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Samsung C49J89 review

We love a good ultra-wide monitor here at TechRadar, and the Samsung C49J89, which comes with a ‘super ultra-wide’ aspect ratio, makes most of the monitors we’ve previously tried feel rather cramped and titchy by comparison. This is thanks to its combination of a large 49-inch screen and an aspect ratio of 32:9. In comparison, standard widescreen monitors usually have an aspect ratio of 16:9, while ultra-wide monitors, like the BenQ EX35[1]01R[2], have aspect ratios of 21:9.

In fact, the Samsung C49J89 has only one rival when it comes to 32:9 aspect ratio, and that’s another Samsung monitor: the Samsung[3] CHG90[4], a gaming-focused monitor with the same 49-inch screen size and 32:9 aspect ratio.

The difference between the Samsung C49J89 and the Samsung CHG90 is the latter’s focus on gamers, so the C49J89 on test here has a lower maximum brightness (300cd/m2 compared to the CHG90’s 350cd/m2), and a slower response time (5ms (GT) compared to the CHG90’s 1ms (MPRT)). There’s also a difference in price, with the Samsung C49J89 costing a fair bit less than the Samsung CHG90.

Price and availability

The Samsung C49J89 is now available to order in the US for £1,099, in the UK for GBP899, and in Australia for AU£1,899. While this is pretty steep for a monitor, you are getting a lot more screen than you usually would.

It’s not the most expensive monitor we’ve tried either, and is less expensive than the Samsung CHG90, although that monitor is now seeing discounts if you shop around. So, if the gaming-centric features of the Samsung CHG90 don’t appeal but you still want that huge 32:9 aspect ratio for working on, watching movies or doing the odd bit of gaming (or all three at once – seriously, this monitor is wide), then you could save yourself some money by going for the Samsung C49J89 instead.

Design

At first glance the Samsung C49J89 looks pretty much identical to the Samsung CHG90, with the same screen size and aspect ratio, along with a pretty much identical body and stand. It’s little surprise that the design is so similar, as Samsung would hardly have a wide selection of 32:9 monitor bodies knocking around, so it makes sense to use the same chassis.

Unless you’re familiar with its sibling, the Samsung C49J89 looks like no other monitor you’ve seen, with its almost ridiculous width sometimes appearing as if it were an optical illusion – it quite easily fills your horizontal field of vision. However, the wider monitors get, the more the vertical aspect seems diminished, so here you get a very wide, yet narrow, monitor. Combined with the resolution of 3840 x 1080, which gives you the same vertical resolution as a high-definition TV, you may find the aspect ratio a bit constrictive.

In comparison, the 21:9 BenQ EX3501R has a resolution of 3440 x 1440, and that extra vertical resolution is greatly appreciated. Of course, upping the vertical resolution of the Samsung C49J89 would likely increase the asking price dramatically, and would also make it require more powerful hardware to operate, especially if you wanted to game on it. If you are eyeing up the Samsung C49J89 you’ll need a pretty wide desk to handle its 47.36-inch span.

And, sitting in front of it, you’ll likely find yourself having to turn your head to see open windows positioned at the extremities. Like the Samsung CHG90 it’s curved, which makes it more comfortable to take in the full screen. It has a curvature of 1800R, which is pretty pronounced – 1800R is quite common in curved monitors, but some (as well as curved TVs) go for a 3000R curvature, which is subtler.

But then there’s nothing subtle about this monitor.

The screen is easily attached to the arm and stand, although you will need a screwdriver to properly affix it, and when assembly is complete you can swivel and tilt the screen, as well as adjust the height. Around the back are two 7-watt speakers, and on the bottom are the various ports. Given the vast width of the Samsung C49J89 you can imagine that there’s plenty of space for ports, and Samsung hasn’t passed on the opportunity – the monitor comes with two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, two USB Type-C ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port and an audio jack.

It also has a USB Type-C upstream port, enabling you to turn the monitor into a hub. It’s a stylish, slick, but also domineering monitor, thanks to a classy design by Samsung, and of course the sheer size of the screen.

Performance

The Samsung C49J89 has a VA (vertical alignment) panel. On paper VA panels should deliver excellent blacks, but they can suffer from having a rather narrow viewing angle, which means VA screens can sometimes appear washed out if you’re viewing them from an angle, rather than straight-on.

Due to the sheer length and size of the C49J89 there’s a good chance that you’ll be viewing at least some of the screen at an angle, but in our time with it we didn’t notice any deterioration in image quality at the extremities when sitting in front of it at a desk – the curvature of the screen certainly helps here. The Samsung C49J89 is designed more for productivity use than for gaming, and Windows 10 does a good job of scaling the desktop to the super-ultra-wide aspect ratio. You really do get a lot of screen space to play with, and we were able to work quite comfortably with a large number of programs, apps and websites all open at once.

