LG 32GP850 Evaluate: The Monitor LG Did not Need Us to Evaluate

Today we're reviewing the monitor LG didn't want to test, the 32GP850. It was a bit of a chore getting this one out, nowhere near the smoothest review process I've ever had, but today we're going to go over everything you need to know if you're interested in this display that has been on sale for a couple of weeks.

Now you may be wondering why LG didn't want you to review this monitor? I'm not going to repeat all about the LG saga from a few weeks ago, we have a full video on the topic if you're interested, but the basic roundup is this: After we received an LG 32GP850 review unit, they wanted to order Impose restrictions on how we have tested the product and offer compensation for compliance. When we refused, they asked us not to post the review. Instead, we have disclosed them as all reviewers should retain full editorial control over their independent reviews.

Shortly after this video went live, Ken Hong, LG Electronics Head of Global Corporate Communications, contacted us and resolved the situation by making sweeping changes to the way LG handles monitor ratings. At this point we can confirm that the process of implementing these changes is well under way and that we are actually talking to new people in the company. In fact, LG has completely changed its stance: you welcome this review and have lifted all restrictions, so we will be doing things as always for monitor reviews. We have never agreed to restrictions or embargoes, but these are always difficult situations, so it's nice to give the all-clear.

Of course, with LG's initial approach to the 32GP850 review, I was very excited to see if this product was actually flawed in any way and whether the test guidelines were supposed to hide those flaws. It's certainly a suspicious situation, so I've done this check extra carefully to find any issues.

This is a 32 inch 1440p IPS monitor with a maximum refresh rate of 180 Hz. It is essentially a larger version of LG's 27GP850, offers very similar features, uses the same LG Nano IPS technology for the panel and is also visually quite similar. However, as we have found many times in the past, using a panel from the same family does not guarantee the same performance on a different size, so there will be something to discover.

The 32GP850 costs $ 100 above the 27GP850, which is a standard price difference between 27- and 32-inch monitors. With the 27GP850 currently at around $ 450, the 32GP850 is currently selling for $ 550, again a fairly typical price point for a mid-to-high-range 1440p mid-to-high refresh rate gaming monitor.

From a design point of view, the 32GP850 looks practically identical to the 27GP850 except for its larger size. In fact, now I could show you photos of the 27 "model and tell you that it is the 32" model and 99% of you have no idea. But of course that's not the case at all, these are fresh photos of the 32-inch model.

There are some subtle differences to the design. The chin on the front of the monitor, i.e. the frame section below the display with the LG logo, is slightly thicker on the 32GP850 than on the 27GP850. Everything else is just bigger. But we get the same stand design with the angular column and the red accents, the same material used, which is mostly made of standard black plastic for the outdoor areas, and the same round design on the back.

I'm a fan of this rear design because it makes it easier to access the rear ports. Not so ideal for wall mounting, but this prevents fiddling around during the setup process. Two HDMI 2.0 ports and a DisplayPort 1.4 as well as a couple of USB ports and an audio jack. The HDMI ports are limited to 144 Hz at the maximum resolution of the display, so you'll need to use DisplayPort to access 180 Hz functionality.

The stand supports height, pan, and tilt adjustability and provides a reasonable range of motion, including the ability to use the display in portrait orientation if you want. If necessary, there is also a VESA mounting support. Meanwhile, the on-screen display is controlled by a directional switch at the bottom of the monitor and includes a standard set of features that aren't all that exciting.

Display performance

It's time to take a look at the response time, which we tested the way we wanted to test it, rather than what LG said. Either way, there are four performance modes that range from Off to Faster, similar to LG's other monitors. And we're starting here with a look at the off mode, which gives us a glimpse into native panel performance without overdrive. As always, this isn't exactly a mode most gamers would use, but it does show an average response of 8.6ms, which is pretty decent with no voltage adjustment.

Then we switch to normal mode at 180 Hz. This mode offers an average response time of 7.52 ms, which is slightly improved in the off mode, and we don't see any overshoot here either at this refresh rate. The cumulative deviation result, which measures the difference between the actual reaction curve of the monitor and the ideal immediate reaction, is also quite solid at around 500 without much overshoot. This typically indicates good clarity of movement.

