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
The 32GK850F is primarily a gaming monitor, so refresh rate and response times are extremely important.
The monitor's 144Hz refresh rate is at the top end of today's displays and make a difference in every scenario: games, Netflix and YouTube were all much smoother than on our normal 60Hz screen. Overdrive increases this to 165Hz.
A low pixel response time is necessary to keep up with frame rate demands, otherwise smearing will occur on fast-moving content. Response times need to be below 6.94ms at 144Hz and 6.06ms at 165Hz.
In practice, despite the stated 5ms GtG response, the monitor just missed its response time targets and exhibited some smearing at these speeds; however, 120Hz (requiring a sub-8.33ms response time) was a good balance.
Freesync (and G-Sync) is used to eliminate screen tearing, and is a large benefit when it comes to gaming. Running a screen at full 2560 x 1440 resolution and 144/165Hz refresh rate requires a significant amount of compute and graphics power, so Freesync is an excellent tool to compensate for less powerful systems.
LG's 32GK850F is a great option for gamers who can afford it. Its specs, largely thanks to the VA panel, place it well ahead of the TN or IPS-using competition, with an excellent contrast ratio and black levels, as well as minimal colour shift. It is the only monitor in its size class that offers the potent combination of Freesync and a 144/165Hz refresh rate.
LG is certainly providing customers with a lot for their money: a large size, common aspect ratio, excellent specs and superb uniformity. We did feel that some of the features, especially in the menu, were very (too?) gaming-specific, though; while the monitor performs well as a general-purpose device, there are other (cheaper) options if video games aren't your primary use.