Samsung CHG90 ultrawide monitor review

Spanning 49 inches, this gaming monitor is the next best thing to VR

Samsung’s 49-inch monitor is among the best gaming displays we’ve ever used.
Samsung’s 49-inch monitor is among the best gaming displays we’ve ever used.
Samsung’s 49-inch monitor is among the best gaming displays we’ve ever used.

Highs

  • An ungodly amount of screen real estate
  • High refresh rate is perfect for fast-paced games
  • Colors are accurate and vivid
  • Excellent contrast ratio

Lows

  • 3,840 x 1,080 screen could be sharper
  • Under 300 nits
  • No USB-C

No one buys a 49-inch curved ultrawide monitor because they need one. No. This is about extravagance. This is about luxury. This is about hubris.

If you have a craving for the excessive — or perhaps just a spark of curiosity in your mind about what it might be like to game on the world’s widest ultrawide gaming monitor — the 49-inch Samsung CHG90 must be seen to believed.

You may need a bigger desk

Curved, ultrawide monitors could have been just a fad, but instead they just keep getting larger and more exciting. The CHG90 feels like the pinnacle of that development, stretching out to an ungodly 49-inches wide. It looks like something that belongs on the bridge of the starship Enterprise.

Samsung CHG90 Ultrawide Monitor review
Riley Young/Digital Trends

We had it set up for weeks in the office, yet every day someone new stopped to gawk as they walked by. Who can blame them? It took up nearly the entire width of a desk. The base is large as well, dominating the surface and leaving little room for a keyboard, mouse, or laptop.

What’s the benefit of its size? You can open multiple browser windows, or applications, full screen side-by-side. The experience of using the CHG90 isn’t unlike a dual 27-inch monitor setup — just without the divider in between.

But the CHG90 isn’t merely for productivity, though it’s great at that. This thing is a tried-and-true gaming monitor. As we learned, a screen this large offers big advantages in games. When sitting at the center of the monitor’s curve, your field of vision is closer to that of the natural human eye. It’s not virtual reality, but it’s the next best thing. It looks beautiful and can give you a competitive edge, as you can see an enemy sneaking up beside you in Fortnite or gain a broader view from your sniper’s nest in Battlefield V.

The 1800R curve matches what you find in monitors like the BenQ EX3501R. It provides just the right viewing angles when you sit right in the center of the monitor, and looks downright futuristic from behind.

The base, stand, and case are all made of plastic, but it’s durable enough hold up the 26 pounds of pixels from falling forward. And while you won’t need to do much swiveling and tilting given this monitor’s size, but Samsung still provides an adequate amount of height, swivel, and tilt adjustment. A comfortable viewing angle is easy to find.

Lacking in USB-C

The ports, pointed down beneath the display, are a bit hard to reach, though they keep your desk looking clean. Connections include USB-A, DisplayPort, mini-DisplayPort, and HDMI. USB-C unfortunately isn’t available. Newer monitors like the Dell UltraSharp 4K 32 provide a simpler single-cable that can power a laptop while also extending the laptop’s screen to the monitor.

Samsung CHG90 Ultrawide Monitor review
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Meanwhile, the menu system is a bit confusing. The three physical buttons provide quick access to some gaming profiles where you can have features like FreeSync, response time, and black levels automatically adjusted. A joystick on the right gives you access to sharpness, contrast, brightness, and volume. It’s not as expansive of options as what you’d find on something like the BenQ EX3501R, but it has the basics covered.

While we prefer intuitive menus, Samsung at least provided quick access to brightness by pressing up or down, and volume by pressing left or right. Don’t forget which is which, though – they aren’t clearly labeled.

Pre-calibration image quality

The CHG90 could have been a gimmick. Fortunately, it has a panel worthy of taking over the entirety of your desk, and we saw that in our imaging tests.

Whether it’s contrast ratio, color accuracy, or color gamut, the CHG90 leads the pack. For gaming-focused monitors, it’s common to see narrow color gamuts or color accuracy in favor or big, splashy features companies can easily market. Instead, Samsung delivers the goods in image quality. Everything it shows looks sensation.

It’s not the brightest monitor in the world, however, peaking at 286 nits. That’s an area where monitors like the BenQ EX3501R or HP Z38c fare a bit better.

After calibrating the screen, we didn’t see a major change in image quality.

