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Introduction

This display was released during the summer of 2019 but we never had chance to review it at the time. Due to popular demand, we have with us now the massive 49" ultrawide display from Samsung - their C49RG90, or for simplicity the "CRG9" as it is often called in the US or "CRG90" in Europe. It's a mega-wide format display with a 32:9 aspect ratio, being much wider still than the now pretty common 21:9 aspect ratio screens in 34 - 35" sizes. Unlike some other earlier screens of this size, the resolution has been upgraded significantly from 3840 x 1080 (the same as 2x 27" 16:9 screens at 1920 x 1080 resolution joined together), to 5120 x 1440 (2x 27" at 2560 x 1440). This gives a much larger desktop area to work with and a sharper, crisper image for all uses. The panel is VA technology, offering wide viewing angles and strong contrast ratios that you'd expect from this type of panel.

The screen also boast some impressive gaming and multimedia specs. There is a 120Hz refresh rate, which is supported by adaptive-sync for variable refresh rates including AMD FreeSync 2. This brings with it verified performance levels for FreeSync VRR, including Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) and HDR support. Speaking of HDR, the screen is certified to the VESA DisplayHDR 1000 level. This means it has local dimming support for improving the dynamic range (edge lit as opposed to FALD though - but better than nothing), 1000 cd/m2 peak brightness levels, a wide colour gamut covering >90% DCI-P3 and 10-bit colour depth  support. Let's see how the screen performs.

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Specifications and Features

The following table gives detailed information about the specs of the screen as advertised:

Monitor Specifications

Size

49" (accurately 48.8")

Panel Coating

Light AG coating

Aspect Ratio

32:9 curved 1800R

Interfaces

2x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0
1x Headphone output
1x Mic in, 1x Mic out
2x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0

Resolution

5120 x 1440

Pixel Pitch

0.2331mm

Design colour

Matte black bezels and arm. Dark silver stand foot

Response Time

4ms G2G

Ergonomics

Tilt, 120mm height, swivel

Static Contrast Ratio

3000:1

Dynamic Contrast Ratio

'Mega DCR'

VESA Compatible

Yes 100 x 100 mm

Brightness

600 cd/m2
1000 cd/m2 (peak)

Accessories

DisplayPort, HDMI, USB and power cables

Viewing Angles

178 / 178

Panel Technology

Samsung SVA (VA-type)

Weight

with stand: 14.60 Kg

Backlight Technology

QLED (with Quantum Dot)

Physical Dimensions (WxHxD)

1199.5 x 523.1 x 349.7 mm

Colour Depth

1.07 billion (8-bit+FRC)

Refresh Rate

120Hz
48 - 120Hz VRR range max with LFC

Special Features

AMD FreeSync 2, factory calibration, VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certified with edge lit local dimming, PbP modes

Colour Gamut

Wide gamut
125% sRGB, 95% DCI-P3, 92% Adobe RGB, 88% NTSC

The CRG9 offers a reasonable range of modern connectivity with 2x DisplayPort 1.4 and 1 x HDMI 2.0 offered for video connections. These are located on the back of the screen along with 4x downstream USB ports and some headphone and mic connections. For PC connectivity the DisplayPort is the most common option, with HDMI being available then for connecting external games consoles or Blu-ray players potentially. The screen has an internal power supply and comes packaged with the power cable that you need.

Below is a summary of the features and connections of the screen.

Feature

Yes / No

Feature

Yes / No

Tilt adjust

DVI

Height adjust

HDMI

Swivel adjust

USB type-C

Rotate adjust

DisplayPort

VESA compliant

Component

USB 2.0 Ports

Audio connection

USB 3.0 Ports

HDCP Support

Card Reader

Integrated Speakers

Ambient Light Sensor

PiP / PbP

Human Motion Sensor

Blur Reduction Mode

Touch Screen

NVIDIA G-Sync (native)

Factory calibration

AMD FreeSync

Hardware calibration

G-sync Compatible Certified

Uniformity correction

Meaningful HDR



Design and Ergonomics

  
Above: front view of the screen. Click for larger version

The CRG9 comes in a black and dark silver design. There is a 3-side "borderless" panel used with a thin 2mm plastic edge around the sides and top, with an additional 8mm black panel border before the image starts. The bottom has a traditional thicker plastic bezel measuring 16mm. There is also a 2.5mm black panel border along this bottom edge. The stand is finished in a dark silver plastic and provides a wide foot to support the ultrawide panel.


 Above: rear view of the screen. Click for larger version

The back of the screen is encased in a matte black plastic for a simple and smooth design. The stand has to be manually attached and screwed in, before being covered with a circular plastic section. Where the stand attaches at the back there is a circular lighting feature which glows a nice pale blue if you activate it from the OSD menu. There is also a removable plastic back panel section (attached in above photo) which can help hide the connectors if you want.

The arm for the stand has a cable tidy hole in the back. The base provides a fairly strong and sturdy base for the screen and is also not too deep although given the very wide format of the panel there is some wobble to the screen still when you move it around or tap it. The OSD controls are located on the bottom edge of the screen about half way from the centre towards the right hand edge. There are 3 quick access buttons to the 'game' preset modes, and then a single joystick control to navigate and control the main OSD.


 Above: top down view of the screen. Click for larger version


 Above: side view of the screen. Click for larger version

The screen has quite a deep side profile because of the stand and curved screen format as you can see above. All the connections are on the back of the screen so not particularly easy to access.

The stand offers a good range of ergonomic adjustments. Tilt provides a pretty wide range of adjustment and is smooth and easy to operate. Height is also smooth but a little stiff, and provides a wide adjustment range as well, although perhaps not as much adjustment at the top end as some may like. At the lowest setting the bottom edge of the screen is 45mm from the desk, and at maximum extension it's 170mm. This provides a decent 125mm adjustment range for the height adjustment. At the maximum height it still sits fairly low down though which may be a little limiting depending on your height and viewing position.

Side to side swivel is smooth and easy to move. A rotation function is not available given the ultrawide format. As we said earlier, there is a fair amount of wobble to the screen when you reposition it or knock it given the ultrawide format. On the whole though the stand is pretty sturdy and solidly designed.

A summary of the ergonomic adjustments are shown below:

Function

Range

Smoothness

Ease of Use

Tilt

Yes

Smooth

Easy

Height

125mm

Smooth

A little stiff

Swivel

Yes

Smooth

Easy

Rotate

n/a

-

-

Overall

Good range of adjustments and all pretty easy and smooth to move. Screen is a bit wobbly due to massive size

The materials were of a good standard and the build quality felt decent enough. There was no audible noise from the screen, even when conducting specific tests which can often identify buzzing issues. The whole screen remained cool even during prolonged use.

The OSD is controlled through a single joystick controller on the bottom edge of the screen. There is quick access from the joystick by pressing it in one of the directions, with brightness/contrast/sharpness available when pressing it 'up' (away from you), volume when pressing it left/right, and turning the ECO mode off/on by pressing it 'down' (towards you). Once in the main OSD menu it is split in to 5 sections down the left hand side, with available options shown in the middle column, and some help guidance shown on the right when you are on a selection. There's a very wide range of options and settings to play around with in this menu. Navigation was quick, easy and intuitive thanks to the joystick control.



