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LG 34WK650 Review: 34-Inch UltraWide HDR FreeSync Gaming Monitor Under 400 USD

By June 17, 2018 No Comments
lg 34wk650 review 2018

Introduction

Looking for the best gaming monitor under 400 USD? The LG 34WK650 might be just for you. It’s a gorgeous 34-inch 21:9 ultra-wide display with HDR10 support and AMD FreeSync.

However, keep in mind that its screen resolution is only 2560×1080 which makes it unsuitable for work that involves a lot of reading and typing. For just gaming and occasional web surfing, it’s simply awesome considering its price.

The monitor also goes by the name LG 34BK650-W.

Image Quality

The LG 34WK650 gaming monitor is based on LG’s AH-IPS panel which is factory-calibrated to cover over 99% of the sRGB color gamut using 8-bit color depth via dithering (6-bit + FRC). This ensures accurate, consistent, and vibrant colors.

Other panel-related specifications include the standard 1,000:1 contrast ratio, 300-nit peak brightness, 178-degree viewing angles, and a 5ms response time speed.

The monitor’s screen resolution is what will determine whether most people would buy the LG34WK650 IPS monitor.

Due to its huge 34-inch size, a 2560×1080 UWHD resolution provides you with only 81 PPI (Pixels Per Inch). Consequently, individual pixels become easily distinguishable from a close distance which makes tiny items such as text smudgy and blurry.

This is why most people avoid monitors with a low pixel density. In video games, however, this isn’t an issue, especially if you’re sitting a bit further from the screen which you’ll certainly need to do since the monitor is quite big.

In short, if you intended on mainly playing PC and/or console games, watching movies, and web-surfing, the LG 34WK650 monitor is a great bang for the money.

In case you also do a lot of reading and typing, consider the smaller 29-inch version instead. The LG 29WK600 offer the identical specs as the 34WK650, but since it’s smaller, it has a higher pixel density and therefore a much clearer and crisper image. Plus, it’s cheaper!

HDR

Furthermore, the monitor offers HDR (High Dynamic Range) support which can make the image quality of HDR10-compatible content more vivid by increasing its brightness, contrast, and color range.

Alas, the HDR support of the LG 34WK650 is software-enabled only or as some would refer – ‘pseudo-HDR’.

So, what does it mean?

It means that while the LG 34WK650 can accept the HDR10 signal and enhance the picture, it won’t be nearly as bright and vibrant as it’s on displays with true HDR support.

In other words, for HDR content to really stand out, a monitor should at least have a peak brightness of 600 nits and some coverage of the DCI-P3 color space whereas the LG 34WK650 has only a mediocre 300-nit maximum luminance and only the standard sRGB color gamut.

So, while enabling HDR in some compatible video games can make the image look a bit better, in other titles the colors would be oversaturated thus ruining the picture quality overall.

When all things are considered, some games will look better with HDR and some will not, which is acceptable as the monitor doesn’t add a premium price tag for its HDR capabilities. Just don’t expect an amazing HDR viewing experience.

Performance

Gameplay performance is where the LG 34WK650 display really shines. The response time of 5ms eliminates ghosting and trailing of fast-moving objects while the 75Hz refresh rate adds a noticeable boost in fluidity in comparison to the standard 60Hz monitors.

Additionally, if you connect the monitor to a FreeSync-compatible AMD graphics card or an Xbox One, you get a variable refresh rate. By synchronizing the frame rate between the GPU and the monitor, the dynamic refresh rate eliminates all screen tearing and stuttering for good.

The LG 34WK650 FreeSync range is 40-75Hz via both DisplayPort and HDMI connectors.

The combination of HDR and FreeSync makes the monitor great for Xbox as well, even though consoles don’t support 21:9, some games look great with a stretched-out picture. You can check all PC games that support 21:9 here.

Features

The LG 34WK650 75Hz monitor offers plenty of useful features for both gaming and everyday use.

For gaming, there’s ‘Black Stabilizer’ which increases visibility in dark areas of games by altering the gamma curve. Next, ‘Dynamic Action Sync’ ensures responsive gameplay and low input lag.

You will also be able to find pre-calibrated picture presets for FPS and RTS genres as well as a customizable profile. Lastly, you can place a custom crosshair on the screen for better precision in FPS games.

The OSD (On-Screen Display) menu is user-friendly and easily navigated using the joystick placed beneath the screen.

Moving on, the LG 34WK650 also has a feature called ‘HDR Effect’ which stimulates HDR for non-HDR content. There are also a few different HDR presets for HDR content such as HDR Game, HDR Cinema, etc.

Other exclusive features include ‘On-Screen Control’ which allows you to adjust all OSD settings in a desktop application and ‘Screen Split’ for simplified multi-tasking.

Design & Connectivity

lg 34wk650 amazon

The LG 34WK650-W boasts a modern design with thin bezels at the sides and at the top. The ‘-W’ suffix stands for the white color of the monitor. At the back of the monitor, you will find 100 x 100mm holes for VESA mount. You can also tilt the screen by -5, 15 degrees and height adjust it up to 110mm.

Connectivity includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort as well as two 5W built-in MaxxAudio speakers and a headphones jack. Lastly, the screen is coated with an anti-glare 3H treatment to eliminate light reflections.

Price & Similar Monitors

The LG 34WK650 price amounts to $399 MSRP which is definitely an alluring price for a 34-inch ultrawide monitor. Its smaller version, the LG 29WK600-W goes for $299 which is also a great deal.

For only ~$60 more, you might be interested in a similar 34-inch 2560×1080 FreeSync monitor with a 144Hz refresh rate – the LG 34UC79G.

If you want a 34-inch ultrawide with a higher 3440×1440 resolution, check out the LG 34UC80.

Conclusion

All in all, the LG 34WK650 offers an amazing value for the price. Its biggest downside is its low resolution but that is negligible if you’ll be using the monitor mostly for gaming.

In fact, a lot of gamers will prefer the lower resolution over the higher 3440×1440 ultrawide alternative since it’s significantly less demanding on your system.

LG 34WK650-W Specifications
Screen Size34-inch
Resolution2560x1080 (UWHD)
Panel TypeIPS
Aspect Ratio21:9 (UltraWide)
Refresh Rate75Hz
Response Time5ms (GtG)
Adaptive SyncFreeSync (40Hz-75Hz)
Speakers2x5W MaxxAudio
PortsDisplayPort, 2x HDMI 2.0
Other PortsHeadphone Jack
Brightness300 cd/m2
Contrast Ratio1000:1 (static)
Colors16.7 million (6-bit + FRC)
VESAYes (100x100mm)
HDRSoftware-enabled only

What We Loved

  • Great value for money
  • AMD FreeSync & 75Hz
  • Gorgeous height-adjustable design
  • Plenty of useful features

What We Didn’t Like

  • Low pixel density
  • HDR is software-enabled only

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