The Samsung CHG90 is a very good VA-type HDR monitor with an impressively wide Double Full-HD Resolution. Its high native contrast makes its picture quality better than average, and its very wide color gamut allows it to display very vibrant HDR content properly. Its high refresh rate, low input lag, and FreeSync 2 support keep it very responsive for gaming. Its viewing angle is, however, quite narrow, and its odd size can be a bit impractical smaller desks.
The design of the Samsung C49HG90 is very impressive. The styling is very similar to Samsung TVs such as the MU7600, as well as the CHG70 monitor. The wide stand feels sturdy and supports the monitor well, but does also take up quite a bit of desk space. Cables can also route through the rear of the stand, which provides a clean look.
The Samsung C49HG90 monitor has more ergonomic adjustments than most wide monitors. There is some flexibility to adjust the viewing arrangement for the most comfortable experience.
The Samsung CHG90 gaming monitor has a better than average picture quality. Darkroom performance is decent, because of the great contrast ratio, even though its black uniformity is a bit sub-standard. When set in a brighter room, the good peak brightness and screen finish mean that the monitor can fight glare from a bright lamp or a sunny window and also deal reasonably well with reflection.
The monitor has poor viewing angle and unless you sit right in front of it, you will notice a change in picture quality for the worse as soon as you change your point of view. The gray uniformity is great and dirty screen effect is not noticeable. HDR is decent on this monitor, as the HDR peak brightness is not bad even though it could have been better if the local dimming was not that awful. Color accuracy is good though and the monitor covers well the P3 color space.
The monitor has a great native contrast ratio and this is mostly due to the VA panel used in its construction. With a contrast ratio of almost 4000:1, the monitor can really display deeper blacks, which is especially good when playing video games in a darker environment.
The monitor has a local dimming feature, but unfortunately, it is very basic and does not prove to be very effective, as when it is turned on, it can't really change the native contrast for the best, when displaying our checkerboard pattern.
The Samsung CHG90 , like its smaller sibling the CHG70, has a local dimming feature, but the overall performance is very bad. The implementation is almost the same as on the CHG70, but this time on a much larger screen, which means the dimming zones are larger and much more noticeable when they turn on and off. Looking at our test video (better viewed in the dark), you can see the zone turn on and off following the moving highlight and also you can notice that at some occasions, the small highlight get dim a little bit when near a transition between zone.
If you left the local dimming feature set to 'Auto', the feature is going to be turn off for all SDR content, and only turn on for HDR content, which can make the overall screen brighter and this seems to be a reasonable setting.
Very good SDR peak brightness. At around 300 nits on average, it will provide enough brightness to look good in most normal environments. While its local dimming setting allows it to reach short peaks of brightness, it also causes the brightness to fluctuate a little which can be distracting.
Passable HDR peak brightness. The Samsung CHG90 monitor can display small objects at fairly high levels of brightness but this is unfortunately not achievable while displaying normal content. At around 300 nits, it can still get quite bright, but it doesn't give enough room to reproduce HDR content as intended.
This monitor's horizontal viewing angle is bad. As is expected of a VA-type LCD monitor, the black level is raised when viewed off-axis. Colors and brightness take a steeper angle to deteriorate significantly, but the range for accuracy is quite limited.
Unfortunately, the Samsung CHG90's vertical viewing angle is subpar. It can be difficult to sit in a position centered enough to avoid shifting blacks at a standard viewing distance. The colors and brightness fare a bit better, however, as their viewing angle behaves similarly than on a horizontal axis.
The gray uniformity of the Samsung C49HG90 is very good, and overall, the screen is very smooth when looking at the 50% gray test picture, with only the side and corners being a bit darker. Dirty screen effect is not a problem on this monitor and besides a warmer band on the lower part of the screen, nothing is really noticeable when looking at some multimedia content.
When looking at the 5% gray test picture, the only thing that really stands out is the left side and right bottom corner that are a bit brighter than the rest of the screen, but this is really only noticeable on very uniform dark color and does not really show up otherwise.
