Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 - G95NC
7680 x 2160 pixels, 57"
A large screen and high pixel density usually can’t coexist. But Samsung’s new 57-inch monitor manages. It’s a successful feat with a few weak points and hungry hardware.
A monitor with a 57-inch diagonal: Samsung’s megalomania is taking over. The new Odyssey Neo G9 is the largest widescreen display on the market. It’s also the first device with a dual UHD resolution, i.e. 7680 × 2160 pixels.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 - G95NC
7680 x 2160 pixels, 57"
With a 32:9 aspect ratio, the new giant monitor seems more practical to me than the 55-inch 16:9 Odyssey Ark I tested last year. Just like the Ark, the Neo G9 comes with a mini LED backlight and Local Dimming. I’ve summarised the most important specifications here:
It sounds promising. Will screens like the Neo G9 be the way forward? Will the high image quality be as impressive as the big numbers? I set up the monster on my desk.
My test starts with a disappointment: like many Samsung screens, the Odyssey Neo G9 suffers from only barely sufficient stability and handiwork. The V-shaped base distributes the weight well on the desk. But the casing and stand just don’t make the solid impression I expect in this price range. When I bump into the desk, the screen sways for too long. The thin stand and hinges (which aren’t stable enough in the monitor’s suspension) are probably to blame, weighing 15.4 kg. Together with the base it’s 19 kg.
If your desk isn’t stable enough, the Neo G9 will probably also wobble when typing. On mine, made of solid oak and a steel frame, it works to some extent. Please Samsung: make your screens 100 francs more expensive and use better materials. That goes for the back made of white high gloss plastic too. Its cheap look has no place on a premium device for me.
Fortunately, it looks better from the front. Here, the thin stand makes the monitor look less clunky than it is. The narrow edges around the display too. As soon as I sit in front of the screen, I really like the look of the Neo G9. I can adjust its height, tilt and rotate it a little. I also like that Samsung has integrated the power supply into the device, unlike the Odyssey OLED G9. This saves me the extra space for an external power block.
Still, I recommend a large desk. It should be both wide and deep enough. From left to right, the Neo G9 measures 1.33 metres. There are 25 centimetres between the rearmost point of the stand and the cantered front edge of the display. For a comfortable viewing distance, the desk should be at least 1 metre deep. You need at least 1.8 metres in width if you want to leave room for speakers.
I find the selection of connections for the image signal a bit strange. The monitor has a single DisplayPort 2.1 and three HDMI 2.1 ports. Why it needs so many of them is a mystery to me, but never mind. What I’m missing, however, is USB-C. This port is conspicuous by its absence, which limits Mac compatibility. More on that later.
All right, enough celebrating. The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 does almost everything right in the most important area: image quality. Samsung puts pretty much all the technology currently available into its flagship – and shows why well-implemented mini-LED is better suited for monitors than OLED in most situations.
The mini LED backlight of the Neo G9 gets bright. Very bright. Samsung specifies 420 nits, but I measure no less than 795 nits in SDR mode. That’s enough even during the day, right next to a large window.
When there’s a lot of ambient light, the excellent matt anti-reflective coating does the job. I realised how important the quality is since I had Dell’s 6K monitor in front of me at the same workstation. When the Dell screen had dark areas, I mainly saw my reflection or my white wall. That’s not the case with the Neo G9. Here black stays black.
Thanks to 2392 dimming zones, Samsung’s monster can control the brightness very locally. On the one hand, this results in a good contrast. On the other hand, dark areas don’t look washed-out even in low ambient light. Only when I turn off the lamps in my room completely, a certain blooming effect becomes visible at hard contrasting edges. In this situation, OLED panels are still better because they can turn off each pixel separately. This makes them far less bright than those with mini-LEDs.
The viewing angles of the VA panel that Samsung uses in the Neo G9 are worse than OLED. When viewed from the side, colour shifts occur and the contrast drops rapidly. To prevent this, your gaze must hit the monitor as vertically as possible. The 1000R curvature is therefore no gimmick, but mandatory for the huge screen width. 1000R means that screen would form a complete circle with a 1000-millimetre radius – that is, one metre. Ideally, your viewing distance should be just as far too.
In the correct sitting position, the colours are really satisfying for a gaming screen. They’re a bit oversaturated out of the factory, but that can be easily fixed in the settings. In addition, the screen has a slight green cast and the contrast curve is too aggressive. This leads to a black crush – a loss of detail in dark areas of the image. You can’t tell when playing games, just a bit when watching films. However, if I want to edit a photo on the Neo G9, it’s difficult in the default setting. Samsung offers a Black Equalizer in the settings, which can be increased by three levels. This helps a little, but I’m not entirely happy.
