LG 32GN650 Review: 1440p 165Hz FreeSync Gaming Monitor

The LG 32GN650 is a 1440p 165Hz FreeSync gaming monitor based on a flat-screen VA panel with a high contrast ratio and sRGB color gamut.

Bottom Line

The LG 32GN650 is a 32″ 1440p 165Hz FreeSync gaming monitor – it has a flat-screen VA panel, which is rare and will appeal to many gamers.

As expected from a VA panel monitor at this price range, you get deep and inky blacks, but at a cost of visible smearing in dark scenes of fast-paced games.

Design:
(4.5)
Display:
(4.5)
Performance:
(4.0)
Price/Value:
(4.0)
4.3

The LG UltraGear 32GN650-B is the updated model of the popular LG 32GK650F. It features a new design and a slightly higher 165Hz factory-overclocked refresh rate.

Image Quality

Based on a VA (Vertical Alignment) panel by AU Optronics, the LG 32GN650 monitor boasts a high static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, which allows it to achieve deep blacks with vivid details in the shadows of the image.

When set side by side with an IPS panel monitor, blacks of the IPS model would even appear grayish in comparison.

However, even though the LG 32GN650 has specified viewing angles of 178° both horizontally and vertically, they’re nowhere near as wide as those of IPS panels.

While there are no drastic gamma shifts when looking at the screen from below or above, like it’s the case with TN panels, the image does degrade at an angle.

As long as you’re sitting in front of the monitor, the viewing angles won’t be an issue apart from subtle gamma/saturation shifts, though this mainly affects those doing color-critical work.

Next, the monitor has a peak brightness of 350-nits, which is more than enough under normal lighting conditions.

Unlike the majority of 32″ 1440p 144Hz curved gaming models, the LG 32GN650 doesn’t have a wide color gamut. It covers 95% of the sRGB color space, so you’ll get accurate colors without over-saturation when watching sRGB content (most games and web content), but some users might’ve preferred that extra color vibrancy, even if it’s less accurate.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is supported as well, but the monitor can only accept the HDR10 signal and display it. It lacks proper display capabilities, such as local dimming and wide color gamut, for a noteworthy HDR viewing experience.

Finally, the Quad HD resolution of 2560×1440 pixels results in a decent pixel density of 93 PPI (pixels per inch) on the 31.5″ viewable screen of the monitor. That’s equivalent to the pixel density of a 24″ 1080p monitor, but since the screen is bigger, you’ll be sitting a bit further from it making the individual pixels indistinguishable.

Performance

The 165Hz refresh rate ensures buttery-smooth motion clarity as long as you can maintain a high frame rate, but there’s no noticeable difference in comparison to 144Hz.

There are four response time overdrive modes: Off, Normal, Fast, and Faster.

We recommend the ‘Faster’ mode since it’s best at eliminating trailing behind fast-moving objects without adding too much overshoot (inverse ghosting).

When a lot of dark pixels are involved in the scene, dark smearing will be noticeable as pixels can’t change from dark to bright fast enough to keep up with the refresh rate.

This is common for VA panel monitors, at least at this price rage, and it’s why competitive gamers avoid them. For casual gaming or those not sensitive to ghosting, it will be tolerable, or even negligible.

Input lag, on the other hand, is imperceptible at ~4ms, so you won’t be able to feel any delays between your actions and the result on the screen.

Further, the LG 32GN650 supports AMD FreeSync with a 48-165Hz variable refresh rate (VRR) for tear-free gameplay up to 165FPS. Below 48FPS, the monitor uses LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) to multiply the frame rate (47FPS x 3 = 141Hz) in order to prevent tearing.

While the monitor is not certified as G-SYNC Compatible by NVIDIA, you can use VRR with GeForce GTX 10-series or newer graphics cards over DisplayPort, but the performance is not guaranteed to be smooth.

So, keep in mind that there’s a possibility your unit will be affected by the FreeSync brightness flickering issue characterized as prominent jumps in brightness when your FPS fluctuates or is around the LFC threshold (48FPS for AMD cards, ~60FPS for NVIDIA).

Since screen tearing is not nearly as noticeable at 165Hz as it is at 60Hz or 75Hz, gamers who are not particularly sensitive to it might not find this to be a big issue as there’s no flickering at fixed refresh rates.

