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Samsung C49J89 review: the ultimate Fortnite gaming monitor

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Samsung’s CJ89 is a little bit ridiculous. This 49-inch display is essentially two 1080p monitors glued together seamlessly so that it takes up almost all of your periphery. With a 144Hz refresh rate, this expansive monitor isn’t sluggish, either.

But can you ditch the gaming branding for a business model and still get Grade-A gaming performance?

That’s a necessary question to ask, because the Samsung CJ89 isn’t actually a gaming model – that’s the CFG90 – but it’s a damn sight cheaper at GBP899. Samsung has stripped out all the AMD Freesync tech and HDR capability that the higher spec, yet older, gaming monitor features.

Won’t settle for less than 4K? Here are the best 4K monitors[1] around.

It’s actually a pretty good tradeoff, as you still get that 144Hz refresh rate, ridiculous aspect ratio, and 5ms response time.

Only 25% of gamers actually use AMD graphics cards, anyways.

The CJ89 is built for businesses, but as far as personal productivity in the office goes, I’ve found it lacking compared to a traditional dual monitor setup. Sure, the bezel-less, uninterrupted screen space is lovely, and if you partake in any video / photo editing work it’s a dream (although the lack of IPS panel may not be to your liking).

But while a dual monitor setup allows me to ‘snap’ four web pages across my entire screen real estate, the C49J89 limits me to just two full-width pages, and I found it endlessly frustrating.

That may seem pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but this small knock-on effect of a single panel changed my entire workflow during everyday tasks. I suppose I could get two Samsung C49J89 monitors side-by-side, but then I’m back to bezels.

Unless…

Eureka! Vertical stacking is the answer. Two of these monitors, at GBP899 a pop, and I’m back to four apps at once.

Worth it? Sure, so long as I can put it on the company expenses….

Regardless, the C49J89 still has plenty of utility for a variety of tasks, not to mention incredible immersive properties for gamers. Overwatch[2] is my go-to game in the office but it sadly doesn’t support the ludicrous 32:9 aspect ratio of the C49J89. Still, there’s a ton of titles that make the most of the Samsung’s 3840 x 1080 resolution.

One such game is Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5[3], which allows for the full breadth of the monitor to be occupied by deep south shoot ’em up chaos.

The C49J89 features a slight curvature, at only 1800R, and that allows it to completely occupy your vision – horizontally anyways. As a result, wingsuiting out of helicopters and sniping enemies from a distance instills a feeling of incredible depth of environment and locale that is otherwise muted by more reasonable aspect ratios.

But seeing as nearly all – insert today’s astronomic number of gamers here – of you are playing Fortnite[4], you’ll be glad to know Epic’s battle royale title supports the weird and wonderful 32:9 aspect ratio. I’m not particularly well-versed in the ways of winning a Fortnite battle royale, but the wide aspect ratio could be a seriously dangerous weapon in the hands of someone a little more talented than I.

Opponents diving into the map clustered together are easily spotted across the C49J89’s panel, and the breadth of real estate adds a little more competitive edge when you’re searching across the horizon for combatants.

While the nitty gritty of up-close and personal combat is still largely down to player skill – not that I lack an abundance of that, of course – the ultrawide aspect gives you more chance of being forewarned of encroaching opponents sneaking up on you.

Samsung C49J89 review: the ultimate Fortnite gaming monitor

While Fortnite’s not all that demanding on your system, ultra-grade gaming on an ultrawide at 144Hz is no easy task for any GPU. However, a GTX 1080 Ti isn’t necessarily vital for decent frame rates. Overall, the ultrawide resolution of the C49J89 adds up to roughly 4.1 million pixels in total, while 1440p is somewhere around 3.7 million pixels.

That means any of the best 1440p graphics cards[5] will suffice for smooth operation. Plus, without the FreeSync tech, you aren’t limited to a single GPU manufacturer – there’s always a silver lining.

