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LG 27UD88 USB-C IPS 4K UHD Monitor Review

by on September 5, 2016
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Overview

The USB-C 27UD88 is one of those less common 4K monitors which manages to be both superbly attractive and highly functional at the same time. Featuring a wealth of cool specs that include the obvious like 4K Ultra HD resolution, and more specialized extras like, IPS display, FreeSync functionality for gamers and a powerful USB-C port which sits at the cutting edge of PC monitor connectivity, the UD88 is one superb and advanced piece of 4K technology which also delivers mostly excellent visual qualities for a wide range of uses.

While the UD88 makes a sincerely great 4K gaming monitor which has been built with such a purpose firmly in mind thanks to its FreeSync and superb input lag, it’s also a very robust all-around monitor for a wide range of PC applications from regular home computing to video and phot editing to professional office work. This is in fact probably what we most like about the UD88. It quite simply has something to offer for almost anyone without compromising on quality in any major category and this is indeed a bit of a rare characteristic of any 4K UHD PC monitor, with only a few models being so well-rounded. Best of all, the UD88 isn’t too expensive for all its specs and cool looks. No it’s not on the cheaper end of the 4K monitor spectrum but neither is it absurdly expensive.

The Good

Let’s start with the most immediately visible benefits of the LG 27UD88. Quite simply, this monitor looks lovely and offers an aesthetic that would look elegant in any home, gaming studio or particularly any office setting. With a white body, a nearly bezel-free display edge and a glossy white plastic covering everything behind its display, the 27UD88 also features a very elegant but sturdy curved supporting platform and a silvery vertical stand. It is a pleasure to behold whether it’s viewed from close up or at a distance and this counts for something in a market where a surprising number of 4K monitors come with distinctly functional designs that lose a bit in the looks department.

Additionally, we like the ease with which the UD88-W0s stand can be adjusted. It’s not just a looker, it can also be easily rotated to a vertical, portrait position as well as reset for a comfortable height and viewing angle. This can all be done without failure-prone knobs and levels. Instead you simply rotate the screen as needed and it stays in place quite nicely.

Next, the 27UD88 is loaded with great gaming specs and features which any serious 4K gamer should easily appreciate. These include the already-mentioned AMD FreeSync technology, which is designed to prevent tearing in onscreen visuals during gaming by synchronizing the refresh rate of the monitor with that outputted by a given game in any of AMD’s GPUs with FreeSync compatibility. On top of this, the 27UD88 comes with plenty of connectivity in the form of a highly advanced USB-C port for 4K video at 60Hz, high quality audio and assorted other multimedia at high speeds. In addition to this, there are a couple USB 3.0 ports, HDMI ports and of course a port for the backbone of PC gaming connectivity, a DisplayPort 1.2 connection. In other words, the UD88 is well connected and in a very comprehensive way.

Moving along, the visual specs of the 27UD88 are downright superb for its price. We’ll go into more details on these further down the review but for now we can say that our testing of the monitor showed a virtually perfect level of sRGB coverage, excellent display brightness, decent contrast and some great color accuracy even right out of the box. The color accuracy and other display specs can be still further refined after a bit of manual calibration. Additionally, the 27UD88 offers up a remarkably fine level of sharpness. Obviously enough this is something you’d expect from a UHD monitor but combined with the color vibrancy and IPS brightness of this display, the 4K resolution comes across as particularly fine.

Finally, we also like the way the screen control interface on the 27UD88 can be manipulated. A small joystick along the bottom of the display makes the process of moving through different display menu items much easier and makes for quick adjustment of contrast, brightness and color controls. The UD88 also comes with a highly versatile PBP (picture-by-picture) mode which lets users display two or more input sources at the same time --something the UD88 is particularly friendly to thanks to its wide 4K-capable connectivity selection. There’s also a cool LG screen split feature integrated into the UD88’s menu, which some users might like because it allows for simultaneous display of different apps in the same PC through 14 different configurations of split screen. Thus you can watch a video while also keeping a separate section of the screen open for internet browsing, and so on.

