LG UltraGear 27GP850 review: gaming in HDR at 180 Hz

When it comes to PC gaming, every component of the system is important to deliver the best quality experience. Sure, the components in the system are probably the most important, as their performance ensures that you can push the quality of the graphics and fluidity of the gaming experience as far as possible, but it’s equally important to have a proper display that shows all the effects and doesn’t drag you down when you’re in online matches. The LG UltraGear 27GP850 monitor promises both high image quality and a high refresh rate, offering an interesting balance between casual and competitive gaming.

The UltraGear 27GP850 monitor features a standard RGB-free design

Even though it doesn’t have a very catchy name, the UltraGear 27GP850 is a very well put together monitor. It’s far from a premium model in LG’s offering, but it seems clearly made to be able to offer high performance at a more affordable price. I say more affordable, as it’s not exactly a cheap monitor, but it is cheaper than other models with comparable capabilities.

LG UltraGear 27GP850 front on

As expected, LG has included just about everything you need to get the monitor up and running in the box: HDMI cable, DisplayPort cable, as well as a USB-B cable for the ability to connect USB accessories directly to the monitor. The monitor stand is made of a matte plastic, but I appreciated that the bottom is attached with two screws for better grip. The stand takes up quite a bit of space on the desk, but also offers high stability, making it hard to move the monitor once it’s in place. A sort of “hook” is included on the back for organizing cables. What this stand doesn’t offer is much mobility. The monitor cannot be rotated horizontally, but can be tilted up and down. There is also the possibility of portrait orientation, for those who want to use the monitor like this.

On the connectivity front we have a DisplayPort 1.4, which will provide the highest performance on this monitor, along with two HDMI 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and an audio jack. Power is provided by a rather large power socket adapter, which unfortunately is permanently attached to a very short cable. This would be a minus of this model, as the power cord can’t be extended or exchanged for a longer one. The back area is decorated with the UltraGear logo and a red circle, but there are no RGB lights here.

LG UltraGear 27GP850 back side left

I was surprised that the monitor is very light, but this is because it has an external power supply and does not include the power supply inside. The only button on the LG UltraGear 27GP850 is a joystick, located at the bottom, easy to find and without looking in the area, which provides intuitive control.

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LG UltraGear 27GP850 ports

Menus are well organized

And this joystick will be the primary method by which you can configure your monitor to your preferences. There are already several preset gaming profiles that affect both colors and response time, as well as an sRGB mode that should provide a calibrated image for those who want the most “correct” colors in SDR mode. However, there is no calibrated mode for HDR, which works in the DCI-P3 colour space.

However, the settings that come standard aren’t far off from natural colors. Most of the changes on various profiles come in the form of color tinting and changing the overdrive setting, which is called Response Time in the monitor menu.

Incidentally, the menu is very well structured and laid out, giving a quick summary of settings at the top. So you can quickly see how often the monitor is running, the resolution, what overdrive mode it’s in, and whether or not HDR is on.

Incidentally, it looks like LG is developing the monitors in tandem with the gaming features on their TVs, with the menus on this model being very similar to those on the latest webOS TVs.

I was also pleasantly surprised that there are several options for VRR features, such as the ability to use AMD FreeSync standard and Premium in addition to G-Sync, Three overdrive settings (of which I recommend the second one), as well as the ability to overclock the monitor. Standard, it comes with a frequency of 165Hz, but this can go up to 180Hz by overclocking. However, certain options might not be accessible at full frequency, although I noticed that features like HDR and G-Sync remain active nonetheless.

UltraGear is a monitor suitable for both top graphics games and competitive gaming

In terms of performance, I was pleasantly surprised by the LG UltraGear 27GP850. First of all, it’s important to note that we’re dealing with a Nano IPS panel monitor with QHD resolution that promises compatibility with the VESA DisplayHDR400 standard, i.e. the basic form of HDR technology. Sure, you won’t be able to compare HDR image quality to that of an OLED or locally dimmed display, but for a “compatible” only monitor, this model does the job better than I expected. Of course, that’s if most of the content you consume is mostly bright. Areas that are in shadow appear quite “washed out” due to the even illumination across the panel.

LG UltraGear 27GP850 elden ring

The panel is matte, which will help eliminate unwanted reflections, but there is a downside to it. Even though we’re talking about an IPS panel, when you look at it from certain angles, contrast and colours lose their intensity. It’s a similar effect to what we usually see on VA or TN panels, but at a lower intensity. Given that it’s a 27″ monitor, it’s not a problem, but if you plan to watch movies from a more comfortable position than sitting at your regular desk, you might notice this drawback. For a gaming monitor, however, I don’t see it as necessarily a disadvantage, as the anti-reflective treatment is clearly preferable to a screen that can mirror dark shades.

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I tested a few titles such as Elden Ring, Forza Horizon 5 and God of War, and the image quality was unexpectedly good, but I was more surprised by the fluidity of the games. I normally use a 120Hz screen, so I didn’t think I’d feel the difference until 180Hz. However, I immediately noticed that games respond to commands much faster. At the same time, I noticed that on the highest overdrive setting, “Fastest”, moving objects leave some unsightly marks, so if you also want good response time and high image quality, you can select “Faster” mode, which is free of such artifacts.

LG UltraGear 27GP850 forza horizon

It’s also important to mention that for a monitor like this you need powerful hardware. I tested it on an NVIDIA RTX 3080 video card, 32GB RAM and Ryzen 7 3700X processor, and few games could keep up with this monitor on maximum settings. It was only after I dropped more detail from ultra to high and applied upscaling methods such as DLSS, or dynamic settings adjustment, that I was able to reach the true potential of this monitor.

Sure, in eSports titles like Counter-Strike, Valorant or League of Legends, these values are easier to achieve, but those are probably not the games you want to play on a high resolution monitor. However, at 180Hz, you can also play competitive titles without any problems and you probably won’t feel the monitor holding you back from the competition. The 240 and 360 Hz monitor models are still somewhat niche, with most gamers in public lobbies probably using 120 or 144 Hz monitors, which are very popular these days.

LG UltraGear 27GP850 halo

And speaking of 144 Hz, that’s the frequency at which the UltraGear 27GP850 monitor operates on HDMI. That’s why I only recommend using it on HDMI alongside a console, as it’s only via DisplayPort, which is only found on PCs, that you can unlock the full set of capabilities available on this model.

Conclusions

Even though it’s not equipped with lights or other things we’ve seen on gaming monitors lately that don’t help the gaming experience, LG’s UltraGear 27GP850 comes with a really impactful set of capabilities, such as a quality panel, high frequency, good colors and a surprisingly good HDR mode.

It should provide a quality experience for a wide range of gamers, from those who prefer image quality and high resolutions, to those who play competitive online titles and need a very fast monitor.

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