LG 32GK850G Review: 165Hz G-Sync 1440p Gaming Monitor with a VA Panel on 31.5" Inch

 
by Lim, February 4, 2018 6:00 pm
 

 

LG 32GK850G Introduction

The LG 32GK850G is the first 144hz 1440p gaming monitor (165 Overclock) with a VA panel, 5ms response time (on overdrive settings set to "faster") and G-Sync on 31.5" Inch and every one of us has a big hope in this gaming monitor while the Samsung CHG70 is a Freesync monitor and Nvidia G-Sync is missing. Next, to the innovation, LG has implemented a "Sphere Lighting" feature which simply is an RGB circle on the back of this pc monitor. For those who are disappointed because the LG 32GK850G does not have an HDR (High Dynamic Range Monitor) feature:
  • HDR within the CHG70 does not work very well (especially not on as a pc gaming monitor)
  • HDR in gaming monitors is a different story compared to TVs because of the harsher viewing angles and combined with it the display loses contrast nearly over the whole panel (especially on VA monitors)
  • without a good Direct-LED (or even some well-implemented Edge-LED solutions) feature a VA panel will never be a good option to really enjoy HDR in its full potential. When disabling the dimming zones on my Sone XE9305 (64 dimming zones) HDR looks MUCH worse than with enabled dimming zones.
 
So currently higher-end TVs have a much better overall picture quality (especially because of its contrast) than current (gaming) monitors. Real HDR monitors will cost a lot, whether now its an OLED or a Direct-LED VA/IPS monitor.
 

 

LG 32GK850G vs Samsung CFG73 / CFG70 - VA vs VA Quantum Dot

 
In this video, I am comparing the LG 32GK850G (VA Panel with a color gamut volume of 105,8% sRGB 165Hz 1440p) with the Samsung CFG70 (VA Quantum Dot panel with a color gamut volume of 131% sRGB 144Hz 1080p). The CFG70 and CFG73 both have nearly the same image quality as their bigger brother Samsung CHG70, just with more VA Glow issues.
 
  • Usually, I'm not a big fan of making such comparisons, simply because of the camera limitations
  • It does not record Quantum Dot colors
  • It does only record bright OR dark details due to its dynamic range
  • Even without the limitation, you wouldn't see the pure red difference when not watching a display that can represent 131% sRGB
 
But the difference in colors actually is so easily visible (especially in the color temperature and saturation) that you even can see this on video. the difference with the naked eye is much easier to perceive.
 

LG 32GK850G vs Viewsonic XG2703-GS - IPS vs VA Quantum Dot

 
In this video, I am comparing the LG 32GK850G (VA Panel with a color gamut volume of 105,8% sRGB 165Hz 1440p) with the Viewsonic XG2703-GS (IPS panel with a color gamut volume of 113.4% sRGB 165Hz 1440p). This video is more about the difference in:
  • IPS/VA Glow
  • Response Time
  • Contrast & Black
  • Why "only" measurement results are not significant enough to evaluate a panel
  • and that the difference in blacks between the LG and Viewsonic is not that huge as you might think
 
What about the LG 32GK850G then? Gaming on this monitor really makes fun. For those who are looking in a 31.5" monitor with G-Sync, this is currently the only one option with a high refresh rate of 144Hz (165Hz overclock). The gaming experience on the LG is immersive, everything is bigger but less sharp. The LG has a PPI (pixel per inch) of 93.25 PPI. A 24" Inch gaming monitor has a PPI of 91,79 so that the sharpness is nearly exactly the same and of course worse than a 1440p 144Hz gaming monitor on 27" Inch. Is it noticeable? Yes. But I think you can get used to pretty fast if you're not using a 4k monitor as your main monitor.
 
Check Price for the LG 32GK850G
 
LG 32GK850G Gaming Monitor Review
The LG 32GK850Gs integrated "Mouse Bungee" on the lower right.
 
With this video, I also have uploaded two more videos to compare the LG 32GK850G with my daily driver Viewsonic XG2703-GS and my Samsung CFG70 so that it maybe will help you with your buying decision. Well, as always, the detailed review can be found in the video review.
 
Note / Information:
Ratings have been removed. In near future I will add comparisons (Rankings) - This will have two huge benefits. First: You will be able to compare a monitor within each topic (Coating, Black level, Black uniformity, VA Glow, Panel Frame Construction etc.) to find the best gaming monitor to for your personal preferences and second I can concentrate on much more reviews.

 

Updates

Updated will be added here(!) No updates yet.

