PRISM+ X490 PRO Review

PRISM+ entered the Australian market last year, offering a modest selection of monitors to suit a range of gaming and work needs. They sent me the then flagship XQ340 PRO for review, which I found to be thoroughly impressive – so much so that it sat on my desk as my primary monitor ever since. I have used the XQ340 PRO extensively for both work from home and gaming over the months that followed and I have continued to be impressed by all it had to offer for work, rest and play!

Naturally, when I saw that PRSIM+ had expanded their range of premium ultrawide monitors to include a behemoth, 49 inch super ultrawide, I was intrigued. Could the new PRISM+ X490 PRO live up to the standard set by the XQ340 PRO? I asked PRISM+ to send one over so that I could find out.

Disclosure: PRISM+ provided Blog of Dad with the PRISM+ X490 PRO for the purpose of review and ongoing use. Any thoughts expressed about PRISM+ products in this article are based on my own experiences. For more information, visit my disclosure statement.  

PRISM+ X490 PRO

10 out of 10
$2599$1499
PRISM+ X490 PRO Review

The PRISM+ X490 PRO has some big shoes to fill by taking the Flagship mantle off the XQ340 PRO. With the XQ340 PRO I had no idea what to expect from the unknown PRISM+ brand, so I was blown away by what arrived. However, it set the bar high, so this time the X490 PRO had to deliver something special in order to impress me.
Yet, blow me away it has! That 49″, DQHD 5120 x 1440 curved panel is absolutely stunning! I knew it would be huge, but somehow it has still exceeded my expectations. While the PRISM+ X490 PRO can be described as equivalent in screen space to two 27″ 1440p displays placed side-by-side, the reality is so much more. The flexibility and customisability offered by having one continuous panel is amazing for work and productivity, and the experience of playing a game such as Halo Infinite on such a display has once again left me thoroughly amazed.

Size
10/10
Quality
9/10
User Experience
10/10
Versatility
10/10

Pros

Incredible amount of screen

Resolution (5120 x 1440)

Sturdy and ergonomic stand

Looks brilliant

120Hz refresh rate and 4ms response time for gaming

Quantum Dot enhanced VA panel brings vibrant colour and deep blacks

1800R curve

Extremely versatile for work, rest and play

Cons

Not a lot of native 32:9 content available

VA panel won't suit everyone

Requires a strong GPU to get the most out of the specifications on offer when gaming


PRISM+ X490 PRO First Impressions

The PRISM+ X490 PRO is vast! It was obvious when the box was delivered that I was working with something special in terms of dimensions, but seeing the actual screen for the first time as I lifted it out of the box still left me staring for quite a while. Even before I ever turned the X490 PRO on, it was obvious that such a screen would let its presence be known on any desk!

Essentially, the X490 PRO offers the same amount of screen real estate as two 27″ monitors side-by-side. While that in itself is impressive, the seamless nature of one continuous, 49″ curved panel on a single stand is somehow so much more impressive to look at. It translates to a 32:9 aspect ratio, which seems ridiculous, yet also somehow just right when using it.

As with the XQ340 PRO, setting up the PRISM+ X490 PRO is an easy process. The height adjustable ergonomic stand comes in two pieces, with a very solid, 3-pronged metal base connecting to a thick cylindrical plastic and metal stand. The stand already has a mostly metal plate attached that simply and easily clips into the back of the X490 PRO.

Despite some plastic components, the stand is solid and feels robust. It does an impressive job of holding such a vast display steady, with no wobble discernible throughout my testing.

PRISM+ X490 PRO Reviewv

The hardest part of the whole process is picking up the screen with stand attached and manoeuvring it onto the desk. At 12.9 kg (with stand attached), the X490 PRO certainly isn’t a lightweight! I was able to do it carefully by myself, but it is probably best done as a two person job.

The stand is easy to position, with height (up to 95mm), tilt (-5° +15°) and swivel (15° each way) adjustments that are smooth. In my testing, the X490 PRO holds its position exactly where I have placed it, which is very pleasing.