As for panel performance and tech specs, it manages a typical contrast ratio of 3000:1, and a brightness rating of 300 nits. While contrast is solid, the black levels aren’t anything to write home about and dark greys are a little tough to discern at times.

White saturation doesn’t suffer the same fate, however, and viewing angles are very good to somewhat make up for it. The slight curve is not detrimental to the viewing experience even in the far reaches of this ludicrous panel, and that still applies even if you don’t sit perfectly squared up with the centre of the screen.

Samsung C49J89 review: the ultimate Fortnite gaming monitor

There are two HDMI 2.0 ports, and a single DisplayPort 1.2, but seeing as business monitors hold a little more esteem in connectivity than their gamer counterparts, you also get a healthy dose of USB connectivity in the back. There are two USB Type-C ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a single USB 3.0 port.

Those USB Type-C ports could always double up for display connections, which may be pretty handy for a streamer running their stream from another system or device.

So is the Samsung C49J89 a worthy substitute for the gamer-spec CFG90 on a lower budget? Absolutely. HDR and FreeSync 2 are great, but they’re the newest of the new for premium features, and, frankly, Windows HDR isn’t quite up to spec to make it a must-have feature just yet.

You can forget the business brief with the C49J89; it’s as worthy of gamer credentials as its pricier sibling. Whether intended for productivity or not, that ultrawide 32:9 aspect is built for gaming on.

Samsung C49J89 review: the ultimate Fortnite gaming monitor

There are few things you can do with your PC setup to gain an advantage in gaming without breaking the rules. High-end audio, mechanical switches, and accurate mouse sensors all belong in that category, even high refresh rate monitors in general, but if the GBP849[6] Samsung C49J89 proves anything, it’s that extremely ultrawide monitors need to be added to that list.

Unfortunately, the C49J89 doesn’t seem to be available in the US at this time.

If that’s you, then Samsung’s CHG90 at GBP1,080[8] may be your best bet.

PCGamesN verdict: 9/10

References

  1. ^ best 4K monitors (www.pcgamesn.com)
  2. ^ Best overwatch characters (www.pcgamesn.com)
  3. ^ Far Cry 5 review (www.pcgamesn.com)
  4. ^ Fortnite tips (www.pcgamesn.com)
  5. ^ best 1440p graphics card (www.pcgamesn.com)
  6. ^ GBP849 (www.amazon.co.uk)
  7. ^ £1,100 (www.samsung.com)
  8. GBP1,080 (www.amazon.co.uk)

Detroit Become Human Review

When you’re done with PS4-exclusive Detroit: Become Human’s lengthy story, the game asks you if any of its moments resonated with you. For us, almost all of it’s near sci-fi tale did, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Developed by French studio Quantic Dream whose previous work includes adventure titles like Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls, it’s a narrative-driven game where the plot takes precedence over everything else.

And while the other two had some intriguing twists you likely didn’t see coming, Detroit: Become Human’s futuristic trappings do little to hide its big reveals which can be seen coming a mile away. Set in a world where the US is at odds with Russia, self-driving cars don’t crash, and most jobs have been taken by robotic androids, Detroit: Become Human has you switching between Connor, Kara, and Markus. They’re three androids all with very different objectives.

Connor was created with the sole purpose of hunting down rogue androids, or deviants as they’re known for turning on their human masters. Kara’s objective is to escape the city with Alice, a small human girl in her care. Markus is the leader of an Android uprising, fighting for the same rights and freedoms for his kind that humanity enjoys.

Despite starting with a bang — having you in the role of Connor negotiating with a deviant holding a child at gunpoint on a building rooftop — Detroit: Become Human quickly settles into a slow burn. As Kara, you’ll clean a house and do laundry while Markus’ arc begins with the mundane task of buying paint from a store. While these chapters exist to give you an idea of the game’s world and the motivation of its characters, it makes it a bit of a chore early on.

