Our final category in this buying guide is for the best large-format 4K HDR monitor, and there are two main reasons why we include this category. First, for some people, 32 inches like we get from the Neo G7 is too small and they want something larger and super immersive. And two, in our opinion, the overall best 4K HDR monitor for gaming when you don’t factor in screen size is a larger format display, and that’s how we get to the LG C2 in its 42-inch variant.
Why is this the overall best 4K HDR gaming monitor right now? OLED, of course. We don’t have any other OLED options at this resolution with a size below 42 inches. OLED offers three main advantages over our top LCD pick in the Odyssey Neo G7 for 4K HDR gaming: per pixel local dimming, faster response times, and better viewing angles.
With each pixel being able to illuminate itself, the LG C2 offers unparalleled dimming and the ability to show bright and dark objects close together with no blooming or haloing issues. The C2 OLED gets extremely dark for shadow detail, shows true zero level blacks, and is capable of bright highlights over 650 nits in real world content. It also has a glossy screen with great reflection handling which makes colors pop and HDR shine.
Response times are lightning fast on the LG C2 and while the Neo G7 is a fast monitor, the C2 is an order of magnitude faster. This helps to compensate for its rather low 120Hz refresh rate, compared to 165Hz for the Neo G7 – despite this difference, in motion clarity the C2 can actually be better at times simply due to how fast it can transition. And 120Hz is still plenty of speed for visual extravaganzas and other single player titles, which are the best examples of HDR today.
The LG C2 also has a few other advantages: It has a flat panel with excellent viewing angles. It’s a massive display that is very immersive, without being so large it’s impractical for desktop usage – though it is big enough that it won’t be suitable for all setups. It offers full smart TV functionality, four HDMI 2.1 ports, and Dolby Vision support, making it a great option for console gaming and other forms of content consumption like video playback.
Plus, it’s typically a great value option, having recently dropped below $1,000, which makes it great value, especially compared to other products that use the same panel, like the Asus PG42UQ which is very expensive at $1,400.
Of course, being an OLED there are some downsides as well. The monitor is not suitable for desktop use or productivity work owing to its low SDR brightness, non-standard subpixel layout, automatic brightness limiter and risk of permanent burn-in – though none of these are significant concerns if your primary use case is gaming or watching videos. It also only offers HDMI, no DisplayPort connector is included, so you’ll need an HDMI 2.1 compatible GPU for the best experience. We can overlook all of these at its current attractive price tag and just enjoy what it has to offer for 4K HDR gaming.
It’s also likely that the LG C2 will be replaced by the LG C3 later this year. We’re not expecting too many changes for the new model, so it’s likely that the C3 will be a good buy depending on pricing, or the C2 remains available for an even lower price point. That’s something to keep in mind if you’re reading this guide several months after publishing.