LG 34GN850-B review: The best ultrawide for $900, if you can find it


This is a good time to buy a monitor. Although it’s still not possible to get the perfect monitor, LG has come close with its 34GN850-B, ticking several of the right boxes on the spec sheet, including a 160Hz refresh rate, 98Hz, Contains %DCI. -P3 coverage, 1ms response time, adaptive-sync, HDR400, and more.

These are impressive specifications. It’s not every day that you see these figures on monitors ground for color performance paired with gaming reputation. But there’s a catch. The LG 34GN850 costs twice as much as a budget ultrawide that uses a VA panel, and offers the same size, resolution, and nearly the same refresh rate. So where is that money going?

design

As soon as you unpack the LG 34GN850, you’ll realize that most of your money is going to the panel and its display. The back of the monitor is made from smooth brittle plastic with a red ring around the mount and IO.

It’s not over-designed like a lot of gaming hardware nowadays, but it’s practical and serves the purpose of enclosing the monitor, which is all that matters. Our retail sample had the UltraGear logo on the back, though your unit may come with the less garish standard LG emblem.

Flip the front of the display over, and we’re happy to say that LG upgrades the finish where it matters. While cheap curved monitors often have unsightly gaps between the panel and the bottom bezel due to cost-cutting in construction, LG sticks the lower bezel flush against the panel across its width, covering the top, bottom, and sides with a glossy finish. is combined with. Of the display, the 34GN850 looks clean and classy from the front.

The display’s 1900R curve is also more consistent than that of cheaper displays, which often take one or two obvious turns to achieve its curve. Instead, the LG 34GN850 has a very fluid and even curve in its width, which goes a long way to making the monitor more expensive and premium.

Chuck the 34GN850 on a simple desk-clamping monitor arm, and you’ve got a classy-looking ultrawide.

You can opt to use the stand included with the monitor, but there are some issues with it. The stand itself is one of the biggest monitor stands, where it’s obnoxious. This brings the monitor far enough forward on the desk for comfortable use.

This makes the monitor bigger and more immersive (which is probably why manufacturers do it), but for productivity work, competitive gameplay, and eye comfort, you’ll want to move the display a bit further back.

Pair that with the stand’s tacky look, prone-to-wobble design, and unflappable effort at cable management, and you’ll find that spending an extra $60 on a simple desk-clamping monitor arm isn’t a crazy idea. This is disappointing considering the price of this monitor.

If you choose to use the stand, you can expect the monitor to sit about 12 inches ahead of the back of the stand. It comes with height and tilt adjustments, but it doesn’t rotate or rotate on portrait.

port and control

Now that we’ve covered the 34GN850’s drawbacks, it’s time to get into the good stuff. It starts with the on-screen controls. As with LG’s previous monitors, the controls are impressive.

It’s all controlled with a directional toggle at the bottom of the monitor, and it’s super easy to use. Press it forward or backward to jump directly to brightness controls, or left and right for volume. If you press it, you trigger the menu selection tool, which takes you to the main OSD of the display. The menu is clear, crisp, and responsive, which isn’t something we can say about a lot of monitors.

As someone who changes brightness a lot, I especially appreciate the instant one-click access to brightness controls.

Inside you’ll find five sub-menus: Game Mode with a handful of image presets, Game Adjust where you can select an overclock setting (for 160 Hz, off for 144 Hz), Adaptive-Sync, Black Stabilizer, and a Crosshair.

You’ll find Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, Gamma, Color Temperature, and fine-tuning controls for colors in the Picture-Adjust sub-menu, and finally, the Input and General sub-menus giving you general system settings.

You will want to turn off the automatic standby feature by default, this is set to 4 hours. I wasn’t happy that the monitor tried to turn itself off three times a day.

Unlike most competitors, LG positions the rear IO horizontally rather than facing down, which is a good move if you ask me. I’ve never used a monitor that had previous IO that was easy to access.

Admittedly, it’s not the prettiest look from the back, with cables sticking straight out, but most users keep the back of their monitors facing the walls anyway.

