The monitor brings productivity improvements and a great gaming experience
Cheap for an ultrawide monitor, high refresh rate, great black levels, accessible settings menu.
Low brightness and colour accuracy, limited stand adjustments.
Unlike most gaming displays, the LG UC79G uses an IPS panel, which performs very well on colour and viewing angles, and reasonably on contrast, but has higher response times than either the low-end TN or high-end VA types. However, the panel is specced at a 144Hz refresh rate with an 8ms response time, and the display features Motion Blur Reduction, so this was never an issue.
It is very unusual to see a modern display without an sRGB mode, but again the LG UC79G surprised us - although not in a good way. The lack of sRGB in Custom mode means that out-of-the-box colour accuracy is poor, and calibration is required to raise the display to an appropriate level. We didn't have access to an external calibrator when performing our review, and can only say that the monitor looked very good - in some modes. The standard (Custom) was not one of these, and other outlets found an underwhelming 85 per cent sRGB coverage and a Delta E higher than 4.5 (0 being best). To be fair, other sources not using the Custom mode recorded much more impressive values, such as a Delta E of 2.17 and 95 per cent sRGB (FPS 1).
A note on colour gamuts: sRGB is the default gamut used on many displays today; it occupies the smallest part of the CIE 1936 chromaticity diagram (below), compared to other gamuts like Adobe RGB or Rec.2020. This means that it is easy to match, but displays that only use sRGB cannot show the best, brightest colours. The fact that LG's monitor is far from compliance in the standard mode is disappointing but fixable.
Brightness is slightly lower than the common 300 cd/m², but unless you're playing in direct sunlight, this won't be a problem. Even then, the very low 0.2 cd/m² black levels and high 1,200:1 contrast ratio - better than many LCD displays that we have seen - will provide some counter. Turning on Motion Blur Reduction cuts maximum brightness to closer to 130 cd/m², which really does require a dark room. Luckily, the measured 8ms response time (full on to full off) is low enough that the feature is not really necessary for most users.
From a purely subjective point of view, we were impressed with the monitor's performance and ability to replicate very dark scenes without losing contrast. The screen is aimed at gamers, who are much more concerned with black levels, contrast and response times than colour accuracy, so this makes sense. Ghosting and tearing were not an issue, even pushing the screen up past 70fps.
The LG UC79G makes a real impact on the ultra-wide monitor market, with excellent specs and more-than-acceptable real-world performance, for a (comparatively) low price. The resolution might be lower than the 3440x1440 seen on similar displays, but gamers value smoothness over pixel count; LG has clearly focused its efforts in the right area for its target market.
Even ignoring the other features, smaller screens cannot compare to the extra action visible with a 21:9 display. We did play around with Motion Blur Reduction in some fast-paced games, and found it one of the best that we've tested: although brightness was cut (this is due to the backlight strobing necessary to enable the feature), contrast wasn't unduly affected.
Build quality and colour accuracy are the features that let the monitor down the most, but really, these are minor concerns for gamers. If you want a gaming monitor that can compete with the high-priced competition, for less than £500, LG has you covered.