Samsung’s new 49-inch monitor is a sight to behold for several reasons. It’s the approximate size and dimensions of a subway car, with a 49-inch diagonal and a 32:9 aspect ratio. It’s enough to make the ultrawide displays of a few years ago (a paltry 21:9) feel a bit small.
The $ 999 Samsung CHG90 (full model number: LC49HG90DMNXZA) (See it on Amazon) supports AMD’s FreeSync 2, HDR, and the new VESA DisplayHDR standard. That last is a major step forwards; VESA’s DisplayHDR standard refers to the brightness (in nits) of the panel. The CHG90 qualifies for DisplayHDR 600; Samsung clarifies that this means the panel is meant to display HDR content “in bright indoor lighting conditions.”
One Monitor To (Almost) Rule Them All
Over the past few years, we’ve seen high-end panel specifications split somewhat depending on what kind of features you wanted. High-end, professional-grade displays with hardware-calibrated color and IPS panels with 4K support are available, but not necessarily great for gaming. Great gaming panels that support FreeSync and/or G-Sync are available, but don’t always have ideal image quality. 4K TVs with HDR support have been available for a while, but they’ve lacked FreeSync/G-Sync support. OLED televisions and a few monitors are available, with very fast refresh times, but they don’t always support HDR or Adaptive Sync (the generic VESA name for the capabilities baked into what AMD and Nvidia call FreeSync and G-Sync, respectively).
Some of these variations, like the split between panel color quality and low ‘ghosting’ in games have been common for years, but the multi-way split between OLED, LCDs, HDR, 4K, and ultrawide (21:9) and what I’m jokingly calling “subway car” (an actual NYC Metro subway car is 51 feet long and 8.6 feet wide, as opposed to 32:9, but it’s close enough for fun) is newer. We’re starting to see displays hitting market that combine these various capabilities without asking users to pick whether they want one or the other, and while the CHG90 doesn’t offer a superset of 4K resolution, it ticks most of the other boxes.
The CHG90 isn’t exactly cheap, but it packs quite a bit of performance into its four-figures-with tax-price tag. Just be aware the emphasis on width does come at the expense of some overall resolution. It’s become common for 3440×1440 displays to ship in 27-inch and 34-inch form factors, but this 49-inch panel has a resolution of just 3840×1080. Any content you watch on it in 4K will have broad black bars on both sides; modern movies and TV aren’t offered in a 32:9 aspect ratio.