Trying to pick out a monitor in Europe has been a rollercoaster this year. LG announced the 27GL850 early this year and expected release date would be somewhere at the end of semester two. Having owned a DELL U2515u for the past couple of years I was eager to switch to 144Hz but buying old tech present in most 144Hz 1440p monitors for nearly the same price it has been since launch seemed like a bad idea.
Delays and doubts
It took until September to find any 27GL850s in the wild and it’s still hard to come by today. Many reviews have come out since and while it has great motion handling it has some limitations.
Wide gamut displays are somewhat limited in a Windows enviroment since many applications and games aren’t color managed. This results in overly saturated colors which in my opinion are undesireable. Setting the monitor to sRGB emulation mode seems to fix this luckily but also locks out the ability to set a white point amongst other settings.
Introducing the 27GL83A-B
Somewhat under the radar, LG also introduced a cheaper alternative to the 27GL850, the 27GL83A-B. This version omits primarily the Nano coating giving the 27GL850 it’s wide color spectrum and therefore giving it a native sRGB color spectrum. Another feature that have been dropped is the two-port USB 3.0 hub. That’s basically it.
The monitor features a 1440p, 144Hz, 10bit (8+frc) IPS panel with a 700:1 up to 1000:1 contrast ratio produced by LG. It has a Displayport 1.4 input, two HDMI 2.0 inputs and headphone output on the back. The display features Freesync and G-Sync compatibility.
The stand is height, tilt and pivot adjustable and feels very sturdy, VESA 100 mounting is also an option. Rotation is sadly not included in the stand’s features. The monitor has a 4-way joystick to control the interface which is responsive and easy to navigate.
The monitor is made out of a plastic shell and feel pretty sturdy, no obvious things to note. The stand is plastic on the outside with a metal subframe and has no obvious wobble.
The joystick used to control the monitor feels nice and clicky. Pressing the button opens the OSD, moving it horizontally give quick access to volume controle and moving it back and forth shows brightness controls which I think is a very useful feature.
Out of the box
The monitor comes preset to gamma mode 2 which is the factory calibrated mode. This mode has a high white point and low contrast. (700:1 on my unit) I do not recommend leaving it on this mode. The other gamma modes are much better and setting it to mode 1 instantly makes an improvement to the white point and contrast which is now at 897:1. Mode 3 and 4 are higher gamma modes and produce quite a bit of black crush on my unit where it is hard to distinguish very dark shades of grey. White detail seems to be ok but again some clipping is visible.
For a pre-calibration report I set the monitor to gamma mode 1 and set RGB to 49/49/50 respectively as the default values showed a green hue to whites. Below are the results of the stock monitor.
These results are already very respectable and no further calibration should be required for a good experience. The biggest issue lies in the gamma result which show it not completely tracking the sRGB gamma curve. This shows why near white and black shades can look indistinguishable. Color temperature is very even across all brightness levels and the gray balance shows a hint of green, this is also noticable by eye if you look hard enough.
The monitor has been calibrated with an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter using DisplayCAL software. DisplayCAL is using the “LCD White LED family” correction with an sRGB gamma target.
Calibrating the white point gave some mixed results, following a D65 white point resulted in a slightly cool looking white. This might have to do something with the DisplayCAL correction. Setting it by eye to a slightly warmer tint resulted in a measured white point of 6401K, not too far off a D65 target. Continuing with calibration resulted in very promising results.
|Adobe RGB gamut||66.6%|
|DCI P3 gamut||68.6%|
Gamut coverage is pretty good, the missing gamut consists of some slight under saturation in the reds and pinks. This result was achieved by setting the monitor to the values listed below and applying the generated correction profile. You can find my .icc profile here, there is a greyscale image included for you to check if the correction works for your unit. Apply the profile and check to see if you don’t get color casts on grey shades.
Calibration also solved most of the black and white clipping but shadow detail is still a little limited compared to the U2515u and PG279Q.
I’ve tried two unit, the first one had an issue where the white point was noticably more blue compared to the rest of the display. My second unit did not have this issue but suffered from a slightly worse uniformity. I’ve been using IPS displays for the past fifteen years and this model performs pretty much equal to others I’ve owned.
A fully black image shows some minor bleed in the bottom left corner an very slight bleed in the top right. This is only noticable on a mostly black image in a room without any lights on. Turning on a single light or having an image with any contrast on screen and you’ll barely be able to notice it.
White uniformity is pretty good but it does suffer from a slight bit of vignetting. My unit has a slightly lower bottom right corner which is proven by the uniformity measurement below. Again, this is only noticable on a mostly white or bright uniform image and almost impossible to see with regular usage. Some slight white point deviation is visible but nothing to write home about.
