I hate leaving unfinished enterprise, however that’s what I did on November twenty seventh of final 12 months. I ended my evaluation of the most ridiculous, most superior PC monitor ever made — the 49-inch Samsung Odyssey G9 — by questioning out loud whether or not a equally sized OLED tv may truly be higher. That query has been burning in my cranium for a lot of, many months, however I’m glad to say I lastly have a solution.
This September, I took supply of each LG’s newest 48-inch C1 OLED tv and Samsung’s upgraded 49-inch Odyssey Neo G9, with its Mini-LED backlit display that makes an attempt to rival OLED for deep blacks and provides explosive brightness. I’ve used them again to again ever since, swapping once more and once more between the newest and biggest gigantic gaming screens and between work and play. I used all of them day, daily, jotting down notes about each frustration and all the pleasure I skilled with these monster screens only a foot or two from my face.
It was superior, and I’m unsure I’m prepared to return to the comparatively puny 27-inch display I truly personal. But the humorous factor is, my reply is neither. Neither of these screens is my PC monitor endgame. And I wasn’t even unhappy to see one of them go residence.
First, the fundamentals. Why a monitor versus a TV? Well, for a staggering $2,499, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is arguably the most feature-packed gaming monitor ever made — and but LG’s $1,299 48-inch OLED TV meets or beats it in most ways in which matter.
For occasion, the Samsung has an incredible 5120 x 1440-pixel decision panel that stretches out throughout your whole discipline of view, virtually letting you bathe in video games or duties. But the sheer measurement of LG’s 48-inch 3840 x 2160 panel additionally fills your view at what’s technically the next decision (8.3M pixels vs. 7.4M pixels). It’s simply that the corners of LG’s display are a bit farther away out of your face as a result of it’s not curved like Samsung. (I’ve extra to say about that later.)
Both screens have the same footprint on a desk, too, at 45.3 inches extensive for the Odyssey G9 and 42.2 inches extensive for the 48-inch LG, nevertheless it looks like the LG gives a lot extra display in alternate. We’ve lengthy made enjoyable of small 16:9 laptop computer screens for being too brief for productiveness, however LG’s 24-inch-tall slab of pixels is much, far previous the level the place that’s a problem. Every time I swapped out the Neo G9 for the LG C1 (or vice versa), I needed to ask myself why I might pay twice as a lot for a display with the high and backside chopped off when each match positive on my 47-inch Ikea Bekant desk.
And whereas the Samsung monitor does attain twice the refresh fee at 240Hz, in comparison with 120Hz for the LG, extremely technical evaluation websites like Rtings will let you know the LG is definitely higher with regards to response time and blur (which is what we truly care about once we care about refresh fee). For variable refresh fee, each help Nvidia G-Sync, AMD FreeSync Premium or Premium Pro, and the newest HDMI 2.1 with VRR for Xbox Series X and (ultimately) the PS5 as properly.
Wondering if a TV may guzzle extra electrical energy than a devoted monitor? It’s a good query, however you is likely to be stunned. Playing by means of the similar precise part of Deathloop with HDR, I averaged 68Wh per hour with the 48-inch LG, in comparison with 89Wh per hour with the Samsung Neo. When I added desktop apps, it was a bit nearer: the LG consumed 85Wh per hour, whereas the Samsung drank 91Wh per hour on common. That’s with energy saving settings turned off on the LG — and I’d advocate you try this immediately as a result of it’s actually dim out of the field.
Despite all this, it’s not essentially that straightforward to swap your conventional monitor for both of these gigantic panels. Let’s speak gaming, productiveness, and lastly, we’ll spend just a few phrases chatting about your desk.
I’m not going to rehash my whole Samsung Odyssey G9 evaluation, the place I included 14 full-bleed photos to indicate you what gaming is like on a 32:9 display, however I’ll offer you the TL;DR model right here: super-ultrawide gaming is fantastic however bizarre. Playing on the Odyssey G9 and Neo G9 is extremely immersive, nevertheless it’s additionally actually warped in a method I don’t all the time discover nice as a result of sport builders by no means adopted multi-projection of their video games. And in the 12 months since that evaluation, nothing’s modified.
I performed a brand new bunch of Halo Infinite multiplayer, dove by means of all of Deathloop, and performed by means of the whole Back 4 Blood marketing campaign swapping between the Odyssey Neo G9 and the LG C1 48. While all three of these video games have completely ample 32:9 help, and Halo even marketed it as a function, all of them have that stunted-and-zoomed look on the left and proper sides of the display.