Plugging cables and the power connection into the PRISM+ X490 PRO is reasonably easy, thanks to a clever removable panel that sits over the connections on the rear of the monitor. This access makes it easier to locate each port (two DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0, USB Type C and Audio Out), although plugging cables in can still prove to be a challenge thanks to the sheer bulk of the display. Thankfully this is an occasional task.

PRISM+ X490 PRO Review

Cables are routed through a simple oval hole in the stand, which does a good job of keeping everything looking neat and tidy, although when the stand is raised to its highest limits the cables are still slightly visible. This doesn’t bother me as it all feels very neat and tidy, but those who are particularly pedantic may find that a well-placed cable tie further reduces cable visibility.

Turning the PRISM+ X490 PRO on for the first time is worth sitting down for and thoroughly enjoying! The 34″ XQ340 PRO made me accustomed to large screen sizes, but it still didn’t quite prepare me for how magnificent the 49″ super ultrawide experience is! It is hard to describe just how impressive that vast, uninterrupted image is on a monitor positioned a metre away from your face!

Like almost every new monitor I have ever used, the PRISM+ X490 PRO has the brightness turned up too high out of the box. This makes for a stunning first impression, but for day-to-day use it needs to be toned down. A quick few minutes in the inbuilt Windows 10 display calibration software is time well spent, and I quickly had the X490 PRO tuned to my tastes.

I’m no expert when it comes to colour accuracy and I don’t have the professional-grade tools to measure such things, but to my amateur eye the colour on my X490 PRO looked fantastic straight out of the box! I didn’t need to make any adjustments to the colour balance of my display when calibrating. Those who rely on ultra-accurate colour representation for their work may need to do a bit more research before pulling the trigger on this display, but for the vast majority of users that level of refinement is neither noticeable nor necessary.

The same Quantum Dot Technology that blew me away on the XQ340 PRO, combined with the superior contrast (3000:1) and colour reproduction (PRISM+ state 140% sRGB) typical of VA panels, is present in the X490 PRO and I find the result fantastic! The E-LED backlighting can be a weak point on VA monitors, but in my real-world use on the X490 PRO it delivers even, vibrant lighting across the screen. I see no evidence of noticeable light bleed during use, although the backlighting is a little visible around the edges when the screen is black (during the computer shut down process). However, I only notice this when I go looking for it and it in no way impacts the pleasure of my real-world use.

The 5120 x 1440 resolution of the PRISM+ X490 PRO is equivalent to that of two 1440p monitors side-by-side. I find this to be an excellent resolution for a monitor of this size. Text is crisp and clear, and I have to lean in and look pretty carefully to make out individual pixels. This level of sharpness enables the use of smaller text than a 1080p image, which serves to make the screen real estate feel even bigger! Quality control on my sample display is excellent, with every single one of those 7,372,800 pixels functioning properly. I had the same positive experience with the XQ340 PRO, which stayed pixel-perfect during seven months of use after I wrote up the review. A generous 3 year limited warranty and competitive pixel policy provides me with further confidence that PRISM+ aim to deliver a reliable, high quality product.

A 1800R curvature is used to help the enormous screen wrap around the user. I find this works well as it reduces head movement and fatigue. In gaming, that curved display fills my peripheral vision, creating an extremely immersive environment. More on that in a bit.


PRISM+ X490 PRO Use

Work

Very few people need a 49″ monitor, but then again even fewer people need an RTX 3090 or a Ryzen 5900X. These items well and truly fall into the luxury category, yet they exist because they can deliver a user experience that is more enjoyable, more powerful, offers greater utility or are just plain better than the bog-standard. When I first placed the 34″ XQ340 PRO on my desk I felt a little spoilt, but I soon came to appreciate and utilize the extra screen space, to the point that I can’t imagine ever using anything smaller again.

I am also sure that my productivity improved as a result of the new monitor, which was particularly fortunate as I had it on my desk through the peak of work from home during Sydney’s 2021 lockdowns. I could have battled through just fine on my hodgepodge 27″ + 24″ setup and I still would have got my work done, but the 34″ (alongside a vertically mounted 27″) was undoubtedly better.