So much so that we preferred Connor’s story arc over the other two due to the interesting scenarios you find yourself in.
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From tracking down deviants with a fetish for pigeons to dealing with Hank Anderson, grizzled human detective partner, events of Connor’s chapters stand out compared to the menial busywork of playing as Kara or Markus.

Even when the other two’s narratives finally fire on all cylinders, they don’t feel as polished, memorable, or entertaining as Connor’s and are the most predictable segments of the bunch. Which is saying a lot since Connor’s arc appears to be heavily inspired by the works of Isaac Asimov — I, Robot and The Caves of Steel in particular — making how it will play out rather obvious. However Detroit: Become Human isn’t without its merits.

There are elements of gameplay not too dissimilar to Telltale’s adventure games like Batman and Guardians of the Galaxy, so there’s no learning curve or fancy new control schemes to learn. You’ll press buttons indicated on the screen to perform actions – depending on whose arc you’re playing, this could be anything from washing dishes to choosing the right words to incite an android rebellion, each with different consequences leading to varied outcomes. Compared to Quantic Dreams’ last two games, the aforementioned Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls, it’s easy to pull off Detroit: Become Human’s many button prompts and half circle analogue stick movements.

It sticks to a control scheme that’s similar to the other two games, but the added polish and refinement makes it far from awkward. The controls feel just right. Coupled with smooth animations, it even makes lightning fast action sequences a joy to pull off towards the end of the game.

Furthermore, at the end of each chapter you see a flowchart of your decisions. It makes you aware of what you’ve done and what you could have done, tempting you into another playthrough with the promise of in-game currency or points that you can use to unlock content such as the game’s soundtrack, early sketches, character backgrounds, and so on. It’s a bold move as it lays the entire story bare, right down to the smallest decision.

Quantic Dream hopes it’ll bring completionists back, though to us, it seems like a studio is being transparent about the limitations and scope of the game. In an industry fuelled by hype, keeping your expectations in check seems like a welcome change.

In addition to this, Detroit: Become Human looks great. Be it highly detailed facial expressions on humans and androids or slick lighting effects and reflections, it’s a treat to look at on the PS4 Pro. Backed up by a fantastic soundtrack and voice acting that feels genuine and you have a title with stellar production values.

That said, these additions do little to enhance a derivative story. Most choices or actions are essentially binary, forcing you to choose between usual video game tropes such as non-violent and pacifist options or prioritising capturing a deviant over saving a loved one. It doesn’t help that most characters you interact with feel one dimensional and easy to read, making it simple to gain an outcome you desire.

Clocking in at around 25 hours, it’s not a short game by any means and it could go up to 40 hours should you decide to complete everything, though not all of it is as good as it could be. Overall, Detroit: Become Human is a gorgeous game that brings some welcome improvements over Quantic Dream’s earlier work, but one that is ultimately flawed due to its predictable plot. Pros:

  • Fantastic production values
  • Story flowchart is an honest representation of what you get
  • Connor’s story arc is entertaining

Cons: ?

  • Other arcs are a slow burn?
  • Overall story is predictable?
  • One dimensional characters

Rating (out of 10): 6

Gadgets 360 played a review copy of Detroit: Become Human on the PS4 Pro.

The game is out on May 25 priced at £60 in the US and Rs.

3,999 in India.


If you’re a fan of video games, check out Transition, Gadgets 360’s gaming podcast.

You can listen to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS, or just listen to this week’s episode by hitting the play button below.

Samsung HW-N650 review: Surround sound without the hassle

Samsung is constantly adding new features and technology to its range of soundbars. Last year its HW-MS650 soundbar[1] harnessed the company’s distortion cancelling technology to great effect, earning itself a five-star review no less, and now the all-new HW-N650[2] is attempting to repeat the feat. READ NEXT: Samsung HW-MS650 review: The innovative soundbar with distortion cancelling technology[3]

Samsung HW-N650 review: What you need to know

The HW-N650 uses Samsung’s Acoustic Beam technology, which aims to replicate a surround sound setup by bouncing sound waves off your walls and ceiling.

