Author Topic: LG 27UL550 Review: Matte 3840x2160 LG AH-IPS with AMD Free-Sync  (Read 7873 times)

NCX

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DSC_0050 by Dr NCX, on Flickr
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 12:27:51 pm by NCX »

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NCX

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Features & Stand
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2019, 08:05:14 pm »
Features & Stand

LG 27UL550 Front 20s by Dr NCX, on Flickr

LG 27UL550 Rear by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The LG has a stable or non-wobbly height adjustable stand made of metal, 3.5mm Audio Out, Displayport, and 2x HDMI 2.0 inputs which all support 40-60hz AMD Free-Sync which I could only test with the Xbox One X since I do not have a compatible AMD or Nvidia graphics card.  Unlike the majority of monitors made in the past year the LG 27UL550 has a perceived black depth increasing, sparkly, matte, dark grey bezel instead of a fake bezel or frame-less casing with a perceived black depth decreasing inner black bezel like the LG 27UD, 27UK and 27UL6-8xx series monitors.  The height adjustable stand is too short when raised maximum height to be useful.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 02:07:58 am by NCX »

NCX

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Matte Coating
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2019, 08:18:51 pm »
Matte Coating

DSC_0044 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The LG 27UL550 has a nearly grain or sparkle free matte coating which is non-reflective as well as does not look obviously dulled, grainy and sparkly when viewing light colors and white, even when viewing the monitor from a few centimeters away.  Reflections do not look hazy, washed out and white as they do on semi-glossy coated monitors, but the matte coating still can obviously not match the clarity and vibrancy of reflective glossy coatings.  I prefer glossy, almost-glossy/low-haze and Plasma Deposition Coatings, but could not find faults with the 27UL550's matte coating.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 04:58:09 am by NCX »

NCX

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Setp-Up The Toys
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2019, 08:29:36 pm »
Menu & Set-Up

DSC_0037 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

LG 27UL550 Menu Album.  Only the most important menu photos are posted and mentioned here.  Free-Sync must be manually activated in both the LG 27UL550's menu and by whichever Free-Sync compatible device the monitor is connected to, those being a compatible graphics card or Xbox One X.  To activate the 27UL550's Free-Sync setting go into the Picture Menu, select the Game Adjust sub menu and set FreeSync to On.

LG 27UL550 Picture Menu>Game Adjust>FreeSync setting
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Free-Sync must also be activated by the console (Xbox One X) and/or graphics card as well.  Here's how to activate Free-Sync with the Xbox One X, and here's how to activate it with compatible AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

Changing the Picture Mode from Custom to SMPTE-C to increase the preset color accuracy slightly, and is the only other setting which should be changed, assuming one is not going to use the color (Red, Blue and Green) controls to calibrate the monitor in the Custom mode since they are locked when the SMPTE-C mode is selected.  To select the SMPTE-C Picture Mode setting go into the Picture Menu, go to the top and select the Picture Mode sub menu, then scroll down to the bottom and select SMPTE-C:

LG 27UL550 Picture Menu
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LG 27UL550 Picture Menu>Picture Mode Sub Menu with SMPTE-C
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Correct Way To View AHVA/IPS/PLS & VA

Correct Monitor Viewing Height by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The top left image shows the correct way to view IPS type (AHVA, IPS, PLS) and VA panels, but most importantly IPS LCD panels.  Doing so vastly reduces white glow when viewing black and dark content, especially if the display brightness is not cranked in a dimly lit room.  IPS vs TN: Right & Wrong Ways To Use Or View; How To Vastly Reduce AHVA/IPS/PLS Glow & Vastly Increase The Perceived Black Depth
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 02:10:39 am by NCX »

NCX

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Flicker/PWM Dimming

DSC_0024 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The LG is advertised as Flicker Safe, which means it does not use back-light flicker or LED PWM Dimming (read about the side effects), regardless of high or low the brightness is set.  I checked for and did not see LED PWM Dimming with the Blur Busters Test UFO Blur Trail/PWM Test with 0-100% brightness settings in the menu. The lack of PWM is a good since PWM or Flicker ruins motion clarity (example), and makes some people suffer from health issues such as headaches, and/or eyestrain.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 05:16:20 am by NCX »

NCX

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Ghosting/Overdrive Performance

DSC_0031 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

AOC AG271QG vs BenQ Zowie RL2460 vs LG 27UL550 vs Sony 43X750F by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The 27UL550's pixel response times or overdrive is controlled by the Response Time setting which is correctly preset to the Fast setting.  The higher Faster setting causes obvious overshoot ghosting which appears in the form of bright, colored or dark transparent halos or glow on colors and shades in motion.