The step up from normal is quick. Response times have improved again and are now 5.7ms, which is very solid, and with minimal overshoot cost. As a result, the cumulative deviation is less and is now only 457, and this is usually what we look for when assessing Overdrive modes. In short, Fast is better than normal when playing at 180Hz and has a slightly clearer picture than the previous modes, even with a little introduction to overshoot.

However, the Faster modes go backwards, which is typical behavior we've seen on many monitors with the fastest overdrive setting available. The cumulative deviation is 560, an increase from the previous mode, and that is due to the introduction of much more significant inverse ghosting.

The inverse ghosting rate here is 60%, which suggests that you'll notice some amount of inverse ghost trails about two-thirds of the time, negating the benefit of the quick 3.3ms response times. While this isn't the worst "Faster" mode I've seen, and it's better than what LG introduced in the original 27GL850 a few years ago, it's still not the mode I would recommend when the Fast mode is superior.

For games with variable refresh rates, we need to evaluate performance across the entire refresh range. When we first use normal mode, we don't achieve great update compliance at the higher refresh rates, sometimes below 20%, so the response times in these modes are not quite fast enough to deliver a true 180 Hz experience. However, overshoot is virtually zero at all times and responsiveness is consistently in the 7ms range, so this is a good mode for lower refresh rate games if you don't want to see artifacts.

Fast mode is more suitable for higher refresh rate games, with better refresh compliance and minimal overshoot at the top of the refresh range. However, as we move down in the update area, at lower refresh rates – especially below 100 Hz – the inverse ghosting becomes more noticeable. It's nice that the performance stays around the 5 ms mark, but the cumulative deviation results show that Fast mode is only up to 100 Hz better than Normal mode, even tests.

Overall, this means that the 32GP850 doesn't really have a single overdrive mode that delivers ideal results at all frame rates. But it's also not the worst monitor that needs multiple overdrive modes, as the usable area is quite large for both normal and fast modes. Only at the upper end of the frame rates in normal mode and at the lower end in fast mode is the performance unacceptable. Players who want to play between 80 and 140 Hz will see very similar results in both modes, and my preference for this "Set and Forget" mode for adaptive sync is Fast.

This is not as good as the 27GP850, which again has a greater usable range due to the slightly better overall response time performance. However, it's not as bad as other displays that have much tighter usable update areas for their overdrive modes. In conclusion, the results are by no means perfect, but they are not terrible. Variable overdrive would have been a good addition here to address those lingering concerns.

Compared to other similar displays on the market today, which this batch are all 1440p monitors, the 32GP850 I was just talking about isn't quite as fast as the 27GP850 when considering the best vs. compares best performance at the maximum refresh rate. The 27-inch model reported an average response time of 4.7 ms, compared to 5.7 ms for the 32-inch model, albeit with less overshoot. The results of the 32GP850 are therefore not too different from other LG Nano IPS monitors, but not entirely with the best 32-inch models I have tested or other IPS models.

The 32GP850 scores significantly better in terms of average performance across the entire update range, in this case with the previously recommended Fast mode. The 32GP850 is again slower than the 27GP850 and has a not quite as optimized overdrive, but is reasonably competitive with other models. For example, it's faster than the Gigabyte M32Q, but with a higher overshoot because the M32Q cannot be brought into a higher overdrive setting for variable update games without exceeding our overshoot tolerances.

However, the winner here, in my opinion, is the Asus PG329Q with variable overdrive. Its response time is similar to that of the 32GP850, but with less overshoot over the entire update range, resulting in a clearer picture.

The cumulative deviation shows the 32GP850 as a mid-range performer in the flood of IPS monitors that deliver around 500-550 in this metric. The 27GP850 is slightly better tuned with its overdrive settings, and here too the PG329Q is the best of the best, although we're only talking about a 10 percent better result here compared to LG's 32-inch model. We also see that the 32GP850 and M32Q provide essentially the same numbers here.

Performance in the dark is not an issue as the 32GP850 uses IPS technology. However, this is important when switching between a 1440p IPS monitor or a 1440p VA monitor at this size, with VA models being more common. Unfortunately, with the exception of the Samsung Odyssey G7, most VA displays deliver smudging on a dark level.

