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John Weland | January 27, 2021

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LG UltraFine Display Ergo (32UN880-B)

I recently took on a new job, which meant returning my previous employer’s property including two monitors. This presented a great opportunity to look into new displays. I finally did some serious thinking and realized that gaming, while still a means of relaxing, was no longer a top priority. So any hardware that I purchased for myself should reflect that.

I wanted more screen real-estate, cleaner cable management, and great color reproduction. After looking around online and dragging my feet a while, I decided to pick up the 32″ LG UltraFine Display Ergo — also known as the LG 32UN880-b. The UltraFine met all the requirements, costing me $700 at the time of purchase. This is definitely the most expensive display I’ve ever spent money on, but the step up in quality reflects that price increase.

Unboxing

The LG UltraFine comes well packed. Shipping from Amazon, it came with only its retail packaging (no Amazon box or additional padding). The monitor and stand are supported by hard styrofoam inserts with individual compartments. It comes with the power brick as well as a power extension, USB-C, and HDMI cables as well as a warranty card, driver CD (seriously), and interchangeable base plate for through-hole mounting.

LG UltraFine’s Specs

Display

The LG UltraFine is a 32″ 4k 60Hz display capable of HDR10 and Freesync Premium, and covers 95% of the DCI-P3 color space. For its I/O there are two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort (v1.4), two USB 3.0 (type A) & one USB-C (type-C). This display works great for productivity. There is so much screen real-estate. Dividing your windows in to four sections means you could have the equivalent of four ~15″ 1080p displays.

LG UltraFine Connection Interface

On Mac, the display connects via the USB-C connection, which delivers its audio/video and network connectivity over a single port and is capable of charging the MacBook Pro. It charges at just 60w though, so if you are pushing your MBP you won’t be getting a full charge.

It works great for Windows as well, regarding productivity, with the same great screen real-estate. 4k at 32″ means Windows display scaling defaults to 150% scaling, although I prefer it at 100%. The only “issue” I’ve found is that when you wake the computer up from a sleep state, the screen is incredibly dark (even when set at full brightness). This happens when the Windows Display setting ‘use HDR’ is enabled. You have to toggle that setting off and back on in Windows to return to the expected brightness level. But I suspect this is a Windows-specific issue, and not a fault of the UltraFine.

Settings Menus

Menu navigation and OSD are controlled by a “nubbin” on the display and is par for the course on LG displays these days. Not perfect, but so much easier than many other multi-button controls you find on some other brands. The OSD is not too in-depth, with its initial option menu being:

  • select input source
  • power off
  • enter advanced settings
  • setting picture modes

Advanced settings include a few others, like sound settings and more general settings like adjusting the response rate and enabling FreeSync.

LG UltraFine Stand

The included Ergo stand is one of its greatest features. The stand clamps on to your desk, rather than free standing. The C-clamp is adjustable for varying desk thicknesses. There is also an included optional base plate if you’d rather use a through-hole method of desk mounting in a traditional cable grommet hole.

The stand allows you to rotate your display nearly 360 degrees. This is great for sharing your display if you have a client on the other side of your desk. It also allows for raising and lowering the display, as well as pan/tilt and rotation (orientation). If you are a programmer, the amount of code you can see on a 4k display set to portrait orientation is absolutely insane.

LG UltraFine coding

Cable Management

The stand on the LG UltraFine has a channel for routing your cables from your input source to the display itself. My one minor complaint here is that the channel is not wide enough for your cables if all of your display I/Os are populated, which I imagine would be a less common use case.

LG Ultrafine’s Build Quality

The display’s housing is primarily plastic, though fairly robust. The aluminum stand is superb.

Final Thoughts on the LG UltraFine

The aforementioned issues with the HDR setting and the stand’s cable management are my only real gripes. While these issues aren’t majorly problematic overall, I do wish there was a little more room for cable routing. If you are going to allow me to plug in eight different things (power, 2x USB, USB-C, 2x HDMI, and a display port), make sure you give me enough space to route that many cables.

As far as gaming goes, my set up is not intended to push 4k gaming on ultra settings at insanely high FPS. But I did fire up a few games like Final Fantasy XIV. With a mix of average and high settings, I could run a fairly constant 45-50FPS at 4k on my RX5700 XT. While that may not sound like much, it is within the UltraFine’s Freesync range of 40-75 fps. So there was no screen tearing or artifacting and the game looked really really good. If you have a top notch GPU and are really competitive, the 60Hz refresh rate may be a deal breaker.

However, my needs these days are very productivity oriented, with some light gaming, but that light gaming looks stunning.

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