A brilliant addition to any set-up.
My first personal computer was a hand-me-down laptop with a busted hinge on the screen. I had to keep it upright by propping it up with a bookend or other weighted object just so I could see the screen clearly. The computer part worked fine and so did the screen but the hinge was unrepairable. Soon after, I invested in an iMac. That suited me well for quite some time but as time wore on I decided I wanted to be more portable and I found myself with a new iBook. Ever since I’ve been blessed with hard-working laptops that do the job of a much larger desktop computer. It was only recently that I found myself wanting more — like a second screen. I use two screens at work and it can make for a much more pleasant workflow. But when you have a Retina display on your laptop, what will do for a second screen? As I contemplated this question, I was presented with the opportunity to review a gorgeous 27-inch 4K UHD monitor by LG. This was something that I could not pass up.
The LG 27UK850-W 4K UHD IPS LED Monitor is, as its name describes, a 27-inch, widescreen monitor. It’s compatible with USB-C and provides a sRGB 99% color gamut. The display is considered virtually borderless and it provides the user with HDR 10, which supports specific levels of color and brightness that exceeds the capabilities of ordinary monitors. This monitor is HDCP 2.2 compatible so it will display video from 4K streaming services, game consoles, and Ultra HD Blu-ray disc players.
- Screen size: 27 inches
- Panel type: IPS
- Color gamut: sRGB 99% (Typ)
- Color depth: 10bit (8bit + A-FRC)
- Pixel pitch: 0.1554×0.1554mm
- Response time: 5ms
- Aspect ratio: 16:9
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160
- Brightness: Typical 350nits, Min 280nits
- Contrast ratio: 1000:1
- Viewing angle: 178/178
- Surface treatment: Anti-glare 3H
- HDMI (2)
- DisplayPort (1)
- USB Type-C (1) with PD 60W
- Headphones Out
- USB Down-stream (2) (No Service Only Port, ver 3.1 gen 1)
- Power adapter: 140W
Assembly of the monitor and its stand was very easy. I really appreciate how LG makes it simple to get started. While there is a utility available for color/display presets, it’s not required for monitor operation. Even though there are other ports available, I connected to the monitor using USB-C. Given that I have a 2016 MacBook Pro, my options for connections are limited. I do have a docking station that provides me with added connectivity, but I still wanted to connect through USB-C so that I could retain all of my computer’s functionality.
One of the best features I found on the LG was its OnScreen Control. This utility gives you the option to change color settings from your computer rather than the monitor’s internal menus. This app also makes it possible for you to set up to 15 different applications to their own color preset. This is great if you work in a lot of different areas like I do. I typically have my monitor set to bright, vibrant colors but that’s not always the best option for your eyes. So, with the help of LG’s OnScreen Control, I was able to set my photo editing application to HDR while the applications I read and write in stay with the Reader option. This makes it much easier on your eyes if you are looking at the screen for much longer periods of time. When I switched Safari (I was writing in a WordPress editor at the time) from HDR to Reader, I could feel my eyes relax immediately.
When I thought about how to go about this review, I considered what people use monitors for. I came up with three main categories — work, entertainment, and gaming. Now, one could argue that gaming and entertainment belong in the same category, but I beg to differ. You see, I’ve learned over the years that gamers are their own people. And the settings you would use for a gaming monitor are far different than what you would use for a video. Therefore, gaming is its own category. With these areas defined, I set out to test the LG 27UK850-W.
This was my primary use for the monitor. I found some time ago that I enjoy using two monitors as a workflow because I could place reference materials on the second screen while working on my primary one. With set-up I currently have with this LG monitor, my MacBook Pro is the primary screen — depending on the type of work I am doing. If I am editing photos, I pull the Affinity Photo window over onto the LG monitor so I can take advantage of its HDR display settings. But, if I am typing in Pages, I will continue to use the MacBook Pro’s display as my primary monitor and utilize the LG monitor as my reference screen. The monitor will work in both landscape and portrait modes and even though I don’t have much use for it, I did try out the portrait option. The monitor turned quite easily on its stand and I enjoyed reviewing some website code in this viewing mode. I can see how people who need to look at code a lot would use this viewing mode. It’s very easy on the eyes and you have a much easier time keeping track of your place then you do when you are looking at a smaller, landscape screen. One other feature I got to test out was the closed-clam shell mode of my MacBook Pro. Because I typically use it as a single monitor system, I’ve not worked with the lid closed before. I was able to do so with the aid of a wireless keyboard and mouse. The LG monitor did a great job interpreting the connection from the MacBook Pro.
In order to make a judgment about how the quality of the monitor affected my viewing experience, I pulled up Netflix on my computer. Since I typically watch movies and TV shows through Netflix, I decided that I would use the platform to test out cinematic videos. I watched portions of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and several documentaries that are part of Netflix’s 4K content. All of it held up really well. I used the Cinema preset and HDR Effect preset for watching videos. I thought it was beautiful. Video — especially 4K content — looks amazing on the LG monitor.
Since I’m not really a big gamer, I decided to the best way to test out the monitor with gaming was to download a game from Steam and play a few rounds. I downloaded a game called Tactical Monsters Rumble Area. It’s a fairly straightforward action/strategy game that has a point-n-click function to it. While it’s not particularly flashy, the game does have vibrant colors and quick actions. The LG monitor did a great job of interpreting colors and movements — no matter how quick — played very well on the screen. I love the different color options for the monitor. My favorite is HDR but I can see how the presets for gaming can be quite helpful, too.
Even though the LG 27UK850-W 4K Monitor is designed for gaming and other ‘heavy’ display functions, I think it’s a really nice all-around monitor. The picture quality is impeccable and my eyes aren’t tired after using it for several hours at a time. The LG monitor retails for around $700 currently and that seems to be a bit on the high side of the price spectrum. At a glance, there appear to be many 27-inch 4K UHD monitors between $400-500. While I haven’t compared them side-by-side with this LG monitor, a $700 price tag seems just a bit high. Aside from that, I really don’t have any major issues with this product.