LG UltraGear HDR Nano-IPS gaming displays go up to 38″ and down to 1ms

More than almost any other computer hardware product, monitor specifications are frequently a load of smoke and mirrors. That’s not to say that the numbers aren’t meaningful—it’s just that you really have to know what you’re looking at. These thoughts occurred to me while looking at LG’s latest UltraGear gaming monitors, which just might be the real deal. The 27″ 27GL850 and 38″ 38GL950G are LG’s next gaming monitors to use the company’s “Nano IPS” technology, and the South Korean company puts these two monitors down for a 1-ms GTG response time.

We first heard about Nano IPS from LG shortly before CES. Then, the company was launching three displays based on the technology with impressive color gamuts. Indeed, the primary benefit of Nano IPS construction is that displays so-built can display a wider range of colors with improved saturation compared to previous-generation IPS displays. The technology is kin to Samsung’s quantum dot-based “QDLED” displays; TFTCentral says that its measurements of the two technologies have produced “very similar” results.

Most gaming monitors rated for 1 ms response time are built around TN LCDs, while displays using IPS or VA LCDs usually get rated for 2-4 ms. In theory, Nano IPS construction doesn’t offer any particular benefit to response time. Nevertheless, since there’s no mention of blur reduction or the quickly-becoming-infamous “MPRT” measurement, it seems LG is stating that these displays can, in fact, simply shift shades faster than other IPS monitors.

The new display tech definitely does offer improved colors, though. Both displays can reproduce some 98% of the DCI-P3 color space. Unsurprisingly, both displays are also HDR-capable to some degree: the 27″ model supports HDR10 input while the 38″ model is DisplayHDR 400-certified. The smaller 27LG850 uses a fairly standard 2560×1440 resolution. On the other hand, the 38GL950G comes in 3840×1600 resolution, an even-wider-than-ultrawide 12:5 (2.4:1) aspect ratio. Both displays will refresh at 144 Hz out of the box, but LG says the 38″ UltraGear can be overclocked to 175 Hz. Typical brightness stands at 350 cd/m² for the 27″ model and 450 cd/m² for the 38″.

Besides eye-searing brightness, the 38″ model includes LG’s “Sphere Lighting 2.0” bias lighting feature. RGB LEDs on the back of the display project colors onto your back wall that are derived from what’s going on on-screen. I haven’t gotten to experience anything like that myself yet, but those who have say it really improves immersion. Furthermore, the UltraGear 38GL950G has G-Sync support, while the 27GL850 has to make do with being “G-Sync Compatible”—or FreeSync, as we used to say.

LG says both models will be available in the US next month, with pre-orders on the 27” 27GL850 starting on July 1. European markets will have to wait until the third quarter of this year. The company isn’t talking prices yet.

Comments
    • snarfbot
    • 4 weeks ago

    I’m trying not to be cynical here, but if they can make quality displays for laptops, and phones, and television all high volume relatively low priced products there is nothing preventing them from doing the same for consumer monitors, in fact they already have that tech for the high margin cad, medical, art, and military and government. They just don’t want to cannibalize that market.

    I got a new laptop last week with a 1440p HDR dolby vision IPS display with a color gamut that blows away AMOLED, 1800:1 contrast ratio and it only cost $170 over the standard 768p junk monitor on the base model.

    Maybe they have been pushing refresh rate at the expense of contrast, I dunno.

    Reply
    • Chrispy_
    • 1 month ago

    I’d love to see an in-depth review of these. LG have always made decent 60Hz IPS panels but their foray into gaming panels hasn’t gone well.

    2017’s models were their first attempt at 144Hz and those were a smeary mess with broken firmware (crosstalk, input lag) uniformity issues of >30% deviance from a target value, extreme corner-glow (even for an IPS) and pixel response times barely fit for 75Hz even if you were willing to ignore the slow transitions.