When I first set up the incredibly vast 49″ PRISM+ X490 PRO on my desk, I had that same familiar feeling of being spoilt. I never imagined that something could possibly make the XQ340 PRO feel small, yet here I sit, still marvelling at size of the screen that sits before me! It has to be experienced to be believed.

PRISM+ X490 PRO Review

The vertical 27″ monitor is now gone from my desk – partly because it just doesn’t fit (the PRISM+ X490 PRO is 1178mm long and my desk is 1200mm), but even if it did I just don’t need it there. For the first time in about 15 years I am content with a single screen setup. Obviously, that is largely down to the X490 PRO essentially being two screens worth packed into a single glorious display.

In actual fact, I find it so much better than two screens side by side. There are the aesthetic reasons – I have already mentioned a few times that the vast 49″ display looks magnificent (whether on or off). My work space feels more clean and tidy, even more mature than it did with two screens.

But more importantly, there are functionality benefits too. Firstly, I can comfortably position myself right in the middle of the display. This feels far better ergonomically. Right now, for example, I have my word processor open right in the middle of the screen. On one side I have my email window open, and on the other side I have the PRISM+ X490 PRO webpage open so that I can refer to specs and features accurately. And I still have room to spare! With two monitors, one is inevitably primary and the other is off to one side. My previous configuration was quite good, because I sat right in the middle of the XQ340 PRO and only sometimes needed to turn my head and look at the vertical monitor, but this is even better!

The ways in which I can configure my workflow are almost limitless with the X490 PRO, and it dynamically shifts as my tasks change throughout the day. Not being limited by 2×27″, I can resize and reposition windows as I please. From a productivity point of view, this is incredible! I can have everything I need on the screen at the same time, exactly as I want it. As expected, the 5120 x 1440 resolution makes text and images crisp and clear, no matter how big or small I resize it.

For better or for worse, many of us dads are familiar with the beast that is Excel. When I get my hands on a big monitor with a high resolution, one of my fun little tests is to open a blank spreadsheet and see how many cells are on display. The 5120 x 1440 resolution of the X490 PRO translates to a whopping 79 by 55 grid at 100% view! That’s 4,345 visible cells. Again, most of us don’t need that kind of spreadsheet dominance, but you can imagine the benefits when, say, comparing two sets of data side-by-side or transferring information from one place to another. The potential productivity benefits are hard to ignore.

So many cells!

Rest

Like most people, particularly in this age of lockdowns and work from home, my PC is not a single-purpose device. It is easy to get caught up in the world of technical specifications, especially with a product like monitors that can be so heavily geared towards a specific need, for example professional gamers or graphic artists. For the great majority of us, however, the best monitors are suitable for a wide range of applications, but perhaps without hitting the extremes of any single specification point.

After work comes rest. The bright, colourful and contrasty PRISM+ X490 PRO is well-and-truly up to this task… with a caveat or two.

Quality 32:9 content (video that fills the whole screen) looks absolutely incredible! It is a wonderfully immersive experience and I thoroughly enjoyed several impressive time lapses and drone-based adventures through stunning scenery. As someone who enjoys travel, but hasn’t even left Sydney in over two years, this video on the massive and immersive X490 PRO screen was very enjoyable.

PRISM+ X490 PRO Review

The biggest caveat here is that native 32:9 content is extremely hard to come by. This may slowly change as companies such as PRISM+ make Super Ultrawide displays more mainstream, but at the moment it is near impossible. High quality video can be cropped to fit the 32:9 format, and at times it does look amazing and fill the screen in a very impressive way. I found a Rise of Skywalker trailer that had been formatted to 32:9 and was very impressed for the most part. The only real issue was that close shots of characters resulted in a significant portion of heads being chopped off.

While screen-filling 32:9 content is hard to come by, 21:9 wide-screen footage is more abundant. Major streaming services offer some content, and YouTube has plenty of movie trailers and travel-type footage available.

