LG 32EP950 Review: Ultrafine OLED Monitor

This time we have a special treat with LG 32EP950 review. It is a 32-inch OLED panel with a 4K-resolution and offers an innovation in the PC display sector at this size, OLED technology has established itself a long time ago for inductive black levels and provides higher contrast.

LG 32EP950 Review

Many of the performance vulnerabilities we examined in our reviews are actually related to the backlighting required on LCD panels. This especially applies to illumination and image uniformity. However, with the self-illuminating pixels of OLED technology, additional background lighting is no longer needed. So you can achieve perfect black levels, and it’s supposed to last when the contrast of detail is there.

However, OLED technology also has disadvantages. OLED panels are subject to a certain amount of wear and tear and don’t really like to be stressed with still images. It explains why the technology initially found its way into the TV sector with primarily moving content. The fact that LG, as a leader in OLED technology, is now showing up in the PC arena with OLED panels as well, compels people to sit down and take notice.

With the 32EP950, LG goes straight to the limit. With hardware calibration, 10-bit color depth, and nearly full-color space coverage of Adobe RGB and DCI-P3, the display is aimed at professionals in the fields of image and video processing. Common standard color modes are also available as presets ex-works. Maximum brightness suitable for HDR doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore. LG promises a typical brightness of 540 cd/m².

USB Type C (PD: 90 W), two DisplayPort, one HDMI connection, and three USB interfaces ensure comprehensive, state-of-the-art connectivity. Our LG 32EP950 review has yet to show that even an OLED display with a native contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and a response time of just 1 ms will become a gamer’s dream at the same time. With a price of $3,999, you’ll have to spend a lot. You will find its features and specs here.

Design

The low weight of the display makes it even more noticeable than the flat design. However, the LG 32EP950 weighs only 5.3kg even when the stand is attached. Installation is quick and easy. The support stand only needs to be mounted on the rear of the display and can be released at any time with the press of a button. If necessary, it is always possible to quickly switch to compatible swivel arms and wall brackets according to the VESA standard.

The screen is not fitted frameless in its plastic housing. 1 cm on the edge, 1.4 cm on the top, and 2 cm on the bottom. The plastic housing is slightly curved at the back. Apart from the noble-looking, blue tint of the display surface, the design of the device does not reveal its purchase price.

You have to do without a swivel function in the construction of the support leg. Since the review unit is still fairly light despite its size, you can simply move the entire device to “turn it on”.

Otherwise, all the usual ergonomic functions are available, albeit in poor form. The LG 32EP950’s height can be adjusted up to 11cm. Tilt is adjustable from -5 to +20 degrees. A pan-to portrait format is also possible. In the lowest position and upright tilt, the bottom edge of the display is approximately 6.5cm above the desk.

The round shape stand provides good grip even during transport. As with the mechanics, the height adjustment is still pretty convincing. On the other hand, the tilt can be adjusted quite strictly. The same applies when rotating in portrait format. An unusually large amount of force is also needed in some cases when inserting the cable behind the display. If you hold it in front of the frame at the bottom of the middle, you’ll quickly hear unsightly clicking sounds.

The workmanship of the LG 32EP950 made a good, but not entirely appropriate, impression on us for the price range. Therefore, a good $3,999 equivalent should be sought in the intrinsic values of OLED panels.

There is hardly any waste heat in the case. At the rear, even in the area of the ventilation slots, we can hardly find any warming. You can feel a certain amount of warming with your hand from a distance of a few centimeters directly in front of the display. But the same happens with every monitor. Therefore, the ventilation slots are very discreet at the top.

However, there are also ventilation slots under the housing frame to take advantage of the chimney effect. Good cooling is very important for the service life of OLEDs.

Operating noise

We couldn’t hear any operating noise during our LG 32EP950 review. Both in standby and operation, the monitor works completely silently – regardless of the brightness setting. However, noise development may be subject to a certain series spread, which is why this estimation does not need to be applied equally to all devices in a series.

