Samsung CRG49 Ultrawide Monitor | Best ultrawide monitors 2022
I’ve waited years to dive into the spacious world of ultra-wide curved computer monitors. Traditional displays offer a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, which has become the standard for most media. However, ultrawide monitors bump that figure up to 21:9, and the latest super ultrawides double that to a whopping 32:9. Their width makes them incredibly immersive, enveloping your entire field of vision. Associated with an aggressive curved, these vision-filled screens are akin to cinema screens for your desktop.
With double the horizontal space, you’ll have plenty of room to do more work, whether you’re juggling multiple windows or stretching two full-screen apps side-by-side. The first curved 21:9 ultrawides appeared in 2014, but it was the 2017 launch of the super ultrawide 32:9 category that took the category to the extreme. Indeed, ultrawide computer monitors have generally been expensive, with asking prices north of four figures, approaching those of a well-specified PC. But now the cost-to-size ratio is better with these ultrawide super monitors to the point that the dollar amount doesn’t completely overshadow the benefits. With a recent price drop, 2022 unofficially marks the year of the ultrawide monitor and the best opportunity yet to splurge.
Last month I bought a 49 inch Samsung Ultra Wide Odyssey CRG49 on sale to replace my dual monitor 1440P setup. It has helped me feel more productive at work as I edit video content in a larger window and keep multiple application windows open without feeling cramped. On top of that, I’m enjoying first-person games on my PC more than ever. A large QHD (2K) TV-like screen with a curve means I don’t hate hanging out in front of my computer long after a shift is over. Anyone who spends a lot of time at their desk can benefit from this upgrade. (And other popular models, like the AGON AOC and Deco Gear DGVIEW490also eventually dropped below $1000, which is pretty reasonable for most people like me.) For this review, we’ll focus on the CRG49, my giant pride and joy.
Configure and build
It’s clear that Samsung has its ergonomics dialed in. Assembling the CGR49 is child’s play, figuratively and literally. Simply click the base onto the 49-inch curved display and tighten four screws. Then a removable circular plate snaps in place for style and protection, as it allows an optional light blue circular LED light to pass through. Raise the screen and you’re ready to make your connections. The base legs are surprisingly thin, and while they don’t take up much room, there’s no wobble. Adjusting the tilt, height and swivel is easy with minimal pressure.
There are nine ports on the back in addition to the power input; an HDMI connection, two DisplayPort, four USB-A connections, a PCIN port and a headphone jack. While I’m fine with the lack of built-in speakers since I prefer using headphones and external speakers for enhanced sound, this may bother you if you rely on your current monitor’s built-in speakers. I was however disappointed with the single HDMI port as I like to connect multiple devices like other computers and gaming systems to one monitor. That said, my setup is overkill for most people. Instead of running to catch a HDMI splitterI have connected multiple devices using this DisplayPort to USB-C cable for my Macbook, DisplayPort to HDMI Cable for PlayStation, and saved the HDMI to HDMI connection that came with the Odyssey for my MSI laptop running Windows 10 (this is also my primary gaming PC). These cables can add up quickly, adding another $50 to the overall cost.
Given the size of the monitor and the construction of the Vertical Alignment (VA) panel, which is notorious for poor viewing angles and color reproduction, I was concerned that it lacked clarity and overall quality. Any concerns I had about image quality (not all of which were ultra-wide fingernails) vanished after turning on the Odyssey’s gorgeous screen. While there aren’t true blacks on a VA-style panel like those found on OLED screens, the curved screen didn’t produce the lower quality “blacks” (which come out more light gray ) which I expected. There were no noticeable bright stripes, bleeding corners or dead pixels to worry about even when placed in a darkened room, a common thread of some ultrawide monitors. Reds and greens in virtual environments pop in addition to colorful content thanks to the vivid HDR 1000 rating. I enjoyed viewing the lush landscapes of the Valheim game on what is essentially two 27-inch 1440P (2K) screens next to each other with no gaps or separation. Hollow Knight’s shift to dark colors and gothic tones showed how well the screen could create even dark color palettes, with streetlights and other light sources casting a warm, luminous glow. This wide color gamut is incredibly useful in my day-to-day Photoshop work, but its 95% DCI-P3 color accuracy is lower than a reference-level monitor like an Apple Studio Display. This is something to keep in mind if your job requires it.
Although I bought this monitor with an aspiration for work productivity, it was the media and gaming benefits that hooked me. Watching TV and playing games like first-person simulators with a much wider field of view has improved my multitasking abilities. The expansive screen real estate pairs with a 120 hertz frame rate, so there’s minimal blurring or input lag in fast-paced games like the racing simulator. Corsa asset or WW1 shooter Tannenberg. You can adjust settings using the power button and even configure up to three gaming profiles. Slide the button left or right to adjust volume levels. Vertical pressure adjusts brightness, contrast and sharpness. Move the button back towards you and you can activate eye saver mode, which dims the screen and filters out blue light. Hold the button and you can easily switch between sources. Picture-By-Picture displays your input sources side by side from two different devices connected to the monitor. For example, I can keep my MacBook connected by USB-C to DisplayPort and display its screen on one half, and on the other half I keep my PlayStation view via HDMI. It’s two 27-inch transparent screens at their normal 16:9 image, and when I need just one to take over, I can flip the screen over to show a single, wider, curved image for a single source.
While gaming, 120Hz frame rates are super smooth, both when it comes to in-game animations and when dragging a mouse to scroll through a webpage. I’ve used it with a MacBook Pro, an MSI GF65 Thin Windows laptop, and a PlayStation 4 Pro at the same levels of refined motion. I like that you can see black EQ, refresh rate, response times and input lag metrics with a click using one of the profile buttons on the front of the monitor to make sure that your visuals correspond to expectations. Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync screen tearing prevention technology has eliminated any gameplay stuttering or artifact tearing in some new Steam titles.
Unlike my previous monitor, a 32 inch Acer ED323QUR with an 1800R curve, the Odyssey’s 49-inch screen curves to a standard 1000R. This is the radius measured in millimeters. The shorter the radius, the smaller the circle and the more pronounced the curve. The Odyssey’s more immersive view helps me stay glued to my work better. I now often have a minimum of four windows open at any given time. My Acer monitor is still fully capable, so I placed it on top of the Odyssey and connected it to my Roku Ultra to watch TV while I work or play.
The larger screen size makes it difficult to fit into some setups, like if you have a hutch desk or are working with limited space, so keep that in mind. I just wish the Odyssey had at least one extra HDMI input. For those who multitask or game often, an ultrawide slightly improves your experience. For just under $1,000, Samsung’s 49-inch Odyssey is an amazing value that’s worth pulling the trigger if you’re in the market to upgrade your monitor.
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