You'll recall that in our recent review of the ViewSonic XG2700-4K, we found a monitor that performed equally well as a gaming or a professional display. That panel includes a factory-certified calibration and blew away its competition in all tests of color accuracy. The LG34UC98 is another such product.
Gaming enthusiasts place motion processing and refresh rates above color accuracy and that is logical. No matter how good a monitor's color looks; frame tears, motion blur and poor input lag will quickly spoil the experience. The advent of adaptive refresh in the form of Nvidia's G-Sync and AMD's FreeSync has gone a long way towards addressing those concerns. But there's no reason we can't expect accurate color and good contrast, especially at the premium price level this monitor occupies.
The benchmark tests show the 34UC98 to have accurate and precise color, grayscale and gamma. Our sample matched its calibration data sheet perfectly and we would not hesitate to recommend this panel for professional use as long as sRGB is the desired color gamut. It's also one of only a handful of displays we've tested that doesn't require any adjustment other than the users' preferred brightness level. In the default Custom picture mode it measured so well there was no need for us to even attempt a calibration.
Even though curved screens have been available for two years now, their prices have stayed high. It's tough to swallow a $1000 monitor purchase when one can build a decent gaming rig for that amount. But a monitor should be considered more as a long-term investment. Display technology doesn't move as rapidly as other categories and the odds are that your monitor purchase won't become obsolete too quickly.
In the curved monitor segment it seems rather than letting prices fall, manufacturers have simply made their products better. There are now enough of them that we can choose how much curvature we want, the level of color accuracy we need, and which gaming features make the most sense for a particular application and user.
It's still a premium category to be sure but you are unlikely to wind up with a curved monitor you're unhappy with. We were initially concerned about the 34UC98's small FreeSync range but it turned out to be a minor issue. All one needs to do is turn down the detail level or pair it with a faster video card than our Radeon R9-285. Opting for the former did not diminish our playing experience one bit. Honestly, in games like Crysis 3 and Tomb Raider, the difference between High and Ultimate detail is so small that it escaped our notice. With a smooth tear-free framerate of 60-75fps coupled with one of the best overdrive implementations in the business, we loved playing games on it.
We'd like to see the FreeSync range expanded in both directions and perhaps a little better contrast, but other than that, we have no complaints. For its superb out-of-box accuracy and superior motion processing we're giving the LG 34UC98 our Tom's Editor Approved Award.