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Getting the best 4K monitor for either gaming, working or entertainment can be costly. Most of the time, you’re looking at spending upwards of $500 to $1,500 for a quality panel, but it doesn’t always have to be an expensive affair. Enter the LG 27UL500-W, a 27-inch 4K monitor for professionals and can be used for gaming as well.
Granted the 27UL500-W isn’t the most 4K monitor of your dreams, but it still delivers decent picture and other extras including AMD FreeSync support, to make it a worthwhile investment. If you’ve been looking to purchase a sub-$500 4K monitor that will, for the most part, check all the right boxes, this is it.
About the LG 27UL500-W
The LG 27UL500-W is one of the best budget 4K monitors around, and it gives you exactly that. Similar to the larger LG 32UN500-W, LG has cut a few corners on this monitor down to the bone to reach that sweet price. The result is a mid-sized monitor with a native 4K resolution and HDR compatibility, coming in at less than $500.
The 27UL500-W isn’t designed to compete with the best 4K gaming monitors, but its 60Hz Adaptive-Sync allows for some meaty casual gaming, and its image quality, for the most part, is impressive; so long as you don’t demand accurate color accuracy out of the box.
Here are the full specs of the LG 27UL500-W in this review:
|Panel Type / Backlight||IPS / LED|
|Screen Size / Aspect Ratio||27 inches / 16:9|
|Max Resolution & Refresh Rate||3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz|
|Native Color Depth & Gamut||8-bit + FRC, sRGB, HDR10|
|Response Time (GTG)||5ms|
|Max Brightness||300 nits|
|Connectivity||2x HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, 3.5mm jack|
|Power Consumption||Up to 41W|
This is an IPS panel – a terminology first introduced by LG – so you’re looking at superb color reproduction (sRGB 98%) and wide viewing angles. It boasts a 3840 x 2160 resolution, peak brightness of 300 cd/m2, 5ms response time and a refresh rate of 60Hz, and a typical contrast ratio of 1000:1. That’s way better than most 27-inch monitors in the sub-$300 range, making this a compelling display when flipping those spreadsheets.
If you want to do some serious gaming, you might have to look at something with a higher refresh rate than the LG 27UL500-W’s 60Hz and a lower response time than its 5ms. If you opt to game on this monitor, it does support AMD FreeSync which eliminates screen tearing when paired with an AMD graphics card. You can run G-Sync on FreeSync monitors without Nvidia’s certification, but performance isn’t guaranteed.
This monitor has HDR10 support, but its brightness peaks at only 300 nits. With HDR, you want to maximize brightness, and we’ve seen some monitors sit pretty in the 600-1,000 nit range. With the LG 27UL500-W, you’re not even hitting the lowest DisplayHDR spec, 400 nits. If you want the best HDR monitors or even something more immersive, you’ll have to spend a little more.
What We Like
Decent Build Quality
While the LG 27UL500-W isn’t the most stunning 4K monitor around, it nonetheless looks fine to us. The monitor arrives with a unique crescent-shaped stand that does a good job of managing cables. It’s sturdy and keeps the monitor very stable, but lacks any real ergonomic adjustment. Since you can’t adjust the swivel, height, or rotate the 27UL500-W, you can’t rely on this monitor for various setups. You can adjust the tilt, but that’s pretty standard even on cheap monitors.
Having said that, the display frame is constructed from a glossy black plastic that creates a contrast from the white plastic on the stand, meaning no metal in the build at all. Sure, the plastic looks and feels fine, but we’ve seen many other 4K monitors feature mostly metal builds – but they also command higher prices as a tradeoff. Bezels around the screen are reasonably thin and the gap between the screen is significantly small.
While I find the LG 27UL500-W to be slightly thick compared to some other 4K monitors, it comes with a minimal stand that allows it to sit close to a wall without too much fuss. Around the back, there are VESA 100×100 compatible homes, so you can decide to mount the monitor on a stand, and it’s lightweight. Overall, the build doesn’t offer anything outstanding, but it feels sturdy enough and seems like it will hold up just fine.
Sufficient for a 4K budget panel
Out of the box, color accuracy on the 27UL500-W is surprisingly good and will be sufficient for most professionals looking for ultimate accuracy. Even then, with a few adjustments and tweaking, the accuracy should suffice even for the most demanding users.