Features

lg 1ms motion blur reduction technology

Moving on, the LG 32GN650 display supports MBR (Motion Blur Reduction) at 120Hz, 144Hz, and 165Hz.

MBR uses backlight strobing to reduce perceived motion blur, but it sacrifices picture brightness in the process and it can’t be active at the same time as variable refresh rate.

It also introduces screen flickering, which is invisible to the human eye, but can cause headaches or eye strain to those sensitive to it; the backlight is otherwise flicker-free.

While MBR can help with the motion clarity in fast-paced games, ghosting is still noticeable. For the best results, use it at 120Hz and maintain your frame rate at 120FPS via V-Sync or FPS cap.

Other useful gaming features include Black Stabilizer (improves visibility in darker scenes), crosshair overlays, and various pre-calibrated picture modes, such as FPS, RTS, two custom Gamer profiles, and the Reader mode (applies a low-blue light filter).

You’ll also find advanced image adjustment tools in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu of the monitor, such as 6-axis hue/saturation, four gamma presets, and manual color temperature fine-tuning (in increments of 500K).

There’s a directional joystick beneath the bottom bezel of the screen for easy navigation through the OSD menu, but you can also use the On-Screen Control desktop application and make your adjustments by using your mouse and keyboard.

Finally, note that the monitor supports Auto Input Switch (the display will automatically change to new input once detected), which is a feature that’s often omitted on LG’s monitors.

Design & Connectivity

LG 32GN650 Monitor Back

The stand of the monitor is sturdy and offers a decent range of ergonomics, including -5°/15° tilt, up to 110mm height adjustment, 90° pivot, and 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility.

Thanks to the monitor’s matte anti-glare finish, there are no bothersome reflections, while the bezels are ultra-thin at the sides and at the top of the screen.

Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports (limited to 144Hz), DisplayPort 1.4, and a headphones jack.

Price & Similar Monitors

The LG 32GN650 price is usually around $350.

At the same price range, you can get the Gigabyte G32QC 32″ 1440p 165Hz gaming monitor with a wider color gamut – but 1500R curved panel.

Other 32″ 1440p high refresh rate gaming monitors worth considering include the Samsung Odyssey G7 (1000R curved VA panel) and the ASUS PG329Q (flat-screen IPS panel).

These are more expensive (~$600), but worth the extra cost as they have faster response time, smooth VRR performance, wider color gamut, and better HDR image quality.

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

Conclusion

The LG 32GN650 definitely has its flaws, the same as its predecessor, but if you want a 32″ 1440p flat-screen gaming monitor with a high refresh rate, there aren’t any alternatives around this price range.

Due to its slow pixel response time speed, we don’t recommend it if you play a lot of fast-paced competitive games or if you’re sensitive to ghosting.

Also, if you’re sensitive to screen tearing even at 165Hz, we don’t recommend it as there’s a possibility of getting a unit with VRR brightness flickering, which would force you to disable FreeSync or ‘G-SYNC Compatible.’

Even though this monitor uses a VA panel by AUO, which is less prone to this issue than Samsung’s VA panels, if you want to be 100% sure you’re getting a 32″ 1440p flat-screen gaming monitor with smooth variable refresh rate performance, you’ll need to invest in one of the IPS models, such as the mentioned ASUS PG329Q or the Acer XB323UGP.

Specifications

Screen Size31.5-inch
Resolution2560×1440 (QHD)
Panel TypeVA
Aspect Ratio16:9 (Widescreen)
Refresh Rate165Hz
Response Time (GtG)5ms (GtG)
Response Time (1ms MBR)1ms (MPRT)
Adaptive-SyncFreeSync (48-165Hz)
PortsDisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other PortsHeadphone Jack
Brightness350 cd/m²
Contrast Ratio3000:1 (static)
Colors16.7 million (true 8-bit)
95% sRGB
HDRHDR10
VESAYes (100x100mm)

The Pros:

  • Design offers height adjustment and pivot
  • High contrast ratio for deep blacks
  • Plenty of gaming features including FreeSync and MBR up to 165Hz

The Cons:

  • Design lacks swivel function
  • Visible ghosting in dark scenes of fast-paced games
  • Some units prone to VRR brightness flickering
  • No wide color gamut support
  • Narrow viewing angles

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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.