Power consumption

LG states a maximum consumption of 210 watts in the datasheet. The normal power requirement should be 72 watts. That’s only slightly above the maximum value we’ve measured at the highest brightness level.

LG 32EP950 Review

The LG 32EP950 allows an unusually long standby time. First, we measure 7.5 watts for about 2 minutes until the actual standby level of about 0.5 watts is permanently reached. With the soft-off button, power consumption can be reduced slightly to 0.3 watts. Our LG 32EP950 review unit does not have a power switch to completely disconnect the device from the power supply.

At 140 cd/m² at work, the measuring device shows 51.2 watts. That’s twice as much as the LG 32UN880, which also has a larger 32-inch 4K-panel – but with IPS technology. That’s why the LG 32EP950 has poor brightness efficiency at 0.7 cd/W.

Connectivity

With the LG 32EP950, connections are readily available and inserted horizontally, right next to the pillar suspension. As already mentioned, this sometimes requires an unusually large amount of force, which slightly tarnishes the impression of quality.

LG 32EP950 Review

On the other hand, you can’t complain about the variety of connections: 2x DisplayPort (1.4), 1x HDMI, 1x USB-C ( DP Alt. Mode, DP version 1.4, and max. 90 W charging power). The hub for the three USB 3.0 downstream ports can be used upstream via the USB-C or the USB-B port.

If you use a USB-C to USB-C connection to the PC, the downstream ports only offer USB 2.0 speed. The USB 3.0 speed is only available when using type B to type A cable or when connecting the USB-C cable to the PC using the adapter (type C to type A).

As usual from LG, it operates using the joystick button centered on the bottom of the frame. Navigation through the monitor’s functions is very intuitive on the one hand, and on the other, the focused arrangement also reduces annoying display.

OSD

We have already praised LG’s OSD in many reviews. The first press of the button leads to a quick selection with which important settings can be called up directly. Signal source selection and picture mode can be controlled without going through menus.

In Picture mode, you’ll find professional presets that conform to general color space specifications from sRGB to BT.2020. The color temperature and gamma can also be set as specific numerical values ​​according to the purpose of the device for the graphics area. There’s even a controller to select the color space used. In the case of a monitor with an expanded color space for professional use, this is certainly a matter of course, but not always the case with devices advertised for it.

LG 32EP950 Review

In terms of appearance and structure, the OSD menu matches what we know from LG’s all-rounder and has already been praised a lot of times. Unfortunately, the manufacturer practically no longer includes drawings in its manuals. It is less user-friendly.

Picture quality

The panel frame and panel surface are matte and effectively anti-reflective. Light falling from the edge or a viewer in light-colored clothing produces only a weak reflection on the screen.

During reset (factory settings) the monitor sets the following values:

  • Picture mode: Default
  • Brightness: 70
  • Contrast: 70
  • Gamma: 2.2
  • Color temperature: user
  • RGB: 50/50/50
  • Color gamut: Native
  • DUE Priority: k. a.
  • Sharpness: nv
  • Response time: nv

These values were used for subsequent evaluation with factory settings.

Grayscale

The gray levels make a great impression at first and appear completely neutral. The brightest levels are fully recognizable, the darkest up to and including level 7. The rich black is especially noticeable and already promises a great result in the latter’s contrast measure.

LG 32EP950 Review

It can be seen especially well in the second grayscale image. The bar on the far right can no longer be separated from the background, and in the case of measurement technology, there is also a zero value without decimal places.

LG 32EP950 Review

However, upon closer inspection, it is also worth noting that the left and right sides of the image are not completely identical. The difference may be subtle, but the left half of the image looks a little warmer than the right. It can be seen a little more clearly in the image below in the gray areas.