Power Consumption

State and Brightness Setting

Manufacturer Spec (W)

Measured Power Usage (W)

Default (100%)

100.0

92.5

Calibrated (15%)

-

43.2

Maximum Brightness (100%)

-

92.5

Minimum Brightness (0%)

-

31.2

Standby

<0.5

0.8

We have plotted these results below compared with other screens we have tested. The consumption (comparing the calibrated states) is comparable to the other 34"+ sized screens we've tested as you might expect. The larger screens tend to have additional power usage.



Panel and Backlighting

Panel

Backlight

Panel Manufacturer

Samsung

Backlighting Type

W-LED + Quantum Dot

Panel Technology

SVA (VA-type)

Colour space

Wide gamut

Panel Part

LSM490YP02

sRGB coverage spec

125%

Screen Coating

Light anti-glare

DCI-P3 spec

95%

Colour Palette

1.07 billion

Adobe RGB coverage spec

92%

Colour depth

8-bit + FRC

Flicker free verified

We verified that the backlight is dimmed using a direct current (DC) method as opposed to PWM, and so is flicker free as advertised. We did notice that at settings of 30% and below a low amplitude oscillation appears which would account for the slightly steeper adjustment curve we see in the following section of the review. It is not a full off/on  PWM though and should not produce any visible flicker or issues. We mention it for completeness.

Backlight dimming example at 50% brightness setting

Backlight dimming at 10% brightness setting

 


Brightness and Contrast

This section tests the full range of luminance (the brightness of the screen) possible from the backlight, while changing the monitors brightness setting in the OSD menu. This allows us to measure the maximum and minimum adjustment ranges, as well as identify the recommended setting to reach a target of 120 cd/m2 for comfortable day to day use in normal lighting conditions. Some users have specific requirements for a very bright display, while others like a much darker display for night time viewing or in low ambient light conditions. At each brightness level we also measure the contrast ratio produced by the screen when comparing a small white sample vs. a black sample (not unrealistic full screen white vs. full screen black tests). The contrast ratio should remain stable across the adjustment range so we also check that.

Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these measurements, and so luminance at default settings may vary a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report you will see in other sections of the review.

OSD Brightness

Luminance
(cd/m2)

Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)

100

515.47

0.20

2577

90

472.88

0.18

2627

80

429.12

0.16

2682

70

387.47

0.15

2583

60

348.16

0.13

2678

50

302.88

0.11

2753

40

257.39

0.10

2574

30

219.47

0.08

2743

20

158.87

0.06

2648

10

100.14

0.04

2504

0

40.24

<0.02

---

 

Total Luminance Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

475

Brightness OSD setting controls backlight

Total Black Point Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

>0.18

Average Static Contrast Ratio

2637:1

PWM Free

Recommended OSD setting for 120 cd/m2

13

Before conducting these tests we turned off the 'local dimming' and 'ECO Smart' options in the OSD which could impact measurements here. Apart from that the measurements were taken at default settings, but note that brightness levels do seem to vary depending on the preset mode used. These were from the default 'custom' mode.

At the full brightness setting in the OSD the maximum luminance reached a very high 515 cd/m2 which was a fair bit lower than the 600 cd/m2 'typical brightness' spec from the manufacturer although some of the other preset modes may reach higher if needed. There was a very good 475 cd/m2 adjustment range in total, so at the minimum setting you could reach down to a luminance of 40 cd/m2. This offers a low luminance for working in darkened room conditions with low ambient light. A setting of 13 in the OSD menu should return you a luminance of around 120 cd/m2 at default settings. It should be noted that the brightness regulation is controlled without the need for Pulse Width Modulation for all brightness settings so the screen is flicker free.

     

We have plotted the luminance trend on the graph above. The screen behaves as it should in this regard, with a reduction in the luminance output of the screen controlled by the reduction in the OSD brightness setting. This is a linear relationship for settings between 100 and 30, and then has a slightly steeper adjustment curve from 30 - 0.

The average contrast ratio of the screen was measured at 2637:1 out of the box which was strong thanks to the VA technology panel. This was a little lower than the specified 3000:1 typical contrast ratio though but still a strength of this panel technology.

 


Testing Methodology

 

An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user.

We restored our graphics card to default settings and disabled any previously active ICC profiles and gamma corrections. The screen was tested at default factory settings using our new X-rite i1 Pro 2 Spectrophotometer combined with LaCie's Blue Eye Pro software suite. An X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro 2 spectrophotometer is less reliable at the darker end.

Targets for these tests are as follows:

  • CIE Diagram - confirms the colour space covered by the monitors backlighting in a 2D view, with the black triangle representing the displays gamut, and other reference colour spaces shown for comparison. Usually shown as a comparison against the common sRGB space

  • Colour space coverage volumes - we also measure using a piece of software called ChromaPure the colour space (gamut) volumes produced by the backlight in comparison to the sRGB, DCI-P3 and Rec.2020 colour spaces. sRGB is the most commonly used colour space so it is important to have a decent coverage from the screen here. If the colour space is >100% sRGB then the screen can produce a wider colour gamut, often reaching further in to the wider gamut DCI-P3 (commonly used for HDR) and Rec.2020 reference spaces.

  • Gamma - we aim for 2.2 which is the default for computer monitors

  • Colour temperature / white point - we aim for 6500k which is the temperature of daylight

  • Luminance - we aim for 120 cd/m2, which is the recommended luminance for LCD monitors in normal lighting conditions

  • Black depth - we aim for as low as possible to maximise shadow detail and to offer us the best contrast ratio

  • Contrast ratio (static) - we aim for as high as possible. Any dynamic contrast ratio controls are turned off here if present

  • dE average / maximum - we aim for as low as possible. If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer. If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable. If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.



Default Performance and Setup

The screen doesn't come with any factory calibration report in the box, but it does have a similar report built in to the OSD menu as you can see below. This is accessible via the picture > calibration report section and confirms that the screen should be factory calibrated to 2.2 gamma within 10% (our unit supposedly achieving 2.14), and with a fairly lose requirement of dE < 5 (ours supposedly offering dE max of 2.59). We will test that ourselves in this section. We quite liked this approach to providing the calibration report in the OSD menu, rather than on a piece of paper you will probably lose. Nice idea from Samsung.

 

Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Samsung C49RG90
Default Settings

    

 


Monitor OSD Settings

 

Preset Picture mode

Custom

Brightness

100

Contrast

75

Gamma

Mode 1

Color Tone

Normal

RGB

50, 50, 50

Luminance Measurements

 

luminance (cd/m2)

529

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.21

Contrast Ratio

2577:1

Colour Space Measurements

 

sRGB coverage

124.6%

DCI-P3 coverage

91.9%

Rec.2020 coverage

65.9%


 

Before conducting these tests we turned off the 'local dimming' and 'ECO Smart' options in the OSD which could impact measurements here. Initially out of the box the screen was set in the 'Custom' Picture Mode preset. The display was set with a very bright 100% brightness which was uncomfortable to use for long periods. You will want to turn that down as with most screens. The colour balance and whites felt a bit warm and you could tell that the screen was offering a wide colour gamut, with colours looking more vivid and saturated than typical sRGB screens. We went ahead and measured the default state with the i1 Pro 2.

The CIE diagram on the left of the image confirms that the monitors colour gamut (black triangle) extends a little fair beyond the sRGB reference space (orange triangle), mostly in green shades. We measured using ChromaPure software a 124.6% sRGB gamut volume coverage which corresponds to 91.9% of the DCI-P3 reference and 65.9% of the Rec.2020 reference. This is in line with the specified 125% sRGB coverage from the manufacturer, although this is slightly lower than the advertised 95% DCI-P3 gamut.

