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Going Hands-On With Samsung's Crazy 49-Inch Gaming Monitor

2018-01-08


This is probably an apt time to deploy some kind of ‘bigger is better’ adage, but the matter is a bit more complicated than that. Let me explain.

Back in June of 2017, I reported on the impending release of Samsung’s ridiculously huge 49-inch QLED gaming monitor, the longer-than-any-PC-screen-has-a-right-to-be CHG90. The basic idea? A seemingly overindulgent behemoth touted as the largest dedicated PC gaming display to ever exist (until NVIDIA’s 65-inch recently announced monster arrives). I’ll admit that the display’s sheer size had me gutturally excited, because who wouldn’t want that much screen real estate? Though my hype was tempered by a recurrent internal question: Does anyone actually need a display that takes up four entire feet of desk space? Well, after spending a few weeks with the device in question, I may have trouble going back to something smaller. My eyes have seen too much.

Really, from beginning to end, the CHG90 experience is, at almost no one’s shock or surprise, large. The box it comes in is essentially coffin-sized (how’s that for morbid comparison?) and when you extricate the screen from its travelling tomb, the heft is real. The curved display is quite heavy, and while one strong person should generally be able to lug it out of the cardboard and styrofoam packing, having a friend available to grab the other end couldn’t hurt.

I should note that the unit Samsung kindly loaned me arrived with at least one dead pixel and also the sound of something rattling around inside. I’m guessing the latter is either a chipped piece of plastic or maybe a small screw that came lose during shipping. Either way, I wouldn’t say these issues have grossly affected the unit’s overall performance (though that dead pixel is rather annoying), so I’m just noting the nitpicks for posterity.

Let’s chat about setup, shall we? Attaching the included adjustable stand is a breeze; it comes in two pieces that lock together and then latch onto the back of the screen via four screws. There’s also plastic panels that you can place over the back hinge and outgoing wires that keeps everything looking clean. And that's good news, because the CHG90 is a centerpiece of sorts, something you place in the middle of a room for people to 'oooo' and 'ahhhh' over. So what can you plug into this glorious piece of gaming excess? The inputs include two HDMI ports, a display port, a mini display port, a headphone jack, mic in/out, two USB ports and a USB PC plug.

I am a little bummed it’s absolutely mandatory that you use external audio, since there’s no built-in speakers. A couple low-grade on-board grills would have been nice, but maybe it would have interfered too much with the screen’s sleek form factor. Just know that you’ll need to be attaching some headphones or, at the very least, another separate audio device to hear your entertainment sources. Three programmable gaming pre-set buttons adorn the underside of the screen as well as a power/directional input (JOG button, as Samsung calls it) that makes changing between sources and settings a breeze.


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