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

Bottom Line

The LG 27GL850 is a phenomenal gaming monitor. It 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, rich connectivity options, and a reasonable price tag.

Design:
(5.0)
Display:
(4.9)
Performance:
(5.0)
Price/Value:
(4.0)
4.7

The LG 27GL850 is 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 with dithered 10-bit color support.

What’s more, 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.

The LG 27GL850 also 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.

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.

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 with thanks to the joystick placed beneath the bottom bezel of the monitor.

Some of the noteworthy features including 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 which you can use to customize and save your own settings.

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 it’s not necessary anyway thanks to the excellent pixel response time performance.

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 headphones 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 amounts to ~$500, which is a great value for the money. It costs pretty much like similar models, yet it offers significantly better performance and a wider color gamut.

If the price is too high for you, but you’d still like a good 27″ 1440p 144Hz IPS display, we recommend checking out the LG 27GL83A, which is basically identical to the GL850, but without the wide DCI-P3 color gamut and USB ports.

There’s also the LG 27GN850 model, which is identical to the LG 27GL850 except that it’s a bit cheaper and has no USB ports.

Finally, you might be interested in the Dell S2721DGF. It uses the same panel as the LG 27GL850, but it’s factory-overclocked to 165Hz.

However, it doesn’t have an sRGB emulation mode, so the colors will always be over-saturated when watching sRGB content.

Next, note that the difference between 144Hz and 165Hz is not that noticeable, and you could just try manually overclocking the LG 27GL850.

Regardless, if you can find the Dell S2721DGF at a significantly lower price than the LG 27GL850 and you don’t mind its lack of sRGB mode, it’s worth considering.

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

Conclusion

All in all, the LG 27GL850 is one of the best 27″ 1440p 144Hz IPS gaming monitors currently available. It provides incredibly vibrant and accurate colors as well as flawless gaming performance.

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)

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Rob Shafer
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.