Earlier this year, Alienware released what’s arguably the best all-around gaming monitor on the market right now: the AW3423DW. But last week, LG quietly announced its latest batch of UltraGear gaming monitors and after getting a chance to check them out in person, I can say that Alienware’s display has some formidable new rivals.

Unlike the AW3423DW, LG’s monitors are available in two sizes intended for slightly different use cases. There’s the 27-inch 27GR95QE-B, which sports a flat panel with 2,560 x 1,440 resolution meant for both general use and more demanding competitive play, while the 45-inch 45GR95QE-B packs a curved display with 800R radius and 3,440 x 1,440 resolution designed to deliver a more immersive experience.

Like its bigger sibling, the 27-inch 27GR95QE sports a blazing 240Hz refresh rate, but with a smaller non-curved OLED panel.
Like its bigger sibling, the 27-inch 27GR95QE-B sports a blazing 240Hz refresh rate, but with a smaller non-curved OLED panel.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The nice thing about these monitors is that regardless of which one you pick, both feature 240Hz refresh rates – the highest you can get from any OLED monitor available today. On top of that, both models have incredibly fast response times of just 0.3 ms (gray to gray). What’s more, they each support both AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync while also outputting a dazzling range of colors (up to 98.5 percent of the DCI-P3 spectrum). In short, LG’s new UltraGear displays deliver a laundry list of premium display tech with one clear downside: a relatively low max brightness of just 200 nits.

Admittedly, low brightness might not be a big deal if, like many people, you prefer gaming in dark environments – especially since you’ll probably want to turn the lights down anyway to make the most of LG’s built-in RGB light strips. You can even sync the LEDs on the back to what’s being displayed on screen, which adds a bit of bias lighting without the need for additional hardware. Another small bonus of having a lower max brightness is that there’s no need for an ABL (auto brightness limiter) setting like you see on some other OLED monitors, so you don’t have to worry about the display randomly getting dimmer when looking at primarily white screens (like when you’re viewing word docs or spreadsheets).

The 800R curve on the 45GR95QE-B is even more rounded than many of its rivals and delivers an almost cocoon-like gaming experience.
The 800R curve on the 45GR95QE-B is even more rounded than many of its rivals and delivers an almost cocoon-like gaming experience. 
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Unfortunately, because of the size of the displays – particularly the huge 45-inch model – text doesn’t look quite as sharp as I’d like. When you’re gaming that’s not an issue, but when I browsed the web, I could see color fringing and a bit of general blurriness when reading stories and headlines. Now, it’s important to mention that color fringing is something that can be seen on a handful of new OLED displays (most notably QD-OLED panels due to their triangular sub-pixel arrangement), and it’s possible that tools like Better ClearType or an update to Microsoft’s own Clear Type feature could address this issue. But unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to test that out during my brief hands-on.

To test its new UltraGear gaming monitors, LG flew in pro Valorant players Com (pictured here) and Jawgemo from Evil Geniuses.
To test its new UltraGear gaming monitors, LG flew in pro Valorant players Com (pictured here) and Jawgemo from Evil Geniuses.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

That said, while the new UltraGear monitors may not be the best all-around displays for both productivity and entertainment, they look stunning in gaming scenarios. The 27GR95QE-B is the more approachable of the two as it only costs $1,000 (versus $1,700 for the 27GR95QE) and has a better chance of actually fitting on your desk – at least without you needing to rearrange everything. At 27 inches, it’s also closer in size to what pro gamers use in tournaments (most competitions feature 24-inch monitors), while support for tilt, swivel, height and even portrait adjustments make it super easy to position the display properly.

But the best thing is just how good everything looks in motion. LG brought in some pro Valorant gamers from Evil Geniuses to show off the new UltraGears and even in the midst of a firefight everything stayed tack sharp which brings me to the monitors’ most important spec: their 240Hz refresh rates. Previously, the highest you could get on an OLED monitor (including premium rivals like the Alienware AW3423DW and Samsung Odyssey OLED G8) was 175Hz.

If you can ignore the moire pattern from my camera, you'll notice some color fringing or rainbow outlines around some of the text which seems to stem from an issue between Windows and the new sub-pixel layout uses in its new OLED panels.
If you can ignore the moire pattern from my camera, you’ll notice some color fringing or rainbow outlines around some of the text. The issue may be caused by an issue with the ClearType feature in Windows, so there’s a chance Microsoft may be able to address it in the future. 
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

For people still using 60Hz displays, that gap might not sound like a big deal. However, the issue is that the general rule when it comes to monitors is that you typically only notice a difference in perceivable performance when you double the refresh rate (e.g., from 60Hz to 120Hz or 120Hz to 240Hz) That means anyone upgrading from a 120Hz displays to one of Alienware’s or Samsung’s rivals might not notice a big improvement while still having a panel that can’t quite hit the super high frame rates (typically from 240 to 300 fps or more) that competitive gamers prefer. But with LG’s latest UltraGears, you get the deep blacks and rich vibrant colors that OLED displays are known for and a refresh rate that rivals all but the very fastest LCD screens.

As for the larger and more expensive 45GR95QE-B, while it has a slightly lower pixel density than its smaller sibling, its curved panel delivers an encompassing experience. Its 800R radius is meant to mimic the natural shape of your eye while wrapping around you even more than more typical 1000R curved displays. The sweet spot for the monitor is about two and a half feet from the screen and it’s basically perfect. You can still see from edge to edge so you get that glorious panoramic view, but it’s not so expansive that you need to constantly move your head to spot buttons or icons that might live in the corners. Interestingly, when I asked EG Com if the 800R curve messed up his aim when compared to a flat display, he said even though it was his first time using this monitor he didn’t have to adjust much at all.

LG's latest gaming monitors even feature a dedicated dashboard for quickly adjusting image settings or viewing things like the display's refresh rate.
LG’s latest gaming monitors even feature a dedicated dashboard for quickly adjusting image settings or viewing things like the display’s refresh rate. 
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Aside from the new panels themselves, there are a couple of other design tweaks I want to call out. The first is that to better cater to competitive gamers, LG is using new feet on the UltraGears’ stands so you can position your keyboard closer to the monitor. But to me, the bigger upgrade is the inclusion of a dedicated remote for adjusting image settings. Instead of having to fumble around with hidden buttons or a joystick on the back of the monitor, you can just sit back and enjoy a more TV-like experience. The addition of a remote is something we’ve seen from other flagship monitors like Samsung’s Odyssey Ark and it’s a trend I’m really hoping to see trickle down to more mainstream displays across the market.

Instead of relying on hidden buttons or a joystick, for its latest UltraGear gaming monitors LG created a new dedicated remote for adjusting image settings.
Instead of relying on hidden buttons or a joystick, for its latest UltraGear gaming monitors LG created a new dedicated remote for adjusting image settings. 
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

So while LG’s new UltraGear monitors don’t have the best brightness, they’ve got pretty much every other high-end feature you could want on a gaming monitor right now. And with the 27-inch model going for $1,000 while the bigger 45-inch version going for $1,700, LG suddenly has some very interesting alternatives (both smaller and larger) to Alienware’s fantastic QD-OLED display.