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Samsung Odyssey G9 Review – IGN

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Most computer monitors are roughly the same size and shape. It’s a surprise when a monitor arrives to challenge the status quo – and Samsung’s Odyssey G9 is a big surprise. Measuring 49 inches diagonally, and weighing in at 36 pounds, this $1,699 curved super-ultrawide gaming monitor is more expensive than a 48-inch OLED television. Can it live up to expectations?

Samsung Odyssey G9 Review

Design

The Samsung Odyssey G9 is an attractive, striking display not just because of its size, or its 1000R curve, but also its wonderful, cohesive design. Even the best gaming monitors from LG and Asus can’t match what Samsung has achieved here. The vent-like ring around the monitor stand mount screams gaming, but the combination of glossy white and matte black elements gives the monitor a classy look.

The monitor’s form is a win, but function is more complicated. Its sheer size demands a massive stand that measures 31 inches wide and 9 inches deep. However, because of its arched back, this curved gaming monitor sits even further forward at the edges. Pushed to the very edge of my desk, each corner measures 17 inches deep. The display’s left and right flanks sit closer to the front of my desk than the rear.

In other words, the Odyssey G9 is too big for my desk. It will be too big for yours, too, unless your desk is unusually deep; virtually every desk sold on Amazon, in Ikea, or at your local furniture store is between 30 and 36 inches deep. I don’t think it’s fair to call this a flaw of the monitor, but it’s an important point to understand before buying it.

The huge stand does keep the monitor planted, keeping unintended screen shake to a minimum. It also includes height, tilt, and swivel adjustment. It doesn’t pivot, but that’s to be expected, as the monitor is too wide to pivot into a vertical orientation. The monitor supports the typical 100x100mm VESA mount and can be wall-mounted with an adapter included in the box.

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Features & OSD Menu

You’ll find two DisplayPort 1.4 inputs and one HDMI 2.0 input. There’s a complication, however. The Samsung Odyssey G9’s 5,120 x 1,440 resolution, combined with its 240Hz refresh rate, exceeds the bandwidth of DP1.4 or HDMI 2.0.

Samsung tackles this problem with a standard called Display Stream Compression. DSC is a form of lossless compression that can cram the Odyssey G9’s full pixel count and refresh rate through DP1.4. The bad news? It’s only supported by Nvidia RTX 20 series (or newer), and most of AMD’s new 5000-series cards. Make sure to check your video card’s DSC support.

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You’re not out of luck should you lack a video card with DSC, however. DP1.4 is good for the monitor’s native resolution at 120Hz. HDMI 2.0 connections are limited to 60Hz. Because of the G9’s high pixel count, most games won’t run above 120 frames per second, so you’re not missing much.

In addition to display inputs, the monitor includes a USB 3.0 Type-B upstream port that can make the monitor a hub for two additional USB 3.0 Type-A devices. This is conventional, if slightly disappointing. I think a monitor this advanced should support USB Type-C. Still, I doubt this oversight will bother most gamers.

The monitor’s settings are handled with a joystick-style control found on the lower right side of the display. This is a common way of accessing a monitor’s menu, and for good reason. It just works. The joystick is much more intuitive than an array of buttons.

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Navigating the menu is fast and simple, and Samsung makes the status of important settings (such as refresh rate and adaptive sync) front and center. The monitor offers a wide range of customization including a black equalizer, five color temperature modes, three gamma modes, and RGB customization. Almost all top-tier gaming monitors offer these options, but it’s still good to see them.

Despite its price, and size, the Samsung Odyssey G9 doesn’t have speakers. That’s an odd omission for a monitor this expensive. Many expensive monitors offer speakers and some in this price range, like Dell’s U3421WE, deliver halfway decent quality.

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Day-to-day performance

Samsung’s Odyssey G9 is clearly built for gaming first, but its super-ultrawide format might seem attractive for productivity. This monitor is the same size as two 27-inch monitors side-by-side, but without a bezel between them. Is it a productivity powerhouse?

Unfortunately, no. Much of the blame can be placed on its 1000R curvature. I didn’t mind it in games, but it’s an issue when editing photos or video. Images are distorted even when they take up just a fourth of the display.

Its 1000R curvature is an issue when editing photos or video. Images are distorted even when they take up just a fourth of the display.


The monitor is also too large for many tasks. An ultrawide with a 21:9 aspect ratio is great for video editing, providing more space for the editing timeline and whichever tools you prefer to use. The Odyssey G9, however, is so large that you must turn your head to focus on anything near the edges of the display.

I also felt another problem related to its size. The Odyssey G9 can become tiring. My eyes felt raw after using it all day, even with the brightness set to 10 out of 100. This monitor bombards you with luminance. That’s fun in games, but less amusing in Word and Photoshop.

If you push past these problems – perhaps you think there’s no such thing as too much monitor – the Odyssey G9 otherwise ticks off all the boxes. Its 5,120 x 1,440 resolution matches the pixel density of a 1440p, 27-inch display. The monitor covered 100% of AdobeRGB, 95% of DCI-P3, and 88% of AdobeRGB in our testing. And its out-of-box color accuracy, gamma, and white point are nearly perfect for professional use.