If you’re looking to use the LG 27UL500-W as a gaming monitor, the display will work fine for most games. For the most part, the motion looks good thanks to a fast response time, flicker-free backlight, and AMD FreeSync support, the 60Hz refresh isn’t the best. Most 4K games struggle to reach beyond 60Hz presently, making the monitor a little future-proof – at least until technology pushes 4K into the 120Hz space or beefy GPUs become affordable. The monitor’s 5ms GTG response is passable, but it further enhances competitive gaming.
In addition to decent color accuracy, LG includes a host of intuitive extras for getting the most out of your new 4K monitor, including a highly navigable menu and joystick control, that makes it easy to navigate the settings. Inside, the on-screen controls allow users to change typical things such as brightness, volume, and preset picture modes, and you can also access the Screen Split 2.0 and Dull Controller. Having the option for an on-screen menu means it’s convenient to adjust things instead of struggling with tons of buttons.
Other performance-enhancing features include Game Mode which allows users to select three modes depending on their game genre: two different FPS modes and one for real-time strategy games. You can also adjust settings with Black Stabilizer to get an edge, while the Dynamic Action Sync feature promises smooth, fluid gaming action with reduced latency and lag.
The inclusion of AMD’s FreeSync tech is the icing on the cake, it significantly reduces stuttering and screen tearing while helping maintain your frames per second (fps) within an acceptable range. This tech now works for Nvidia card owners as well, so it’s a win-win on both fronts.
What We Don’t Like
No Speakers or USB ports
To deliver the 27UL500-W at such a low price, LG had to cut some corners here and there. Those cost-savings are manifested in connectivity, whereby this monitor features only two HDMI 2.0 ports (require for the latest 4K gaming consoles) and a standard DisplayPort, alongside an analog 3.5mm audio out for connecting to external speakers or headphones.
Again, the monitor lacks any internal audio options, which is acceptable on LG’s part, since most of these built-in speakers are just passable at best. We just wish LG included some extra USB ports on the display for accessories, but that’s not a dealbreaker, since you can always connect those peripherals to your PC.
Mediocre blacks and backlight bleed
While this LG monitor offers decent image quality, it still struggles in terms of black uniformity. It’s not the worst we’ve seen, but the overall image in dark rooms suffers because of the prominent backlight bleed in each corner. In well-lit environments, it performs better with a decent peak brightness and Anti-Glare 3H coating on the screen that eliminates annoying reflections.
For gray uniformity, the 27UL500-W is much better as it doesn’t suffer from the horrible ‘dirty screen effect’ that will noticeably save a few small places. As a result, you expect this monitor to perform well for entertainment and gaming, though it lacks local dimming that would step up your 4K experience.
Elsewhere, viewing angles are adequate given the IS panel and should deliver solid image quality for users viewing it directly from the front. When viewed from off-angles, colors will inevitably shift, but it’s much better than any VA or TN panel.
Should you buy the LG 27UL500-W?
If you’re looking for a decent, entry-level 4K monitor for work and play, the LG 27UL500-W is a good option for the price.
For an entry-level 4K monitor, the LG 27UL500-W delivers excellent bang for the buck than most other 4K monitors out there. Scoring an inexpensive 27-inch 4K monitor with notable gaming features and FreeSync is not an easy task, but with this LG UHD monitor, you get more than that. As ever, LG did skimp on some features to make this monitor reachable – like USB or included speakers, but these aren’t dealbreakers considering how damn affordable it is in the end.
With a flexible budget, the LG 27GP950-B UltraGear is an impressive gaming monitor with a 4K resolution, 1ms response time, and a 144Hz refresh rate and is compatible with both Nvidia G-Sync and MAD FreeSync Pro and supports HDR 600. However, if your budget can’t stretch, the LG 27UL500-W is a solid value that’s easy to recommend.
For an entry-level 4K monitor, the LG 27UL500-W delivers excellent bang for the buck than most other 4K monitors out there, delivering decent image quality at a very reasonable price.
- Decent build quality
- Low input lag
- Adaptive sync included
- Lacks speakers and USB ports
- Middling blacks
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