I traded the best gaming monitor for something totally diffe…

Hi-Fi Rush on the KTC G42P5.
Jacob Roach/

Call me crazy, but I sold the best gaming monitor money can buy.

Of course, I’m talking about the Alienware 34 QD-OLED, which I bought about a year ago. I’ve fallen in love with it ever since, I immediately discovered why it’s considered one of the most important gaming monitors released in the last few years. However, the most recent shower of deals over the holidays caught up with me, and I sold the monitor that often tops lists and review charts, in exchange for something completely different.

I picked KTC G42P5, I understand if you don’t know who KTC is – I didn’t either – but when I found an Amazon deal that was too good to pass up, I rolled the dice on the display. I’ve had the monitor for about a week now, and I’ve already put it through its paces. And I am overwhelmed.

hit the right price

Desktop background on the Alienware 34 QD-OLED.
Jacob Roach/

However, let’s start with why I chose this particular monitor. It’s a 42-inch OLED display, which, yes, I think sounds like a huge size for a computer monitor. It is, but I’m certainly not the first person to put a 42-inch display in front of my PC. And in practice, the 42-inch 16:9 monitor is much closer in size to a 34-inch 21:9 monitor like the Alienware 34 QD-OLED than it seems.

There are several reasons why I wanted to go back to 16:9. I wanted to be able to play console games on my main display without black bars, and I wanted to be able to take 4K screenshots for the performance guides I write here on . However, more than anything, I struggled with the problems brought on by 21:9.

The Alienware 34 QD-OLED is great, but I was tired of playing with it alden ring with black stripes or when sucked alan wake 2 Whenever a cutscene plays. Plus, I didn’t want to give up OLED’s perfect black levels or the huge screen real estate offered by the Alienware 34 QD-OLED. The KTC G42P5 checked all my boxes, and at a price I can actually justify.

Cyberpunk 2077 is running on Alienware 34 QD-OLED.
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There are some other options if you’re interested in this form factor. It uses an LG OLED panel, so naturally, you can choose the 42-inch LG C3 OLED. However, there are some problems compared to KTC. For starters, it’s a TV, so it lacks DisplayPort, and it’s more expensive. I spent $800 on a KTC display, while LG TVs sell for $1,000 or $900 on sale. If you’re not concerned about latency, the LG has some advantages like image processing, but it’s not a big deal to me.

The main competition is the Asus ROG Swift PG42UQ. It’s a 42-inch monitor, just like the KTC, and it’s overclocked to 138Hz (like the KTC). It’s an almost perfect monitor, but it has one big problem. It’s $1,400. Even during the holiday sales, I never saw it sell for less than $1,200 – that’s $400 more than I spent for essentially the same display at KTC.

An OLED demo on the Asus ROG PG42UQ.
Jacob Roach/

These are your only two options if you want this form factor. Older LG TVs like the C2 OLED are available, but upwards of $1,000, and the Gigabyte Aorus FV43U is cheaper, but it’s not OLED. I bought the KTC G42P5 on sale for $800, but even now, at the time of writing it is available for $1,000. At list price that’s still $400 cheaper than the Asus display.

The natural question is, why? If it’s the same panel with similar features, why is it so much cheaper than the competition? There are actually a few reasons for this.

Why is it cheap?

Hollow Knight on KTC G42P5.
Jacob Roach/

I will assume that you have never heard of KTC. This is a Chinese company that started offering displays in 2021, and the brand has recently started making waves on Amazon. However, KTC as a company is not new. KTC says it has been working as a display manufacturer for companies like Samsung, ViewSonic and LG for almost 27 years. You probably haven’t seen a KTC-branded monitor, but there’s a good chance you actually have. passed Saw the KTC monitor.

The idea here is that the middleman is becoming the seller with KTC, thereby driving down the prices slightly. This isn’t a crazy idea in the world of technology. Even AMD, Intel’s biggest competitor in the processor world, started out as a supplier to Intel before branching out into its own standalone brand.

There’s also a practical reason why this particular monitor is cheaper than its competitors: There’s no stand included. It’s easy to forget how expensive a solid stand for a 42-inch display can be — $125, at least for KTC’s G42P5 stand — and KTC has cut that cost.

Monitor Arm for KTC G42P5.
Jacob Roach/

Depending on what you want to do with the display, this could be a downside. For me, this was a positive thing. I was able to save some money because I already had a monitor arm — about $50 on Amazon — and for such a large display, there’s a good chance you’ll be mounting it on your wall. TV stands are also available for about $15 for a 100 x 100 VESA mount. Despite this, with such a large display there are many situations where you can’t use the included stand, and at least you have the option of skipping it with the KTC G42P5.