This might be new for Samsung, but its rivals have been doing it for some time now – a few spring to mind: the Bose SoundTouch 300[4], the Sky Soundbox by Devialet[5] and the Sonos Playbase[6]. Still, the HW-N650 holds a few tricks up its sleeve. It comes with a powerful wireless subwoofer that provides an excellent low-end thump, has a sleek design that’ll fit in most living room setups and has a good array of connectivity options.

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Samsung HW-N650 review: Price and competition

The HW-N650 can be found for GBP700 at John Lewis[7] and Hughes[8].

At this price, it’s going up against the Sonos PlaybaseGBP650 LG SJ9HW-MS650 which has now had a price cut down to GBP390[14]. Apart from the LG SJ9, none of the above have a dedicated subwoofer.

You can, however, purchase the Samsung SWA-W700 subwoofer for GBP430[15] – which combined with the HW-MS650 take it up to around GBP820. READ NEXT: Best soundbars of 2018 – our favourite TV speakers[16]

Samsung HW-N650 review: Design, features and connectivity

The N650 measures 1.1 metres wide, stands 6cm high and is 10cm deep, which makes it noticeably slimmer than its stablemate, the HW-MS650. This makes it easy to accommodate in most living room spaces – you can pop it in front of your TV without it taking up too much room on your AV stand, and it can be wall mounted, too.

Usability is a highlight. The HW-N650 comes with Samsung’s excellent remote, which can also be used as a remote to control your Samsung TV. And if you just so happen to misplace the remote, there are four physical buttons on the soundbar’s right-hand flank: power, source and volume up and down.

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Much like its siblings, the HW-N650 has an LED display around the front.

Located under the right-hand speaker grille, the display provides information on your selected input source, the volume and the surround sound settings, which can be cycled through with the remote. For connectivity, there are a few inputs to choose from: HDMI, auxiliary 3.5mm, USB, optical and Bluetooth. There’s a HDMI output (TV-ARC), too.

Unfortunately, if you own a HDR TV and you’re looking to minimise the cables by passing the signal via the soundbar, you’ll be bitterly disappointed: the HW-N650 lacks HDR support.

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Samsung HW-N650 review: Surround sound without the hassle

Yet again, there’s no support for aptX codec – so you won’t benefit from higher quality streaming over Bluetooth. Also missing from the list is support for the latest object-based surround formats DTS:X and Dolby Atmos – this probably won’t bother the vast majority of users, though. This time around, Samsung has chosen to leave Wi-Fi out of the equation.

So, you won’t be able to wirelessly stream music through the Samsung Multiroom App. On a more positive note, the included subwoofer does connect wirelessly to the soundbar – reducing clutter and the need for any extra wires, and gives you the option to place the subwoofer conveniently out of sight. READ NEXT: All soundbar reviews[17]

Samsung HW-N650 review: Sound quality

The HW-N650’s eight speakers aim to provide proper 5.1 surround sound, and if you include the the subwoofer it has an impressive-sounding 360W of total power at its disposal – that’s plenty to fill a large living room space.

Surprisingly, the soundbar doesn’t feature the same Distortion Cancelling Technology as its older sibling, and that comes across in the mid-bass reproduction. The bass punch isn’t as refined or as controlled as the HW-MS650 – that’s not to say the HW-N650 is bad, far from it. For example, when compared to the Sonos Playbase, the soundbar reproduces a much more accurate bass response, which is partly down to the HW-N650 having a dedicated subwoofer.

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Samsung HW-N650 review: Surround sound without the hassle

When it comes to sub bass, the HW-N650’s subwoofer gives it the upper hand over most of its rivals.