However, the 1080-pixel vertical resolution does mean there’s not a lot of vertical screen space, and if you’re coming from a monitor with a WQHD resolution (2560 x 1440) you may actually find the Samsung C49J89 a bit too narrow. However, being able to have so many windows open while only having one monitor on your desk is a fantastic feature, and image quality out of the box is pretty good. The buttons on the bottom of the bezel are shortcuts for certain features, with the first switching between input sources.

The second turns on the monitor’s Picture-In-Picture mode – this is an excellent feature that allows you to plug in a second source, such as a laptop, and display that screen within the main screen connected to your PC. Because of the sheer size of this monitor this is a very handy addition, and it works well.

The third button enables you to use the Samsung C49J89 as a KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switch, so you can have one keyboard and mouse plugged into the monitor, and the button will let you switch the peripherals to other devices you have plugged into the monitor without having to physically unplug and move the mouse and keyboard. It’s another useful feature for business users.

Behind the power button is a joystick-like button that’s used to bring up and control the onscreen menu. It’s hidden away a bit, but once located it can be used to go through some of the pre-set display modes, which you can tweak to your liking. Samsung also has a piece of software, EasySettingBox, that works with the Samsung C49J89.

This software lets you quickly split the screen into multiple areas, either using one of the ready-made templates or one that you’ve created yourself. Then, when you drag a window you can place it in an area (they’re highlighted in blue) and the window will expand or shrink to fit in that area. The idea with this is to make it quick and easy to arrange multiple windows, and it’s quite a handy tool, and worth having a play around with.

While unlike the Samsung CHG90 the Samsung C49J89 isn’t designed primarily as a gaming monitor, there will be people who want to use it as one, with the super ultra-wide aspect ratio and 144Hz refresh rate being two compelling reasons. So we fired up a couple of games to see how it performed. Most modern games can cope with the unusual resolution and aspect ratio of the C49J89, but you may have to tweak a few settings to get them displaying properly.

We did with Wolfenstein II, and when we fired up a level the results were really impressive. The field-of-vision-spanning aspect ratio really is immersive, and if you sit in the right spot it’s almost like wearing a VR headset, as your entire vision is filled with the game. The view is so wide that you can physically move your head to look around you, rather than using the mouse, which takes a bit of getting used to but could end up giving you a real advantage in certain games, as enemies will have a harder time sneaking up on you.

The slower response time of the Samsung C49J89 compared to gaming monitors does make the gameplay feel a little more sluggish.

We’ve recently been spoiled by gaming monitors with G-Sync and Free-Sync technology that combines high refresh rates with low response times for incredibly smooth gameplay, although none of them can match the sheer spectacle of the Samsung C49J89’s 32:9 aspect ratio. If you often work over multiple monitors, and you’d like to do a bit of gaming as well, then you’ll be very happy with the Samsung C49J89’s performance. We’d love to see a version with a higher resolution (and there are now rumors that Samsung is working on one[5]) and if you’re a competitive gamer who’s conscious of input lag then a gaming-orientated monitor would be more to your liking.

Verdict

If the gaming-orientated Samsung CHG90 was a bit too expensive for your tastes, the Samsung C49J89 is a very good alternative, offering the same rare 32:9 aspect ratio for a lower price, and without sacrificing too many features.

It’s not quite as good for gaming as the CHG90, but it still puts on a good show – that super ultra-wide aspect ratio really can be breathtaking when you’re playing games.

It’s also got some great productivity tools that make it a good choice for business use, especially if you often work over numerous monitors, as you can now swap out those for a single Samsung C49J89.

Our only major complaint is the lack of vertical resolution – at 1080 pixels it does make things a little tight, but if you’re used to 1080p monitors you’ll love the extra horizontal space.

References

  1. ^ BenQ EX35 (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ 01R (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ Samsung (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ CHG90 (www.techradar.com)
  5. ^ rumors that Samsung is working on one (www.techradar.com)
  6. ^ best monitors of 2018 (www.techradar.com)

5 Signs You Have Computer Eye Strain (And How to Relieve and Prevent It)

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If you regularly spend long hours in front of the computer, your days might follow a pattern. You may feel pretty good in the morning (after you’ve shaken off residual sleepiness), but by the end of the day, you have a headache and sore eyes and you feel worn down. One reason for this could be that your desk isn’t set up properly for productivity 7 Hacks to Make Your Work Desk More Efficient for Maximum Productivity 7 Hacks to Make Your Work Desk More Efficient for Maximum Productivity Do you feel sore or fatigue?

Do your eyes ache or is your neck killing you? An optimized work desk might cure your ailments and boost your productivity. Read More , leading to poor posture and other physical issues 9 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office 9 Bad Habits That Are Making You Tired at the Office Do you often feel tired at the office? The problem could be in the few bad habits that you’ve picked up.

Remove exhaustion from your office life with these health building tips. Read More . But another big reason could be computer eye strain, which affects up to 90 percent of heavy computer users.

What Is Computer Eye Strain?

When you focus your sight on something, the muscles in and around your eyes work together to change the shape of your eye. This affects the refraction of the eye lens.