21:9 still looks fantastic on the X490 PRO. Obviously you get black bars on either side of the image, but you still get an amazingly large (34″ – the same as the XQ340 PRO) and immersive experience. In a darkened room those black bars quickly disappeared from my consciousness as I became fully immersed in the content. In a lit room they were more noticeable and I found myself longing for content that filled the empty space a little more. Still, even in a well-lit room I eventually stopped focussing on what could be and settled in to enjoying the amazing viewing on offer.

For those who like to multitask when relaxing, the PRISM+ X490 PRO is a compelling option. Even with 21:9 content taking up a significant portion of the screen, there is still plenty of room left to have a website or two open.

21:9 content still looks amazing on the X490 PRO, even if it does leave part of the screen unused.

16:9 content takes up half the screen (27″ image), leaving plenty of space for other activities. This content can be displayed at 2560 x 1440 and still looks brilliant. In fact, you can place two video feeds side-by-side, which is potentially very useful when you want to keep an eye on the footy while binge-watching a Netflix series. Or watching two games simultaneously. I’m not here to judge!

The second caveat with media consumption on the PRISM+ X490 PRO is the built in speakers. They are there, which is nice, but they aren’t going to blow you away. This is not unexpected, and if anything they perform better than I had imagined they would, but built in speakers never have been the best option for serious listening.

This is no great problem for me. I have some seriously good EPOS SENNHEISER headphones connected to my PC that I use for 95% of my listening needs. But, I am still pleased that PRISM+ have built these speakers into the X490 PRO. They are perfectly good for use when consuming small bits of media such as videos on social channels, or for quickly sharing some content with other members of my family. The 2 x 3W setup is just enough to provide clear and usable listening. Voices come through clearly, even when cranked to 100%. That 100% volume isn’t exactly loud, but it also isn’t horrible and distorted, so that’s a win as far as on-board speakers go!

I certainly wasn’t expecting much when I fired up Deezer Premium, with its FLAC quality for high-end listening. But while the X490 PRO speakers obviously don’t hold up compared to dedicated high-end audio equipment, they did a surprisingly admirable job of delivering a clear and enjoyable rendition of They Can’t Take That Away From Me by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Again, while 100% volume didn’t make my ears bleed, it did come through surprisingly crisp and clear. Even loud and busy songs such as Monkey Wrench by the Foo Fighters didn’t make a mess of the speakers, although it was definitely lacking the clarity and depth that I enjoy through my headphones. Still, the fact that PRISM+ included these speakers is a bonus in my book and I am happy to have them for occasional use.

As I found with my work-related experiences with this monitor, the X490 PRO offers supreme flexibility when using it for resting and consuming media.


Play

Play is the final part of the PRISM+ X490 PRO picture. As good as work and rest are on this super ultrawide monitor, gaming is where I have been appreciating the X490 PRO the most.

While slightly slower and less responsive (120Hz and 4 ms response time) compared to my X340 PRO (144Hz and 1 ms MPRT), in my real world experience the difference seems to be negligible. I believe that most casual gamers would struggle to perceive any difference, but those moving up from a 60Hz monitor certainly should see a noticeable improvement. 120Hz on the PRISM+ X490 PRO is smooth and enjoyable. In racing games such as Forza Horizon 5, the added frames over a traditional monitor helps to deliver a smoother and more realistic driving experience.

It is worth noting that significant GPU power is required to get the most out of the impressive specs of the PRISM+ X490 PRO. I am using the fantastic PNY GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition – a powerhouse from late 2019. This card does an excellent job of delivering high quality graphics and fast speeds to the X490 PRO, but even it can’t quite deliver 5120 x 1140 pixels at 120 frames per second with ultra settings on some of the latest games. Still, the overall experience is brilliant and I can’t really fault either element of this awesome gaming combo.

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The PNY GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition delivers a great picture to the PRISM+ X490 PRO

For any gamer fortunate enough to have secured a high-end GPU (AMD or Nvidia) from the previous few generations, the PRISM+ X490 PRO is a compelling partner.