The 32GP850 performs adequately at a fixed 120 Hz, again a bit slower than the 27-inch model, but with a significantly lower overshoot than something like the Gigabyte M32Q. Then at 60Hz you'll see once again that it's pretty similar to other displays we've tested and if you cut the overdrive mode down to the best for 60Hz games like we've done here for all monitors here Don't get overshoot, which is great for this update rating.

The input delay on the 32GP850 is very good, with a processing delay of less than 0.5 ms and an overall delay of less than 10 ms. Other displays will give you only minor improvements based on their response time results and the level of refresh rate. The 32GP850 is a 180 Hz monitor and offers a small advantage over 170 Hz and 165 Hz alternatives, but realistically all of these refresh rates are very similar in the actual gaming experience.

Power consumption is good, a few watts lower than other 32-inch 1440p IPS displays I tested after calibration. Not much of a difference, but LG's nano IPS panel looks quite efficient.

LG offers backlight strobing support with the 32GP850, but only with fixed frame rates and only up to 165Hz. LG's implementation is fine, not the worst I've seen, but they are held back by basic engineering limitations of their nano IPS backlight, which has slow red phosphor that doesn't play well with strobing. You'll see some red fringing in motion, along with a faint double image – exactly the same problems we've seen with other blur reduction techniques implemented on nano IPS-based monitors.

When comparing the 32GP850 results with the Gigabyte M32Q with Aim Stabilizer function and the Asus PG329Q with ELMB function, the Asus monitor is the clear winner. Both the 32GP850 and the M32Q have red color fringes – although the M32Q uses a different Innolux panel – while the PG329Q does not. The image sharpness you get with the Asus monitor is also the best of these three options.

Color performance

Color space: LG 32GP850 – D65-P3

Next are the results of the color performance. The 32GP850 is a wide color gamut monitor that produces similar DCI-P3 coverage to other LG models we tested – 95%. However, this particular type of panel lacks any additional cover for Adobe RGB, so unlike the latest panels from AU Optronics, it lacks this dual P3 and Adobe RGB functionality. As a result, if we look at the overall Rec. 2020 coverage – a very large color space – the 32GP850 is 70%, no different than the 27GP850 and better than the M32Q but lower than the PG329Q.

The factory grayscale calibration was a bit wrong on my device. The color temperature was good overall, with no noticeable hue in any direction, but adhering to the sRGB gamma curve – or even just a flat 2.2 gamma value – was wrong. You can see a decrease in gamma for the higher parts of the grayscale range and this hurts the deltaE numbers and only leaves us with average results.

LG also delivers this monitor without the sRGB gamut terminal or emulation mode activated by default. This means that colors are oversaturated in the delivery state, which leads to high DeltaEs in our color tests. This isn't the most oversaturation we've seen on a consumer monitor, but it does result in inaccuracies and a more vivid picture when gaming and watching videos.

Compared to other monitors, the 32GP850 is slightly below average for the factory ColorChecker performance and in the midfield for the grayscale. A pretty typical result for a gaming display, but far from ideal.

OSD optimized performance

However, LG ships the 32GP850 with an sRGB mode, and it works to a certain extent. It limits the color space appropriately and reduces oversaturation, which leads to a result of less than 2.0 deltaE 2000 for our saturation test and the like in ColorChecker. Nevertheless, LG unnecessarily restricts the color temperature settings in the OSD in sRGB mode, so that we cannot correct the pink cast that appears when this mode is activated. Fortunately, the brightness is also not restricted, but actually there is no reason whatsoever to restrict these functions in this mode, as it only prevents users from making minor corrections to the factory settings, which, as in this case, are usually somewhat inaccurate.

Apart from that, the deltaE results in sRGB mode are overall better than in standard mode. Therefore, I recommend operating the monitor in sRGB mode to anyone who wants to improve the color performance of the 32GP850 with the help of OSD optimizations.

Calibrated color performance

After a full calibration, the performance improved again beyond what was achievable in the OSD. The grayscale results are nicely tightened, which leads to an even better sRGB accuracy in our color tests with deltaEs below 2.0 across the board. This is also the best way to use the monitor for P3 wide color space work, as the calibrated performance is pretty good, apart from a few inaccuracies at the very edges of the color space.

