LG 27GL850 Review: 1440p 144Hz 1ms IPS FreeSync Gaming Monitor

The LG 27GL850 is the first IPS gaming monitor to break the pixel response time barrier that's been holding down IPS displays for a while.

Bottom Line

The LG 27GL850 delivers vibrant, accurate and consistent colors as well as a fast response time speed, low input lag and plenty of additional useful features. What’s more, it’s got a great design and rich connectivity options.

Design:
(4.5)
Display:
(4.9)
Performance:
(4.8)
Price/Value:
(3.7)
4.5

The LG 27GL850 was the first IPS gaming monitor to boast a 1ms GtG pixel response time speed, promising stunning colors as well as crystal-clear fast-paced motion — and that’s exactly what it delivers.

Image Quality

Based on a Nano IPS panel with 98% DCI-P3 color gamut (135% sRGB), the LG UltraGear 27GL850 offers gorgeous and vibrant colors; it has dithered 10-bit color depth support for 1.07 billion colors.

Further, the colors will stay perfect at basically any angle thanks to the wide 178-degree viewing angles.

The monitor also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), but it’s there just for the sake of it. It can accept the HDR10 signal from compatible content and display it, but it lacks local dimming for a noteworthy HDR viewing experience.

Now, the LG 27GL850 has a peak brightness of only 350-nits, which is more than bright enough for regular use, but far from the ideal 1,000-nits when it comes to HDR content. Overall, some HDR content may look slightly better, but most of the time, you’ll just get washed-out or over-saturated colors.

Implementing a good local dimming solution would also greatly increase the monitor’s price. So, the image quality of the LG 27GL850 display is excellent considering its price.

The 1440p resolution hits the pixel density sweet spot on 27″ monitors, so you get plenty of screen space as well as clear and sharp details.

Moving on, the contrast ratio varies between ~700:1 to 1,000:1 depending on the particular unit of the monitor, which is pretty much standard for IPS panel displays.

If you were to put the LG 27GL850 monitor next to a VA-panel display, which has a contrast ratio of 2,500:1 to 3,000:1, you would notice that blacks aren’t as deep and that the overall relation between the darkest and the brightest shades isn’t as vivid. This is expected, as no panel technology is perfect.

VA panels may have the best contrast ratio, but their response time is a lot slower, at least at this price range, and their colors aren’t as consistent as that of IPS models.

Performance

Lg 27gl850 Review 2020

Now, monitor manufacturers tend to overstate the response time speed specification of their displays. LG claims that the 27GL850 has a 1ms GtG speed when using the ‘Faster’ overdrive preset.

There are four overdrive modes in total: Off, Normal, Fast and Faster.

While the Faster mode may technically get to 1ms (or close to it), it introduces a lot of pixel overshoot (inverse ghosting), which is basically impractical.

Luckily, the Fast preset has no overshoot, and it efficiently eliminates all trailing left behind fast-moving objects. Even though this preset makes the response time speed a bit slower than the specified 1ms, it’s more than fast enough to keep up with the 144Hz refresh rate.

Combined with the imperceptible input lag of ~4ms, the gaming performance is buttery smooth and responsive, fit for professional gaming. Of course, hardcore gamers can get 1080p 240Hz displays at this price range for the best results, but they’d have to sacrifice image quality.

But here’s the kicker: 1440p is quite demanding when it comes to the latest games. Luckily, AMD FreeSync will provide you with a variable refresh rate (VRR), which eliminates all screen tearing and stuttering within the 48-144Hz/FPS range (LFC supported) by synchronizing the monitor’s refresh rate with the frame rate of your GPU at minimal input lag penalty (~1ms).

NVIDIA certified the LG 27GL850 144Hz gaming monitor as G-SYNC compatible, so you’ll be able to take full advantage of VRR even if you have a graphics card by NVIDIA (requires a GTX 10-series GPU or newer).

Note that the LG 27GL850 FreeSync range is limited to 48-100Hz over HDMI.

Another thing to keep in mind about the LG 27GL850 is IPS glow, which is an expected drawback of this panel technology.