Response Time Fast versus Fastest
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The LG 27UL550's default Fast Response Time setting offers very fast pixel response times for a 60hz and non-TN panel like the BenQ Zowie RL2460, and the LG 27UL550's Fast Response Time setting is free from overshoot ghosting and the smearing of black, browns and grays unlike many VA panels.  The 27UL550 is slightly faster than the 4K AH-IPS panel in my ViewSonic VP2780-4K from 2015, but is not as fast as 60hz TN panes and the fastest 60hz AUO AHVA panels in the Acer XB321HK, Acer X27, or as fast as the LG AH-IPS panel in the HP 25f.  When quickly panning the camera in games grey, white and yellow streaking is visible, but the streaks are very minor and will likely go unnoticed by most, myself included unless purposefully looking for overdrive flaws.  The 27UL550 is not one of the fastest 60hz monitors around, but it does offer excellent performance for a 60hz LCD panel.  If I were to score the 27UL550 I would give it a 90/100 versus 92.5/100 for the Acer XB321HK, Acer X27 and HP 25f, and 95/100 to the TN panel in the BenQ Zowie RL2460.  The LG is fast enough for all 60hz gaming including competitive gaming, and does not suffer from flaws which negatively affect any type of 60hz use.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 03:05:04 am by NCX »

NCX

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Don't Sink In The Pool
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2019, 08:42:59 pm »
Input Lag

LG 27UL550 Calibrated 7 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The LG 27UL550 can be considered delay free or to have negligible input lag since it has a 2.9ms (top screen Leo Bodnar measurement) delay.  Most non-professionally oriented monitors have equally as low input lag while very few TV's have less than 10ms when tested with the Leo Bodnar device.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 03:04:32 am by NCX »

NCX

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Brightness & Contrast

DSC_0064 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

LG 27UL550 Brightness & Contrast by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The 27UL550 has a 45.7-303cdm/2 brightness range, and a 950:1 contrast ratio which is typical for AHVA, IPS, PLS and TN panels.  The LG is dim (45.7cdm/2) enough for use in light-less rooms at 0% brightness (0/100 in the menu), and bright (303cdm/2) enough for use in open and brightly lit rooms as long as the monitor is not being hit by direct sunlight on a bright day.  When not used in the dark the sparkly dark matte grey bezel increases the perceived black depth or contrast.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2019, 05:19:21 am by NCX »

NCX

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Beautiful But In Need Of A Tune-Up
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2019, 08:47:09 pm »
Preset Color Accuracy

DSC_0039 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The preset color accuracy offered by the 27UL550 is accurate and vibrant enough to not suffer from obvious flaws, looks very similar to the higher end 4K panel in my calibrated ViewSonic VP2780-4K, and the 27UL550 completely covers the SDR (HDTV/REC 709 & sRGB) color spaces.  The 27UL550 does slightly over-saturates greens, oranges, reds and yellows (HCFR color space measurements), but this is normal for mid-range and non-professionally oriented 2560x1440-38420x2160 AHVA, IPS, PLS and VA panels; minor over-saturation is preferable to under-saturation for multiple reasons I will not explain here. 

The 27UL550 suffers from slight gamma flaws and a minor preset blue tint out-of-the-box, but it can be slightly reduced by switching to the SMPTE-C Picture mode.  The gamma flaws result in light greys and colors not being are not as dark as they should be in the 50-100% white range (see my HCFR gamma measurements here or below), but these flaws are only noticeable when compared to calibrated monitor, as well as slightly less prevalent when set to the SMPTE-C Picture Mode.  The preset blue tint is replaced with a lighter and less obvious preset purple tint when set to the more accurate SMPTE-C mode, but both the preset Standard mode and the SMPTE-C mode are accurate enough for work which requires color accuracy, as well as offer nearly equally beautiful and vibrant image quality compared to the higher end and calibrated ViewSonic VP2780-4K.

