Monday, September 25, 2023

Hands-on with LG’s 240Hz UltraGear gaming monitors: setting a new bar for OLED refresh rates

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Earlier this year, Alienware released what is arguably the best all-around gaming monitor right now: the But last week, and after getting a chance to check them out in person, I can say that Alienware’s display has some formidable new rivals. .

Unlike the AW3423DW, LG’s monitors come in two sizes intended for slightly different use cases. There’s the which has a flat screen with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440, intended for both general use and more demanding competitive play, while the 45-inch has an 800R beam curved screen with a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440, designed to provide a more immersive experience.

Like its bigger brother, the 27-inch 27GR95QE-B has a blazingly fast 240Hz refresh rate, but with a smaller, non-curved OLED panel.

Sam Rutherford/cafe-madrid

The cool thing about these monitors is that whichever you choose, both have a 240Hz refresh rate – the highest you can get from any OLED monitor available today. In addition, both models have incredibly fast response times of just 0.3 ms (gray to gray). Plus, they each support both AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync, while also outputting a dazzling color gamut (up to 98.5 percent of the DCI-P3 spectrum). In short, LG’s new UltraGear displays deliver a laundry list of top-notch display technology with one clear drawback: a relatively low peak brightness of just 200 nits.

Admittedly, low brightness might not be a big deal if, like many people, you prefer to game in dark environments – mainly because you’ll probably want to dim the lights anyway to get the most out of LG’s built-in RGB light strips. You can even sync the LEDs on the back to what’s displayed on the screen, adding a bit of bias lighting without the need for any additional hardware. Another little bonus of having a lower maximum brightness is that it doesn’t require an ABL (auto Brightness Limiter) setting like you see on some other OLED monitors, so you don’t have to worry about the screen randomly getting darker becomes if you mainly look at it. white screens (such as when viewing Word documents or spreadsheets).

The 800R curve on the 45GR95QE-B is even more rounded than many of its rivals, delivering an almost cocoon-like gaming experience.
The 800R curve on the 45GR95QE-B is even more rounded than many of its rivals, delivering an almost cocoon-like gaming experience.

Sam Rutherford/cafe-madrid

Unfortunately, due to the size of the screens – especially the massive 45-inch model – the text doesn’t look as sharp as I’d like. If you’re gaming, that’s not a problem, but when I surfed the web, I noticed color fringing and a bit of general blur when reading stories and headlines. Now it’s important to mention that color fringing is something seen on a handful of new OLED displays (particularly QD-OLED panels due to their triangular sub-pixel arrangement), and it’s possible that tools like or an update to Microsoft’s own Clear Type feature could fix this problem. But unfortunately I didn’t have time to test that out during my short hands-on.

To test its new UltraGear gaming monitors, LG flew in pro Valorant players Com (pictured here) and Jawgemo from Evil Geniuses.
To test its new UltraGear gaming monitors, LG flew in pro Valorant players Com (pictured here) and Jawgemo from Evil Geniuses.

Sam Rutherford/cafe-madrid

That said, while the new UltraGear monitors may not be the best all-around displays for both productivity and entertainment, they look stunning in gaming scenarios. The 27GR95QE-B is the more approachable of the two because it only costs $1,000 (versus $1,700 for the 27GR95QE) and is more likely to actually fit on your desk – at least without having to rearrange everything . At 27 inches, it’s also closer to what pro gamers use in tournaments (most leagues have 24-inch monitors), while support for tilt, swivel, height, and even portrait adjustments make it super easy to position the screen correctly.

But the best part is just how good everything looks in motion. LG enlisted some pro Valorant gamers from Evil Geniuses to show off the new UltraGears and even in the middle of a firefight everything remained razor sharp, which brings me to the main spec of the monitor: their 240Hz refresh rates. Previously, the highest you could get on an OLED monitor (including premium rivals like the Alienware and ) was 175 Hz.

If you can ignore my camera's moiré pattern, you'll see some color fringing or rainbow outlines around some of the text, which seems to stem from a problem between Windows and the new sub-pixel layout used in the new OLED panels.
If you can ignore my camera’s moirĂ© pattern, you’ll see some color fringing or rainbow outlines around some of the text. The problem could be caused by a problem with the ClearType feature in Windows, so there’s a chance that Microsoft could fix it in the future.

Sam Rutherford/cafe-madrid

For people still using 60Hz displays, that gap may not sound like a big deal. The problem, however, is that the general rule when it comes to monitors is that you’ll typically only notice a difference in perceptible performance when you double the refresh rate (say, from 60 Hz to 120 Hz or 120 Hz to 240 Hz). displays for one of Alienware’s or Samsung’s rivals might not notice a big improvement while still having a panel that can’t quite hit the super-high frame rates (usually from 240 to 300 fps or more) that competitive gamers prefer. But with LG’s latest UltraGears, you get the deep blacks and rich, vibrant colors that OLED displays are known for and a refresh rate that rivals all but the very fastest LCD screens.

As for the larger and more expensive 45GR95QE-B, although it has a slightly lower pixel density than its smaller sibling, the curved panel delivers an all-encompassing experience. The 800R beam is meant to mimic the natural shape of your eye while wrapping around you even more than more typical 1000R curved displays. The sweet spot for the monitor is about 20 feet from the screen and is actually perfect. You can still see edge to edge, so you get that glorious panoramic view, but it’s not so vast that you have to constantly move your head to see buttons or icons that might live in the corners. Interesting, when I asked if the 800R curve confused its purpose compared to a flat screen, he said that even though it was his first time using this monitor, he didn’t need to adjust much at all.

LG's latest gaming monitors even have a dedicated dashboard for quickly adjusting picture settings or viewing things like the screen's refresh rate.
LG’s latest gaming monitors even have a dedicated dashboard for quickly adjusting picture settings or viewing things like the screen’s refresh rate.

Sam Rutherford/cafe-madrid

Aside from the new panels themselves, there are a few other design tweaks I’d like to mention. The first is that to better cater to competitive gamers, LG is using new feet on the UltraGears stands that allow you to move your keyboard closer to the monitor. But for me, the bigger upgrade is the inclusion of a dedicated remote for adjusting picture settings. Instead of having to fiddle with hidden buttons or a joystick on the back of the monitor, you can just sit back and enjoy a more TV-like experience. The addition of a remote control is something we’ve seen from other flagship monitors such as and it’s a trend I really hope to see trickle down to more mainstream screens on the market.

Instead of relying on hidden buttons or a joystick, LG has created a new dedicated remote for adjusting picture settings for its latest UltraGear gaming monitors.
Instead of relying on hidden buttons or a joystick, LG has created a new dedicated remote for adjusting picture settings for its latest UltraGear gaming monitors.

Sam Rutherford/cafe-madrid

So while LG’s new UltraGear monitors don’t have the best brightness, they have pretty much every other advanced feature you’d want in a gaming monitor right now. And with the 27-inch model priced at $1,000 while the larger 45-inch version costs $1,700, LG suddenly has some very interesting alternatives (both smaller and larger) to Alienware’s fantastic QD-OLED display.

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