LG 32EP950 Review

The subject of viewing angle dependence also leaves a mixed effect with grayscale. On the one hand, the picture is very well preserved in both the brightest and darkest areas, even at more extreme angles. On the other hand, the color temperature gets significantly cooler at an angle of 20 to 30 degrees.

We didn’t notice color shimmer or a banding effect, even with a fine gray gradient. After all, the LG 32EP950 also announces a “real” 10-bit color depth. However, the gray gradient looks a bit flickering. Otherwise, the display is very nice and flowing with fine gray gradients. It is particularly impressive in the dark area on the side, as the individual stripes are perfectly in vertical as well. There are also no contrast-reducing brightenings on the sides of the display.

LG 32EP950 Review

It looks less accurate with color gradients, as the illustration below shows with primary colors. While it looks clean with blue, discrimination is completely lost in areas heavily saturated with red and especially green. At least, this is the case in factory settings. Later, calibration could help.

Brightness, black level, and contrast

The picture below shows a completely black image, as you would see it with the naked eye in a completely dark room; this is where noticeable weaknesses appear. On the other hand, the picture on the right with longer exposure times highlights problem areas and is only used for a clear representation.

LG 32EP950 Review

As expected from OLED technology and as mentioned earlier, the black image is perfect. A photo with extended exposure, otherwise used for clarification, doesn’t make sense here. Black stays black – you can expose for as long as you want. The “brightness” and “shimmering colors” themes from different perspectives have also been omitted entirely. It couldn’t be any better.

Measurements are performed after calibration to D65 as the white point. If possible, all dynamic controls are disabled. When the LG 32EP950 review test was done with the original white point, the results are low due to the adjustments required.

The measurement window is not surrounded by a black border. Therefore, the values can be compared to ANSI contrast and reflect real-world conditions better than measurements for flat white and black images.

LG 32EP950 Review

We achieved a maximum of around 262 cd/m² with the native white point. That is not even half of the manufacturer’s specification of 540 cd/m². This is disappointing because according to the manufacturer’s information refers to the “typical brightness” and not to the peak brightness in parts of the screen in HDR mode. The brightness can be reduced to a minimum of 20 cd/m².

After calibration, the maximum brightness drops to 247 cd/m² and the minimum value to 19 cd/m². It means you can always work in complete darkness.

In the above graphics, the contrast looks pointless for the gradient. After the clarification about the lights, this should no longer surprise anyone. When measuring, only a small portion of the screen is black, and the rest is between medium gray and white. Still, no residual light in the dark areas could be determined with our instruments. Mathematically, the contrast tends to infinity. LG itself specifies the static contrast ratio as 1,000,000:1.

Image homogeneity

We examine the image homogeneity using four test images (white, neutral tones with 75%, 50%, 25% brightness), which we measure at 15 points. This results in the averaged brightness deviation in% and also averaged Delta C (ie the chroma difference) concerning the respective centrally measured value. The perception threshold for differences in brightness is around 10%.

Brightness distribution is excellent, with an average value of 1.99% and a maximum deviation of 4.57%. In terms of color homogeneity, however, the LG 32EP950 makes a big mistake. In terms of measurement technology, it is simply bad on average, as is the maximum deviation (Delta-C average: 2.64, Delta-C maximum: 4.58).

Subjectively, however, it looks much better. With gray areas, you can already see that the right half of the image looks a bit cooler than the left, as we have already shown in detail with the gray levels. However, this is hardly noticeable in a white test image. Brightness distribution is also subjectively excellent, as measured values ​​confirm. We would most likely have expected minor weaknesses in the color homogeneity – but only minor weaknesses and not such a bad result.

In the central sitting position, a white test image actually looks quite homogeneous. If, on the other hand, you intentionally move your head to the lower-left corner, for example, this area suddenly turns red when viewed vertically. On the other hand, the opposite edge, and especially the top right corner, looks blue. However, the former is what the measuring device sees, as it always looks vertically at the screen.

