This 49" Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 QLED gaming monitor showcases Samsung's NEO QLED display technology in a form that offers PC gamers an unparalleled degree of immersion. With this model, Samsung takes the already awesome Odyssey G9 and steps things up a notch with a mini-LED backlight array, and the result is the ultimate in curved gaming monitors. Thanks to its shockingly great performance, you can lose yourself in the action while enjoying state-of-the-art picture quality from the mini-LED FALD panel that produces stunning HDR.

The 49" Odyssey Neo G9's aspect ratio is a boundary-stretching 32:9, which is akin to placing a pair of 27" 16:9 displays side-by-side, except it's seamless. The monitor's significant curvature is no gimmick; it offers gamers a truly immersive viewing experience and ensures maximum performance from the Neo QLED panel by canceling out the effects of off-axis viewing.

Samsung equipped the Neo G9 with a superfast 240 Hz maximum refresh rate plus NVIDIA G-SYNC and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, technologies that provide gamers with smooth, low latency video and compatibility with the latest high-end video cards,

Most notably, the 32:9 aspect delivers a unique perspective when playing video games that typical (i.e., 16:9 ratio) monitors cannot match. It has a native resolution of 5120x1440 (dual QHD), so images are as sharp and detailed as they are vibrant. And when you are not gaming, this monitor serves as a powerful productivity tool, capable of showing multiple windows in a PC desktop environment, or you can show two sources at once, side-by-side. For example, you can connect a PC, a cable box, a 4K streamer, and a gaming console. It's as flexible as it is immersive.

The Odyssey Neo G9 sports Samsung's Quantum HDR2000 designation. It delivers on its promise when measured with a meter, with peak highlights that can exceed 2000 nits for brief flashes (in HDR Dynamic mode) while also offering sustained brightness over 1000 nits. And you get more than just impressive brightness out of this monitor; its wide color gamut covers 95% of DCI-P3 space used in commercial cinema (and 125% of sRGB). The result looks genuinely outstanding.

Aesthetically, the Odyssey Neo G9 is practically a work of modern art. It looks like it belongs on a spaceship, or at least in some futuristic sci-fi movie. And gamers who enjoy lighting effects will appreciate the Infinity Core Lighting (Samsung's term for customizable LED accent lighting). It's got cable management built into the sleek, adjustable stand so that unsightly cables won't distract from the overall modern look.

Key Features and Specifications
  • Samsung Neo QLED display
  • 5120 x 1440 resolution
  • 32:9 aspect ratio
  • Around 2000 FALD zones
  • Highly adjustable stand
  • Excellent looking HDR
  • HDR10+ compatible
  • 1MS latency
  • Up to 240 Hz refresh rate
  • G-Sync
  • FreeSync Premium Pro
  • 2X HDMI 2.1 and 1X DisplayPort 1.4 inputs
  • 108.97 PPI pixel density
  • 1000R curve
  • Wide color gamut
  • Picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes
  • Factory calibrated
  • Over 2000-nit HDR highlights (dynamic)
  • Rated at 420 nit sustained full-screen brightness
  • 1ms "grey to grey" response
  • 2X USB 3 ports
  • Headphone jack

Unpacking and Setup

Samsung's mastery of product design is evident in the Odyssey Neo G9. Putting it together takes just a minute or two and is a no-fuss process. The sturdy stand provides for height, tilt, and rotational adjustments for optimal placement, which is necessary for this giant screen. The rear panel features a removable cover so you can run all the cables you need, snap on the cover and hide it all. You can then run the wires down the stem of the base for a flawless look.

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The inputs are contained within a recessed enclosure. You get dual HDMI and one DisplayPort. This monitor also has a dedicated headphone jack.

First impressions matter, and when you fire up the Neo G9 for the first time, you'll notice the monitor delivers a crisp, highly accurate picture that virtually jumps off the screen. This monitor comes factory calibrated, so when you first turn it on, you see a highly precise color palate without a hint of tint. The menu even has a "calibration report" that shows the accuracy and even lists the meter used to measure (a Konica-Minolta CA-310).

To have an optimal viewing experience with the Odyssey Neo G9, proper screen placement and seating position are necessary. The exact viewing distance matters for the dual reasons that it eliminates geometric distortions from the curve and allows you to experience optimal edge-to-edge color and contrast from the VA LCD panel. Moreover, sitting in the right spot delivers the total immersion that is the primary motivator for investing in this high-tech display.

Dual QHD resolution is 7.37 million pixels, which is close to the 8.29 million of 4K. The upshot is you'll need a powerful PC graphics card to push the frame rates this monitor can achieve. My gaming PC has an RTX 2080 Super, which is more than decent and offers G-Sync. I ran the Forza Horizon 4 optimization/benchmark routine and my system delivered 102 FPS on avergae (minimum 93 FPS, maximum 120 FPS) with HDR turned on, 5120 x 1440 resolution, and graphics set to “Ultra”. The resulting gaming experience was smooth, silky, responsive and hyper-detailed.

