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LG 34UC98 34-inch Curved FreeSync Monitor Review

Today we're checking out LG's latest curved gaming monitor: the 34UC98. It's an IPS screen with 3440x1440 pixels, FreeSync, a 75Hz max refresh rate and MaxxAudio-tuned speakers.

Packaging, Physical Layout And Accessories

Curved monitors require a little extra carton depth to protect their delicate screens. LG has surrounded the 34UC98 with dense foam while keeping the box to a more manageable size. Further efficiency comes from packaging the upright and base separately; you'll have to assemble them yourself. The base screws on with two captive bolts and the upright snaps onto the panel for a secure fit.

Included in the box are white accessories to match the monitor's trim color. The power supply is an external brick. Video connectivity is supported by heavy-duty HDMI and DisplayPort cables. FreeSync is supported only over the latter interface. You also get a printed quick start guide along with a CD that contains a user manual and desktop control software.

Product 360

The base has a metal core covered by high-quality silver plastic. It looks slender in photos but it's actually quite solid and holds the panel in place with no play whatsoever. The upright is covered in bright white plastic that has a nice soft feel to it. Styling is simple and clean. The 34UC98 will be equally at home on PC or Mac desktops. When there is no picture, the panel appears to be border-free but there is a thin .4-inch frame around the image when the power is on.

The anti-glare coating is a 3H hardness layer that keeps all but the harshest reflections from affecting the clear and sharp image. Controls are all integrated into a single tiny joystick found under the LG logo at the bezel's center. It moves in four directions and can be clicked. Menus appear on the screen telling you how to navigate the OSD. It's very intuitive and much like what we've seen on previous LG products. We prefer this arrangement over buttons. The stick is surrounded by a soft-glowing white LED that casts a little light on your desktop for a nice effect. You can turn this feature off if you wish.

Curved monitors won't win any awards for slimness but LG gives that impression by packing most of the guts into a bulge on the panel's lower half. The excellent stand is adjustable for height and tilt but not swivel. A small cable clip attaches to the upright to keep your desk tidy.

The 34UC98 curves smoothly across its back but leaves a flat area in the middle to attach the stand. Underneath the plate is a 100mm VESA mount and the bolts are included, which is a nice touch. With an external power brick, there isn't much inside the chassis to generate heat so the vents are hidden on the bottom. They also serve as grills for the better-than-average seven-watt speakers. Sound quality is further enhanced by tuning from MaxxAudio.

Inputs face rearward and there are quite a few choices here. You get two HDMI 2.0 ports, which is nice to see. Many new monitors still ship with version 1.4. The single DisplayPort is 1.2 and the only way to use FreeSync with the 34UC98. Mac users will find uses for the two Thunderbolt 2.0 ports, which offer speeds up to four times that of USB 3.0. For PCs there are two USB 3.0 downstream ports, one of which includes quick charge functionality. Finally, there is a single headphone output just above the DC input.

  • 3ogdy
    Nice article! There is a big problem though. LG is usually and unfortunately selling FALSE and FAKE advertising. They put unrealistic pictures of their products on the Internet, on the product's web page and even on the product's box itself. I see that, despite reviewing this screen you haven't provided a single picture of this product taken in real life (unlike those LG promotes the product with...cough, fooling its customers into believing the image goes from edge to edge only for them to find out there are thick black edges all around the screen, cough) - with the screen turned on.
    Given how the screen looks like, I'm sure they keep promoting this "borderless" bullshit. Next time you review LG monitors, PLEASE take pictures of the screen turned on.

    They literally mentioned their bezels were 1.2mm thick. Guess what, they are actually...wait for it... about 950% bigger - 11mm wide in reality.

    Have a look for yourself at the results
    Reply
  • darth_adversor
    Price tag seems excessive for such a small FreeSync range.

    What happens if you exceed 75 fps (i.e. you have a high-end video card, or you're playing a graphically less demanding game)? Can't screen tearing also occur when your fps exceed the monitor's refresh rate?

    I've had my gaming PC hooked up to an HDTV for the past several years, considering going back to an actual monitor.

    Currently, I use a program called DXtory to limit my fps to 60, I've found that to be superior to v-sync, AMD's FRTC, and/or just letting the framerate run wild. I wonder if that would also work with a FreeSync monitor.

