rAge 2017: Hands-on with Samsung’s 49-inch ultra-ultra-wide monster monitor

In a world where ultra-wide displays are slowly becoming accepted in the PC gaming community, Samsung tries to be different by offering something that I believe no-one asked for: an ultrawide display that is essentially two ultra-wide displays mated together. This is the 49-inch CHG90, and it deserves a sexier name. It costs twenty-five grand, so it might as well have a name that doesn’t sound like a machine decided on it.

In pictures, it might look big, but in person, this is absolutely enormous. The 49-inch length takes the curve into account, and it’s a 1800R curve as well, so it’s quite a dramatic shift from previous curved monitors you might have played with. The resolution is 3840 x 1080, which makes this two 25-inch 21:9 monitors side-by-side without a bezel in the middle. The 32:9 aspect ratio is impressive, but early hands-on impressions show that Samsung stretched themselves finding ways to justify this behemoth existing – not that it needs any. This thing is amazing anyway.

For one, the way the EDID works doesn’t confuse Windows 10, but it did confuse Battlefield 1, which could only run at 1920 x 1080 stretched across the screen. It’s still playable, but the stretched pixels don’t look that great and don’t do the panel any justice. Granted, the laptop that powered the demo only had a GTX 960M inside, but games just aren’t ready for this extreme scale, especially on bleeding-edge hardware like this.

The other thing is that because of this odd setup, Samsung’s marketing focused on making this a replacement for dual-screen setups. The demo was set up to have two 25-inch 21:9 displays next to each other, with Battlefield 1 running on the one side, and a promo video running on the other. When you dive into the software Samsung includes for snapping windows, there’s more evidence that they threw a lot of things at the wall to see what would stick. Window snapping isn’t implemented very well, and it isn’t very flexible when you suddenly need to change around some windows.

But, given that this monitor is so new (it’s less than a month old!), and that there are only two in South Africa as of this week (both were at rAge), it can be forgiven to have such early issues with this kind of product. Very few people are going to be buying this kind of monitor for their systems, and even fewer are looking for something with such an enormous curve. HP’s 39-inch Pro display is a very similar product, but even that doesn’t have the same super-wide aspect ratio like the CHG90 does.

To Samsung’s credit, there’s a built-in USB 3.0 hub, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two Displayport 1.2a ports that support AMD FreeSync 2. There’s HDR support as well, which is possible because Samsung is using a quantum dot panel in this monitor. However, the display lacks a USB-C port with charging capability, so it can’t act like a docking station.

I’m going to have to review this to find out how it does in its natural environment, and not on a showroom floor like this. Samsung, if you’re listening, I want this thing on my desk!

Robot Worm
This is the only brain worm you’ll really appreciate having in your life