Samsung CHG70 32″ HDR Gaming Monitor: First Look

Samsung CHG70 32 Inch QLED Unboxing

The Samsung CHG70 is a gaming monitor that boasts HDR capability thanks to quantum dots and a high-contrast curved LCD screen that offers ultra-low input lag. Crisp graphics and support for refresh rates up to 144 Hz make it an appealing option for gamers seeking a competitive advantage. It promises an elevated gaming experience for $599 and is packed with features like dual HDMI inputs, a DisplayPort input, and support for AMD FreeSync 2.

Because CEDIA is just days away—and no other reviewer in the U.S. has this monitor—I expedited this AVS Forum exclusive unboxing and initial hands-on. However, colorimetry will have to wait until I get back from San Diego. Nevertheless, I unpacked it and had a chance to form some first impressions. Assembly was a cinch, check out the video:

 

I recently upgraded my video card to a Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1080 8G Rev. 2.0 that’s able to feed this WQHD-resolution (2560 x 1440) display with gorgeous graphics at blistering frame rates. And crucially, the card supports HDR, so it can take advantage of one of the CHG70’s most appealing features: HDR support.

Thanks to quantum dots, this QLED monitor’s VA LCD panel can reproduce a billion different shades of color. For your retinas, this translates to vivid color that makes computer graphics look deeper and more realistic.

This is a curved display featuring an 1800R curvature. That means if you sit 1.8 meters (approx. six feet) away from the screen, the geometry of the screen will be self-correcting. Furthermore, every part of the curved screen will be pointed directly at you, which maximizes contrast on the edges. And even if you sit closer than 1.8 meters to the screen, the curve continues to offer visual benefits.

Samsung CHG70 QLED Monitor

This monitor has a dual-hinge arm that allows for flexible positioning.

Thanks to the curve and quantum dots, what you get with the CHG70 QLED gaming monitor is a design that maximizes the accuracy and fidelity of a VA LCD panel. As a bonus, unlike OLED, QLED LCD is impervious to image retention and burn-in. Plus, the supplied stand helps you point this oversize monitor in the right direction with its sturdy dual-hinge design.

Despite very limited time, my first impressions upon connecting the CHG70 to a PC are highly positive. I’ve gotten used to using HDR TVs as monitors, so it’s nice to experience that level of visual fidelity in a gamer-centric display. In particular, running games at 144 Hz gives games a degree of smoothness that is seductive, and enhances motion resolution too.

It’s worth noting that the CHG70 is great for non-gaming duties. For example, streaming YouTube in 1440p looks excellent, and working in Photoshop is a pleasure thanks to high color accuracy right out of the box. Each monitor even comes with a calibration report from the factory.

The first thing I did once I got the CHG70 up and running is see what kind of results I got running the Grand Theft Auto 5 benchmark and tweaking the settings on the GTX 1080. I was able to run 2560 x 1440 resolution with settings on “Very High” plus anti-aliasing and get frame rates between 60 and 100 fps. On screen, the game looked great.

Full colorimetry will have to wait until CEDIA is over, and unfortunately I don’t have the ability to test input lag at the monitor’s native resolution. Subjectively speaking, lag is not noticeable when using this display. However that comment comes with the caveat that I don’t play FPS games that demand lightning reflexes.

Because the CHG70 uses VA LCD technology, it is important to sit centered to the display in order to experience peak picture quality. Off-axis viewing does involve a loss of contrast that manifests as raised black levels. Samsung specifies contrast at 3000:1, which is something I will test when I measure this display.

This monitor engages local dimming when displaying HDR content, with SDR the backlight does not dim. I found the contrast and black levels were good in a dark room, but this monitor looked its best with a bit of light in the room. Notably, it includes a rear-mounted LED light that can serve as a bias light (or as an effect, if you are into flashing, color-changing light effects). Long story short is this monitor looks its absolute best when viewed head-on and with some ambient light in the room.

Among the things I will try when I return is running the monitor using DisplayPort. But, I am pleased to report that the HDMI connection allowed me to chooses a 144 Hz refresh rate at maximum resolution.

Another thing I only had moments to explore is the menu system, which provides numerous setup and customization options that can be recalled with keyboard shortcuts.

As I noted earlier, this hands-on is a work in progress. I will offer more insights when I return from CEDIA 2017 next week.