The LG 32UK550 is an excellent yet affordable 32″ 4K monitor for gaming, basic content creation, and other multimedia enjoyment.
The LG 32UK550 is a 32″ sized 4K UHD monitor with HDR support, wide color gamut, high contrast ratio, and plenty of gaming features including AMD FreeSync. What’s more, it’s available for a very appealing price!
The LG 32UK550 monitor is based on a VA (Vertical Alignment) panel by Innolux, which boasts a static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, a wide 95% DCI-P3 color gamut, 10-bit color depth support, and a peak brightness of 300-nits.
Now, the main asset here, as well as with most VA panel displays, is the contrast ratio. In comparison, 4K monitors using other panel technologies (IPS and TN) at this price range have a contrast ratio of 1,000:1.
This means that, on the LG 32UK550, blacks will be darker, and whites will be brighter, allowing for a more immersive viewing experience, especially in dark rooms.
As far as color reproduction goes, IPS displays reign supreme when it comes to color accuracy and consistency.
However, the LG 32UK550 has a wide color gamut backlight, which allows it to cover 95% of the DCI-P3 color space (equivalent to ~125% sRGB). So, compatible content (HDR, Blu-rays, etc.) will get more lifelike and vibrant colors.
Content that doesn’t support DCI-P3 but instead relies on the more widespread sRGB gamut will have saturated colors resulting in neon-like hues. Some users prefer this; some don’t as reds can appear pinkish, yellow can be closer to orange, etc.
Unfortunately, there is no emulated sRGB profile. Still, you can use the Rec.709 picture mode instead, which is essentially identical to sRGB in case you need more accurate color reproduction for content creation, or if you just don’t like the saturated colors the DCI-P3 gamut provides.
Obviously, for professional color-accurate work, an IPS panel display is preferred, but for some entry-level and basic content creation, the LG 32UK550 will do just fine.
Moving on, while the monitor does support HDR (High Dynamic Range), it doesn’t bear VESA’s entry-level DisplayHDR 400 certification, which requires at least 400 nits of peak brightness whereas the 32UK550 has 300-nits.
The HDR400 certification doesn’t really mean much as there are certain displays which have a 400-nit peak brightness, but don’t have as high resolution and contrast nor as wide color gamut as the 32UK550.
So, even though an HDR monitor might have DisplayHDR 400 certification, the LG 32UK550 actually provides a better HDR picture quality than most HDR400 displays!
Naturally, for an outstanding HDR viewing experience, a display needs a lot higher peak brightness (at least 600-nits) as well as localized dimming, but this would also greatly increase the monitor’s price.
All in all, the LG 32UK550 display offers a great SDR and HDR image quality considering its price.
The input lag of the LG 32UK550 amounts to around 9ms, which makes for imperceptible delay at 60Hz.
The response time speed is specified at 4ms GtG (gray to gray pixel transition time), but as it’s the case with most VA panel displays, some smearing of fast-moving objects is visible in video games, particularly in darker scenes.
There are four response time overdrive options (Off, Normal, Fast, and Faster). We recommend using either ‘Normal’ or ‘Fast’ presets as ‘Faster’ introduces pixel overshoot.
Overall, the amount of ghosting and motion blur in fast-paced games is manageable. If you’re a highly competitive FPS gamer, though, you should consider a gaming monitor with a faster response time speed.
In addition, the LG 32UK550 supports AMD FreeSync.
This technology can eliminate all screen tearing and stuttering with minimal input lag penalty (~1ms) as long as you have a compatible GPU, and your frame rate stays within the monitor’s VRR (variable refresh rate) range, which amounts to 40-60Hz.
Using FreeSync with compatible NVIDIA cards (GTX 10-series and newer) seems to work only within the ‘Basic’ FreeSync mode, which has a more limited VRR range of 48-60Hz.
With AMD cards and the Xbox One, FreeSync works without issues using the ‘Extended’ mode (40-60Hz).
