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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.

Grayscale Tracking And Gamma Response

Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.

We're not accustomed to seeing gaming monitors ship with factory calibrations but this is now the second such product to cross our doorstep. There is absolutely nothing that needs to be done here. RGB controls are provided in the OSD but if 6500K is your goal, your work is done.

There are 10 other picture modes available so we thought we'd check out FPS Game 1. It's not vastly different from Custom but it adds a bit of blue to the higher brightness levels. This gives the impression of more punch but doesn't actually increase light output. Color adjustments are locked out in this mode and if you return to Custom, any changes you've made are retained.

Here is our comparison group.

We have only a single DeltaE value to report since no actual calibration was performed other than adjusting brightness to 200cd/m2. .63 is a number more often associated with professional screens like the U3415W. This is what we expect from a premium-priced factory-calibrated display.

After calibration all the monitors here achieve a high level of accuracy. We wouldn't necessarily expect gaming screens to compete with professional products in the color fidelity department but at these prices, it's nice to see nonetheless.

Gamma Response

Custom mode defaults to the Gamma 1 preset, which hits 2.2 practically on the nose. You can make the picture darker or lighter by selecting Gamma 0 or Gamma 2. Solid tracking like this helps offset the 34UC98's relatively low contrast.

In the FPS Game 1 mode, a little boost has been given to shadow detail. Output levels are just a little higher from 10 to 40 percent. This will make dark scenes easier to resolve but it also flattens the image somewhat. We still believe Custom is the best mode for all uses including gaming.

Here is our comparison group again.

A .08 value-variation indicates very tight gamma tracking. It's exceeded only by the AMVA-based BenQ XR3501, which has some of the best gamma of any monitor in any category. This LG isn't far behind though and visually, it's a wash.

We calculate gamma deviation by simply expressing the difference from 2.2 as a percentage.

Values are a bit under 2.2 at brighter levels resulting in an average of 2.15. We're nit-picking here for sure but when one considers spending $1000 on a monitor, small details can make a difference.

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.