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Samsung Odyssey G9 review: 49in of glorious gaming glamour

 

A spectacularly good ultrawide monitor – just make sure your desk is big enough before you buy

Pros Huge amount of desktop spaceDramatic 1000R curveImpressive HDR performanceCons Very big and heavy

Time was that 49in was considered big for a TV, let alone a computer monitor, yet that’s exactly the size of Samsung’s latest curved ultrawide screen, the Odyssey G9.

As I sit before it writing this review I have to turn my head nearly 45-degrees to the left and the right in order to take in its full width and, with application windows arrayed across its full width, there’s a huge amount of desktop space to play with.

Samsung Odyssey G9 review: What do you get for your money?

The size of the Samsung Odyssey G9’s QLED VA panel isn’t the only thing going for it. It boasts a sharp resolution of 5,120 x 1,440 resolution and an incredibly wide 32:9 aspect ratio. It supports HDR10 with a peak brightness rated at up to 1,000cd/m2 (1,000nit), has a dramatic 1000R curvature, a maximum refresh rate of 240Hz and a GTG response time rated at 1ms.

Add AMD FreeSync Premium Pro support and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility and it looks to be the ultimate gamer’s monitor, although at £1,279 you’re going to have to have deep pockets to afford one.

All-in-all it’s an impressive list of specifications. In fact, it’s probably the most impressive monitor I’ve ever come across. Even our recently announced monitor of the year – the 38in LG UltraWide LG38WN95C – can’t match it and we were blown away by how good that monitor was.

However, impressive specifications are no good if image and build quality can’t match it. So how does the Samsung Odyssey G9 measure up?

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Samsung Odyssey G9 review: Is it too big?

The first thing to address is the monitor’s size. At 49in across the diagonal, of course, it’s huge but its 32:9 aspect ratio means it’s even wider than you might think. In fact, it measures a huge 1.15m from the left edge to the right edge and the deep 1000R curve means the monitor measures 235mm from front to rear in the centre and around 416mm at the sides. Basically, make sure to measure your desk before investing or you may end up spending even more money.

At this sort of size, some sort of curve is essential with very wide displays that are flat you feel as if the edge of the screen is almost disappearing away from you as you let your eyes wander across. So although the 1000R curvature of the G9 looks over the top, in fact it’s perfect for the size of the screen.

While working, items positioned at the extreme left and right edges feel tilted towards your eyes at just the right angle; and while gaming there’s a proper sense of immersion, especially with driving games, where you can look left and right to see cars overtaking you while still getting a decent view through the windscreen.

It’s also worth noting that this monitor is pretty heavy. The screen on its own without the stand weighs a substantial 14.1kg and with the stand it’s 16.7kg, so make sure you have a helping hand when you’re lifting it onto your desk.

Another downside of a monitor this large is that, inevitably, the resolution has to be high to match it. In this case, it’s a whopping 5,120 x 1,440, which means you’re going to have to have a top-end graphics card to do it justice. If you want to achieve frame rates at anywhere near the monitor’s top 240Hz refresh rate at native resolution, you’re going to need probably one of the latest 3000-series Nvidia RTX cards – if you can get hold of one.

Samsung Odyssey G9 review: What connections does it have?

Somewhat surprisingly, given the girth of the thing, the Samsung Odyssey isn’t exactly overflowing with video inputs.

At the rear, you have two DisplayPort 1.4 inputs and one HDMI 2.0 input, accompanied by a 3.5mm headphone output (the monitor has no integrated speakers) and a USB 3 hub with one upstream USB-B and two downstream USA-A ports.

Those USB-A ports are situated right next to the video inputs, too, which is a little inconvenient considering the size of this monitor.

One plus point here is that you can use the video inputs to display the inputs from two separate sources either side by side (picture by picture) or inset (picture in picture), or you could connect two outputs from the same graphics card to achieve a multiple monitor setup on one panel.

Samsung Odyssey G9 review: Image quality

Overall, image quality for the G9 is very impressive and whether you’re gaming or creating it’ll do just the job. Unlike most HDR PC monitors we’ve tested, its 5,120 x 1,440 VA QLED panel is capable of reaching peak brightness levels of 1,000cd/m2, matching the HDR10 Premium standard for TVs and it more than matched that in testing.

I measured it at 1,112cd/m2 with HDR enabled, which it’s able to achieve through local dimming, although this is pretty coarse with only ten zones arrayed across the display.

Getting HDR to activate, as always seems to be the case with Windows 10, is a bit of a lottery. But, when it works, it looks wonderful, with eyeball-busting specular highlights and luscious, vibrant colours popping from the surface of the display like neon signs on a dark, rainy night.

One thing to note, though, before I move on. You won’t be able to get Netflix working in HDR on this thing; that’s not Samsung’s fault but Netflix’s insistence on requiring 4K to run in HDR. Also note that, although some customers have reported flickering when enabling Windows HDR and G-Sync together, this is not something I witnessed during testing.

The responsiveness of the panel is very impressive, and with a rated 1ms GTG (grey to grey) and max refresh rate of 240Hz there’s very little to complain about here. I noticed barely any blurring or trailing when I fired up the UFO frame rate test and it was the same when playing games. Although I had to drop detail levels and sometimes the resolution to 3,840 x 1,080 to get higher frame rates from my poor graphics card, the monitor felt ultra-smooth throughout.

Finally, if you want to do some serious work on it, that’s a possibility, too, although be aware that you’re not going to get professional monitor levels of colour accuracy here.

Its wide gamut panel delivers a measured 95.6% coverage of the DCI-P3 colour gamut (out of a volume of 106.1%) in most modes, and 99.6% (out of a volume of 122.5%) of the sRGB colour space in sRGB mode.

In sRGB mode, I measured peak brightness at 460cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 2,285:1, while colour accuracy was decent, but not spectacular with the average Delta E reaching 2.26. Brightness uniformity is impressive for such a large monitor, though, with average luminance deviating at most 6.15% from the centre.

Since this is a VA panel, its limited viewing angles mean you do see a slight brightening towards the extreme left and right edges when viewed from a normal seating position but this is only really noticeable when you have an all-black screen and the lights are off.

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Samsung Odyssey G9 review: Verdict

All told, the Samsung Odyssey G9 is a spectacular monitor by any measure. Its size, image quality and performance are very impressive, the dramatic 1000R curve puts you right at the heart of the action, and a halfway decent sRGB mode means it isn’t a write-off for photo or video editing either.

And even though £1,279 looks like a lot of money, it’s not that bad for a monitor with this level of specification, particularly with the 240Hz refresh rate and 1000R curve, which is a unique combination in the monitor market. If you have the money and the desk space for it, then, it comes highly recommended.

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