Default gamma was recorded at 2.3 average with a minor 3% deviance from the target which was pleasing and close to the target. Although according to our measurements this was a little higher than 2.2, and not a little lower like the factory calibration OSD section suggested.

Key Quick Information Box

  • Decent enough default setup thanks to factory calibration, although a little too warm for white point

  • Wide gamut covering 125% sRGB colour space

  • sRGB emulation mode available although not that accurate

  • Strong static contrast ratio thanks to VA panel technology

There are three gamma modes in the menu which we measured for completeness. Mode 2 delivered average gamma of 2.0 while mode 3 delivered 2.4. This gives you some flexibility if you want something different perhaps for gaming although for our tests here we will stick with the default mode 1.

White point was measured at 5864k, being a bit too warm (10% deviance) even though the colour tone was set to 'normal'. We did also measure the other modes and found that cool 1 = 7155k, cool 2 = 8147k, warm 1 = 4919k and warm 2 = 4738k. The 'custom' mode is the same as the 'normal' mode which we would have liked to have been closer to the 6500k target really. You can adjust the RGB levels though in this custom mode which should allow easy correction of the white point anyway.

Luminance at the default 100% brightness level was recorded at a very bright 529 cd/m2 which is far too high for prolonged general use, you will need to turn that down. The black depth was 0.21 cd/m2 at this default brightness setting, giving us a strong static contrast ratio thanks to the VA-type panel of 2577:1. Colour accuracy measurements should be ignored here as they are comparing the produced wider gamut display colours against an sRGB reference which will always lead to errors. It's not clear what the dE measurement reference was for the factory calibration menu. When testing the screen with colour gradients there were mostly smooth transitions and no sign of any banding but some gradation in darker tones.

 


sRGB Emulation Mode

Samsung C49RG90
Default Settings, sRGB mode

 

 


Monitor OSD Settings

 

Preset Picture mode

sRGB

Brightness

100

Contrast

n/a

Gamma

n/a

Color Tone

n/a

RGB

n/a

Luminance Measurements

 

luminance (cd/m2)

706

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.27

Contrast Ratio

2661:1

Colour Space Measurements

 

sRGB coverage

115.2%

DCI-P3 coverage

84.9%

Rec.2020 coverage

60.9%


For those who perhaps don't want to use the full native gamut of the screen, Samsung offer an sRGB preset mode which helps reduce the colour space somewhat. The sRGB mode locks many of the OSD settings, although thankfully you still have control to change the backlight brightness level. This mode offers a moderate emulation of the smaller sRGB colour space, and you can see the gamut triangle more closely matches the sRGB reference in the CIE diagram above. There is still some reasonable over-coverage and we measured a 115.2% sRGB now. This had reduced some of the green over-coverage we'd seen before and the image looked more like a standard sRGB gamut. We don't expect the small over-coverage in this mode to present any real problems in practice, so it's useful to see the emulation mode available.

Gamma remained as before at 2.3 average with only a minor 2% deviance overall. White point was at a similar deviance from our target 6500k in this mode, measured at 5914k and being 9% out from our target. The colour accuracy was not very good, with an average dE of 3.0 recorded and max of 9.0. We would have liked to have seen a tighter emulation of the sRGB colour space (closer to 100% coverage) and improved dE to offer better accuracy ideally.



Optimal Settings Pre-Calibration

In a new section we hope to include in future reviews we also measured the screen after adjusting only the OSD controls, to obtain the optimal setup without a full calibration, and without the use of an ICC correction profile. This represents what could be achieved through just simple changes to the monitor itself, and also what you could expect when working with content outside of an ICC profile managed workflow. The early stages of our calibration software helped identity these optimal OSD settings.
 

Samsung C49RG90
Optimal Settings Pre-Calibration

 


Monitor OSD Settings

 

Preset Picture mode

Custom

Brightness

15

Contrast

75

Gamma

Mode 1

Color Tone

Custom

RGB

46, 47, 68

Luminance Measurements

 

luminance (cd/m2)

120

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.05

Contrast Ratio

2451:1

Colour Space Measurements

 

sRGB coverage

124.6%

DCI-P3 coverage

91.9%

Rec.2020 coverage

65.9%

We stuck with the 'custom' picture mode where the full gamut of the backlight was used. We could only really correct the white point and brightness here, and the dE readings should be ignored in the above report as they are comparing the wide gamut colours against an sRGB reference. Ignoring that, these optimal settings have helped correct the white point to approximately 6500k and reduce the brightness to a more comfortable level. The contrast ratio as dropped a little by about 120:1 to correct that white point, but still remains strong thanks to the VA panel at 2451:1. Further calibration and profiling below will help improve things even further.

 


Calibration

We used the X-rite i1 Pro 2 Spectrophotometer combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package to achieve these results and reports. An X-rite i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter was used to validate the black depth and contrast ratios due to lower end limitations of the i1 Pro device.

Samsung C49RG90
Calibrated Settings

 


Monitor OSD Settings

 

Preset Picture mode

Custom

Brightness

15

Contrast

75

Gamma

Mode 1

Color Tone

Custom

RGB

46, 47, 68

Luminance Measurements

 

luminance (cd/m2)

119

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.05

Contrast Ratio

2432:1

Colour Space Measurements

 

sRGB coverage

124.6%

DCI-P3 coverage

91.9%

Rec.2020 coverage

65.9%

The OSD settings were adjusted as shown in the table above, as guided during the calibration process and measurements. These OSD changes allowed us to obtain an optimal hardware starting point and setup before software level changes would be made at the graphics card level. We left the  LaCie software to calibrate to "max" brightness which would just retain the luminance of whatever brightness we'd set the screen to, and would not in any way try and alter the luminance at the graphics card level, which can reduce contrast ratio. These adjustments before profiling the screen would help preserve tonal values and limit banding issues. After this we let the software carry out the LUT adjustments and create an ICC profile.

The accurate gamma from the above optimal OSD settings of 2.2 was maintained here and it corrected the curve in lighter shades, leaving overall only a minor 1% deviance average. The white point was also now corrected to 6503k which was great news. The brightness control adjustment had reduced the luminance to a comfortable level now, and the screen maintained a strong static contrast ratio of 2432:1 thanks to the VA-type panel. Colour accuracy of the resulting profile was excellent, with dE average of 0.6 and maximum of 1.1. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be very good overall. Gradients remained mostly smooth with a little bit of banding introduced in the darkest shades.

You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database. Keep in mind that results will vary from one screen to another and from one computer / graphics card to another.



Setup Comparisons

The comparisons made in this section try to give you a better view of how each screen performs, particularly out of the box which is what is going to matter to most consumers. We have divided the table up by panel technology as well to make it easier to compare similar models. When comparing the default factory settings for each monitor it is important to take into account several measurement areas - gamma, white point and colour accuracy. There's no point having a low dE colour accuracy figure if the gamma curve is way off for instance. A good factory calibration requires all 3 to be well set up. We have deliberately not included luminance in this comparison since this is normally far too high by default on every screen. However, that is very easily controlled through the brightness setting (on most screens) and should not impact the other areas being measured anyway. It is easy enough to obtain a suitable luminance for your working conditions and individual preferences, but a reliable factory setup in gamma, white point and colour accuracy is important and some (gamma especially) are not as easy to change accurately without a calibration tool.

From these comparisons we can also compare the calibrated colour accuracy, black depth and contrast ratio. After a calibration the gamma, white point and luminance should all be at their desired targets.


