- High refresh rate and fast response times
- Pleasant service
- Reasonable HDR rendering
- Image reproduction is disappointing, especially in sRGB
- High price
- No USB-C input
The two LG displays in this review are by no means modest. Both have a generous screen diagonal of 32 inches, and their price tags are also impressive. here, therefore, for considerably more advanced screens than the aforementioned monitors, which are a first for LG.
LG mainly uses its self-produced IPS variants for its screens. In fact, ips is a brand name of LG; other manufacturers are therefore not allowed to use it for the name of their panels. Although ips have several advantages over VA technology, such as a better viewing angle and faster response times, it also offers a significantly lower contrast. However, a high contrast value contributes significantly to a pleasant viewing experience, especially in a dark room and especially for HDR content. Another downside of ips that VA panels do not suffer from is the so-called IPS glow. This is present with LG’s IPS panels, just like with IPS-like variants from competitors, and the contrast of LG’s IPS panels is also often on the low side.
To overcome the intrinsic disadvantages of IPS panels, LG has introduced two techniques this year. Firstly, there is IPS Black, a technique that should mainly improve the contrast of LG’s IPS panels. We saw the result of applying this to Dell Ultrasharp earlier this year. The two LG screens in this review, the UltraGear 32GQ850, and UltraGear 32GQ950 feature the second new technology: ATW Polarizer. Anyone with a good memory will remember the ATW technique from the past. Some high-end IPS screens were once equipped with this technology, but their use has gradually disappeared about ten years ago. LG changes that with these two UltraGears. According to the manufacturer, its A-TW Polarizer implementation should reduce ips glow when displaying dark content or looking at sharp angles. Whether Advanced True Wide Polarizer actually offers an improvement, we will see in this review. Please note: the two screens do not have IPS Black. We, therefore, expect that the contrast of both will not be much higher than 1000:1.
So the two A-TW screens are the 32GQ850 and 32GQ950. TheUltraGear 32GQ850is a wqhd display with LG’s IPS panel on board that can handle 240Hz, or 260Hz with overclocking. The price of the screen is more than eight hundred euros. Its more expensive brother loses on refresh rate, but gains on resolution. TheUltraGear 32GQ950is a 4k IPS screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz (160Hz with overclocking) and an average price of around thirteen hundred euros. This makes the gaming monitors slightly larger than last year’s popular 4k gaming screens, such as the 27GP950 and 27GN950.
When upgrading from LG’s best-selling gaming screens such as the 27GP950, 27GN950, and of course the 850 series to a larger 32″ monitor, you first have to take the dimensions into account. With the same resolution, you naturally also sacrifice the pixel density : with a 1440p screen you go from 109ppi to 92ppi and with a 4k screen from 163ppi to 140ppi. The 32″ screens are quite large on all sides, and it is striking how much heavier the GQ950 is than the GQ850. That first screen is also a bit thinner. You hardly see this in the specifications, but the housing of the 4k screen is considerably thicker and this version also has more ventilation slots. We shall see shortly why this is so.
The appearance of both screens is almost identical; only the thickness and ventilation slots differ. The panel continues almost edge-to-edge at the top and on the sides; only at the bottom is a large bezel with the indication ‘UltraGear’ embossed in the middle. The foot is ‘gamey’ with flattened shapes, which gives the whole thing a somewhat stealth appearance. The foot consists of a wide upright and a V-shaped foot itself. The screen stands firmly on this stand and is easy to click on, with standard VESA100 mounts. On the back of the upright, about halfway down, are two slots that you can click a plastic clip into. You can use it for cable management.
At the back, the screen has a hexagon pattern consisting of five repeating lines. That hexagon theme is repeated in the electronics space. The screens have a deep, hexagonal bulge that houses the ports and most of the electronics, and where the stand connects to the screen. To add luster to the gaming theme, LG has placed a double light strip on the edges of that hexagon, the color of which is adjustable. The strip can show fixed colors, but you can also have it switch between colors.
In addition to the A-TW Polarizer, the two screens have another feature that should improve the image quality. Both screens are equipped with a form of local dimming in which the backlight is divided into different zones. If a dark image is displayed on one of those zones, the backlight of that zone can be dimmed or turned off, making the black more intense and thus increasing the contrast. The 1440p 32GQ850 has twelve such zones, and the 4k 32GQ950 has 32, divided over two rows of 16. This means that these LG panels offer more zones than many edge-lit panels from other manufacturers: they often do not exceed eight zones next to each other. However, that is slowly changing, with screens like Sony’s Inzone M9 which has 64 zones.Miniled naturally also has fine-grained control over the backlight.
The backlights are divided into zones – edge-lit, by the way, so no direct light source behind the screen as with mini led – should also improve the HDR display. The 1440p screen, like many UltraGear screens, has an HDR600 rating, and the 4k screen boasts a Display HDR1000 rating. That requires a lot more light from the backlight, which is undoubtedly the reason for both the thicker screen and the extra ventilation slots.
