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I tested LG's 32-inch TV-monitor hybrid for two weeks and can't stop thinking about it

The new LG MyView Smart Monitor may be the best productivity and entertainment solution for folks in smaller spaces.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
LG MyView 32-inch Smart Monitor
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • LG's MyView Smart Monitor is exactly that: a monitor for your PC that doubles as a smart TV, with a starting price of $199.
  • The dual-functioning nature of the monitor and ample screen size (32 inches) makes it ideal for offices, dorm rooms, and other confined spaces.
  • You'll still want an external speaker or soundbar for the best entertainment experience. Trust me.

Every time I walk past the LG MyView Smart Monitor in my room, I think about how much better life would've been had it existed when I was "dorming" in college. The idea of a 32-inch 4K monitor that doubles as a TV just makes sense, especially for users in confined spaces and/or those who don't have the budget for both appliances. (I also wonder if I would've been able to get any studying done had the latest streaming services been just a remote click away. I digress.)

Also: LG showed me its retro-themed projector and it's even better than I expected

Over the past two weeks, I've been testing the 32SR85U model specifically, priced at $599. That's the highest configuration for the MyView series, offering a 4K UHD display, 90W USB-C passthrough charging, DCI-P3 95%, and a modular webcam accessory included in the box. I found all of those distinctive features beneficial for workflows that involved photo and video editing, writing, and collaboration. But even if you're more lax about how you use your monitor, there are still good reasons to read on.

View at Amazon

Setting up the LG MyView is fairly straightforward; a snap-on mechanism secures the monitor to the height and tilt-adjustable base stand, a power cable keeps the device running, and you can pair a PC or laptop via one of the two HDMI ports on the back. Surely, you can connect a gaming console to the monitor too, but with a max refresh rate of 60Hz, don't expect to see the smoothest animations, even if you're on a PlayStation 5 or Xbox One X.

LG MyView 32-inch Smart Monitor

The back of the monitor has three USB-C ports and two HDMI.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

You can technically operate the monitor without any input source because it is, after all, a smart TV. The MyView operates via LG's webOS 23 platform, which is more user-friendly than I expected, with just about every major streaming service laid out on the home screen and several "Quick Cards" above them for access to content folders like Game, Music, Sports, and Home Office. 

In theory, this categorization of apps and services should make it easy to navigate the TV. But I often found myself thinking deeply about what I needed to do or wanted to watch on the TV before clicking any further. When in doubt, I'd just go to YouTube or Netflix and call it a day, defeating the purpose of the UX.

Also: I tried LG's new Gram Pro laptops, and they beat my MacBook Air in 3 ways

The design of the MyView is remarkably similar to Samsung's M8 Smart Monitor, from the frosted white finish to the magnetic webcam slot to the handy remote controller. That similarity should come as no surprise, considering how competitive the two brands have been in the home entertainment space. I welcome more options in this niche but ever-evolving smart monitor category.

The MyView is better than the M8 in several ways, the first being the IPS panel versus Samsung's VA. The matte-treated IPS display on the LG monitor makes it ideal for photo and video editing, which are use cases that rely heavily on color accuracy and off-access viewing angles. I'm also a fan of LG's 90W charging via USB-C (versus the M8's 65W) for keeping my beefier MacBook Pro powered throughout the day.

LG MyView 32-inch Smart Monitor
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

One area where the MyView lags is audio quality -- 5W built-in speakers don't do the multifaceted, entertainment-first nature of the smart monitor any justice, with a tinny, back-firing output that made me reach for a third-party speaker at first listen. For documentaries and podcasts, the monitor's speakers are passable. For just about everything else, I'd connect a secondary source or pair of wireless earbuds because the added hassle is absolutely worth it.

Also: YouTube TV gets multiview on iOS and iPadOS, but not Android, in time for March Madness

What the MyView smart monitor lacks in audio, it makes up for in display quality, with a default color setting that I found pleasant on the eyes and not at all jarring (read: high brightness and oversaturation) -- which some TV panels tend to be at factory setting. From streaming shows on webOS to editing photos in Adobe Lightroom with my MacBook connected, the MyView didn't overcompensate scenes and visuals to the point where I had to tone things down in the monitor settings, which was refreshing. 

ZDNET's buying advice

The LG MyView Smart Monitor isn't going to out-pixel a standalone, professional-grade monitor or high-end TV, but it does provide a level of convenience that neither of the two can, and at a price that's relatively accessible. The pick-and-choose nature of the MyView means there's likely a smart monitor available for almost every user type.

As I mentioned earlier, this is the kind of product I wished I had back at my college dorm, in which I likely would've opted for the cheapest $199 variant of the MyView with fewer ports and a smaller 27-inch screen. Because who wouldn't buy a TV-monitor hybrid that costs the same amount as a textbook?

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