Default setup of the screen out of the box was pretty decent overall. There was a reliable gamma which was great news as this is often the hardest thing to correct without a calibration device. There was a strong default contrast ratio thanks to the VA panel too as you might expect. White point was a little too warm, but easy to correct through some simple RGB control changes. Overall a decent performance considering it's a gaming screen and these are often set up with much less accurate options.
 

The contrast ratio was strong thanks to the VA technology panel and was measured at 2432:1 after calibration. This was higher than competing IPS and TN Film technology panels which typically deliver around 850 - 1100:1.

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Viewing Angles


Above: Viewing angles shown from front and side, and  from above and below. Click for larger version

Viewing angles of the screen were good overall, and a little better than some other modern VA panels we've tested. From a moderately wide side angle the image would become washed out and pale in appearance as you can see, getting more pronounced the wider that angle was. Vertically the washout was a little more noticeable but not terrible.

The CRG9 has a Samsung VA panel and this had a bit better viewing angles than recent models featuring AU Optronics AMVA panels like the Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ and Asus ROG Strix XG438Q for instance, with a little less colour and gamma shift. The CRG9 was quite comparable to the Lenovo Legion Y44w-10 we tested recently, which also featured a Samsung VA panel. It appears that the viewing angles of Samsung VA panels are a little better than competing AU Optronics VA equivalents in general.

These strong viewing angles were very beneficial on a screen as large and as wide as this, helping to minimise unwanted colour and gamma shift as you look towards the edges of the screen, which are quite a long way away from your central viewing position. The screen is very, very wide so there is still some change but it's not too bad. The curve of the screen was also useful in this area, again given the very wide field of vision. The colour tone and gamma shifts were still a bit more noticeable than IPS-type panels though.

Users should also be aware that the panel exhibits the off-centre contrast shift which is inherent to the VA pixel structure. When viewing a very dark grey font for example on a black background, the font almost disappears when viewed head on, but gets lighter as you move slightly to the side. This is an extreme case of course as this is a very dark grey tone we are testing with. Lighter greys and other colours will appear a little darker from head on than they will from a side angle, but you may well find you lose some detail as a result. This can be particularly problematic in dark images and where grey tone is important. It is this issue that has led to many graphics professionals and colour enthusiasts choosing IPS panels instead, and the manufacturers have been quick to incorporate this alternative panel technology in their screens. We would like to make a point that for many people this won't be an issue at all, and many may not even notice it. Remember, many people are perfectly happy with their TN Film panels and other VA based screens. Just something to be wary of if you are affected by this issue or are doing colour critical work.


Above: View of an all black screen from the sides. Click for larger version

On a black image from a side view there is very little glow from the panel, and the deep blacks and strong contrast ratio are still evident. You don't get the same pale/white glow that IPS-type panels exhibit (example recently tested Asus TUF Gaming VG27AQ with IPS-type panel) which is a big plus for this panel technology, especially if you want to use the screen for night time gaming or movies in a darker room. There are some slight uniformity problems on this sample when viewed in this way, which is something we'd seen on other recent VA panels too including the very expensive ROG Swift PG35VQ. You can see some areas of backlight glow and blotchiness on this kind of test at the top and bottom. Again these results were pretty similar to the recently tested Lenovo Legion Y44w-10 which has a 43.4" ultrawide Samsung VA panel.



Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance were taken at 36 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements for luminance were taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter with a central point on the screen calibrated to 120 cd/m2. The below uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the measurement recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the central reference point.

It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample screen we have for review.


Uniformity of Luminance

Note that these measurements were taken with Local Dimming turned OFF. Luminance uniformity of the screen was good on our sample, with 89% of the screen within a 10% deviance of the centrally calibrated area. Along the left hand edge and upper middle region the screen was a little darker and there was a modest drop in luminance down to 104 cd/m2 in the most extreme case (-15%), but nothing too severe.


Backlight Leakage


Above: All black screen in a darkened room. Click for larger version

We also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room. A camera was used to capture the result. There was some clouding and leakage from the corners, most noticeably in the bottom right. This was very hard to see during normal usage though from a normal viewing position but became a little more noticeable from a wider viewing angle when viewing darker content.

Note: if you want to test your own screen for backlight bleed and uniformity problems at any point you need to ensure you have suitable testing conditions. Set the monitor to a sensible day to day brightness level, preferably as close to 120 cd/m2 as you can get it (our tests are once the screen is calibrated to this luminance). Don't just take a photo at the default brightness which is almost always far too high and not a realistic usage condition. You need to take the photo from about 1.5 - 2m back to avoid capturing viewing angle characteristics, especially on IPS-type panels where off-angle glow can come in to play easily. Photos should be taken in a darkened room at a shutter speed which captures what you see reliably and doesn't over-expose the image. A shutter speed of 1/8 second will probably be suitable for this.



General and Office Applications

One of the key selling points of this screen, and something which separates it from most other displays on the market is its resolution and screen size. There's a few screens with this same 49" ultrawide format and 32:9 aspect ratio, but most of them are limited to a 3840 x 1080 resolution. The CRG9 improves on that significantly with a 5120 x 1440 resolution. Those other models that do offer the higher resolution are normally limited to 60Hz refresh rate though so they are not as suited to gaming as this Samsung model.

The resolution used here is the equivalent of having two 27" displays each with 2560 x 1440 Quad HD resolution joined together in the middle (but without any border). The other 3840 x 1080 models for reference are like having two 27" models with 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution joined together. So what the CRG9 gives you then is a  MASSIVE screen area to work with for office and general applications, it truly is huge! It has the exact same pixel pitch as a 27" 1440p model, and so text is of a familiar size, delivering a sharp and crisp image but without the need to use any software or operating system scaling. It's a big improvement over 1080p resolution alternatives and gives you a much larger desktop area to work with. Split screen working is really very versatile, and you can comfortable have 4 windows side by side for instance.

The curved screen format helps bring the edges a bit closer to you and is definitely a preferred option over flat screens when they reach this kind of ultrawide size. It could even have done with being a bit more curved than the 1800R we felt as the screen is so wide. The light AG coating of the VA technology panel is certainly welcome, and avoids any graininess. The pretty wide viewing angles provided by this panel technology on both horizontal and vertical planes, helps minimize on-screen colour shift when viewed from different angles.

The out of the box setup was good for these kind of uses too, with a reliable gamma and decent contrast ratio. The white point needs some minor correction but that's easy to do. There's a useable sRGB emulation mode option if you want to specifically work in that colour space as well which is very useful. The brightness range of the screen was very good, with the ability to offer a luminance between 515 and 40 cd/m2. This gives you flexibility even in darker room conditions and low ambient light conditions. A setting of 13 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2 out of the box. The brightness regulation is controlled via a flicker free backlight, without the need for Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), and so those who suffer from eye fatigue or headaches associated with flickering backlights need not worry. There was no audible noise from the screen, even when conducting specific tests which can sometimes cause issues.


Spectral distribution graph showing calibrated mode at 6500k


Spectral distribution graph with Eye Saver Mode turned ON

There are no specific blue light filter settings on this screen. There is a setting in the 'picture' menu called 'Eye Saver mode' which is a simple on off. That just made the image look more yellow and very washed out and dull, to the point where we didn't want to use it really. It does help reduce the blue spectral output as you can see from the above distribution graphs, but it wasn't a pleasant mode to use.

