Review - new LG Ultrafine 27” monitor

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by csjcsj, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. csjcsj macrumors regular


    Feb 15, 2011
    Sarasota FL
    Setup - easy. you don’t even need to open the display settings - the Mac knows the monitor’s position, and the mouse acts appropriately. Pictures below to illustrate everything written here.

    Physical aspects:
    • does not match iMac - black plastic with thinner bezels
    • More important - the connection for both power and USB-c input are lose. Every time I physically adjusted the screen - either up & down or moving the entire unit, the connections became unconnected and screen went black. Luckily I don’t reposition the monitor that much.
    • The screen doesn’t rotate, but there are software settings to rotate to portrait mode
    Screen quality:
    • Sharpness, not quite as sharp as the iMac, probably due to different resolution. Text is larger. I also tried the scaling setting instead of native resolution, but the results were worse.
    • Color - this can only be described in pictures.
      • The first picture is the iMac, set to iMac color profile and the LG set to the iMac profile too. The LG is much yellower. I tried all the profiles, and the one I liked the best was "image p3".
      • Even in P3, the yellowish cast is still there, but ...
      • When put next to the iPad, the colors are much closer, though still a bit warmer. The obligatory cat photo is the iPad next to the LG, the last, all 3 displays at the same time.
      • Calibration will be necessary to make all displays to look the same.
    Conclusion: when I first compare it to the iMac, I was ready to return it. Once I compared it to the iPad —which is where I do almost all my art — I saw it was much closer to what I saw on the iPad and to the final print product. Worth the price over other 27” monitors? Don’t know - going to a store later to check the others out.


    Attached Files:

  2. ruslan120 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 12, 2009
    Thanks for sharing!

    The sharpness should be the same - it’s the same panel as the iMac.

    Yup. Beats me why the won’t just make an aluminum one. If I had expendable income I’d try making a custom one.

    USB C
    That’s disappointing. (Regarding the loose connections.)
  3. theluggage macrumors 601

    Jul 29, 2011
    Something is off there - if it is connected to the iMac, resolution and text size should be identical.
  4. csjcsj thread starter macrumors regular


    Feb 15, 2011
    Sarasota FL
    But it isn’t.
  5. theluggage macrumors 601

    Jul 29, 2011
    Then something is wrong with your set up - faulty display, faulty cable, computer settings... (I assume that you are using the Thunderbolt cable and not the USB-C cable? According to the Apple website it comes with both, and using the USB-C cable would limit it to 4K...)
  6. Gorms macrumors 6502


    Aug 30, 2012
    I just picked one up this weekend. I’m blown away by it. Thought I’d be disappointed but I’m not at all

    re: resolution, I’ve noticed Apple have started setting the ‘default’ higher than what it should be for retina resolution i.e. the mbp defaults to 1680x1050pts when really retina default is 1440x900. I noticed they’d also done this with the ultrafine and I had to toggle to back down to 2560x1440. This may be what you’re seeing here?

    I do agree about the colour cast, it does seem to tend towards yellow and I can’t get a good match with my mbp, but I’m finding I use it more in clamshell mode with this monitor available (which for some reason then makes the colours less yellow when I activate it, I have True Tone off on my mbp and maybe that’s doing something? Dunno).

    Apart from this quibble that I’m sure i’ll wrangle around, this screen blows away the MBP screen, and I have always been a fan of the MBP retina displays.
  7. theluggage macrumors 601

    Jul 29, 2011
    That would make the text smaller rather than larger as @csjcsj reported - and once its set to "looks like 2560x1440" mode it should be near-indistinguishable from the iMac in terms of resolution/sharpness (colour is another matter, although you'd expect it to be comparable). One situation that would fit the description is if the display is running in "4k UHD" mode which is the best it could do with DisplayPort 1.2 + USB-C alt mode.

    ...unfortunately Apple have made it very hard to set/check the actual resolution of the signal being sent to the display, as opposed to the "looks like" resolution or the internal rendering resolution.

    If a 27" 5k display designed primarily for Macs is defaulting to anything other than pixel-doubled "looks like 2560x1440" then that's a bit silly since half the point of paying a premium for 5k is that "looks-like-1440p@x2" is a "sweet spot" for a 27" display under MacOS. I'm not saying it isn't happening as I don't have an UltraFine to check out - but it seems odd and I'd want to check that the display really is pushing 5k. I'd note that (as someone who has a cheapo Dell 4k sitting next to a 5k iMac) 4k in 'scaled - looks like 1440p' vs 5k in 'best for retina - looks like 1440p' isn't a night-vs-day difference, but if I'd paid twice the price to get that difference, I'd want to know I was getting my money's worth.
  8. csjcsj thread starter macrumors regular


    Feb 15, 2011
    Sarasota FL
    Final result - I am returning it. As well as loosely fitting, the cables on the back of the screen get hot. They warn about this, but for a monitor this expensive, I think fixing it instead of giving a warning is in order. I wanted to love it because I’d like to replace the iMac with a MBP, but for now that’s on hold.

    I would have kept it, but when I can get a monitor I’m not 100% happy with, I’d rather pay 1/3rd the price for something else. I wish Apple hadn’t done away with target mode for newer iMacs. I would be happy to use that screen as a dumb monitor.

    Answers to the reviewers - using a MBP closed so not having to see the difference in screens is not an option for artists or photographers. What you want is accurate color no matter what you are looking at. If you are keeping the monitor, try using a different color profile and changing the white point to reduce the yellow.

    I was using the thunderbolt cable.

    One nice thing to say about LC - they have the best packaging of electronics I’ve ever seen. For the first time ever, I had no trouble getting everything back in the box neatly!
  9. chrfr macrumors G3

    Jul 11, 2009
  10. MiBook84 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2008
    Malmö, Sweden
    I have the previous 5K LG UltraFine 27" and I believe it is exactly the same as the new one except that the new one also supports USB-C video in 4K mode. I have noticed that on my screen that half the screen can sometimes be seen as slightly different than the other part. I Believe this is due to the way the data is sent in two links. It is only visible on certain greys.

    Another thing I think is different from the iMac Retina is that the backlight adjustments are a bit weird. They go from very dim to slightly less dim to ultra bright. There is not a lot of medium bright modes so its not as easily adjusted as an iMac is. The old and new one features an ambient light sensor but for some reason Apple chose not to allow it to work in MacOS on the "old" one. I dont know if they have changed it on the "new" one or not but I guess it is activated since it is more openly marketed as having the feature on

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9 August 25, 2019