Coating

The surface coating of the panel has a major impact on the visual assessment of image sharpness, contrast, and sensitivity to external light. We examine the coating with a microscope and show the panel surface (the most important film) in extreme magnification.

Sub-pixel microscopic view, with focus on the screen’s surface: The LG 32EP950 has a matte surface, but there are finely visible depressions for diffusion.

Viewing angles

The photo shows the screen of the LG 32EP950 with horizontal viewing angles of ± 60 degrees and vertical angles of +45 and -30 degrees. Factory specification for maximum viewing angle is 178 degrees horizontally and vertically. These are typical values for modern IPS and VA panels. But here we are dealing with OLED panels. And this technology – similar to IPS panels – generally has a particular strength.

LG 32EP950 Review

At first glance, the neutrality of perspective makes a pretty good impression. In terms of color stability, the OLED display scores excellently when compared to the upper class of IPS panels.

Color saturation doesn’t change at all, even with extreme viewing angles. The color change is by no means observable. Brightness, which remains practically unchanged even with extreme viewing angles, is responsible for the excellent effect. Hence the brightness and contrast remain unchanged even at extreme viewing angles.

However, we also discovered vulnerabilities on the other side. As already described for grayscale, the color temperature gets quite cold at angles approx. 20 to 30 degrees. This is hardly noticeable with a composite picture like in our example, but it applies above all to the presentation of pictures. With EBV, this can be a problem concerning the effect on image homogeneity.

Color reproduction

For the graphics area, we test the color reproduction to factory settings after the first reset and – if available – in an sRGB and Adobe RGB mode. If the screen has a full hardware calibration, this is used in conjunction with the manufacturer’s software instead.

Color space comparison in CIELAB (D50)

The following representations are based on the colorimetric data after calibration to D65 as the white point. The reference white for processing in CIELAB is D50 (adapted with Bradford).

  • White volume: Screen color space
  • Black volume: Reference color space
  • Colorful volume: Intersection
  • Comparison targets: sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, ECI-RGB v2

The following graphics show the color space coverage after the hardware calibration.

However, it’s also interesting to take a look at the factory presets to see how well the LG 32EP950’s extended color space is trimmed into the corresponding target color space.

Trimming works pretty well, but there’s a lot of trimming, especially in DCI-P3 mode. With regards to hardware calibration, we’ll see later if it can be improved.

The following table summarizes the results for factory presets and hardware calibration with LG Calibration Studio:

LG 32EP950 review

Color Mode: Custom (Factory Setting)

We’ve summarized the following chart explanations for you: Delta-E divergence for color values and white point, Delta-C divergence for gray values, and gradation.

LG 32EP950 review

The LG 32EP950’s gray balance is pretty good from the factory. The color temperature is also within a reasonable range of 6300 K. Gamma descends to a point with an average of 2.2. The bumpy course lacks the accuracy expected.

Comparison of sRGB mode with the sRGB working color space

LG 32EP950 review

The sRGB mode can shine ex-works with a high color space coverage and very accurate color reproduction. Even with the gray balance, it is still enough for a very good rating.

By our measurements, the LG 32EP950 followed standard specifications for the white point (6400 K) and average gamma (2.2) very precisely. However, one also expects that a monitor for the professional field will be able to accurately reproduce the sRGB tone value curve. Clearly, that is not the case here at all.

Comparison of Adobe RGB mode with the Adobe RGB working color space

LG 32EP950 review

The gamma gradient looks better in the Adobe preset since a linear gradient is required here. We determine the average for the gamma with 2.19. As usual, the color temperature of 6441 K is very close to the preset value. Even the gray balance did not continue to achieve a very good result.

Deviations in bright colors are on average excellent (Delta E94 average: 0.60). The averaging also hides the fact that there are some notable outliers in the region of green tones (Delta E94 max: 2.89). The preset color space falls short of the native color space’s expectations and capabilities in terms of coverage.

