LG ushered in the curved ultra-wide display genre with its 34UC97 just a little over two years ago. Since then the category has seen new models from every major manufacturer offering 34", 35", and recently 38" screens; vertical resolutions ranging from 1080 to 1600 pixels; IPS and VA panels; and of course, high refresh rates with adaptive refresh. Most of these have come at premium prices however. Early screens required a $1000 or higher cost of entry, and there has been little movement on that score.
But recently we’ve seen a couple of models break that barrier. A few weeks ago, we looked at AOC’s C3583FQ. That VA panel impressed us with its high contrast, 160Hz refresh rate, and FreeSync that works down to 45 FPS. Today we’re checking out a new IPS display from LG: the 34UC79G.
First we’ll talk about the specs that might give some users pause. Yes, the resolution is 2560x1080 and FreeSync only works down to 50Hz. But if you’ve read our other reviews of 1080p gaming monitors then you know we favor things like contrast, color accuracy, and motion processing quality over resolution. We’d rather have a smooth experience free of tears, stuttering, and ghosting over a high pixel count any day.
The 34UC79G is one of the few FreeSync monitors to offer Low Framerate Compensation (LFC). Because its max refresh is more than two-and-a-half times the minimum, it can buffer additional frames when the rate drops below 50Hz and therefore avoid switching out of adaptive refresh mode. Coupled with lower resolution, that means users with more modest systems will enjoy the same smooth experience when the action dips below 50 FPS.
Based on what AMD has published, and our own visual observation, LFC monitors the render rates and then repeats frames adaptively in order to fool the monitor into thinking the refresh rate is still above 50Hz. That way, tearing is never a factor and you won’t have to resort to latency increasing V-Sync to keep the action flowing.
Aside from this extremely attractive feature, the 34UC79G sports an IPS panel with a factory-certified calibration (for grayscale and gamma only), 144Hz, blur-reduction in the form of a backlight strobe, a subtle 3800mm-radius curve, OSD joystick, and new styling that announces its gaming intent. And the price? $699 from LG’s website. It certainly seems to offer a lot for the money. Let’s take a look.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
LG is the master when it comes to protecting curved monitors from the rigors of shipping. The panel is completely surrounded by foam blocks and a sturdy double-corrugate box. The upright and base are wrapped separately and must be assembled. No tools are needed. Attach the base with two captive bolts and snap the panel on and you’re set.
Bundled cables include HDMI and DisplayPort. The power supply is a moderately-sized brick with a detachable power cord. You also get a calibration data sheet that certifies each panel for grayscale and gamma accuracy. Color tests are not included. A CD with supporting software and a user manual round out the package.
The styling of past LG curved ultra-wide displays has been aimed squarely at Apple users with their white trim and sleek, understated lines. The 34UC79G takes aim at a different target: Asus’ ROG line. The black chassis with not-so-subtle red accents could easily be mistaken for a Republic of Gamers product, minus the molded-in spaceship hull features of course. A balanced mix of shiny and matte-finished plastic is used with texture in all the right places, and the bezel is free of buttons or LEDs. Control and power status are in the centrally mounted joystick, a feature we’ve come to expect and enjoy from LG’s ultra-wide displays.
From the top, you can see the subtle 3800mm-radius curve. It strikes a great balance between gaming immersion and workaday practicality. You won’t see any image distortion in your word processor or spreadsheet, but a richly detailed gaming environment will seem to wrap around you as it fills your peripheral vision.
The subtle curve means a slimmer side profile. The panel is only three inches thick, which means a wall mount won’t look too strange. That can be accomplished by unsnapping the upright and installing a bracket into the 100mm VESA mounting lugs. Just be sure to provide clearance for the rear-facing input panel.
Speaking of inputs, there are two HDMI 2.0 connectors. They can be switched to version 1.4 in the OSD if you have compatibility issues. The DisplayPort is version 1.2. Both digital interfaces support the max 144hz refresh rate. The USB hub is version 3.0 and includes one upstream and two downstream ports. Analog audio is supported by a 3.5mm input and a headphone output.
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