Depending on how you plan to use it, you may choose to connect more than one source, and when you do, you can opt for picture-by-picture or picture-in-picture mode. The Neo G9 offers multiple setup options for which source goes where and which source provides the sound. And when you use picture-in-picture, you can adjust the size of the sub-display.

If you enjoy LED lighting effects, which is definitely a "gamer thing," there are options for setting that up that feature, including static mode (with selectable color), rainbow, flashing, double-flashing, breathing, and perhaps most "useful," CoreSync mode that synchronizes the LED colors with what's on-screen.

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For added ambiance while gaming in the dark, turn on the configurable, synchronizable CoreSync LED lights

With SDR signals, there are plenty of picture modes to choose from. These are Custom, High Bright, FPS, RTS, RPG, AOS, sRGB, Cinema, and Dynamic Contrast. For HDR, you get regular HDR and Dynamic HDR. Which mode you choose depends on personal taste and your intended application, and all of them benefit from the factory calibration. The crucial point here is that you have many options, and finding the mode that's right for you is as simple as checking out each setting with appropriate content, be it games or video or a Windows application.

Hands-On

As a matter of personal preference, ultra-wide curved monitors are very appealing to me. I find the form factor optimal for gaming as well as productivity. I've long used dual monitors for Photoshop and video editing, and this Samsung lets you have that screen real estate without splitting up the desktop. But let's face it, you don't buy this monitor for running Photoshop—although its color and contrast make it an excellent choice for photo editing. You buy it for what it offers when it comes to immersive gaming!

With a 32:9 aspect ratio, first-person perspectives take on a "you are there" quality that puts you directly into the action. I enjoy games based on driving and flying, whether Forza Horizon 4 or Grand Theft Auto 5 or Microsoft Flight Simulator. With these types of games, the Odyssey Neo G9 puts on quite a performance, one that is reminiscent of professional simulators. The seamless wrap-around image gives a realistic perspective that brings peripheral vision into the mix.

Beyond driving and flying, the first-person view makes for a highly compelling gaming experience in any game with a first-person perspective. The ultra-wide view lets you see more of the game world than a squarer monitor, which has the specific tactical advantage of allowing you to see a competitor or enemy lurking at the edges.

This peripheral vision is handy for spotting enemies, or competing drivers, or whatever it is that someone with a 16:9 monitor cannot see. Moreover, for car racing as well as first-person games, the perspective offered by the monitor—when you are seated in the optimal viewing position—closely matches what your eyes can see, creating a rendition of the game world that's just a step away from "VR without the glasses" in terms of immersion.

As has been the case for the past few years, if I'm going to spend time in a game, it will likely be Grand Theft Auto Online, Forza Horizon 4. I also like to revisit an all-time classic brought into the modern era, Burnout Paradise Remastered. And lately, I've thrown Microsoft Flight Simulator into the mix, a "game" that perhaps benefits from the 32:9 aspect ratio more than any other. And if I'm bored with the others, I fire up Assassin's Creed Odyssey, which looks fantastic in HDR.

The above titles (and undoubtedly many others) are perfect examples of how the Odyssey Neo G9 enhances the gaming experience and offers PC users a visual treat that you cannot get from console gaming.

Burnout Paradise Remastered immediately hammered home the point of the Odyssey Neo G9. Take a classic game and upgrade the graphics, OK great. But then add a 32:9 aspect ratio, high frame rates, ultra-low input lag, and brilliant colors, plus eye-popping contrast to the mix, and it feels new again. Paradise City never looked like this on a PlayStation, and even the Xbox Series X can't do it justice compared to a powerful PC and this Samsung. The effect of having scenery zoom past in your peripheral vision adds an adrenaline rush to the proceedings that's missing from lesser display solutions.

For GTA V, which keeps on improving thanks to a steady stream of updates, traveling through Los Santos while in the first-person view is at once cinematic and hyper-realistic. You feel like you are really in Los Santos, not just looking through a window. The overall effect is best described as "enhanced suspension of disbelief," where you almost forget that you are not in the game itself. GTA V provides many opportunities to take full advantage of the ultra-wide aspect, regardless of how you play it (first-person or third-person).

Microsoft Flight Simulator is enjoyable as a game but stands out from the other examples because it is a legit simulator. If you master flying a plane in this "game," you're one step closer to being able to fly that plane in real life; that's how realistic it is. And here, the ultra-wide view and hyper-real graphics are not mere "icing on the cake" but rather an integral part of making it a realistic simulation. Moreover, the game showed off the potential of HDR for PC games in spades by adding brilliant lighting effects SDR cannot match.

I wrapped up my PC gaming tests with Forza Horizon 4 (2018), which is a beautiful driving game, although it's a few years old (and soon to be superseded by Forza Horizon 5). This game shows off the HDR "pop" of the Neo G9 in spades. The resulting image looks shockingly photo-realistic with graphics settings set to high, and the feeling of "connectedness" to the road is beyond what I've gotten out of any 16:9 aspect monitors. HDR highlights were incredibly bright and realistic, and neon colors had an intensity of saturation that’s pure eye candy. This game made me glad I recently upgraded my gaming PC so that I can enjoy frame rates well above 60 Hz in high resolution HDR. I’d even go so far as to describe the gaming experience as “perfect.”

Beyond gaming, I used the Neo G9 to write the review you are reading right now, and I need to express how incredibly nice it is to be able to see multiple pages of a document at once. It'll show five pages of a word doc side-by-side concurrently, and from an editing perspective, this is simply wonderful, eliminating the need for a lot of scrolling. Text is ultra-crisp and easy to read, and truly… this monitor made writing about it easier and more fun.

These days I'm doing a lot of photography and video editing, and here too, I found the extra screen real estate to offer a productivity advantage. In Adobe Premiere Pro, having that much screen real estate for the interface offers an incredible advantage in creating a custom layout and accessing various control panels without going into menus. Moreover, the timeline is double the length of a 16:9 monitor, so you don't have to zoom in and out or scroll through it to find a spot in the video; you can have it all on-screen at once. And whether you edit SDR or HDR video, you can rely on what you see on screen in terms of accuracy.

With Adobe Lightroom Classic, I found multiple advantages to the 32:9 aspect ratio. Browsing thumbnails is enhanced thanks to there being more on-screen at once, but it's in editing that the real benefits become apparent when using the "Compare View" that shows two images side-by-side. You give up nothing because both photos fit perfectly. And since I like to shoot panoramas, well… suffice to say that you can't beat an ultra-wide monitor for viewing and editing Panos.

But, ultra-wide views are not the only thing the Neo G9 has going for it. You can instead treat it like a "regular" dual-monitor setup and view two inputs side-by-side. It's just like using dual monitors except with a cleaner look to it. Or go for picture-in-picture if you want to stick with ultra-wide but want to keep an eye on another source (let's say you want to watch a sporting event while working on a project). With this monitor, how you work and how you play are up to you. And with three inputs, you don't have to stick with just a PC. You can add a game console to the mix, cable TV, or a streaming device and enjoy "multitasking" in its purest form.

Finally, if you feed the Odyssey Neo G9 a "regular" QHD signal, i.e., 2560 x 1440, it displays it like a "regular" monitor, without any stretching. The same goes for 1920 x 1080 "full HD." But what it will not do is show native UDH 3840 x 2160 with downscaling. This is primarily relevant if you want to use this display with a gaming console without using the side-by-side picture mode (which will downscale 4K properly).

Pros & Cons

Pros


Ultra immersive 32:9 aspect ratio
Brilliant color and fantastic contrast
Excellent anti-reflective qualities
Essentially non-existent input lag
FreeSync Premium Pro and G-SYNC support
Highly adjustable stand
Easy assembly
Dual HDMI inputs
Great for gaming and productivity applications
Accurate colors, factory calibrated
No burn-in worries

Cons

Large (takes up a whole desk)
Pricey (costs as much as a premium TV)

Top Choice for Gamers

The Odyssey Neo G9 is Samsung's best ultra-wide monitor yet, and by a significant margin versus what came before. The reason for this is the enhanced performance of the mini-LED backlight, which leaves nothing on the table in terms of picture quality, regardless of whether it's operating in SDR or HDR mode.

The Neo QLED technology in the Odyssey Neo G9 raises the bar for what you can expect from a gaming monitor. While I love the "regular" QLED G9, it is clearly outclassed by Neo G9's mini-LED tech, which provides FALD (full array local dimming) backlight performance that is impeccable—no clouding, no halos, just crist, contrasty images that make you say “wow!”. The Neo-LED FALD works hand-in-hand with the QLED tech (that’s responsible for the intense colors), delivering notable advantages for overall picture quality, and especially HDR performance. I can unequivocally state that this is the most exemplary PC monitor I have ever used, whether for gaming or productivity. It is, quite frankly, sublime. And yes, I said the same thing about its predecessor, the Odyssey G9… but clearly, Samsung figured out how to raise the bar to all-new heights using Neo QLED tech.

The compelling combination of easy assembly, accurate and vivid picture quality, flexible placement and configuration, extreme gaming immersion, as well as its suitability for production-oriented PC tasks make the 49" Odyssey Neo G9 a definitive Top Choice selection for 2021.