Gigabyte AORUS CO49DQ Gaming Monitor review: a beautiful canvas for a niche art audience

When one thinks of a PC Monitor’, a screen size of anywhere between 21 to 27 inches usually comes to mind. For a gaming monitor, you are likely to think of sizes between 27 to 34 inches. And you won’t be wrong as these are the most popular screen sizes in the market for these segments. For more screen space, most people usually end up opting for a two or three-monitor setup, which allows them to multitask and indulge in ultrawide screen gaming. But now, the trends are changing fast. While some people are opting to use 42 to 55-inch TVs as monitors, those who don’t want to sacrifice the response time, wide field-of-view, or high refresh rate (without spending a fortune), are opting for SuperWide Monitors.

To cater to this specific audience, Gigabyte has now introduced its AORUS CO49DQ gaming monitor to the market. Mind you, this beast of a gaming monitor is not for the light-hearted. Priced at Rs 1,29,000 in India, the CO49DQ comes with a vast array of gaming features but it can easily replace a multi-monitor setup for a working professional too. Without giving too much away, let’s jump into the detailed review.

Design and build quality

The AORUS CO49DQ is not a monitor you can tuck away in the corner of your room. This display commands attention and has to be the centrepiece of your gaming or work setup. We are talking about a 49-inch panel with an 1800R curve. Due to the SuperWide nature of the screen (Dimensions: 1194.78×372.23×160.51 mm), the vertical height of this monitor is still on par with a regular monitor. So it can fit in most workstations vertically (especially with the adjustable stand) with ease. Horizontally, despite its curved nature, the CO49DQ will require you to clear up some space before you can enjoy it in its full glory.

If you’re unboxing it yourself, the experience can be a bit challenging as even without the stand, the monitor weighs 8.33kg. On top of this, the extremely wide form factor (along with the curve) makes it tricky to even remove the monitor from its box. As you would not want to handle this precious panel roughly, I would advise you to set it up with a helping hand you can trust.

The build quality of the stand is impeccable and it offers five inches of height, 5/20 degrees tilt, and a 30-degree swivel.

The only qualm I have with the build quality of the AORUS CO49DQ is that I found that there is some gap between the display and the frame of my review unit. As a result, the gap ends up collecting dust and compromises the flush design, which would have provided a much premium feel. This could very easily be an issue with my particular unit as I’ve been told by the brand that this hasn’t been a common issue. Other than this, the monitor comes with impressive build quality that feels solid and durable.

There is a single joystick control present at the bottom of the monitor in the middle to access the OSD features. At the back, you get the following connectivity options:

  • 2 x HDMI 2.1 ports
  • 1 x Displayport 1.4 port
  • 1 x USB Type-C (Alternate Mode; Upstream port; Power Delivery up to 18W) port
  • 2 x USB 3.0 Downstream ports
  • 1 x USB 3.0 Upstream port
  • 1 x Earphone Jack
As you can see, the monitor offers a plethora of connectivity options (including a KVM switch). However, one aspect to consider here will be cable management. If you’re using multiple ports (all downward-facing), the resulting entanglement could be unsightly. 

Display quality, use cases, and features

Coming to the most important aspect of any monitor, let’s discuss the display quality. The AORUS CO49DQ packs a 49-inch QD-OLED display panel with up to 144Hz refresh rate and DQHD (5,120 x 1,440 pixels) screen resolution. The display is capable of reproducing 99 percent of the colours within the DCI-P3 colour space to provide you with impressive colour accuracy and comes with an anti-reflection coating (however, the display is still quite reflective in general). It offers a brightness of 250 cd/m2 in typical use, which is more than sufficient for indoor usage. The display offers a viewing angle of 178 degrees and an impressive contrast ratio of 1500000:1. The monitor supports AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, HDMI 2.1 (with VRR and ALLM support), and a GTG response time of 0.03 seconds.

The panel comes with VESA DisplayHDR True Black 400 and ClearMR 8000 certifications, which indicate that it’s capable of offering a wide range of brightness and colour, deep black levels, a peak brightness of up to 400 nits in HDR, and motion clarity.

In terms of colour accuracy, I found the display to be quite accurate even in its default settings. However, if you want certain adjustments, you can always access the OSD menu and adjust the picture settings as per your requirements. With a good amount of customisation on offer, you can easily calibrate the display to your liking.

