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LG’s new OLED monitor tech doubles lifespan, triples brightness

Thank to its new Tandem OLED tech, LG is bringing a big boost in brightness, while doubling the panel lifespan, but there's a catch.

LG has announced that it’s started mass production of its latest new Tandem LG OLED monitor panels, which bring a big increase in brightness, as well as a longer lifespan when compared to existing OLED technologies. The new type of OLED also reduces power consumption by 40%, making it incredibly useful for laptops and other mobile devices.

It’s this focus on mobile devices that is actually the big caveat to this LG OLED news when it comes to the best gaming monitors in the world. That’s because, while these panels are sure to make waves in the laptop world – it’s already confirmed they’re in the new Dell XPS 13 9345 – they aren’t yet designed for use in desktop gaming monitors.

Instead, the new LG Tandem OLED panels, the mass production of which LG announced today, are only as yet being produced in a 13-inch laptop panel variant, which will no doubt find its way into a host of other new mobile devices.

As their name suggests, Tandem OLED panels use a double layer of OLEDs. Each layer includes a trio of red, green, and blue sub-pixels (that combine to create each pixel), effectively doubling the number of emitters per pixels. This allows LG to run each panel at a lower brightness, which greatly increases the life of the panel, while still maintaining a high peak brightness.

What’s particularly remarkable about this new Tandem OLED tech is that, along with reducing power consumption, doubling the lifespan, and tripling peak brightness, LG also claims the new panels are actually 40% thinner and 28% lighter than existing OLED panels (LG isn’t specific about which type of existing OLED here).

Just if and when this technology could have an impact on gaming monitors is hard to predict. The suggestion, by aiming at producing relatively small laptop panels first, is that LG is still at the stage of scaling up the technique, and it might be a little while before we see larger panels.

However, it could also be the case that this two-layer technique is prohibitively expensive to produce for larger screen sizes. It’s also possible that the circuitry to drive essentially two completely independent panels might be tricky to create with fast refresh rate screens.

What we do know, though, is that while LG’s 32-inch 4K OLED screens are highly desirable, as are its dual-tech screens, which allow you to switch between 4K 120Hz and 1080p 480Hz  modes, the rest of its OLED lineup has struggled to compete against Samsung’s OLED tech.

That’s because LG currently relies on its WOLED technology, which uses one red, green, and blue sub-pixel, along with a white sub-pixel to form each pixel. This tech allows for high peak white brightness, but less bright pure colors.

However, a bigger problem is that for pixel densities of less than around 140ppi, this screen tech can look a little fuzzy when it comes to reading text, and you can get colored fringing around high-contrast parts of the image, as we saw in our LG 27GR95QE review. Samsung QD-OLED tech suffers far less from these problems, although LCDs are still better for these factors for any given pixel density.

For the time being, then, our current top recommended OLED gaming monitors remain Samsung QD-OLED-based models such as the 49-inch Samsung G95SC and the 27-inch MSI MPG 271QRX, with the latter costing just $720 right now.