Nailing the perfect compromise between frame rate, performance, and graphic detail is what the new LG UltraGear 32GP850-B gaming monitor is all about. There are faster screens with higher refresh rates. There are panels with more pixels. And monitors that span more inches. But as an all-around, on-paper gaming proposition, LG’s latest looks pretty compelling.
The basic recipe involves a 32-inch fast IPS panel with a 1ms response time, 180Hz refresh, and 2,560 by 1,440 pixels. Of late, there’s been lots of noise around high-refresh 4K gaming, including with the new generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony. But the LG UltraGear’s 32GP850-B’s combination of 1440p and 180Hz is almost certainly a better fit for most gamers on the PC.
Panel size: 32-inch
Panel technology: IPS
Native resolution: 2,560 x 1,440
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Refresh rate: 180 Hz
Response time: 1 ms GtG
Color: 90 percent DCI-P3
Brightness: 350 cd/m2
Video Inputs: DisplayPort 1.4 x1, HDMI 2.0 x2
Other: AMD FreeSync Premium, Nvidia G-Sync compatible
MSRP: $599 | £499
For starters, it doesn’t just make for a more affordable monitor. It also gives you half a chance of achieving those 100fps-plus frame rates with a GPU you can afford—and indeed actually buy or maybe even already own. 4K@144Hz is all very well, to be sure. But in the current context of crazily inflated graphics card prices and scarce availability, good luck driving that kind of display properly.
At the same time, 2,560 by 1,440 pixels make for a decent level of in-game graphical detail. Admittedly, the same can’t quite be said on the desktop, especially given this is a 32-inch panel rather than one of the more common 27-inch 1440p breed. The pixel density of 92 DPI is not exactly impressive. So, the core appeal of this panel does come down to your balance of priorities—gaming versus general computing.
That basic conundrum aside, the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B has a strong but not quite comprehensive broader feature set. On the upside, that 1ms pixel response is the real grey-to-grey deal, rather than the typically less reliable MPRT metric. There’s also AMD FreeSync Premium certification along with Nvidia G-Sync compatibility. So, it’s good to go with adaptive refresh regardless of your graphics card of choice.
LG also claims 98 percent coverage of the digital cinema DCI-P3 color space from the IPS panel. The LG UltraGear 32GP850-B isn’t just fast, then. It’s also something of a precision tool. As for design and engineering, it’s a fairly slick-looking customer with slim bezels and a stand that offers height, tilt, and rotation in portrait. Only swivel isn’t supported—you’ll have to physically turn the entire monitor.
If there is an obvious on-paper weakness, it involves HDR performance. HDR10 signal decoding is supported, which is handy to have and means you can watch HDR video or play HDR games and see the correct colors. But there’s no VESA HDR certification and the maximum brightness tops out at a relatively modest 350 nits. Likewise, the IPS panel is rated at a lowly 700:1 for static contrast, which isn’t going to help with hitting high peaks and deep troughs at the same time.
Anyway, if that’s the theoreticals covered off, what does the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B actually look like in practice? It’s not the punchiest or most vibrant gaming panel we’ve ever seen. The moderate backlight power and mediocre contrast performance don’t help there. There’s a tiny bit of ye olde IPS glow, too, resulting in a slightly watery, weak overall image.
Unsurprisingly, HDR content is unimpressive. Does a game like Cyberpunk 2077 look better in HDR mode rather than SDR on the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B? It’s probably a tiny bit punchier. But it’s a far closer call than it ought to be or would be on a monitor with true HDR capability.
That said, the colors are accurate and this is not a bad display, per se. In reality, you adjust pretty quickly to the somewhat subdued image quality. It’s just not as rich and vibrant an experience as you’ll get from most modern IPS monitors, let alone something like a VA monitor with full-array, micro-LED local dimming, and all that cutting-edge shizzle.
More impressive, however, is the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B’s speed. LG has engineered three levels of pixel overdrive in the OSD menu. The middle setting delivers a really quick response with little to no visible overshoot. Assuming you have a fairly quick GPU, the 180Hz refresh also makes for super-low latency. As an aside, the fully 180Hz can only be accessed via an ‘overclocking’ toggle in the OSD menu which is a fairly silly tiresome gimmick we wish monitor makers didn’t bother with. This is a 180Hz monitor, the whole ‘overclocking’ thing is silly.
Speaking of accessing the full 180Hz, that can only be done via the LG UltraGear 32GP850-B’s single DisplayPort 1.4 interface. The two HDMI ports are limited to 144Hz. That’s probably fine, given you’ll only get 120Hz at most out of any given games console. Whatever, this monitor is probably a decent choice for the long term in terms of sharing access between a gaming PC and a console. Just remember that while the Microsoft Xbox Series X is already good to go with 1440p, the Sony PS5 is still waiting for such support.
The overall upshot, then, is a very quick and super sharp panel with decent graphical detail and low-key, if accurate, image quality. It’s a nice package for the price and an even nicer one with an LG promo code, even if we do wish that the IPS panel was just a little bit punchier when it comes to brightness and contrast.