Review: Samsung Odyssey G9 OLED is a truly game-changing powerhouse with a price tag to match

The Samsung G9 OLED is a game-changer.
The Samsung G9 OLED is a game-changer. Photo credit: Supplied

The Samsung Odyssey G9 OLED, the world’s first 49-inch OLED monitor, is a true game-changer that's both an entertainment and productivity powerhouse which more than justifies its hefty price tag. 

I spent two weeks with the G9 as my primary screen and came away seriously impressed, with only minor quibbles. 

At a price point of approximately NZ$3000, this isn't a screen for casual consumers; but enthusiasts will find it unmatched among ultrawide monitors.   

A multitasking powerhouse

This was my first experience with an ultrawide, or should I say 'super' ultrawide monitor as at an aspect ratio of 32:9, the G9 is essentially the size of two 16:9 monitors side by side. 

So, when unboxing the immediate issue is finding a set up to accommodate the size of the screen. Be warned: this requires some serious desk real estate. 

Thankfully, assembly is easy, with the screen mounting to a steel stand with a simple snap and click latch. The screen can be tilted to a desired angle within a somewhat limited range but with its overall heft, ergonomic options are limited.  

The chunky power bank can easily be tucked under your desk and a hole on the back of the stand allows for some basic cable management, giving the overall setup a clean and uncluttered look despite its giant wingspan. 

At its thinnest, this monitor is just 4.5mm which is mind-boggling considering the power of the display and combined with a sleek metallic finish has an overall elegant form factor. 

Slightly less elegant are the customisable LED lights built into the back of the G9's mount. While I personally find the obsession with putting flashing lights in everything gaming hardware-related a little cringeworthy, the G9's setup added a nice touch to my sessions and can be tailored to be less obtrusive.  

Once assembled and turned on, the screen really is astonishing. 

The 5120 x 1440 OLED follows a gentle 1800R curve, which is not quite as intense as in smaller ultrawide monitors but for good reason, as at this scale a deeper curve could lead to distortion. 

The OLED screen uses Samsung's trademark Quantum Dot tech that outmatches any mini-LED on the market, with the ability to turn individual pixels on and off, the G9 creates true blacks and the brightest whites which makes for the deepest possible colour contrast.

And for everyday use, the screen can easily be split into multiple smaller screens using ‘picture in picture’ for essentially unlimited multitasking. 

I often had the G9 split into quadrants with separate pages and applications running in each, perfect for people like me who normally have so many tabs open in their browser it gives them anxiety.

You can even have two separate devices dedicated to each side of the screen, allowing you to work on your PC and play on your laptop simultaneously or vice versa. The immense size means you could even game side by side with a friend using their own PC quite comfortably.

In terms of inputs, there’s one DP slot, two HDMI 2.1s, the standard headphone jack and three USB 3.0 slots, which should cater to most - but those with many peripherals may be out of luck. 

It's in gaming the Samsung G9 shines.
It's in gaming the Samsung G9 shines. Photo credit: Supplied

I was a little disappointed another DP port wasn't available considering the screen is tailor-made for multiple devices and instead features a mini-HDMI which feels like it has much more niche applications than an additional DP. 

On audio, two inbuilt speakers provide surprisingly deep sound considering how little physical space they're given. If you aren't playing anything particularly bass heavy, they make for a solid sound set up. This is handy as with the epic size of the screen, finding space for desk speakers can be tricky.

But I confess I didn't put the speakers through their paces often, I spent most of my time with this screen with headphones on and lost in virtual worlds. 

Because it's in gaming that the G9 OLED really shines.    

A literal gamechanger

As my first foray into the aspect ratio of 32:9, to be honest, I came to the experience sceptical - how much better could gaming really be on a curved screen? 

At best I thought it would be a cool but minor visual upgrade and at worst I worried it could spoil my enjoyment through distorting the display. I was very happy to be proven wrong.

While not every game supports ultrawide aspect ratio, those that do can create an unparalleled level of immersion with the extended field of view. 

Epic games with sprawling maps like Red Dead Redemption 2 feel vastly more expansive on this screen, with the world almost literally enveloping you.   

It also levels up combat encounters in those games, with the wider perspective changing your tactical options as you see enemies approach from a greater distance. 

And during frenetic combat gameplay, the 240hz refresh rate and a 0.03ms response time coupled with AMD Freesync and Nvidia G-Sync capability means screen tear and motion blur is eliminated, even during intense action. 

While you’ll need a hefty GPU to hit the 240 fps that refresh rate allows, for anyone wanting to play fighting or racing games at a high level and on max specs this is a peerless screen. 

Even less graphically demanding games benefit hugely from the G9. Playing 2023's Game of the Year winner Baldur’s Gate 3 was a delight because of the massively expanded canvas for its rich game world to come alive on. 

The pricepoint will put many off the Samsung G9 OLED.
The pricepoint will put many off the Samsung G9 OLED. Photo credit: Supplied

However, there is one hiccup with the G9's vibrant display and it's a common trade off with OLED. The screen maxes out around 250 nits of brightness, which certainly won’t hold up to direct sunlight or even a brightly lit office environment.

It's more than fine for a blacked-out gaming room like where I was playing but could be an issue for anyone without the ability to completely control the lighting level in their play space.  

But where the screen really blew me away, to the point where it was almost too immersive, was in horror games. Playing Alan Wake 2 and Amnesia the Bunker on the G9 was intense to the point where I had to take frequent breaks.

The super ultrawide format leverages player peripheral vision in a way I have previously only experienced in virtual reality. There is nothing scarier than seeing something move in the corner of your eye and then physically having to turn your head to catch an enemy creeping up on you.

The last time I had to literally step away from a game to take a breather was playing Resident Evil in VR, because you feel like you’re physically involved with the game and in danger in a way that’s impossible on a standard screen.

Having something that even approaches that level of immersion without donning a headset was a wild experience and enough to sell me on the G9, even without everything else it offers. 

The verdict

The Samsung Odyssey G9 OLED is a literally game changing monitor which utilizes every inch of an enormous screen to spectacular effect, whether it’s for work or play. 

Despite a mild letdown with the level of brightness, the screen’s level of visual fidelity and immersion is unmatched.

At a price point exceeding the cost of three current generation consoles combined, this is clearly a screen for enthusiasts with some cash to spare. 

But for those willing to fork out, an epic experience waits.

Newshub was supplied a Samsung Odyssey G9 OLED for this review.