★★★★★ £480 • From www.amazon.co.uk
LG’s gently curved 34UC79G is great for gaming and comes at an extremely competitive price
ULTRA-WIDE GAMING monitors usually come with a high price, making them inaccessible to those on a tight budget. The LG 34UC79G is more expensive than a standard office monitor, but by gaming monitor standards, this 34in, 144Hz 2,560x1,080 screen is pretty reasonable, especially considering its specifications.
This does mean that some corners have been cut, specifically with regards to manufacturing. The build quality is low for a £400-plus display; when we extracted it from the box, we immediately noticed how flimsy and plasticky the stand was, which is less than ideal considering how large the monitor is.
It isn’t that flexible, either. The stand allows you to tilt the screen by -5 to 20 degrees and adjust its height by up to 120mm, but its inability to pivot is frustrating when you want to adjust it quickly. Fortunately, you can replace the stand, since the monitor is 100x100mm VESA-compatible, but we’d still expect better than this.
Around the back of the stand is a clip-on cable holder, which is handy for cable routing, but there’s no headphone arm for your PC headset to sit on.
On a more positive note, the 34UC79G has thin bezels at the side and the top of the monitor, which lends the screen a pleasingly minimalist look. The monitor also has a subtle curvature, which provides a slightly more cinematic, immersive viewing experience than a regular flat monitor would. However, this isn’t the dramatic 1500R curvature you’ll find on the Samsung CF791 (Shopper 356).
To connect the monitor, there’s one DisplayPort 1.2 and a pair of HDMI 2 ports situated on the left-hand side of the rear panel. Two USB3 ports, a headphone jack and a line out jack can also be found here.
The monitor’s onscreen display (OSD) is accessed via a set of physical buttons on the bottom of the screen. Through the OSD, you can adjust the brightness and contrast, enable Super Resolution+ (used for upscaling), DFC (Digital Fine Contrast, for dynamic contrast), change the response time, adjust RGB colour values and gamma and enable 1ms Motion Blur Reduction.
The LG 34UC79G also has support for AMD FreeSync (covering the 50-144Hz range over DisplayPort), meaning if you have an AMD graphics card you can get tear-free gaming on games running between 50fps and 144fps. This can also be toggled via the OSD.
The 34UC79G employs a 2,560x1,080 IPS panel that runs natively at 144Hz. Unfortunately, the monitor doesn’t come with an sRGB mode, which means that its colour accuracy out of the box for image and video editing leaves much to be desired. In our tests we found that it covers only 85.2% of the sRGB colour gamut in Custom mode, and has a pretty poor delta-E of 4.65.
It isn’t the brightest screen at maximum settings, reaching a mere 251cd/m2, and this is further reduced when you switch on the 1ms Motion Blur Reduction option through the OSD, limiting the maximum brightness to around 130cd/m2. That’s too dark for gaming or watching movies in anything other than a darkened room. On the plus side, its low 0.19cd/m2 black level (measured at full brightness) and 1,269:1 contrast ratio are good, and subjectively we found the monitor’s ability to display deep blacks and vibrant colours impressive. What’s more, despite colour accuracy being far from perfect, that’s not so important for playing games – here, images look vibrant and sufficiently saturated. The LG 34UC79G even keeps a lid on backlight bleed, which we’ve seen cause problems on other ultra-wide monitors, such as the AOC AGON AG352QCX (Shopper 353). Running at 1080p and 144Hz, the LG 34UC79G is a fast monitor, meaning you can enjoy ultrasmooth gameplay, especially if you have a compatible AMD FreeSync graphics card. We found the monitor’s 5ms G2G (grey-to-grey) response time to be positively affected by enabling the Fast Response Time setting through the OSD. There’s minimal inverse ghosting, too, meaning no distracting purple trails.
Perceived input lag is low for a monitor of its size as well. Playing fast-paced competitive games won’t be a problem on the 34UC79G, which isn’t something we can say for all curved gaming monitors.
At £480, the LG 34UC79G is the most affordable ultra-wide gaming monitor we’ve tested
When you switch on the aforementioned 1ms Motion Blur Reduction mode, the monitor’s maximum brightness drops significantly. On the plus side, this does completely eliminate blurring, but it’s not really a sacrifice worth making.
At £480, the LG 34UC79G is the most affordable ultra-wide gaming monitor we’ve tested yet. It provides unparalleled gaming performance for the money, while its colour presentation is vibrant and pleasing to the eye.
Granted, build quality isn’t great, and it doesn’t have the most accurate panel nor the highest brightness levels. Still, that doesn’t take away from the fact that there’s an awful lot of gaming monitor here for a relatively reasonable amount of money. If you’re a frequent gamer looking to spend less than £500 on an ultra-wide monitor, there aren’t many that compete with the LG 34UC79G.