LG 27GN950 Review: 4K 144Hz IPS FreeSync HDR Gaming Monitor

lg 27gn950 monitor

Bottom Line

The LG 27GN950 is the best 4K IPS monitor under $1000 if you need a display that's great for color-critical work as well as gaming. It offers smooth performance thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and variable refresh rate while its IPS panel ensures accurate and vibrant colors. Additionally, the monitor offers a gorgeous design with interesting RGB lighting and decent HDR support with DisplayHDR 600 certification - all that at a lower price than that of the competing 27" 4K 144Hz IPS models!

Design:
(5)
Display:
(4.8)
Performance:
(4.9)
Price/Value:
(4)
4.7

Introduction

The LG 27GN950 is a 4K IPS monitor that excels at many things including fast-paced gaming thanks to its quick 1ms response time, G-SYNC compatibility, and 144Hz refresh rate (without any compression thanks to DSC).

Further, it delivers both vibrant and accurate colors fit for color-critical work and a decent HDR picture quality thanks to the DisplayHDR 600 certification.

On top of that, it features a cutting-edge 4-side borderless design and an innovative RGB lighting technology! 

Image Quality

The UltraGear 27GN950 is based on LG’s Nano IPS panel which is known for its superior 98% wide DCI-P3 color gamut (equivalent to ~135% sRGB) and rapid 1ms GtG pixel response time speed for zero ghosting.

Such wide color gamut makes for striking and rich colors. However, it can also make some colors appear over-saturated in content which was developed with the more common sRGB gamut in mind.

In this case, you can either stick with the over-saturated colors (some users prefer this, others don’t), or you can use the provided sRGB color gamut clamp for a more accurate reproduction of colors!

The colors are precise and consistent across the entire screen, so you can even use the monitor for color-critical work as the LG 27GN950 is factory-calibrated and supports hardware/software calibration via LG’s True Color Pro app.

Other panel-related specifications include the 178° wide viewing angles which ensure that the picture remains perfect at any angle, dithered 10-bit color depth support, a 400-nit peak brightness, and a static contrast ratio of ~1,000:1.

For HDR (High Dynamic Range) content, the LG 27GN950 monitor also gets a boost in peak brightness to over 600-nits for more intense and vivid highlights thus earning VESA’s DisplayHDR 600 certification.

There are 16 dimming zones that can dim parts of the screen in order to make blacks darker without affecting the bright areas of the picture. Alas, since there are only 16 zones and over 8 million pixels, local dimming is not very effective.

Depending on the scene (how demanding it is in terms of dark and bright parts), HDR content will look either notably better or not that much better than SDR.

Still, with DisplayHDR 600, you get a noticeable boost in HDR image quality as opposed to DisplayHDR 400 displays.

Moving on, the 4K UHD resolution results in a high pixel density of 163 PPI (pixels per inch) on the monitor’s 27″ sized screen which means you’ll have to use scaling in order to make small items such as text readable.

Performance

freesync and gsync

The LG 27GN950 input lag amounts to only ~4ms which makes for imperceptible delay between your actions and the result on the screen.

In addition, the response time speed of 1ms GtG (gray to gray pixel transition) ensures that there’s no visible trailing behind fast-moving objects for a smooth fast-paced gaming experience.

In order to get the 1ms speed, you’ll need to use the ‘Fastest’ response time overdrive mode, however, this setting introduces a lot of pixel overshoot (inverse ghosting) which looks awful.

Instead, you should just use the ‘Fast’ mode which will make sure that all pixel transitions are made in time with the monitor’s 144Hz refresh rate thus eliminating ghosting and preventing inverse ghosting.

It’s also possible to overclock the monitor up to 160Hz by enabling the ‘Overclock’ option in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu, though there’s no noticeable difference between 144Hz and 160Hz really.

Further, some units of the LG 27GN950 may have occasional flickering when overclocked.

The LG 27GN950 IPS monitor supports Adaptive-Sync with both AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible certifications and a 48-144Hz variable refresh rate (VRR) range; 48-160Hz if overclocked.

VRR works without any issues and provides smooth tear-free gameplay with low input lag. With NVIDIA cards, you’ll need to use DisplayPort and have at least the 451.48 drivers installed.

Just like it’s the case with all IPS panel monitors, some IPS glow is noticeable, especially in dark rooms and dark scenes, but it’s manageable. Note that the amount of IPS glow varies across different units of the monitor.

Finally, the LG 27GN950 uses a flicker-free backlight and has an integrated low-blue light filter which ensures a comfortable viewing experience that’s easy on your eyes even after prolonged use.

Features

lg 27gn950 sphere lighting rgb feature

There are plenty of useful features available in the OSD menu which you can navigate through either by using the intuitive joystick beneath the bottom bezel of the monitor or via the On-Screen Control desktop application.

Next to the joystick, there’s a also a small wheel which you can use to change the brightness and effects of the RGB lighting at the back of the monitor.

In the menu, you’ll find various pre-calibrated picture modes including FPS, RTS, sRGB, Reader, two customizable Gamer profiles, and two Calibration profiles for the True Color Pro software.

Gaming features include custom crosshair overlays and Black Stabilizer (improves visibility in darker games).

Besides the standard image adjustment tools such as brightness, sharpness, and contrast, you’ll also find the advanced gamma (four modes), 6-axis hue/saturation, and manual color temperature settings.