It’s worth noting that, even with the stand, the G42P5 comes in $200 cheaper than the ROG PG42UQ, so the savings aren’t solely dependent on the stand.

the monitor itself

 website on KTC G42P5.
Jacob Roach/

Now, we need to talk about the monitor itself. The KTC G42P5 uses a LG OLED RGBW panel, the same panel found in later versions of the LG C2. Suffice it to say, it looks great. The OLED provides perfect black levels for infinite contrast, while the brightness, although lower than LCD, is still enough to overcome most ambient lighting conditions.

Scrunching up the numbers, I measured brightness at around 400 nits for 10% of the screen in SDR, and it peaked at over 600 nits for 3% of the window in HDR. These numbers don’t seem like much, but remember this is a 42-inch screen. You wouldn’t want it blasting 1,000 nits at you as a computer monitor.

In practice, my office has two windows with direct light, and I’ve never had to deal with glare issues, and that’s only when the panel runs at 30% of maximum. Unless you have extremely bright ambient light conditions, monitor brightness should not be a problem.

As for colors, this OLED panel offers a wide gamut. This means it exceeds 100% of the sRGB gamut, entering wider gamuts like DCI-P3. In that color space, I measured an excellent 97%.

Color accuracy was a different matter. KTC calibrates each monitor at the factory and includes a report, but the calibration is off, specifically for DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB color modes. I measured a color error of 6 for Adobe RGB and 4 for DCI-P3, neither of which is great. On standard mode, color error was more than 3. Ideally, you want to see a color error of less than 2.

It’s nothing a little calibration can’t fix. Using the free DisplayCal, I calibrated the monitor, and was able to get a color error of 0.6, which is very good.

It’s always nice when colors are perfect out of the box, but at least you can pull back the KTC if you need great color accuracy. However, in practice this does not always matter. Sure, the colors were off out of the box, but the display still looked great for games and movies before calibration.

some negative aspects

OSD on KTC G42P5.
Jacob Roach/

There are some shortcomings here also. For starters, the OSD (on-screen display) isn’t great. All the options are there, but it feels a bit strange. For example, “Overclock” is called “Over Clock” in the menu, and some settings just randomly don’t capitalize letters. None of this really matters for the performance of the monitor, but it definitely makes it feel like you’re getting a cheaper product.

The bigger issue is the auto-brightness limiter (ABL). If you’re unfamiliar, all OLED displays have an ABL that limits brightness when it reaches certain thresholds. In practice, this happens when you pull up something very bright, like a white webpage, so the monitor quickly dims itself, and when you pull up something dark, like a website in dark mode, So it becomes more bright.

Ideally, ABL should be invisible on the display as it was on my Alienware 34 QD-OLED, but it’s too aggressive on the G42P5. I find the display constantly flashing and limited when I’m switching between browser tabs. This is especially annoying when I open a website and pull up the Windows search bar, as the screen immediately lights up with my dark mode Windows theme.

This would normally be a deal-breaker, but there are a few reasons why it isn’t for me. First of all, this only applies with HDR. No issues with SDR even if I cranked the screen up to its maximum brightness. ABL is still on, but it’s much less noticeable, and it’s so fast that you won’t be able to catch it most of the time.

Second, this never becomes an issue in games or movies. There are situations where ABL may activate and cause media attention, but this is not common enough to become a problem. Based on my testing, it seems that ABL starts when about 60% of the screen is white, reducing to its lowest point when about 70% of the pure white screen is white. It’s not enough to turn me off the G42P5, but it’s my biggest complaint coming from the Alienware 34 QD-OLED.

The final issue is OLED maintenance convenience, but that’s more of a hassle than a problem. This turns on automatically, giving you a 20-second countdown before the pixel refresh begins. It has already caught me several times, preventing me from using my PC for a few minutes. Thankfully, you can turn off automatic pixel refresh if you want.

best business

P lies on KTC G42P5.
Jacob Roach/

KTC G42P5 is a perfect answer for me. As much as I liked the Alienware 34QD-OLED, I’ve been feeling the 21:9 push for some time, but I couldn’t justify spending $1,400 on the PG42UQ or more than $1,000 on LG’s 42-inch OLED. The KTC G42P5 hits the right price with the right features and few sacrifices.

It’s not as seamless as the Alienware 34 QD-OLED, with disappointing color accuracy out of the box and annoying ABL in HDR. Thankfully, those problems are easy to fix, making the KTC G42P5 a suitable replacement. This affects the actual state of the screen and the excellent picture you get from OLED, and it comes at a price that puts monitors like the PG42UQ to shame.

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