Check the Price of the LG Electronics 4K UHD 27UD88-W 27" LED-Lit Monitor with USB Type-C on Amazon:

4.6 - 35 Reviews

The Bad

On the other hand, the 27UD88 isn’t entirely without its imperfections, though none of them are serious deal-breakers. First of all, while we lobe the inclusion of FreeSync, the technology we’d have really preferred is G-Sync, at least if serious 4K gaming is what you’re getting the UD88 for. Why? Because the best current 4K UHD PC gameplay GPUs are entirely made up of NVIDIA models, such as the GTX 1080, Titan X Pascal card and the GTX 1070 and 1060 cards, all of which offer superior performance to their AMD counterparts and which all only work with NVIDIA’s own G-Sync technology.

Secondly, the UD88-W doesn’t come with any speakers. There is a speaker jack built into it and it even offers a little volume control in its menu controls but if you want any sound here, you’re going to need to splurge on an external sound system with this particular monitor.

Furthermore, while the display qualities of the UD88 are definitely very good, with great color accuracy in general, this monitor doesn’t quite reach the same sRGB and AdobeRGB coverage percentages as competitor monitors like the Acer Predator XB321HK. While LG claims 99% sRGB coverage in the machine and this is what we ourselves tested on our UD88, some other users and reviewers have noted lower values, which likely means that the UD88-W’s color performance can vary a decent bit from unit to unit. We also didn’t like the odd uniformity of supposedly different display presets in the UD88. Thus, FPS 1, FPS 2, or the default “custom” mode for this monitor all more or less seem to deliver the same sort of bright and high-contrast image quality which works fine for most gaming and many other uses but which is, like we said, oddly unchanging between the presets.

You’d think LG would at least try to mix things up usefully a bit. As for the “Movie” mode, it’s at least different from the other presets but it’s also way too dark, even in a dimly lit room when being used for watching movie and other video content. Basically, while the UD88 offers a decent quantity of presets, they’re not particularly useful as individual options. You’re better of manually calibrating the monitor or just sticking with the most comfortable preset for the majority of what you use this display for.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt we recommend the LG 27UD88-W 4K UHD monitor for a wide range of users. Gamers who are running AMD GPUs in their PCs should particularly like this model but it’s a great tool for office and home uses of almost all types. Additionally, while it’s not exactly cheap, it’s decently priced for the specs and value it offers.

Specs

• Screen Size: 27 inches
• Response Time: 5 ms
• Aspect Ratio: 16:9
• Backlight Technology: LED
• Panel Technology: In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology
• Maximum Resolution: 3840 x 2160
• Standard Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
• Color Support: 1.07 Billion Colors
• Contrast Ratio: 980:1
• Brightness: 350 cd/m²
• Ports: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x USB-C port, 2x USB 3.0
• Speakers: No
• Stand adjustability: Yes, for tilt, swivel, height
• Height: 16.7″ (depending on height adjustment)
• Width: 24.2″
• Depth: 8.1 (with stand)″
• Weight (without stand): 13.4 lb

Highlights

The single most noteworthy highlight of the LG 27UD88-W monitor is the inclusion of a cutting-edge and still highly advanced USB C port in this monitor. Few models exist on the market which offer this one particular connectivity feature and its inclusion means a couple different unique things. First of all, the USB-C makes the monitor into a more future-proof than usual piece of PC display hardware. For the moment, there are very few applications or devices which offer USB-C compatibility but down the road this will change and the UD88 is ready for that change right out of the box. Secondly, for owners of MacBooks from Apple, the USB-C port on the UD88 is a useful connectivity tool since it lets the also USB-C equipped Apple laptop connect to this particular monitor via one single cable which can then allow for 4K UHD graphics to display at 30Hz while also allowing for transfer of data and charging the MacBook itself right through the same cable via monitor and laptop.