I have spent a little too much time testing the PRISM+ X490 PRO with Halo Infinite over the past week. The fact that it has been incredibly hard to pull myself away from the game long enough to actually write this review tells you just about everything you need to know about how good the experience is! But let’s break it down anyway.

The 49″ Super Ultrawide format is incredibly immersive in a good first person shooter such as Halo Infinite. The field of view is fantastic, with the extremities of the monitor providing information to the peripheries of vision, which I think gives me an advantage when spotting enemies and reacting to situations. The 1800R curvature isn’t the most extreme on offer, but for a monitor of this size it wraps around nicely to further enhance the immersive nature of the setup.

PRISM+ X490 PRO Review

Halo is a graphically stunning game and PNY’s GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER is able to deliver High settings to the 5120 x 1440 display. This looks absolutely incredible on the X490’s VA panel with wide colour gamut, and it is nice and smooth thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. Even in the heat of the most intense battles, I don’t detect any stuttering or tearing.

This may be in part thanks to the Adaptive-sync technology deployed on the X490, which in my experience seems to work quite well with the RTX 2070 SUPER. This does need to be activated via the X490 PRO’s menu and the option is a little buried in the “Other” section of the menu (alongside HDR), so make sure you remember to find it and turn it on if needed! The 4 ms response time is certainly responsive enough for my amateur eye, with gameplay consistently feeling fast, smooth and furious!

I find myself increasingly competitive in multiplayer settings. This is partially thanks to my top-notch peripherals (the excellent Razer Tartarus Pro and CORSAIR SABRE RGB PRO WIRELESS CHAMPION SERIES Gaming Mouse are wonderfully fast, accurate and responsive) and partly the result of a decent amount of practice. But I also believe that the PRSIM+ X490 PRO (and the XQ340 PRO before it) has contributed to my improvement. There is just something about that vast screen and peripheral vision that helps me to bring my A-game more often.

Other games too, benefit from the Super Ultrawide format of the PRISM+ X490 PRO, although to varying degrees. Forza Horizon 5 is my other go-to game right now, so I have spent a fair bit of time experiencing it in the X490 PRO. Like Halo Infinite, Horizon 5 is a visually stunning game and it looks glorious on such an impressive monitor! There are, however, a few minor shortcomings in the way that the game utilises the vast pixels on offer. Primarily, Horizon 5 seems to stretch the image at the extremities in order to achieve the full coverage, which at times results in a somewhat distorted image.

To an extent, the distortion is dependent on the chosen driving position, with my preferred dashboard view not particularly affected.  In most circumstances it doesn’t bother me at all. This is because it is happening in my peripheral vision while I focus on the centre of the screen while racing. The advantages of being able to see more of what is happening around the car out of the corner of my eye far outweigh the distortion during a race.

In fact, what the Super Ultrawide format of the X490 PRO does bring to this view is an enhanced view of the rear vision mirrors, which provides me with a better idea of what is happening behind me.

The time that I really notice the distortion is during the Playground Games. This is because I play in the Chase Far View, in order to get the best idea of what is happening around me. In this mode I pay quite a lot of attention to the extremities of my screen, because seeing where opposing cars are coming from is key to success. While I greatly appreciate the enhanced view of my surroundings, I do sometimes find it hard to judge exactly what is happening, as the opposing cars can appear quite stretched and huge! Overall I still believe I benefit from the extra screen space, but it is worth noting that the distortion happens. Forza games do offer the ability to tweak field of view in the settings, and perhaps I need to spend a little more time investigating the best settings to minimise distortion.

Giant Bug!

I loaded up FIFA 21 and looked on in horror as low-res, distorted-looking players took to the field. For a while I thought that there was a major compatibility issue with the game and the Super Ultrawide format, until I did a little digging and found that I had to manually change the game’s resolution in the settings prior to loading. For some reason, FIFA 21 had defaulted to the less-than-ideal resolution of 1280 by 720, which (as you can imagine) looked awful. Unplayable, in fact.

