LG UltraGear 32GQ850 and 32GQ950 – Expensive, fast screens for demanding gamers

Pros

  • High refresh rate and fast response times
  • Pleasant service
  • Reasonable HDR rendering

Cons

  • 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.

Features

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.

Gaming

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.

Ergonomics

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.

Ports

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’.

Service

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
32GQ850 32GQ950 32GQ850 32GQ950 32GQ850 32GQ950
picture mode Gamer1 Gamer1 sRGB sRGB Gamer1 RTS
WhitePoint (6504K) Custom Custom Locked Locked Hot Hot
gamma 2.2 2.2 2.2
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

Test field

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
Response time and input lag

Input lag

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.

Display sRGB and Display P3

From now on we will measure all screens in the sRGB color space; the gamut for which the most content is created. Both screens have an sRGB mode, where most setting options become inaccessible. For example, the color temperature and gamma are fixed. The brightness can be set neatly, so we can just set it to our fixed 150cd/m².

The 32GQ850 covers the color space slightly better than the 4k variant, and the color temperature of the 1440p-UltraGear more closely matches the desired value of 6504K. The color reproduction is not optimal on both screens, compared to the rest of the test field. It is striking that the properties of the two screens differ somewhat: the 32GQ850 mainly has a significant color deviation, while the 32GQ950 shows some deviations in the grayscale. This is probably due to the gamma, which is considerably higher than desired.

HDR view

Both screens are capable of displaying HDR images, but the 32GQ950 has a much higher DisplayHDR rating of 1000, while that of the 32GQ850 is limited to 600. Looking at the measured maximum brightness, the 4k- variant well over 1000 candelas per square meter with a screen with 5 percent white, and it even reaches almost 1200 candelas with a completely white screen. The ASUS ProArt is even brighter, but nevertheless it is an impressive bucket of light. With the 850, the brightness is still high: the 600 candela for the HDR600 certification is easily achieved. The contrast is of course still low for a really good HDR experience. For real ‘HDR contrast’ you will have to move to an OLED screen.

Without taking brightness into account, the gray reproduction of both screens is good and the color reproduction is also very good. With images with high brightness, the roll-off is very high, both with the 950 and the 850, which causes significant deviations, especially in those ranges. Therefore, the color deviations without luminance are considerably less than with luminance. Too bad, because with an HDR display it is nice if the display remains good even at high brightness – one of the selling points of HDR screens.

Uniformity and viewing angles

The A-TW polarization filter should mainly help against the black value, but as we see below, it is not very effective for color reproduction. Under a wide viewing angle, the brightness of both screens is comparable to that of other IPS panels, and we also see no significant difference in color deviations between the 32GQ screens and other LG panels. In practice, the ips glow seems to be not too bad, but that can also be due to the 16 and 32 dimming zones, and it is difficult to quantify.

Uniformity

With a large screen, it is nice if the uniformity of the backlight is neatly arranged. We want to see as few brightness differences as possible caused by the backlight or other factors. We measure the ratio between the highest and lowest brightness of black and white areas with an all-white and all-black screen, and calculate the ratio of the highest and lowest brightness for white and black. A percentage approaching 100 represents completely uniform, with few differences in brightness. We also perform this calculation for the highest versus average brightness of the black and white areas. Here too, a nice uniform screen allows the ratio to approach close to 100 percent.

The 32GQ850 and 32GQ950 score almost identically when it comes to white uniformity, and both score very well. This also applies to all screens in this test, which means that the UltraGears seem to be quite average. We do see considerable differences in the black uniformity: with the more expensive 32GQ950 with its nano-IPS screen, this uniformity is excellent, while with the 32GQ850 it is only moderate.

With the 32GQ850, the screen is especially brighter on the left and at the top, and that also applies to the more expensive brother. In the two bottom corners, the contrast of both screens is significantly lower than on the rest of the screen. With the 850, the contrast even drops to around 600:1.

Finally, we took a picture of the screen showing a black image so that we can visualize the uniformity in black rendering and also see where the backlight may be leaking some light around the edges. The photo was shot and edited to exaggerate the effect.

There are no very big outliers, partly witnessed by the black levels in the matrix above, but the 32GQ850 screen does have quite bright spots at the bottom, especially on the right. This is much less the case with the 32GQ950.

Power Consumption

We measure the power consumption in two scenarios. First we measure the energy consumption while displaying a white screen with a brightness of 150cd/m². That is the brightness we use for normal use and with which we perform almost all our screen measurements.

The new 32″ UltraGears are a little less power efficient than most competing screens, when we look at our measurements with 150cd/m² brightness. If we set the brightness to maximum, ie the maximum brightness in standard display, then both 32GQ screens are again less efficient than the rest of the test field – with the exception of the ProArt screen. However, in HDR playback, the 32GQ950 in particular produces a lot more light than under SDR conditions.We have tried to measure the power in HDR mode , both with a checkerboard and with a completely white screen, but we didn’t get much further than 100 W. The checkerboard on the 32GQ950 delivered a power consumption of 96.4 W, and the full-screen white display delivered 101 W. Since LG supplies a thick power supply of more than two hundred watts ,it seems plausible that the 4k screen in particular with its high brightness can, at least for a short time, absorb considerably more power than we have measured.

Conclusion

LG has entered an interesting segment with the two 32GQ screens. There are not yet many screens of this size that combine high refresh rates with high resolutions. In fact, the 32GQ850 model with a refresh rate of 240Hz – or 260Hz if you turn on the overclock – is the only 32″ screen with a 1440p resolution that we have tested using the new method – and therefore usable in this review. 32GQ950 is almost the same, but for 32″ 4k screens with a frequency of 144Hz or 160Hz. The only comparable screen in our test database is AOC’s Agon Pro. That screen does not have an overclock to 160Hz and is much less suitable for HDR display, due to its limited brightness.

In terms of image quality and display, both screens cannot really convince. In the standard view, the image is reasonable and we certainly expected more from the expensive 4k screen. In sRGB mode, both monitors are unable to produce a fantastic image, at least not an image that does justice to the price of these monitors. The display can only be called good in the Display-P3 mode. Fortunately, two hardware calibration profiles are available if you have a colorimeter. In addition, the colors can be improved a lot thanks to fairly extensive setting options. Especially of the more expensive variant, the HDR display is reasonably good for a monitor thanks to its high brightness, although the color deviations are quite large, especially with brighter material. We are also not very impressed with the viewing angles: the special polarizer has little effect, although the degree of IPS glow seems to be not too bad in practice. However, this is not directly quantifiable, so it is difficult to substantiate.

The response time of the screens is undeniably good. Fast gaming screens require transitions to be completed in milliseconds, and both screens deliver on that. LG has its response times neatly in order and gamers will experience a few annoying effects such as ghosting.

In terms of features, we are satisfied with the operation, and extras such as the LED rings on the back are nice, but a USB-C input – certainly on the most expensive model – would not have been out of place in our opinion. With that you could have used the screen as a dock for a laptop; after all, a USB hub is already present.

If we weigh all these factors against each other and take the purchase price into account, in our opinion the screens are a bit too short to be highly recommended. For almost nine hundred euros you can buy a very fast 1440p screen of 32″, but then you shouldn’t attach too much importance to correct color reproduction when your game. The same generally applies to the 4k variant: yes, it is a fast screen, but some things, such as the correct display, should be in order with a screen of twelve or thirteen hundred euros. Incidentally, there are quite extensive calibration options, so those who invest the time can improve that display a lot. screens are especially suitable for gamers with hefty wallets who want to get the most out of their RTX 4090 while accepting various negatives.