It's monitor review time and today we are testing the LG 27GP850. This is the true successor to the LG 27GL850, one of the most popular 1440p IPS gaming monitors in recent years.
It's also a much more extensive display update than the 27GN850, which was updated last year, with LG showing the clear goal of reclaiming the performance throne in this monitor class.
The basic basics are the same: this is a 27 inch [2560 x 1440] display with LG Nano IPS technology. Same 98% DCI-P3 color gamut, same adaptive synchronization support with G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. However, there are three key supplements that make this more than just a refresher.
First is the higher refresh rate. It is listed as a 165 Hz monitor with an overclock of up to 180 Hz, up from 144 Hz previously. It's still a medium to high refresh rate monitor, but a higher refresh rate is always better.
Next, LG tweaked its overdrive to increase performance and reduce overshoot. We can measure this shortly. According to LG, it is still a 1 ms monitor, but only a "better" 1 ms monitor.
And finally, for the first time, we're also getting full backlight stroboscopic support in a Nano IPS monitor manufactured by LG.
All of this is offered for the same price as the 27GL850: $ 500.
The new monitor should go on sale in most regions in the coming weeks. LG provided us with the display before it was released, but we tested a final retail model that was ready to go out of the box.
In terms of design, this is your standard LG UltraGear monitor. The stand has been redesigned so we don't get the sliding cylinder design for height adjustment, but the new version is similar to LG's 2020 series monitors. The stand column and base use plastic for their exterior materials. You have this new, more angular pillar that looks pretty nice, and then V-shaped legs.
Adjustability is decent overall, the range of height adjustability is generous so it should be great for most users' ergonomic setup and this is achieved with less wobble than previous designs. There is also tilt and swivel support in case you want to use the monitor in portrait orientation.
I also like how easy it is to access the 27GP850's ports on the back, where you'll find a DisplayPort, two HDMI ports, and a couple of USB ports. This makes wall mounting a little tricky – this display has a VESA mount – but I think the easy access is worth it. The overall rear design is nice and I'm glad LG hasn't changed it significantly from previous monitors.
The OSD is controlled via the usual LG direction switch at the bottom of the display. LG revamped the design to give it a "cooler" aesthetic, but functionality and layout remain largely unchanged. You'll find features like cheat crosshairs, black boosting modes, an FPS display that I always have on hand, and the usual image controls. I find the LG monitor's OSD easy to use, and the customizable quick access controls are a nice bonus.
Time for all important response time figures and a look at the panel performance. LG offers four overdrive settings, and we'll work our way through all of them. As a quick reminder, we've updated our testing method for 2021 to be more specific. You can find more information about the metrics we use here.
First, we have power in off mode, which is without overdrive. As expected, we get virtually no overshoot, and we can see that the native panel performance averages 7.8 ms. This is a very good result in all respects, but it doesn't meet the requirements for a true 180 Hz refresh rate, so it may be time to turn on Overdrive.
Using normal mode, performance improves noticeably at 180Hz compared to disabled overdrive, and LG has achieved this without increasing overshoot. A 6.5ms average response time between gray and gray is on par with several other IPS monitors, but we can do better. Let's increase the overdrive to Fast.
In this mode, we really see the benefits of LG's Nano IPS technology and the extra tuning they have done with the new 27GP850. We get an average response time of 4.65 ms, which is fast and allows the refresh rate to update to 82% at 180 Hz. This is impressive given our new and much more rigorous testing methods. Inverse ghosting has increased slightly, but is not noticeable in practice. This results in a large cumulative deviation result of 407.
As with the previous display from LG, there is also an insanely fast "faster" mode, which was specially developed for a response time of 1 ms. The best result we got is 1.25 ms, so the claim is correct but it is in a largely unusable mode due to its inverse ghosting. The overshoot is significant, and while the average response has improved to 2.88 ms, the cumulative deviation in this mode is higher compared to the previous mode, indicating that the power balance is too far into the "inverse ghosting" zone. is pivoted.
