Samsung’s Odyssey G7 Was So Close To Being The Best Monitor

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samsung odyssey g7
Image: Alex Walker

On paper, the Samsung G7 Odyssey has all the ingredients for a must-buy monitor. A 27-inch screen capable of 240Hz, a 1ms quoted response time, support for HDR 600 and a maximum resolution of 1440p? It was basically the sweet spot for all kinds of gaming. And after using it for a month, I can report that the Odyssey G7 is a really good screen — but there’s also some strong caveats that you’ll definitely need to consider.

Available from a handful of retailers for $999, the 27-inch Samsung Odyssey G7 is easily the best value monitor on the market when it comes to feature set. The 1000R QLED panel comes in two sizes (27-inch and 32-inch), HDR600 support, G-Sync compatibility support (as well as a low input lag feature, but we’ll return to that) and it’s the fastest VA panel on the market.

Let’s get the most important part out of the way: the Odyssey G7 absolutely delivers on the response time. I was able to test the G7 alongside another 240Hz TN panel at the same time, outputting matches of Valorant and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to both monitors at the same time. The G7 completely kept pace, while having much better brightness and colours than what you’d get from a TN panel. Contrast ratio is excellent too, a standard feature of VA panels.

So, that’s a good start. And there’s some extra good news. VA panels traditionally have problems with slow pixel transition times on dark colours, leading to the dreaded black smearing effect. Some monitor manufacturers try to mitigate the issue with backlight strobing modes or an anti-motion blur option, but different monitors vary. The Odyssey G7, for instance, won’t let you use its anti-motion blur option if Adaptive Sync — which enables G-Sync compatibility — is turned on.

Fortunately, you don’t need it. The G7 isn’t flawless, but Samsung’s QLED VA screen was vastly better at dealing with black smearing than other VA panels I’ve seen lately. And that includes Samsung’s own 240Hz VA panel that I tested earlier this year.

But the biggest difference, and the elephant in the room, is the curve.

samsung odyssey g7
Image: Alex Walker

Curved monitors aren’t new, but Samsung’s 1000R curve is a first for gaming monitors. Previous monitors had dabbled with 1500R screens before, which were pretty mild. I’ve tested a few recently, including this one from MSI. The 1500R curve, which Samsung itself used in the past, is perfectly fine. It’s subtle. You don’t really notice it when playing or browsing, and there’s no noticeable distortion.

I can understand the marketing appeal of going towards 1000R, since that matches the curvature of the human eye. But when you’re gaming, it’s a bit much. The curve has the effect of taking objects from the centre of the screen further away from your point of view. Anyone playing a first-person shooter is absolutely going to hate that, since the crosshairs in the middle of the screen are where you should be looking.

The distortion from the 1000R curve adds another problem, too. The specs of the Odyssey G7 make it a great dual-purpose monitor for gaming and content creation, but the distortion makes it difficult for the latter. Flat images warp from one side of the monitor to the other, and it’s just really awkward to look at.

I can understand the value of a curve like that on super-wide monitors, particularly on the 49-inch Odyssey G9. A flat screen of that size can be physically uncomfortable when trying to scan the periphery for information. But a 27-inch screen doesn’t need a curve this aggressive. A lot of people I know would have instantly bought the Odyssey G7 if it was a flat screen, and many of them said they would have still accepted a minimal 1800R curve or even the slight bend of the 1500R. For me, 1000R is too much.

There’s a couple of other quibbles too. The G7 supports HDR600, but you lose a hell of a lot of brightness when actually enabling HDR mode. Part of this isn’t helped by the monstrosity that is Windows’ support for HDR, or inconsistency across applications. In practice, the biggest issue I noticed was a halo effect in HDR content (movies, or games like Death Stranding). The G7 only has 8 backlight zones, and depending on the actual scene or content you’re watching at the time, you could end up getting a relatively ordinary, SDR-like experience.

So, we’re back to the usual HDR problem for PCs then. If you want a proper HDR display, TVs or still-supremely expensive 4K screens like the Predator X27 or X35. The G7 is definitely better than the HDR400 experience that a lot of monitors have promised recently, but it’s not quite where it needs to be if you wanted to use this with HDR on all the time.