To focus on something far away, the lens is shaped one way; to focus on something near your face, the lens is shaped another way. Computer eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, occurs when your eyes stay focused on a close-range object (i.e. computer monitor or mobile device) for so long that it strains your eye muscles. Throughout the day, your eye muscles grow fatigued and lose their ability to focus optimally.

As the condition worsens, it could lead to increased muscle tension, decreased blinking, general discomfort, and several other symptoms.

The 5 Main Symptoms of Computer Eye Strain

If you aren’t sure if you’re experiencing computer eye strain, check out the following symptoms. Think back to see if you’ve suffered any of them during days where you’ve used the computer for more than three hours:

  1. Eye fatigue: In mild cases, eye fatigue can present as difficulty focusing on objects, especially when quickly re-focusing from one distance to another.

    As it gets worse, eye fatigue can lead to pain or discomfort around the eyes.

  2. Irritated eyes: Your eyes may start to feel scratchy at first, and as the condition worsens, they may even begin to burn. You may even develop significant redness. All of these are signs that your eyes are drying out.
  3. Blurred vision: Text and images may start looking fuzzy even when your eyes seem like they’re properly focused.

    Or you may see double vision. If the culprit is computer eye strain, the blurriness will resolve after you get some rest.

  4. Headache or dizziness: Both headaches and dizziness are signs that computer eye strain has turned into something a bit more serious. You should get checked out by your doctor if the headaches or dizziness last beyond a day.
  5. Neck and shoulder pain: As your vision worsens and discomfort increases, your body will subconsciously adjust itself so you can see better.

    This leads to poor posture, which affects the neck, shoulders, and even your back.

It’s better to address the issue as soon as your eyes feel tight, sore, or strained instead of putting it off for weeks, months, or longer. It is possible to recover from computer eye strain, but the recovery process will be faster the earlier you catch it. In general, computer eye strain is temporary and starts to resolve as soon as you stop using the computer or mobile devices.

In mild cases, your eyes may feel normal again within hours or by the next morning. Older folks, or those who have strained their eyes for many years, may need longer for full recovery.

How to Relieve and Prevent Computer Eye Strain

For immediate relief, you can use lubricating eye drops. Computers cause dry eyes because you’re less likely to blink when processing all the information on the screen. Less blinking means less moisture.

Lubricating drops will instantly relieve dry, scratchy, and irritated eyes. (Don’t use eye drops meant for redness or allergies.) Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops, Twin Pack, 10-mL Each Systane Ultra Lubricant Eye Drops, Twin Pack, 10-mL Each Buy Now At Amazon £7.00 Keep an eye on room humidity levels.

The drier the environment, the faster moisture evaporates from your eyes. Ideal humidity for computer work is between 30 and 50 percent. Learn more in our article on the benefits of monitoring indoor humidity.

For longer-term relief, always abide by the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Giving your eyes short muscle breaks like this can postpone–or even stave off–eye fatigue and strain. Use something like Google Now reminders 8 Amazing, Life-Improving Uses for Google Now Reminders 8 Amazing, Life-Improving Uses for Google Now Reminders Google Now has built-in reminders, but are you using them to their full extent? Read More so you don’t forget.

Also, put your computer monitor in the best position. At minimum, it should be at arm’s length away (around 20-24 inches) from your eyes. When looking straight ahead, your eyes should align with the top of the monitor.

In general, you want your eyes looking downward instead of upward. Screen brightness matters. When in doubt, brighter is better.

A brighter screen causes your pupils to constrict, which increases focal range and allows your eyes to focus on the screen with less effort. Large text is preferable to small text, whenever possible. Consider buying a pair of computer glasses.

Computer glasses are like reading glasses in that you only wear them when using a computer, but they’re meant to make focusing easier and require less effort. You can get a pair of +1.00 or +1.50 glasses online or over-the-counter in a pinch, but for best results you should consult an eye care professional and get a proper prescription. Lenses with anti-reflective coating and a slight tint are slightly more effective.

Other Computer Mistakes That Can Cause Discomfort

Eye strain isn’t the only issue that can crop up with prolonged computer use.

Repetitive strain injury in the wrists, spinal problems from slouching, and general health deterioration caused by a sedentary lifestyle are all major risks. That’s why we highly recommend switching to an ergonomic mouse, investing in a properly designed office chair The 5 Best Office Chairs You Can Buy Right Now The 5 Best Office Chairs You Can Buy Right Now Good office chairs are an office worker’s best friend. The best office chairs in the market are just a click away, and some of them are more affordable than you may have guessed. Read More , and using adjustable standing desks The Best Adjustable Standing Desks (And Why You Need One) The Best Adjustable Standing Desks (And Why You Need One) Got back pain or leg pain?

Make the switch to a standing desk in 2018. And not just any standing desk — an adjustable standing desk. Read More to seamlessly switch between sitting and standing throughout the day. Don’t just take care of your eyes–take care of your entire well-being!

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