The main selling point of the 27GL83A-B is of course it’s claimed 1ms response time. Several other reviewers have measured average response times of about 4.8ms and only being able to get down to an average of 2.7ms when setting overdrive to “Faster” which results in some serious overshoot. Leaving it at the default “Fast” setting is luckily good enough for a clear image in motion.
Connecting the monitor to a GTX1080Ti allows the option to enable G-Sync and I can confirm this works very well. No tearing is visible and the experience is very fluid. Playing Battlefield 5 with framerate fluctuating between 95 and 143 results in no visible stutter.
Motion compared to PG279Q
Having these two monitors side by side is an interesting experience. Motion on both monitors is very smooth and the difference between a full G-Sync experience on the Asus compared to G-Sync compatible on the LG is not noticable at all. Having Windows mirror it’s desktop on both shows that the LG has an every so slight advantage regarding total lag. Scrolling a web page in this setup I can notice the LG beginning to move every so slightly sooner, I don’t think this is something to base a decision on though.
Motion blur however is a slightly different story. The Asus has a slightly older panel and thus slightly slower response times. Even though the response time difference is under a ms, dragging around something of high contrast reveals that the LG has less blur. However, this difference is so little that I do not see a reason why a PG279Q owner should upgrade because of it and I expected more of it to be honest. Below are results of the UFO test done by moving my camera in parallel to the display at a 1/60th shutter speed. Several pictures were taken and I picked the best ones.
Another thing to note though is that the ASUS offers support for black-frame insertion which strobes the backlight in sync with the display. This only works up to 120Hz but enabling this option results in much crisper motion at the cost of no G-Sync, lower brightness and a risk of headaches.
Image quality compared to PG279Q
There are several thing to note when comparing these two displays. First of all is the out of the box quality. The ASUS clearly pulls out ahead here for me, there is no issue with black and white clipping and the image looks very natural. Here are some results after calibrating.
|Adobe RGB gamut||75.8%|
|DCI P3 gamut||82.5%|
Contrast and sharpness
The PG279Q has a higher contrast ratio compared to LG’s offering but in practice this is negligible.
The PG279Q does offer a lower pixel sharpness compared to the LG. When viewing them side by side the LG’s pixels look more crisp in comparison. This does not mean the PG279Q is blurry at all, just comparatively less sharp.
Uniformity and brightness
The ASUS has a pretty uniform brightness, on par with other IPS displays I’ve used.
Slight backlight bleed on the top tight of the display, only noticable when you look for it and are in a dark enviroment with a dark image on the display.
White is more uniform compared to the LG, white balance looks very even across the display and there is not vignetting effect. The top of the display is slightly darker and a little more yellow but this is hardly noticable in regular use.
Both monitors offer similar brightness, the LG gets a little brighter and the ASUS gets a little dimmer. These are the values after calibration.
Off-angle glow comparison
IPS displays are know for having some form of glow when viewed at an angle. Both monitors exhibit this behavious but the LG monitor does a better job at limiting it. The LG takes on a slight reddish hue when looked at from an angle and the ASUS a much cooler tone but way brighter.
Color performance compared
When viewing the same images on both monitors side by side it’s pretty easy to see that the ASUS has a wider color gamut. When looking at images with a lot of grass or images which have fire or glowing elements it’s easy to see how the ASUS monitor saturates those colors more. If you’re looking at a pure sRGB color space this is not required for accurate colors but visually the ASUS has more “pop” when comparing them directly.
Other things to note
The ASUS and LG both feature an anti-glare coating and they both look very similar. It’s not very coarse and doesn’t make the image look grainy at all on either.
The ASUS has built in speakers and a USB hub as a bonus, I enjoy having two extra USB ports but the speakers are seriously trash and using them for anything except a back-up solution is not recommended at all.
The ASUS has a more adjustable stand which has very smooth rotation and some red LED lighting if that’s your thing. It does wobble a little bit more compared to LG’s stand.
Direct comparison photos
Below are images taken of both monitors side by side taken with the same camera settings and edited the same. Both monitors were set to 200cd/m2 and white balance was corrected to match in post.
When comparing the ASUS and LG to one another it’s obvious to see the differences but I feel like it basically comes down to this.
If you enjoy playing competitive games more then you do creative work and media consumption/creation, then the 27GL83A-B is the obvious choice with it’s better motion handling and still excellent image reproduction.
However if you like to still have a competitive advantage over 60Hz and even other 144Hz displays but are also into photography/videography and use the monitor a lot for watching movies and shows then maybe go with the PG279Q (or any of it’s successors).
Besides that, the ASUS usually is the more expensive one by a lot and if you weigh that into the equation the choice becomes pretty clear. I got lucky and was able to try out the PG279Q for the same price as the 27GL83A-B so that makes my decision a lot harder.
I do this stuff for my own enjoyment but if you are feeling generous you can buy me a cup of coffee.