With its Odyssey range presented at CES 2020, Samsung does not take half measures: first monitors with a very pronounced 1000R curvature, this range also introduces the first VA panels QLED with a refresh rate of 240Hz. Today we are testing the “monster” of the series, the Odyssey G9: a 48.8-inch Super Ultrawide (DWQHD – 5120 × 1440 pixels) monitor.
The Samsung Odyssey G9 is clearly an extraordinary monitor, as there are few. Concretely, its Super Ultrawide definition corresponds to an image ratio of 32: 9, a substantial display space that will require to be accompanied by a PC configuration that holds up. In other words, it’s like having two 27-inch QHD (2560 × 1440 pixels) displays side by side on our desk.
Samsung has taken innovation quite far, because apart from its disproportionate size and definition, it is also the first 1000R monitor with 240 Hz QLED on the market, but also the first VA panel to display a response time of only 1 ms GtG. It also includes other important technical features, including DisplayHDR 1000 and HDR10 + certifications, as well as its G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro compatibility.
This monitor was loaned to us by Samsung for this test.
Samung Odyssey G9 technical sheet
|Resolution||5120 × 1440 pixels|
|Response time||1 ms|
|Refresh rate||240 Hz|
|HDR||Yes (HDR10 +)|
|Display Port 1.4||2|
|USB 3.0 ports||2|
|Dimensions||114.76 x 53.72 x 41.64 cm|
A futuristic design
On paper, the Samsung Odyssey G9 boasts some crazy technical characteristics, but this monitor first wows with its very special design.
Despite its size, unboxing and editing are relatively straightforward. Only its weight (16.7 kg with its foot) requires a little vigilance and it is best to move it with a little help. Once on the desk, it is clear that we have never had to deal with such a machine. The design of the Odyssey G9 is very successful: it sports a futuristic look, it almost looks like you are standing in front of the dashboard of a spaceship taken from a science fiction movie!
The strong curvature is not for nothing: 1000R is almost twice as pronounced as the usual curvature of some monitors (1800R); the difference is also stark compared to a 1500R monitor. Once the screen is on and we’re comfortable, the Odyssey G9 gives us a surprising all-around feeling that a multi-screen setup doesn’t.
Dressed in white, its rear side provides a welcome contrast and ensures a very elegant installation on a desk, sober in its aesthetic despite the excessiveness of this design. The rear lights are one of those not-so-useful little things that we like, however. Only 5 modes are available (without any synchronization with other peripherals) with about fifty shades. In dim light, the G9’s Core Lightning lighting creates a pleasant ambience. In brighter conditions, it is almost invisible.
The build quality and workmanship seem to be there, but there are several points to be made with such a monitor.
First, this screen takes up much more space on a desk than a similar sized monitor, but not curved, or two 27 inch screens. The curvature indeed requires quite a bit of depth, just like its massive foot.
Then, it must be said that the ergonomic adjustments are limited. The G9 allows adjustment with 11.5 cm of height amplitude and adjustments of -15 ° to + 5 ° for rotation and tilt. Being a 48.8-inch Super Ultrawide monitor, you couldn’t expect much better on this point.
The ergonomics are then constrained by the imposing size of the monitor and its support: the installation runs more than 42 cm deep with the foot, the latter occupying almost 80 cm across the width. Let’s face it: the G9 requires a very spacious desk, especially if you want to save room for something other than the monitor, such as speakers. However, wall mounting is still possible with a 100 × 100 VESA system.
Finally, despite the solid construction of this monitor, one wonders if such an installation is not a little sensitive. For example, controlling the OSD via the single joystick rocks the screen. Ditto for the ergonomic adjustments which do not give particular confidence during handling. We also noticed some sort of screeching at both ends of the monitor when it is turned on. We can imagine that some plastic elements react to the heat produced by the Edge LED backlight of this monitor, but it seems finally that the last update dated firmware fixes this problem since we no longer have encountered this phenomenon after installing it.
