I spent 2 hours with Samsung’s insanely wide monitor — here’s what it’s like

You might look at pictures of Samsung’s insanely wide CHG90 monitor and think: “Who on earth needs a monitor this wide?”

I’ll bet a lot of people said the same thing when square 4:3 TVs and monitors were still the standard, back in the early 2000s, and “widescreen” 16:9 TVs and monitors hadn’t yet become mainstream. Now, 16:9 widescreen is the standard monitor aspect ratio.

But why stop at 16:9? Well, the industry didn’t stop there – in 2015, it started producing “ultrawide” 21:9 monitors, which offered more screen real estate for work and gave PC gamers that extra layer of immersion.

It’s now 2017, and Samsung thinks you need even more screen, so it made the “super-ultrawide” CHG90 monitor, which has an aspect ratio of 32:9. That’s two 16:9 widescreen monitors in one.

samsung chg90monitor straight

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The question is not why Samsung made this outrageously wide monitor, but – especially for gamers – what is it like to use?


Samsung’s CHG90 is incredibly wide.

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The monitor you’ve been using so far is probably the most common type, with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Samsung’s CHG90 is 32:9, which means it’s incredibly wide. It’s essentially two 16:9 monitors in one.

It’s a 1080p monitor, which means it’s not as sharp as 1440p quad-HD (QHD) or 4K ultra-HD (UHD). With that said, you’d still need some pretty serious hardware to run video games on this monitor. That’s because its resolution is 3840 x 1080, which isn’t too far off 4K resolution (3840 x 2160).

Even for basic productivity, like using a web browser and watching videos, you’d still need a relatively recent and decently powerful computer.


It’s amazing for playing video games.

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Here’s me trying Samsung’s new super ultra-wide gaming monitor.
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Corey Protin

There are two ways the CHG90 monitor enhances videos games:

1. It fills up more of your peripheral vision with its sheer width and curve, and it immerses you more into your game than any monitor.

2. You can actively use the extra screen real estate to your advantage to see objects or enemies that you wouldn’t normally see on a regular 16:9 monitor unless you moved your mouse. By allowing you to see more, you don’t have to move your mouse as much, which is helpful during gaming. Leading your eyes to each edge of the CHG90 monitor actually takes some getting used to because I’ve never had to move my eyes so far to either side of a monitor before! And to put that into perspective, I own an ultra-wide monitor with a 21:9 aspect ratio.


It also has some under-the-hood features that makes this monitor great for gaming.

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The CHG90 supports AMD’s Freesync 2 technology, which makes for ultra-smooth gameplay. It basically allows the graphics card in your computer to communicate with the monitor so that they can synchronize each frame with each other. That said, AMD’s Freesync technology isn’t compatible with graphics cards from the other PC graphics hardware giant, Nvidia, which is arguably the more popular of the two PC graphics cards makers.

Nvidia has its own technology to make gameplay ultra-smooth, called Nvidia G-Sync. While Nvidia cards may be more popular, G-Sync technology usually adds a few hundred dollars to a monitor’s price tag compared to AMD’s Freesync, which doesn’t usually add any extra cost.

Still, whether you use Nvidia or AMD graphics cards, the CHG90 monitor has an incredibly fast one-millisecond response time, which reduces motion blur on the screen and helps keep the picture sharp, especially with fast-paced games.

The CHG90 also features Samsung’s Quantum Dot technology, which makes for gorgeous colors, brightness, and contrast. Add HDR into the mix, and the picture is fantastic. A quick note about HDR: Games have to support HDR to make use of it, and the gaming world has been oddly slow to adopt it.


A surprisingly large number of games already support such a wide monitor.

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Samsung

Some game developers have to update their games so they support the wide 32:9 aspect ratio. Samsung says it’s usually a quick fix for most developers, and some games have already been optimized to work on the CHG90. Samsung provides a list of those games, part of which is pictured above. Oddly enough, the list is only featured on the Korean CHG90 product page. Check out the product page and scroll down towards the bottom to find the full list.

Apart from adding support specifically for this kinda of super ultra-wide monitor, games that support AMD’s Eyefinity or Nvidia’s Surround standards can also be played on the CHG90 and take up the full width of the screen. There are hundreds of older and newer games on this list, so it’s safe to say that game compatiblity with the CHG90 shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Unfortunately for console gamers, game developers aren’t likely to build support for the CHG90’s width into the console versions of their games. Most console games are designed to be played on TVs, which usually have a 16:9 aspect ratio.


And what would a gaming monitor be if it didn’t have some flair?

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

It’s a trend in the PC gaming world at the moment, where everything needs to glow. Samsung recognized this and added a glowing ring where the monitor’s base arm meets the monitor itself, which is tastefully conservative.


This “style” of monitor is also perfect for productivity, too, but you might want to wait for cheaper super ultra-wide monitors if all you plan to do is use it for work.

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Corey Protin

As I mentioned earlier, the 32:9 CHG90 monitor is like two regular 16:9 monitors stuck together. A lot of serious productivity users already use dual 16:9 monitor setups on their desks so they can have all the apps and windows they need open at the same time. But since the CHG90 is one single monitor, the screen isn’t split in the middle like it is with a dual-monitor setup.

While this monitor would be ideal for productivity, its $1,500 price tag is expensive if you plan on using it exclusively for work. You may want to wait until cheaper 32:9 monitors are released, as productivity users don’t necessarily need fancy features like Quantum Dot technology and HDR. Samsung markets the CHG90 as a gaming monitor, anyway.


Here’s what Microsoft’s Excel looks like on this monitor, by the way.

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Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider

Should you buy this outrageously wide monitor?

Personally, I’m fully on-board the 32:9 monitor train. My next monitor will absolutely be a super ultra-wide 32:9 monitor that I’ll use for both PC gaming and productivity.

The CHG90 monitor is amazing, but it’s also the first of its kind, and it has a huge $1,500 price tag. With that in mind, I’d like to have a wider selection of 32:9 monitors to choose from that don’t necessarily have all the fancy features and cost quite as much as the CHG90.

If you’re a gamer with the cash to spend, then the CHG90 is a no-brainer for the sheer immersive gameplay it offers. Just make sure your PC is powerful enough to play games in the QHD or even UHD resolution, as the CHG90’s resolution is more similar to QHD and UHD than it is to its native 1080p resolution.

Otherwise, gamers with more conservative budgets should wait for less expensive 32:9 monitors.


Is this the new must-have monitor for gaming?

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Amazon/BenQ

No, you can still fully enjoy video games with regular widescreen 16:9 monitors, which you can buy for incredibly cheap these days, like the 24-inch $170 BenQ monitor pictured above. Samsung’s CHG90 is more of a luxury at this point, especially at its price tag.