    Anyway, great review!
    Reply
  • Larry Litmanen
    I have a Dell U3415W, also 1440P, also has speakers and also Widescreen in 34 inches, rated by Toms as one of the best monitors for 2015..................Costs $650 or so.
    Reply
  • 3ogdy
    18044039 said:
    I have a Dell U3415W, also 1440P, also has speakers and also Widescreen in 34 inches, rated by Toms as one of the best monitors for 2015..................Costs $650 or so.

    I subscribe.
    I happen to be the owner of a Dell UltraSharp U2515H and the image quality is exquisite. It's 1440p too, although only 25". My next monitors will definitely be Dell.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    55Hz to 75Hz Freesync range?

    WTF?

    So you get the smooth game advantage ONLY if your frame rate is between 55FPS and 75FPS.

    That SUCKS.

    It means when you go above or below this value you either have VSYNC ON or VSYNC OFF. So you might get screen tearing every type you drop below 55FPS, but hitting 75FPS might force VSYNC ON so suddenly you have some added lag (a bit more sluggish).

    *Far better to just NOT have the feature likely.

    If they'd done 30Hz to 75Hz Freesync range then the low-end would have at least been fine as you'd be in asynchronous mode any time you are below 75FPS. In fact, you could just set a CAP near 70FPS and stay in asynchronous mode all the time, but nooooo.

    Basically they must have SAVED A BIT OF MONEY by not supporting the ideal 2.5X minimum ratio for asynchronous range (75/30) so they could put the FREESYNC stamp on the monitor.

    GSYNC might be more expensive but NONE of their monitors have this problem at least.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    To Darth_Adversor->
    Setting a cap of 60FPS would mean the GPU outputs a max of 60FPS and that is VSYNC OFF so you will get screen tearing though it may not be obvious for some games (it varies).

    If it is a Freesync monitor and 60FPS is within the asynchronous range then the game should be smooth because the GPU dictates when the monitor updates so you don't get screen tear or added latency.

    If it is a Freesync monitor and the range is less than 2.5X (75/30) you have VSYNC ON or VSYNC OFF (but not Freesync) if you drop below the minimum. If the range was 40Hz to 75Hz then any time you are below 40FPS you might get screen tear (or stutter if VSYNC is forced back ON).

    If it's a normal 60Hz monitor then you simply limit the frame rate to one that matches the monitor. Since VSYNC is OFF you don't get the added latency of buffering to synchronize with the next refresh cycle (every 1/60th second), however you also aren't synchronizing when the frame updates either so you will get screen tearing.
    Reply
  • rockstar_7
    Nice article! There is a big problem though. LG is usually and unfortunately selling FALSE and FAKE advertising. They put unrealistic pictures of their products on the Internet, on the product's web page and even on the product's box itself. I see that, despite reviewing this screen you haven't provided a single picture of this product taken in real life (unlike those LG promotes the product with...cough, fooling its customers into believing the image goes from edge to edge only for them to find out there are thick black edges all around the screen, cough) - with the screen turned on.
    Given how the screen looks like, I'm sure they keep promoting this "borderless" bullshit. Next time you review LG monitors, PLEASE take pictures of the screen turned on.
    Nice article! There is a big problem though. LG is usually and unfortunately selling FALSE and FAKE advertising. They put unrealistic pictures of their products on the Internet, on the product's web page and even on the product's box itself. I see that, despite reviewing this screen you haven't provided a single picture of this product taken in real life (unlike those LG promotes the product with...cough, fooling its customers into believing the image goes from edge to edge only for them to find out there are thick black edges all around the screen, cough) - with the screen turned on.
    Given how the screen looks like, I'm sure they keep promoting this "borderless" bullshit. Next time you review LG monitors, PLEASE take pictures of the screen turned on.

    If you have the latest AMD drivers, just turn the Auto Scaling on.

    This will fix those black bars that you see thanks to your ignorance.
    Reply
  • awez
    Just want to mention that i have the LG 29um67 Ultra wide HD freesync screen and man can i tell you guys it opened a whole new immersive world of gaming for me coming from a 16:9 24" screen. Feels like a cinema experience. Also i found it to be very practical for work.

    I'll never go back to 16:9 aspect ratios :)
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Pfft. Curved monitors are for curved eyeballs. ...oh, wait.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    As usual for LG, overpriced garbage.

    Reply