Screens, we all need them, it's the window on our workspace and there are a lot to choose from. This particular screen - the Samsung CJ4989 is a 49” Super Wide Curved monitor, is a big addition to any workspace.
Not only does it have a large 32:9 workspace - think 2 1080 monitors side by side, but it also has USB-C connectivity too. This means, that on a current MacBook Pro, you can hook it up with a single wire which will not only give you the monitor connection, but supply power enough to charge and run the computer too.
It also has enough bandwidth to connect USB devices via the built-in USB HUB (2x USB2 ports and a USB3 port) - in this case we ran the drive which held our multitrack sessions.
It's BIG, comes in a box the size of a small wardrobe, with mains cables, USB-C cable - this is important as it is a highly specified cable - not all cables will work as they don’t have enough data bandwidth.
You can mount the screen on it's included sliding height stand, with tilting adjustment, or attach the included VESA mounting plate to hang it off a stand of your choice.
The curved screen means that it has a wrap around quality to it, which while not totally new, if you’ve not experienced this before, you will find it really works for providing optimum viewing across the whole screen area. Especially when working on full timeline arrangements across it's width.
Due to it's size, you may have to adjust your monitors to ensure they are not obscured by it's largess. This might prove to be something that requires additional monitor stands or whatnot, the optimum viewing distance being around 2-3ft, so placing them either side of the screen, might make them a tad too wide apart for some.
Connectivity - if you have USB-C it's a breeze as the monitor will provide enough power for a number of devices, There are three USB-C connections, 2x for monitors and one to supply the USB hub only - though any of them can be routed to the HUB.
Additionally, you have HDMI and Display Port so you can connect up to four monitor sources.
As well as the super wide screen mode (3840x180), you can also set up PBP mode (Picture By Picture) for 2 side by side 1080 sources, and PiP too.
The USB hub functions means that you can also switch USB control - say Keyboard and Mouse between separately connected computers - so it will work as a KVM switch - though remember not to attach hard drives this way - switching will result in the drive being dumped and could damage your data.
The image quality is sharp and vibrant, with text displayed well - for a full timeline view of an arrangement in the DAW of your choice, it's a sweet way to work. We’re also told that the response time and colour makes it great for gaming too. Certainly while using it for video editing, we found it was a good representation of our shots and worked well for image assesment.
Speakers, there are actually a pair of 7W speakers in the screen which at a pinch you could use, though they aren’t really good enough for proper mix evaluation, and also poor enough to check the mix on "crappy speakers", would have liked them to give a little more audio quality, but they may get you out of a scrape in some situations.
When we first setup the CJ89, we were kind of amused at the size of it, our pair of 1080 monitors has been fine for our video editing setup, but it quickly becomes apparent that workspace size is great, going back to the "old" monitors feels like a step back in time - it's addictive!
All this size and USB-C convenience does come at a price, a chunky £899 is a lot to spend on a screen (well not as much as our broadcasting friends would spend) but investing in your workspace is often money well spent.
It's a lux option, and for some will provide the perfect set of features (PBP, KVM switch, USB-C connectivity), bottom line is, if we had the cash, we’d want one, but if you can find it on the street for less then that might make it a very tempting proposition. There are also smaller and less featured options if you are looking for that curved experience. It's not a gimmick.
Available imminently, price £899
The philosophy of designing organismic instruments