Picture by Picture (PbP) is supported to allow for dual inputs on this display, although there are no options for Picture In Picture (PiP) available. This allows you to run 2x 16:9 inputs or a 21:9 ultrawide + 11:9 combination if you'd rather. You can use any combination of the DisplayPort 1, DisplayPort 2 and HDMI inputs for this which gives you quite a bit of flexibility. The maximum refresh rate supported in PbP mode is 100Hz, but both inputs need to support this refresh rate otherwise both will drop down to 60Hz. FreeSync and HDR modes are also not available in PbP mode, this is more for general/office/day to day uses.

There are 4x USB ports provided on this screen which is always useful. They are located on the back with the video connections. There are also no other extras like ambient light sensors, motion sensors or card readers on this screen which are sometimes useful for office-type uses. There is a decent range of ergonomic adjustments from the stand with tilt, height and swivel offered. Height is a little stiff to operate but on the whole, moving the screen around is fine. The stand is pretty wobbly though when you move the display around because of the very large, wide screen size. There is also VESA 100mm mounting capabilities for those who want to mount the screen instead.


 
Responsiveness and Gaming

Panel Manufacturer and Technology

Samsung SVA (VA-type)

Panel Part

LSM490YP02

Quoted G2G Response Time

4ms G2G

Quoted MPRT Response Time

n/a

Overdrive Used

Overdrive Control Available Via OSD Setting

Response Time

Overdrive OSD Settings

Standard, Faster, Fastest
(not available when FreeSync is enabled)

Maximum Refresh Rate

120Hz (DisplayPort)

60Hz (HDMI at native res)
120Hz (HDMI at 3840 x 1080 and lower)

Variable Refresh Rate technology

AMD FreeSync 2 certified
NVIDIA G-sync support

Variable Refresh Rate Range

48 - 120Hz (Ultimate engine mode)
70 - 120Hz (Standard engine mode)
FRC support for lower refresh rates

Motion Blur Reduction Backlight

The screen uses overdrive technology to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes as with nearly all modern displays. The part being used is a Samsung LSM490YP02 SVA (VA-type) technology panel. Have a read about response time in our specs section if you need additional information about this measurement.

We use an ETC M526 oscilloscope for these measurements along with a custom photosensor device. Have a read of our response time measurement article for a full explanation of the testing methodology and reported data.

 


Firmware Updates

Note that we made sure that the firmware for the screen was the latest version (v1004 at the time of writing, updated 1 August 2019). If you want to check or update your CRG9 then this thread on Reddit is useful. We found that formatting our USB stick to NTFS worked the best by the way. Samsung don't provide a change log for these updates so it's hard to know if anything significant has been changed, but it's useful to have an easy user-updatable firmware feature on the display. We would like to see that included more from other manufacturers in the future.

 


Response Times and Refresh Rate

There's various things you need to consider when it comes to response times and gaming, particularly on a display with high refresh rate support. Gaming screens invariably give you a control for the overdrive impulse in the OSD menu which can help you tweak things, but response time performance and overshoot levels can vary depending on the active refresh rate. This behaviour is often different depending on whether the screen is a traditional Native G-sync screens (with hardware module) or whether it's an adaptive-sync screen (FreeSync and G-sync support), and not all screens behave in the same way. We always try to test each variable in our reviews but the key considerations you need to make are:

  1. Performance at 60Hz - this is important if you want to use an external games console (or other device like a Blu-ray player etc) which typically run at 60Hz. Response time performance may well be different than at the higher refresh rates supported, and you may need a different overdrive setting for optimal experience.
     

  2. Performance during VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) - bearing in mind that the refresh rate will fluctuate anywhere from 1Hz up to the maximum supported by the screen (e.g. 1 - 144Hz on a 144Hz display). It's important to understand if the response times and overshoot will vary as the refresh rate changes. There may be a need to switch between different overdrive settings in some cases, depending on your usually attained refresh rate output and graphics card capability. This can sometimes become fiddly if your refresh rates fluctuate a lot, especially between different games, so it's always easier if you can leave a display on a single overdrive setting which is suited to the whole range. Some screens also feature "variable overdrive" which helps control the response times and overshoot depending on the active refresh rate. This is particularly apparent with traditional G-sync module screens.
     

  3. Performance at fixed refresh rates including maximum - this is important for those who have a powerful enough system to consistently output a frame rate to meet the max refresh rate capability of the screen. They may want to run at max refresh rate without VRR active, or even is VRR is active they may know they will be consistently at the upper end of the range. Many gaming screens show their optimal response time performance at the maximum refresh rate. Knowing the performance at high fixed refresh rates may also be applicable if you want to use any added blur reduction backlight which typically operate at a fixed refresh rate.
     

  4. Whether the response times can keep up with the frame rate - you will also want to consider whether the response times of the panel can consistently keep up with the frame rate. For instance a 144Hz screen sends a new frame to the display every 6.94ms, so the pixel response times need to ideally be consistently and reliably under this threshold. If they are too slow, it can lead to added blurring in practice and sometimes make the higher refresh rates unusable in real life. We consider this in our analysis.
     

 

There is a Response Time setting in the OSD which controls the overdrive level. This is actually only available if you have FreeSync (adaptive-sync) turned OFF in the menu as well, otherwise it is greyed out and operates locked to the 'Standard' mode..

 

We carried out some initial response time measurements and visual tests in each of the overdrive settings, and at a range of refresh rates. There are 3 levels available - Standard, Faster and Fastest.

 

Key Quick Information Box

  • Minor differences between each of the three Response Time modes in practice

  • No overshoot in any mode

  • 120Hz refresh rate brings noticeable improvements in motion clarity compared to 60Hz

  • 'Fastest' mode provides optimal response times when not using VRR

  • Still some typical VA black smearing present

  • FreeSync / G-sync available for VRR but once enabled, the Response Time setting is locked to the 'standard' mode

120Hz Refresh Rate

 

We are going to start with 120Hz here which is the maximum refresh rate the screen can support to observe the behaviour of each of the Response Time modes. As a reminder, this setting is only available when you have FreeSync disabled completely, so for many people it will be the measurements a bit later that are important when you can use VRR FreeSync/G-sync for gaming.

 

Using visual tests you could see that there was actually very little difference in the 3 Response Time modes at 120Hz, they all looked very similar in practice. We measured some minor improvements in overall response times as the setting was increased down from 11.4ms > 11.0ms > 10.1ms total. All 3 settings failed to improve the typically slow black > grey transitions that affect nearly all VA technology panels, shown along the top row of the tables above. These ranged up to 35.1ms in the worst case and in practice this produced some typical VA "black smearing" on moving content. If we were to ignore those problematic black > grey transitions then the overall response times would go from 8.3ms > 7.8ms > 7.1ms which is a reasonable improvement. We didn't observe or measure any issues with overshoot in even the 'Fastest' mode at 120Hz so if you are not using FreeSync and have access to this control, the 'Fastest' mode seems to be optimal.

 

60Hz Refresh Rate

 

We also tested the 'Fastest' mode at 60Hz which would be applicable when using an external device like a games console. Response times were pretty much identical to the 120Hz mode at 9.7ms G2G average (7.1ms if we ignore the problematic black > grey transitions). There was still no overshoot at this refresh rate, and visually the 'Fastest' mode looked slightly better than the other two modes. There was again very little practical difference between each mode though. Overall it seems that the response times are kept consistent at all refresh rates here.