You’ll want to use a single DisplayPort 1.4a connector to unlock the 144Hz refresh rate and 10-bit color depth, as using one of the two HDMI inputs limits your maximum refresh rate to 85Hz with 10-bit colors Will go

You can choose to overclock the display in OSD to unlock the full 160Hz, but you’ll need to either sacrifice 10-bit colors for 8-bit, or YUV422 chroma-subsampling while keeping 10-bit colors will have to use. This will cause visual fringing around the text, so the 8-bit color option is preferable.

If you do a lot of graphics work and play games only occasionally, it’s best to keep the display at 144Hz with 10-bit colors. But if you’re on the gaming performance side, you’re not missing out on much by switching to 8-bit colors to get a 160Hz refresh rate. While technically inferior, games still sound great on an 8-bit panel.

Lastly, the 34GN850 has a two-port USB 3.0 hub, headphone jack, and power is delivered through a modestly sized external brick.

Display

If you’re buying an ultrawide and you’re after image quality, you’ve come to the right display.

The LG 34GN850 packs a Nano-IPS panel (LG’s spin on quantum dots) with 3440 x 1440 resolution. LG has promised 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage. The wide color gamut creates a rich image that’s really satisfying, but be careful. Your old displays will look pretty flat once you get used to this wide gamut.

Color reproduction, paired with a 160Hz refresh rate, goes to show just how far IPS technology has come.

The static contrast ratio is limited to just 1000:1, as it has always been for IPS, and our testing shows some glare in the corners (see the blue glow in the image below). This is where IPS is starting to show its age, especially against modern technologies like OLED screens and VA panels, although they come with their own shortcomings.

We tested the monitor with our Datacolor Spyder X Elite, and found that our retail sample is able to cover 88% of the AdobeRGB space and 94% of the DCI-P3 space, again in Delta-E (difference from actual). With the colors offered. of 1.68. The peak brightness we achieved was measured at 390 nits with a contrast ratio of 900:1. The best possible contrast reading we saw at 920:1 was achieved with 75% brightness.

These figures are a hair below factory specification, so this panel is performing a bit under-performing how it should be, but the difference is minor. On the other hand, Gamma’s performance was completely different.

In our test environment, the monitor’s peak brightness of around 400 nits was too high for normal use, and we expect that to be about right for most users. We choose to use monitors around 50 to 75 percent brightness in rooms with high ambient light and 40 or less lighting at night.

Calibrating the monitor helped us pull off 2% more AdobeRGB color space coverage, but lowered peak brightness by 5 nits, and lowered maximum contrast to 840:1. Color accuracy was much better at 0.68, so it’s safe to say you could benefit from calibrating the monitor if that’s what your use needs, but if you’re just gaming and don’t need better color accuracy, then You won’t be missing out on much when running the monitor at its default settings.

Numbers aside, this is an excellent monitor out of the box and after calibration. Its only weakness is its low contrast ratio, a problem all IPS panels share. You will have this trouble if you work or play in a dark room. Otherwise, the LG 34GN850 delivers a sharp image with beautiful yet realistic colors. You’ll get better image quality only from the best 4K and 5K monitors, which are often even more expensive.

gaming performance

The ultrawide resolution of 3440 x 1440 is nothing new, but it is very suitable for gaming. Think of it like a 27-inch QHD monitor (2560 x 1440) wide.

Couple that with the fact that it’s ultrawide resolution is still nowhere near the pixel count of a 4K display, and it strikes a good compromise between extreme sharpness and achievable performance. Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 can power this display with ease, and majority of For games, an older high-end GPU like the GTX 1080 Ti or Radeon VII will suffice. A last-gen mid-tier GPU like the AMD Radeon 5700XT or Nvidia GTX 2070 Super will also work.

We tested the monitor with an Nvidia RTX 2080 Super graphics card, and the results were impressive. Horizon Zero Dawn It runs around 65 to 70 fps in-game at Ultra settings, depending on whether the graphics card was overclocked or not, and it’s nowhere near the high 160Hz refresh rate, with Adaptive-Sync ( This display is also certified G-Sync compatible) ), kept gameplay smooth.

This game makes great use of the monitor’s wide color gamut. You know the moment just before sunset, often called the golden hour, when the light filters into a beautifully diffuse shade of red? The 34GN850 handled these with ease…

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