When I first started building my own gaming PC’s in 2002, the monitor was always an afterthought. It was the part of the build where you could reliably save a buck because as long as the refresh rate was high, you were in the clear.
That’s not true any longer. Now, the monitor is as vital a part of any serious gaming PC build as your choice of graphics card. It’s hard to go back to a regular gaming monitor when you’ve been able to enjoy 4K resolution and HDR colour, both of which are offered by LG’s new 32UL950 UltraFine monitor.
While not technically a gaming monitor in the strictest sense — its built for more creative tasks like photo and video editing — the 32UL950 still holds its own in the gaming space. This is a monitor that will work as well with your Macbook as your desktop PC, and slot into your setup without complaint or hassle. There’s nothing inherently flashy about its 32″ design, instead going for kind of understated class — lots of brushed metal, a curved stand and a plastic white shell on the monitor’s rear. The screen itself is almost bezel-less, with only a thin black line around each edge of the monitor.
In terms of its specs, the 32UL950 is a rather high end piece of work. One of LG’s UltraFine screens capable of 4K res and HDR10 colour, it also comes with a Thunrderbolt 3 port so you can hook it directly into your Mac for that sweet 4K daisychain. it’s Nano IPS screen running the industry standard VESA DisplayHDR 600. It does top out at 60Hz so gamers looking for framerates greater than 60fps may have to look elsewhere, though if you’re running an AMD Radeon card you will be able to take advantage of FreeSync — my card is an Nvidia GeForce 1070 so I sadly wasn’t able to take advantage of this. The back of the panel sports one HDMI port, opne display port, two Thunderbolt ports, two USB 3.0 ports and the Daisy Chain port. There’s also a headphone hack and a pair of stereo speakers, should you need audio.
Because the monitor I used for this review was on loan from LG Australia, I ran a number of my review games on it to try to make the most of it. Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Age of Wonders: Planetfall both came up looking lovely on this monitor, smooth-edged and remarkably colourful. I also played a bit of Warhammer: Vermintide 2, which was not a review game but looked great on the monitor anyway — carving up hordes of Skaven in 4K truly is its own reward. Other games like Overwatch were revelatory experiences, the smaller details within each level really standing out in 4K and the HDR allowing its already vibrant pallete to pop.
Functionally, the 32UL950 can be rotated from landscape to portrait which is always a benefit to graphic designers needing to work in both profiles. The base and mount are remarkably strong and hold up the weight of the monitor remarkably well. It’s not an overly heavy monitor, but neither is it a terribly light one either, but for a price tag as lofty as this — $2,599 AUD — it would want to be built with the best materials available.
Ultimately, this is a monitor that will be appealing to a pretty select few, those looking for high-end colour recreation for design and creative projects. For gamers, there’s the 27UL850 which is more specifically geared toward games and probably warrants a closer look, but the 32UL950 will impress if put to the task.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
RRP: $2,599 AUD