If our review of the ultrawide Samsung CHG90 piqued your interest about the concept of a 49-inch display with a crazy-wide 32:9 aspect ratio, then you need to know about the Viotek SUW49C because it costs hundreds less and is the only other 49-inch ultrawide you can buy at the moment. Like the Samsung CHG90, the Viotek SUW49C (See it on Amazon) is a VA panel with a 3840 x 1080 resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, and AMD FreeSync. Unlike the Samsung, however, the Viotek is just $800. Has Viotek cut some corners to hit this low price? Let’s jump in.
Viotek SUW49C Curved Gaming Monitor – Design and Features
I’m gonna need a bigger desk. After setting up the Viotek SUW49C and placing it on my desk, I was amazed at the sheer size of the thing. Granted, I have a cheap desk from Ikea that isn’t the largest desk you’ll find, but the Viotek SUW49C stretched from one side of my desk to the other. Whipping out my measuring tape, I discovered both my desk and the monitor were the same width at 47 inches wide. While my desk is wide enough for the monitor, it lacks the needed depth. With the 1800R curvature, the monitor took up about half of my desk front to back.
I had enough room for my keyboard and mouse, but I was most comfortable when sitting back about a foot and half from usual perch at the front edge. When I sat perched at the front edge of my desk, I could not see the entire screen without moving my head. Pushing back about a foot and a half let me see the entire screen comfortably. And even then, the curved, ultrawide screen surpassed my field of vision. In the end, I don’t need a bigger desk — just one deeper than 22 inches from front to back.
The picture also improves when you move back a bit because the monitor’s resolution is only 3840 x 1080. Don’t let the big first number fool you – this is only a 1080p monitor vertically. It’s really like having two 1920 x 1080 monitors side by side, but without the bezels in the middle interrupting the screen. If you are used to a 1440 or 4K screen, then the Viotek SUW49C may look a little pixelated up close. The upside of the mediocre pixel count is the fact that my midrange GeForce GTX 1060 GPU had no trouble powering games on this display.
With HDR enabled or disabled, colors looked accurate, but it is not the most dynamic picture I’ve seen.
Another downside to the Viotek SUW49C is its relatively slow response time. The Samsung CHG90 claims a response time of 1ms, and the Viotek SUW49C tops out at 4ms, which is typical for a VA panel. To get to that figure, however, you need to use the overdrive feature. And you can’t enable the overdrive response time feature if you are running the monitor at its max 144Hz refresh rate. At 144Hz, the response time menu option is grayed out. It’s not until you drop the refresh rate to 120Hz that you can kick the response time up a notch.
Viotek claims the monitor supports HDR, but I was underwhelmed to the point of wondering if HDR did anything at all. With HDR enabled or disabled, colors looked accurate, but it is not the most dynamic picture I’ve seen. Dark areas looked washed out and bright scenes lost detail, and the overall brightness of the display is a bit lacking. With a rated max brightness of 320 nits, it fails to meet the 400-nit spec need to for a display to be VESA-certified as HDR400, the lowest level of HDR certification (there are also HDR500, 600 and 1000 levels, if you are curious). The external design does not scream “gamer,” but is instead understated and elegant. The screen bezels are thin, which is a must on such a large display. And branding is minimal with only a red Viotek logo centered on the bottom bezel.
An LED ring adds a bit of flair at the top of the display’s support arm behind the display. In the OSD, there are options to make the light shine or flicker red, green and blue, but you can use combinations of those three colors to make the light purple, yellow or aqua. By turning on the red and blue options, you get purple. And blue and green make aqua. But red and green make yellow? The first two color combinations make sense, but Viotek uses some strange logic behind making red and green add up to yellow. And if you turn on all three colors, you end up with a white light. Lastly, I would caution you against using the flicker setting — it will be highly distracting to anyone setting on the other side of the display. A more calming breathing pattern or a color wave effect that cycled through the different color options would have been a better than the annoying flicker effect.
