"The LG 27GN950 is a 4K gaming monitor designed for the next generation of PC graphics."
Extremely good image quality
Excellent fast gaming performance
Intuitive, sharp and responsive OSD
Easy access to I / O
No HDMI 2.1
If you're one of the lucky few who managed to get your hands on one of the latest graphics cards, you need a 4K gaming monitor to go with it too.
But even the best monitors have a hard time delivering both great image quality and a high refresh rate. LG's new 4K gaming monitor the 27GN950 claims to do just that. With nano IPS screen technology, it may be as close to perfection as possible without jumping all the way to an OLED TV.
As a 27-inch monitor, the first thing you notice about the 27GN950 is that it is not very large. Among the massive ultrawide monitors and 32-inch 4K giants, this 27-inch panel is a breath of fresh air as the focus is exclusively on a razor-sharp image.
The bezels around the panel are hair thin, with the lower one being slightly thicker than the others. There is no LG logo on the front of the panel. Without a curve, it looks surprisingly elegant – if you leave out the somewhat garish stand.
Looking at the back of the monitor, you'll find that the display case isn't made out of the fancyest materials. It's just cheap, scratchy plastics. Fortunately, it's in the back so it won't hit you too often.
Around the bracket and the entry / exit island there is a large RGB ring that lights up with the monitor and can adapt its colors to the colors displayed. This is a good party trick to add immersion despite the modest panel size.
Then there's the stand of the display, which I'm not a fan of. The adjustment mechanism has all the necessary settings for height, tilt and rotation. But with a panel that looks so elegant, I find that the stand itself is designed a little too aggressively. It's like a throwback to an older generation of gaming equipment, but I'm not nostalgic.
The front feet are strangely connected to the main pillar, and I wish LG had turned off the logo for a cleaner aesthetic. However, if you're a minimalist like me I would drop the stand and use a monitor arm. There are VESA 100 mounting holes to aid in this.
Connections and controls
If you're a pure PC gamer, the 27GN950's rear input / output panel is a good choice. It comes with a DisplayPort 1.4a connector that supports DSC (Display Stream Compression) to provide full 4K, 160Hz, 4: 4: 4 RGB support when using an RTX 20 GPU or later.
If you're someone who has a console in addition to your PC to get access to Sony's exclusive products, you may feel a little disappointed for one simple reason: the lack of HDMI 2.1. In fact, given the promising 4K gameplay from the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X over HDMI 2.1, it seems a little strange that LG chose to only install an HDMI 2.0 controller, even though most of its latest TVs support HDMI 2.1 . This means that the maximum refresh rate supported by the 27GN950 through the HDMI ports is only 60 Hz. There are at least two HDMI ports here, so you can hook up two consoles if you're okay with the refresh rate being compromised.
There is also a USB hub with two ports and a headphone jack. The monitor is powered by an external 110 watt power supply module that is thin and easy to hide under your desk.
Having instant access to brightness controls is extremely valuable.
The OSD (On-Screen Display) control panel from LG is in a league of its own. The user interface is controlled by a single directional switch at the bottom of the display and is extremely clear, responsive and easy to navigate. To control the brightness of the display, simply press the switch forwards or backwards to jump directly into the brightness controls. To adjust the volume of the headphones, simply switch left or right to decrease or increase the volume.
The OSD is also easy to navigate. It has five main sub-menus including Game Mode with some presets and Game Customization with advanced options like Adaptive-Sync, a black stabilizer to improve detail in the dark, and a deceptive crosshair. The Image Adjustment menu provides options for adjusting the settings for brightness, contrast, sharpness, and color. Finally, there is a submenu for inputs and a submenu called General System.
The only complaint I have about the OSD is that it doesn't seem to render in high resolution. The 4K panel can display extremely sharp and razor-sharp images. So it's a little weird that the OSD is rendering a little fuzzy even though you don't spend a lot of time here anyway and it's still better than most of the others.
LG's Nano IPS-based gaming monitors are characterized by high image quality, and the 27GN950 is no exception. The company promises that the 27GN950 will cover 98% of the DCI-P3 space, and while our device didn't quite hit that number, it wasn't far off with a tested value of 96%. Our sample included 100% of the sRGB space and 88% of the AdobeRGB.
We also tested the monitor's color accuracy, which resulted in an average Delta-E (difference from real) of just 0.69. Keep in mind that anything below a Delta-E of 2 is generally considered good enough for professional work, and you'll probably agree that the 27GN950 is great for creative graphics work, which we don't often see on gaming monitors see.
However, where the display gets stuck is the contrast performance. The fast Nano IPS panel is ideal for fast reactions, high frame rates, a wide range of colors and precise colors. However, one of the weaknesses of IPS is its poor contrast performance. Our sample achieved a value of 980: 1 at full brightness, which is pretty much the promised 1000: 1 ratio on the data sheet. If you like to play games at night and don't need the wide color gamut and color accuracy, you might opt for a cheaper VA panel.