The 27UL550 can accept an HDR 10 signal, but it does not have

+10 bit panel
+1,000cdm/2 brightness
+Wide color gamut panel which can cover the DCI-P3 color space
+Variable back-light or back-light dimming technology
+20,000:1 contrast.

required for the HDR standard.  The 27UL550 maxes the brightness and looks very washed out when the fake HDR mode is enabled.  Unless used with very bright lighting (5000 lumens) black looks greyish and IPS glow is much more obvious when HDR enabled, and the panel suffers from a strong and non-reduce-able and non-correct-able blue tint when HDR is enabled since the color controls are locked.  Unfortunately this type of non-performance is normal for most displays which claim to support HDR, especially monitors which sell for under 500$ US.

When displaying SDR (HDTV/REC 709 & sRGB) content the 27UL550 is accurate, looks nearly as good as non-OLED and matte, non-wide gamut LCD can, and only suffers from minor accuracy flaws, the main flaw being the preset blue tint which can be reduced by selecting the SMPTE-C Picture Mode.  The HDR mode is awful as expected, and should not be used.

LG 27UL550 Default vs SMPTE-C Measures
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LG 27UL550 Default vs SMPTE-C RGB Levels
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LG 27UL550 Default vs SMPTE-C RGB Color Temperature
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LG 27UL550 Default vs SMPTE-C Gamma
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LG 27UL550 Default vs SMPTE-C RGB Color Gamut
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The preset color accuracy of the 27UL550 I tested is essentially identical to those of the 27UL650 tested by Belgium Hardware, which along with the 27UL550, are not (even when set to the sRGB and SMPTE-C modes) as accurate as the cheaper Philips 276E8VJSB, though only the 27UL550 has a perceived black depth increasing matte grey bezel.

Dell U2718Q Measurements by Belgium Hardware
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https://nl.hardware.info/product/406980/dell-ultrasharp-u2718q/fotos


LG 27UK650 Measurements by Belgium Hardware
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https://nl.hardware.info/product/428703/lg-27uk650-w/fotos

LG 27UL650 Measurements by Belgium Hardware
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https://nl.hardware.info/product/511129/lg-27ul650-w/fotos

LG 27UL650 sRGB Mode Measurements by Belgium Hardware
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https://nl.hardware.info/product/511129/lg-27ul650-w/fotos

Philips 276E8VJSB Measurements by Belgium Hardware
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https://nl.hardware.info/product/490721/philips-276e8vjsb/fotos

Philips 272P7VPTKEB Measurements by Belgium Hardware
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https://nl.hardware.info/product/372453/philips-272p7vptkeb/fotos
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 03:29:20 am by NCX »

NCX

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Un-Calibrated versus Calibrated

DSC_0049 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

LG 27UL550 Un-Calibrated versus Calibrated
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LG 27UL550 Un-Calibrated versus Calibrated 1
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LG 27UL550 Un-Calibrated versus Calibrated 2
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LG 27UL550 Un-Calibrated versus Calibrated 3
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« Last Edit: May 31, 2019, 08:14:58 pm by NCX »

NCX

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Calibrated Image Quality

DSC_0045 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

LG 27UL550 Calibrated Chart by Dr NCX, on Flickr

In Canada where I live the LG 27UL550 sells for 400-520$ Canadian while the 4K AH-IPS panel in my ViewSonic VP2780-4K sells for at least 700$ CAD.  The LG has preset gamma which targets linear 2.2 for the HDTV/REC 709 color standard while the VP2780-4K targets the sRGB standard which has a different, non-linear gamma curve.  The ViewSonic's AH-IPS panel based on 2015 technology is more accurate since it does not over-saturate color like the LG, and because the VP2780-4K suffers from less banding regardless of which image standard it is calibrated to since it has a properly functioning 14 bit 3D Look Up Table.  The LG is suffers from significantly less IPS glow (when viewed properly) which makes it superior for gaming and media viewing, assuming one does not need to do so professionally with high tier accuracy and no over-saturation.  The 27UL550's color over-saturation is quite obvious when viewing content with lots of grey such as this Metro Exodus wall paper, though this type of over-saturation is to be expected from for non-professionally oriented monitors, as well as preferable to under-saturation since operating systems and programs which support color management (CMS) can be used to reign in the over-saturation.

