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LG 34WK650 Monitor Review: Ultra-Wide Gaming Value

Viewing Angles, Uniformity, Response & Lag

Viewing Angles

The 34WK650 has excellent off-axis image quality. From the side, we saw a slight shift to blue but output only fell by about 20 percent at 45 degrees. This is better than many AHVA (advanced hyper-viewing angles) panels we’ve reviewed. The vertical plane went quite dark at 45 degrees, with a red shift, loss of detail and about 70 percent brightness reduction. But at normal viewing angles and seating distances, this LG excels.

Screen Uniformity

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At under  $400, we didn’t expect to see uniformity compensation included, and the 34WK650 clearly doesn’t need it. A 5.46 percent result in the black field test ranks among the very best of all the monitors we’ve ever measured. There was no hint of bleed or glow in our sample. All zones were visibly perfect in relation to one another. The white field showed the same high level of quality with a 7.44 percent result; it can’t get much better than that.

Pixel Response & Input Lag

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We wouldn’t recommend this display for serious competition, but most gamers of average to high skill will have little trouble racking up frags. With its 2,560x1,080 resolution, it won’t place high demands on your graphics card, either. It should offer a balanced gaming experience with modest systems.

The 34WK650 has decent gaming cred with a 75Hz refresh rate and AMD's FreeSync variable refresh. At this price, it has no equals among ultra-wides. A 14ms draw time is about what we’d expect from a 75Hz panel, as is the total lag time of 45ms.

Gaming With FreeSync

The first thing most people consider when shopping for gaming monitors is resolution. It’s true the 34WK650 is essentially a Full HD monitor with extra width. But just how much better is the experience with those extra pixels; is it two or three times better? We say no. But the cost savings here cannot be ignored. Not only is this LG screen's price half that of the competition, it runs beautifully with cheap video cards like our Radeon R9 285. With Tomb Raider set to Ultra detail (one down from the max), we played all day at 65-75 frames per second (fps) with overdrive set to Fastest. There were no frame tears or ghosting, and lag was imperceptible. The experience can only be bettered by a mega-system running at 100fps or higher on a Quad HD (resolution of 2,560x1,440) monitor. And even then only slightly, we'd argue.

Contrast is equal to the best IPS panels we’ve reviewed, which helps you forget you’re only looking at 2.76 megapixels. And thanks to our color-accurate calibration, we never had to reach for the gaming modes or the black stabilizer. Shadow detail was always prominent, and we didn’t have to strain to see the finest shades or tiniest objects. Irregular textures like rocks and trees popped out realistically enough to provide an almost tactile experience. After our time spent playing on the 34WK650, we can only think of a few superior gaming monitors that all cost a lot more. You won’t find a better gaming ultra-wide for $400.

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