 
 

Specifications

Panel Type VA
Backlight EDGE LED / W-LED
Display size and format 31.5" Inch
Maximum Resolution 2560x1440 (WQHD "Quad-HD")
Pixel density 93.25 (Pixel per inch)
Refresh rate 144Hz native (165Hz overclock)
Native color depth 8-bit (native)
sRGB Color Space Coverage / Volume Coverage: 96.2% / Volume: 105.8%
Response time (GtG) 5 ms
Brightness 350cd/m2
Integrated speakers No
Video inputs 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x DP 1.2
Audio 1x 3.5mm out
USB Hub Yes 2x USB 3.0 downstream (quick charge)
power consumption ~ 55 watt (class C)
Frame width 8 mm (left, top, right), 22 mm bottom
Warranty period 2 years
Ergonomics Tilt, Height, Swivel, Pivot
Adaptive Sync G-Sync
G-Sync Range XXXX Hz
Contrast (Native) 3000:1 stated
Vesa Yes 100mm support
Curved No
 
 
 

 

Alternative WQHD 1440p 144Hz Gaming Monitors with VA

LG 32GK850G Review 1440p 144Hz (165Hz OC) G-Sync Gaming Monitor - 31.5

 
Find all Alternative 144 WQHD (2560x1440p) VA gaming monitors to the LG 32GK850G here: Gaming-Monitor-List

 

WQHD 144Hz Gaming Monitors with VA and G-Sync:

Acer Predator Z321QU (Not yet released)

Full HD 144Hz Gaming Monitors with VA and Freesync:

Samsung CHG70 in 27" Check Price or 32" Check Price / Check Review
AOC Agon AG322QCX 32" Check Price / Check Review
Asus ROG Strix XG32VQ 32" Check Price

 

MSI Optix MPG27CQ (Not yet released)

Philips 328m6fjmb (Not yet released)

 

Measurements

 
 

Contrast Overview

 LG 32GK850G Contrast
 
  

Optimal OSD Settings (on this unit)

LG 32GK850G Best Settings
 
 

Test-Photos

  • Response Time & Smearing (UFO Test, Sharpness Test
  • Homogeneity Test (Grey & color uniformity)
  • Color Banding Test
  • Frame Skipping
 

Comparison Charts

 

Maximum Brightness

Maximum brightness in cd/m2
Asus PG258Q
488
Samsung CHG70
473
AOC AG271QG
471
Dell S2716DG
424
Acer XB271HUA
419
Asus PG278QR
399
Asus PG279Q
369
Viewsonic XG2703-GS
367
Samsung CFG70
361
LG 32GK850G
356
Samsung CFG73
352
Eizo Foris FS2735
333

 

Maximum Contrast

Maximum contrast x:1
Samsung CFG70
2654
LG 32GK850G
2554
Samsung CFG73
2502
Samsung CHG70
2102
AOC AG271QG
1371
Asus PG279Q
1181
Viewsonic XG2703-GS
1174
Eizo Foris FS2735
1084
Asus PG258Q
995
Asus PG278QR
964
Acer XB271HUA
784
Dell S2716DG
686

 

Black point on 120 cd/m2

Black point with optimal settings (120 cd/m2 , 6500K)
LG 32GK850G
0,05
Samsung CFG73
0,05
Samsung CFG70
0,05
Samsung CHG70
0,06
AOC AG271QG
0,09
Viewsonic XG2703-GS
0,1
Eizo Foris FS2735
0,1
Asus PG279Q
0,12
Asus PG258Q
0,13
Asus PG278QR
0,13
Acer XB271HUA
0,16
Dell S2716DG
0,17

 

Brightness ULMB (Backlight Scanning)

ULMB not supported

 

Find your best gaming monitor (in progress)

Compare a monitor in a specific topic (Response Times, Black Uniformity, Homogeneity, Backlight-Bleed, Clouding, Brightness, Contrast, etc.) soon
 
 
 

Conclusion

Overall the LG 32GK850G is a very good gaming monitor, the current price is close as same as WQHD 1440p 144Hz monitors with an IPS panel. So which one to choose? As always: It depends. An IPS panel still will have the better overall image quality in terms of colors and a better response time without smearing. Within (gaming) monitors IPS panels still are superior because of the harsher viewing angles. The 32GK850G otherwise has advantages in terms of the contrast so that colors in dark scenes sometimes even can more "pop" on the LG compared to an IPS panel. 
 
LG 32GK850G headphone holder on the back side of the gaming monitor
The LG 32GK850G's integrated headphone holder above the included cable management clip. 
 
So if you simply want a 31.5" Inch high refresh rate G-Sync monitor and the size for you is currently more important than a bit better colors, the LG can be a very good choice overall. Without a 1:1 comparison I think you would say that the LG has "bad" colors and colors are still better(!) than on TN panels of course - just not as good as IPS or VA Quantum Dot (but for quantum dot you also have to consider that colors sometimes can be too much saturated). Playing some 3rd person games on the LG really makes fun. CS GO also works pretty well but with the usual G-Sync Tearing issues in that game but no real issues with artifacts or ghosting. Of course, it has its own disadvantages and weaknesses as all other gaming monitors and displays on the market.

LG 32GK850G integrated mouse bungee for gaming
The LG 32GK850Gs integrated "Mouse Bungee" on the lower right.

In terms of Ghosting the LG sometimes (pretty rare) can create some ghosting. Mostly at darker objects behind uniform backgrounds (the look into the video review for this). This however isnt really something which is disturbing, it is mostly only visible when really concentrating on it.
 