Return to quick mode to evaluate performance across the update area. In this overdrive mode, LG keeps the average response time over all frame rates at 4.5 to 4.8 ms. The only factor that changes is the amount of overshoot. At high refresh rates above 100Hz, the inverse ghosting rate is solid and you are unlikely to see bright ghost trails while maintaining very fast response times. The cumulative variance in these frame rates is generally 500 or less, which is pretty good. If we drop a little lower than 100 Hz, we will see more inverse ghosting, and this is something that makes itself felt at 85 Hz and 60 Hz as the inverse ghosting rate approaches 30%. At these lower refresh rates, we still have good response times, but a moderate amount of inverse ghosting.
In contrast, normal mode is around 1.5 ms slower across the board in terms of response times, but with almost no overshoot at all frame rates tested. Specifically, if you look at the cumulative deviation that highlights the balance between speed and overshoot, the crossover point where normal is better than fast is around 100 Hz. That is, players who want to play primarily at high refresh rates should use the Use Fast mode, while players playing with lower updates should use Normal.
The ideal solution now would have been to implement a variable overdrive to switch between these settings depending on the refresh rate, but LG has not implemented this here. In a sense, there are two optimal overdrive modes and not the ideal situation, which is a single optimal setting.
However, I also think this is a little unfair for LG. When I talk about displays that don't offer a single Overdrive mode experience, it's usually because each mode is unusable at some point in the update area. That could mean decent performance at 144 Hz, but a lot of inverse ghosting at 60 Hz. This isn't really the case with the 27GP850, and the differences between normal and fast modes are small overall. I actually found it quite difficult to decide which mode is better for adaptive sync play. Ultimately, I went for the quick mode, but overall, buyers can choose to prioritize either low overshoot in normal mode or speed in quick mode. and had a pretty good experience across the board.
The big question, however, is how does the 27GP850 compare to other monitors on the market, and how does it compare to the 27GL850. Speaking of the best performance at maximum refresh rate, the 27GP850 looks very strong. This newly optimized display offers performance in line with other high-speed IPS products of the current generation and a step above the 27GL850. The overshoot here remains about the same as the 27GL850, but the new model is 24% faster – and we get the added benefit of 180 Hz versus 144 Hz, which also improves clarity.
Also of interest is the average gray-to-gray performance measured over the update range. The inverse ghosting rate is higher than the 27GL850, but also offers an average response time of 30% faster. In general, it is a little faster on average than other fast IPS panels of the current generation, such as those found in the MAG274QRF-QD, AW2721D and PG329Q models.
If we look at the cumulative variance, we see an improvement for the 27GP850, which is now firmly seated under the new IPS panels we just talked about, despite not being cross-generationally ahead. In comparison, last-generation versions such as the 27GL850, S2721DGF and AG273QXP range from 580 to 540 in this metric. So the 27GP850's result of 521 is in the range of 5 to 10 percent better, not a huge improvement, but decent for what appears to be just Overdrive optimizations instead of a complete overhaul of LG's IPS technology – and this without variable overdrive.
While the 27GP850's performance on these metrics is either the best or one of the best of the IPS monitors I've tested, especially in terms of refresh rate, it is ultimately still outperformed by the Samsung Odyssey G7. Now that these aren't the same class of monitors, the Odyssey is 40% more expensive and more of a flagship with its 240Hz refresh rate, but there's still that void to the best you can get today if you're ready Pay the price.
And as a reminder: The Odyssey offers this performance without much smearing of darkness. The performance in the dark is in the range of the 27GP850 despite the use of VA technology, so Samsung continues to impress here.
At a fixed 120 Hz, the 27GP850 is a very fast monitor and competes cheaply with other displays. As mentioned earlier, with the same overshoot, the 27GP850 is 18% faster than the AG273QXP, which uses LG's earlier Nano IPS design, and significantly faster than the 27GL850, albeit with more overshoot.
At 60 Hz in normal overdrive mode, the 27GP850 and 27GL850 deliver roughly the same performance, the 27GP850 with slightly less overshoot. It seems that most of the improvements made in this generation are at higher refresh rates.
The input latency is very low. The processing delay, the measure of how quickly the display picks up input and shows it on the screen, is less than 0.5 ms, which is just as good as other monitors. However, it is also supported with a high refresh rate which reduces update latency compared to older 144Hz monitors. When the fast response times are taken into account, the total latency is less than 8 ms. This is about 30% better than the 27GL850 when comparing the best with the best.
