IT Pro Verdict
Incredible contrast performance
Great SDR and HDR colours
Huge resolution and refresh rate
Loads of adjustment options
Pro displays have better colour
Some missing physical features
The Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 isn’t just a gaming monitor – it’s the first gaming screen with a 4K resolution and 240Hz refresh rate. And while that might not sound suitable for work, there are plenty of reasons why this panel could make professional sense.
The 4K resolution delivers loads of on-screen space, for starters, and the Neo’s 1000R curve matches the shape of the human eye – which means better viewing angles and reduced eye strain.
It’s an impressive proposition, but the Neo G8 costs £1,083 exc VAT, so it’s hardly cheap – indeed, it’s far pricier than conventional office screens, unless you consider pro-level design and photography displays. Can it find a place among the best business monitors?
Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 review: Design
Samsung’s 32in unit has a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, which means a density level of 137.68ppi. That’s a superb start for any screen, whether it’s a gaming display or professional panel, and it means that the Neo G8 delivers crisp imagery and text alongside loads of on-screen space, while professional users have plenty of room to zoom in on creative tasks or use multiple windows.
Underneath the 32in display you’ll find Quantum Mini LEDs. They’re Samsung’s proprietary version of the Mini LEDs that can be found in high-end TVs, and there are 1,196 of them inside the Neo. They can turn off and alter their brightness levels independently, and they’re brighter and more versatile than conventional backlighting systems. It’s as close as you’ll get to OLED technology without the extortionate price tag.
It’s important not to overlook the Neo G8’s gaming credentials when so many people work at home or use hybrid working arrangements. The 4K resolution, Quantum Mini LEDs and 240Hz refresh rate mean that the Neo G8 offers unparalleled quality among 16:9 gaming screens, but you will need a hugely powerful graphics card to run the latest titles.
Unsurprisingly, the Samsung Neo G8 includes more tech than any conventional business monitor. If you spend this much on a professional product you’ll get a 4K panel without Quantum Mini LEDs or a 240Hz refresh rate, and the handful of 4K OLED panels available either cost more than £2,749 exc VAT or have vast 48in diagonals. If you want to spend this cash on a gaming panel, expect a Samsung Neo G9 widescreen or settle for a 4K screen with few of the Neo’s features.
There’s an awful lot of innovation inside the G8, but it looks just as bold on the outside. The base is wide and made from sandblasted metal, and the rear uses glossy white plastic.
Happily, the Neo G8 has plenty of adjustment options too: you get 120mm of height adjustment, 22 degrees of tilt and 30 degrees of swivel, and compatibility with 100mm VESA mounts. The Neo rotates into portrait mode, too, which isn’t a given on a large gaming screen, and especially not on curved displays.
In other areas, though, the Neo G8’s physical design disappoints. While the back of the display is robust, it’s too easy to wobble when nudged. You don’t get tool-free building here, either. And with a weight of 8.9kg and a depth of 310mm, it’s not a small screen - so make sure your desk has enough room to comfortably accommodate it.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 review: Image quality
This VA screen is a heavyweight in more than just the physical sense, however. It’s got 10-bit colour with 12-bit gradation, and Samsung says that it renders 100% of the sRGB colour space and 95% of the DCI-P3 gamut. The 240Hz refresh rate with adaptive sync might not be a professional feature, but it makes motion smoother and will aid animations and game designers.
That sounds great on paper, and the Neo G8 doesn’t disappoint in benchmarks. Out of the box the G8’s brightness level of 192cd/m2 was joined by a stunning 0.02cd/m2 black point thanks to those Quantum Mini LEDs. The resulting contrast ratio of 9,600:1 is sensational – far beyond any IPS or VA screen with conventional backlighting. The 240Hz synchronised refresh rate delivers butter-smooth motion in games, animation apps and everyday tools, and the backlight variation level of just 7.7% means impressive uniformity.
The huge contrast ratio means the G8 supplies vibrant, nuanced, and bold imagery with incredible depth. If you need a display for content creation, the G8 will be great, and this screen makes web browsers, everyday apps and games look incredible too.
Switch over to HDR mode and the Neo continues to impress. The panel delivered a consistent peak brightness level of 1,411cd/m2 and its black point remained at 0.02cd/m2, which means a maximum contrast ratio of 70,550:1. Combine that with the complexity on offer from the Quantum Mini LEDs and you’ve got a display that does justice to HDR material.
That brilliant contrast performance means everything looks superb, but the Neo G8 can’t quite keep up with colour accuracy. The panel’s average Delta E of 2.17 is good, but the maximum Delta E of 4.14 is a bit too high, and it sits alongside a slightly warm colour temperature of 6,065K.
