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Samsung's Curved Monitor Is Made for Gamers, But I Love It for Work

The Odyssey Neo G8 turns out to excel at productivity tasks, too.

a laptop and a monitor on a desk
Will Sabel Courtney

Full disclosure: I am very much not a video game person. Blame my parents: being of a liberal mindset and having grown up in the 1950s and 1960s, the concept itself seemed alien to their ideas of youth, so they took a very hard line against the likes of Sega, Nintendo and Playstation. While other kids were building hand-eye coordination and improving reaction time, I was stuck reading books and playing outside and learning, like some kind of schmuck. My brief tastes of video gaming only came when I went over to a friend's house, at which point I would immediately be demolished at Goldeneye or MarioKart due to my inexperience.

That said, I've always had an appreciation for gaming tech, even if only because I usually wound up spending more time staring at the console and graphics when playing after dying 60 seconds into a mission and handing the controls off to someone else. So when I spotted Samsung's Odyssey OLED G8 monitor for the first time, suffice it to say, I was intrigued.

The Odyssey G8 is meant for gamers: its 175-Hz refresh rate means it can cycle its display ten times for every blink; its OLED screen offers incredible colors, clarity and crispness; and its frankly astounding 0.03-millisecond response time helps players maximize their advantages over their foes. But from my video game-agnostic perspective, this curved monitor's appeal lies elsewhere. Samsung's curved monitor, it turns out, is dynamite for the tasks I actually spend most of my day staring at a computer for: work.

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It’s all about screen real estate, baby

More screen space equals more productivity. It’s been proven by science — a second screen boosts productivity by a whopping 42 percent — and it’s borne out anecdotally by most of us who've ever worked on computers. In a world where it feels like we spend more and more time staring at the little screens of our phones, it’s a luxury to be able to operate on a display capable of showing more than a couple dozen lines of text at a time. The more square footage a screen has, the less shifting between windows you have to do — which means less distraction and more staying on task.

It’s easy to load two full browser windows, or two separate programs at something close to traditional full-screen size, on the Odyssey G8 at once. Add in your laptop’s built-in screen, and you have almost too much visual real estate.
Will Sabel Courtney

The Odyssey G8's 3440-by-1440-pixel display stretches 34 inches diagonally, but it's how that screen space is configured and utilized that makes the differences. Like many curved monitors, it has a more horizontal aspect ratio than more traditional external displays (or your MacBook or iMac, for that matter). This enables the Odyssey to easily show two complete browser windows next to each other in full size — all while seeming less monolithic on your desktop than a similarly sized monitor with a more traditional screen ratio, as the wraparound screen makes it seem more compact. In effect, it's almost like having dual monitors in a single package.

Perhaps the best proof of this comes not from me, but from my partner. While she's an avowed believer in Goldilocks-sized screens — she still insists our 65-inch TV is too big for the apartment — she quickly stole adopted the Odyssey out from under me for our home office, and now blasts through her tasks with triple the efficiency of before.

That said, the user interface needs a little work

Unlike the LG 4K monitor I usually use, which is just an external display, full stop, the Odyssey comes loaded up with a similar built-in operating system to one of Samsung’s TVs. Indeed, you can use it as a standalone TV if you want; it even comes with a TV-style remote, so all you'd need to do to watch satellite or cable on there is hook that input up to its micro-HDMI port.

Getting to that point, however, is a bit tricky. In an effort to be helpful, Samsung offers a few ways to mirror your computer's screen on the Odyssey, including wireless mirroring options and app-based solutions. Thing is, since it's being projected over a wireless connection and the monitor's aspect ratio is far different from most laptops', the projected result comes out looking low-rez and hugged by black bars of empty screen.

Eventually, I was able to suss out how to connect my laptop to the Odyssey via USB-C cord — the story of the different types of USB-C cables that all look the same is a rant for another time — but it was still far more trouble than I'm used to, coming from a world mostly populated by Apple products. And setting up the direct connection required delving into menus that made setting up the timer on my childhood VCR seem simple.

Speaking of those menus: The Odyssey, like many a Samsung product, also comes with a bit of bloatware in the form of assorted freevee channels and apps you'll probably never use. (You can even play many video games directly through it, should you somehow wind up with a gaming monitor but no computer or console to use with it.) Combine that with the unintuitive controls, and it's easy to find yourself lost in a maze of menus, or stuck watching content you don't want to see. More than once, my partner or I (or, in all honesty, our cat) have accidentally pressed a button on the remote and triggered a random FAST channel playing Murder, She Wrote with no clear way to get back to our previous task.Like anyone else, I'm game for a Jessica Fletcher break every now and again — I'm only human — but I prefer to do so on my schedule, not at the whims of my technology.


Samsung Odyssey OLED G8 34

$899.99 (40% off)

  • Ridiculous amount of screen area
  • Elegant design
  • Takes up less space than you might think

  • Setup, operation can be a little finicky
  • Extra features largely unneeded
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