Samsung CHG70 – Image Quality and Gaming
Away from HDR, this monitor has plenty going for it. For a start, you have the 1800mm radius curved panel. Drawing in the edges of the display results in more of the display being closer to the optimal angle of 90 degrees to your eyes than it would be with a flat panel – it’s the reason IMAX screens are curved.
What’s more, overall image quality is excellent. With a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, the number of pixels per inch is perfect – there’s none of the blockiness evident on lower-resolution screens, nor is there any need to use Windows scaling to make things more readable as is the case with higher-resolution panels.
Samsung also calibrates each display before it leaves the factory, with the result being that colour balance is good (6389K) and gamma (2.22) is spot on. So many monitors arrive poorly setup, but this is a display you can easily just plug in and use as it comes.
Most impressive is that native contrast figure, which measures in at 2441:1. Samsung was keen to point out that the colorimeter I normally use to test monitors – and which is a standard bit of kit for many reviewers – isn’t able to properly register the deeper black levels of which this display is capable. The company showed how a more sensitive colorimeter can pick up such levels and correctly records the full 3000:1 ratio.
Either way, it’s an impressive figure that is able to bring incredible depth to images. This is most welcome when watching films where deep, dark colours are so important to add realism to a world. However, even when gaming and doing general desktop work, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
The same goes for the CHG70’s extended colour palette. Although a requirement for HDR, it can greatly benefit general use too. There’s a richness and vibrancy to colours that many displays simply can’t match. There are occasions where colours can look slightly oversaturated, but they’re few and far between.
When it comes to the general uniformity of this display’s image, its backlight is consistent with an average of just 2.5% variation in brightness across the whole display. Viewing angles are good too. Moving from side to side, there’s almost no variation at all in the image. There is a slight change in the brightness of the image when moving vertically, but it’s no worse than most IPS or VA displays.
Samsung CHG70 – Gaming
When it comes to gaming, one of the big downsides of VA panels tends to be a slow response time compared to both IPS and TN panels. This often makes them completely unsuitable for gaming, even when they have a fast refresh rate.
However, Samsung has got round this by using a panel with a seemingly better response time than typical VA panels and through employing a backlight strobing technique. I say “seemingly” since Samsung hasn’t revealed the native response time of the panel but rather talks about the Moving Picture Response Time (MPRT), which is a measure of the perceived response time of an image. Samsung rates this as just 1ms, which would make the panel competitive with the fastest of TN gaming monitors.
As for the backlight strobing, this is where the backlight of the display turns off momentarily in between each refresh of the image. This has two key effects. It masks the slow response time, so the image appears much crisper, with less visible smearing and trailing due to slow pixel transitions. This is beneficial for all LCD panel types but it’s particularly important for VA. The second is something that benefits all panel types fairly evenly, which is that the momentary blackness helps stop eye-tracking motion blur, which you can read more about in my guide to refresh rates and motion blur.
The end result is a display that’s genuinely good for gaming. Even with the fast movements required in competitive FPS games it produces a crisp, relatively blur-free image. Add in the 144Hz refresh rate and tear- and stutter-reducing benefits of AMD FreeSync (if you have an AMD graphics card), and you have a very competent gaming display indeed.
Sadly, you can’t actually enable FreeSync at the same time as the backlight strobing, which is a shame. However, even without the strobing, the native response time of the display is good enough for all but really competitive gaming, so you can use FreeSync in those instances.
For the most elite players, the latest 240Hz TN models and those that employ 144Hz TN panels and backlight strobing do feel just that bit snappier – but for most players, the performance here should suffice.
Should I buy the Samsung CHG70?
The Samsung CHG70 aims to buck the trend of not being a jack of all trades but a master, and in many ways it succeeds. Even putting aside its HDR capabilities, it has plenty going for it with its huge contrast ratio and impressive colour reproduction ensuring it packs a visual punch.
Add in its comprehensive gaming capabilities and you have a display that easily rivals the very best fast-refresh IPS gaming monitors. The HDR is then the cherry on top of an already delicious cake.
With a price of £600, it’s certainly expensive for a 27-inch monitor, but this is easily justified once you consider everything it has to offer.
There are just two reasons that this display may not be the one for you. If you’re at the cutting-edge of gaming performance and need the absolute fastest gaming monitor then a TN-based screen will still offer slightly faster response.
Meanwhile, professional content creators who aren’t working in HDR may find that the extended colour gamut doesn’t sit that well with their workflow, while those requiring full Adobe RGB colour space coverage will have to look elsewhere.
For everyone else, though, this has to be one of the most desirable monitors you can currently buy.
HDR, a high contrast ratio and serious gaming capabilities combine to make this one of the finest 27-inch monitors on the market.