The Samsung CRG9 is a glorious gaming monitor, but it's so expensive and so hard to drive, that it's only really suitable for people with money to burn.
It's kind of big
Requires killer gaming PC to run
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Sometimes we get a chance to mess around with the most absolutely wild products on the market, and we think the Samsung CRG9 qualifies. This is a bonkers 49-inch monitor with a 5,120 x 1,440 resolution and HDR 1000. It's also incredibly expensive, but with these kind of specs, it kind of has to be.
So, while we don't think everyone should rush out to buy this monitor – it takes up a lot of space, and takes some adjustment to actually use – it is genuinely one of the best gaming monitors we've had the chance to use. Of course, we do have an RTX 2080 Ti literally lying around that we can power it with, so your mileage may vary if you have weaker hardware.
Price and availability
If you want to buy the Samsung CRG9 it is available right now in the US and UK, and will roll out in October in Australia. That is, it will be available to anyone that is willing to drop the $1,499 (£1,249, AU$2,499) that's required to pick it up.
This is definitely a lot to ask for from a gaming monitor, especially when you can pick up the holy grail of gaming monitors – the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ – for around the same price these days. Though, that monitor isn't QLED and it doesn't have the wild super-ultra-wide resolution.
Monitors like the Samsung CRG9 kind of stand in a league of their own, and it's hard to compare them to other monitors. This isn't simply a 21:9 monitor, like the Alienware AW3418DW, this is something else entirely. If you're looking for this aspect ratio, this is just kind of the price you're going to have to pay, which makes this monitor hard to recommend to anyone but the most avid enthusiasts.
The Samsung CRG9 is a big monitor, and it's nearly too big for our bigger-than-average desk. If you're looking to pick up the CRG9 for your home gaming setup, you're going to want to break out that measuring tape. This monitor is 47 inches (1,198mm) wide – nearly 4 feet – almost as tall as we are.
But, once you clear out enough space on your desk, this monitor really is a thing of beauty. The bezels are thinner than most gaming monitors, so we are constantly just lost in a sea of pixels, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
The bezels are all black except for the bottom, which has this attractive gunmetal finish, interrupted only by the Samsung logo and some minimalist button labels. The buttons themselves, by the way, are on the bottom of the monitor.
The power button will, of course, turn the thing on – but once power is flowing, pushing it in pops up a little menu, and you can tilt the power button in one of four directions to make a selection. Through this menu, you can select the source, change picture options, or enable the "picture by picture" mode. The other three buttons will also bring up some information.
That picture by picture mode is one of the coolest parts of this monitor. When it's enabled, you can use two different inputs, simulating a dual monitor display, with no border in between. Through this option, we're able to run our MacBook Pro right next to our gaming PC. This would even work with something like a PS4 Pro: play your game on one side of the screen, while you have a guide or something open on the other.
That, of course, brings us to the ports on the back of the display. Samsung brilliantly put them in this recessed port alcove, which is covered by a removable shield. Even when we plug in enough stuff to fill every single port, all the cables are channeled through one hole in this shield, making for a clean cable setup.
If we had one complaint with the Samsung CRG9 design, it would be that it doesn't have a hole in the stand for channeling the cables of our accessories. This is such a huge quality of life feature that's prominent in gaming monitors these days – we just wish Samsung went for it, too.
A $1,499 (£1,249, AU$2,499) monitor that's approximately the size of Rhode Island could easily backfire if it doesn't perform. But, luckily, it does. The Samsung CRG9 produces an out-of-this-world image right out of the box. We don't even feel the slightest need to go around fiddling with all the settings.
Looking at the spec sheet, this really isn't surprising either. The Samsung CRG9 is rocking a Samsung QLED panel with a peak brightness of 1,000 nits. And, this monitor is HDR 1000 compatible, and that peak brightness really helps deliver on that rating.
It also supports 125% sRGB coverage, meaning that colors really come alive. Playing Gears 5 is quite the experience on the CRG9: on top of being almost literally surrounded by the display, it looks beautiful. All the colors in the first act just coming alive in front of our eyes.
And, don't forget that the Samsung CRG9 is a 'capital-G' gaming monitor. That means that not only does the CRG9 have a 120 Hz refresh rate, but with a 4ms response time, everything feels extremely responsive. Sure, it's not the same 1ms response rate that esports players crave, but no one is going to play Overwatch on this monitor – not that the game supports it anyway.
However, if you do want to play the latest PC games on this thing, you do have to be prepared for a lot of them not working super well. A lot of games don't support the 32:9 aspect ratio. When you launch a game like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the game will render in the middle of the screen, with huge black bars on either side of the display. However, you can mod most games to work with displays like this, but your mileage may vary.
You also need to keep in mind the hardware needed to play games on this thing. We powered this monitor with a gaming PC strapped with an AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and had a pretty good experience. But, if you're rocking even a mid-range system, you could start to run into problems.
For most people, the Samsung CRG9 probably isn't worth it. Not only do you have to drop $1,499 (£1,249, AU$2,499) on the monitor, but you're going to need one hell of a gaming PC to power it.
However, if you do have the cash to bankroll it, and the hardware to drive it, the Samsung CRG9 definitely delivers on its promise. Short of bringing good games to VR, you're not going to get a more immersive gaming experience anywhere else. And, that in and of itself is worth some applause.
Jackie Thomas is the Hardware and Buying Guides Editor at IGN. Previously, she was TechRadar's US computing editor. She is fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but she just happens to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop her a line on Twitter or through email.