 


Variable Refresh Rates (VRR)

 

       

The screen natively supports AMD FreeSync for variable refresh rates between 48 and 120Hz using the 'Ultimate engine' setting or a more limited 70 - 120Hz using the 'Standard engine' setting. The 'Standard' mode is designed to give a more limited range if for any reason you experience any issues with artefacts, flicker or any other oddities in the Ultimate mode. That might vary from system to system and from game to game, so it's there just as a fall back which is handy. The screen is also certified under their newer FreeSync 2 scheme giving it an approved level of performance, and meaning that it has passed various validation criteria set out by AMD.

The screen can also support NVIDIA G-sync from compatible NVIDIA graphics cards, but it has not been officially certified under NVIDIA's recent 'G-sync Compatible' scheme. This means you can use it from NVIDIA graphics cards with variable refresh rates but without validated performance levels from those systems.

The support for FreeSync and G-sync will be very useful given the significant system demands of running a screen at 5120 x 1440 resolution and up to 120Hz refresh rate. It was of course very good to see it included here. You might also want to read our newly updated article about Variable Refresh Rates here.

Note that the OSD controls for the refresh rate control (discussed below), response time, low input lag setting, screen size and screen adjustment options are all disabled if FreeSync is turned on. We found that sometimes when enabling or disabling FreeSync in the OSD, the RGB output range in our graphics card control panel would change to 'limited' instead of 'full', leaving an image clarity impact to the fonts and colours. This was easily sorted via the graphics card control panel, but it was an odd, minor bug.

When you enable FreeSync from the OSD menu, the Response Time control is greyed out and unavailable. You can see from the small graphic icon at the top of the menu that it has been set to the lowest 'Standard' mode. The overall response times don't really change much between the 3 settings anyway we found, but this seemed an odd choice given the Fastest mode was a little faster, and still avoided any noticeable overshoot. It would have been better to leave the control available to change perhaps here, not that it really made much difference anyway.

 


Detailed Response Times

The response time performance of the CRG9 was thankfully simple, as you could comfortably stick with the 'Fastest' Response Time mode if you were not using FreeSync (disabled in OSD) we felt for all refresh rates, including for fixed 60Hz input sources. Of course to help handle the high resolution and refresh rate of this screen you will almost certainly want to enable FreeSync for VRR support for PC gaming which then locks the response time control anyway. This is set in the Standard mode which is slightly slower than the other modes, but not by anything major.

The higher refresh rates really help improve motion clarity and reduce perceived blur, making the screen far better for gaming than 60Hz-only models. The support for VRR from both AMD and NVIDIA systems was welcome as ever, particularly useful given the high demands of this resolution and refresh rate combination. The 'Ultimate Engine' mode for FreeSync will give you the wider VRR range of 48 - 120Hz (including LFC for lower frame rates) so as long as you don't experience any issues, we would recommend using that mode.

Recommended Settings

Optimal Refresh Rate 

120Hz

Optimal Overdrive Setting (for above) 

FreeSync ON (Response Time locked to Standard mode)

Optimal Overdrive Setting for 60Hz 

Fastest (if FreeSync disabled)

Optimal Overdrive Setting for VRR 

Locked at Standard

Optimal FreeSync Mode

Ultimate Engine (48 - 120Hz range)


     Detailed Measurements at optimal 120Hz, FreeSync Enabled (RT = Standard)

We carried out some further response time measurements at 120Hz and with FreeSync enabled. Given the high resolution of this screen you are almost certainly going to want to use VRR for gaming, so we will assume that this is the optimal setup. We know that response times are improved a little if you increase the overdrive up to the Fastest mode, but you can't do that while using FreeSync so you are stuck with the standard mode only. If you are using an external input at 60Hz which doesn't support FreeSync, then disable that from the OSD and you can get slightly improved response times then by switching to the Fastest mode.

The average response time was measured more accurately at 11.3ms G2G. There are the usual slow black > grey transitions that affect nearly all VA panels along the top row of the table, which in practice lead to some black smearing on moving content (see below for visual pursuit camera photos). If we were to ignore those few particularly slow transitions the average response times would be 9.5ms G2G which is a bit better. Some transitions are much faster, reaching down to an impressive 3.5ms in the best cases. However, many of the transitions are slower, in the range of 8 - 14ms and this is a bit of an issue. At 120Hz a new frame is sent to the screen every 8.33ms and the response times need to be consistently and reliably within this (or very close to it) to avoid additional smearing and blurring being visible on moving content. Unfortunately here only 40% of the measured transitions were within the refresh rate window, so you do get some added smearing. In practice it isn't terrible, and 120Hz still looks visually much better than 60Hz (where response times are within the refresh rate window) because of the increased frame rate and the way the human eye perceives motion blur on LCD displays. The higher refresh rate has a big impact on reducing motion blur, even though the response times are not as fast as they could be. At least there is zero overshoot though so you get no added halos or artefacts.

     Detailed Measurements at optimal 120Hz, FreeSync Disabled (RT = Fastest)

 

For reference if you disable FreeSync and switch up to the 'Fastest' Response Time mode the above results are obtained. The overall response times have improved a bit, down to 9.5ms G2G average, or 7.6ms G2G if we ignored the slow black > grey transitions. Now, 60% of all transitions are within the refresh rate window which is an improvement but still not ideal. In practice there is some minor observable improvement in motion clarity through slightly better response times but it's very slight.

Above is a pursuit camera photo of the screen running at the above settings. This is designed to capture the motion blur as you would perceive it with the naked eye. You can see some of the smearing on the black lines caused by the slow black > grey transitions typical to VA panel technology. Overall the motion clarity was much better though than typical 60Hz screens thanks to the increased 120Hz refresh rate.
 


Gaming Considerations

Like several other high end gaming screens the combination of a high resolution and high refresh rate really pushes the bandwidth capability of DisplayPort 1.4 here. As a result, you will need to turn down the colour settings to reach the full 120Hz refresh rate in games.

Up to 100Hz =
10-bit colour depth, full RGB, HDR

120Hz max =
8-bit colour depth, full RGB, HDR

Basically if you want to run at 120Hz you will need to change to 8-bit colour depth in your graphics card control panel. HDR is still supported and detected fine it seems, and you can still view HDR content at 120Hz and with an 8-bit colour depth. If you drop down to 100Hz or lower refresh rate, than you can use 10-bit colour depth instead, which is the recommended option for HDR content on this screen. Whether or not you will really see much difference between an 8-bit or 10-bit colour input is a bit questionable anyway. If you're using HDMI, 60Hz is your limit for 5120 x 1440 by the way regardless of 8-bit or 10-bit colour depth.

This screen has a fairly unusual aspect ratio and resolution so you need to consider its practical usage for your system and your games. You will need to keep in mind that running a screen at 5120 x 1440 @ 120Hz is going to be a pretty big drain on your system and graphics card, especially if you want to use higher game settings. Overall there are 921,600 fewer pixels than an Ultra HD '4K' display at 3840 x 2160, so you may be able to draw on some benchmarks for those kind of resolutions for a reasonable comparison here. The support for FreeSync/G-sync will help when frame rates drop of course so that's very useful to have. You can also drop down to the next lowest 3840 x 1080 resolution if you want to strain your graphics card and system less for gaming. The available sharpness control in the OSD may then help you tweak and improve the clarity of the scaled image a bit too.

