Is there a point at which ultrawide becomes ‘ultra silly’? The Samsung CRG9 certainly pushes the boundaries with its epic 49-inch diagonal and extreme 32:9 aspect ratio. But then it wasn’t that long ago 21:9 aspect monitors were controversial. Now they seem almost mainstream. Almost.
Of course, the Samsung CRG9 has more going for it than simply size. There’s 120Hz refresh, HDR support with a sizzling peak brightness of 1,000 nits, and more. It’s not even all that expensive when you compare it to, say, one of the best 4K gaming monitors for gaming that’s 27-inches in size and has a high refresh rate. Time to find out how this powerhouse of a panel really performs and see if it really is one of the best curved gaming monitors still.
Design & Features
In a word, the Samsung CRG9 looks like money. Not just because it’s huge. But also because of Samsung’s signature premium design vibe. With slim bezels on three sides and a lush gunmetal finish, this CRG9 is spectacular even before you turn it on.
That said, the huge proportions do have an ergonomic impact: this panel test limits when it comes to desk size. You’re going to need space. A lot of space. In fact, you’re going to need at least four feet of space, because that’s how wide this thing is.
As for ports, they’re located on the rear of the display and tick every relevant box bar USB Type-C, which is a shame if you have a gaming laptop with USB-C connectivity. Note that the stand adjusts for height and tilt, but not swivel.
The Samsung CRG9’s standout feature is that 49-inch screen diagonal with its gentle 1800R curve. But there’s plenty more where that came from. It supports a 120Hz refresh rate, packs 5,120 by 1,440 pixels, FreeSync2, and boasts VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification.
The latter means it can hit a peak brightness of 1,000cd/m2 in localised hotspots and 600cd/m2 across the whole panel. That’s bright. And then some. Just note that while the CRG9 does have local dimming, it’s composed of just 10 vertical zones. Hold that thought.
Other impressive attributes of the VA panel include 3,000:1 static contrast and support for 95 percent of the demanding DCI-P3 colour space. So, this panel promises precision along with punch. The quoted response of 4ms is a little less stellar. But it all bodes awfully well on paper.
Indeed, pixel response will be far from your immediate concern when you first fire up the CRG9. You’ll be far too busy laughing at the sheer scale of the thing. 49-inch 32:9 aspect ratio monitors are not entirely new. But they still make for a mind-blowing sight.
What you’re looking at is roughly equivalent to a pair of 25-inch QHD monitors fused into a single panel. However, the impact in terms of immersion is so much more than that implies. This screen totally dominates your field of view and utterly sucks you in, especially to lush adventure eye candy-heavy titles like The Witcher 3 or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
The characteristic smoothness of the 120Hz refresh just sweetens the deal, even if the outright pixel response is only adequate rather than excellent. Of course, the ultrawide aspect isn’t a perfect fit for all games. Competitive online shooters like Fortnite or Call of Duty are likely to suffer from some serious stretch.
As with most modern VA panels, the CRG9 is also punchy and contrasty, that high peak brightness really socks it to you. However, with just 10 backlight dimming zones, the lack of anything approaching precise local dimming means a bona fide HDR experience isn’t really on offer. And remember that you’ll absolutely need one of the best graphics cards and/or best gaming PCs to drive this screen properly at 120Hz.
As a desktop productivity panel, it’s a more mixed picture – pun intended. There’s space for loads of apps, of course. But at 109DPI, the pixel density is pretty poor.
Overall – should you buy it?
As a tool for immersive gaming, the Samsung CRG9 is very special. The extreme aspect ratio doesn’t lend itself to all game types. But where it works, it’s totally enthralling, and the best gaming monitor for what it offers.
It’s not perfect, not with mediocre HDR performance and only adequate pixel response. Nor is it perfectly tuned as a productivity panel back on the Windows desktop. But If you can get your head and indeed eyes around the things the Samsung CRG9 does well, for the money little else can match the sheer spectacle on offer.