There's a point at which a monitor stops being a monitor. For me, that point was when I was sitting in front of a behemoth of a screen from LG: the 43UD79-B.
A 43" monitor, to be exact.
While TVs and console gamers have gotten the joy of 4K HDR enabled screens for a while, the tech has taken much longer to filter into the PC gaming space. So sometimes the best option is a monitor that bridges both worlds. And hence you get the LG 43UD79-B, a 43" beast with enough ports to plug your PS4 Pro, Xbox One X, PC and phone in for good measure.
The screen has two HDMI 2.0 ports, although in my testing I found only one port would properly display 4K content on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One. Anyone using a PC, of course, will use DisplayPort. Weirdly, a USB-C cable wasn't included in the box, although a single HDMI and DisplayPort cable was supplied. There's KVM functionality through the Dual Controller feature, if you want to use multiple computers with a single mouse and keyboard. (Possibly useful for streamers.)
For ease of use, the monitor comes with a palm-sized remote that lets you quickly toggle between inputs, picture and game modes, audio settings, and a picture-in-picture mode that lets you divide the screen into four. The picture-in-picture offering supports up to four separate inputs as well, if you want to divide the screen that much. Importantly, there's support for the Freesync technology for those with AMD graphics cards.
Like LG's larger monitors, the 43UD79 comes with a range of in-built presets for various display modes. For best results, you'll want to calibrate the monitor to your living environment. The 43UD79-B model (as opposed to the original 43UD79) also has a 5ms GTG response time and a maximum 60hz refresh rate. That's playable, but not as nice as a 120hz/144hz 1ms specialist gaming monitor.
LG 43UD79 Specifications
3840 x 2160
4x HDMI (2x 2.0, 2x 1.4), DP 1.2 x1, USB-C x1, USB 3.0 x2
15.9kg with stand, 12.3kg without
The 43UD79-B arrived at my house only a day before I broke my wrist, and fortunately I'd had enough time to assemble everything before having my arm stuck in plaster. Setup was incredibly simple, with the back plate only requiring hooking in and requiring just four screws. It's also relatively light for its size, weighing just over 12kg without the stand, which I greatly appreciated come pack-up time.
Like other monitors this size, the 43UD79-B is more targeted as an overall productivity device, an all-rounder that can dabble in a bit of everything. It's targeted at the kind of person who wants to replace a multi-monitor setup with one giant screen, and there's even a couple of 10W speakers to boot.
Let's talk about the speakers for a second, because they're actually surprisingly capable. LG touts them as having a special bass function, but they're stuck in the back of the monitor and restricted for size, so don't expect anything in the realm of a separate sound bar or even a 2.1 setup.
But if you want to quickly show your partner a trailer? Or sit back and enjoy something on Netflix? You'll be pretty pleased with the output: decent volume, and not too tinny either.
Where the 43UD79-B falls down a bit is where it straddles that line as a TV-sized monitor. Like a TV, there's surprisingly little movement in the chassis. You can tilt the screen forwards and backwards about 5o/10o degrees, but that's it. There's no height adjustment either, although that's not uncommon for monitors of this size.
Purchasing something this large is like buying a new piece of furniture. You really need to think about your workspace, especially how deep your desk is. Most people are comfortable sitting in front of a 23", 27" and 32" monitors, but 43" is the kind of size where you want to ideally sit back a little further.
You notice it the most while gaming, especially playing something like Battlegrounds where your eyes are frequently scanning the periphery of your vision. Having a 43" monitor that close to you means you end up moving your eyes a lot more to take everything in. After about a week of various gaming, I ended up playing FPS exclusively in windowed mode, only because it was easier to immediately parse the battlefield by having a smaller screen level with my eyes.
It's one of the reasons why ultrawide monitors are increasingly popular, and increasingly supported. Having a wider, but not necessarily taller screen, makes it a bit easier to capture information in a single glance. It's also a lot easier for splitting multiple windows, as much of the content people would consume on computers benefits from taller screens - like websites, spreadsheets, Windows Explorer and so on - but not necessarily squarer screens.
That's not the case for graphic designers, mind you. Artists and designers working with a graphics tablet, particularly those in the gaming space, would get a great deal of versatility from the 43UD79-B. The colour reproduction is pretty good out of the box, not to mention when calibrated, helped by 10-bit colour support.
Going for around $1100 at most Aussie PC retailers, you'll get much better pixel density than a 4K HDR monitor in the same price range. And while that answers the question of "why not just get a TV at that price", not having a HDR is a bit of a kicker for those looking to have one screen for their PC and console gaming needs.
It's worth mentioning that the Freesync implementation is pretty limited too. And while it doesn't mention it on the official LG site, the 43UD79-B's FreeSync range only extends from 56-61hz, which is almost too small to be of any practical use.
Like any other peripheral though, whether LG's gargantuan 43" screen is ideal for you depends on what you want out of your gaming setup. For some gamers, having more screen space to physically scan adds immeasurably to the sense of immersion. I tend to play a lot of twitch shooters and games where information processing is at a paramount, so it tends to be a detractor more than a positive feature.
But to really get the most out of the 43UD79-B, you'll want to be buying this for some measure of productivity. Coders and website designers are probably better suited towards a wider monitor than a taller one, since that better fits how a lot of that information is displayed.
Video editors, effects artists and graphic designers - basically anyone who spends the majority of their time in the Adobe suite - that like to game on the side will find this a little more useful, although they too might want to consider a screen that's more physically comfortable to sit at.
In the end, the greatest competition to the 43UD79-B might be LG's smaller offerings. A few hundred dollars more will get you a 32" LG IPS monitor with 4K and HDR10 support, making it a better long-term solution. If you want a smaller monitor that's easier on your eyesight and desk, the 27UD69-W goes for around $700, supports 4K, covers the same amount of the sRGB gamut, has the same quoted contrast ratio, a 5ms GTG response time instead of 8ms and a much wider FreeSync range (40-60hz using DisplayPort, 48-60hz through HDMI).
For some people, bigger is better. For me, it was just a tad too large to be physically comfortable. I like having my games occupy the entire screen - and if I'm recording or monitoring a chat window at the same time (as you would if you were streaming), it's still more practical to have two or more smaller screens.
The LG 43UD79-B is available from local retailers now for approximately $1100.