Electricity consumption has decreased slightly over the generations. After calibration, the 27GP850 consumes around 16% less power than the 27GL850 with the same brightness. This is a modest improvement in efficiency, but it's not much different from some of the other 27-inch 1440p gaming monitors I've tested.
LG supports strobing the backlight in one of two modes: you can use it with adaptive sync, which is a bit of a surprise, but it seems to work in conjunction with a variable refresh rate like we see on Asus ELMB sync monitors. Or you can run it without adaptive syncing, which offers a more traditional experience.
I'm starting performance with no adaptive sync turned on. The 27GP850 allows you to do backlight strobing between a fixed 165Hz and 100Hz in this mode, and the results are fine without being amazing. Movement clarity is improved at 165Hz, but like other backlit Nano IPS panels, there is still a red border and there is also a faint double image. The red fringes problem is caused by a slow red fluorescent substance in the backlights from LG that they use on their Nano IPS panels. The problem is minimized compared to the ViewSonic XG270QG, which also allowed stroboscopic backlighting, but is still visible to a certain extent. How noticeable this is to you in games depends on your sensitivity to artifacts. I'd say it's worth experimenting with, but overall it's just a mediocre experience in my opinion.
For example, if we show the backlight strobing function of the MSI MAG274QRF-QD side by side, you can clearly see the difference in clarity. The 27GP850 actually has better clarity than the MSI when neither is flashing, but the MSI monitor is better in AMB mode. On the 27GP850, you will also see more red borders as you decrease the refresh rate. Please note this.
As for the variable refresh rate backlight strobe strobe, I commend LG for being the second company to try this after Asus. Ultimately, however, it doesn't work very well. The strobe itself is not a single strobe per frame, which leads to strobe crosstalk at most frame rates. At 180Hz it's not terrible, but it's not much less blurry than normal strobe-free mode – it's just a different kind of blur. I saw varying degrees of success at lower frame rates, and after playing a few games with the strobe on and off, I preferred the non-dashed image. Still, I would like companies to keep working on backlighting and variable refresh rates as a perfect working solution for gaming monitors would be worth its weight in gold.
Color space: LG 27GP850 – D65-P3
The 27GP850 now offers color performance and, like LG's earlier Nano IPS displays, has 98% DCi-P3 coverage which, in our tests, is among the best P3 coverage we've measured at 96%.
To compare this result with other monitors, we can convert this result to Rec. Coverage 2020, with this color space being massive and much larger than P3. Here we see a good result for the 27GP850 with approx. 70% Rec. The coverage for 2020 is similar to many other displays that prioritize large P3 color bars.
However, the latest high color range IPS displays like MSI's MAG274QRF-QD go a step further and achieve more than 80% Rec. 2020 coverage. In this way, the MSI monitor also supports full Adobe RGB coverage, which the 27GP850 does not offer. An Adobe RGB cover in addition to P3 can be helpful for some creative workloads. If this is important to you, other panels are better than the 27GP850. Even so, LG still offers a wide range.
The factory calibration is average. The results are somewhat problematic in that the gamma drops off pretty sharply at the high end instead of sticking to the ideal near 2.2, and the white balance on my device was immediately tinged slightly blue. This led to a moderately high DeltaE grayscale result. If we then look at the saturation and ColorChecker, we also see high DeltaE numbers, since the 27GP850 does not immediately get stuck with an sRGB color range. This leads to oversaturation, as what we see here shows.
If we compare this to other displays, the results for both the ColorChecker and the grayscale factory calibration are in the midfield. Pretty typical of a large color gamut gaming monitor, but not amazing and no indication of LG's attention to detail.
On the positive side, however, LG has a suitable sRGB emulation mode that you can access in the display's settings. This is a way to get more accurate results for everyday PC use. I would describe the sRGB mode as average to good – it works to clamp the gamut and allow for brightness adjustment, but locks out grayscale controls so we can't tweak the results.
OSD optimized performance
My device was factory calibrated to a decently accurate sRGB mode, with DeltaE 2000 results for Saturation and ColorChecker below 2.0. Grayscale was a touch, however; good adherence to the gamma curve, but a slight shade of red off a shaky CCT average. Even so, I would recommend using sRGB mode if you want a more accurate experience with OSD tweaks.
Calibrated color performance
The next step is a full calibration, which we achieved with DisplayCAL. As expected, the sRGB results are very strong and for P3 it's pretty good too, apart from a few very minor issues right at the top of the gamut where the last 2-4% is not covered.