Once I had set the correct resolution, it was a completely different story. FIFA 21 looks incredible in 5120 x 1400. As with the other games tested above, the increased width of the display resulted in a far greater view of the playing field, while still maintaining a large and clear view of the action. Being able to see more of the field in a sports game like FIFA is a clear advantage, as you can see where all players are positioned and respond accordingly. It takes the guess work out of long passes and greatly improves tactical play. I will at this point note that the PRISM+ X490 PRO is not magical and that no amount of crisp, clear field of view can make up for my overall terrible ability with this game.

PRISM+ X490 PRO Review

Not all games are big-budget, AAA titles that provide resolution options for every display imaginable. I loaded up one of my Game Pass favourites, Bridge Constructor Portal, to see how it would run. I was able to set the resolution to 2560 x 1440. While still playable, the result was a stretched image filling the screen.

PRISM+ X490 PRO Review

PRISM+ X490 PRO Other Observations

Unusually for a monitor, the PRISM+ X490 PRO comes with a remote control. I was dubious about the need for it, but after getting used to having one I quite like it. Primarily, this is because it enables me to quickly and easily control the inbuilt crosshair function, which is quite useful in certain games.

One minor quirk with the X490 PRO before I used the remote was that the crosshair would automatically appear whenever I turned on the computer, or when it woke from sleep. Since using the remote to turn on and off the crosshair, I haven’t had that problem.

Using the remote is also a lot easier than using the buttons on the monitor for navigating the OSD and switching input devices. Speaking of the OSD, it isn’t the fanciest one going around. A simple red, black and white grid system contains all of the options. This simple, no fuss approach doesn’t bother me at all. Like most users, once I use the OSD to set up the monitor, I rarely dive back in again.

PRISM+ have also kept things simple when it comes to the exterior styling of the X490 PRO. There is a slimline bezel (PRISM+ refer to it as ZeroBezel Design) that keeps things looking sleek and modern, particularly when the X490 PRO is off. There is a thin black border visible inside the bezel when the screen is on, but it is still unobtrusive and looks clean and sharp.

The Bottom bezel is larger, about 1.5 centimetres in width and it carries the simple and stylish PRISM+ logo. Just under the logo sits a small protruding housing for the physical buttons. This also contains an unobtrusive blue power light and the receiver for the remote. There is no fancy lighting on the rear of the X490 PRO, nor are there any real design flourishes.

I really like the understated way the PRSIM+ X490 PRO looks. The star of the show is that incredible 49″ screen, and anything more would unnecessarily take away the focus from its awesomeness. This also enables the X490 PRO to blend in well to any environment, whether it be a gaming battlestation or a corporate office.


PRISM+ X490 PRO Final Thoughts

The PRISM+ X490 PRO has some big shoes to fill by taking the Flagship mantle off the XQ340 PRO. With the XQ340 PRO I had no idea what to expect from the unknown PRISM+ brand, so I was blown away by what arrived. However, it set the bar high, so this time the X490 PRO had to deliver something special in order to impress me.

Yet, blow me away it has! That 49″, DQHD 5120 x 1440 curved panel is absolutely stunning! I knew it would be huge, but somehow it has still exceeded my expectations. While the X490 PRO can be described as equivalent in screen space to two 27″ 1440p displays placed side-by-side, the reality is so much more. The flexibility and customisability offered by having one continuous panel is amazing for work and productivity, and the experience of playing a game such as Halo Infinite on such a display has once again left me thoroughly amazed.

The sticking point for some will be the price tag, with $2599 a hefty chunk of cash to drop on a display. If this is the case for you, then waiting for a sale (at the time of writing, PRISM+ are running an attractive promotional price of $1499) or perhaps choosing the still-incredible XQ340 PRO is a prudent option. The other issue may be securing a graphics card that is capable of pushing out 5120 x1440 pixels at 120 FPS on high or better settings. However, the GPU supply situation should continue to improve as 2022 progresses, so this might just be the year to significantly upgrade your PC’s visual experience after all!

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