LG 32UN550 Monitor Review: 4K on a budget

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There’s this thing caled 4K, you probably know all of this by now. That was one of the big selling points of last year’s next-gen console launch: the ability to play games in 4K. Yet in order to do so require the right kind of tech; a TV or monitor that supports a 4K resolution can still be rather daunting, mostly due to the price tag attached to it.

LG wants to make owning a monitor that allows you to truly experience that current-gen experience more accessible with its 32UN550-W 4K UHD monitor. While it may not feature all the fun bells and whistles of top-end monitors, there’s enough meat on its bones to satisfy your gaming needs. It’s also just really pretty, did we mention that?

White elephant

Continuing on from the “it’s pretty” thought, let’s start off with the basics. This is a great looking monitor, one that should fit right at home on any gamer or designer’s desk. Clocking in at 32in, you might need to clear some space to set it up but it’s well worth the effort.

It’s simple to set up; all the parts just click together with ease so don’t worry about pulling out that case of screwdrivers you’ve thrown in the garage. While the actual monitor looks sleek, we were less stoked with the curved foot it sits on. It’s a bit of an awkward shape and measuring it at 100x100mm might not seem all that large but the angle can make it a little uncomfortable to squeeze onto a desk.

One thing we did appreciate about the screen is the bezels, which are remarkably thin. Many monitors often use thick bezels but LG has trimmed back, maximising the size of the display without the unnecessary bulk. The bottom bezel clocks in at 1in while the black surrounding of every other side measures 0.125in thick.

Some might not enjoy the back being white, contrasting the black finish on the front but it’s certainly unique and we enjoyed the change of pace. You’ll be able to control the monitor with a little nub at the bottom of the display which feels… fine. There’s a cheapness to its responsiveness but it works as marketed.

Bringing the big guns

While LG has clearly designed the 32UN550-W to appeal to those on a budget, we’ll be the first to admit that it looks tremendous in action. We spun up some Apex Legends, one of the more colourful battle royale games out there, and were immediately impressed by the vibrancy of the colours on display, and that was without HDR. Turning it on (the 32UN550-W has support for up HDR10), the contrast was immediately apparent. Bright colours shone brighter than expected and darks appeared deeper and richer.

We will say something we found rather disappointing was the refresh rate: It’s capped at 60FPS. Let’s be honest, that’s probably what you’re hoping to hit if you’re gaming in 4K and given the budget nature it makes sense that you wouldn’t be able to push it past that threshold. Still, it feels restrictive especially when the PC we’d hooked up to it could easily hit 120FPS if it was allowed to.

Attaching a PlayStation 5 to the 32UN550-W shows off that 4K resolution with aplomb. With nary a hitch or stutter to be found, Demon’s Souls looked incredible. Playing the tough-as-nails RPG also allowed us to check out how well the monitor handles the contrast between dark and light colours as the difference is much more distinct than in Apex Legends. Our discovery: It handles the separation very well, with very little bleeding between the more stark contrasts.

The same can be said for watching films in 4k. Thor: Ragnarok, which is our go-to test film due to the sheer amount of colour Taika Waititi throws into every shot, absolutely popped on the LG monitor. It’s clear that most of the budget cuts for this device were saved for the physical build because the actual display is pristine.

Of course, this is all in terms of how much you’re paying for the thing. The other benefit of going the LG route is that the price is rather competitive. You should be able to pick up one of the bad boys for around $400, or roughly R5,700. That’s not terrible when you consider the size of it (32in is large for a monitor) and the fact that it outputs a decent 4K resolution.

LG 32UN550 Monitor Verdict

Of course, this is all in terms of how much you’re paying for the thing. The other benefit of going the LG route is that the price is rather competitive. You should be able to pick up one of the bad boys for around R8,000, depending on where you look.

That’s not terrible when you consider the size of it (32in is large for a monitor) and the fact that it outputs a decent 4K resolution. Put it this way, you’re not finding a better monitor at this price. It’s a relative powerhouse that may not appeal to those hardcore gamers wanting top-end performance but will be an excellent choice for anyone working on a budget.

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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