    2018’s models were a little better with pixel response times more suitable for 120Hz but there are still caveats regarding the firmware (tftcentral.co.uk) and like VA, a few transitions that are way to slow for even 60Hz, let alone 144Hz. These could be forgiven if they were affordable but in 2018 LG was asking top-dollar for mediocre screens that still had corner-glow and uniformity issues.

    I’m fully expecting that a proper review fails to demonstrate a single transition that gets close to 2ms, let alone the 1ms claimed. I’m also expecting a bunch of transitions in the 16ms range that, like in all technologies except CRT and OLED) need to be overlooked.

    I just hope that they’ve finally sorted out their firmware, uniformity, and response times. Perhaps then, I can decide (based on price) whether I want to sacrifice the contrast ratio of VA for whatever price difference LG are proposing.

    Reply
      • Bauxite
      • 4 weeks ago

      If you had read the updated TFT review on the 34GK950F, you would see it is now the best overall 1440p UW with the latest firmware.

      Been on “sale” (new normal price really) for $799 awhile now too.

      Reply
    • DPete27
    • 1 month ago

    [quote<]RGB LEDs on the back of the display project colors onto your back wall that are derived from what's going on on-screen.[/quote<] This needs to happen more.

    Reply
      • Chrispy_
      • 1 month ago

      IIRC it was hampered by a Philips patent which is why this excellent technology has stagnated for a decade.

      LG/Philips are or have been an alliance in the past, which is probably why we’re seeing it here and nowhere else of note.

      Reply
        • Wirko
        • 1 month ago

        Buy another cheap monitor, put it back to back with your main one, and feed the same video signal to it – just mirrored. That would do the trick almost perfectly, I think. (Mirrored video … easier said than done, though.)

        Reply
      • snarfbot
      • 4 weeks ago

      You really just want white light for bias lighting, any color is going to make colors look weird, messes with the white point. So blue bias light effectively pushes the color temp toward red and green, while a red light would push it toward blue and green and so on.

      You want white bias light, that matches the white point that you have calibrated for, and that should match whatever your content was mastered for, 6500k or D65, but graphics art uses D50 so it gets complicated. Most people dont own a colorimeter and usually just go by eye, and thats fine, out of the box most monitors are 6000k-7000k but your bias lighting should match that as closely as possible.

      Reply
    • Voldenuit
    • 1 month ago

    [quote<]the 38GL950G comes in 3840x1600 resolution, an even-wider-than-ultrawide 12:5 (2.4:1) aspect ratio. [/quote<] Typical 3440x1440 monitor - 2.389:1 LG 3840x1600 monitor - 2.40:1 So it is *0.011* wider. Such wow. Much wideness.

    Reply
      • GrimDanfango
      • 1 month ago

      For me, the appeal would solely be the nice round fraction. 2.389:1 would make me anxious.

      Plus all the best resolutions are exactly divisible by 64 (or greater powers of 2)

      Reply
        • Wirko
        • 1 month ago

        I guess you don’t want want to be in the same room as an iPhone, huh?

        Reply
          • GrimDanfango
          • 1 month ago

          I *own* an iPhone 6S, and yeah… I try my best to repress awareness of the resolution, lest I go insane.

          Reply
      • RAGEPRO
      • 1 month ago

      Cinematic widescreen is normally 2.35:1, which is what I was thinking about. Thanks for the correction.

      Reply
        • cynan
        • 1 month ago

        According to [url=https://www.red.com/red-101/video-aspect-ratios<]this[/url<], 2.35:1 is an antiquated cinematic widescreen format. Now 2.39:1 is the most common. The best part about the the 3840x1600 is that you get full screen cinematic crops in "4k", while reducing the pixel-pushing requirements by about 25% (from 3840x2160)

        Reply
          • RAGEPRO
          • 1 month ago

          I’m not a movie watcher, to be clear; I never, ever watch movies or TV shows, and really only play games on my PC aside from the occasional bit of work.

          After having recently discarded a 3440×1440 monitor to go back to 16:9, I don’t think I would appreciate 3840×1600. It would just feel like what it really is, which is a short 4K. That was my issue with 3440×1440; it felt like it should have been 3440×1920 or something.

          I thought I would like the wider monitor, for improved immersion to the sides when playing first-person games, but really I just ended up feeling like it was too short for its width. Definitely not preferable. It’s possible that the 34″ diagonal display I was using simply wasn’t big enough, but I don’t feel that my 27″ (same height) is too narrow. I think 16:9, or perhaps 2:1 (18:9) is closer to a “natural” aspect ratio, and would “feel” better.

          Reply
            • Usacomp2k3
            • 1 month ago

            To each his own. For productivity, 3440×1440 (2 of them on my desk right now) can’t be beat.

            • cygnus1
            • 1 month ago

            That’s become my setup at work not long ago. IT IS GLORIOUS.

            • DeadOfKnight
            • 1 month ago

            Indeed. Snapping windows feels like having two screens in one. If I do that on my secondary monitor, they’re too narrow.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 month ago

            I’ve got the same setup here. I regularly use all of one monitor and about half of the other, so I have a feeling I’d be wanting more space even if I tried to replace them with a single one of these. Something like that is probably what I’ll get when one of these finally dies though.

            • Voldenuit
            • 1 month ago

            It really depends on how the game handles ultrawide.

            Some games like Overwatch resort to Vert- to fit 21:9/24:10. This results in a cramped experience that is visually and mechanically inferior to playing the game on a standard 16:9/16:10 monitor.

            Proper implementation of ultra-wide resolutions use Hor+ (and I think some games may mix Hor+ with a bit of Vert-). Games like Destiny 2, Nier:Automata, Risk of Rain 2, Abzu, Anthem, Darksiders III, Wolfenstein II: TNC, Assasin’s Creed: Origins all look stunning in ultra-widescreen.

            [url=http://www.wsgf.org/<]wsgf[/url<] keeps report cards on widescreen implementations and hosts hacks and workarounds for many games that don't natively support ultrawide. Of course, personal tastes also factor into preferences.

            • RAGEPRO
            • 1 month ago

            Yeah, I’m very familiar with different types of FOV and the WSGF. 🙂

            With that context (which, admittedly, you didn’t have), I’m obviously referring to games that use Hor+ FOV. It still feels “squished” to me, like I should be able to see more on the top and bottom. I used that monitor for over 3 months, thinking I would get used to it, but I never did. Ultimately I went back to my 27″ ASUS ROG monitor and I’m a lot happier for it.

            It’s probably worth noting that I have [i<]three[/i<] other displays connected. Haha.

            • DeadOfKnight
            • 1 month ago

            Or you can just play them at 16:9 on your 21:9 monitor.

            • DeadOfKnight
            • 1 month ago

            I would agree with you, but you’re wrong. 1080p is far too few vertical pixels for productivity. 1200p had been the go-to for many PC users even after 16:9 became the norm. 1600p was even better, but it was expensive back then when people were always having this debate. Everyone was talking about the “golden ratio” of monitors for productivity, but it was nonsense.

            Fast forward to today, and 1080p is still the norm, but it’s still terrible for work. 2160p is considered overkill by most users, and 1440p is considered the sweet spot. These are all in the same 16:9 ratio. Productivity has nothing to do with the aspect ratio, but usable pixels. I mean sure, it depends on what you’re doing. Some applications will have you flipping it vertical.

            Ultrawide has been marketed for entertainment, but it’s equally useful for productivity. At work I have two 16:9 monitors and always feel like I need more. I snap windows to the sides of the screens, but that often obscures portions of the window that I would like to be visible. I don’t have that problem at home on my ultrawide 1440p monitor. Snapping windows feels perfect.

            As far as an aspect ratio feeling “natural”, it would be the most natural to closely match the field of view of your eyesight, which is actually much wider than 21:9. That way, more of the screen can always be in your peripheral vision. If you want to use an ultrawide screen vertically, you’d have to push it a lot farther back to see the whole thing. Wider is far more natural.

            • RAGEPRO
            • 1 month ago

            This is an awful lot of words in a reply to the wrong person. Did you think I said somewhere that I prefer 1080p?