The native black uniformity of the Samsung CHG90 is disappointing. When displaying a truly black image, like our test pattern, some backlight bleed is visible in some random patch. Even though the native black uniformity is not perfect, it is still one of the top performers in this category.
When the local dimming is turned on, depending on the image on the screen, the result will vary, as seen in our test picture. Since our test picture features a white cross in the middle to maintain the backlight on, only the upper and bottom zone are turned off by the local dimming, leaving the middle part with some blooming. In our case, it does hide some of the more problematic patches of backlight bleeding, but the final image is not very uniform, thus the high standard deviation number (worse uniformity). If the local dimming zones where smaller and more numerous, this result would certainly better.
Out of the box, the accuracy is good. The most accurate picture mode was the 'Custom' one, set on the 'Custom' Color Tone, and on the 'Mode2' Gamma' setting. Under those settings, the white balance and color dE hover around the 3.0mark, which for most people should be pretty good, unless you are a professional who already has other calibrated monitors. Looking in more details, we see that the color primary are a bit oversaturated and that the white balance has a bit redder (the color temperature is on the warm side). As for the gamma, it is not far from our 2.2 target, and looking at the curve, we see that there is a small bump in the darker IRE and an overall dip toward the brighter IRE, but even then it is not that dramatic, that it would cause some black crush on darker content.
Most of the other picture more available had a similar accuracy, with only the 'Cinema' picture mode having both white balance and color dE over 5.0.
After calibration, the accuracy of the Samsung CHG90 is excellent. Both the white balance and color dE were cut by more than half, and are now hovering just above the 1.0 mark, which is almost perfect for most people, even professional. The calibration was done on the same picture mode that the pre-calibration was done, the 'Custom' picture mode, but the 'Color Tone' was changed for the 'Custom' one since we needed to adjust the RGB balance. The 'Gamma' mode was also kept on the 'Mode2'.
Looking at the gamma value and curve, we can see that the curve does track more closely our target curve, and for the gamma value, we are now a bit closer to our 2.2. target. A small dip is still visible in the higher IRE (brighter), but this does not cause any issues overall.
As for the color temperature, we are still a bit on the warm side, as seen on the CIE colors space map, where the white point tends toward the red-yellow, but we are really not far from our 6500K and within our noticeable difference on 400K.
You can download our ICC profile calibration here.
Very good SDR color gamut. The monitor can reproduce the ubiquitous s.RGB gamut quite well, so it won't have issues displaying most content. While it doesn't offer a dedicated Adobe RGB mode, its very wide native gamut allows it to display more of it than most monitors.
Excellent SDR color volume. The Samsung CHG90's great contrast allows it to reproduce colors much darker than average, allowing it to reproduce the s.RGB volume almost perfectly. Since it's also capable of displaying very saturated colors, its coverage of the Adobe RGB volume is better than average, even if it doesn't officially support this color space.
The Samsung C49HG90's HDR color gamut performance is quite good. It can reproduce most of the DCI-P3 gamut used in most movies made today. Its reproduction of the Rec.2020 color space is, however, a bit lackluster, but most monitors available today can only reproduce a fraction of this gamut.
Decent HDR color volume, mostly limited by the monitor's imperfect color gamut. The monitor does a great job of showing its wide color gamut at a range of brightnesses, and can even make saturated colors very bright. One flaw though is that the DCI-P3 color gamut narrows at extremely high brightnesses, so colored highlights in HDR content may not look as colorful as intended.
A perfect result on our image retention test for the Samsung CHG90, as no image retention could be noticed.
The Samsung CHG90 monitor is excellent at displaying our gradient test image, as very few bands can be seen. There are a few spots in darker areas of the grey, green and blue, but it is very minor overall. Also since this monitor is a 10-bit monitor, no banding normally seen on an 8-bit monitor can be noticed, which is perfect for most HDR content.