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Samsung Odyssey G9 – Gaming performance

Playing games on the Odyssey G9 is an emotional rollercoaster. It’s a beautiful monitor with top-notch image quality, great motion clarity, and a wow-factor that never wears out its welcome. Yet launching a game for the first time is always a surprise. Will it look stunning? Or will it glitch out?

My worst experience was Diablo III, a game that supports the super-ultrawide aspect ratio but wasn’t designed with it in mind. The game’s launch screen doesn’t fill the entire monitor. Instead, the sides clip into a gray oblivion. This also occurs in some levels. At times, enemies pop-in a few inches from the display’s edges, as the game assumes they’re not yet visible. Diablo III was playable, yes, but it wasn’t a great experience.

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Similar issues appeared in Greedfall, though they were less severe. The game often looked stunning, but at times the super-ultrawide aspect ratio could show half-rendered or clipping 3D objects that were clearly meant to be out of sight. This happened most frequently in cutscenes.

Fans of first-person shooters should stay away, as well. The size of the monitor, combined with the tight field-of-view typically used in the genre, creates a distracting fish-eye effect across the edges of the display. It stretches textures and can make characters look comical.

Simulation fans, though, are in for a real treat. The massive size of the Odyssey G9 means you can simply see more. Landing a Cessna in Microsoft Flight Simulator normally demands plenty of camera pans. Not on the Odyssey G9. You can see not only the plane’s entire front windshield, but also some of the left and right windows. Visual navigation is both easier and more realistic.

In Forza Horizon 4, the in-car perspective becomes a viable way to play. A clear, broad perspective of the road in front of you makes corners easier to gauge and boosts immersion. It’s a stunning experience that blows away any 16:9 widescreen monitor. If you own a racing wheel, or a flight yoke, you’ll enjoy the Samsung Odyssey G9.

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MMORPG fans should take notice, too. The Odyssey G9 has no peer in displaying open-world vistas. Also, nearly all MMOs offer significant UI customization. That eliminates interface issues caused by the aspect ratio. I spent a good half-hour touring Final Fantasy XIV to enjoy the G9’s sheer sense of scale.

While game compatibility is mixed, the verdict on image quality is more definitive. The Samsung Odyssey G9 is excellent.

It scores extremely well across all standard image quality tests. It has a wide color gamut, as mentioned, and its color accuracy is on par with the best professional monitors. Its maximum measured contrast ratio of 1760:1 doesn’t break records but provides a good sense of depth and deep black levels. Black uniformity is just ok, with noticeable bright spots along the corners of the display, but gray uniformity is good. It has a sharp image, as well, packing 108 pixels per inch.

The Odyssey G9 has no peer in displaying open-world vistas


The monitor is one of a small handful of HDR1000 certified displays, which quotes a peak brightness of 1000 nits. I wasn’t equipped to measure peak highlight brightness, but I measured its sustained full-screen brightness at 490 nits, which is extremely high for any monitor. This monitor even has local dimming, a rare feature. In HDR, the Odyssey G9 was at times a stunner, with amazing contrast and punchy highlights. You’ll enjoy it most in colorful, high-contrast games that have few dark scenes.

However, don’t expect the G9’s HDR to rival even a mid-range HDTV, like a TCL 6-Series or Hisense H8G Quantum. The Odyssey G9 only has 10 local dimming zones, while most 4K TVs have dozens of zones. The G9’s low local dimming zone count can cause blooming, where a bright object against a dark background forces a local dimming zone on in a way that creates a splotchy look.

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The Samsung Odyssey G9 is G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro compatible. Adaptive Sync mostly worked as expected, but I did encounter a few instances of minor flickering. This happened in Diablo 3 and Microsoft Flight Simulator. I tested the monitor with Nvidia video cards, so I can’t comment on whether the problem extends to FreeSync.

Motion clarity is great. The VA panel delivers generally good clarity with no obvious black smear, even in camera pans across dark areas that normally bring this problem to the front. There is a hint of overshoot, which can create bright trails behind objects, but I only noticed it when panning a camera rapidly while purposefully searching for the problem. The Odyssey G9’s motion clarity is solid enough that, in normal use, I really couldn’t find fault with it.

I don’t think it’s possible to sum up the Odyssey G9’s game performance. Your experience will depend on the games you play and how well they handle the unusual 32:9 aspect ratio. When it doesn’t work, you’ll feel like you lit $1,700 on fire. But when it works, you’ll feel like you’re experiencing the future of gaming.

A couple of quirks

Samsung’s Odyssey G9 has suffered quality control issues, according to owners. The most common complaint was excessive flickering (well beyond a normal adaptive sync issue), which impacted the earliest samples. Samsung never recalled the monitor but, according to owners, did send new units to customers. The company has also issued a firmware update to further combat the problem, and owners have reported positive results.

I experienced another problem firsthand. My review unit made a startling “pop” sound not long after it turned on. It was so loud that I thought, at first, something fell on the monitor. Instead, this is a commonly reported issue thought to be caused by the monitor’s plastic expanding as it heats. It happened dozens of times throughout my testing. I doubt this problem will cause any harm, but it is a bit annoying.

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Purchasing Guide

The Samsung Odyssey G9 is available for $1,699 from Amazon, Walmart, and direct from Samsung.

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