The brightness is just over 400 cd / m², a bit lower than the 27GP850, but still very solid for most indoor viewing conditions. Of course, LG lists "HDR10" support, but that number is not enough for true HDR. Then we see that the minimum brightness is 67 nits, a bit higher than I'd like and a below average result.

One area that continues to be an issue with LG's nano IPS panels is the contrast ratio. The 32GP850 has one of the worst contrast ratios out of this line of monitors we're looking at, and the worst of the 32-inch IPS models I've tested so far. 850: 1 isn't as bad as I saw it, but it's all the way up and doesn't give you deep, rich blacks. It's a step worse than the PG329Q and much worse than the M32Q, with Innolux's panel technology delivering the best IPS contrast ratio here.

For the best contrast ratios, however, you absolutely need a VA panel, since realistically all IPS panels have a poor contrast ratio. The Samsung Odyssey G7 offers more than double the contrast ratio of all the IPS monitors in this table and that has a noticeable impact on the picture quality for those who like to play in a dark environment.

Viewing angles, like most IPS monitors, are great and of course we have the advantage of a flat screen here. The evenness of my device was very solid in the middle area and only a slight drop at the outer edges, this is an above-average result. The IPS glow was also minimal on my device, although this may vary from sample to sample so what you experience may be different.

For whom is that?

Overall, the LG 32GP850 is a pretty good monitor. He succeeds in expanding what the 27GP850 has to offer to a larger 32-inch panel and brings the strengths and weaknesses of LG's nano IPS panel technology with it. While performance isn't the same between the two sizes, it's similar enough not to have a significant impact on your buying decision. Just get the size you prefer.

The main strength of the IPS gaming monitor range from LG is the excellent balance between performance and image quality. The 32GP850 isn't the fastest monitor I've tested and doesn't take IPS panels to new heights in response times, but the performance is still really good, up to a decent refresh rate of 180Hz.

Combined with a nice large color space, excellent viewing angles and above-average uniformity, as well as a functional sRGB mode for those who prefer accuracy. Whether you're playing games or watching videos, the 32GP850 does a fantastic job with a wide variety of content.

After the whole situation of LG's editorial scrutiny, I tried looking for the errors to see if anything was hidden in the margins. But I just can't find any big deal breakers here. The disadvantages of the 32GP850 are things that we have known about LG displays for some time – the poor contrast ratio and the red color fringing with backlight strobing. This is in line with what I know about LG's monitors. that their design team usually doesn't mess it up, and if they do, a simple firmware update can usually fix it.

Having a fundamental flaw in one of their displays would be atypical of previous versions, it would be a surprise, and we would find it pretty quickly upon testing.

Even if you look at LG's exact guidelines, they don't make a lot of sense. Sure, the 32GP850 isn't faster than previous LG IPS monitors or those that use the same panel, but is it? It's still pretty competitive.

It's not like it's worse than last year's model – because there was no equivalent last year. The UFO test guidelines make minimal difference and still have the problem of red fringing. If anything, it's the contrast guideline that has the greatest impact that minimizes LG's poor contrast ratio, but it's not a massive difference that would radically change our recommendation.

These guidelines and the attempt to control our test were completely unnecessary, because as I said, I have mostly positive things to say about the LG 32GP850. If you buy one of these monitors today, I think you'll be pretty happy with your purchase, and it's not outrageously expensive or anything.

If you take a closer look at the LG 32GP850's competition, the next battle between it and the $ 500-gigabyte M32Q is the case. Both monitors are very similar in terms of performance, the Gigabyte has a better contrast, but worse colors, the response times are very short and Gigabyte has managed to achieve backlight strobing plus adaptive sync with their model to a respectable extent. Based on that and the M32Q at a slightly lower price, I'd probably get the Gigabyte, but that is price-dependent and may vary in your region. both are great options.

Then we also have the Asus PG329Q, which is the best of this type of monitor we've tested, but it's also much more expensive – often around $ 700 – and often sold out. There's something to consider, but at this price point you're more likely to get lost in the territory of Samsung Odyssey G7 and 4K 144Hz monitors.

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