Unlike other soundbars that cut off at around 40Hz, this one extends far deeper, with the subwoofer adding a powerful low-end rumble. Fire up an action-packed game such as PUBG[18], and the HW-N650’s weighty bass and crisp, exciting treble sends gunfire sparking across the room in a genuinely unsettling manner. Overall, the HW-N650 is capable of reproducing a very accurate sound, but it lacks the finesse for voices and instruments in the mid-range that I’d expect from a GBP700 soundbar.

Much like the HW-MS550,[19] (the smaller and cheaper variant of the HW-MS650) I found dialling up the treble to +2 helps. In Jay Sean’s ‘Make My Love Go’[20], the artist’s voice isn’t as present or at the foreground of the song – his voice is a little pushed back. By comparison, the HW-MS650 is excellent in this department, arguably the best in its class.

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Samsung HW-N650 review: Surround sound without the hassle

The HW-N650’s ace up its sleeve is its soundstage: with ‘Surround Sound’ selected through the DSP toggle, the HW-N650’s sound reaches far and wide, and genuinely fills the room with sound.

For example, in Priya Jaye – Falling[21], the instruments and vocals aren’t just lumped together; each instrument and vocal line floats freely from left to right. In movies, such as 300[22], meanwhile, you’re put slap bang in the midst of the epic Spartan-Persian battle. It’s quite remarkable that Samsung’s implementation of two spiral speaker grilles at the top of the soundbar can produce such a positive effect.

It’s even more evident when you walk to the left or right side of the speaker – that extra spaciousness to the sound is clearly noticeable. READ NEXT: Samsung HW-MS550 review: The cheapest all-in-one soundbar from Samsung[23]

Samsung HW-N650 review: Verdict

Samsung’s HW-N650 soundbar isn’t quite perfect. Why?

Well, it’s missing a few elements that take it away from a full-fledged five-star review. For instance, if you don’t mind forgoing the wireless subwoofer, then the HW-MS650’s dramatically more precise mid-range puts it in a different league. Nonetheless, the HW-N650 still deserves plenty of praise.

It provides room-filling sound from a relatively compact body, and its subwoofer adds an alluring physicality to the sound – something which puts it head and shoulders above the competition.

In fact, I’d go as far as saying that there’s no soundbar, subwoofer combo that matches the HW-N650 for under GBP700.

References

  1. ^ HW-MS650 soundbar (go.redirectingat.com)
  2. ^ all-new HW-N650 (go.redirectingat.com)
  3. ^ Samsung HW-MS650 review: The innovative soundbar with distortion cancelling technology (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  4. ^ Bose SoundTouch 300 (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  5. ^ Sky Soundbox by Devialet (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  6. ^ Sonos Playbase (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  7. ^ John Lewis (go.redirectingat.com)
  8. ^ Hughes (go.redirectingat.com)
  9. ^ GBP800 Sky Soundbox (go.redirectingat.com)
  10. ^ Bose SoundTouch 300 (go.redirectingat.com)
  11. Sonos Playbase (www.amazon.co.uk)
  12. GBP650 LG SJ9 (www.amazon.co.uk)
  13. ^ HW-MS750 at GBP800 (go.redirectingat.com)
  14. HW-MS650 which has now had a price cut down to GBP390 (www.amazon.co.uk)
  15. Samsung SWA-W700 subwoofer for GBP430 (www.amazon.co.uk)
  16. ^ Best soundbars of 2018 – our favourite TV speakers (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  17. ^ All soundbar reviews (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  18. ^ PUBG (playbattlegrounds.com)
  19. ^ HW-MS550, (www.expertreviews.co.uk)
  20. ^ Jay Sean’s ‘Make My Love Go’ (www.youtube.com)
  21. ^ Priya Jaye – Falling (www.youtube.com)
  22. ^ 300 (www.imdb.com)
  23. ^ Samsung HW-MS550 review: The cheapest all-in-one soundbar from Samsung (www.expertreviews.co.uk)

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