Shiny Thing Syndrome Strikes Again!
I’m not entirely sure why I began looking at new monitors, but once the window shopping started, it was difficult to stop. Up until now, I’ve been using a Samsung 27″ curved monitor at 1080p and 60- 72Hz refresh rate which I’ve always been very impressed with, especially FreeSync over Display port. Before that, I was using a basic LG 23″ at 1080p and previous to that, an AOC 23″ at 1080p and even further back, an Asus 21″ VGA at only 1366p. It may have BEEN my recent GPU upgrade to a Radeon RX 5700 XT that prompted this extravagance or even a few gaming forums where other gamers are always talking up a native resolution of 1440p and the magical 144Hz refresh rate.
2K At 144Hz Was The Clincher
I researched dozens of monitors, even going up to 4K and since most of the time spent on my main PC is gaming, the general consensus was that 2K (2560×1440) with a refresh rate of 144Hz was the sweet spot. But would 32″ be too big, resulting in me having to move my head around because of the increase in size? Our first full HD TV was 32″, so I began to imagine something of that size sitting on my desk and somehow the whole idea seemed a little crazy. On the other hand, the TV had a thick 2″ bezel around it which made it look much bigger. Most new monitors are almost bezel-free, so that feature conveniently cancelled out my worries about bulkiness. As for FOV (field of view), I would have to suck it and see, since I didn’t know anyone else who had a monitor of that size.
144Hz refresh rate
I play a lot of games where the FPS (frames per second) often exceeds the capability of my monitor — 60- 72Hz — and often go as high as between 150- 200 FPS, but the monitor has a hard time catching up because of its native refresh rate. This was another reason for looking at 144Hz, so I put a tick next to that feature straight away. You can see where this is going, can’t you?
2K resolution – QHD
If you can keep up with all the abbreviations, apparently 2560 x 1440 is known as Quad High Definition (QHD) and as I’ve already mentioned, for gaming this is a sweet spot between Full HD (1080p) and Ultra High Definition (UHD) (4K).
QHD is four times the definition of old standard 720p HD, meaning you can fit the same number of pixels as four HD displays into a QHD display of the same size, namely 2560 x 1440 pixels.
But this resolution isn’t just for gaming because QHD combined with a 32″ monitor increases the screen ‘real estate’, allowing more screen pixels and a much sharper image. But would I see the pixels when sitting about two feet from the screen?
With my 27″ Samsung curved monitor, I used to see a fair bit of screen tearing even with FreeSync on, so I was hoping to find a permanent solution to this. The most common symptoms were blurry horizontal lines in the middle of the screen when playing certain games. Irritating yes, but certainly not a game killer. Perhaps a higher refresh rate combined with FreeSync would solve that issue once and for all?
The LG Was Reviewed As Best In Its Class
I watched dozens of YouTube reviews of similar monitors, read an equal number of articles on reputable websites, and the LG that I finally chose was generally considered to offer everything I wanted from a monitor of this size. In fact, the LG 32GK650F, which is part of the LG Ultra Gear line up, received glowing reviews across the board, mainly due to the following features:
- 31.5 QHD (2560 x 1440) Display
- 144Hz Refresh rate
- Radeon FreeSync
- Borderless Design
- Height Adjustable Stand with swivel and tilt
Now, buying high quality shiny things in Argentina is a lottery that requires loins to be girded and to be armed with a healthy dose of scepticism. Prices for the very same piece of kit can vary between 50 to 100%. Fortunately, I found a supplier selling at approximately $530, which isn’t too bad considering that Newegg and others in the US are selling it at around $400 plus shipping. The deal also included free next day delivery which in the end turned into the day after because one of the trucks broke down. Anyway, when it finally arrived, I was a little taken aback by the size of the box and my first thought was, “How the heck am I going to get that on my desk?”
Unboxing And Setting Up
The first thing that struck me was how heavy the monitor was and when I fitted the stand, which was an incredibly simple push-fit, I carried it to my desk, remarking on the weight of it including the stand, which is solid metal and very robust indeed.
I connected the monitor using the supplied Display Port cable, booted up the PC, was immediately gobsmacked at the amount of desktop space available and the incredible clarity of the panel. I then fired up Microsoft Flight Simulator and watched in awe as my 747 took off from Heathrow Airport– a very different experience to 1080p. I also dived into some of my other favourites including the Tomb Raider series, Far Cry 5, and Watch Dogs 2, and frankly, I was blown away by the performance of the monitor. No screen tearing whatsoever, not a hint of lag, and a perfect picture.
Monitors are very often the last on the upgrade list as far as I’m concerned, in spite of the fact that I stare at it for much of the day, so it’s a pleasant surprise to find that the experience is so much more than I expected. The menu system uses a tiny joystick hidden under the screen — it’s intuitive (unlike most screen menu systems which are generally crap) — and although I haven’t made any changes to the picture quality, there’s also a handy desktop version of the OnScreen Control for splitting the screen and numerous other functions.
All in all, I can honestly say that I’m delighted with this new monitor as it more than fulfills my expectations, not just in gaming, but also in everyday desktop use, like writing this article for instance.
But the big question remains. Will shiny thing syndrome strike again in the near future?
Okay, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It was a toss-up between this LG monitor and a major upgrade to the gaming PC itself. Can you guess?