag. With AMD FreeSync, your monitors refresh rate will dynamically change to match the output of your graphics card. No more lag, and the smoothest gameplay possible.
Not many people are going to be fortunate enough to have a monitor like this. But the unfortunate downside is that this means that Windows wasn’t really designed with such a high resolution screen in mind. To make it a little easier to use, Samsung has provided drivers that included a full software kit designed to make working with this monitor easier.
There are a few settings to change the brightness and contrast, among other simple video settings. There is also an option panel that lets you play around with the QLED color balance. But the main advantage of this software is the way that it lets your computer see your screen. You can break up the single display into several sub displays. This makes it easy for you to move apps around, clicking them onto a specific part of the display.
Being able to quickly and easily lay your windows out in a grid pattern has huge implications for the office crowd. Need four spreadsheets open? Like to roll with 15 browser tabs on the go? With this software kit, you’ll never use a tab again. Everything you need is intelligently laid out right in front of your eyes.
This is one of the most advanced displays on the market, and there is almost no features that we found it was lacking. However, all this tech comes at a price. For the same money, you could purchase a triple monitor setup. It’s important to ask yourself how essential it is for you to do away with the bezel in the middle. If you think you could live with it, you could easily save yourself a little money by getting a pair of 24 inch screens.
When we first saw the Samsung CHG90 QLED Monitor, everything about it screamed “gaming monitor”. It’s vivid, rich colors, sub 1 millisecond response rate, and perfect resolution balance all stand out as something that gamers need. It’s true that this is an amazing screen for gaming, but that’s not all it can do. Samsung’s bundled software make this screen easily manage a ton of different windows, so there are huge advantages for the business crowd as well.
If money was no objective, this would be the screen we recommended to everyone. Unfortunately for most of us, money is an important consideration. If you don’t mind the bezel, you might want to consider a pair of 27 inch monitors instead.
But if you want to create the ultimate, no-compromise gaming station, then this is the monitor you want.