A unique display that is well worth the money, but has limited options for non-gamers
One of the very few screens with a VA panel at this size, refresh rate and resolution
Freesync greatly smooths motion
Affordable for what it offers
Smearing at high refresh rates may limit the display to 120Hz
Vignetting has been reported by some users
Non-gamers should look elsewhere
£ 500 (inc VAT)
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Brightness: 400 cd/m²
Response time: 5ms (GTG) / 1ms with Motion Blur Reduction
Viewing angles: 178°
Inputs: DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 (x2), USB 3.0 (x2), USB-B, audio out
Having added almost 5" of screen real estate diagonally, LG's GK850 displays naturally have a lower PPI than competitors' similar 27" models: 93 vs 108. Some people may notice a difference, but it won't be an issue for the majority of the population,
The uniqueness of the GK850 products is in the panel, which is an M315DV01 AMVA (active matrix vertical alignment) type from AUO: one of, if not the only, VA flat panels of this size, resolution and refresh rate. LG has certainly found a gap in the market, and the reaction to the G-Sync model suggests that it was one that gamers were keen to have filled.
LG's use of a VA panel, which has better response times although less accurate colours than IPS, is a good decision for a gaming monitor - although it has meant that the component had to be supplied by AUO rather than LG Display, which solely manufactures IPS. The backlight (a W-LED), however, is from LGD.
On the topic of colours, people who want to use this monitor for image or video editing are out of luck, as sRGB (97.5 per cent coverage) is the only default colour space. LG says that DCI-P3 (95 per cent coverage) is also built in, but we couldn't find a dedicated option for it; perhaps it's part of the Cinema mode.
Playing around with the other picture modes like ‘Reader' and ‘Vivid' adjusted the display as you might expect, respectively lowering brightness and blue light or upping brightness and colour saturation.
Colour accuracy is good, and LG has calibrated the monitor well: the colour temperature of white is 6458K out of the box, which is very close to the ideal 6500K measurement.
HDR Effect, LG's attempt to replicate the effects of high dynamic range on displays with low peak brightness (320 cd/m² in this case), adjusts the gamma curve, black/white level and contrast to pick out more detail in a scene. This setting should only be used for specific types of content: text, for example, looks incredibly fuzzy.
As a flat screen, the 32GK850F does not have the uniformity issues that are often associated with curved displays, and the VA panel lessens the chance of it being affected by backlight bleed or grey areas. VA's black levels are much darker than IPS (0.11 cd/m² at maximum brightness), and the screen showed extremely minimal deviation across its surface: around 0.02 cd/m².
A common uniformity issue that affects large displays with VA panels is vignetting, where the outer edges appear darker than the inside. This is not a defect, but the result of VA's lower viewing angles compared to IPS. There have been reports that some samples of the 32GK850G are affected, but we didn't observe any vignetting on our model of the Freesync monitor.