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Samsung CHG90 Review: No More Dual-Monitor Gaming

Debating a multi-screen setup? This bad boy can replace two 27-inch 16:9 monitors.

OSD Setup & Calibration

Samsung styled the CHG90’s OSD to look like a gaming dashboard with an angled shape and analog-type indicators for things like FreeSync, refresh rate and overdrive status. All navigation is performed with an excellent joystick. Press it once to display a quick menu, click up and press again for the full suite of options. The OSD is available in multiple languages and can be left on-screen for up to 200 seconds. 

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The quick menu lets you change inputs, engage PIP, power off, or bring up the full OSD. A second click cancels it.

The Game menu accesses 8 picture modes, which are aimed at different game types. Custom is the default mode and the best place for a calibration. Accuracy is good, so this monitor doesn’t really need adjustment. But if you want to dial back to sRGB color (DCI-P3 is the native gamut), there’s a mode for that which grays out all other image controls save brightness.

You can change refresh rate, but most users will leave it at 120Hz. In Windows, 144Hz is the default, and that worked reliably for us throughout testing. Black Equalizer is a low-end gamma control. Turn it up to improve shadow detail. The default setting is 13 and produces an accurate 2.2 gamma curve. Response Time is Samsung’s overdrive control, and it’s effective enough on its Standard setting at reducing blur without adding ghost artifacts. FreeSync is off by default, so remember to turn that it on before gaming. Low Input Lag can stay on all the time as well. Screen Size offers a few aspect ratio options that help fit content to that incredibly wide screen. Once you’re done, click Save Settings to store your changes in 1 of 3 memory slots, which you can select via the 3 bezel keys.

The Picture menu repeats the image modes and offers a full array of calibration controls. Color is where you’ll find the white balance and RGB sliders. You can choose 1 of 5 presets or calibrate yourself in the Custom mode. The sliders start at center-range and are very precise. There are 3 gamma choices as well. Number 1 corresponds to 2.2, while 2 is brighter and 3 is darker. The most important change to make is to set HDMI Black Level to Normal. By default it’s Low, and that will clip both highlight and shadow information. You won’t need to worry about that option with a DisplayPort connection.

In the System menu, you can turn on the CHG90’s lighting feature, which emits a soft glow from a ring around the upright’s attachment point in back. It’s blue in color and cannot be varied in hue or brightness. Local Dimming refers to the backlight’s dynamic contrast feature. In Auto mode, it only operates with HDR content, which is the correct choice (you won’t want it in SDR mode).

Remaining options are typical of most monitors, except for PC/AV Mode. That is an overscan feature you can apply to each individual input. To see the full picture, select PC Mode. Auto Source Detection works well and will lock on quickly to the first active signal it finds.

You can return all settings to default by clicking Reset All.

Calibration

Calibration is not required, but a few adjustments can produce visible gains in quality.

We recommend the Custom mode, which uses the CHG90’s full DCI-P3 gamut. sRGB is available, and it dials down color somewhat, but it is oversaturated when compared to DCI-P3, which is the default. We’ll show you those results on page four. HDR signals automatically switch the monitor into HDR mode, at which point you can still select all image presets and adjust brightness. In fact, the backlight setting does not change automatically, so you’ll have to turn it to maximum to get the full effect of HDR. For SDR, we left gamma on Mode 1 and tweaked the RGB sliders to achieve excellent grayscale tracking. Gamma is super-accurate regardless of other settings. Once you’ve entered our recommended values, use the Save Settings feature to save them to 1 of the 3 memories.

Settings

Samsung CHG90 Calibration Settings
Picture ModeCustom
Brightness 200 nits72
Brightness 120 nits44
Brightness 100 nits36
Brightness 80 nits29
Brightness 50 nits19
Contrast75
Shadow Control60
Game Mode1
Color ToneCustom
Color Temp UserRed 50, Green 53, Blue 46
HDMI Black LevelNormal

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Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.