The 49" ultrawide format and 32:9 aspect ratio is pretty unusual and so there may be many games which don't support this format natively. Some you may be able to patch or change in the configuration, but others will result in black borders being added to the sides. Where you can find a game that supports the screen fully, the super-wide field of view could be very beneficial and immersive. As a side note, some games may have restrictions on where things like stats/health ratings etc appear and if those are towards the side of the display that can sometimes become a bit of an issue on such a wide field of view. You can always switch to a narrower aspect ratio setting if you want to make the overall image less wide and bring those nearer to your central viewing position. For instance setting the screen to 3440 x 1440 would give you pixel perfect scaling, just with black borders down each side.

 


Gaming Comparisons

We have provided a comparison of the display against many other gaming screens we have reviewed in a similar size range and across a range of panel technologies. This table is now split by panel technology to make life a bit easier and for quicker comparison. We've used the results from the FreeSync ON tests here since that is the optimal setting for this screen for PC gaming.

Overall the response times of the CRG9 were a bit slower than many of the other VA panels we've tested, with some moderate (60%) levels of black smearing which we will compare a little more in a moment. There was at least zero overshoot which was very pleasing, and the 120Hz refresh rate brought about noticeable improvements in motion clarity compared with 60Hz. We would have liked to have seen the overdrive applied a bit more aggressively really to boost the response times further, even if some minor levels of overshoot started to appear. We would have also preferred user access to the overdrive control when using the FreeSync mode, as it seemed odd to not be able to select that yourself.

VA Technology Display Comparison

To try and give a more direct comparison between the different VA models we've tested we have produced the following new comparison table below. Each screen is set to the optimal response time setting and refresh rate from our reviews.

You can see that the CRG9 is fairly typical in its level of black smearing at 60%, sitting somewhere in the middle of the VA models we've tested to date. Thankfully it has no overshoot which is good news.
 

To explain the "black smearing" measurement above. The higher the black smearing level (as a %), the worse the screen is in this regard. The "Black smearing level" is determined by looking at the response times along the top row of our measurements which are those changing from black (0) to various grey shades (50, 100 and 150 levels) and white (255).

If we take the response time measurements from the CRG9 here at 120Hz there are 3 transitions which are particularly slow (anything above 15ms is considered too slow) and problematic so in this example 60% of the black transitions are slow here (3 out of 5). If a screen has 4 very slow transitions its black smearing level would be 80% and so on.



Additional Gaming Features

  • Aspect Ratio Control - the screen has various settings for hardware level aspect ratio control via the 'screen size' option. There are settings for auto, wide, 17" 4:3, 19" 4:3, 19" wide 16:10, 21.5" wide 16:9, 22" wide 16:10, 23" wide 16:9, 26" wide 16:9 and 29" wide 21:9 available. This gives you a wide range of possible configurations to support different inputs and sources. The auto mode should help cope with any non 32:9 input quite easily, although we would have perhaps liked to have seen a 1:1 pixel mapping mode included.

  • Preset Modes - There are a few different preset modes aimed at gaming that can be customised and used if you want. This includes modes for FPS, RTS, RPG and AOS. You can also save 3 'game modes' to the OSD menu which are then quickly and easily accessed via the buttons on the bottom of the screen.
     

  • Aim point - there are settings in the OSD for a familiar aim point graphics to be added to the screen with a variety of options to choose from.

 


Lag

Read our detailed article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. The screens tested are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests and half the average G2G response time, as measured by our oscilloscope. The response time element, part of the lag you can see, is split from the overall display lag and shown on the graph as the green bar. From there, the signal processing (red bar) can be provided as a good estimation of the lag you would feel from the display. We also classify each display as follows:

Lag Classification

  • Class 1) Less than 8.33ms - the equivalent to 1 frame lag of a display at 120Hz refresh rate - should be fine for gamers, even at high levels

  • Class 2) A lag of 8.33 - 16.66ms - the equivalent of one to two frames at a 120Hz refresh rate - moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming

  • Class 3) A lag of more than 16.66ms - the equivalent of more than 2 frames at a refresh rate of 120Hz - Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming

For the full reviews of the models compared here and the dates they were written (and when screens were approximately released to the market), please see our full reviews index.

(Measurements in ms)

60Hz

120Hz
OFF

120Hz
ON

Total Display Lag (SMTT 2)

20.70

14.80

4.70

Pixel Response Time Element

4.15

3.80

3.80

Estimated Signal Processing Lag

16.55

11.00

0.90

Lag Classification

2

2

1


 Class 1

The CRG9 features a 'Low input lag' setting in the OSD which can be enabled or disabled manually except in a couple of scenarios. It is not available when FreeSync is active or for 60Hz inputs. We measured the lag in each scenario for completeness.

At 60Hz the low input lag cannot be accessed and appears to be defaulted to OFF by the look of our measurements. We measured a pretty high 20.7ms total display lag. This was in the fastest response time mode, so if we assume around 4.15ms of that is accounted for by the pixel response times that leaves us with an estimated signal processing lag of a pretty high 16.55ms.

If you increase the refresh rate to 120Hz, this lag is reduced a bit down to 11ms signal process delay, with the low input lag mode turned OFF still. Thankfully if you then enable the low input lag mode there is a marked improvement in the display's lag overall. We now measured a total display lag of only 4.70ms. With pretty much all of that being accounted for by the pixel response times that means only ~0.9ms of signal processing lag which is very impressive. When you enable FreeSync the low input lag option is greyed out in the OSD, but from our measurements we saw the same very low lag as with FreeSync OFF (i.e. around 4.7ms total display lag). This is a very good result and makes the screen well suited to fast gaming from a PC, including when using VRR. It is a little less suited to external devices like games consoles when limited to only 60Hz though.



Movies and Video

The following summarises the screens performance for videos and movie viewing:

Category

Display Specs / Measurements

Comments

Size

49" super wide

Very large for a desktop monitor currently, although a more unusual format given it's very wide size

Aspect Ratio

32:9

A lot of content and devices might not be set up for this very wide format, and so you may end up with black bars down the right and left hand sides, particularly for common 16:9 input sources

Resolution

5120 x 1440

Can support native 1080p content but not Ultra HD 4K natively

HDCP

Yes

Suitable for encrypted content

Connectivity

2x DisplayPort 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0

Useful additional 1x HDMI input for external Blu-ray players or games consoles. Maybe would have been handy to have one more, rather than 2x DisplayPort

Cables

DisplayPort and HDMI

Both DisplayPort and HDMI provided which is useful

Ergonomics

Tilt, height. swivel

Good range of adjustments and all pretty easy and smooth to move. Screen is a bit wobbly due to massive size

Coating

Light Anti-glare

Provides clear, non-grainy image and avoids unwanted reflections of full glossy solutions

Brightness range

40 - 515 cd/m2 (SDR)

Good adjustment range offered including a fairly high peak brightness. Flicker free backlight operation with no PWM

Contrast

2432:1 after calibration

Very good VA contrast ratio which should still be great for dark content and HDR, and offering good shadow detail.

Preset modes

Cinema

There is a Cinema preset mode which by default is at max brightness (can be changed). It is a little cooler than our calibrated custom mode

Response times

9.5ms G2G, no overshoot at 120Hz (Fastest mode, FS off)

9.7ms G2G at 60Hz with no overshoot (Fastest mode, FS off)

Response times are reasonable but not great. There is at least no overshoot even in the fastest response time mode, but for higher refresh rates they are not really fast enough to keep up with the frame rate. 60Hz is probably more applicable for this section, and overall the response times were adequate for external devices and Blu-ray players. You will probably want to use the Fastest mode. Some typical VA black smearing on moving content is visible.