Over DisplayPort the monitor is capable of displaying 10-bit color at the monitor's native resolution (3840x1080 @ 144 Hz), but over HDMI only 3840x1080 @ 60 Hz is cable of more than 8-bit color (12 bit).
The monitor does not suffer from color bleed.
The reflection handling is great. The monitor has a very light matte coating which diffuses reflection across the screen, reducing their overall intensity. The curve may be an advantage or disadvantage depending on your environment. As it is quite a sharp curve, it tends to avoid direct reflections of lights which are slightly too the side but will but distracting for lights positioned behind the viewing location.
Motion looks great on the Samsung CHG90. It has a fast response time, a high refresh rate and full support for AMD's FreeSync 2 technology; unfortunately, the monitor's backlight flickers at 433 Hz, which shouldn't be bothersome to most people but does make motion look a little less clear.
Great pixel response time, good enough for watching fast motion like video games. The ghosting trail following the moving logo is fairly short, which is good, but is also made more obvious by the monitor's high refresh rate (and thus low persistence blur). Unfortunately, this monitor does not have adjustable overdrive settings, because the 'Response Time' 'Faster' and 'Fastest' settings only add BFI flicker as shown in the Image Flicker box.
The Samsung CHG90 dims its backlight using only PWM flicker, which is not as good as a flicker free monitor. The flicker frequency is fairly high at 433 Hz, which shouldn't be noticeable to most people but may still be bothersome to those sensitive to flicker. The flicker also makes motion a little less clear as it causes the trail behind moving object to look like noticeable duplications instead of a smooth fade. The flicker becomes more bothersome the lower the 'Brightness' setting, because the PWM duty cycle decreases; at maximum 'Brightness' the flicker should be almost undetectable. This flicker is similar to that of the 32" CHG70 as reported by TFT Central; the 27" CHG70 we reviewed is flicker free.
In contrast, adding flicker that matches the input framerate is actually beneficial to motion (as seen in the photo above), and the monitor's 'Response Time' 'Faster' and 'Fastest' settings do just that. We recommend the 'Fastest' setting because it has a narrower pulse width than 'Faster', and thus will have clearer motion, but 'Faster' may look a little less flickery to those sensitive to flicker. Either option will reduce the length of the trail significantly and greatly sharpen moving objects.
Excellent high refresh rate, and full support of AMD's FreeSync 2 technology. The max refresh rate over DisplayPort is 144 Hz, but over HDMI the limit is 120 Hz. This high refresh rate will produce noticeably smoother motion in many general use cases, and the FreeSync support is very useful for gaming as it reduces stutters and screen tearing.
Using the 'Ultimate Engine' setting of the monitor, the reported range is 48 Hz to 144 Hz over DisplayPort, which is wide enough for Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) to extend the range down below 20 Hz by sending double or triple frames, allowing the feature to remain functional even when the framerate of the game drops significantly. While the maximum refresh rate is limited to 100 Hz, the feature is also functional with an HDMI input.
The FreeSync 'Standard Engine' setting is included for games that have problems with the 'Ultimate Engine'. The 'Standard Engine' has a much narrower FreeSync range: a reported 120 Hz to 144 Hz over DisplayPort and a reported 100 Hz to 120 Hz over HDMI. Unfortunately our FreeSync test failed when using the 'Standard Engine' so we're unable to confirm these numbers.
The super ultra-wide Samsung CHG90 acts like two 27" 1920x1080 monitors side by side, which makes it great for multitasking and immersive gaming, but not good for other uses that need lots of vertical resolution, like web browsing. The monitor also has very low input lag at 144 Hz, low enough for even competitive gamers; but unfortunately, its 60 Hz input lag is fairly high.
