A monitor fanatic I am not. I recognise the difference between TN and IPS and so on but I don’t typically get excited over the colour reproduction of one or the response time of another. Value to me is the key. Though typically for me that means bigger for cheaper for the most part.
For a long time I have been rocking the cheap but decent performing 24 inch Zowie RL2455 1080p 60Hz TN monitors for both Tantalus and ZPM. If you want to know more about the specs of those systems see the “About” page above. There really is nothing wrong with the RL2455’s though they are basically discontinued for higher refresh versions now. When I purchased them they were $199 CAD each. That was a steal. Colour reproduction was fine though nothing like an IPS. And to be honest, it didn’t matter a lot to me.
What did matter about the RL2455s was the size. 24 inches was was starting to feel small to me. Which is crazy because I used to game on an 22 inch LG 1080p IPS monitor originally.
So I started watching sales. This LG 34WL500-B kept popping up on deep discount all the time and I started looking into it. The reviews are ho-hum. Most say it’s fine but not great.
I’s almost agree with that statement if the monitor cost $500 or more CAD. But it doesn’t. Typically it’s on sale for under $350 CAD which is how I got my hands on one.
LG says it’s HDR10 compatible along with AMD Freesync and has a maximum refresh rate of 75Hz at a maximum resolution of 2560×1080. So I was gaining in almost every spec here execpt the response time which went up to 5ms from 1ms on the RL2455.
Lets talk about the monitor physically for a moment. It has really nice construction through if your surface isn’t particularly secure you may notice the monitor moving a bit while typing. Not in a way that it would fall over just some small movement. Hardly a deal breaker. The design is quite minimalist. There is only one physical button but it’s similar to recent Samsung monitors to where its sort of 4-way directional D-Pad style stick with a push in button to select settings. More on that later. Around the front the big thing nowadays is to claim that your monitor is bezel-less. This is just as absurd as the claim that you have a full screen on your phone but theres a hold in it for camera. Stupid claim. There is a border around the whole screen that is indeed not covered by a bezel but come on. That’s still a bezel. There are two HDMI connections on the back though I would have liked to see a displayport there as well.
Firing up the 34WL500 we are greeted with an LG logo then a blank screen. I don’t know what the issue was but it took quite a few attempts for the screen to take on a signal from my computer on either hdmi input. But it works great now.
There really is no need to install the LG software though it does offer some interesting settings. You can set all the settings in the software that are available in the monitor itself plus one really interesting feature. If you have two systems connected you can set the screen to have both systems displayed on the monitor at once. I have not tested this feature but it is a nice thing to have.
Colour on tthe 34WL500 is very good. IPS is still king for colour and it was nice to see that compared to my old RL2455. Is it truly capable of HDR10? Perhaps it can produce the colour necessary but there’s no way it can produce the light needed. That is to say its not a dim monitor. It’s perfectly fine in an office though I expect in direct sunlight it could have issues (but who’s going to have one of these outside?). Also the brightness required by HDR10 I think would seriously hurt your eyes. Seriously guys, stop complaining about not being blinded by your monitors. Eyesight is useful. Don’t waste it. Viewing angles are fine though I gotta say they were just as good on my RL2455 monitor (which says a lot for how good those TN panels actually were).
Gaming on the 34WL500 is great. Sure its no 240Hz monstor IPS panel with bleeding brightness and so on but it gets the job done better than anything else I’ve ever had. The response time is fine for anything I play and that include World of Warships, World of Warcraft Shadowlands, American Truck Simulator and Forza Horizon (whatever the latest is :D).
As for Freesync this was interesting to set up. I am running this monitor through a GTX 1070 Ti which up until a short time ago would not support Freesync. Nvidia has opened up adaptive sync on their cards to Freesync and this was nice to see. I didn’t know if this would work over HDMI. But it does! With a caveat. Some game seem to not support it correctly. To enable adaptive sync you have to set it to “On” or “Enabled” in the Nvidia control panel and that is well hidden when the monitor you are using is not officially supported by Nvidia. Believe me though, it is there if you dig. All of the games I mentioned earlier support adaptive sync except for World of Warships. It just will not work with it and as such you get screen tearing. The other games play at a silky smooth 75Hz at full resolution since they don’t require a ton of power to play.
One of the considerations when you buy this screen is how much desk real estate it takes up. It takes up nearly one whole side of my L-shaped desk. That and between my other RL2455 connected to ZPM my desk is pretty full. Down the road that other RL2455 will be retired and ZPM will be connected to the LG as well. But that’s another story. Also consider that this is not a curved screen so you may need to sit a bit further back to get the full benefits of such a large monitor.
Something else I really like about the monitor is the extra room to do work. It was really handy for podcasting as I could monitor Audacity on one side and have my show notes on the other. It’s still useful even after I stopped podcasting though as having the ability to have two different programs open at a time on the screen and still be usable makes doing things that much easier.
Right now the 34WL500 is selling for around $380 CAD on Amazon which is still decent but LG discounts it frequently and I would recommend waiting for that time. That said, I am very happy with this monitor and I can recommend it to anyone that would like to get some work done, watch a bluray in HDR and play some games. It’s a great experience for the money spent.