The monitor brings productivity improvements and a great gaming experience
Cheap for an ultrawide monitor, high refresh rate, great black levels, accessible settings menu
Low brightness and colour accuracy, limited stand adjustments
£ 450 (starting)
Resolution: 2560 x 1080 (21:9)
Brightness: 250 cd/m²
Viewing angle: 178°
Refresh rate: 144Hz
Inputs: HDMI 2.0 (x2), DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 (x2)
Ultra-wide displays began to appear in 2014, and the category has grown to encompass many screen sizes (34", 35" and 38" most prominently - with Samsung having just launched a 49" model), resolutions and vendors. However, prices have remained uniformly high - at least, until LG launched the UC79G earlier this year.
Designed primarily as a gaming monitor, the 34" UC79G (2560 x 1080) brings a wide field of view and fluid refresh rates to the battlefield. It even has a Crosshair feature, highlighting the centre of the screen to aid accuracy. Workers will get just as much use out of it though, as the screen width enables two or three documents to be worked on side-by-side.
It's not all good news, though. That low price tag comes as a cost: build quality suffers and colour accuracy is poor compared to most monitors on the market today. But does the good outweigh the bad?
The red and black colour scheme should come as no surprise to anyone who's seen a computer gaming peripheral in the last 10 years: manufacturers have it in their heads that every gamer accessorises like a '90s teenager.
Build quality is immediately noticeable. The monitor is constructed of matte plastic on the very thin front bezels (there is an inner bezel of about 10mm on the top and side), but uses glossy plastic on the back, which not only picks up fingermarks but is unfortunately matched by a fairly flimsy stand for a monitor of this size. That wasn't helped by the review sample we were sent missing a couple of crucial screws, to attach the neck of the stand to the base - with the result that the monitor dramatically overbalanced if it was set too high. Not a problem in consumer models, we would hope.
On the note of stand ergonomics, the 120mm height adjustment is pleasingly wide, and the -5° to 20° tilt is very common. However, the lack of pivot is frustrating, and requires an entirely new stand if you desire that feature. Handily, the monitor uses a standard 100 x 100 VESA mount.
That shiny fingermark-attracting plastic could be a real aesthetic killer if LG has decided to mount its monitor controls on the side or rear of the screen. In fact, the use of a single joystick, hidden directly below the centre of the monitor, completely negates that concern. The joystick is a common feature in the company's ultra-wide displays and works extremely well for adjusting and enabling all sorts of settings - more on that later.
Like many widescreen monitors, the UC79G is curved across a 3,800mm radius. This subtle curve ensures that all parts of the screen are situated the same distance from the eye, negating any distortion but bringing you right into the action when gaming or watching a film (21:9 is the same aspect ratio as seen in the cinema, avoiding any letterboxing).
For inputs, the display features HDMI 2.0* (x2), DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.0 (x2), as well as headphone and audio-out jacks.
* 'HDMI 2.0' is commonly used to refer to displays that can carry high-resolution (4k) signals at 60Hz, but that is a misnomer: it's not actually a required part of the specification. Before buying a display, ensure that the HDMI ports are capable of carrying the signals that you need.
One press of the joystick control brings up a circular menu with shortcuts for power, input, various game tools and the full menu suite (which also has a Quick Settings list for brightness, contrast and volume).
The Game Adjust menu provides quick launch for FPS, RTS and Custom presets, as well as the Black Stabilizer (raises gamma), Response Time (overdrive), Freesync and motion blur reduction features. Freesync (AMD's answer to Nvidia's G-Sync) is an adaptive synchronisation technology that eliminates screen tearing. As for motion blur reduction, it works up to 144Hz - unusual, as most such features are only good to 120Hz - although there is a tradeoff in brightness and contrast.