The LG UltraGear 34GN850 is part of a growing UltraGear gaming line-up of monitors from LG, offering high resolutions, ultra-fast response times, and top-notch refresh rates. The unit we've got is a 34-inch, 3,440 x 1,440 pixel model, so just short of a 4K resolution.
This screen is also one of the new wave of ultrawide monitors, and it's curved too. That makes it suitable for watching shows and movies – a lot of which are filmed in widescreen – and playing the games supporting a 21:9 aspect ratio (many of the newer ones now do).
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Right out of the gate, the LG UltraGear 34GN850 offers an impressive array of specs, but we've also been looking at how the monitor performs in day-to-day use – from getting it assembled and switched on, to running various apps and games through the display.
In our LG UltraGear 34GN850 review we should be able to answer any questions you've got about the monitor: the sort of performance that it offers, what you can expect in terms of design and connectivity, and whether it's the right display for your next hardware upgrade.
LG UltraGear 34GN850 review: design and setup
The LG UltraGear 34GN850 comes with bezels that are thin enough and curves that are stylish enough to stand out on most desks, though as you would expect the stand holding the monitor is a rather chunky one. Around the back, the ports panel is fully accessible – connecting cables is easy as the ports are pointing horizontally rather than downwards, but that also means the wiring protrudes from the back a bit more.
As for the actual display panel, the 34-inch, 21:9 aspect ratio Nano IPS panel runs at a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440 pixels, with a super-speedy refresh rate of 1ms. There's support for VESA Display HDR400 (so HDR adjustments but no local dimming), Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync technologies, a wide colour spectrum (98 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut), and a refresh rate of up to 160Hz (not the best available, but good enough for most). That's a list of specs that's going to impress anyone looking for a gaming monitor.
Setup couldn't be much easier, and the monitor is lightweight enough to be assembled by one person in a matter of minutes – once you've got the power cable and a display source attached, you're ready to go. Tilt and height adjustment are both available, but you can't rotate the monitor (which wouldn't make much sense with an ultrawide, curved screen like this one anyway). The connections you've got to work with are HDMI x2, DisplayPort x1, and USB 3.0 downstream x2.
The various monitor options and modes are controlled by a little thumb stick just under the LG logo on the front of the display: the control system works pretty well, though it can take a few minutes to get used to. It's here you can adjust brightness, sharpness, refresh rate, HDR and so on, and access the various modes that let you tailor the monitor's settings for what you're using it for (as you cycle through the various modes you can see the changes in real time, which is a welcome touch).
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LG UltraGear 34GN850 review: features and picture
A monitor of this size and type is never going to blend into the background, but despite its size, the LG UltraGear 34GN850 never feels overly flashy – a hint of red plastic around the back and on the V-wing stand, and the white LG logo on the front are the only variations on black. The monitor responds instantly to any connections you hook up, and drops to a power saving mode when there's nothing to show.
For gaming and movie watching, the monitor impresses, especially in terms of brightness, colour balance, and the lack of lag or ghosting. The contrast between the darkest and lightest parts of the picture (typical contrast ratio 1000:1) is good, but not the best-in-class – it's by no means a problem, just one area where the LG UltraGear 34GN850 doesn't really wow the viewer. The VESA Display HDR400 tech isn't top-tier HDR either, but it's perfectly fine for your games and video streaming.
Thanks to that 1ms response time and 160Hz refresh rate, the games we tried with the LG UltraGear 34GN850 looked fantastic, for the most part – though of course pushing so many pixels so fast will require a pretty substantial push from your attached gaming rig. Games look sharp and detailed, with plenty of punch to the colours and fluidity to the motion. While it's not the very best gaming display performance we've ever seen, the LG UltraGear 34GN850 certainly holds its own.
The monitor's curve isn't too aggressive – it's listed as 1900R, which means you need to sit 1.9 metres (a little over 6 feet) away from the screen in order to get the impression of a completely flat image, and that's something to bear in mind while you're setting up your gaming system. We should also mention that LG offers a PC and Mac software tool that lets you control the display settings from your computer rather than the on-screen display.
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LG UltraGear 34GN850 review: price and verdict
There's a lot about the LG UltraGear 34GN850 that impresses us: there's no doubt it looks good or that the pictures it produces look good, whether you're gaming or watching a movie or even working on some spreadsheets on the ultrawide display. It's easy to set up and to configure, and it's easily adjustable too.
While the specs on offer here are definitely appealing – and the Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync compatibility is going to be of interest to serious gamers – the LG UltraGear 34GN850 doesn't quite go to the very top level on a lot of its specifications, whether that's HDR, pixel resolution, size or refresh rate. All of these boosts would come with a jump up in the price too, of course.
Speaking of price, it's perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of the LG UltraGear 34GN850 as it stands. Check the widgets on this page for the latest deals, but at the time of writing you're going to be paying around £1,000 (or $1,000 in the US) to get your hands on this piece of equipment. Really good gaming monitors are available for significantly less, though every display is a compromise between price and features.
Overall the LG UltraGear 34GN850 came across as a very good, capable and flexible ultrawide curved monitor, without ever quite pushing the boundaries of excellence. Whether you need a monitor for gaming or office work, we'd suggest putting it on your shortlist – in fact, that's probably what's best about the monitor, it's ability to be a superb all-rounder that can cope with anything.
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