I don’t all the time hate it. But I might by no means, ever select to play them on the Odyssey Neo G9 as a substitute of LG’s 48-inch gaming tv, the place each sport mechanically appears to be like unbelievable as a result of they’re designed for 16:9 to start with. It’s simply as immersive, if no more so, given that you simply’ve acquired extra display and fewer distracting warped edges in view. And it doesn’t assist Samsung that its monitor has some extraordinarily unusual outcomes displaying HDR and 240Hz content material, too.
Like I mentioned, the LG set already punches more durable than its Hz would recommend with regards to busting blur, however the Samsung Neo G9 additionally seems to have bizarre issues with its 240Hz mode, most prominently that it’s going to show seen horizontal strains throughout parts of the show, ones which might be most seen on gradients, shiny colours, or when the panel’s full-array native dimming will get notably darkish or shiny all of a sudden. An enormous, splashy, story-critical explosion in Deathloop was ruined for me when horizontal strains lower by means of what would in any other case have been a particularly spectacular burst of flame — the sort of factor that the Neo’s peak brightness of 2000 nits makes so shiny you may swear you possibly can really feel the warmth.
Here’s a video instance of what the horizontal strains appear like when the display will get dim:
And I’m removed from the just one who’s seen this challenge — or the points with HDR basically, the place the Neo G9 shipped with HDR help that may charitably be described as “broken” and has solely reached “partially acceptable” after months of firmware updates.
Originally, turning on HDR mode would wash out the colours of your whole Windows desktop, although that’s now fastened. But even after the newest firmware replace (which it’s important to obtain on a PC, then apply on to the monitor with a thumb drive after eradicating any USB peripherals from the monitor’s USB ports), some of the darkish shadowy areas of Deathloop look inexperienced and Back 4 Blood appears to be like prefer it’s being flooded by the headlights of a automobile. Tweaking luminance and coloration helped some, however the finest consequence I may muster was nonetheless far shy of the unbelievable outcomes LG gave me with out tweaking in any respect.
(Hardware Unboxed deserves severe credit score for pushing Samsung on these issues, going by means of a number of evaluation models and feeding Samsung knowledge, and Techtesters just lately testified they’d gone by means of three completely different evaluation models as properly.)
It’s wild as a result of final 12 months’s Odyssey G9 additionally suffered from some high quality management points round its 240Hz mode (which didn’t work with some graphics playing cards out of the gate) and poor native dimming, and we figured a Neo G9 (at twice the worth!) would remedy each. But whereas the new Mini-LED full array native dimming gives these unbelievable deep blacks round, say, the borders of a film you’re watching, we aren’t seeing that in video games the place we undoubtedly ought to.
At 120Hz or 144Hz with out HDR, the Odyssey Neo G9 was pretty passable, not not like the vanilla Odyssey G9 I examined final 12 months. But that authentic G9 can be over $1,000 cheaper — and so is LG’s set.
And but, in case you plan to get work achieved in your new gigantic display, I can’t wholeheartedly advocate an LG TV, both.
People ask me two questions: “Aren’t you worried about burn-in?” “Don’t you get headaches sitting two feet away from the TV?”
The reply is that LG provides me my selection of headache: I can get a literal headache as a result of LG’s overzealous burn-in protections make the display so dim it could actually result in severe eyestrain, or I can spend my time worrying about that burn-in by turning some of these protections off in a hidden service menu.
In normal, I’m not nervous about burn-in, the phenomenon the place OLED subpixels (which have natural chemical compounds that emit their very own mild) can put on inconsistently over time, creating ghostly photos that stick round. Numerous OLED burn-in assessments have proven that it could actually take 1000’s upon 1000’s of hours to see everlasting retention even in case you go away static content material up on the display. That’s as a result of LG has in-built a big selection of protections, together with shifting round the pixels now and again, dimming logos and icons that don’t transfer, and dimming the whole display if it doesn’t transfer sufficient or will get too shiny.
That final instance will be bizarre in apply: in case you increase a shiny white internet browser web page (like the one you’re studying) from a window to fullscreen, you possibly can watch the whole display dim to a paper white as a substitute. But I realized to reside with that fairly rapidly and perhaps even want it to the sometimes-searing whites of the Samsung, notably when Windows is about to HDR mode.
