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LG 32UD99 Ultra HD HDR FreeSync Monitor Review

Viewing Angles, Uniformity, Response & Lag

Viewing Angles

It seems that the LG 32UD99’s new IPS panel doesn’t sacrifice viewing angles for contrast like VA screens typically do. Our photos look like those we’ve seen from typical examples of IPS screens. Detail is solid in the darker steps, with a green shift to the sides and a brightness falloff around 40%. Gamma in the vertical plane looks better than most with all steps clearly visible and a slight blue hue. This monitor is a good candidate for multi-screen desktop setups.

Screen Uniformity

To learn how we measure screen uniformity, please click here.

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The LG 32UD99 offers uniformity compensation, but when we measured its effect, it reduced output and contrast by nearly half. This is an unacceptable compromise in our opinion. With the unaided 12.71% black and 10.11% white field results posted by our sample, we see no need to sacrifice that much dynamic range for a slight improvement in uniformity. In real-world content, we didn't notice any major bleed, glow, or hotspots. In the black field pattern, we could see a little extra brightness in the upper-left corner, but only barely. The white field looked perfect our eyes. A 1.54de variation in color values also means there are no visible color shifts in an 80% gray pattern.

Pixel Response & Input Lag

Please click here to read up on our pixel response and input lag testing procedures.

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Finding the LG 32UD99 on a list of FreeSync-capable monitors might attract the attention of gaming enthusiasts, but with a 40-60Hz range and max refresh of 60Hz, a dedicated gaming monitor will still be the better choice for discerning gamers. It's also true that adaptive-sync displays are rare at Ultra HD resolution, so that is a point in LG’s favor. When the numbers come in, response and lag are on par with every other 60Hz business or professional-class display. 65ms total lag is acceptable for casual play and a 25ms response means average motion blur. If you are a serious competitive gamer, this monitor is not for you. We however enjoyed playing on it.

Gaming With FreeSync

Adaptive-sync aside, playing games on an Ultra HD monitor requires a powerful graphics card. Our FreeSync system and its Radeon R9 285 won’t cut it on demanding modern games unless we drop detail levels far down from the highest settings. Of course, that 60fps limit is still a factor no matter how much graphics power you have here. But once framerates drop below 40fps with this screen, you'll see screen tearing and stuttering.

Tomb Raider is a very adaptable title for testing purposes. It looks very good regardless of the graphics settings. We dialed the action down from Ultimate to High and saw very little difference in quality. By keeping the action between 50 and 60fps, we could play smoothly without significant lag. Multiplayer scenarios will likely suffer though as their pace is far more frenetic. We would venture to say that no Ultra HD monitor is suitable for competitive gaming. You really need to be at or above 100fps to hold your own against other human players.

Though the LG 32UD99's FreeSync range is small, it’s sufficient at this resolution given current hardware constraints. The monitor's overdrive works well at its highest setting. There is still some blur, but that is a function of framerate, not video processing. We saw no ghosting at all, nor were there any other artifacts to speak of. After spending a lot of time with 240Hz monitors though, this one seems like a step backwards. The extra resolution doesn’t enhance gameplay as much as high framerates do. Ultra HD is, for now at least, more beneficial for static and video content. Gaming will still be most enjoyable on a high-speed FHD or QHD monitor.

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Christian Eberle
Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors.