LG 34UC89G Review: Pricey Gaming Monitor Packs in Features and Performance

The LG 34UC89G's feature set reads like a gaming monitor wishlist. It's got a 34-inch curved display, Nvidia G-Sync and refresh rates that go to 144Hz and beyond. Even the 2560 x 1080 resolution sounds great, right up until you get to the $899.99 price tag. Although not an exorbitant price, it's high enough to give us pause, and definitely makes us wish it gave us better resolution and connectivity options for the money. As it stands, it's still an excellent gaming monitor with superb performance, but you'll want to make sure you’re getting what you want at that price.

Design

The LG 34UC89G measures 32.3 x 17.5 x 11.0 inches with the stand installed. The display chassis is plastic, with a nearly black gray color that's highlighted with red accents on the stand and back side of the display. In addition to the included stand, the monitor is compatible with 100mm Vesa mounts, for hanging on a wall of attaching to an adjustable arm.

The included stand offers both angle and height adjustment, tilting between 20 degrees backward and 5 degrees forward, and raising from a height of 17.5 inches up to 22.3 inches high. It also has a few degrees of rotation, but it lacks the ability to rotate a full 90 degrees for vertical orientation, a feature that wouldn't be useful on a curved display. The stand also includes an optional clip-on cable management loop.

The 34-inch display stretches 32.3 inches horizontally, giving you an extra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio. With 2560 x 1080 resolution, that's one continuous expanse that is nearly equivalent to a pair of 1080p monitors side by side.

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The display is also curved, but not so much that you feel like the display is wrapped around you. Instead, the gentle curve of the screen is just enough to keep the far edges of the display positioned for best visibility, and provides a touch of immersion that a flat display can't quite match.

Ports & Interface

The 34UC89G is outfitted with both HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 video inputs, giving you your choice of high-resolution connections. The monitor comes with a 56-inch DisplayPort cable, but no HDMI cable – you’ll need to provide your own. While most graphics cards offer both HDMI and DisplayPort connections, the absence of USB-C/Thunderbolt makes the relatively new monitor feel a little dated. It would be nice to have the newer standard available, as more systems opt for the single connector.

The monitor has one upstream USB connection, which connects over USB-A 3.0 and comes with a 54-inch USB 3.0 A-B cable. It also boasts two downstream USB 3.0 ports. Both ports offer power for charging devices, making them ideal for peripherals that draw a fair amount of power. Again, USB 3.0 will be fine for many users, but the lack of a USB-C feels like an oversight.

A 3.5 millimeter headphone jack gives you connectivity for sound, but not a mic, so it doesn’t offer full compatibility with gaming headsets. The only other problem we had with the USB and audio connections was that they are all placed on the same I/O panel on the back of the monitor, near the stand. That placement requires you to not only reach around the back of the monitor, but also reach nearly a foot inward from the edge of the display. It would be far more convenient to have the USB ports mounted on the side of the display, where they could be reached without having to move the entire monitor.

Instead of a grouping of menu buttons along the edge of the display, LG gave the 34UC89G a 4-way joystick button for navigating the monitor's menu options. The stick can be clicked like a button, and uses up, down, left and right actions to move through menus and change settings. The one control lets you adjust speaker volume, switch between display modes, and adjust individual settings. While the single centralized input removes the confusion of fumbling at a collection of unlabeled buttons, it does take some getting used to.

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Thankfully, LG also offers an alternative called OnScreen Control, which lets you make all the same adjustments using your mouse. OnScreen Control does require a separate software installation, and can be downloaded for free from LG. The software-based controls add some functionality too, like personal display presets and a four-way screen split for snapping windows into position to take better advantage of the extra-wide monitor.

Performance

We put LG's monitor through its paces, using an Alienware Aurora R5 desktop outfitted with an Intel Core i7-6700K and an Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics card, which provided more than enough muscle to power the display's 2560 x 1080 resolution at impressively high frame rates. To get a sense for how the model performs with actual gameplay, we subjected it to thorough testing in GTA V, Batman: Arkham Knight and Elite Dangerous.

The 34UC89G has a few big things going for it, in addition to the wide, curved design. The first is the panel itself, which uses IPS technology for excellent viewing angles that keep images clear even when you're not centered in front of the display. While that's an important enough element for a flat-paneled display, it's doubly so for a curved model, where being even slightly off-center puts portions of the display at a pronounced angle. , The viewing angles here, however, are good enough that you can easily share the screen without worrying about weird color shifting.