The brightness is improved with the 27GP850 compared to the 27GL850. The new model offers around 450 nits compared to 350 nits of the previous generation. So this is a solid improvement that will also help in bright environments. The minimum brightness is excellent at under 30 nits, ideal for those who like a dark monitor for nighttime gaming.
The big story with LG's Nano IPS panels has always been the contrast ratio. Unfortunately, LG couldn't move the needle much with this new generation.
The 27GP850 had a contrast ratio of 835: 1 in my tests after calibration, better than the 27GL850 I originally tested but no better than other monitors using this panel, like the Dell S2721DGF. This means weak black levels and this can be a problem for those who prefer to play in darker rooms. Not all Nano IPS panels have such a low contrast ratio that the 4K version, for example, is much better, but the 27-inch 1440p model remains poor.
The viewing angles are still excellent, so while the 27GP850 has TN-like contrast, it offers a much better viewing experience overall. The smoothness of my device was good, without being amazing, and not too different from the 27GL850. There was a bit of IPS glow on my model, albeit not as severe as on my 27GL850, and this usually varies from device to device. Whatever I am reporting here may not be what you experience for yourself.
Regarding HDR performance, while the 27GP850 has achieved DisplayHDR 400 certification and supports HDR inputs, it basically lacks the hardware required for proper HDR like a local full array dimming backlight. Hence, I wouldn't consider this an HDR monitor when making your purchase decision.
For whom is that?
LG continues to offer impressive monitors for the gaming market. With the LG 27GP850, not only has the company re-launched a previous product with some improvements, but LG has clearly assessed the market, found that some newer IPS monitors perform better, and its game with the 2021 27- improved. Inch 1440p monitor. This has resulted in several improvements over the previous model.
In particular, the response time performance is better. Depending on the tested metric and refresh rate, the LG 27GP850 is between ~ 5 and 25% faster than the 27GL850. In combination with a higher refresh rate at 180 Hz, this new display offers significantly better movement clarity and lower input latency.
To be clear, the higher refresh rate doesn't have to be better, even when comparing 144 Hz to 144 Hz. The 27GP850 is better in terms of response performance, a product of optimized and improved overdrive modes.
LG needed this because we launched other fast IPS panels last year, like the AU Optronics panel in the MSAG MAG274QRF-QD, which offers a leap in performance over the older 27GL850.
The new 27GP850 is able to match or surpass these newer panels and at times outperform them in terms of motion performance. Adding backlighting is also welcome. It's not the best version we've ever seen, but at least it's now available in this updated model.
While LG improved motion clarity and input latency, it pretty much left everything else the same. This means the same large color gamut experience, the same large viewing angles, the same type of factory calibration and unfortunately the same contrast ratio, which is still a weak point for LG's offering. However, we get higher brightness and an updated design.
A main selling point of the LG 27GP850 is also the proper, functional sRGB emulation mode that eliminates the oversaturation when viewing standard content like YouTube videos or games. Many large color gamut monitors fill this in, and you have no choice but to display an oversaturated image in some cases. Kudos to LG for thinking about both gaming performance and color accuracy, and doing well in both areas.
But how about value?
We think the 27GP850 is a great monitor, but should you pay $ 500 for it? Honestly, that's a tricky question as it's on the high end of current prices for the medium refresh rate display. For example, the MSI MAG274QRF-QD and Dell S2721DGF typically range from $ 400 to $ 450. So is the LG worth the extra cost?
In my opinion, the LG 27GP850 is the best in its class among the monitors I have tested. The combination of excellent response times and a functional sRGB mode surpasses it. It's generally worth the price premium, and its balanced spec with few flaws makes it a monitor you won't be disappointed with.
It's a close call, however. The MSI is what I would recommend if you want Adobe RGB support, higher contrast, or better stroboscopic backlighting at a lower price. However, the lack of sRGB emulation and poorer peak performance than the 27GP850 doesn't make it the best. The Dell S2721DGF is still a good choice, but does not offer the features offered here as it is closer to the last generation 27GL850 overall.
There are so many great gaming monitor options out there these days that you should be able to find something to suit your specific needs, and in many cases we believe the 27GP850 will tick many boxes so that it receives our full recommendation.