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Hands On: LG 34" Curved 144Hz Gaming Display

I had the chance to play around with the LG 34UC79G-B (79-G going forward) display last year, and it ended up being one of my favorite gaming monitors. I’m still using it in fact, which is about the highest praise I can give a piece of tech.

I’m a huge fan of the 144Hz refresh rate; it’s great for sneaking in a few rounds of Overwatch or a Nephalem Rift run in Diablo 3 during lunch. The 21:9 aspect ratio provides plenty of screen real estate, and the interface and design are straightforward and intuitive. I’ve had almost no complaints so far...except one.

Screen tearing. It’s the bane of my existence. The 144Hz refresh rate helps keep things nice and smooth, but seeing two frames on the monitor at once is not great.

The LG 79-G went with AMD and Freesync to mitigate screen tearing, but I usually use an Nvidia GPU, so I was out of luck.

Not anymore. The newest version of the line, the LG 34UC89G (89-G), supports G-Sync. Yes, LG is finally offering G-Sync.

You can pick it up here for $1,000.

In Sync

G-Sync, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this spiffy little Nvidia module, reduces screen tearing by switching the display to a dynamic refresh rate. This allows the GPU and monitor to communicate. So game running at 73FPS? Monitor refreshes at 73Hz. This means no screen tearing. G-Sync (and the AMD equivalent Freesync that the 79-G used) is a replacement for V Sync. V Sync can sometimes cause input lag which is obviously not ideal for gamers.

In short, G-Sync makes your games look and play smoother. Paired with the high refresh rate and the 2560x1080 resolution, I’ve never seen Overwatch look so buttery. Like going to a higher refresh rate, once you use a monitor with G-Sync it’s very hard to go back.

The G-Sync module inside the monitor does add to the price, which is not the case with AMD Freesync. Of course, no current AMD GPU until Vega can possibly get top games into Epic settings at 144FPS. 

Changes

So what’s different about the 79-G and the 89-G other than the remarkably catchy names? From the outside, almost nothing. Almost everything I liked about the earlier model is true here.

The aesthetic design is almost identical, from the metal forked base to the red and black finish. The 34,” 3H hard coated, WLED backlit screen has the same resolution and aspect ratio, the same bezel, the same one button and control stick menu interaction mechanism, though the menu has been redesigned. There’s also a ribbed texture on the bottom and the back, an interesting change from the smooth plastic of the earlier model.

The inclusion of G-Sync is obviously the most substantial change, along with the slightly altered menu and some changes to the I/O section of the display. Instead of two HDMI, one DisplayPort, two USB (as a part of a hub) and audio jacks, the 89-G got rid of one of the HDMI ports and replaced it with another USB input used for servicing the display. 

New and Improved

I’ve been using the 79-G for almost a year now, and the addition of G-Sync to the 89-G makes a kick ass monitor even better for me. Obviously if you’re on Team Red this isn’t going to be as much of a draw, but that’s what the 79-G is for.

As far as 2560x1080, 144Hz gaming monitors go these LG models are the best I’ve used. It will be awesome when these displays are 8K and one million Hz, but for now, I’m super happy with the 89-G.

Now I gotta get back to learning how to play Mercy in sweet, sweet G-Sync smoothness.