The LG 27UL500 is an excellent yet affordable 4K IPS monitor. Thanks to its smooth performance and immersive image quality, it’s great for gaming, work, and everything in-between.
The LG 27UL500 is an affordable 4K monitor with an IPS panel for vibrant colors, FreeSync for smooth performance, and many additional useful features.
Based on an IPS panel with dithered 10-bit color depth support (8-bit + FRC for 1.07 billion colors), 98% sRGB color gamut, and wide 178° viewing angles, the LG 27UL500 monitor delivers gorgeous, accurate, and consistent colors.
The monitor is factory-calibrated, so you’ll be able to enjoy the monitor straight out of the box and even do some basic content creation.
However, for professional color-critical work, calibration via a dedicated calibrator will be necessary. For more-precisely calibrated displays, check out the best photo editing monitor buyer’s guide.
Other panel-related specifications include a decent 300-nit peak brightness and a static contrast ratio of 700:1 – 1,000:1 depending on the particular unit of the monitor.
Now, the LG 27UL500 also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range).
Due to the lack of wide color gamut, higher brightness capability, and localized dimming for deeper blacks and better contrast performance, the HDR viewing experience will be underwhelming.
Some HDR-compatible content will look better (mainly console games), but most of the time, you’ll just get either over-saturated or washed-out colors.
This is expected at this price range as proper 4K HDR monitors cost a lot more due to the more expensive wide color gamut backlights and local dimming implementations.
Regardless, thanks to the vibrant and precise colors provided by the IPS panel and crystal-clear details ensured by the 4K UHD resolution, the image quality of the LG 27UL500 display is excellent considering the price.
Keep in mind that you will need to use scaling in order for small items such as text to become readable. Scaling will also make everything sharper and clearer, but it will reduce the amount of available screen space.
The LG 27UL500 input lag amounts to only ~8ms while the pixel response time speed measures 5ms (gray to gray pixel transition) which is very good. Due to the display’s 60Hz refresh rate, there won’t be any noticeable delays or prominent trailing behind fast-moving objects.
Note that PC gaming is quite demanding at 4K UHD which is why recommend 1440p 144Hz monitors for a more responsive gaming experience unless you need 4K for work or prefer better detail clarity over everything else.
The monitor also supports AMD FreeSync which provides a variable refresh rate (VRR) if you have a compatible graphics card. VRR can remove all screen tearing and stuttering with minimal input lag penalty (~1ms).
The LG 27UL500 FreeSync range is 40-60Hz/FPS (Frames Per Second) in the ‘Extended’ mode, so as long as your FPS rate is within that range, there will be no tearing or stuttering.
Using FreeSync with compatible NVIDIA cards (GTX 10-series or newer) may not necessarily work without issues.
Depending on your particular unit of the monitor, graphics card, and GPU driver version, FreeSync will either work just fine or you’ll have to use the Basic mode which has a narrower VRR range of 48-60Hz.
In case you have an NVIDIA and you can’t get FreeSync to work, there are additional things you can try such as using third-party software to modify the VRR range, limit to upper range to ~57Hz, etc. More on that can be found here.
Moving on, the LG 27UL500 has a flicker-free backlight and a ‘Reader’ mode which filters out the harmful low-blue lights. Together, these two features ensure a comfortable viewing experience and prevent eye strain and headaches caused by prolonged use of the monitor.
Another thing to keep in mind is IPS glow which is a common drawback of all IPS panel displays. When watching particularly dark scenes in a dark room, you will be able to notice some ‘glowing’ around the corners of the screen.
This is caused due to the excess light passing through the panel and it’s entirely tolerable. You can reduce its visibility by lowering the monitor’s brightness or by adding more light to your room.
Further, the LG 27UL500 offers plenty of useful features including On-Screen Control which allows you to adjust all important monitor settings in a desktop application using your mouse/keyboard as well as ‘Screen Split’ which can divide your desktop into different layouts for easier multitasking when using multiple windows.
Gaming-related features include Black Stabilizer which can improve visibility of objects hiding shadows. There are also pre-calibrated picture presets for FPS and RTS game genres.
The OSD (On-Screen Display) menu is nicely organized and it’s very easy to work with thanks to the 5-way joystick placed beneath the bottom bezel of the screen.
In the menu, you will find all the standard adjustments as well as advanced picture adjustment tools such as 6-axis hue/saturation, four gamma presets, and manual color temperature configuration.
Design & Connectivity
The stand of the monitor is tilt-only by -5°/15° and it’s prone to wobbling. Luckily, you can detach the stand and mount the screen on a third-party stand using the 100x100mm VESA pattern.
The dark-gray matte bezels of the monitor are reasonably thick while the screen is coated with a matte 3H anti-glare coating which effectively prevents reflections.
Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.4, and a headphones jack. All display connectors support AMD FreeSync up to 60Hz at 4K as well as HDCP 2.2 and HDR.
Price & Similar Monitors
The LG 27UL500 price ranges from ~$280 up to $350 which is excellent value for the money.
There’s also the LG 27UL550 model which offers a more ergonomic design for ~$50 extra.
Other models from LG’s UL series include the LG 27UL850 with a USB-C port that has 60W power delivery for compatible laptops and the LG 27UL650 which offers thinner bezels as well as an ergonomic design.
The LG 27UL650 and UL850 also have VESA-certified HDR400 support. Basically, this means that they have a higher peak brightness, but still lack proper color gamut and contrast ratio for a noteworthy HDR viewing experience.
We also reviewed the LG 27UK650 monitor from LG’s 2018 UK series. Here’s how the UK and UL series compare:
2018 Models (UK Series)
2019 Models (UL Series)
|USB-C PD||No||No||Yes (60W)||No||No||No||No||Yes (60W)|
|VESA HDR Certificate||None||None||None||None||None||HDR400||HDR400||HDR400|
|Peak Brightness||450 cd/m2||450 cd/m2||450 cd/m2||300 cd/m2||300 cd/m2||400 cd/m2||400 cd/m2||400 cd/m2|
In short, the LG 27UL500 offers the best value/money here. Prices of all these monitors often fluctuate, so feel free to leave a comment below if you need help picking the best 4K monitor for you.
If you want something cheaper, check out the Philips 276E8VJSB which goes for around $250, but it’s not VESA mount compatible and it doesn’t support FreeSync nor HDR.
Want a bigger monitor? Check out the Samsung U32J590, an affordable 32″ 4K monitor with a VA panel which boasts a higher contrast ratio for deeper blacks, but it doesn’t have as accurate colors.
Overall, the LG 27UL500 is the best budget 4K IPS monitor. It delivers an excellent image quality as well as smooth performance, but without (mostly unnecessary) bells and whistles that some more expensive models offer.
While there are cheaper options, it’s definitely worth investing in the extra features the UL500 provides.
LG 27UL500 Specifications
|Resolution||3840×2160 (Ultra HD)|
|Aspect Ratio||16:9 (Widescreen)|
|Response Time||5ms (GtG)|
|Adaptive Sync||FreeSync (40Hz-60Hz)|
|Ports||DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0|
|Other Ports||Headphone Jack|
|Contrast Ratio||1000:1 (static)|
|Colors||1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)|
- Accurate and vibrant colors
- Plenty of gaming features including AMD FreeSync
- Low input lag and quick response time
- Tilt-only stand