They’re not bad results, and they mean that the G8 can handle any everyday task, including mainstream creative and design work, alongside games and media. But if you want to tackle top-tier photography and graphics jobs, you’ll get more accuracy from a true professional display.
The Neo’s gamut figures underline this situation. The G8 did a sterling job with sRGB colours, rendering 99.5% of the space, but it only rendered 91.2% of the DCI-P3 gamut. That’s good enough for mainstream HDR work and HDR games, but professionals will want closer to 100%. An 80.7% Adobe RGB coverage level also precludes the G8 from working in that space.
The Neo might not have flawless image quality, but it’s bright, deep and vibrant, and it has good colours. For the vast majority of professional workloads it’s very capable. If you’d like to go beyond the Neo with a display that can nail the DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB gamuts with improved accuracy, you can pick up a high-end specialist panel like the BenQ PD2705Q, Dell UltraSharp 25 USB-C or the Philips Moda 27 for less half the price - although you won’t get a lot of the fancier features or the classy design.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 review: Ports and features
You’ll need plenty of bandwidth to run this screen properly and fully use those Quantum Mini LEDs, but happily the two HDMI 2.1 ports and single DisplayPort 1.4 socket can handle it. The rear also houses two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports and a headphone jack. That’s fine connectivity, but the downward-facing ports are tricky to reach, and it’s a bit disappointing to see no USB charging and no USB-C.
Samsung’s on-screen display remains excellent, with a row of status indicators above sensible and responsive menus, and Samsung’s quick-access options enable fast source switching alongside rapid brightness and contrast adjustment. The Neo G8 has picture-in-picture options that support two display inputs at 120Hz. There’s also a widescreen mode that switches the screen to a 3,840 x 1,600 resolution, which will enable a wider field of view in games.
However, a D-Pad beneath the bottom bezel navigates the menu – and it’s not very good. The soft-touch buttons sit almost flush with the monitor casing, which makes them hard to grip, and they require too much force to activate.
Naturally, because this is a gaming display, the Neo G8 also includes RGB LEDs. There’s a ring of lights around the rear and two lines of lighting on the front. The G8 has a feature called CoreSync that matches their colour to on-screen action to provide ambient lighting, but the lights aren’t bright enough to have an impact unless you’re gaming in the dark. Customisation is also limited to 52 colours rather than the entire RGB gamut, which is a little disappointing.
Samsung’s panel has a cable-routing hook but doesn’t have a headphone hook or speakers, and since this isn’t a hard-nosed business display, don’t expect a KVM or built-in webcam. You’ll often find that professional displays have longer warranties, too – the Neo G8 only has one year of coverage.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 review: Verdict
Despite those physical issues, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 is undoubtedly one of the world’s best gaming monitors. Look beyond that, and there are plenty of professional situations where the Neo can work well. Its huge resolution makes it easy to spread out windows and apps, the curve is immersive, and the Quantum Mini LED-powered backlight delivers huge contrast, depth and punch. Combine that with the decent colours and you’ve got a screen that can tackle many professional and creative workloads.
That said, the Samsung doesn’t have the accuracy or gamut ability for the most demanding colour-sensitive scenarios. It’s missing some features that you’ll find included on proper pro displays, and many of those screens will have longer warranties. The £1,083 exc VAT price is extremely steep, too.
If you’re willing to pay, though, the Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 combines world-leading gaming imagery with the quality to tackle most work tasks. If you’re a home worker or want the best of both worlds, that makes it a tempting proposition.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 Specifications
|Screen resolution||3,840 x 2,160|
|Screen refresh rate||240Hz|
|Video inputs||2 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x DisplayPort 1.4|
|Ports||1 x audio, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1|
|Adjustability||Tilt -9° to 13°, 120mm height adjustment, 30° swivel, 184° pivot, 100mm VESA mount|
|Dimensions||739 x 607 x 310mm (WxDxH)|
Mike Jennings has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has been fascinated by computers since childhood, when he spent far too long building terrible websites. He loves desktop PCs, components, laptops and anything to do with the latest hardware.
Mike worked as a staff writer at PC Pro magazine in London for seven years, and during that time wrote for a variety of other tech titles, including Custom PC, Micro Mart and Computer Shopper. Since 2013, he’s been a freelance tech writer, and writes regularly for titles like Wired, TechRadar, Stuff, TechSpot, IT Pro, TrustedReviews and TechAdvisor. He still loves tech and covers everything from the latest business hardware and software to high-end gaming gear, and you’ll find him on plenty of sites writing reviews, features and guides on a vast range of topics.