LG 29EA93: Introduction, Design and OSD

When migrating away from 4:3 screens for home video, the 16:9 aspect ratio was chosen as a compromise between all the common formats at the time. For many film fans, this meant finally being able to watch movies in their original aspect ratio without putting up with black bars. However many films are shot using aspect ratios even wider than 1.78:1, such as 2.20 for 70mm film or 2.39 for modern cinemascope films. . While the letterboxing of these titles was improved over 4:3 sets on new 16:9 sets, the black bars remained. Now we are starting to see panels that also address this audience, including the LG 29EA93 21:9 LCD monitor.

While cinephiles may rejoice, traditional computer users might be wondering if this makes any sense for a desktop display. There is still a lot of resentment over the transition from 16:10 to 16:9 displays, as the loss of vertical space means less room for word processing documents, spreadsheets, and other data, even if it might be slightly more ideal for HDTV. If the layout of many operating systems and programs hasn’t adapted yet to properly utilize 16:9, what will using 21:9 be like? Is the LG 29EA93 a one trick pony for those that want to watch scope films, or does it serve a larger purpose as well?

Aside from the wider than usual aspect ratio, the specs on the 29EA93 are pretty standard for a desktop LCD. It uses an IPS panel with white LED backlighting, which allows for an sRGB color gamut. There is a decent selection of inputs, with dual HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort inputs, including an MHL input on one of the HDMI ports for use with a smartphone, tablet, or Roku stick. What is missing is an analog DSub input, which I almost always still see. Joining the video inputs is a USB 3.0 hub with three ports, and 3.5mm audio input and output ports. Unfortunately a power brick and not an internal PSU provides power, but the LG 29EA93 does have a very slim design because of that. The back is a shiny white plastic that hides fingerprints much better than black, though it will mostly remain out of sight.

Ergonomics on the 29EA93 are a mixed bag, as the width precludes being able to pivot into a portrait orientation. There is a good range of tilt available, but no other height or swivel adjustments. The stand itself is very low, which means the 29EA93 will sit further below eye level than a normal 24” or 27” monitor in the same position would. It is easy enough to raise the 29EA93 up onto something to get it closer to eye-height, but the integrated stand won’t do that.

The OSD in the 29EA93 is actually designed reasonably well. Everything is kept horizontal so you can use a single set of arrow keys and not get confused as you move between selections and adjustments. I’d prefer that the power button be spaced further away, as I did manage to hit it occasionally while making adjustments, but overall the control system is decent. There is a good amount of adjustments available when in user mode, including a 2-axis, 6-point CMS (Color Management System) that I will go into later. When not in user mode, many of these adjustments are locked out from the user, other than the Brightness/Backlight control.

Gallery: LG 29EA93 OSD

Sitting close to the 29EA93, you notice a bit of backlight bleed at the top of the screen, perhaps accented by the lower position of the screen relative to other displays. The extra width of the 29EA93 might benefit here, as on a traditional display this might be more exposed thanks to letterboxing on some films but without those bars, the bleed is less apparent. There is also some bleed in the lower right corner that I could notice when a black background was present, but it was not as visible with a white background or application open. Viewing angles for the IPS panel are quite good, an important factor since you will likely be viewing the 29EA93 at wider angles than usual given the aspect ratio. You get some contrast shifts at the extremes, but colors remain accurate.

LG 29EA93
Video Inputs 2xHDMI, 1xDisplayPort, 1xDVI, 1xMHL (Shared with HDMI1)
Panel Type IPS
Pixel Pitch 0.263 mm
Colors 16.7 Million
Brightness 300 nits
Contrast Ratio 1000:1
Response Time 5ms GTG
Viewable Size 29"
Resolution 2560x1080
Viewing Angle (H/V) 178/178
Backlight White LED
Power Consumption (operation) 48 W
Power Consumption (standby) 1.2 W
Screen Treatment Anti-Glare
Height-Adjustable No
Tilt Yes
Pivot No
Swivel Yes
VESA Wall Mounting Yes, 100mm
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 699.7 X 387 X 208.5 mm
Weight 5.65 kg
Additional Features USB 3.0 Hub (3 port), Headphone Input/Output, CMS
Limited Warranty 1 Year Parts and Labor
Accessories MHL to HDMI Cable, USB 3.0 A to B cable, DVI Cable
Price $699 MSRP (January 2013 Launch)

Technical specifications aside, the bigger question is how well does a wider ratio work with non-film content, and does that match up with more traditional 16:9 or 16:10 displays?

LG 29EA93 - 21:9 in Daily Use
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  • Rick83 - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Yes, if you come from 2 19" screens, you actually gain vertical pixels, instead of losing them, compared to a 27" screen.

    Also, who uses their 27" screen in portrait orientation? That line kind of struck me as a bit out-there. Even pivoting a 24 inch screen is laborious.
    Reply
  • Blibbax - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    It's common to have a landscape main monitor and a portrait secondary monitor. But yeah, I never actually pivot a monitor while using it. Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I have a 27" monitor on an arm and I'll pivot it depending on what I'm working on. It's not common, but if I have a really tall spreadsheet or a document I'm working on, I like to have the ability, but I admit it's rare. Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I have three 24" displays in portrait mode for Eyefinity. Works relatively well as the 3240 x 1920 is very close to a 16:9 aspect ratio. Bezel compensation alters this a bit so it is nearly a perfect 16:9 ratio.

    Using three of these 29" displays in portrait for Eyefinity would be roughly equivalent to a 4:3 aspect ratio from the days of old. Both old and new games support 4:3 aspect ratios so there would be some use.

    The monitor itself is mainly the hassle for portrait mode. Not all of them have good stands that easily allow for portrait orientation, if at all.
    Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Check out this kickass PLP setup and you'll understand.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AEAhExuaaM
    Reply
  • ypsylon - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    They should stop wasting doing monitors like that and create panoramic, concave 180 degree models to replace Eyefinity setups. I would much more prefer buying one big screen than wasting time (& cash) with buying 3 LCD and watching screen with borders of each LCD. I don't get it how people can live with stuff like that. Just brrr....

    Stop fooling around, bring bendy OLEDs now!
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    NEC did this just a couple years ago. AFAIK, it was a total flop (or just never made it to market).

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/633263-REG/N...
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    What's that basically two rear projection screen systems put into a single cabinet? I recall hear that that display as just physically big. Also the resolution wasn't as high as the typical Eyefinity setup.

    Neat concept though.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I'm pretty sure it came out before Eyefinity was announced, but I also know that it kept showing up at CES for a couple years before finally being available to the public. I believe it was two DLP projection units in one cabinet, but I think it was seen by the PC as one monitor. All I know is that people that saw it IRL said it was a thing of beauty.

    2880x900 @ 120Hz for $7,000. Not bad. LOL

    I wonder if I could track one down used???

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/08/ostendo-multipl...
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Why would they expect a significant number of people to pay that much money for that screen? 900 vertical pixels, are they kidding me?

    The monitor in this review is too wide for desktop use, in my opinion, because it doesn't wrap around. I'd rather have 3 monitors for surround.

    As far as the 16:9 comment in the article being bad for productivity - it's bad for gaming, too. For example, most MMOGs put most of their UI at the bottom of the screen, so I want more vertical space; so, 16:10 is better for gaming. I get around this in WoW by using an addon to make a custom UI and put it on the side of the screen of my 2560x1440 monitor, but that's not always practical, and when I play on my computer with a 16: 10 screen the UI is still on the side, and not optimum there.
    Reply

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