Check the Price of the LG Electronics 4K UHD 27UD88-W 27" LED-Lit Monitor with USB Type-C on Amazon:

4.6 - 35 Reviews

Design and Features

We’re going to cover the gaming chops and build of the 27UD88 here. Starting with its build, this monitor offers up a decently sized display space which isn’t too large and cumbersome while still feeling large enough to be useful for most gaming, video watching and visual design needs you might have. The virtual absence of edge bezeling along the sides and top of the UD88 only contributes to the perception of robust display size and the screen itself comes with a nice slightly matte finish which strongly works against screen reflection. This of course means that using the UD88 even in brightly lit rooms is quite easy on the eyes.

Construction-wise, the monitor is mainly made of plastic and this is the material which covers its stand, rear, edges and pretty much the entire external body. That said, the UD88 still feels plenty sturdy and robust, with a stand that doesn’t at all give the impression of being fragile or particularly unstable. The adjustment options of this monitor are also quite decent, with the display panel being capable of forward tilting by 3 degrees and backward tilting by 20 degrees. The monitor’s display can’t swivel horizontally but it can be rotated from portrait to landscape mode and its height can be adjusted slightly as well.

As for its gaming chops, the UD88 delivers some very robust performance almost across the board. Action for games in 4K is normally quite fluid and tear-free even without FreeSync activated and if you’re running your PC games through an AMD GPU, the smoothness of the gaming experience in Full HD, 1440p and 4K UHD resolutions is remarkably good. The input lago of the monitor is also quite low with a maximum lag time of just 9.8 milliseconds. Furthermore, the 5 millisecond screen response time is fast enough for gaming and is on the faster end by the standards of IPS monitors. Additionally, this same IPS panel is quite good at handling all the shadow, light, color and greyscale details you’ll need for even the most vibrant games at high levels of detail. The same qualities apply to movie watching on the UD88, with colors looking vibrant and contrast levels being remarkably deep, with particularly decent blacks next to great levels of brightness.

One important thing to keep in mind with the UD88 –something which we like quite a lot—is that it still delivers excellent coordination between GPU and its display even with FreeSync turned off. Frame rate speed and gameplay smoothness are both better with FreeSync running with an AMD GPU but even without this blend of factors, the UD88 still performs with remarkable smoothness, meaning that users of NVIDIA GPUs can also be quite happy with the UD88. We should note here that the UD88 is a 60Hz monitor meaning that it can deliver smooth gameplay at up to 60 frames per second.

Display Characteristics

Finally, in how it renders visuals on its display, the 27UD88-W is a generally superb performer with some fine specs almost across the board. This isn’t to say that the UD88 delivers stunning color, brightness or contrast performance, because it generally doesn’t and we’ve certainly seen superior performance in other pricier models on the market, but the monitor does deliver a very good well-rounded viewing experience.

Thus, colors and brightness levels aren’t absolutely stunning but they’re more than good enough for most users and for gamers even more so. At 99% sRGB color spectrum coverage, the UD88 isn’t quite as good as some models which can reach beyond even 100% of the sRGB color space but the overall balance of color coverage is quite robust. The UD88 is a quasi-10-bit monitor, meaning that it offers 8-bit color with the addition of Frame-Rate-Control to up the number of colors to 1.07 billion.

Furthermore, color accuracy in the UD88 is just superb, with a respectably decent 1.8 Delta E right out of the box, which can then be refined even further down to about 1.4 after a bit of manual calibration. Brightness on the UD88-W is also well above average for 4K monitors in its price range. Sitting at about 310 cd/m”, it’s not quite as high as the formal LG specified 350cd/m2 that this model is supposedly capable of but it’s definitely above the 240cd/m2 that is the industry average for IPS 4K monitors we’ve seen before. The IPS display of the UD88 also ensures excellent color/contrast distortion-free viewing angles in this monitor, with 178 degrees being possible with only minimal reduction in both contrast and color quality.

Connectivity

As we’d already covered above, the LG 27UD88-W 4K monitor delivers a fairly robust connectivity combo of dual HDMI ports, one highly advanced and 4K-capable USB-C port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort 1.2 connection and a headphone jack. We’d have liked a second DisplayPort or MiniDP 1.2 port on this device too but the USB-C is a nice trade-off for the absence of the former.