          • Voldenuit
          • 1 month ago

          Yeah, I may be mocking the hyperbole of calling 3840×1600 “wider than ultra-wide”, but it really is an ideal format for watching 4K ultrawide movies.

          Reply
            • DeadOfKnight
            • 1 month ago

            Unless you watch them at 1080p anyway to save on data.

          • the
          • 1 month ago

          It all depends on the movie. I’ve seen 2.2:1, 2.25:1, 2.31:1, 2.33:1, 2.35:1, 2.38:1 and 2.4:1 all produced. At 1920 across, those differences equate to roughly 4 pixels depending on the jump (note that some of those make more sense with 0.9375:1 non-square pixels too).

          DCI 4K isn’t even on that list which is roughly 17:9.

          There really isn’t a standard when it comes to ultra wides but the differences are minor.

          Reply
      • the
      • 1 month ago

      Or meet midway and try 3840 x 1440. I ended up using of LG’s previous 3840 x 1600 models to match a 3840 x 1440 resolution projector set up. Kinda funky but the screen was initially designed for two 4:3 projectors ages ago. Of cour the screen being a special order back in the day that was a mid 5 digit figure and the company doesn’t want to pay for a sane new 16 x 9 screen now. On the flip side, they will pay extra for that LG display instead of a cheaper 16 x 9 because it matches.

      Reply
    • DeadOfKnight
    • 1 month ago

    That ultrawide looks sick. Too bad I don’t just have a couple grand lying around to drop on it.

    Reply
      • freebird
      • 1 month ago

      Yeah, with G-sync and that high refresh rate, it will probably be $1500-$1800.

      Reply
        • cygnus1
        • 1 month ago

        Yeah, the more awesome specs that kept getting listed, I kept seeing the price go up and up and up… I don’t think your estimate is far off. Definitely out of my price range in the next 10ish years

        Reply
    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 month ago

    I think I want the 27GL850 real bad, but…

    [quote<]The company isn't talking prices yet.[/quote<] Doesn't matter, because I won't be able to afford it. 😆

    Reply
      • sweatshopking
      • 1 month ago

      Yep. Fancy but we are all poors (except end user)

      Reply
      • Vaughn
      • 1 month ago

      Better to wait until they release a Freesync model and dropping down to 34′ with the same res would be nice. 38′ seems too big for a desktop monitor.

      Reply
        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 month ago

        The 27GL850 referenced in my comment is the 27″ model, and it has FreeSync.. I have no interest in the 34″ or 38″ models.

        Reply
        • freebird
        • 1 month ago

        This is my perfect sized monitor!!

        Maybe you just need a bigger desk… ;D

        Reply
          • JustAnEngineer
          • 1 month ago

          I’m currently running 31½” at 2560×1440 = 93 ppi (0.272 mm).
          My previous monitor was 30″ at 2560×1600 = 101 ppi (0.252 mm).
          38″ at 3840×1600 = 109 ppi (0.232 mm), which seems like a reasonable pixel size.

          Reply
            • anotherengineer
            • 1 month ago

            more ppi

            I’m running 2560×1440 at 23.8″ so 123 ppi

            edit everything is so smooth and sharp, except when windows scaling messes things up.

            why are programs made to display nicely 24″ 1080p? Sigh, make it display nicely at 4k at 24″, is almost 2020!!

        • anotherengineer
        • 1 month ago

        34 and 38 feet, movie theater size, nice!!

        Reply
          • derFunkenstein
          • 1 month ago

          The 38′ model’s 456″ diagonal still has nothing on [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glFVXpz_abQ<]Frank's 2000'' TV[/url<].

          Reply
          • Wirko
          • 1 month ago

          7,500 watt power use, for all those cold summer nights!

          Reply
        • Mr Bill
        • 1 month ago

        [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pyh1Va_mYWI<]Spinal Tap Stonehenge[/url<] "The drawing said 18 inches." "The difference between feet and inches is not my problem, I do what I'm told."

        Reply

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