No, It’s the Temporal Peak Luminance Control (TPC), additionally typically referred to as the Automatic Static Brightness Limiter, that units my eyeballs on hearth. I is likely to be typing in a doc or scrolling down a webpage, however the majority of the home windows on my huge desktop aren’t shifting, so the LG TV will ever so slowly dip the whole brightness of the display, so slowly I don’t even discover till the eyestrain creeps up on me. It’s about as dim as my laptop computer will get on the lowest setting, even when I’m utilizing it in a shiny room. I’ve tried all the things to cease it, together with varied image modes, decreasing the TV’s brightness and even the particular person OLED pixel brightness, however the solely factor that stopped it was shopping for a particular distant management designed for troubleshooting and turning off “TPC” in the service menu. (Tap “In Start,” then kind in 0413.)
No extra complications, however at what value? I may need simply voided this TV’s guarantee, and I’ve began to see minor picture retention after every day of use. (If I verify a impartial grey picture, I can typically see “seams” the place the home windows was.) So far, they’re all the time gone the subsequent morning, possible because of LG’s computerized “pixel refresher,” however I’m nonetheless nervous I could also be getting older the TV prematurely.
Even if it weren’t for the brightness woes, I’d nonetheless want the 32:9 Samsung monitor for multitasking, and it’s all because of that curve. Like I mentioned in my authentic Odyssey G9 evaluation, you possibly can match an astonishing quantity on display with the equal of two 27-inch screens at your command, and the monitor’s distinctive 1000R curve places all of it at the similar distance out of your face at a crisp angular decision. But with the 48-inch LG, textual content was uncomfortably small and / or pixelated except I each pushed the TV again to 2 toes from my face and ran Windows at 125 p.c scaling for an efficient decision of 3072 x 1680 reasonably than 3840 x 2160. While I’ve been snug working that method for weeks, it’s merely not as a lot display actual property as Samsung provides you.
What nonetheless separates a TV from a monitor
I hope it’s clear by now that these screens are an funding, not simply in cash however in bodily area. I’m fortunate to have a very compact Mini-ITX tower as my gaming rig as a result of even it barely suits behind the Samsung on my desk and solely works with the LG as a result of it’s so small it could actually piggyback on the TV’s stand. With the LG, I additionally wanted to awkwardly loop my keyboard cable round the left or proper of that stand (as a result of there’s no cable administration or perhaps a groove). My Ikea desk is sufficiently small I even have to position my audio system behind the TV and be certain nothing (not even my water bottle) stands between me and the TV to keep away from blocking my view.
I’m getting used to it, however even a less complicated four-legged stand like the one LG ships with its cheaper LG A1 would make issues an excellent bit simpler. Maybe don’t purchase that one for PC gaming, although; it tops out at 60Hz. I may put my PC on the ground and clear it typically, I suppose, or drill a wall stud and discover a mount robust sufficient to carry up a 42-pound TV or a 32-pound monitor, however that’s not an possibility for each purchaser. (They each technically work with VESA monitor arms in case you have one robust sufficient; the Neo G9 has a 100×100 sample with M4 screws, the C1 48 is 300×200 with M6 screws as a substitute.)
You could wish to discover room for LG’s TV distant, too, as a result of there’s no nub to simply navigate an on-screen show with the LG, only a single button below the producer emblem to show it on and off and cycle by means of inputs. Meanwhile, the Samsung not solely has severe cable administration and straightforward OSD navigation but in addition an adjustable stand, a built-in USB 3 hub, and a remarkably succesful picture-by-picture mode that allows you to join two computer systems or a pc and a contemporary sport console concurrently. They can every run at 120Hz on their very own digital 27-inch screens, and it comes with three programmable buttons to swap between whole units of user-customized settings.
I’m a bit unhappy that neither the LG nor Samsung is able to declare the title of the final PC monitor as a result of we’re tantalizingly shut. Samsung wants high quality management and perhaps partnerships to reboot multi-projection sport growth; LG’s gotta construct a burn-in safety algorithm that doesn’t make me wish to claw my eyes out. Having these gigantic screens on my desk looks like the future, and I badly need each firms to do much more targeted testing with players to good their merchandise for us.
I’ve excessive hopes for LG’s upcoming 42-inch OLED TV, however I ponder if it’s time for the firm to construct a real OLED PC gaming monitor as properly. Maybe it may even take a web page from Samsung and make it a brilliant curved display; I hear nice issues about LG’s 38-inch 3840 x 1600 curved ultrawide, nevertheless it’s dear and not OLED. I suppose the nice GPU scarcity means there’s time for these firms to determine it out: I used an RTX 3080 to competently drive these screens’ 7 or 8 million pixels throughout the newest video games, and that sort of card will possible be in brief provide all through 2022.