Back in late May, I purchased the Samsung C49RG9 or CRG9 49″ ultrawide monitor for review and in June posted my initial thoughts on my experience after a week. I’ve spent a month with the CRG9 and can give my honest review. The good, the not-so-good, and who I think the Samsung CRG9 is for.
A Quick Recap
In case you missed my initial thoughts, you can check them out here. I went into the overall first impressions, what my plans were for future use, and the specs. I suggest you go and read that article first and then come back to this one. Some things have changed from my views when I initially purchased the monitor. With that said, I’m still including the specs here for later reference.
- Size – 49″
- Panel type – VA
- Screen Area: – 46.99 x 13.22
- Curve – 1800R
- Resolution – 5120 x 1440
- Aspect Ration – 32:9
- Maximum Brightness – 1000 cd/m2 (Peak in HDR Mode) 600 cd/m2 (Sustained)
- Contrast Ratio – 3000:1
- Refresh Rate – 120Hz
- Adaptive-Sync Technology – FreeSync
- Bit Depth / Color Support – 10-Bit (1.07 Billion Colors)
- HDR Compatibility – HDR10
- Color Gamut – 125% sRGB and 95% DCI-P3
- Response Time – 4 ms
- Viewing angles – Horizontal: 178° / Vertical: 178°
Samsung has two, soon to be three, flavors in the 49″ category: a 1080p with a 144Hz refresh rate, a 1440p with 120Hz, and a soon to be released 1440p with 240Hz. From my experience, viewing a few ultrawide monitors, the 1080p models are okay, but can be blurry when dealing with text. It’s not a deal-breaker but can cause some undue eyestrain. The 1440p space is the sweet spot for someone who is using an ultrawide for work and gaming. The resolution provides excellent viewing of text and provides a very enjoyable experience while gaming. The current Samsung CRG9 hits the mark. After spending hours working from home with it and gaming during my downtime, the 1440p resolution is perfect.
But What About the Refresh Rate?
I’m going to call this as it is, refresh rates are great to have, but in a monitor of this size, you better have the hardware to power it. We all want the best refresh rate we can afford, and sometimes we forget if the system we are connecting to can handle it. I run an Nvidia 2080 Super video card and can get close to 120 frames per second (fps) in a lot of games. I haven’t tested the CRG9 with any other video card, so I have to advise you to do your homework before buying. I’m confident that you can work with an Nvidia 2070 or an AMD Radeon 5700 XT. However, anything below that you will want to check out the specs and do a little bit of research. There is nothing worse than purchasing something like this only to find you don’t have the horsepower to take full advantage of it.
Easy Menu Navigation
The menu access is located on the bottom right and navigated with a single joystick. The options are Game, Picture, OnScreen Display, and System. It’s a very intuitive system designed by Samsung and will not have you pressing a multitude of buttons or going deep into menus to get the monitor display just right. The joystick also has quick access to brightness and contrast, a quick on/off toggle for the Eye Saver option and volume control. A downside I have to point out is that the CRG9 does not come with speakers. Honestly, who uses the speakers in a monitor anyway? If you don’t want to go into the settings menu, there are three buttons also located on the bottom right that you can save your settings with.
Creator Productivity Beast
I assumed the CRG9 would increase my productivity for work, creating content, and other multitasking chores. What I didn’t expect is the amount of work I am able to get done. If you are a content creator or streamer, this is your monitor, period. Having the ability to have Filmora video editing software, Photoshop, and all my files from recording and camera shots on one screen made content creation some much easier. The monitor allowed me to avoid the hassle of staging one program on one monitor while Alt-Tabbing through the other programs on a second monitor. Everything was all front and center. Expanding Filmora so I can see more of my timeline when editing simplified the process. If I have to put a number on it, I say my editing time has been cut down by 25%.
When working for my full-time job, I had six programs open on the CRG and could see everything happening in realtime. In case you didn’t know, I work for an ISP provider, and having the ability to see when something is going offline makes getting the information together for a field tech to repair a lot quicker. I’m able to have three alert windows open, as well as email, the ticketing system, and the on-call calendar open. Granted, some won’t need to have that many windows open at one time, although having the option to do so isn’t a bad thing. The overall benefit for work on an ultrawide, decreased search time by 50%.
PBP (Picture by Picture)
When I really wanted to crank up the productivity, I dropped into Picture by Picture mode. PBP allows you to have two separate sources wired into the CRG9 and view them at the same time! This is a great feature if you are a streamer. You can have your game playing on one part of the screen while monitoring your chat and stream tools at the same time. The PBP feature allows you to have two 16:9 windows or a 21:9 with an 11:9 window. This is where I’ve got my first complaint. No built-in KVM (Keyboard, Video and Mouse) switch. What a KVM switch does is allows a user to control multiple computers from one or more sets of keyboards, video monitors, and mice. LG and Dell both come with a built-in KVM solution to avoid the hassle of having two keyboards and mice. The CRG9 does come with the ability to be a USB hub, but the PBP is diminished without the KVM feature.
(Almost) Gaming Greatness
The Samsung CRG9 is marketed as a gaming monitor, and for the most part, it is. With 1000 HDR10 rating, FreeSync compatibility, and 4ms response time, it provides an excellent experience for gamers. If you’re the hyper-competitive type or a professional gamer looking for the low-latency experience, this is not for you. There are plenty of smaller screen size monitors that will give that 1ms response time you need. Ultrawide just isn’t there, yet.
Here is where I’ve got my second issue. With FreeSync active, I get random black screens for about a second. I’ve tried multiple display port cables, HDMI cables, and updated the firmware and the only way I can eliminate the issue is turning off FreeSync. Now, this could be an Nvidia driver thing, but I have seen others online having the same type of issue. Maybe it’s time to grab an AMD card and see what happens.
Immerse Yourself in Another World
Graphically, the games are absolutely beautiful. The 1800R curve is almost perfect for up-close gaming and fitting within the human eye’s field of view. If HDR gaming is your thing, you’ll love the picture quality on the CRG9. Games that fit the 32:9 format are incredibly immersive when playing. There is where I have another issue and it’s not a Samsung thing. Finding games that are formatted for 32:9 aspect ratio are hard to find. There are plenty that will play at 21:9, but 32:9 can be a challenge. Even when you do find them, there is some tinkering you need to do on the PC to get it just right. Right now, console gaming is mostly 16:9 with the ability to “trick” the game into playing 21:9 by using the PBP setting.
Full disclosure, gaming on the CRG9 has really renewed my love of gaming and has me excited, more so, for the upcoming console launches later this year.
The Samsung CRG9 is the 49″ monitor to have if you want the ability to play and work. The previous model, Samsung CHG9 is a solid choice for high FPS gaming but struggles on the productivity side with blurred text. The upcoming Samsung Odyssey G9, due sometime in July 2020, is listed at 240Hz with the same 5120 x 1440 display. It’s both FreeSync and G-Sync compatible. The Odyssey comes with a 1ms response time and 1000R curve. I expect the release of the G9 will drive down pricing on the CHG9 and CRG9. That brings me to pricing. The CHG9 is currently selling at $999. The CRG9, the model reviewed here, is $1199.99. If you want the latest and greatest, the Odyssey G9, you set you back $1699.99. Why am I including all this information in the final verdict section? I feel you need to know all the relevant information in order to make your own choice. I love the CRG9 and paid slightly more than what it is currently selling for and have no regrets. If you are in the market for an ultrawide monitor, the CRG9 is great to have on your desk.