The display uses matte black plastic for most of its design. The stand, which you must assemble, is made up of a metal base and a long chrome arm that runs parallel to the display to steady it. The screen does wobble a bit when bumped but not overly so for such a wide display. It affords little adjustment, however, with only tilt and no swivel or height adjustment. The lack of height adjustment is the real bummer here because the screen sits a bit lower than I would have liked.
Below the display are five buttons: one to power on the display and four to control the OSD. The buttons are a pain for navigating the OSD compared with the little joystick found on some displays but thankfully Viotek includes a remote control with the display that makes getting in and out of the OSD a breeze. It’s an IR remote so you’ll need to point it at the receiver sitting along the bottom edge of the display.
Port selection is limited. On the back of the display, you’ll find a single DisplayPort 1.2 port, three HDMI ports (two HDMI 1.4 and one HDMI 2.0), and a headphone jack. There’s not a single USB port to be found. Stereo speakers are on board but they are sorely lacking. For such a large display, I was hoping for more oomph from the integrated speakers.
Viotek SUW49C Curved Gaming Monitor – Performance and Gaming
A 49-inch ultrawide monitor takes some getting used to. In regular Windows use, I felt like I had showed up late to the theater and all the seats were taken accept those in the front row, where I plunked myself down and then had to crane my neck to see all parts of the screen. I scooted back about 1.5 feet from the Viotek and was better able to take in the whole display without moving my head from side to side like I was watching a tennis match. Mousing was a chore sometimes, when I had to move the cursor from the left side of the display all the way to the top-right corner to close or minimize a full-screen window. Full-screen windows looked ridiculous, unless I was using Google Maps, which was awesome stretched out across such a wide display.
As with a multi-monitor setup, the Viotek SUW49C shined with multitasking. I was able to have three windows side by side by side comfortably. It’s also useful for games that don’t support 32:9 because you can play a game in one window while you have Discord or another chat app running alongside it. The biggest drawback to regular Windows use was the 1080p resolution and low pixel density. The image isn’t as crisp and looks clearly pixelated if you are sitting close to the display.
Another drawback? It may be specific to the unit I received, but it’s not a good sign and one I don’t usually encounter with testing monitors; my Viotek SUW49C review unit had three dead pixels, two right next to each other near the center of the display and another just above and to the right of the offending pair.
This is the first ultrawide 49-inch monitor I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in front of, and gaming on it was a thrill.
I used Lagom LCD monitor test pages to measure performance including gamma, black and white levels, color gradient, and response time. The display’s performance was uneven. It struggled on both the black level and white saturation tests. On the black level test, 20 grays squares should be visible against the black background and I was able to see only 15 – the entire top row of the darkest gray boxes were indistinguishable from the black background. On the white saturation test, I was able to see 8 of the 12 light-gray checkerboard patterns against a white background. Both of these results are slightly below average. Typically, I am able to see all but one or two fo the test patterns on each test.
Things improved on the gradient test where I saw no banding as the gradient pattern transitioned smoothly from black to white and vice versa. On the response time test, however, the display struggled and showed the chief drawback of a VA panel. It showed obvious flickering on the response time test, whether I ran the display at 144Hz or at 120Hz with the overdrive setting enabled for 4ms response time.
After the Lagom tests, I got to gaming. This is the first ultrawide 49-inch monitor I’ve had the pleasure of sitting in front of, and gaming on it was a thrill. I fired up CS:GO and Grand Theft Auto V and was amazed at how immersive the games felt. The display is so wide that it stretched beyond my peripheral vision, but not so much that I felt like my head was on a swivel. And the games looked sharp — the pixelation that bothered me in normal Windows use wasn’t a big deal when I was immersed in a game. I did notice some ghosting, however, as the display occasionally failed to keep pace with the furious action in both CS:GO and GTA.
I then played Civ V and loved the expansive feel of having the map laid out across this massively wide display. And the relatively slow response rate was less of an issue with an RTS game.
The Viotek SUW49C has an MSRP of $999 but is usually cheaper online.