A connection provided, but restricted for such a monitor
The G9 has plenty of connectivity, which should be enough for most of us. There are two DisplayPort 1.4 connectors, an HDMI 2.0 input, a headphone jack, as well as a hub with two USB 3.0 ports. Note that the connectors are not easily accessible once the screen is installed. However, the cable management system is appreciable.
Let’s come to the point: why does this connection restrict the use of this monitor? Quite simply because HDMI 2.0 does not allow you to take advantage of 240 Hz, but only 60 Hz with the native definition (5120 × 1440 pixels) or 120 Hz at 3840 × 1080 pixels, all without VRR.
Concretely, to exploit the potential of this monitor, it is necessary to use DisplayPort, but then you must have a graphics card that supports DSC (Display Stream Compression). It is found on RTX 20 and 30 series cards from Nvidia and on certain AMD Radeon GPUs, from the RX 5300. However, with an AMD card the refresh rate is limited to 120 Hz. In short, to fully exploit the G9, you have to be well equipped. It is all the same regrettable not to find HDMI 2.1 on a recent monitor equipped with such a technical sheet, especially at this price, the investment in a latest generation television, at LG or Sony in particular, maybe will bring you better overall experience according to your needs and requirements.
Finally, the PIP and PBP functions are very practical! They allow you to split the display to broadcast streams from different sources. On such a large screen, this is a must have feature.
Performance: leading capacities
Record response time for a VA panel
Samsung promises top performance with its G9, with great capacities in terms of refresh rate and VRR, but also in terms of response time which is displayed here at 1 ms GtG. Unfortunately, we do not have the tools to assess this response time, but if we are to believe the reviews of various colleagues from across the Atlantic, it would appear that the Odyssey range has pushed the limits of VA panels.
Obviously, the response time displayed by Samsung is not an average value, but the maximum value obtained for a gray to gray transition. In reality, ghosting is almost imperceptible with the G9, say you have to have a keen eye to notice trails behind moving objects. Note, however, that depending on the settings, there is a overshoot which causes reverse ghosting . To avoid this, the monitor’s overdrive should be set to “Standard”.
A refresh rate that leaves a good margin
Regarding the refresh rate, there is no doubt that this monitor requires a nice setup to run properly. Depending on the game it is thus possible to get closer to 240 FPS, but on greedy titles you will already be happy to reach more than 100 FPS, even 60 FPS in some cases ( nod to Cyberpunk 2077 [19459009 ]). The VRR works without worry, in our case by activating the G-Sync. Tearing , flickering and whatnot should not mar the immersion.
Note also that the G9 uses the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) function, or pulse width modulation. In our case, we did not notice any flicker with the G9, the frequency of the PWM is high enough to trick retinal persistence. Depending on the light conditions, the G9 also uses Analog Dimming to vary its backlighting and avoid flickering that PWM could induce. This involves adjusting the brightness by adjusting the current received by the LED.
Finally, the black image insert functions (BFI or ULMB) are absent from this monitor; Remember that they help improve the sharpness of moving images, which the G9 doesn’t really seem to need since it’s a particularly responsive display.
Productivity and video games: an extraordinary experience
Let’s get to the heart of the matter, which is what it is like to play on such a monitor on a daily basis, what to expect, but also what that goes for so-called productivity tasks.
Suffice to say at the outset, the G9 gives a very strange feeling during the first days of use. The experience takes us out of our way, especially because of its size and curvature, but also the display ratio. The 1000R curvature gives a strong sense of depth that is not unpleasant once you get used to it. The experience is clearly immersive, as the display covers almost all of our field of vision. This is great with most games, especially with FPS and other TPS where we are controlling a character in the center of the screen. Titles like GTA V and RDR2 or Destiny 2 to name a few are a real pleasure to play on this monitor.
