It’s usually easy to tell a monitor’s design intent by its box art. Between the product photos and the different logos that appear, one can make out just what the LG expect the display is be doing. But the company has gone minimalist with the 32UD99’s carton. It clearly announces the Ultra HD resolution, IPS screen, and USB-C capability. And then there’s a rather cryptic graphic that says “HDR For PC”. That’s a bit confusing because the LG 32UD99 is fully-compatible with HDR10--a format not expressly designed for computer content. Not only that, it does a decent job displaying HDR10 content, especially given the modest price point.
The other thing missing from the box art is any mention of factory calibration. The LG 32UD99 is most assuredly a professional display, and has the data sheet to back that up. Not only does it offer DCI-P3, it nails the standard with an average error under 2dE, along with equally-accurate sRGB and Rec.709 modes. No calibration is necessary, at least in the case of our sample, but if you want to perform one, the OSD has all the necessary tools. And if a software-based calibration solution is preferred, LG can provide that as well.
We’re somewhat skeptical when an IPS panel with an edge backlight includes HDR. 1000:1 is nowhere near sufficient dynamic range for HDR. We don’t necessarily need to see a 1000-nit peak output, but black levels must be low for one to notice any effect from HDR content. LG has managed to tweak its IPS part to over 1400:1 native contrast, which is a new high in our experience. And despite the lack of a full-array backlight, the screen looks quite good when showing HDR material. It won’t compete with Dell’s UP2718Q, which is noticeably brighter, but it costs over 30% less than that screen while delivering a lot more screen area.
With solid professional cred and HDR abilities, most would consider the LG 32UD99’s feature set to be complete. But LG throws in FreeSync as a nice bonus. While serious gamers won’t be satisfied with the 60Hz refresh limit, this is a very nice monitor for casual players. Once we tweaked in-game detail levels to the right point, we had no complaints concerning gameplay.
For around $1,000 at this writing, LG has created a solid product with excellent performance and nice styling. It should appeal to professionals, casual gamers, and business users alike. It's certainly an investment, but if you can make use of its strengths across multiple use cases, it's one that should bring years of utility and enjoyment.
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