Another thing to keep in mind about this monitor is the viewing angles.
They aren’t as wide as that of certain Samsung’s VA panels, so some minor shifts in gamma and saturation will be noticeable when looking at the screen from skewed angles, but not as bad as it’s the case with TN panels.
Lastly, due to the high pixel density that 4K resolution provides on the 31.5″ viewable screen of the LG 32UK550, you may need to use scaling (125% – 150%) to make small text readable.
This will decrease the amount of available screen real estate, but it will increase detail clarity and sharpness.
The LG 27UK550 HDR monitor offers a well-organized OSD (On-Screen Display) menu with plenty of useful features and adjustments that can be easily accessed using the joystick placed beneath the bottom bezel.
You can also use LG’s On-Screen Control application to adjust the monitor’s settings using your mouse/keyboard.
Features include Black Stabilizer for improved visibility in darker games, Dynamic Action Sync for minimal input lag, and 15 pre-calibrated picture presets (Reader, Photo, Cinema, HDR Effect, Dark Room, FPS, RTS, etc.) plus four dedicated HDR modes (HDR Game, HDR Cinema, and so on).
You will also find advanced picture adjustment tools, including manual color temperature settings (in increments of 500K), 6-axis hue/saturation, four gamma presets, and picture sharpness.
Note that the monitor has a flicker-free backlight and a built-in low-blue light filter, which will ensure a comfortable viewing experience without eye strain/headaches that can be caused by prolonged use of the display.
Design & Connectivity
The design of the monitor features reasonably thick bezels; the chassis has a matte finish while the screen has a 3H anti-glare matte coating, which eliminates reflections.
While the stand is not particularly sturdy, you can detach it and mount the screen using the 100x100mm VESA pattern. You can also tilt the screen by -5°/15° and elevate it by up to 110mm.
Connectivity options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, a single DisplayPort 1.2 input, a headphones jack, and an audio line-in port for the dual 5W integrated speakers.
All display connectors support HDR, 4K up to 60Hz, and HDCP 2.2, which allows you to watch copy-protected content from streaming services such as Netflix in native 4K UHD resolution.
Price & Similar Monitors
Currently, the LG 32UK550 price ranges from $350 to $400, and it’s our top-recommended 32″ 4K monitor under $400 – $500 for pc/console gaming, entry-level content creation, and general multimedia entertainment.
It’s also available as the LG 32UL500, which is the same monitor but without a height-adjustable stand.
Alternatively, you may be interested in the ASUS VG289Q at this price range ($350). It is a 28″ sized 4K display, but it features an IPS panel with wider viewing angles, more accurate colors, and faster response time.
However, IPS panels have disadvantages of their own such as IPS glow, and they don’t have as high contrast as VA panels. So, be sure to go through both reviews to ensure you’re getting the best 4K monitor for you.
For more information and the best monitor deals, visit our comprehensive gaming monitor buyer’s guide.
The LG 32UK550 delivers a very immersive image quality for the money and it delivers smooth performance and plenty of useful features. If you want a 32″ 4K monitor, you can’t go wrong with the LG 32UK550 for the price.
|Resolution||3840×2160 (Ultra HD)|
|Aspect Ratio||16:9 (Widescreen)|
|Response Time||4ms (GtG)|
|Adaptive Sync||FreeSync (40Hz-60Hz)|
|Ports||DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI 2.0|
|Other Ports||Headphone Jack|
|Contrast Ratio||3000:1 (static)|
|Colors||1.07 billion (true 10-bit)|
- Good value for the price
- High contrast ratio and wide color gamut
- Crisp image quality due to high pixel density
- Plenty of features including FreeSync over HDMI
- Built-in speakers and height-adjustable stand
- No sRGB color gamut profile, Rec.709 will have to suffice for content creation
- Design lacks swivel and pivot options, the stand is prone to wobbling
- Minor ghosting in fast-paced games, mainly in darker scenes
- Viewing angles aren’t very wide