Gaming experience

In effect, I found that the QD OLED display offered vibrant colours and inky blacks, which combined to produce a visual treat. Whether you’re watching a movie or playing games in 4K HDR, this monitor offers a level of immersion that is hard to describe unless you feel it in person. The 32:9 aspect ratio gives you an almost unnatural view and a whole new perspective on even those games that you have played before. I managed to play God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, and Horizon Zero Dawn: Forbidden West on the monitor in the super ultrawide aspect ratio and the experience was unparalleled.

While the list of games that support the 32:9 aspect ratio is increasing over time, do keep in mind that this aspect ratio is still not supported in many games. Also, if you are planning on connecting a gaming console to this monitor, you will have to make peace with the thick black bars on the side of the displayed content.

Some gaming-centric features can be enabled from the OSD menu of the monitor to enhance your gaming experience. For example, with Black Equaliser, the monitor deepens the details of the dark areas on the monitor. While this feature should be disabled while watching movies as it brightens dark areas, it can be quite effective in FPS games. Then there is Timer to help you keep track of elapsed time, Crosshair for better shooting, and HDR mode to specifically adjust the output according to the content (game, movies, and HDR 400 mode for high brightness). 

If you prefer to do the screen calibration on your own, you get the 6-axis colour control. In this setting, you can adjust the following colours according to your liking: Red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow.  

Work experience

I connected my laptop (MacBook Air M1) to the monitor and I must share that it was… for lack of a better word… an addictive experience. With the monitor supporting an equivalent of two 27-inch 16:9 windows fully, I could use two apps side-by-side effortlessly. I even managed to squeeze in another app (Slack) between these windows. You can have two input sources in a 16:9 aspect ratio side-by-side using the HDMI/Display port as well. In effect, the same result that is usually achieved via a two/three-monitor setup can be reproduced on the AORUS CO49DQ without any bezels in between.

For those of you who have to edit videos or music, this is a dream screen for ultimate convenience. The PIP and PBP features allow you to view different video sources on screen at the same time as well.

Panel protection

As we are talking about a QD-OLED panel, we need to address the elephant in the room – burn-in. This issue can be triggered on OLED monitors (QD-OLED monitors are infamously notorious for showcasing this issue even quicker than W-OLED panels) if your workstation with your laptop/PC features a lot of static elements on the display. To tackle this issue, Gigabyte has included an AI-based algorithm on the AORUS CO49DQ to minimise the risks of burn-in issues and deploy it across a series of OLED-protecting technologies on the monitor. It is impossible to check the effectiveness of this implementation during the review as usually, these issues pop up after months if not years of usage. But it is always great to know that the panel has some extra safety mechanisms in place.

Sound

I always suggest that gamers should use gaming headphones instead of relying on the built-in speakers of a monitor. On the other hand, those who want to watch movies/TV shows should go for a soundbar. However, if you’re not in the mood to go for either, you could use the dual 5W speakers on the AORUS CO49DQ. The speakers get fairly loud for an indoor setting and with the surround sound option, they do manage to offer a decent listening experience. 

Verdict

Simply put, the Gigabyte AORUS CO49DQ is one of the best gaming monitors money can buy right now. Thanks to an impressive response time, inky blacks, infinite contrast ratio, VRR support, advanced AI features for panel protection, and a larger-than-life aspect ratio, this machine is a dream for gamers. With an expansive panel that eliminates the need for a dual-monitor setup, this monitor is a great option even for working professionals who want to edit videos/pictures etc.

Having said that, the monitor comes at a hefty price of around Rs 1.3 lakhs right now. Also, the support for a 32:9 aspect ratio is currently available in limited games. This means you need to be absolutely sure that you’re fine with using some content with thick black bars on the side (especially while using gaming consoles) before you buy this 49-inch mammoth screen. The Gigabyte AORUS CO49DQ is meant for enthusiasts who want the very best in the market and on that front, it doesn’t leave any stones unturned. If you have the money and want a unique and immersive gaming experience, this monitor is an absolute no-brainer.

Editor’s rating: 8 / 10

Pros

  • Display quality is impeccable
  • Great for both work and gaming
  • Infinite contrast ratio
  • 0.03ms GTG response time

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Not ideal for use with gaming consoles
  • Reflective display is a fingerprint magnet