The amount of IPS glow and backlight bleeding will vary between different units of the monitor. As excess light passes through the panel, there’s visible ‘glowing’ around the corners of the screen, but it’s manageable.

Finally, the monitor has a flicker-free screen and an integrated low-blue light filter, allowing you to enjoy long gaming sessions without straining your eyes.

Features

The OSD (On-Screen Display) menu of the LG 27GL850 is well-organized and easy to navigate thanks to the joystick placed beneath the bottom bezel of the monitor.

Some of the noteworthy features include the Game Mode pre-calibrated picture presets (FPS, RTS, Vivid, Reader, HDR Effect and sRGB which limits the wide color gamut to 100% sRGB for color-critical work). There are also two Gamer profiles that you can use to customize and save your own settings.

Moreover, other features include Black Stabilizer (improves visibility in darker games), Cross Hair (custom crosshair overlays) and advanced picture adjustments, including three gamma presets, manual color temperature adjustments in 500K increments, manual red, green and blue color adjustments, etc.

There’s no RGB lighting and no backlight strobing technology (Motion Blur Reduction), though.

Design & Connectivity

lg 27gl850 monitor back

The design of the LG 27GL850 is 3-side borderless with versatile ergonomics, including up to 110mm height adjustment, 90° pivot, -5°/15° tilt, 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility, but no swivel to the left/right option.

There’s also a low-haze (25%) anti-glare coating, which eliminates the reflections but preserves the image quality.

Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, a single DisplayPort 1.4 input, a headphone jack and a dual-USB 3.0 hub. Note that the HDMI connectors support 1440p up to 144Hz, but the FreeSync range is limited to 100Hz.

Price & Similar Monitors

The LG 27GL850 price ranges from $450 to $500. At that price range, we recommend the MSI MAG274QRF-QD. It’s just as fast, but has a bit higher contrast ratio and wider color covering the entire Adobe RGB color space.

Sometimes, the 27GL850 goes on sale for ~$400, at which point it’s worth considering if you can’t afford the MAG274QRF-QD. Alternatively, check out the LG 27GL83A, which is essentially the same monitor as the GL850 just without a USB hub.

Here’s a basic summary of all LG’s monitors with similar names/specifications:

MonitorPanelColor GamutsRGB ModeUSB HubErgonomicsOther Features
LG 27GL850LG M270WQA
SSA1
~98% DCI-P3
(Native)
YesYesNo swivelN/A
LG 27GN850LG M270WQA
SSA1
~98% DCI-P3
(Native)
YesNoNo swivelN/A
LG 27GN880LG M270WQA
SSA1
~98% DCI-P3
(Native)
YesNoErgo StandN/A
LG 27GL83ALG M270WQA
SSA1
~98% DCI-P3
(HDR Mode)
Yes
(Native)
NoNo swivelN/A
LG 27GN800BOE MV270QHM
NF1
~98% DCI-P3
(Native)
NoService-onlyTilt-onlyMBR
LG 27GP83BLG LM270WQA
SSA2
~98% DCI-P3YesService-onlyNo swivel165Hz
LG 27GP850LG LM270WQA
SSA2
~98% DCI-P3YesYesNo swivelMBR,
180Hz OC

Visit our always up-to-date gaming monitor buyer’s guide for more information and the best deals currently available.

Conclusion

All in all, the LG 27GL850 delivers vibrant colors and smooth performance, but there are better options available at this price range unless you stumble upon a good sale.

Specifications

Screen Size27-inch
Resolution2560×1440 (WQHD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate144Hz
Response Time1ms (GtG)
Adaptive SyncFreeSync (48Hz-144Hz DisplayPort)
(48Hz-100Hz HDMI)
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other Ports2x USB 3.0, Headphone Jack
Brightness350 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
98% DCI-P3
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • Wide color gamut
  • Quick response time speed
  • G-SYNC compatible
  • Ergonomic design and rich connectivity options

The Cons:

  • Limited FreeSync range over HDMI
  • Design lacks swivel option
  • IPS glow and mediocre contrast ratio (as expected from this panel technology)

Related Reads

Gigabyte M32Q Review
Gigabyte M32Q Review: 1440p 170Hz 1ms IPS FreeSync Gaming Monitor
Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.