LG UltraGear 32GP850-B gaming monitor review
The new LG UltraGear 32GP850-B gaming monitor is all about finding the perfect compromise between frame rate, performance and graphic detail. There are faster screens with higher refresh rates. There are panels with more pixels. And monitors that stretch over inches. But as a full gaming proposition on paper, LG’s latest version looks pretty compelling.
The basic recipe involves a fast 32-inch IPS panel with a 1ms response time, 180Hz refresh, and 2,560 by 1,440 pixels. There has been a lot of buzz around high-refresh 4K gaming lately, including with the new generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony. But the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B’s 1440p and 180Hz combination is almost certainly suitable for most PC gamers.
Specifications LG UltraGear 32GP850-B
Panel Size: 32 inch
Panel technology: IPS
Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,440
Aspect ratio: 16: 9
Refresh rate: 180 Hz
Response time: 1 ms GtG
Contrast: 700: 1
Color: 90 percent DCI-P3
Brightness: 350 cd / m2
Video inputs: DisplayPort 1.4 x1, HDMI 2.0 x2
Other: AMD FreeSync Premium, Nvidia G-Sync compatible
MSRP: $ 599 | £ 499
For starters, it’s not just a more affordable monitor. It also gives you half a chance to hit those 100+ fps frame rates with a GPU you can afford – and in fact buy or maybe even already own. 4K @ 144Hz is great for sure. But in the current context of wildly inflated graphics card prices and scarce availability, good luck driving this kind of display properly.
At the same time, 2,560 x 1,440 pixels provide a decent level of graphic detail in the game. Certainly, the same cannot be said about the desktop, especially since it is a panel of 32 inches rather than one of the more common 27 inch 1440p. The 92 DPI pixel density isn’t exactly impressive. So, the main appeal of this panel comes down to balancing your priorities: gaming versus general computing.
Aside from this basic conundrum, the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B has a larger feature set that is powerful but not comprehensive enough. On the plus side, that 1ms pixel response is the real gray-to-gray deal, rather than the generally less reliable MPRT metric. There is also AMD FreeSync Premium certification as well as Nvidia G-Sync compatibility. It is therefore preferable to opt for adaptive refresh, regardless of the graphics card of your choice.
LG also claims 98% coverage of the DCI-P3 digital cinema color space from the IPS panel. So the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B isn’t just fast. It is also a kind of precision tool. Design and engineering wise, this is a pretty sleek client with slim bezels and a stand that offers height, tilt, and rotation in portrait mode. Only swivel is not supported – you will need to physically rotate the entire monitor.
If there is one obvious weakness on paper, it concerns HDR performance. HDR10 signal decoding is supported which is convenient and means you can watch HDR videos or play HDR games and see the right colors. But there’s no VESA HDR certification, and peak brightness hits a relatively modest 350 nits. Likewise, the IPS panel is rated at a low 700: 1 for static contrast, which is not going to help achieve high peaks and deep troughs at the same time.
Anyway, if the theories are covered, what does the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B look like in practice? It’s not the most impactful or dynamic gaming panel we’ve ever seen. The moderate backlight power and poor contrast performance don’t help. There’s also a tiny bit of the old IPS glow, which makes for a slightly watery and faint overall picture.
Unsurprisingly, HDR content isn’t impressive. Is a game like Cyberpunk 2077 better in HDR mode than in SDR mode on the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B? It’s probably a little more impactful. But that’s a much closer call than it should or would be on a monitor with true HDR capability.
That said, the colors are accurate and that’s not a bad display per se. In reality, you adapt to the somewhat subdued picture quality quite quickly. It’s just not as rich and vibrant an experience as most modern IPS monitors, let alone something like a VA monitor with full array micro-LED local dimming and all that cutting-edge flicker.
More impressive, however, is the speed of the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B. LG has designed three levels of pixel overdrive in the OSD menu. The middle setting provides a very quick response with little to no visible overshoot. Assuming you have a fairly fast GPU, the 180Hz refresh also allows for very low latency. By the way, 180Hz is only accessible through an “overclocking” toggle in the OSD menu, which is a pretty silly and tedious gimmick that we wish monitor makers didn’t care about. This is a 180Hz monitor, this whole overclocking thing is silly.
Speaking of accessing full 180Hz, this can only be done through the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B’s single DisplayPort 1.4 interface. Both HDMI ports are limited to 144Hz. That’s probably fine, considering you’ll only get 120Hz at most with a given game console. Either way, this monitor is probably a decent choice for the long haul when it comes to sharing access between a gaming PC and a console. Keep in mind that while the Microsoft Xbox Series X is already ready to run with 1440p, the Sony PS5 is still waiting for such support.
So the overall result is a very fast and crisp panel with decent graphic detail and unobtrusive image quality, so crisp. It’s a good package for the price, although we wish the IPS panel was just a little more punchy in terms of brightness and contrast.