There’s a long list of tech that can be packed into a monitor. 4K? HDR? 144Hz refresh rate? G-Sync? Those are all important features that can affect how games feel and play. The CHG90 offers three out of the five: A 144Hz refresh rate, support for HDR, and a one millisecond response time.

It all works to make games look incredible. Battlefield 1, which supports HDR, was a particular highlight, offering an awesome sense of depth and contrast that made the game look similar to a 3D image. While HDR on Windows 10 is still an ugly affair, certain games benefit hugely from it.

Resolution is the monitor’s only weakness. It offers 3,840 x 1,080 which, when spread out across this 49-inch monster, is the same pixel density you’d find on a 27-inch 1080p screen. Individual pixels are noticeable if you look closely, and that can detract from the monitor’s overall beauty. You’ll notice it most in games with high-contrast graphics, or games that don’t have great anti-aliasing options baked in.

Samsung CHG90 Ultrawide Monitor review
Riley Young/Digital Trends

It should also be noted that G-Sync isn’t available on this monitor. It’s a feature made to prevent screen-tearing on Nvidia graphics cards, but it often adds hundreds of dollars to the price tag of a gaming monitor. Because many gamers are willing to pay the extra price, we wish Samsung would provide a G-Sync option. As of now, only AMD cards will benefit from the FreeSync support this monitor includes, and AMD video cards are much less popular among PC gamers.

Post-calibration

Samsung has shipped a solid screen right out of the box, which should please those looking for precise color accuracy. After calibrating the screen, we didn’t see a major change in image quality. Contrast increased ever so slightly, as did color accuracy, but the changes were relatively minor

That’s in contrast to displays like the LG Ultrafine 5K or the Dell Ultrasharp UP3218K, where we saw sharp increases in color accuracy after calibration.

Our Take

A thousand bucks is a lot to spend on a monitor but given the other monitors that sell for around the same price, such as the HP Z38c or the LG 38UC99-W, Samsung’s 49-incher feels like a good deal. It’s among the most impressive monitors we’ve ever used.

Is there a better alternative?

Not yet. Samsung’s 49-inch monitor is as large as they come, and with how well they did it, it may be king of the hill for quite some time. There are some great 38-inch monitors out there, though the extra eleven inches puts this in an entirely different category.

Dell recently introduced a similar 49-inch monitor with a better 1440p resolution, though it’s $600 more expensive and isn’t a gaming monitor. It’s also not currently available.

How long will it last?

This 49-inch monitor is fit to sit on your desk for many years. It’s built well and is ahead of its time in terms of size. The monitor comes with a parts and labor warranty that lasts for three years, which is standard for expensive monitors.

Should you buy it?

Yes. If you’re ready to spend a grand on a monitor, why not go big?

Wearables

Lack of regulation means wearables aren’t held accountable for health claims

As fitness trackers become more like health monitors, some physicians are concerned they can lead to over-diagnosis of non-existent problems. It’s already happening with wearable baby monitors.
Product Review

Origin's Chronos PC is no looker, but it plays games with eye-popping detail

The Chronos is Origin’s smallest PC, but while it occupies less space than most A/V receivers, it delivers the power of a much larger desktop. Its dull exterior design does the system a disservice. Once you turn it on, you won’t be…
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Deals

Here’s a look at the hottest 4K TV deals for January 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Computing

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!
Computing

Fix those internet dead zones by turning an old router into a Wi-Fi repeater

Is there a Wi-Fi dead zone in your home or office? A Wi-Fi repeater can help. Don't buy a new one, though. Here is how to extend Wi-Fi range with another router you have lying around.
Computing

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering ergonomic mice alternatives. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.
Gaming

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.
Apple

Want a MacBook that will last all day on a single charge? Check these models out

Battery life is one of the most important factors in buying any laptop, especially MacBooks. Their battery life is typically average, but there are some standouts. Knowing which MacBook has the best battery life can be rather useful.
Computing

Want a Dell laptop with an RTX 2060? Cross the new XPS 15 off your list

The next iteration of Dell's XPS 15 laptop won't come with an option for an RTX 2060, according to Alienware's Frank Azor. You could always opt for a new Alienware m15 or m17 instead.
Computing

Always have way too many tabs open? Google Chrome might finally help

Google is one step closer to bringing tab groups to its Chrome browser. The feature is now available in Google's Chrome Canady build with an early implementation that can be enabled through its flag system.