Instead, I calibrate the Neo G9 with the Calibrite i1Display. However, it’s also got its weaknesses.
The illumination of my test sample is average. The largest difference in brightness, recorded between the middle and the corners, is just under ten per cent. With large plain areas, a dirty screen effect is visible. Not all zones of the backlight are exactly the same brightness. The result is an image that looks «dirty». However, the effect is fortunately so weak in the Neo G9 that I never notice it in everyday use.
One of the headline features of Samsung’s Monster is its high resolution. The resolution is 7680 × 2160 pixels, also known as «8K2K» or «Dual UHD». The latter because it corresponds to two UHD screens side by side – in the case of the 57-inch Neo G9, two 32-inchers. The pixel density is 140 pixels per inch (ppi). This is a high value for this screen size, promising a sharp and detailed picture. Text looks very clear in office applications.
But there is a twofold crux with the high resolution: first your graphics card must be able to calculate so many pixels fast enough – and then send them to the monitor with a high enough frame rate. Both aren’t so easy.
Let’s start with the transmission. The Neo G9 has an extremely high maximum frame rate of 240 hertz. In order for the dual-UHD resolution to arrive at this frame rate at all, both the monitor and graphics card must support DisplayPort 2.1. The Neo G9 does, but most GPUs don’t. Only AMD’s Radeon RX 7000 series has the port. Nvidia doesn’t even offer it on the RTX 4090. You can connect the monitor via HDMI 2.1, but then only a maximum of 120 hertz is available.
Which brings me to the second part of the problem: the RTX 4090 would be the only graphics card that could even begin to compute current games in such a high resolution with such high frame rates. AMD provided me with their flagship for the test, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX. Thanks to DisplayPort 2.1, the full 240 hertz would theoretically be available, but I can only achieve this in dual UHD with older games. The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 can probably only really blossom with future GPU generations – where the leather jacket will hopefully be comfortable installing the latest DP standard in a 2000 franc graphics card.
The screen can’t be held responsible for performance and connectivity issues. It simply delivers more possibilities than current hardware can exploit. Even so, gaming on the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is a great experience. Whether you like the 32:9 aspect ratio is a matter of taste. I personally like it here because the display is high enough despite the panorama format.
In Forza Horizon I get about 100 fps with high details, enough for me. The feeling in racing games is great with the huge screen. In my peripheral vision, the landscape races past me. At the same time, I’m not struck from above the way I was with the too-high Odyssey Ark. The fantastic colours and the high contrasts complete the fun gaming experience.
Next, I’ll try the graphically challenging Hogwarts Legacy. Here, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX has to work harder. I need to enable AMD’s FSR 2.2 upscaling technology to make the game run smoothly in 7680 × 2160. Even then I only get 50-60 FPS and sometimes have dips. The huge screen sets the stage for the magical world impressively. But this title was more fun on the Odyssey OLED G9 in native 1440p resolution.
I finally exploit the full 240 hertz of the Neo G9 in Overwatch 2. But the game doesn’t work in 32:9, only a maximum of 21:9. This means I’m stuck with black bars on the left and right, but I don’t think it’s that bad – even in this format, 40 inches of diagonal are still available. That’s more than most conventional ultrawide screens. The picture is extremely smooth and stays sharp even during fast movements. Samsung claim the GTG response time is 1 ms. An OLED display is even faster. But I’m not an eSports pro and I haven’t felt the difference at this level for a long time.
The huge borderless screen surface is also a dream for office work. I can arrange three large windows next to each other – and the middle one is nicely centred in front of me. It’s a perfect setup, for example, when I’m writing a text, doing some research alongside it and exchanging ideas with colleagues in Microsoft Teams in between. All without Alt-Tab (or Cmd-Tab on macOS).
Unlike in previous models, Samsung also implements the Picture-by-Picture function well in the Neo G9. I can split the screen 1:1 or 2:1 and it pretends to be two screens. A separate input signal can be set up for both sides. For example, you could play a game on two thirds of the display and watch a YouTube video next to it.
The maximum brightness level is high and a blessing when the sun shines outside. I can carry on working without drawing the curtains. Another plus point I notice compared to OLED is that the mini-LED lighting doesn’t emit a lot of heat on the large white surface. The Odyssey OLED G9 felt like a radiant heater at times.