Comparison of DCI-P3 mode with the DCI-P3 working color space

LG 32EP950 review

However, the LG 32EP950 only makes a serious mistake in the DCI-P3 presets. Gray balance is still good on average, but only a high range leads to a poor overall rating (Delta-C-Average: 1.14, Delta-C-Range: 3.10). The LG 32EP950 cannot quite achieve the high gamma specification of 2.6 with an average of 2.51 – especially not with a consistently linear course.

While color deviations still appear convincing on average, this is no longer the case when viewing the largest outliers, as they are already in the visible range (delta-E94 average: 1.61, delta-E94 max: 7.89). With a color space coverage of only 90%, this preset can no longer be described as a success.

Hardware calibration

Unlike standard monitors, genuine professional displays offer the option of hardware calibration. Here the calibration settings are made directly into the device via a USB connection. For this reason, the later measured profile no longer contains any calibration data that is written to the graphics card’s LUT during software calibration at each system start. Hardware calibration, on the other hand, is completely independent of the computer and graphics card.

This enables significantly higher precision in calibration as well as avoids unwanted clipping of color gradations. While RGB adjustment with a software calibration cuts down on the number of possible color values via the OSD’s RGB gain control, with manual calibration the maximum possible 256 color levels per color channel is fully maintained.

In addition to the associated hardware requirements in monitors, manufacturer-specific software is also required. The software supplied with the colorimeter is usually not capable of doing this.

The target parameters for calibration are specified on the login page. You can also do this in the settings if necessary. Change the profile version you created later. So the software is very simple. Gamma can only be set as an average value. It is not possible to plot a specific tone value curve – as required for the sRGB color space, eg.

A separate image mode called “Calibration” is available in the OSD to save the calibration result. However, in software, you can select all other existing presets as targets and thus adjust them with your own hardware calibration. It is apparently not possible to rename the picture mode.

As usual, we have selected the following settings as the calibration target: Color Space “Native”, Color Temperature “D65”, Gamma 2.2, Brightness 140 cd/m².

Responsiveness

We examined the response behavior in the native resolution at 60 Hz on DisplayPort. The monitor was reset to factory settings for measurement.

Response times, we set for black-white change and best gray-to-gray change. In addition, we give the average value of our 15 measuring points.

A response time of 1 ms is specified for GtG in the datasheet. LG doesn’t offer a switchable overdrive function for its responsive OLED display, and it’s not really needed. The graphics speak for themselves.

Practically all GtG pre-transition tasks have absolutely negligible response times of about 0.1 ms (rise time/fall time). Even significant color transitions are delivered almost directly to the eye with a CTC switching time of about 0.1 ms. Nevertheless, there are no significant overshoots in the signal curve.

Latency

Unfortunately, there’s no point in bragging about the LG 32EP950’s superb response times for too long. Latency is important, at least for gamers.

Because this is where the signal delay also comes into play. Latency is calculated as the sum of the signal delay time and half the average picture change time. Half the average image change time is exorbitantly good at 0.1 ms, but the signal delay brings the LG 32EP950 back to the normal all-rounder with 18.8 ms. That makes a total of 18.9 ms.

That makes the LG 32EP950 a passable, but ultimately not a particularly responsive gaming monitor. At least there is no loss of image quality due to excessive overdrive.

Backlight

The background light of the monitor pulsates based on the set brightness. With PWM control, the LEDs light up continuously at 100% brightness. The LEDs are only switched off for a short time at lower brightness levels, which is sometimes perceived as flickering by sensitive people.

With the LG 32EP950’s OLED controls, there are small signal interruptions even at maximum brightness levels, which are less pronounced at minimum brightness. However, these signal interruptions are far below 0.5 ms (typically: 0.1 ms) and should remain completely invisible to the eye. The interrupt does not produce any flicker at frequencies above 130 Hz. Thus, the monitor is suitable for long working hours even with low brightness.

