We were thrilled to test today's monitor as the product falls into one of our favorite categories: affordable but decent gaming monitors. A lot of companies are trying to target this market segment, but it is difficult to find a winner, but we think LG may have just made it with the 32GK650F.
This 32-inch monitor offers a resolution of 1440p and a refresh rate of 144 Hz, so it falls into this golden zone for modern games. It also uses VA technology, which is popular with gamers and may be the best for this type of display. It is crucial that it is also flat, which the curved display haters will like. LG didn't care about HDR products. This is your standard 1440p high refresh monitor. Therefore, it is currently available for retail for only $ 350.
This doesn't make it the cheapest 1440p 144Hz display on the market. You can often find others for around $ 320, maybe $ 330 like the Viotek GN27DB and GN32DB. But the LG 32GK650F really has a lot to offer, which we'll learn about in the "Performance" section.
The 32GK650F uses LG's current UltraGear style, which includes a simple black plastic V-shaped stand, a simple bezel design with narrow bezels on three sides, and a simple black plastic back that we think looks good. There are a couple of red highlights that add extra interest to the design, and there are no RGB LEDs that we appreciate.
Despite its simple design, LG has integrated many functions. The stand is fully height adjustable and supports tilting, swiveling and even swiveling so you can use this monitor in portrait mode. The robustness of the stand is average, but unlike many other budget monitors in this class, it actually supports a good range of motion. The ports are easily accessible on the back, although cable routing can be a bit difficult. The main connections are DisplayPort and two HDMI connections as well as a headphone jack. There is no USB hub here, and an external power supply module is required for the monitor.
LG's UltraGear line appears to primarily use directional switches to control the on-screen menu, which is an advantage over some alternatives. There are also some useful features, such as Motion Blur Reduction mode, which is basically inserting a black frame or stroboscopic backlighting. There are also some cheat functions like crosshairs and black level adjustments.
For gamers, this monitor offers great functionality with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and a maximum refresh rate of 144 Hz. It also offers FreeSync support with low frame rate compensation and is compatible with Nvidia GPUs. Some of the absolutely cheapest monitors with these specifications do not include adaptive synchronization. Therefore, it is not only welcome to have them here, but a requirement for any modern gaming display.
The response times for a VA panel are better than the average. There are different response time modes, but the default option "Fast" is the best because "Fast" introduces a little too much overshoot. In fast mode, however, we see an average gray-to-gray response of 6.50 ms, which is faster than the 6.94 ms transition required to fully support a 144 Hz refresh rate. Aside from some particularly slow transitions, this panel can update from 144 Hz in about 80% of cases, which is better than average for a VA display.
If you look at the graphs, you'll see that the 32GK650F is the fastest of the 32-inch 1440p 144 Hz VA monitors we've tested – and there have been some, it's a popular product type. The average response time for this type is 7.7 ms, making us about 1 ms faster than expected. It is a great result for a VA and brings it to the IPS area.
The input delay is also decent at 3.3 ms, which is within the normal bracket that we see for gaming monitors. This results in a total latency of less than 10 ms, which we like to see.
LG lists a typical contrast ratio for this display of 3000: 1, although we recorded a bit closer to 2400: 1 in our tests, which is a good bit lower, but not unusual for this type of VA. With this result, it is still sitting around its competitors; Markings that are all less than 3000: 1. Even at 2400: 1, the contrast ratio is at least twice that of a typical IPS and still offers you the contrast advantages of this technology. In terms of brightness, 320 nits are fine for most viewers, especially since there is no HDR support.
Color rendering is just your standard sRGB complaint box without support for a wide range of colors. Although this will make working outside of HDR mode easier in most cases, your default content for sRGB will be mastered. To avoid oversaturation, you need an sRGB monitor.
However, the standard out-of-the-box performance isn't particularly good. This is mainly due to the wrong grayscale performance. A white point of 7840 K, which rises to an average of 8120 K over the grayscale range, means that this monitor is delivered with a cold shade of blue. Some users like this, but for it to be right, you actually want a warmer 6500K white point. A grayscale deltaE average of 5.05 is not surprising here.
The situation is similar with the saturation power. With a cold white point, you can see that the remaining color points have been translated, so everything was drawn colder than expected. We get a DeltaE average of 3.26 with particularly poor performance in blue, cyan and magenta. ColorChecker shows similar numbers.
Fortunately, the wrong white point can be corrected by making some changes in the on-screen menu. For my device I have set the user color control to red 50, green 43 and blue 34 and a brightness of 61 for about 200 nits. Due to the panel variance, these settings may not apply to all 32GK650F, but should improve the accuracy considerably.
With these settings and without formal calibration, the CCT curve improved dramatically to an average of 6855K, resulting in a grayscale DeltaE average of only 1.66, which is damn accurate for just a few setting changes. This helped a lot with saturation, which resulted in a DeltaE average of 1.39 and ColorChecker improvements to 1.53. With averages below 2.0 across the board, this type of performance is very accurate.
Adjust according to the OSD settings
From here, you can do a proper calibration that further aggravates things. It sets even better gamma, but in our opinion these fundamental improvements are sufficient for most users, especially if your model came with a striking shade of blue.
Finally, we have a uniformity that, as expected for a VA panel, appears mediocre. The center channel is good enough, but if you look at one of the edges, there is some deviation from the center. Nothing drastic, it's a bit flashy, but for games it's not a big deal and you won't get much better from a competing monitor.
All in all, the LG 32GK650F is our new, affordable, high-update gaming monitor, and that's not a crown we can easily or simply release.
We've already talked that 1440p 144Hz is currently our preferred display hardware for gaming – it's this great combination of resolution and refresh rate that can be achieved with modern GPU technology – and the 32GK650F offers it with the best features at one low price.
So far we have recommended monitors such as the Viotek GN32DB or the Pixio PX329 in this category. The Viotek option is curved and costs around $ 330, while the Pixio option is flat and costs $ 350. But with the LG 32GK650F, which also costs $ 350, it simply offers more than the alternatives at a reasonable price.
The 32GK650F in particular has faster response times, which reduces blurring and provides a real 144 Hz experience, unlike the Pixio, which is advertised as 165 Hz but cannot deliver a real 144 Hz. The LG is still a large flat 32-inch VA with good contrast, which we think is better than curved alternatives. It has a better stand, the height and pivot point of which are adjustable and which neither Viotek nor Pixio offer. What matters is that this monitor is also much easier to find at retailers worldwide, although prices vary by region.
Also for the price, LG does not have any obvious shortcomings and the best price-performance ratio for 1440p games. The 32GK650F is easy to recommend.