Because both screens are intended for gamers, LG has built-in various gaming features. For example, the refresh rates of both screens are overclockable; with the 32GQ950 from the standard 144Hz to 165Hz, and with the 32GQ850 you can overclock from 240Hz to 260Hz. Of course, the response times can also be accelerated with the help of overdrive, and you can turn on fps counters and crosshairs.
Both displays also support variable refresh rates, both via AMD’s FreeSync (Premium Pro) and Nvidia’s G-SYNC (Compatible). The 32GQ950’s range is 48 to 144Hz – or 160Hz overclocked; that of the 32GQ850 is 48Hz to 240Hz – or even 260Hz with overclocking enabled.
The foot that LG supplies with both GQ screens allows you to adjust them reasonably to your liking. Both screens are eleven centimeters adjustable in height, with the bottom edge at about 7.5 to 18.5 centimeters from your desk and the top edge at 49 to 60 centimeters. The screen can also be rotated in portrait mode; this can only be done clockwise. Furthermore, the screen can be tilted five degrees forward and fifteen degrees back. Only a swivel function on the foot is missing. More about the menu in a moment, but the five-way button for the menu is in any case easily accessible from an ergonomic point of view.
At the back, we find the ports. LG opts for rear-facing ports, which makes plugging in much easier than with screens with downward-facing ports. Both monitors have modern connections: two HDMI 2.1 ports and a single DisplayPort 1.4. There is also a USB hub for 5Gb/s connections and a power plug. Unfortunately, we miss a USB-C input with which you could easily connect a laptop, for example. The screens do not have the same power supply. The 32GQ850 has a 110W power block, while the 32GQ950’s larger external power supply can deliver 211W of power. You connect the blocks to the mains with a C5 plug, also known as a ‘mickey mouse’.
We mentioned the five-way menu pad above. With a press of the middle button, you switch on the screen and you can enter the menu. The left and right buttons default to input selection and Game Mode where you can enable optimizations for game types such as rts and fps, but can also be personalized. With the button above you switch off the screen and the button below closes the menu.
In the extensive menu, you can see the most important settings at a glance, such as a refresh rate, whether adaptive sync is on, the overdrive settings, and the HDR mode. In the menu, you can adjust all the usual settings, such as the image properties, gaming options and other settings. As an alternative to the regular RGB color channels, you can fine-tune the colors via six-channel adjustment.
In the Game Mode menu option, you set the previously mentioned presets for gaming – such as fps or rts – or you choose sRGB as the color space. Two calibration profiles are also available, which is rare in gaming monitors. You set those Calibration profiles via the True Color Pro program. In addition, there are two game modes that you can set yourself. Under Game Adjust you will find the overdrive, overclock and vrr settings, as well as the fps overlay and crosshair options.
At Picture Adjust you can set things like brightness, contrast, color temperature, and gamma, and there you will also find the fine adjustment for the RGB and Rgbcmy (R (red), G (green), B (blue), C (cyan), M (magenta), and Y (yellow) color components.) channels. You can also set local dimming and extra features such as black levels and dfc here. Finally, you can select the source in Inputs and set aspect ratios, and in the General section, you can set the lighting of the hexagon on the back, energy saving modes, and button assignments, among other things.
Test method and test field
For this review, as usual, we took an extensive series of measurements. We measure brightness, contrast and color rendering using a Spectral C6 colorimeter, an X-rite i1 Photo Pro 2 spectrophotometer and Portrait Display Calman Color Calibration software. We test monitors as they come out of the box, adjusting the brightness for color measurements to a value as close as possible to 150cd/m². We measure any sRGB and Adobe RGB modes separately. We do the same for any HDR mode.
We measure response times with a photo sensor and the LeCroy Waverunner 6100 oscilloscope. We ran more extensive response time tests for this article, measuring 20 transitions. We determine the input lag with a Leo Bodnar tester, sending 1080p-60Hz signals to the screen in addition to 1080p-60Hz. To determine viewing angles, we measure residual brightness and color change at a 45-degree angle from a perpendicular measurement. For the uniformity measurement, we look at the ratio between the brightness at fifteen measuring points, measured on a completely white and a completely black screen. We also determine the relative color differences along the edges in relation to the center. Finally, we measure the energy consumption of the monitor,
The test method has recently been adjusted: we have especially changed the measurements for color and gray deviations. You can read more about the adjustments in this .plan .
|Color space||default view||sRGB||Display-P3|
|gamma settings||Fashion 2||Fashion 2||Locked||Locked||Fashion 2||Fashion 2|
The menu settings of the 32GQ850 and 32GQ950 when tested in the three color spaces
We included some competing 32″ screens with 1440p and 4k resolution in the comparison. We looked at screens with a refresh rate of at least 165Hz for the 1440p screens. The 4k screens have a somewhat thin flush, but the AOC Agon Pro AG324UX comes along well in terms of specs, although the hdr display is less bright Only the ASUS ProArt PA32UCX has high hdr brightness with DisplayHDR-1000, but this is offset by a high price and low refresh rate
The table below lists some relevant properties of the screens tested .
