Friday , September 24 2021

Samsung’s Odyssey Neo G9 is a high-end TV disguised as a 49-inch curved gaming monitor.

The pursuit of Samsung’s excellent Odyssey G9 curved gaming monitor is almost here: The 49-inch Odyssey Neo G9 will cost a staggering $2,499.99 when it’s available for pre-order starting Thursday, July 29. It’s almost $1,000 more than the original, but it’s not just a simple bump. The new Neo G9 now features a Mini LED-backlit panel that can reach 2,000 nits of brightness with full array local dimming for deeper blacks and believable HDR that the original couldn’t quite achieve.

I recently had the enviable opportunity to test the Odyssey Neo G9 with the following. Doomsday Eternal and cyberpunk 2077, and what stood out most to me – besides practically hugging the 1000R curve – was the intense brightness of the screen. Whether I was staring at the misty sky over Night City or staring at the infernal color palette as I pierced through demons, I was struck by many things at once: how sharply contrast came out even when I turned the mouse, and how some of the richer, deeper colors were revealed. The desktop connected to the monitor didn’t come close to taking advantage of the 240Hz refresh rate (you’ll need a very capable machine to get the most out of this monitor), but it was still an enjoyable, immersive experience.

Like last year’s Odyssey G9, the Odyssey Neo G9 is a 49-inch curved monitor with a resolution of 5120 x 1440 (like the combination of two QHD displays), but a few key features have been improved and Samsung is making this high-end game compatible. Watch with Neo series high-end TVs.

The mini LED is definitely what stands out: it helps the Odyssey Neo G9 more accurately display light scenes and less bloom to deeper blacks than traditional LED backlighting. In addition to this peak brightness of 2000 nits or 2000 cd/m², Samsung says it has increased the amount of local dimming zones to 2,048 compared to just 10 on last year’s model. It also supports HDR 10 Plus.

Another new trick, more subtle but still welcome, is the CoreSync feature, which can synchronize the monitor’s rear-facing light with what’s in the game for a deeper immersion. It can apparently do this without having to install an app, but Samsung notes that you probably won’t notice the effect unless you’re in a dark room and the monitor is leaning against the wall. (Note: In these images, the blue light behind the monitor is not emitted from the Odyssey Neo G9’s backlight. This is a light Samsung wore at its press conference.)

The Odyssey Neo G9 is Nvidia G-Sync compatible and supports AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and variable refresh rate (VRR). It keeps the same 240Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time of last year’s model – no arguments there. However, Samsung has upgraded the two HDMI ports on the Odyssey Neo G9 to the newer 2.1 standard, which offers enough bandwidth to allow your PC to take full advantage of the fast refresh rate and resolution over HDMI. That’s fine, considering last year’s monitor had to use some Video Stream Compression tricks to make 240Hz work over DisplayPort, which didn’t play well with the latest AMD and Nvidia graphics cards in their debut.

Having HDMI 2.1 with VRR also means that this monitor will support faster refresh rates than consoles if these updates are available. Currently the Xbox Series X supports 1440p at 120Hz and up to 4K, while the PS5 currently supports 1080p at a 120Hz refresh rate. The Odyssey Neo G9 also features a headphone jack and two USB 3.0 ports, as well as a DisplayPort 1.4 port with adaptive sync.

Samsung Odyssey Neo G9

Here is the port layout on the Odyssey Neo G9.
Image: Samsung

As my colleague Sean Hollister noted in his review of the model last year, games can still look warped around the edges on this 32:9 aspect ratio display. I’ve noticed this in both games I’ve tried, but hopefully more games get super ultra-wide monitor support as they come. Halo Infinite. I would really love to see this game working on the Neo G9.

That’s the price of $2,499.99, though. It’s clear that this monitor is for enthusiast gamers who value curved design rather than the other advantages that the best OLED TVs and other high-end models bring today. But at this point, it’s impossible to ignore that you can get 4K resolution for a similar price or less, alongside a larger OLED display with similar specs and features. The sticker shock might not go away on Samsung either, as the pre-order includes a free JBL Quantum One head-tracking gaming headset.

The Odyssey Neo G9 will ship worldwide on August 9, and that’s when we’ll take a closer look at this monitor. For now, there are a few more photos I was able to take at Samsung’s event.

Photos by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge

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