You can also manually enable or disable local dimming – or set it to ‘auto’ which will enable local dimming whenever HDR content is detected.

Other features include variable backlight, DFC (adjusts brightness according to the screen), and Smart Energy Saving – all of which we recommend leaving disabled for the optimal image quality.

At the back of the monitor, there are 48 RGB LEDs which are quite strong and can create atmospheric ambient lighting, especially in dark rooms. You can even synchronize the lighting to sound or video!

There is plenty of additional RGB customization you can do in the LG UltraGear Control Center application.

Design & Connectivity

lg ultragear 27gn950 monitor

The LG 27GN950 display boasts a 4-side borderless design which consists of thin bezels at all four sides of the monitor in contrast to the more common 3-side borderless designs where the bottom bezel is significantly thicker.

While the stand is quite sturdy and offers decent ergonomics including up to 110mm height adjustment, -5°/15° tilt, 90° pivot, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility, you can’t swivel the screen to the left or right.

The screen also has a matte anti-glare coating which eliminates reflections.

Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4 with DSC (Display Stream Compression), two HDMI 2.0 ports (max 60Hz at 4K HDR), a headphones jack, and a dual-USB 3.0 hub (1 upstream + 2 downstream ports).

In order to get 144Hz at 4K with 10-bit color depth, you’ll need a graphics card that supports DisplayPort 1.4 DSC which includes NVIDIA’s RTX 20-series and GTX 16-series or AMD’s RX 5xxx or newer GPUs.

Without DP 1.4 DSC, you’ll be limited to 95Hz with 10-bit color or 120Hz with 8-bit color at 4K UHD.

According to LG, the 27GN950 also supports the 2560×1440 120Hz mode with FreeSync Premium Pro over HDMI for the Xbox One X.

Price & Similar Monitors

The LG 27GN950 price amounts to $800 at the time of this writing.

In comparison to the other similarly priced 27″ 4K 144Hz IPS models, it definitely offers the best value for the price as it provides a noticeably faster response time speed, a better HDR picture quality, and DSC – among other things.

It doesn’t offer nearly as good HDR picture quality as the ASUS PG27UQ, but it’s also at least $500 cheaper.

However, at this price range, you might also want to consider getting the LG 34GN850 if you prefer ultrawide monitors or the Samsung Odyssey G7 with a curved 1440p 240Hz VA panel.

LG 27GN950 vs Samsung G7

samsung odyssey g7 monitor

The Samsung G7 is available as 27″ and 32″ variant priced at $700 and $800, respectively.

Now, if we compare the LG 27GN950 to the Samsung 27G7, the difference in detail clarity in video games won’t be that noticeable as the 108 PPI density of 1440p resolution on a 27″ monitor still has very crisp details.

For productivity or editing work, the LG 27GN950 offers a noticeably sharper picture quality.

However, the difference between 144Hz of the GN950 and 240Hz of the G7 is also not that deal-breaking. So, it’s really a matter of whether you prefer slightly better details or slightly smoother motion!

Since 1440p is a lot less demanding than 4K though, we are more inclined to recommend the G7 for PC gaming as ~144FPS on a 1440p 240Hz monitor is a lot smoother than ~60FPS on a 4K 144Hz display.

Of course, this also depends on what type of games you play, what PC setup you have or plan to get, and what frame rate and picture settings you’d be satisfied with.

As for the image quality, the G7 has the edge here due to its significantly higher contrast ratio that provides much more vivid and deep blacks.

If, on the other hand, you need a monitor for color-critical work, the LG 27GN950 is a better option due to its superior color consistency whereas the G7 will do fine for basic content creation where color accuracy is not as important.

The last thing to consider is the variable refresh rate performance as some units of the G7 monitor exhibit FreeSync brightness flickering when FreeSync/G-SYNC is enabled which is a common issue for most VA panel monitors.

Alternatively, you might want to wait for the upcoming 1440p 240Hz IPS models as an in-between option.

Conclusion

Overall, the LG 27GN950 is an excellent 4K monitor, far better than the competing models at this price range.

It offers buttery-smooth performance thanks to its G-SYNC compatibility, 144Hz refresh rate, low input lag, and rapid pixel response time speed while its Nano IPS panel ensures accurate and vibrant color quality.

Due to the low static contrast ratio of the IPS technology, HDR is somewhat underwhelming, but at least you get a notable improvement over SDR. Besides, the ‘true’ HDR monitors are considerably more expensive!

If you got the right PC specs for a decent frame rate at 4K UHD, and prefer the consistency of IPS panels to the higher contrast ratio of VA panels, the LG 27GN950 will suit you well.

LG 27GN950 Specifications

Screen Size27-inch
Resolution3840×2160 (Ultra HD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate144Hz (160Hz OC)
Response Time1ms (GtG)
Adaptive SyncFreeSync Premium Pro (48-60Hz)
G-SYNC Compatible (48-160Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other Ports2x USB 3.0, Headphone Jack
Brightness400 cd/m2
Brightness (HDR)600 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)
98% DCI-P3
HDRDisplayHDR 600
Edge-lit 16-zone local dimming
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • Accurate and vibrant colors
  • High pixel density
  • Plenty of features including FreeSync up to 144Hz
  • Quick response time speed
  • Ergonomic stand and rich connectivity options

The Cons:

  • Design lacks swivel option
  • Not as high contrast ratio as that of VA panels
  • No HDMI 2.1

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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.