Features & Specifications
Editor's Note: This review was originally published on August 17, 2018.
Update November 27, 2019: Ahead of the best Black Friday tech deals, this monitor is now at its lowest price ever. It's currently on sale for $800 at Amazon, a notable discount from its $1,000 MSRP and recent typical selling price of $900.
Original review August 17, 2018:
In the distant past, gamers used the same business-class monitors used for spreadsheets and word processing. Once fast refresh rates became available, manufacturers raced to be the first with innovative new features like adaptive refresh and curved ultra-wide panels. Now that we’ve reached a saturation point with sharply focused gaming displays, what else can a company do to create the best gaming monitors? Samsung attempts to answer that question with its CHG90 monitor.
Gamers often install 2 or 3 monitors to increase their field of view. Seeing more of the game’s environment offers a distinct advantage. There’s nothing so immersive as when one’s entire peripheral viewpoint is covered; it takes gaming from play to simulation. But no one likes seeing that ugly line between screens. Even the latest thin-bezel monitors create a line when butted up next to each other. The smallest that pesky line can be is around half an inch.
Samsung has eliminated the line with a 32:9 aspect panel that’s 13.3 inches high. It effectively creates the same viewing area as two 27-inch monitors placed side-by-side. The action is brought into focus courtesy of an 1,800R curvature. Speed is addressed with a 144Hz refresh rate and FreeSync 2. Contrast? There’s plenty, thanks to a VA (vertical alignment) panel that offers DCI color and HDR.
Samsung 49-Inch CHG90 Specifications
|Panel Type & Backlight||SVA (super vertical alignment) / Quantum Dot LED; Edge array w/zone dimming|
|Screen Size & Aspect Ratio||49 inches / 32:9; Curve Radius – 1,800mm|
|Max Resolution & Refresh||3840 x 1080 @ 144Hz; FreeSync 2: 36-144Hz; Density: 88ppi|
|Native Color Depth & Gamut||10-bit (8-bit+FRC) / DCI-P3|
|Response Time (GTG)||1ms|
|Brightness||SDR - 350cd/m2; HDR - 600cd/m2|
|Video Inputs||2x DisplayPort 1.2; 2x HDMI 2.0|
|Audio||1x 3.5mm input; 1x 3.5mm output|
|USB||3.0 – 1x up, 2x down|
|Power Consumption||51.7W, brightness @ 200nits|
|Panel Dimensions||47.4 x 15.9-20.7 x 15 inches|
|WxHxD w/base||1,204 x 404-526 x 381mm|
|Panel Thickness||7.7 inches / 196mm|
|Bezel Width||Top/sides - 0.4 inch / 9mm; Bottom – 0.7 inch / 17mm|
|Weight||26.2 pounds / 11.9kg|
The CHG90 boasts impressive specs, but there is 1 area that may give some users pause – resolution. Viewable height is 1,080 pixels, the same as a Full HD (FHD) panel (1,920 x 1,080). And its extreme width means density is a relatively low 88 pixels per inch. This is right on the edge for many who may be used to Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) or Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) panels. How will this pan out in actual use? We’ll explore that later.
But first, we should explain the QLED label. In this case, Q refers to quantum dot, which is the method Samsung uses to increase the backlight’s available color gamut. Unlike more expensive RGB and GBr LEDs, a quantum dot backlight uses a glass tube coated with semiconductor nanocrystals that covers blue LEDs. The crystals are electro-emissive and create red and green light when excited. It’s a cheap way to provide extended color, and in this case, you get almost 90% of the DCI-P3 gamut.
The CHG90 also includes the latest in gaming and video technologies. A 144Hz refresh rate keeps things smooth and blur-free. FreeSync 2 operates over a 36 to 144Hz range, so there's no chance you’ll see a frame tear. And the VA panel offers HDR10 support, along with that DCI-P3 color.
Physical Layout & Accessories
The base is the widest and deepest example we’ve ever seen but is slim and neat at the same time. It bolts to the upright, which is then attached to the panel with four captive screws. You’ll need a Phillips-head screwdriver to get the job done. Be sure to install the plastic trim ring first, otherwise the lighting effect is very bright, and the attachment hardware will be left exposed. Samsung includes a small cover for the input panel, along with 1 cable each for HDMI and USB and 2 for DisplayPort. The monitor also comes with a cable for IEC power, which you'll need for its right-angled plugs; a standard power cord won’t fit into the deeply set jack panel. You also get a metal adapter with 100mm VESA mount holes if you wish to use an aftermarket system.
To call the CHG90 a desktop monitor is a stretch. It is all of 4 feet wide and requires a lot of space. You’ll also need at least 15 inches of depth to accommodate the curve and the large stand, which is extremely solid and stable. The upright offers a 4.8-inch height adjustment, along with 15° swivel to either side, 15° back tilt and 5° forward. Movements are firm and feel high-quality. Build is excellent as well, as befits a monitor in this price range.
The anti-glare layer is aggressive, necessary in such a large screen, and blocks all but the very brightest reflections. It does not create grain or other visible artifacts. The bezel is narrow, just 9mm around the top and sides and 17mm across the bottom. Just right of center, you’ll find an on-screen display (OSD) joystick to control everything, including power. Three additional keys allow access to 3 settings memory slots.
You'll also notice some tight curvature. 1,800R is the smallest radius currently available in any screen size. The wraparound effect is quite something in practice. It’s a little strange when working in business-oriented apps, and resolution may hamper productivity there. But gaming is a unique experience when your entire peripheral vision is filled with the on-screen environment.
Inputs include 2 HDMI 2.0, 2 DisplayPort 1.2 (1 mini) and USB 3.0 (1 upstream, 2 downstream). Audio is supported by 3.5mm jacks, 1 in and 1 out. Once you’ve made your connections, you can hide cables with the included snap-on cover.
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But it's nice to see a true 10-bit panel of this size in a sub-$1,000 (USD) price range, so kudos for Samsung on that. Just give me more vertical resolution on these extreme ulrawides and I'm sold.
That's what kills me about women. We men have to fight for a little master bedroom closet space for our few clothes and shoes while they pack it wall to wall with their ever growing clothes and shoe collection from weekend shopping trips. Then we are lambasted for wanting our tech toys which are only purchased once every several years.
To be honest, she's really not that bad. She doesn't like that gaming is a hobby of mine and feels it to be a wasteful time sink, but she is fine with me doing my thing when I feel like doing it. Beyond that, I just have some exceedingly expensive hobbies: firearms, computing, high end A/V, and cars. :/
While I could probably make it work (or any other for that matter), I hold off due to her sacrificing for the greater good and spending money on our house and such rather than expensive individual things with limited purpose. It's fine... though I won't lie that I *am* in the market for a new display as my 1920*1200 60Hz Samsung is long in the tooth and holding back my beastly 1080.