LG 27UL550 versus ViewSonic VP2780-4K Color Gamut Comparison
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The 27UL550 offers excellent calibrated image quality for the price, especially when considering the fact that is suffers from less glow than older and more expensive 4K AH-IPS panels.  There are slightly better 4K AUO AHVA panels with less glow in monitors the BenQ PD3200U, Monoprice RTD2795 and essentially warranty-less Qnix UHD3216R, but they either cost significantly more and have grainier or sparklier matte coatings (BenQ), or lack proper warranties and can not be easily exchanged and returned (Qnix).

« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 02:41:09 am by NCX »

NCX

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Perceived Black Depth

DSC_0016 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The photo above is of the LG used with bias lighting (3x LIFX BX30 lights @3500k) or lights behind placed the display which output over 3000 lumens at 100% percent brightness.  When not used in a light-less room the perceived black depth offered by the 27UL550 is superior to the majority of 27" 1440p and 4K monitors with AHVA/IPS/PLS panels since the 27UL550 has a dark matte grey bezel while most use fake bezel or frame-less casings which reduce the perceived black depth since they have inner black bezel's: photo of the LG 27UK650 from the review by =DEAD=:


The 27UL550 has average contrast (900:1 after calibration) or black depth for a non-VA panel, but black looks darker next to the sparkly matte grey bezel versus the inner black bezels of fake bezel or frame-less monitors.  When the lights are off the matte grey bezels' perceptual improvements vanish since the dark matte grey bezel plastic looks black in a light-less and very dimly lit rooms.  The silver bezel of the Qnix UHD32R and white bezel the Acer EB321HQ Awi appear distinctly non-black even in a light-less room, though silver barely makes a perceptual difference compared to white which always vastly improves the perceived black depth.

The 27UL550's matte grey bezel does not vastly improve the perceived black depth, especially in dimly lit rooms, but it does enough to make it a worthwhile feature display buyers should always opt for if equivalent displays with brighter grey, silver or white bezels are not an option.

Acer XB321HK AHVA Panel with 800:1 Contrast
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HP Spectre 32 AHVA Panel with 700:1 Contrast
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LG 27UL550 LG AH-IPS Panel with 900:1 Contrast
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Qnix UHD3216R AHVA Panel with 1100:1 Contrast
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ViewSonic VP2780-4K LG AH-IPS Panel with 1000:1 Contrast
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« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 02:49:36 am by NCX »

NCX

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Back-Light Bleed @140cdm/2

LG 27UL550 Back-Light 25s by Dr NCX, on Flickr

I set my monitors to output 140cdm/2 when displaying pure white, and use them with a 2200 lumen ceiling light or 5x LIFX BR30 lights.  I do not recommend using more than 80cdm/2 brightness when using displays in a light-less room.  The LG AH-IPS panel in the 27UL550 does not suffer from obvious back-light bleed, glow, or uniformity flaws, but it is not perfect since the top left and right corners are a tiny bit lighter, or higher measured black level than the rest of the panel.  Fortunately these minor imperfections are only visible when viewing the monitor in a light-less room with high brightness.

Acer XB321HK AHVA Panel with 800:1 Contrast
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HP Spectre 32 AHVA Panel with 700:1 Contrast
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Monoprice 274K or RTD2795 AHVA Panel with 1100:1 Contrast
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Qnix UHD3216R AHVA Panel with 1100:1 Contrast
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Viewsonic VP2780-4K LG AH-IPS Panel with 1000:1 Contrast
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« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 02:51:34 am by NCX »

NCX

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Viewing Angles

DSC_0051 by Dr NCX, on Flickr

The viewing angles offered by the 27UL550 are typical for mid range and high end AHVA/IPS/PLS panel, which means that they're wider and far less restrictive than TN and VA panels when viewing colors and not viewing content with lots of black and dark grey shades.  The 27UL550 has wider viewing angles and suffers from less glow than my Acer H257HU (1440p AH-IPS), ViewSonic VP2780-4K (4K LG AH-IPS), and gloss X-Star DP2710 (1440p Samsung PLS), as well as is almost on par with the low glow 32" 4K AUO AHVA panels and the low glow AHVA panel in the Monoprice 274K or RTD2795 I tested in 2017, so I consider it to be an above average and high end AHVA/IPS/PLS panel glow and viewing angle wise.

LG 27UL550 Viewing Angle 1
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LG 27UL550 Viewing Angle 2
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LG 27UL550 Viewing Angle 3
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LG 27UL550 Viewing Angle 4
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« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 02:53:00 am by NCX »