A DECENT monitor really ties the gaming experience together.
All that power in your tower is being squandered if you aren’t displaying the game on a high-resolution monitor which can do it justice
There’s a school of thought that says when it comes to monitors, bigger is better – and the Samsung Odyssey G9 49in ultra-widescreen monitor I’m reviewing is certainly big.
It’s easily the biggest monitor I’ve ever used, offering a 240hz refresh rate and 1ms response time, with a 32:9 aspect ratio, 5120×1440 resolution, QLED display and a 1000R curve.
Effectively, it’s two monitors in one – allowing a dual monitor-type setup, but with only one power point or DisplayPort/HDMI connection.
Graphically, the Odyssey G9 looks outstanding, and it’s compatible with both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync for gaming experience enhancement too, further complemented by High Dynamic Range (HDR) 10+ capabilities as well.
The only real downside to the unit is a pretty significant one, though: It’s almost too big for everyday use.
When fully set up, it measures 1147.6mm x 537.2mm x 416.4 mm and weighs 16.7kg, so that’s quite a bit of desktop space.
For gaming, it’s worth the investment, though – At 49in, the screen fills your entire field of vision.
When you’re playing FPS games like Rainbow Six: Siege or Overwatch, it’s incredible – you get a wonderful field of view and can see a lot more of what’s going on. Even in games such as Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Sea of Thieves, or Transport Fever 2, the wide viewing area made for a much more immersive experience (and lets you enjoy more of the scenery, too). It is worth noting, however, not every game can support the monitor’s full resolution or aspect ratio, so this might be something to keep in mind if you play a lot of games from the pre-widescreen era.
Where the Odyssey G9 stumbles, however, is non-gaming use. Because of the monitor’s width, I found it hard to keep my work centred in the middle of the screen so I could focus on it without having to move my head back and forth across the screen to see everything.
It also creates an issue for some video call scenarios, too. I have my webcam mounted on top of the monitor in the middle; so when I’m looking straight ahead (or at the camera), it’s fine, but when I turned my head to focus on someone on screen who is speaking, it can look (at least to other participants) like I was looking off elsewhere in the room and not paying attention to the speaker.
The ultra-wide size also meant I had to turn my head to look at something on one side of the screen, and then turn it to look at the other side of the screen (such as when a notification popped up).
Going back and forth like I was watching a tennis match wasn’t an ideal state of affairs, although it can be managed by changing window sizes and fiddling with the display properties etc. The monitor is absolutely capable of working essentially as two separate workspaces, which is going to be very useful for a lot of people who are set up for that sort of operation, though
While games take full advantage of the 5120×1440 resolution to fill the monitor, none of the movies or TV shows I tested from the major streaming services did; instead centring the image in the middle with black space on either side. It’s such a big monitor I didn’t find it particularly bothersome (it’s not like a TV where it’s on the other side of the lounge, after all)
Unusually among monitors I’ve tested, the Odyssey G9 features HDR and does it well – everyone likes vibrant bright colours, after all, and it really does make a difference in games too – helped by the high refresh rate which meant I didn’t experience any issues with lag, tearing or ghosting either.
A large and high-res monitor also requires a respectable graphics card to get the best effect. I’m running a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 which handled everything quite happily, and I’d be surprised if the RTX 2000 series couldn’t manage it either, but owners of much older cards may not enjoy the same experience.
Assuming you’ve got a decent graphics card, then for pure gaming, content creation or graphic design stuff you’d be hard-pressed to go past the Odyssey G9.
From the 32:9 aspect ratio, 49in wide screen, HDR and sharp picture, the Odyssey G9 offers a superb gaming experience – particularly for FPS games and anything else where a wider view of the battlefield/play area would be advantageous.
For general, everyday or work use, however, I think there’s simply too much monitor here and you’d be better off with something smaller – unless you’re planning to spend more time gaming than working, of course.