Sound

The LG 32EP950 is recognized as an audio playback device under Windows 10 and can receive audio signals through all signal inputs. However, it can’t play it back on its own as there is no integrated speaker in the flat case. Therefore playback is only possible on the headphone output.

HDR operation

Detection and switching under Windows 10 worked without any problems in the LG 32EP950 review test. The monitor briefly confirms the switchover with the display of HDR Speech Bubble and switches to “(HDR) BT.2100PQ” image mode by default. If desired, you can also switch to “(HDR) P3-D65 PQ” or “User” mode. Other modes are blocked in HDR mode.

You will not get to see anything here about the promised typical maximum brightness of 540 cd/m² – at least not over the entire surface, as the technical information actually states. We were able to determine a maximum of 260 cd/m² with a measurement window of approx. 5 x 10 cm, even if the rest of the screen is predominantly black or dark. The lightened area has to be significantly smaller. Then, according to our measurements, peak brightnesses of up to 560 cd/m² are possible.

In other words: it’s not so much the atomic bomb explosion that strikes you with its massive dazzling effect, but the general scene mentioned earlier. The strength of OLED lies more in the micro than in the brute force of devices with 1000 cd/m² and above. Not everyone considers the “glow effect” produced by such bolides to be pleasant, especially in the evening. With small highlights, the effects are more than enough in terms of brightness anyway.

Overall, that’s why we’d describe the LG 32EP950’s HDR performance as bombastic. That is not least because of the color representation, as already mentioned above. In night scenes, you don’t have to be afraid of any area flaring which always looks unnatural in some way and throws you out of action.

Final line

The LG 32EP950 OLED monitor not only impresses with rich blacks and bright colors immediately after switching on but can actually be used as a monitor without any restrictions. The LG 32EP950 does not have brightness issues like the EIZO Foris Nova. With Foris Nova, the actual display brightness varies with the screen content – regardless of the brightness control setting in the OSD. Not so with the LG 32EP950, so it can be used as an all-rounder without any restrictions.

With the 32EP950, LG goes even further and seeks to appeal to professionals in the field of image processing with the capability of comprehensive and accurate color reproduction and hardware calibration. This LG 32EP950 review also confirms a much larger native color space. It is undoubtedly state-of-the-art compared to other graphics monitors. However, it cannot move them in the direction of Rec. 2020 or Rec. 2100.

In terms of color accuracy, the LG 32EP950 does pretty well even after the factory presets as well as hardware calibration, but on the other, it lacks the accuracy that is known from the EIZO/NEC warehouse. Hardware calibration is also useful and user-friendly but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of functionality, at least for the professional field.

We find the greatest weakness in the area of ​​image homogeneity. Fortunately, the problem is solved very well in practice, on the one hand, but a completely strict approach is not neutrality on the other. Nevertheless, this point prevents a very good rating.

The LG 32EP950 is less able to shine in the EBV than in the presentation of the finished images. In the entertainment sector, the model can fully exploit the power of its self-illuminating pixels and deliver an image quality not known from monitors with traditional backlighting. It’s just a shame that the exorbitantly good response times are put into perspective by the rather usual input lag. Otherwise, the device would also be every gamer’s dream.

The LG 32EP950 offers an alternative to Asus flagships such as the PA32UCX and PA32UCG. OLED technology relies on maximizing blacks rather than maximizing peak brightness. From our point of view, the result definitely looks more natural and is free of zone lighting.

Price and availability

As mentioned at the start of the LG 32EP950 review, this OLED monitor is not cheap, costs $3,999, and is already available to buy via various online stores: Bhphotovideo.com, Amazon.com, Adorama.com, Bestbuy.com, and Amazon.co.uk.

About Ankeet Solanki

He started this blog as a hobby to show his affection for gadgets, but over the time this hobby became professional. And now he is working as a full-time blogger, but in free time he loves watching movies and games. PayPal donation for TechToyReviews will be appreciated.

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