|Monitor||LCD panel||refresh rate||Price|
|LG UltraGear 32GQ850-B||nanoips, 1440p||240Hz (260Hz oc)||€828.09|
|LG UltraGear 32GQ950-B||nano ips, 4k||144Hz (160Hz oc)||€1,208.90|
|LG UltraGear 27GP850-B||nanoips, 1440p||165Hz||€ 379,-|
|LG UltraGear 27GP950-B||nano ips, 4k||160Hz||€849|
|LG UltraGear 32GN650-B||VA, 1440p||165Hz||€ 299,-|
|LG UltraGear 32GP850-B||nanoips, 1440p||165Hz||€449|
|AOC Agon Pro AG324UX||ips, 4k||144Hz||€880.13|
|AOC CQ32G3SU/BK||VA, 1440p||165Hz||€ 329,-|
|Gigabyte M32U||ips, 4k||144Hz||€689|
|IIyama G-Master GB3271QSU-B1||ips, 1440p||165Hz||€ 349,-|
|MSI Optix MAG274QRF-QD||ips, 1440p||165Hz||€ 499,-|
|Samsung Odyssey G70A||ips, 4k||144Hz||€647.92|
LG primarily positions the two UltraGear screens as gaming monitors. With refresh rates of 240Hz – and overclocked 260Hz – in the case of the 32GQ850, and a still ample overclocked 160Hz for the 4k screen, response times should be fast too. For both screens, LG specifies a gray-to-gray transition time of 1ms in the specifications, with the overdrive setting set to ‘Faster’. We test this with a light sensor and oscilloscope, looking at various transitions. Transition times on the 4k screen should theoretically be under 6.25ms to stay within one frame at 160Hz; for the 1440p screen at 260Hz that should be shortened to 3.85ms.
We first measure the response times with the overdrive turned off. Then we set the overdrive to the maximum position and finally we see in which position the response times are optimal. That is the overdrive mode where the response times are short and the under and overshoot remain limited. After all, with overdrive, the pixels are driven with higher voltages to change the light transmittance of the LCD as quickly as possible, which often means that the crystals rotate a little too far and therefore block either too much or too little light. This phenomenon is called over- and undershoot and can lead to disturbing artifacts.
In our standard measurements with a limited number of transitions, we see neat figures for both the 850 and 950. The 32GQ850 has a maximum response time of 3.5ms without overdrive, and with the maximum overdrive this is reduced to 2.5ms. That does result in some overshoot, but with the overdrive mode a little less, we find a nice mix between fast response times and low overshoot.
For the 32GQ950, response times with overdrive turned off are slightly longer; in the worst case we measure 4.3ms. With the overdrive on the maximum setting, the response times drop nicely, but with an overshoot of 50 percent as a result. With the overdrive setting set to ‘Fast’, the overshoot is a lot lower, but the response times are still fine.
We test the input lag at 60Hz with the Leo Bodnar meter. The lag of the UltraGear 32GQ950 is what we’ve come to expect from most screens; it is around 9ms. However, the lag of the 32GQ850 screen is on the high side, especially compared to the rest of the test field, and also compared to the 950. We’ve got the screens at 120Hz after that – that’s the maximum for the Leo Bodnar meter – tested. The 32GQ850 notes an input lag of only 4.7ms, and the 32GQ950 has an input lag of 4.6ms.
Default display: brightness, contrast, and color
We tested the screen with almost no adjustments right out of the box, with only the brightness adjusted to 150cd/m². Because we do not adjust anything else to optimize the performance of the screen, the screen is emphatically not set to its best position. This logically does not produce the best results in the graphs below, but only the ‘out-of-the-box’ performance. Keep that in mind when viewing the results. Both screens were tested in standard mode on the Gamer1 profile with the color temperature on Custom and gamma on Mode 2.
The 32GQ950 has an extremely low minimum brightness, while the maximum brightness is quite average. Please note, this is enabled without HDR, because the screen can be a lot brighter. The minimum brightness of the 32GQ850 is much more in the usual range, and so is the maximum brightness. The contrast calculation of both screens also produces a value that is standard for almost all IPS screens: about a thousand to one. The two VA panels obviously show a significantly higher contrast.
In the standard view, almost all LG screens are set somewhat cool, but the two 32GQx50 screens, with a value of around seven thousand Kelvin, are among the coolest. This quickly produces a somewhat cool or blue image. The 32GQ850 therefore shows the greatest deviations from the blue colors, but the other colors can also be improved. The grayscales are a bit better, but all in all, the screen isn’t great out-of-the-box.
The 32GQ950 is a little less cool, but unfortunately the default mode isn’t very usable. Almost all colors deviate considerably and partly thanks to the low gamma, the deviations are particularly large at a higher brightness.
For the sake of completeness, we present the measurement results in the old ΔE 2000 values. You can see that both screens have a fairly nice gray value reproduction, but that the color reproduction of the more expensive 32GQ950 in particular deviates considerably.