The 27GN950 is great for graphic work – something we don't see often on gaming monitors.
The maximum brightness we achieved with the 27GN950 was 462 nits, which is more than adequate for most use cases including brightly lit rooms and is more than promised on the spec sheet. Gamma performance was perfect right away too, and the 6900K white point is pretty close to the 6500K target, although this can be easily corrected with OSD settings or calibration.
After calibrating the monitor, I was able to pull out 1% more DCI-P3 cover, correct the white point and increase the color accuracy from 0.69 to just 0.63. While these are improvements, it's safe to say that calibrating the 27GN950 is of little use and that most users won't have to worry about it.
When it comes to gaming on the LG 27GN950, there is one thing you need to consider before you take the plunge: this display requires a ton of GPU power if you're running modern titles at the full 4K resolution and want to take advantage of the high refresh rate.
This isn't that big of an issue with older games, but today's AAA titles, especially those with ray tracing, will be tough to push. You need at least a GeForce RTX 3070 or Radeon RX 6800 XT if you want smooth performance. Even with these cards, you won't get near the high end of the panel's 144Hz refresh rate when you run the games at maximum settings.
However, this is not a fault of the monitor. When it comes to panel performance, the 27GN950 puts on an impressive show. The Nano IPS control panel reacts extremely quickly and can easily be overclocked to 160 Hz after updating the firmware of the display with just one push of a button. The stuttering and tearing is dealt with by the compatibility of FreeSync Premium Pro and G-Sync, and the display has low frame rate compensation for the inevitable drops in modern titles.
In contrast to VA panels, the Nano IPS panel does not smear here.
The smaller 27-inch form factor is also good for competitive gameplay because you can keep an eye on the entire game. It's also a great monitor for those who want to get up close and personal during intense gaming thanks to the sharp image.
In contrast to VA panels, the Nano IPS panel does not smear here either. High refresh rate budget monitors often come with VA panels. Although they offer better contrast ratios, they can lead to noticeable color smudging, especially in dark scenes. The 27GN950 has no such error.
What is special about the 27GN950, however, is the combination of this outstanding gaming performance with the sharpness of 4K and the extremely wide range of colors offered by the 96% DCI-P3 coverage.
I've played a fair amount of Horizon Zero Dawn on this panel, and this game makes great use of its wide range. The way it portrays the colors of the sun, the intense red sunsets, the vibrant green for the foliage and the deep blue for the water, along with the sharp image … it was something to see.
The downside is that it's not as impressive as the LG 34GN850 Curved Ultrawide with the same nano-IPS technology, but not everyone wants a huge ultrawide monitor on their desk.
What to Expect from the HDR600
The 27GN950 is also supported by HDR600, which means it can produce a peak brightness of up to 600 nits with just one of the HDR zones. It comes with 16 edge-lit dimming zones, which is fine but not great. It is certainly not an OLED panel, and VA panels are usually better able to produce deep black levels.
Of course, if you want a true HDR experience on a gaming monitor, you'll have to find one with FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) lighting, but this LED arrangement behind the panel instead of edge lighting costs a lot of money. Think two big amounts of money.
Personally, I prefer to play with HDR turned off. It's nice to play around with what the 27GN950 can offer, but the cleanest picture is produced with the picture off. Also, Windows looks very hidden with HDR turned on, and you need to enable it in Windows in order to enable it in your game settings.
If you are looking for a 4K monitor for gaming and creative work in the market, the LG 27GN950 is as good as your only option right now. If it offers a responsive panel with a refresh rate of up to 160 Hz, while maintaining a large color gamut and extremely good color accuracy that we don't see often. It is also one of the first 4K gaming monitors to use DSC.
The main drawbacks are the contrast performance, a nondescript booth, and the distinct lack of HDMI 2.1, which is an odd omission considering that LG has been using it on its OLED TVs since 2019, and next-gen consoles don't have enough bandwidth to run high To achieve frame rates.
Are there alternatives?
Currently the only two alternatives are the Asus XG27UQ and the Acer Nitro XV273K, both of which are a bit cheaper. They're not overclockable to 160Hz, but limited to 144Hz, and their overall look is a little stickier. Aside from the stand, the LG 27GN950 looks simple, clean, and nifty.
How long it will take?
Although the low contrast ratio of IPS technology is showing its age, the 4K 160 Hz panel means this monitor should last a while as it will be a few more years before GPUs can reach their refresh rate.
The monitor should last as long as most monitors: at least 5 years. However, LG only offers a 1 year guarantee.
Should I buy it?
Yes, if you need a monitor for work and play and it has to be 4K, the LG 27GN950 is a great option.