Along with other types of games, the 32: 9 aspect ratio also shows many advantages. We quickly realize this when launching a title like FIFA: we have an excellent feeling of space thanks to which it is much easier to visualize the placement of the opposing defenders, to anticipate the attacks, or to place magnificent deep passes. .
Still, there is a weakness in this format that will take some getting used to. Many games look distorted with this aspect ratio, which is easily noticed in some titles, especially at both ends of the screen. However, this is something to accept in order to have a wider field of vision. Ultimately, it is a matter of habit and preference. Super Ultrawide will not benefit some games as well as others, let alone games that are not natively compatible with this format. I thus went to the end of Gray by being satisfied with the 16: 9 format, with two huge black bars on each side. Unfortunately, titles like Control and Death Stranding do not support 32: 9 aspect ratio.
When it comes to daily and productive tasks, the G9 cuts a fine figure! The screen space is considerable and leaves a lot of freedom to organize your work. Editing photographs or video editing are becoming more efficient, like everything else. Never have so many web pages been displayed on screen using the Vivaldi browser’s Tile function! Add to that the PBP and PIB functions, ideal in my case for displaying the video stream from my Raspberry Pi while keeping my work on Windows on the other half of the screen.
The results of our measurements
Now let’s move on to the results of our measurements with this Odyssey G9. Accompanied by Calman Ultimate and an Xrite i1Display Pro Plus probe, we first looked at the performance of the G9 in SDR with the “FPS” image mode which gave us the best results among the different modes offered.
Apart from the color temperature, a little too cold with 7130 K (against 6500 K expected), the G9 shows good things in SDR. Its peak light reaches 439 cd / m², while its contrast ratio is excellent, 5495: 1. Note, however, that the Dynamic Brightness option was activated during this measurement. Once deactivated, the result is already less flattering with 2081: 1. The same goes for HDR where the contrast ratio tops out this time at 2787: 1.
Finally, still in SDR, we note an average Delta E of 3.14 with some drifts on blue and red. The reference gamma curve (in yellow) is well respected. The monitor does relatively well with this FPS mode, but the more picky ones will benefit from calibrating the G9 to get more accurate results.
On the HDR side, the G9 delivers everything you need to enjoy a good experience. Its luminous peak thus reaches 1129 cd / m² on a window of 10%. Good news, the bright peak in HDR does not drop a little when you enlarge the window. We thus measure a value of 978 cd / m² on a window of 100%. The average Delta E is measured at 2.55 in HDR, without noticeable drift.
The monitor’s QDEF filter allows it to cover all of the sRGB space, but more importantly 94.52% of DCI-P3 and 73.99% of Rec. 2020. Finally, the input lag (measured at 60 Hz) is 18.5 ms, note that this value is normally much lower when measuring in native definition and at 240 Hz, but our equipment does not not allow this measurement.
Overall, the G9 performs very well, but the experience is marred by a few weaknesses, starting with the viewing angles of the VA panel, which are much lower than IPS panels. Seen from the side, the image looks washed out and the colors much less faithful. However, the extreme curvature of this screen offers an impeccable rendering over its entire surface for the one sitting opposite.
The second weakness of the G9 is its Edge LED backlight, which diffuses light through the top and bottom edges. In SDR (without local dimming ), we easily perceive backlight bleeding when we broadcast dark images. It is also emphasized on both sides of the screen. With the local dimming (in HDR), it becomes disturbing, because they are entire vertical areas that light up as soon as we diffuse a luminous object on one part or the other of the screen. For example, by placing our mouse cursor in the center of the screen the entire central area becomes active, so that the difference between that area and the others that are not lit is really obvious. Alas, the local dimming of the G9 is not convincing, it is better to do without if you activate HDR.
Samsung Odyssey G9 Price and Availability
The Samsung Odyssey G9 was launched at a price of 1499 euros and is available at regular retailers. Note that it has seen a small price drop lately, with a discount of around 100 euros.