As huge as its price tag.
Gaming on an ultrawide is a wonderfully immersive experience. The extra screen real estate on the sides is incredibly useful both for the increased HUD and hotbar space as well as the wider view it allows – especially in first-person shooters. The LG UltraGear 34GK950G (See it on Amazon) is the company’s newest ultrawide, and it adds Nvidia’s G-Sync technology to the mix along with a high refresh rate, and a nano IPS display. At $1,400 it’s one of the most expensive monitors available right now but the price isn’t that surprising given its spec chart. Let’s see if it’s worth it.
LG 34GK950G – Design and Features
LG is a bit tight lipped about what nano IPS exactly means and how it works, which isn’t unheard of when it comes to the introduction of proprietary technology. What can be gleaned from the information that’s available is that the nano technology is applied to the backlight to improve the intensity and accuracy of colors – similar to quantum dot technology. That adjustment to the spectral output allows the 34GK950G to cover almost the full DCI-P3 color gamut. (Most computer monitors are limited to the smaller sRGB gamut, meaning less vibrant colors.) DCI-P3 is the standard color space for digital cinema projection and over the past couple years it’s being supported more on monitors and mobile devices.
The monitor has a 3440×1440 resolution and Nvidia G-Sync (hence the ‘G’ at the end of the model number) with a 100Hz panel that can be overclocked to 120Hz. There’s a Freesync 2 version (that model’s name ends with an F) which can get up to 144Hz. We reached out to LG about the discrepancy and it comes down to the Nvidia chipset being used that supports DP 1.2 (the 34GK950F uses DP 1.4). The tradeoff is a sync quality on the G-Sync model that’s a little better than the Freesync version.
Stylistically the LG is similar to what they’ve been releasing the past couple years. It has a V-shaped base with a red accent that runs along the back to a tubular stand that can tilt, swivel, and raise the display up 110mm. The black plastic frame is very thin and there’s about 8mm of masking around the viewable screen space.
All connections are on the back and are rear-facing, making them quite easy to access. The 34GK950G has HDMI, DisplayPort, and headphone out, and a 2-port USB 3.0 hub. Also on the back of the monitor is LG’ss sphere lighting ring. This LED ring has 9 different lighting options including solid colors or a spinning rainbow. It can be changed with a scroll wheel under the bottom of the monitor that controls both the lighting options (by push) or the brightness (by scrolling).
It adds a splash of color to the wall behind your desk. I kept it on a solid color to add a soft glow around my desk in case I needed to see a notepad in the dim light of the room, but I found the “rainbow” option to be very distracting. Next to the LED scroll wheel is the joystick control for the OSD. I have grown to love LG’s menu control. Being able to access all of the menu panels with just one control instead of multiple buttons along the bottom right or back of the monitor is great and navigation through the menus is easy and intuitive.
LG 34GK950G – Testing and Gaming
Testing was done with a Photo Research PR-650 spectroradiometer, a Konica Minolta LS-100 luminance meter, and CalMAN 2018 calibration software. Using the Monitor – Advanced workflow in CalMAN I checked the color balance, grayscale tracking, luminance, and ColorChecker values. The color balance is the measurement of intensity of red, green, and blue – the primary colors of a video display that combine to create a neutral white. Ideally they would all be the same value to display white properly. In the default setting the red and green were a bit higher than blue which caused there to be a slight yellow color to whites. The yellow coloration was there through the full grayscale tracking curve (measurements across the luminance range from black to peak white). The other picture options caused a significant increase in blue and ended up being less accurate than the default setting.
The light output measured 246.3 cd/m2 at a brightness setting of 70 (the LG has a 100-point brightness scale). Bumping up the brightness setting to 100 netted 311.8 cd/m2, which is more than enough output for using the LG in a brightly lit room but still a good distance from the 400 cd/m2 listed on the fact sheet. I did the majority of my gaming in a dark-ish room, so I brought the level down to a comfortable 140 cd/m2.
ColorChecker is a collection of 29 colors across the color gamut that tests accuracy of the primary (red, green, and blue) and secondary (cyan, magenta, and yellow) colors, as well as blue sky, foliage, dark skin tone, light skin tone, and others. Overall accuracy was okay, but the color balance issues affected many of these colors as well to some degree. Dark skin was a little too red, foliage had too much yellow, and purple was missing some blue. All of this could be calibrated using the display’s RGB controls and proper measurement gear to be near perfect, but I expected better color out of the box at this price.
One benefit the LG 34GK950G has over many other monitors thanks to the nano IPS technology is a wider color gamut. DCI-P3 is a larger color palette than sRGB, especially when it comes to green and red. You’ll see greener greens and redder reds that are more true to life. So even though those greens and reds might not be 100% accurate, they are still colors that cannot be achieved on a monitor that only supports the sRGB gamut.
Those colors really pop when I was fighting through enemies on Mars in Destiny 2.
Those colors really pop when I was fighting through enemies on Mars in Destiny 2. The vistas were absolutely gorgeous and I didn’t really mind the color inaccuracies that I found during measurement. After all, who knows exactly what Mars will look like in a few centuries. With G-Sync enabled all the action was incredibly smooth. With my GTX 1070 Ti, the frame rate would sometimes dip down into the 80s when the action got hectic but I never experienced any tearing.
One of the biggest benefits of playing Destiny 2 on the LG was how immersive the experience is on the ultrawide screen. During major battles especially the epic-ness is cranked up a notch. While fighting Xol, Will of the Thousands at the end of the Mars campaign (think enormous worm god a la Dune) I was moving around in my chair trying to avoid attacks more than I have in years.
While the colors of futuristic Mars didn’t bother me much, the yellow-ish tint was noticeable on the Stormtroopers armor in Battlefront II. The trees of Yavin 4 also weren’t quite right. As with Destiny 2 I didn’t experience any screen tearing with G-Sync enabled. I also didn’t experience any ghosting or excessive blurring with the response time set to Fast.
The LG 34GK950G has a MSRP of $1,399 and it’s the same price on Amazon.