Late last year, I plopped a giant 48-inch OLED television on my desk in search of the one screen to rule them all. It was fantastic, with amazing color, inky blacks, G-Sync, and FreeSync Premium on a 120Hz panel — but not exactly suited to be the perfect PC screen. Now, LG is tailoring its television a bit more for desk use with the new LG UltraGear 48GQ900, which adds some of the features I wished I had in that review.
Chief among them: the stand. While the LG C1 48 and LG CX 48 televisions featured a big wide base that discourages any attempt at desktop cable management and blocks the rest of your desk from view, the new UltraGear monitor has a more traditional V-shaped foot that lifts the whole screen off the table.
There’s a built-in two-port USB 3.0 hub, an easily-accessible 3.5mm four-pole headset jack if you don’t want to rely on its built-in 20W stereo speakers, and a remote control that might actually make sense for dedicated gaming use. It’s got a big honking dial and easy buttons to change video inputs, audio outputs, mute, power, and a toggle for LG’s Game Mode. (The TVs had, well, a TV remote and no nub underneath to navigate menus.)
The Korean company’s Chinese product page also shows you’ll be able to summon an on-screen crosshair and FPS counter, if you like, which are table stakes for high-end gaming monitors these days. You can also overdrive the screen to 138Hz, though I’m not immediately sure why you’d want to.
What the company’s press release doesn’t say, unfortunately, is whether LG has made its automatic brightness limiter algorithms any less aggressive, which is the thing that kept these giant OLED screens from being amazing do-everything PC monitors in the past. While I found the LG C1 48 excellent for PC gaming, it was a pain to have the screen constantly dimming while trying to scroll documents and websites.
The limiters protect your OLED screen from burn-in, but they’re a little overzealous, and other companies that have built gaming monitors around LG’s OLED screens haven’t figured out a way to deal with that. Nor has LG improved it significantly in its most recent panels: Rtings writes that the new smaller 42-inch LG C2 still has the distracting brightness limiter issue. We asked LG about it, and we’ll let you know what we hear.
The other big question is price: one of the reasons to pick an LG OLED TV over a gigantic gaming monitor is because you can sometimes find them around, or just a couple hundred north of, the $1,000 mark. If LG is charging a premium for the monitor version, it’d be a harder sell.
The new LG 48GQ900 “will be available starting this month in Japan with key markets in North America, Europe and Asia to follow,” according to the company. You can also read about a pair of new 32-inch monitors, one with DisplayHDR 1000 and the other with 240Hz refresh rate, in the company’s press release.