Several days after an impulsive tax-time purchase of an RTX 4090, LG emailed me about road-testing its new UltraGear OLED 45-inch curved ultrawide screen display. This worked out perfectly — the RTX 4090 is a card that insists on being allowed to gallop. Funnelling its prodigious output through anything less than a 4K display causes it to wail and thrash against the bars of its cage. Forcing the 4090 to output in 1080p, so often the fast track to better frames with other cards, is akin to putting a muzzle on an angry dog and watching it wrench its neck back and forth in protest.
It should be noted that my time with the LG UltraGear OLED 45-inch was extremely short-lived — my hands-on time was just two days before LG needed the review unit back. That is, quite clearly, not nearly long enough to conduct a full product review. As such, this is not a review of the LG UltraGear OLED 45-inch gaming monitor. I’ve decided to make some broad notes about using it for a couple of days and then a fast rundown of each game I played and how they fared on the panel when paired with a top-end card. Sorry that I can’t bring you something more comprehensive. I did the best I could with the time I had.
The UltraGear OLED 45-inch unboxing and setup
The UltraGear OLED is a hilariously huge monitor. Opening the box revealed a monitor that seemed too wide. The setup was simple and in line with modern monitor assembly: the pillar attaches to the back of the monitor with a pair of retractable teeth that hold it in place. The base attaches to the foot of the pillar with a large thumbscrew. After that, it’s a matter of picking it up and putting it on the desk. I recommend having a second person help you do this. The UltraGear OLED isn’t all that heavy, but it is large, and its shape makes it cumbersome to move.
I tried to take a picture of it once I had it situated on my desk at home. I couldn’t actually get it all in frame.
— David Smith (@RhunWords) June 26, 2023
My battered old desk looked particularly haggard against the sleek newness of the monitor, as you can see. What you can also see is the kind of desktop footprint it demands. If you have the means, wall mounting would probably be worth investigating. The size of its curved screen and its sizeable forked base takes up a lot of room on the desk.
The size of the monitor allows the curve of its screen to feel like it encompasses your entire field of vision. As curved monitor enthusiasts now, this can be a blessing or a curse depending on the type of game you’re playing. In a game where that immersive feel is required (and the game properly supports an ultrawide display), it’s genuinely hard to beat a curved monitor. There are, however, plenty of games where curved is more hindrance than help.
The panel is housed in a black plastic case with lovely thin bezels around the margins. Though the bezels are not needle-thin like some competitors, they are thin enough and should avoid annoying all but the most dedicated anti-bezelers in the crowd. The rear panel features an array of ports and channels, giving the user plenty of cabling and input options. There’s also LED lights on the back! If you’re into that sort of thing! They were purple. I don’t know if you can change the colours or turn them off, because I didn’t have time to check.
Gaming on the UltraGear OLED 45-inch
In brief, which kinds of games is the UltraGear OLED 45-inch good for? Similar to other curved monitors, its great for racing games, strategy and anything with an isometric (or top-down) POV. Weaknesses of the curved design are typically first- or third-person shooters. I played five games to get as rounded a view of the monitor’s capabilities as I could — Forza Horizon 5, Diablo IV, Age of Empires IV, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 5.
Though the UltraGear OLED 45-inch is capable of outputting in 4K, all of the below games were played in the ultrawide 3440×1440 res.
Fortnite ran great on the UltraGear OLED, and does feature native ultrawide support. The 4090 loved running the game on this monitor at a buttery smooth 120 frames once I turned all the ray-tracing off. Your peripheral awareness is heightened on a monitor like this, able to see just a little further to the left and right than you can on a normal monitor. However, it’s still a fast paced shooter and the curve of the screen began to hinder my hunt for quick kills and desire to pounce from the bushes.
Diablo IV ran beautifully. Every part of Diablo IV, which features native ultrawide support, was a joy to experience on the UltraGear OLED. The all-emcompassing size and feel of the screen allowed me to disappear into Blizzard’s latest click frenzy. The game silky smooth, and looked particularly gorgeous with the HDR switched on. The grimy darkness of the world Blizzard created as at its best on a monitor like this. Absolutely stunning performance. If I owned this monitor, I think this is all I would want to play on it.
Age of Empires IV
Curved monitors are almost built for strategy games like this. They allow you to feel like you’re truly hovering over the map from a god-like perspective, issuing commands from high. Age of Empires IV is no different. Again, the game features native ultrawide support meaning you get the full effect of its beautiful art design across the entire panel. It’s the perfect screen for a game like this, an uptempo take a classic genre with a distinct and handcrafted look. If you wanted to show the UltraGear OLED off to a friend who is curious about curved panels, this is the game you would use to do it.
Sea of Thieves
Some of you are giggling to yourselves in the comments. Of course, he played SoT on this thing. I am who I am. Sea of Thieves, perhaps unsurprisingly, does not feature native ultrawide support. It can certainly render in ultrawide 3440×1440 resolution, but the game has not been optimised around it. What this meant was that, though the game appears to be in ultrawide, it’s actually distorted beyond the standard 1920×1080 res. Because the game is framed in a first-person perspective, this distortion led to my feeling extremely motion sick right away.
To clarify: this is a Sea of Thieves problem, not an issue with the UltraGear OLED. That said, by dint of the monitor’s senses-enfolding nature of its design, you may run into a similar scenario yourself. Something to be aware of.
Forza Horizon 5
Racing games have long been considered the very best thing you can play on a curved monitor. They are games that come alive on a curved panel, the interior cockpit view feeling like it wraps around you, communicating the sense of speed through the windows. Forza Horizon 5 manages this very, very well indeed, using its native ultrawide support as a canvas for showing off its meticulously detailed Mexican locales. The racing feels great, the visuals look stunning, and it all runs at a silky smooth frame rate. Gorgeous stuff, highly recommend. Another showpiece title for anyone curious about curved panels.
That I’ve managed to extract almost 1,400 words out of a panel I used for just two days comes as a surprise to me. Though I’ve not had time to live with the UltraGear OLED and uncover its flaws and eccentricities, I can say with authority that it makes a bloody good first impression. The setup is simple, the image is beautiful, its colour reproduction appears to top-notch, and, when paired with a sufficiently muscular graphics card, amazing things start to happen.
It seems to suffer from the same shortcomings that all curved monitors do, exacerbated by its prodigious wingspan. Again, though, when paired with the right game, it begins to sing just right.
I will be interested to hear from others who’ve gotten a longer introduction to the UltraGear OLED. Based on our passionate 48-hour fling, I’ve come away very impressed.
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