If you work in the AdobeRGB colour space, the Neo G9 can’t display enough colours with a coverage of 87 per cent. But I can edit sRGB images for the web without any problems. Both colour space coverage and colour reproduction work here. Plus, there’s a good pixel density. At least on Windows – which brings me to the biggest annoyance of my test.
On macOS, I run into two problems with the Neo G9 that don’t exist on Windows. One can be solved with money, the other cannot.
My MacBook Pro is only two years old. It was expensive and has an M1 Max chip. It could easily handle the dual UHD resolution in office use. However, it’s of no use because I can’t connect the screen properly. It doesn’t have a USB-C port (which would also have to support at least Thunderbolt 3). And the HDMI port on my MacBook is only version 2.0. I try various docking stations, including the expensive CalDigit TS4, which has a DisplayPort. Nothing works. There’s a maximum of 5120 × 1440 pixels in 60 hertz on the Neo G9.
There’s two solutions if I want the full resolution. The first is Picture-by-Picture mode. If I split the screen 1:1, my M1 Max MacBook Pro transmits UHD twice over two separate cables. But then I have two non-centred screens on which I can never centre anything. The 1:2 ratio doesn’t work. My MacBook doesn’t recognise the resolution correctly in the larger part, the image displayed is distorted.
The other solution is simpler: buy a new Mac with M2 Pro or M2 Max. They all have HDMI 2.1. To make sure it really works, I’ll get an M2 Max Mac Studio test unit. In fact, it recognises the full resolution of the Neo G9 and can transmit it via HDMI in 120 hertz.
Unfortunately, however, I now have a new problem. Namely, the special way macOS scales the user interface. I have the choice between 100 and 200 per cent in Dual UHD. 100 is much too small, 200 is too big. For screens with conventional resolutions, MacOS would offer me intermediate steps. Not with the Neo G9. It doesn’t work with add-on apps like BetterDisplay either. Unlike the missing USB-C port, it’s not the screen’s fault, but MacOS alone. You can read more about Apple’s scaling here:
Unlike many other current Samsung screens, the Neo G9 doesn’t have Tizen OS. Thank God! I could never do anything with its bloated menu. I don’t need smart TV functions or a remote control for my monitor. Instead, I praise the simple user interface of the new 57-incher. I can operate the clearly designed menu via a responsive dial at the bottom of the screen.
If I enter the on-screen display (OSD) with a directional key instead of the central O.K. key, I’m lead directly to the most important functions. For example, to the brightness or the input. Great. The only annoyance: during my test, the screen stopped responding to inputs several times. The picture is still displayed normally, but I can no longer open menus or switch inputs. Only when I briefly disconnect the device from the power does it work again. I hope Samsung will fix this bug with a firmware update.
Great for gaming and very good for everyday work: Samsung manages the balancing act I was hoping for with the Odyssey Neo G9. The image quality of the mini LED display is great in almost all applications. It gets extremely bright and is still rich in contrast thanks to fine-mesh local dimming. The good coating effectively prevents reflections. Unlike OLEDs, I also don’t have to worry about burn-in. With up to 240 hertz and a fast response time, the Neo G9 can deliver a smooth picture and is also suitable for fast-paced games.
However, your computer needs a lot of power for good frame rates. The resolution of the Neo G9 is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, the high pixel density ensures a sharp picture, both in office applications and in games. The latter look impressive in 7680 × 2160. You won’t find this much detail in such a large image area anywhere else. However, current titles only reach enough FPS in this resolution with the strongest graphics cards. Furthermore, only the latest AMD graphics cards can actually transmit the signal at 240 hertz. The Nvidia GPUs lack the necessary DisplayPort 2.1.
It gets even more complicated when you want to connect a Mac. This only works well with the new M2-Pro and M2-Max models, and even then there are limitations when scaling macOS.
While these problems aren’t Samsung’s fault, there are no excuses for others. The materials and handiwork of the Neo G9 leave much to be desired. When I spend over 2000 francs or euros on a screen, I don’t want to see glossy plastic. I expect more stability too. Samsung saves in the wrong place here, even if a more solid build would mean a higher price and more weight. Other weaknesses are washed-out contrasts when the viewing angle isn’t perpendicular, a dirty screen effect in uniform surfaces and a few bugs in the firmware.
But they’re not deal breakers for me. In the end, I find Samsung’s monster monitor to be a success. First and foremost, because of the image quality and the huge screen area. I also consider the price to be fair in view of the performance. If your desk is big and stable enough, I can recommend the 57-incher. Just be aware that it can only fully unfold in games with future high-end graphics cards. That being said, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is ahead of its time.Header image: Samuel Buchmann