Now that we've reached a point of diminishing returns in resolution, displays have to find other ways to grab the attention of consumers. The 32-inch Samsung CFG70 curved gaming monitor checks off a lot of boxes on the list of consumer wants.
It's enormous size and HDR capacity work in tandem with the monitor’s curvature to put you into your games in a way a traditional flat monitor doesn't. Whether you love curved displays, or think it's a nothing more than a gimmick, this big, beautiful display makes traditional monitors feel flat in more ways than one.
Price and availability
Samsung's QLED family of curved displays are available in the US, UK, and Australia, but Australia doesn't get to enjoy all the screen real estate of the 32-inch model we tested. If you're interested in a smaller display, Samsung offers the 27-inch model for $999AU.
The 32-inch version of the CHG70 will set you back $649 (£679). However, this display can usually be found at a lower price if you either do some digging, or just wait for a big sale.
That $649 gets you a 1440p, 144hz, FreeSync enabled display with a 1ms response time. In other words, it's absolutely ideal for gaming, especially if you don't mind not having 4K.
The 27-inch Dell UltraSharp 4K HDR UP2718Q monitor costs a staggering $1,549 (£1,440, AU$2,379), and while you get a higher resolution, it has a 4ms response time with fast mode, and 8ms otherwise. The $549 (£474, around $700AUD) LG 27UK650 is less expensive for a 4K panel, but also has a slower response time and lacks the blazing fast 144mHz refresh of the Samsung.
The CHG70 stands out in large part because of its large size. At 32-inches, it fills a normal sized desk. Where the stand meets the montior, Samsung added a blue accent light that looks really cool, but unless the monitor is set up to where the back is visible, the blue light isn't bright enough overcome the light coming from the screen itself.
The stand has a clamp to run cables, if you're a cable-management stickler, and it feels sturdy and adjusts fairly easily. The base is a large, boomerang-shaped stand that takes up entirely too much room. On a typical desk, there's barely enough room left to set a keyboard when the display is set up. It also sits far forward, which adds to the immersion, but you’ll actually have to turn your head to see the entire screen.
There's a pair of USB 3.0 ports, one of which is quick-charging, which is about what you'd expect in a monitor of this caliber. What it doesn't have are built-in speakers. It's a shame, because as big and beautiful as this display is, especially with HDR, watching movies on it is ideal. Not having built-in speakers means you either need to supply your own external set up, or use a pair of headphones.
It has 2 HDMI ports in addition to a single DisplayPort, so it's possible to hook up a Xbox One X or PS4 Pro, Blu-ray player, or all three, and switch between. Again, the lack of built-speakers means there's an extra set of cables you'll have to concern yourself with, but it does have a built-in audio-out, so a small pair of powered speakers wouldn't be difficult to add to the mix.
When it comes to color, the CHG70 is absolutely unbelievable. Reds and blues look so deep and so rich that going back to a regular monitor makes it feel like you’ve gone color blind. Turning on HDR and playing an HDR-enabled game like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is a truly stunning experience.
The skies over Middle-earth were absolutely jaw-dropping in HDR, with some of the deepest and most pure blues we've ever seen. On the other end, the reds, too, burst from the screen. It's honestly hard to go back to a normal display. The CHG70 comes fully color-calibrated from the factory, so if you're a gamer who also happens to be a photographer, it's an ideal set-up.
As gorgeous as HDR-enabled games and movies look, text in HDR mode just looks off. No matter how much we tweaked sharpness or used the Windows ClearType tool, on-screen text looked slightly smeared.
This is marketed as a gaming monitor, and really, this is a gamer's dream. The 144Hz refresh rate lets games run silky smooth, and the FreeSync 2 capabilities means if you're running an AMD card, your games won't ever tear, even with HDR enabled.
Where it really impresses is the 1ms response time. There's no motion-based artifacts like ghosting or coronas to speak of when the monitor runs in fast mode, which is often the case. The only corona we noticed was in the lobby of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds around the player model legs, but it's extremely slight and doesn't appear anywhere else in the game.
Menu adjustments are done through a single button on the back, as is the case with many Samsung displays. The button basically doubles as a mini-joystick, and moving it navigates you through the nice, easy to follow OSD. Moving the menu button up or down lets you quickly adjust brightness, sharpness, contrast and volume, while clicking on it brings up a more in-depth menu screen.
For immersion and color reproduction, it's hard to beat the Samsung CHG70 at even it's normal price. You'd be hard pressed to find a gaming monitor with so many nice features at a price point like this.
The curve really puts you into the game and it’s just feels enormous, so it envelops your peripheral vision in whatever you're playing, really sucking you in. While there's no way to know for certain, improvements in our PUBG K/D ratio were definitely helped along by the big, beautiful display. It's hard to go back to a normal monitor.
As immersive as the experience of gaming on the CHG70 is, it comes at the cost of desk real estate. It's just too big to fit on a standard sized desk. It's also fantastically bright, which is normally a good thing, but after sitting so close to a gleaming 32-inch screen, we had to adjust the brightness level down to below 50 percent to save our eyeballs from bursting into flames.
Ultimately, the Samsung CHG70 achieves everything it sets out to do. Yes, more USB ports would be nice, and a different stand configuration would help clear up desk space, but if you have a powerful graphics card and want to take full advantage of it without going full 4K, the Samsung CHG70 is a great choice.