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The typical VA glow is also visible even in brighter image content in form of "washed out colors" on the near left and right side of this panel (again because of the harsher viewing angle to your eyes). Would I buy this monitor? For now, I have an IPS panel (Viewsonic XG2703-GS) and I really like the size of 27". Also a sharper image in terms of PPI but the Viewsonic as same as the Acer and AOC all suffer from bad sharpness settings so that on the desktop the LG even can have a sharper image(!). Would I recommend this monitor? Yes, but you should keep in mind the disadvantages and ask yourself if you can deal with!
 
 


Tipps & Tricks For the LG 32GK850G

 

First

Use lamps (or the LG 32GK850G's integrated RGB lighting on the back) in your room to increase the subjective black level and lower the perception of the VA Glow. Even small desk-lamps can help.
 

Second

Try to sit at a perfect Viewing Angle, so you will have the best image quality, best colors and less VA Glow.
 

Third

Do not sit too close to the monitor, this will increase the VA Glow drastically.
 

Fourth

Try to get used to a lower max. brightness. Many people are using their monitor in very extreme brightness settings. After you will get used to the lower brightness (around 1-2 days, depending on how long you sit at the gaming pc) you will have an overall better image quality and your eyes also will be thankful.
 
 

Pro & Contra

 

Pro:

- 31.5" for an immersive gaming experience
- G-Sync, VA, WQHD - and it works flawlessly
- Very good black uniformity compared to competition
- Strong contrast and deep blacks for current gaming monitors
- A good overall homogeneity (No banding issues as on the CFG & CHG70 in 27")
- Still a good response time for a VA type (but no perfect overdrive settings)
- Very good image quality out of the box
Note: VA Gamma 2.2 looks totally different from IPS Gamma 2.2
- LGs Sphere Lighting which really is useful and finally visible (even in a bright room) It also helps to increase the perception of the black level
- Very good and tiny foot stand to save space on your desk, even the foot stand is not the best in terms of quality and used materials
- Very low Input-Lag
- A good but not perfect black equalizer

 

Neutral:

- The possibilities to save own presets (only in the existing presets your settings are saved)
- Overall processing is not as good as the competition (Build Quality & Design)
- Mouse "bungee" holder on the bottom monitor side
- No sharpness settings within the monitor OSD. Sharpness settings are good but not perfect.
- Only available in 31.5" (personal preference)
- Foot stand is very lightweight (cheap plastic)
- Min. height adjustment in the foot stand
- Cable management clip is a bit loose

 

Contra:

Not as fast as the Samsung CFG70 and especially the CHG70 in terms of pixel responsiveness (however, the difference in games isnt really that huge)
- Viewing angles for the left and right "16:9" area is a bit dimmed & less vibrant in colors (washed out) because of the panel size of 31.5"
- Colors are not as intense as current WQHD IPS 144Hz models and Samsung Quantum Dot gaming monitors
- Matte panel coating (worse for contrast and combined with it the blacks, colors and the overall picture quality)
- No ULMB added, even its a native 144Hz model with a G-Sync chip
- Less smearing on 120Hz than on 144Hz and 165Hz

VA typical:
- Smearing (low Grey-to-Black response time)
- The VA Glow (but less obvious than the Samsung CFG70/73 series and even a bit less than the Samsung CHG70
- Viewing Angles (you have to sit at the perfect angle) to avoid as much VA Glow
and loss of saturation as possible. (Don't trust data sheets from manufacturers).
Viewing angles especially are bad for dark image content


Check Price for the LG 32GK850G

 

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2 comments

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1    David    February 4, 2018 6:39 pm
What colorimeter was used to measure contrast? Your results are very diffrent than https://uk.hardware.info/reviews/7852/4/lg-32gk850g-review-lg-is-back-in-the-gaming-monitor-game-brightness-and-contrast and definitely not within a margin of error.?
Answer from Lim's Cave - February 4, 2018 8:18 pm

Hey mate I already have answered you on YouTube:


"I also was wondering while I saw this review before I've reviewed my unit. I'm using the x rite i1 which is quite accurate for contrast measurements (spectrometer). Otherwise, my IPS panel measurements wouldn't have a contrast between 1000-1300."

2    gypsygib    Sunday, 04 Feb 2018 - 8:56 pm
@ David, I think there was a guy on the overclock forum (or maybe reddit?) that said his contrast was in the low 2000s. Then he got a spyder 5 and got around 3500 which is way to high but the spyder isn't great at measuring black. Hardwareinfo didn't do any calibration, even reported gamma on the LG was 2.02 instead of 2.2 because they didn't bother to change the gamma setting. Maybe without any calibrating it's closer to 3000.
Answer from Lim's Cave - February 4, 2018 10:00 pm

The Spyder 5 is inaccurate for contrast measurements. Usually, the results on the Spyder 5 are mostly worse than with the X-Rite (for example Asus PG278QR on the X-Rite = 1000:1, on the Spyder Elite 5 = around 800:1)

 

I have measured the contrast without any calibration (No ICC profile + native color temperature). The Contrast also can change drastically in the place where blacks are measured, even 1 or 2 cms can already change the result (mostly when near the center some clouding appears). But David also told me that they have received a product from LG (test product) which probably is a tested (quality controlled) one. Hopefully in future I can order 3 units so to find out better what the average customer will get :)