Testredaktör PC för Alla, PCWorldAug 25, 2023 3:30 am PDT
Image: Mattias Inghe
At a glance
Incredible sense of presence for gaming
High frequency and fast response times
Great colors and perfect OLED contrast
Good viewing area for multitasking
Not perfect sound
Some unsmart choices for car input and USB
Takes up a lot of space
The Oddysey OLED G9 impresses with its powerful, curved widescreen display, intense colors, great dynamics, and both fast frequency and response. Not everything is perfect, but the important things are very good. If you have a similarly premium gaming PC, this could be the right screen to match its capabilities.
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After seeing the Odyssey OLED G9 at CES last winter, I’ve been itching to get my hands on one to test. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by a 49-inch curved widescreen monitor with a full 32:9 aspect ratio, or two regular 16:9 screens side by side. Its colorful and slightly curved OLED panel, high resolution, high frame rate, and well-below-millisecond response time suggested that a brilliant gaming experience was within reach.
Other: Speakers 2x 5W, FreeSync Premium Pro, hub with 3x USB 3 Gen 1 Type C, Smart Screen with Tizen OS, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.2, and remote control
Odyssey OLED G9 design
After making room on a large table (my usual desk was far too small), screwing the base together, which can be done without tools, and carefully lifting it onto the table, I was greeted by its arched, pitch-black rectangular expanse with a reflection-minimizing surface.
The screen stands firmly on a wide central foot, and features a discrete millimeter-thick matte-gray metal bezel. The curved surface on the back of the display is really nice too, and when the power is switched on, an RGB ring illuminates the area where the neck meets the back. The placement of the image inputs on the back isn’t great, and can be very tricky to work with. The screen can be raised slightly and tilted backwards, but cannot be adjusted in other ways. A pivot function on such a wide screen would have been insanely cool, but Samsung hasn’t been so daring this time.
How does the Odyssey OLED G9 perform?
Was it worth the wait? Yes, I think so. I loaded up with as many spectacular immersive games as I could think of, and pushed the RTX 4070 card in my computer to its limits to render the action on the screen in the best quality.
It’s hard to argue that an extreme widescreen doesn’t effect gameplay favorably. With FOV settings set correctly in the games and at the right distance from the screen, I get a field of view that greatly increases peripheral vision and immersion. It took some experimentation and some vertigo-like motion sickness to get the angles right. But it’s well worth it when everything is aligned just right.
Enemies appearing out of the corner of my eye in Doom Eternal, allowing me to react faster than with a narrower (and slower) screen. A full field-of-view of landscapes and environments that makes it easier to navigate… or simply stop and soak up the dystopian atmosphere in Cyberpunk 2077 and watch a sunset, or sweep your eyes over the horizon in Red Dead Redemption 2. Or why not take to the skies in Flight Simulator and watch the planet curve as you rise?
Top-class colors and good HDR
It’s not just a wide picture that adds to the experience, but it helps that the picture looks good too. The Odyssey OLED G9 is based on the same QD-OLED technology as Samsung’s excellent OLED-based TVs, and that’s reflected in its wide color gamut and high intensity. It crosses the DCI P3 color scale and starts to approach Rec. 2020 levels. Almost, but not quite. And it hits quite right in colors in P3 mode and just right for sRGB. It’s so close to professional level for colors that anyone who wants to edit film and photos on the screen needs to be very picky not to be satisfied with this.
With OLED, dark surfaces get intense blacks, and contrast down to the smallest pixel level is 100 percent. The screen is said to have 250 cd/m2 in normal type brightness, and that seems to be true on a large, all-white surface. I get the same value of 248 cd/m2 across the entire surface. But it also has a stated maximum brightness of up to 1000 cd/m2 for small and short-term light spots.
I can’t measure this, but films and games in HDR mode clearly produce more intense local and short-term light. The screen has the same HDR support as most Samsung TVs, HDR10 and HDR10+ including the gaming version, but no Dolby Vision. It is also Vesa DisplayHDR True Black 400 certified.
Perfect for gaming, good for other things
The 240Hz frame rate and support for Adaptive Sync and FreeSync Premium Pro make it easy to get a smooth and beautiful image, even when a computer struggles to keep the image rendering smooth. I didn’t experience any screen tearing, even with fast movements and camera sweeps. If you have a new Nvidia GeForce graphics card, you don’t need G-Sync in the display anymore; Adaptive Sync is fine. Lightning-fast response times of 0.03 milliseconds make the display just right for gaming.
This requires a computer that can handle it. My fairly fast test box with Intel Core i5 processor and Geforce RTX 4070 can deliver 60 frames per second in most games, but not all. Still, that’s a lot of pixels to control. The 5120×1440 pixel resolution means 7.3 million pixels. A 4K screen at 3840×2160 yields 8.3 million.
It’s not just games that can benefit from the big screen, but lots of workspace is a great advantage for other things too. You can stretch the video editor to accommodate a clear timeline and many windows and tools at once, and still have room for a browser and file manager. This is literally two “regular” 1440p 16:9 monitors side by side.
This means you can also connect two image sources and run two large, high-resolution, regular-sized screens side by side. To do so, the monitor has a DisplayPort and two HDMI inputs, one normal-sized and one micro-HDMI.
It’s a format I haven’t seen in a while, and almost feels a bit retro. What uses the micro-HDMI port like this in 2023? It would have seemed more logical to have a USB-C input for image signal, preferably one with power supply and full USB docking for a laptop. But you’ll have to do without that. There are three USB-C ports, but they are a traditional USB hub and nothing else. One to connect to a computer and two to connect USB accessories. Again, an odd choice of port format. What I would like to connect is mostly USB Type A inputs for things like keyboard and mouse.
And maybe a good headset. The screen has built-in speakers, but the sound experience is far from the glory of the picture experience. There are two 5-watt elements placed at the bottom edge of the screen outwards on each side. You get nice stereo spread and detailed sound, but it’s still pretty thin, with flattened midrange and weak bass. There’s no analogue headphone jack—you’ll have to use a USB plug or Bluetooth.
Almost a smart TV
Yes, the screen has Bluetooth 5.3 support, and also Wi-Fi 5 connectivity. This is one of Samsung’s smart screens. With an Arm-based processor and the same Tizen OS software as in Samsung’s smart TV. The functionality is the same as the Smart Monitor M8 screen we tested in 2022—a full smart TV system with pre-installed and downloadable apps for all major and popular streaming services, as well as many smaller media, information and entertainment apps, games and more.
There’s a web browser, app to play media from USB-connected storage, web browser, control hub for smart home gadgets, and much more. You also get the same kind of image enhancement and upscaling as a regular TV. And for pure connectivity and content services, there’s no shortage of important features. Except for receivers for terrestrial or cable TV.
Everything is controlled with a small remote that gives you volume control, trackpad, and hotkeys to some key apps like Netflix and Prime Video. You also get a channel changer that works with Samsung’s own Samsung TV streaming service, which has several live streaming channels.
However, the experience of this screen as a smart TV is a little strange. The interface only covers part of the screen, which I assume is 21:9 format, with large unutilized areas around it, and there are also large empty areas when streaming content.
With a price tag of just under $1,800, the Galaxy Odyssey OLED G9 is obviously a big investment, but given the picture quality, the excellent gaming capabilities, the smooth handling thanks to the Tizen system and remote control, and the smart screen feature in general as a bonus, it might be worth it. Two 1440p OLED 16:9 screens this good probably cost the same or more. With better speakers and a proper USB-C laptop dock, and it would be a total winner.
This article was translated from Swedish to English and originally appeared on m3.se.