The panel also benefits from great speeds, both in refresh rate and pixel response times. While connecting over HDMI will support standard 60Hz refresh rates, the DisplayPort offers 144Hz by default, and can be bumped up to 166Hz by switching to overclock mode.

The gentle curve of the screen is just enough to keep the far edges of the display positioned for best visibility, and provides a touch of immersion that a flat display can't quite match.

The other is the addition of Nvidia's G-Sync technology, an adaptive refresh solution that locks in the refresh rate to whatever the graphics card is outputting in order to eliminate stuttering and screen tearing. Although the speedy response times seemed to handle almost everything I threw at it, I did catch some noticeable tearing while playing Batman: Arkham Knight. Turning on G-Sync cleared it up immediately.

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In Batman: Arkham Knight, the Gotham skyline looked superb, with blinking city lights and glowing neon signs. Dark, shadowy scenes – which are Batman's milieu – looked good, with details coming through clearly even when viewing things like Batman's near-black suit in dark environments.

In GTA V, the display handled gameplay at 60Hz, with full 2560 x 1080 resolution. Whether I was racing stolen cars through a fictionalized Hollywood, or bleeding from a run-in with the police, the colors were true, the action smooth and the lighting effects looked good.

Lab and Benchmark Results

Lab testing bore out the excellent performance we saw in real-world testing. According to our Klein K-10A colorimeter, our review unit had a Delta-E color-accuracy score of 1.08 (lower numbers are better), which is better than we saw on either the Samsung CFG70 (2.26) or the Acer Predator X34 (1.77)., But it still isn't as good as the Alienware AW2518H Gaming Monitor (0.26).

The 34UC89G also boasted 126 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, offering slightly better color than we saw on the Alienware AW2518H (119), but trailing slightly behind the Samsung CFG70 (151).

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With an average brightness of 292 nits, it's also brighter than most, topping the 255-nit monitor average as well as the Samsung CFG70 (266 nits) and the Acer Predator X34 (261 nits). However, the Alienware AW2518H (370 nits) offers even better brightness.

In Batman: Arkham Knight, the Gotham skyline looked superb, with blinking city lights and glowing neon signs.

Finally, of particular importance in a gaming monitor is response time. The 34UC89G has a low 5 millisecond latency that should appeal to the most competitive gamer, giving it the slightest edge over  the Alienware AW2518H (16ms) and the Acer Predator X34 (9.7ms), while edging ahead of the 13.6 millisecond category average.

Modes and Special Features

The 34UC89G is  equipped with several gaming presets, each optimized for different genres and offering slight performance tweaks to suit your tastes. Two general "gamer" modes let you set your defaults with options to turn on G-Sync and turn on overclocking for better than 144Hz refresh rates. Two FPS modes are tailored to fast-paced shooters, with quicker response times and your choice of high or low settings for a  black stabilizer setting that lightens black levels without washing out other colors. For real-time strategy games, an RTS mode keeps the response time dialed up, but sets the black level in the middle, for a good balance of contrast and sharp detail.

Other game adjustments let you dial in your preferences with adjustments to black levels, an optional crosshair in the center of the screen, and the ability to quickly toggle features like overclocking and G-Sync. For more granular adjustments, you can head into the settings menu to adjust brightness, contrast, color temperature and other aspects of the display. Also important on an unusually shaped display is the ability to adjust your aspect ratio, with your choice of the original aspect ratio, a full-width mode that displays video in widescreen, regardless of the video signal input, and a 1:1 mode where the aspect ratio isn't adjusted.

Bottom Line

The LG 34UC89G offers a unique blend of performance and features, delivering overclocked refresh rates and quick response times in an ultrawide 34-inch curved monitor that boasts Nvidia G-Sync and excellent overall performance. If 1080p resolutions are OK with you, and money is no object, it's definitely worth checking out. But money is an issue for many, and while the LG 34UC89G would be an easy recommendation at a lower price, the $899.99 price tag will stop a lot of people right in their tracks.

If you don't want everything the LG 34UC89G offers, there are plenty of affordable options that will still get you most of the way there for much less. Our favorite curved display is the 24-inch Samsung CFG70, which has a regular-width display, but boasts excellent 1080p gaming with AMD FreeSync at a price that lets you buy two for less than the 34UC89G. The Alienware AW2518H is closer in price, but still sticks to a smaller 24-inch size., And the similarly specced Acer Predator X34 gives you similar dimensions and G-Sync support at a higher 1440p resolution – for a bit more money.

Credit: Tom's Guide

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  • wokej1996
    How did you reach 126 srgb spectrum?