Pricing

The LG 27UD88-W 4K UHD IPS monitor is currently selling on Amazon.com for a slightly steep but not monstrous price of $652.41.

Check the Price of the LG Electronics 4K UHD 27UD88-W 27" LED-Lit Monitor with USB Type-C on Amazon:

4.6 - 35 Reviews


Positives

• AMD FreeSync
• Great color performance
• Stunning 4K visuals
• Beautiful design
• Adjustable display
• USB-C included
• Very good connectivity specs
• Good contrast and brightness

Negatives

• No swivel adjustment
• Some color settings a bit off (green in particular)
• Display preset settings are weak
• No second DisplayPort 1.2

Editor Rating
 
Features
A

 
Quality
A

 
User Friendliness
A

 
Connectivity
A+

 
Price
A-

Total Score
A

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User Rating
 
Features
B

 
Quality
B

 
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B

 
Connectivity
B

 
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Bottom Line
 

It’s a bit expensive but we definitely like the LG USB-C 27UD88-W. This monitor is not only highly functional and well equipped, it also delivers great gaming performance, fine display performance and some very decent flexibility. We also love the elegant look of the UD88.

Check the Price of the LG Electronics 4K UHD 27UD88-W 27" LED-Lit Monitor with USB Type-C on Amazon:

4.6 - 35 Reviews

 
9 comments
 
Leave a reply »

 
  • ACGNerd
    October 31, 2016 at 9:46 am

    Hi, Stephen

    Sorry for the double posting. 🙂 The 27UD68 review is dated earlier and have more comments so I guess you might not be answering those…
    It’s again about the anti-glare coating on this screen. In the 27UD68 review by you, you said the matte coating feels like a cheap matte screen protector. But you didn’t say the same thing in this review.
    All the research I have done indicates that the biggest difference between 27UD88 and 27UD68 is the usb-c and ergos, without anyone mention the matte coatings. Is this the same coating that you saw on the 27UD68? If so, why is this good on this monitor but bad on 27UD68?

    If the 27UD88’s matte coating is better than 27UD68’s, it will greatly help me pull the trigger!

    Thanks!
    Nerd

    Reply

  • Johan
    November 20, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I really need help with how the anti reflective coating is. On the LG 27UD68-P you wrote:


    First of all, LG had decided to give the 27UD68’s IPS display and anti-glare coating that just doesn’t work in this monitor. It’s aggravating, annoying and it has the feel of a cheap matte phone protector coating screen. Furthermore, we noted a sort of weird rainbow grain when whites are viewed on the screen and this is almost certainly caused by this same anti-glare coat.
    http://4k.com/monitor/lg-27ud68-review-4k-uhd-ips-monitor-with-freesync-lg-27ud68-w-lg-27ud68-p/

    Does this apply to 27UD88 too since they share the same panel?

    Reply

  • Duane
    November 30, 2016 at 10:29 am

    what is the Adobe RGB Range of this unit, is it 99% as well same as the sRGB?

    Reply

  • glenn
    December 3, 2016 at 10:52 am

    does anyone know where to get a glass (glossy) front 4k monitor now that monoprice has discontinued there 28″ crystalpro?

    Reply

  • Steven
    December 9, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Is this monitor compatible with ps4 pro? If not can you recommend me the best monitor with the biggest screen.

    Reply

  • Doug
    April 11, 2017 at 9:38 am

    What underlying video protocol does the USB C expect? DisplayPort 1.2? Something else?

    Reply

  • Marek
    August 23, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Hello! I was reading review about 27UD68-P and about this monitor. So I would like to know, if the coating of the display of this UD88 is better, or if there is the same “rainbow effect” or other unwanted effect…
    I would like to know the answear please, because if this monitor has no rainbow effect, etc effects, I will definetly buy this monitor.
    Please help me!

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      August 25, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      Hello Marek, we don’t recall the rainbow effect on the UD88. I believe this issue was more specific to the UD68

      Reply

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