- Huge screen
- Great for using two PCs at once
- Good overall image quality
- Good gaming performance
- Decent value
- Almost too big
- Almost too wide for gaming
- Low resolution for its size
- 49-inch wide display
- 32:9 aspect ratio
- 3840 x 1080 resolution
- 144Hz refresh rate
- Built-in KVM
- VA LCD panel
- Height, tilt and rotation adjustment
- VESA mount
What is the Samsung C49J89?
The C49J89 may not have a particularly enticing name, but this behemoth of a monitor is in fact packed with exciting features.
Most obviously, it’s huge. It measures 49 inches from corner to corner and it has an ultra-wide aspect ratio of 32:9. In other words, it’s the same size as two 27-inch monitors sat side-by-side.
It also boasts a gamer-friendly 144Hz refresh rate, its VA LCD panel should provide great viewing angles, and Samsung makes plenty of enticing claims about its image quality.
What’s more, to take full advantage of that massive screen, the C49J89 also includes a built-in KVM. This allows you to connect up one keyboard (K), monitor (V) and mouse (M) to two PCs and switch between them. You can also enable a picture-by-picture mode so you can see both PCs at once, and switch control between them at the touch of a button.
At this point, some of you may be thinking you’re having déjà vu all over again – this monitor looks identical to the Samsung CHG90. And, sure enough, it’s essentially the same beast but re-tooled for business use. However, by removing the rather lacklustre HDR features of that display, adding in a KVM and reducing the price, this may well be the better buy of the two.
Design and Features
For such a gargantuan display – and doubly so for one that’s aimed at business use – the C49J89 is surprisingly stylish. Its panel is curved, which adds a certain elegance, while the use of a narrow, semi-covered border makes the edges of the panel nice and slim.
The simple stand design, dark grey metallic paint and general lack of anything flashy also give it a classy feel.
However, there’s no getting round just how much space it takes up and how heavy it is. You really will need to be careful putting its stand together and manoeuvring the whole thing into position.
In this regard, the stand doesn’t offer the most practical design; a large rectangular base on which to shift around the weight of the display would have proved easier.
In fact, aside from looking good there’s little to like about the base of this display. Its long, splayed feet/legs stretch so wide and far forward that they get in the way quite considerably – unless you have a deep desk and are able to push the display further back. In particular, I found gaming was severely impacted as my mouse cable would snag on the tip of the foot.
Otherwise, the stand deserves praise for including height, tilt and rotation adjustment, plus it can be removed and a VESA-compatible stand used instead. On the very back of the stand there’s also a flip-down headphone stand, which is a nice idea. In reality, however, it’s totally impractical as you can’t see or even really reach it when sat in front of the display.
On a similar note, connectivity, while plentiful, is among the least accessible I’ve ever encountered on a monitor.
All the ports are on the back, in a recessed section that can be covered over with an included plastic panel. It makes for a tidy setup once sorted, but it’s a pain for changing devices once setup – which is a reasonably likely occurrence given this display is intended for use with two or more computers.
It’s the combination of the location of the ports and the angle that they’re at that makes it next to impossible to plug stuff in without wedging your head under the display to see what you’re doing.
But, what a selection of connections you get. For video, there’s a DisplayPort 1.2 and two HDMI 1.4, plus a Type-C USB port. Then there are two further USB Type-C ports for connecting your computers to the display along with two USB 2.0 ports and a USB 3.0 port.
There’s also a headphone jack and – as you’d hope for such a large display – the power supply is internal so there’s no big power brick to worry about.
All in all, while there are a few quirks to this display, it largely makes a good first impression.
As for the panel, it has an 1800cm radius curve to it and uses a VA-type LCD panel with a resolution of 3840 x 1080 pixels.
OSD, setup and KVM
As mentioned, setup of the C49J89 can be quite the undertaking due to its size and awkward connectivity. What’s more, working out how to get everything connected up to enable the KVM functionality is a bit of a brainteaser too.
With so many different USB ports from which to choose, and with one of those ports also providing video, it takes a while to work out what combination works. Moreover, you only get one DisplayPort, one USB-to-Type-C and one Type-C-to-Type-C cable in the box. As such, for many conventional two-PC setups, you won’t have the right combination of cables to get things working.
It also seems odd that there’s only one DisplayPort and two HDMI. For setting up two conventional PCs, two DisplayPort would have been more convenient and intuitive.
Regardless, once setup the KVM largely works well. You can switch directly between both PCs in full-screen or have the two video feeds configured side-by-side (or picture-in-picture) then just swap the USB control, both at the touch of a button. It takes a few moments for everything to switch over, but it works reliably.
There are a couple of gremlins, though. The first is that the backlighting on the keyboard wouldn’t work through the KVM, or at least it wouldn’t work consistently. The whole input selection and switching over is also a little clunky, with you having to wait quite a while for the system to workout which inputs are being used.
Once setup, switching between PCs, engaging PBP or PIP, and switching USB controls is achieved via three buttons on the underside of the frame, making the KVM feature genuinely convenient.
For actually setting up which inputs you’re using, however, you’ll need to jump into the main menu. This is controlled by a mini-joystick just to the right of these three buttons.