Lowest input lag possible at the center of the screen, when the monitor is displaying an alternative resolution at its native refresh rate. The non-native resolution tested depends on the native resolution of the monitor, following this pattern unless otherwise specified in the Input Lag text:
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BFI frequency tested: 144 Hz
Excellent low input lag, low enough for even the most competitive gamers. Unfortunately, the 60 Hz input lag seems to have a problem; it's far higher than the other input lag measurements and was often inconsistent during testing. The 'Low Input Lag' setting in the monitor's OSD was greyed out when the input signal was 60 Hz, even when the monitor's 'Refresh Rate' setting was also 60 Hz. We noticed similarly high input lag on the CHG70 with a 60 Hz input, but this was fixed by setting the 'Refresh Rate' setting to 60 Hz; this is not the case with the CHG90, at least as of firmware 1014.2.
The monitor's EDID only allows 144 Hz input at the monitor's native resolution (3840x1080), but most people won't notice this because graphics cards will often do their own upscaling and send 3840x1080 when a non-native resolution is selected.
The Samsung CHG90's defining feature is its beyond-ultrawide 32:9 aspect ratio, which makes the monitor act like two 27" 1920x1080 monitors placed side by side. This makes it great for use cases that take advantage of this incredible width, like multitasking office work and immersive gaming; but not good for use cases that are limited by the modest 1080p vertical resolution, like web browsing and editing single documents.
The 3.5mm Microphone In port is paired with a 3.5mm Microphone Out port for carrying the microphone data to the computer.
The Samsung CHG90 monitor has a few useful features, such as a picture-beside-picture mode that shows two inputs on the screen at once, and allows the CHG90 to act as two separate monitors. There is also optional USB quick charging on USB port #2, and blue LED lights on the back of the monitor for lighting up the wall behind.
One major feature of the Samsung C49HG90 is its Picture-Beside-Picture (PBP) mode, which shares the screen between different inputs. This way the CHG90 can act as two 16:9 monitors, or a 21:9 monitor and an 11:9 monitor.
The monitor has a few other interesting features, such as enabling fast charging on USB #2 by activating the 'USB Super Charging' setting, and turning on some blue LEDs on the back of the monitor to light up the wall behind.
The monitor's OSD is controlled by a small joystick on the bottom edge, similar to that on some LG monitors like the 27UD68P-B. The joystick is actually an intuitive way to navigate the OSD, better than the four button system found on most monitors. The Samsung C49HG90 also has three buttons for activating custom settings modes, that users bind to the 'Game Setting 1/2/3' modes. This is useful for changing monitor settings on the fly while gaming.
There is a single variant of the Samsung CHG90, the 49 inch C49HG90.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Samsung CHG90 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review. Note that some tests such as the gray uniformity may vary between individual units.
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The Samsung CHG90 is, in general, a good monitor. However, its oddly large size and high price will be a deterrent to most users. Unless you are looking for this specific form factor, you are likely to find better value in other models.
The Samsung CHG90 is a bit better than the Dell U3417W, unless you need wider viewing angles. The Samsung CHG90 supports HDR and has much better dark room performance thanks to the higher native contrast. The CHG90 is better for gamers than the U3417W, as it has much less input lag and a faster refresh rate, so motion looks smoother with less blur. The picture quality of the Dell U3417W doesn't degrade when viewed at an angle.
The Samsung CHG70 is a curved 144 Hz HDR monitor with a better than average picture quality and good gaming features. It is very similar to the CHG90 in performance, but it comes in a size and resolution much more common than the larger model. Most people will find it to be a better fitting monitor, especially since it is significantly cheaper.
Acer's Predator XB271HU is a high-end gaming monitor with an IPS-type LCD panel. It doesn't have the dark blacks and HDR capabilities of the CHG90, but its higher pixel density is quite useful for more productive tasks. It also comes with G-Sync, and its screen is flat. Unless you are really interested in the very wide aspect of the Samsung, the XB271HU is the better buy of the two.
The 34UC79G-B is a 34 inch ultrawide monitor with an IPS-type LCD and a 144 Hz refresh rate. It comes with most of the features of the CHG90 and has the same vertical resolution, but uses a narrower aspect ratio. Its picture quality in a dark room isn't quite as good due to its lower contrast ratio and it doesn't support HDR, but it is quite comparable in performance as a gaming monitor. Overall, it is a good pick for those looking for cheaper alternatives.