LG 29EA93 Monitor Review - Rev. 1.25by Chris Heinonen on February 12, 2013 8:49 PM EST
Last year I reviewed the LG 29EA93 monitor before its scheduled US release date. As someone that thinks there is a good market for ultrawide displays, the 21:9 aspect ratio was very interesting to me, and something I wanted to take a look at personally. While the aspect ratio was nice and enveloping for gaming, there were aspects of the monitor that were disappointing, and in the end it was something I didn't really recommend.
I really dislike writing negative reviews. Writing one means that I’ve spent a good deal of time with a product while not enjoying the experience. It means that a team of engineers and designers has spent a lot of time working on something that didn’t make the cut, or they made a series of compromises for some reason that led to an end user experience that was unsatisfying. I’d much rather write effusive praise of a wonderful product that people should run out and buy than write something bad.
Typically when I write a negative review, I either hear a little feedback from a company, or nothing at all. Maybe they knew the product wasn’t great but released it anyway, or they didn’t care. Sometimes I hear that a company will fix something, and then I try to hold onto hardware and test that to see if they do, but I’ve never had feedback like I did from LG after I initially reviewed their 29EA93 ultra-widescreen monitor.
I had multiple emails full of detailed questions about how I test, what I was after, and what should be done to improve upon the current version. After all of these conversations, they flew out an engineer with an updated version of the 29EA93 that they said would address almost all of my issues with the first version. Did LG manage to go back and correct the problems that I found, so that the monitor now performs much better? I had to go ahead and test it to find out.
Since the exterior of the 29EA93 didn’t change, I’m going to skip over that and go straight ahead to performance. You can read more about our initial thoughts on the 29EA93 in our earlier review, and we'll just pick up from there. This is the first review that uses our new CalMAN test suite for monitor reviews. Using CalMAN gives us the ability to target sRGB or AdobeRGB gamuts, choose from more gamma choices including sRGB, and have measurements that are uniform with our tablet and smartphone reviews. It also allows for better grayscale balance and error measurements, better gamut and saturation measurements, and far improved uniformity measurements.
Because of the large change, we will be making a break from everything in the past and going with DeltaE 2000 for our measurements. Because of this the numbers from this review and going forward are not comparable with older reviews as different DeltaE formulas cannot be compared. I will write a longer article on this new measurement system soon, but this will be our first use of it for a desktop display. (Anand has been using portions of these tests for tablets for a while now.)
With the initial revision of the 29EA93, the most brightness I could coax out of it was 261 cd/m². On the updated 29EA93, the highest I could coax the contrast was 78 before I started to clip blue, and just past that it began to clip every color, leading to the top shades of white becoming uniform and not distinct. Keeping the contrast at 78 allows for the highest level of light output without any negative effects at the top of the grayscale. Finding this point is actually made easy by CalMAN as well, showing you where white begins to clip in each individual color and is yet another benefit to the new software.
Using a contrast of 78 and setting the backlight to the maximum 100 results in a light output of 325 cd/m². That is much better than our previous result with the early revision. Setting the backlight to minimum, but leaving contrast steady, results in a reading of 78 cd/m². Since our new target for low-light calibration is now 80 cd/m², this is enough range for that.
The black level with the brightness at maximum is 0.2605 cd/m², and at a minimum backlight the black level is 0.0624 cd/m². Both of these are very good results given what the corresponding white levels are.
With these white and black levels, we see contrast ratios that are over 1200:1, which is a better result than before, and one of the best results that we have seen. The LG 29EA93 already produced good contrast ratios in the early revision, but with their tighter manufacturing tolerances and adjusted electronics, the 29EA93 now produces one of the best contrast ratios out there.
While the increase in light output and contrast ratios is very good to see, it wasn’t one of the main items that I was concerned about in the early unit. Even so, we're happy to see these improved results. What we really want to see are better colors and uniformity.
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Kittihawk - Thursday, June 6, 2013 - linkIt's a good screen but another way of looking at it is not that it's ultra-wide but that it's ultra-cropped - sadly my old Apple Cinema 30inch display failed and I go this one to replace - loosing about 1/4 of the screen size.
Some really frustrating things you need to know - there is no display port cable in the box. That is really bad because, LG, the money I use to pay you comes from being productive and I lost a day of editing while I figured out that I needed the cable and ordered off Amazon. Additionally I was really confused about not being able to get the full resolution on the VGA connection until I worked out that without a 'display port' cable you will not get the full resolution. Also your graphics card will also need to support the higher resolution sizes and even then it may not fit exactly and you will need secondary software to tweak. That might all be obvious to the computer nerds who make these things but its not to the average end user.
Also the 'really clever cardboard box' quoted by Chris (Chris Heinonen ) was absent - instead the usual polystyrene menace - so I think Chris you were a bit duped at times by LG. In addition there was a strong formaldehyde plastic small from the new monitor - not good in a bedroom, but soon became undetectable.
There was also a dead pixel - never had that with any of the Mac screens I use (I have five).
Despite all that I like it - mainly because the lower height allows me to look out of the window behind and day dream instead of doing my work!
Manub - Friday, July 12, 2013 - linkI just received mine and while checking the service menu it states V1.33.
lawrencejob - Monday, July 22, 2013 - linkI bought it on Saturday for £350, Amazon.
just came by to thank you: this was an excellent review and instrumental in my purchase.
One thing to add: I wasn't very impressed by the black levels (although I've yet to calibrate it properly) and the device does a remarkable job at looking both too small and enormous at the same time (by my calculations there's only a little between this and a 32" TV with 21:9 content).
lawrencejob - Monday, July 22, 2013 - linkShould probably have proof-read that before sending it.
forserum - Thursday, August 1, 2013 - linkLG_Monitor_Software_TCF_Ver2.7.8_SS_ver6.1.
On lg site they told me it will get the latest firmware
jezzer - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - linkhow to tell if it is a rev 1.25? anyone knows? thx
CDubbs - Friday, September 13, 2013 - linkHas anyone seen benchmarks on the 29EA73 or 29EB73 coming out next week? Did they carry over the improvements from this model? It is being released at a lower price point and I am trying to determine where the compromises were made. Newegg has it on pre-order for 499 with a $50 store credit gift card.
arijit.ray81 - Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - linkWhat's the version of DisplayPort on this? Is it 1.2?