I mentioned lower input lag before, and you should know that the G7 supports Low Input Lag, or Adaptive Sync/G-Sync compatibility — but not both at the same time.

samsung odyssey g7Image: Alex Walker

From a design standpoint, the G7 adheres to a lot of the smart choices Samsung’s made with their gaming monitors. You can tilt the monitor into portrait mode, which looks really weird with the curve but makes installing ports a lot easier. There’s 2x USB ports at the back and the usual range of inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI. The stand is nice and simple, too, and while putting together the monitor involved more screws and parts than previous Samsung displays — which often were as simple as snapping two parts together and then tightening a single screw — installation wasn’t a complicated process.

So, all in all, the G7 is a super interesting monitor. For one, it shows that the VA technology can absolutely go toe to toe with the fastest gaming monitors out there. That’s an excellent feather in Samsung’s cap, and one that should be super intriguing to see as the newer VA tech trickles down to smaller, more affordable monitors.

What’s really working in Samsung’s favour now is that the 27-inch Samsung G7 is at a decent price — at least compared to the competition. A lot of 240Hz 1080p screens are only a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than what you can get the Samsung G7 for. And right now, many alternative 1440p screens, which are only capable of doing 144Hz, cost the same if not more than the G7. That’s a real strong value argument in Samsung’s favour, even with the curve.

Samsung’s also been quite aggressive locally when it comes to discounts. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see a $700 or $800 tag on the 27-inch G7, particularly once the 240Hz IPS displays or the 4K 144Hz screens start arriving. It’ll be fascinating to see how all the next-gen IPS screens are priced, and how everyone responds when the Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Christmas sales start dropping. Don’t forget: Black Friday is before Cyberpunk 2077 launches, and plenty of PC gamers are going hard on upgrades for that game.

Ultimately, I’d really love to see Samsung take this VA tech and squeeze it into a flat screen, or a refreshed equivalent of their CRG5. The QLED colours and response time would make for a killer entry level 1080p gaming monitor. And Samsung have been receptive in the past to feedback. Their chassis designs have gotten vastly better over time (remember the wobbly hinge?) and they’ve taken the VA tech much, much further than anyone would have expected.

So, at this stage it’s a matter of pricing. If you’re holding off for a monitor upgrade this year, I’d wait a little longer. ASUS, Acer and others are about to flood the market in a month or two with rival 240Hz IPS and VA screens. If the technology on their end holds up as well as Samsung’s has, we could be facing some real aggressive discounts come Christmas. And come a couple of months, should Samsung end up discounting as aggressively as they have in the past — then the G7 would still be a very good screen, at a very good price.

Not perfect — and it was so close to being the all-rounder for all gamers — but it’s still got a lot going for it. If you can live with that curve.

Comments

  • Such a shame. When I first caught wind of this stuff, I was super exicted to see how it’d perform, but the curve was always going to be a deal breaker.
    I wonder if Samsung will release the same screen but flatterned down the road?

  • I just put one of these on preorder but unsure as to whether I’ll go ahead with the purchase. I already have a Samsung CHG70 but wanted to upgrade to a 32 inch. I don’t mind the limited HDR functionality and I’m quite into the curve. Hopefully some more reviews will come out in the next fortnight.

    One question Alex: what is the screen coating like on this monitor? On my chg70 the coating is very matte and it gives display images a grainy quality that I find unpleasant.

  • Ah if only it comes with flat and IPS. I wonder is curved screens area really that good in 16:9 monitor? I kinda understand that 21:9 curved makes sense because the curve helps a lot in the extra width but how does it work with a 27 inch 16:9 monitor?

  • Picked up the 32″ version of the G7 yesterday.
    Went from an X34P, I certainly noticed the change in pixel density and loss of ultrawide but the image this monitor puts out is so good. The contrast is great, blacks look so good. I don’t miss the IPS panel at all.
    The curve is crazy, I have warmed up to it pretty quickly though to be honest.
    Buyer beware though, there is a consistent flickering issues when using these with G-Sync, it’s all over reddit, everyone is having the issue including myself. I’ve just left it off for now and I really don’t get any screen tearing anyway.

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