Viewing angles

Good

Not as wide as IPS, and fairly typical for a VA panel. Free from the pale "IPS-glow" on dark content when viewed from an angle that you see on IPS panels but do suffer from the black crush when viewed head on. May lose some detail in darker scenes as a result

Backlight bleed

No major bleed

Some slight clouding most noticeable in the corners on our sample but nothing major

Audio

Headphone output

No integrated speakers on this model but a headphone jack is provided

Aspect Ratio Controls

Auto, Wide and a range of specific screen sizes

Good options to account for non-16:9 format inputs via the "aspect" and "1:1" modes if needed although the native aspect of the screen is likely to be suitable for a lot of content

PiP / PbP

PbP supported

A range of Picture By Picture modes are supported, but not PiP

 


HDR (High Dynamic Range)

HDR Capability Summary

HDR Technical Capabilities

VESA DisplayHDR Certification level

HDR 1000

Local Dimming

10 zones edge lit

Certified to the HDR1000 level with some high end specs included. The local dimming is unfortunately pretty limited and so overall experience is impacted compared with more advanced HDR backlight options like FALD and certainly OLED.

Increased dynamic range (contrast)

>54,700:1

Increased peak brightness

 1094 cd/m2

Wide DCI-P3 colour gamut

91.9% measured

10-bit Colour Depth

8-bit + FRC

The screen can accept an HDR10 input signal and within the OSD it then indicates at the top right of the 'information' section of the OSD menu that HDR mode is enabled. The screen is certified under the VESA DisplayHDR 1000 scheme meaning that it meets their specific requirements of 1) supporting some form of local dimming, 2) having a wide DCI-P3 colour gamut >90%, 3) supporting a 10-bit colour depth and 4) being able to achieve a peak brightness in HDR mode of 1000 cd/m2+.

You need to be a bit careful though when comparing the HDR capabilities of this screen with other HDR 1000 certified displays (e.g. the Asus ROG Swift PG35VQ). While the CRG9 does conform to the required specs, the local dimming capabilities are pretty limited here. It has an edge lit local dimming backlight with 10 vertical zones only. This gives far less local dimming control than something like the PG35VQ which has a high end, and very expensive Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) backlight with 512 zones. The Local Dimming feature of the CRG9 can be turned on of off via the OSD menu as shown below, even in SDR content. If set to auto, it will then turn on when an HDR signal is detected.

We activated HDR mode and measured a peak brightness of 1094 cd/m2, which met the peak brightness spec of the screen quite easily. The monitor brightness control is set at 100% by default when you enable HDR but can actually be turned down if you need, although that will limit the peak brightness capability accordingly. We already know from our earlier tests that the Quantum Dot coated backlight offers a colour gamut with >90% DCI-P3 coverage so there is the added benefit of more vivid colours from this screen which is an important part of the HDR experience. The panel also supports a 10-bit colour depth which is good news.

The problem with the HDR support on this screen though is the very limited local dimming capabilities. The 10 vertical zones are very obvious in practice, and you can see each one light up as the content on the screen changes. Using simple local dimming tests like this one reveals rather obvious lighting up of each zone as the square/circle moves around. If sections of the screen are darker though, the local dimming does a good job of turning down the backlight to a very low level. Across the whole screen you can produce an "HDR contrast" ratio of over 54,700:1, with black points reaching below the 0.02 cd/m2 measurement limit of our i1 Display Pro Plus colorimeter. Unfortunately with the zones being so large you have very little control over smaller sections of brightness on the screen and in practice it leads to a lot of haloing and blooming too. Because the zones are large it also means that if you measure the contrast "locally" between a bright area and a dark area which are adjacent to one another, you only get the same kind of contrast as the default panel performance. It's only quite a bit further away from the bright sections where dark areas are dimmed significantly and so the localised perception of the contrast of the image doesn't improve much.

At least the panel has some form of local dimming unlike the vast number of HDR 400 displays out there which don't really offer any benefit for improving the dynamic range of the image. However for effective HDR experience you really need more zones than the 10 offered here, particularly on such a large screen. It may be of benefit to some users depending on your content, and also on your expectations of what HDR can offer you. If you've ever used an OLED TV we expect you will be very disappointed though due to the limited local dimming here. You can always turn the local dimming off if you find the blooming and halos problematic and at least the VA panel has a decent static contrast ratio, combined with the wide gamut and 10-bit colour depth.

 


Conclusion

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The sheer size of the Samsung CRG9 should not be under-estimated, even after a couple of weeks of usage it looks massive. For multi-tasking and split screen working it is a real joy to work with and is a fantastic alternative to using dual 27" screens. It was great to see the higher 5120 x 1440 resolution offered here, which is much better than the 3840 x 1080 alternatives out there. More room to work with and a much sharper and crisper image. It's the same thing as moving from a 1920 x 1080 resolution on a 27" model up to 2560 x 1440, so for office and general work it was excellent. The default setup and factory calibration was decent, and it was good to see both the native wide gamut and sRGB emulation modes available to accommodate different uses. The VA technology panel also provided a strong static contrast ratio and decent viewing angles which was positive.

There are a fair few other 49" ultrawide models out there but most either have a lower resolution (3840 x 1080) and high refresh rate, or offer the higher resolution (5120 x 1440) and only a 60Hz refresh rate. One of the great things about the Samsung CRG9 is that it supports both the high resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. This high refresh rate provides obvious improvements in motion clarity and improves gaming experience significantly. We would have liked to have seen the overdrive applied a bit more aggressively really to boost the response times further, even if some minor levels of overshoot started to appear. As it was, they were a little slower than we would have hoped but at least free from any overshoot issues. Being a VA panel it did suffer from the typical VA black smearing on moving content too. We would have also preferred user access to the overdrive control when using the FreeSync mode, as it seemed odd to not be able to select that yourself. The adaptive-sync support for VRR from both AMD and NVIDIA systems was of course very welcome though given the system demands of running this screen. Input lag was also very low which was great news.

The other area we wanted to finish up talking about was HDR. If you look at the spec on paper the VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification is impressive and implies a very high level of HDR capability. Yes, it can support peak brightness of >1000 cd/,2, it has a wide DCI-P3 gamut and 10-bit colour depth and it does also include some form of local dimming. Just don't expect too much from the HDR performance here as the local dimming capability is rather limited. It's probably as good as most current monitors for HDR without the use of more expensive FALD and Mini LED backlights, but the overall experience left a bit to be desired.

At the time of writing this review (dated at the top of the page) the Samsung CRG9/CRG90/C49RG90 (whatever you want to call it!) is available currently at a price of $1,890 from Amazon.com, 1,019.98 from Amazon UK or 1249.99 from Overclockers UK. It's well worth a look if you're after a super-wide screen with a high resolution and high refresh rate for a wide range of uses.

Pros

Cons

Massive screen size and resolution are great for office work, multi-tasking and as an alternative to dual screens

Response times not quite as fast as we would have hoped, a little slow for 120Hz operation

120Hz refresh rate for improved motion clarity and adaptive-sync support for gaming

HDR performance pretty mediocre due to the restrictive local dimming capabilities

Very low input lag

sRGB emulation mode could have been a bit more accurate

 

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TFT Central Awards Explained

We have two award classifications as part of our reviews. There's the top 'Recommended' award, where a monitor is excellent and highly recommended by us. There is also an 'Approved' award for a very good screen which may not be perfect, but is still a very good display. These awards won't be given out every time, but look out for the logo at the bottom of the conclusion. A list of monitors which have won our awards is available here.

 

 

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