It’s a simple and responsive control system and the menus themselves are clear and easy to use. From top to bottom, the Picture menu includes brightness, contrast and colour balance options. The PIP/PBP menu provides all the options you need for configuring which sources to use, the size of the windows, their aspect ratio, the sound source, and USB sources.
Next is the OnScreen Display menu that provides the usual options to change the position, language and transparency of the menu. Then it’s the System menu, which includes quite a few extra features such as the USB source setup, DisplayPort and HDMI modes and the option to switch to manual source selection.
Finally, the information menu displays items such as resolution, refresh rate and serial number of the display.
It’s all very perfunctory, with no extraneous extra game modes or bizarre colour profiles, making setup of everything as easy as possible.
Of course, the first thing to say about this monitor’s image quality is just how big the picture is – at least in one direction. With a resolution 3840 x 1080, you get a very wide image that’s great for arranging several windows next to each other.
During my time with the monitor I settled on having Outlook open on the left, Firefox on the right and Word/Excel or whatever else I was working on in the middle.
Meanwhile, if you enable the PBP mode then you get two 1920 x 1080 displays side by side, which is ample for doing practical work on two displays simultaneously. It’s an absolute godsend for benchmarking other products you’re reviewing while still being able to work on your main PC!
The downside to this display layout and resolution is the modest 1080 vertical resolution. If you’re used to a 2560 x 1440 pixel 27-inch monitor then the drop in the number of vertical pixels does feel a little constricting. That’s particularly true if you work with pictures and video. For that sort of work, a display with a conventional 16:9 aspect screen with a higher resolution will be more useful.
Indeed, the overall sharpness and pixel density of this screen isn’t great either. It has a pixel density of only 81ppi, making it look fairly pixellated by modern standards.
Combined with the slightly annoying stand design, this is the second reason thata deep desk is something of a must with this display. For optimal use you’ll want to be sat 70-80cm away from it, rather than the more typical 50-60cm.
Otherwise, its image quality is fantastic. The VA LCD panel provides excellent viewing angles, making for a consistent-looking image from wherever you view it. Technically, its vertical viewing angles aren’t quite as good as IPS displays, but in use this wasn’t apparent – especially if you’re sitting further back when using it.
Colour accuracy is also very good. Right out of the box it delivers a near-perfect colour balance, with a colour temperature of 6885K.
Meanwhile, its Delta E average of just 0.13 shows it can perfectly distinguish between fine differences in colour. The only slight slip-up is that the sRGB colour space coverage of 90.5% isn’t quite up there with the very best. Nevertheless, it’s still more than enough for all but the most demanding of professionals.
All this and that VA panel delivers exceptional contrast levels, too, making for deep, rich-looking images that happily show inky blacks alongside bright colours. VA LCD technology is the best for native contrast but generally it hits around 2000:1. Here, though, it registers as 2974:1.
The display also offers impressive uniformity, considering its size. It varies by at most 8.07% in brightness across its entire surface, with an average variance of 4.25%. The colour temperature suffers only a 0.7% average variation.
Although the image is very good right out of the box, things can be improved a little. Our review sample had a very slightly high colour temperature, so dropping the RGB colour value from 50 x 50 x 50 to 50 x 50 x 46 corrected this, resulting in a measurement of 6487K. This also improved the colour space coverage, Delta E and gamma results.
As for gaming, the C49J89 makes for an interesting option. For a start, its mega-wide aspect ratio, while largely supported across a wide variety of games, doesn’t always result in an improved view.
For instance, in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, while the horizontal viewport is indeed increased, the vertical viewport is reduced compared to a conventional 16:9 screen. This doesn’t affect trying to spot enemies and engage in firefights, but it made looking down to pick up loot more difficult.
This trend is seen throughout other games, and often where the viewport is extended horizontally, it won’t actually show anything extra over and above what you’d see on a 21:9 screen. Instead, it stretches out the edges of the image, akin to a fish-eye effect.
Otherwise, the display delivers a decent gaming experience. The response time of the VA panel can’t compete with a TN or even IPS display, but you definitely still feel like you’re on a 144Hz screen. Meanwhile, the lack of G-Sync or FreeSync is noticeable, but it’s a small compromise.
Overall, we’d probably still opt for a 21:9 or 16:9 screen for gaming, but if you’re after a master-of-all-trades display that can serve your multi-computer, large-desktop productivity needs and still provide decent gaming, then the Samsung C49J89 is more than up to the job.
Why buy the Samsung C49J89?
The Samsung C49J89 is an interesting option for those seeking a big-screen monitor. Its significant 49-inch size, 32:9 aspect ratio, built-in KVM and picture-by-picture mode combine to make a fantastic productivity tool for those working with multiple PCs or other video sources.
It also offers excellent overall image quality, with its huge contrast ratio being a particular highlight, and its 144Hz refresh rate making it a capable gaming display too. Its £899 asking price is also reasonable considering everything you get here.
However, the 32:9 aspect ratio and relatively low vertical resolution means that for those primarily seeking an ultra-wide display for gaming and single-PC use, a more traditional 21:9 aspect ratio screen will be a better bet.
This mega-wide monitor is fantastically versatile and has great image quality, making it well worth a look.