LG 29EA93—21:9 in Daily Use

With the 29EA93 unpacked and set up, there are three main usage scenarios I want to test out: Daily use, Gaming, and as a video display. For daily use my main concern is that the wider horizontal space won’t be used as well as possible because applications don’t take full advantage of it, or that the vertical space will feel cramped. To help arrange your applications on the 29EA93, LG includes a utility that will automatically re-arrange your windows to be any combination of 2 to 4 on the screen at once. You can have two windows side by side, one large window on the left and two half-height windows on the right, or four quarter-sized windows. I found the side-by-side method works the best, in effect providing me the space of dual 1280x1080 monitors. This is right around a 6:5 ratio for the two windows, and most programs do a good job of utilizing that space.

Running a web browser and MS Word at the same time worked well, or Word and Excel. The nice advantage over dual displays is that with a larger Excel worksheet to deal with I can quickly resize it to the full screen, and then shift back to a split desktop once I am done, all without having a bezel in the middle. Dual display desktops seem to be increasingly common now, but there are certain things that two smaller displays can’t do as easily as one larger display can. Similarly, Windows 8's ability to dock a Metro application to the side of the desktop works well with the 21:9 ratio. You then still have what for most people is a normal width desktop, but you have another program running at the same time on the side.

It wasn’t perfect as a desktop display though. Since it doesn’t pivot, you have no way to increase the vertical space if you want to try to fit a whole portrait page on the screen. A traditional 27” display with a 2560x1440 resolution can either fit more of the page vertically when split, or can often rotate to display it in portrait mode. There is no way to increase the vertical space past 1080 pixels on the LG and for many that isn’t enough space. Additionally, while the extra width means that your entire field of view is basically filled with the display, that isn’t always desirable when trying to work on objects at the limit of your FOV. With a narrower monitor you might not have your whole FOV filled, but you might also be more likely to see a mail notification pop up, or clearly see both applications that you are working on at once. It’s a different display format, but for daily use I probably find myself wanting the extra vertical resolution for work.

For gaming, the 21:9 format is a different story. I think of it more as an alternative to Eyefinity or other multi-panel gaming setups, where one might not be able to have multiple monitors but still want that feel. When firing up a game that uses the full screen, it really does take up my whole field of view and feel more immersive. Whether this is due to the mental similarity to a large format film or just because of the wider angle, it does a very good job of pulling me into the environment. Compared to Eyefinity or a larger 27” monitor, there are fewer pixels to render, potentially letting me get away with a less expensive or powerful graphics card than those other options would require. I personally enjoyed it for gaming, and found the different aspect ratio to be a benefit here.

Finally, movies are what a 21:9 screen is designed around. Depending on what types of films you enjoy, you may have very few cinemascope films or you may have mostly scope films. Watching these on the 29EA93 there are two ways to view them and use the whole screen offered. First, you can use the internal zoom mode on the 29EA93 to stretch the image vertically and horizontally to take up the whole screen. Second, if your Blu-ray player or other source supports an Anamorphic stretch mode that you would use with an anamorphic lens, you can apply that here and then the 29EA93 only has to stretch the material horizontally. The latter mode would likely produce the best image, as typically only high-end players and electronics support those modes, and are likely to have a better scaler in them than in the 29EA93.

Watching Drive, the film was more enjoyable when freed from black bars that distract from the film at hand. For films I had ripped to my NAS I was able to adjust the settings in VLC to get them to play back cropped correctly as well. The main issue when watching films on the 29EA93 is now the size of the display, as it is fairly short though 29” diagonal. As immersive as it becomes to not have black bars at the top and bottom, you do find yourself wishing for an even larger image to watch from a distance. If you are mostly watching your films at your desk or very close to the 29EA93 then this will be fine, but it is too small for me to enjoy from more than a few feet way for regular film watching.

LG 29EA93: Introduction, Design and OSD LG 29EA93 - Brightness and Contrast
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  • Rick83 - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    So you say " In my very casual use this didn’t bother me"
    ...and then use that as your main argument against the screen?

    That is somewhat strange. If you can only quantify the issue, but not qualify it, then you shouldn't use it as such a strong argument.

    Finally, it would be great to get a link back to the methodology used to measure monitor latency. Prad had a huuuge article on that, and I'm not even sure that the methodology you use is actually giving accurate results.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I don't think he was unclear. Input lag is really only a big issue when dealing with really fast action games. For slower paced games and cinefiles (assuming you can adjust latency of your audio source to match) input lag is not as important. So while I can understand the appeal of an extra-wide display for immersive gaming, the high latency of this display cancels that out.

    Prad? They established that lag testing applications are accurate enough. In the end, being accurate to 1fps is more than sufficient. Look at this chart showing the many different testing methods. They're all pretty close.

    http://www.prad.de/en/monitore/specials/inputlag/i...

    I will say that I am surprised that the display was tested at 1920x1080 rather than the native resolution. How do we know that the non-native resolution didn't contribute to observed latency? I guess I would have liked to see the native resolution tested to be sure. As a gamer and "cinefile", I would certainly attempt to run the monitor at its native resolution whenever possible, using FOV hacks as necessary.
    Reply
  • Rick83 - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    "Values which have been arrived using the old methods to date cannot be compared with these values, since their systematic errors alone often exceed the values from the new method multiple times."

    So clearly, the method that is used matters.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I understand, but the results - faulty or not - are roughly all within 1fps or real-world perception. Displays that have low latency using the old method still have low latency using the new methods, likewise with high latency. Other than objective purity, it doesn't seem to matter. Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I haven't written up how SMTT is used, but TFT Central did a very through write-up of it in comparison to other methods and how the results were here:

    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/input_lag.htm

    I plan for an article going over all of the testing methods in more detail soon.
    Reply
  • jjj - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Not very sure why you asume the target was movies, i see that more as an unintended benefit and this as just an alternative to using 2x1080p screens.Maybe you would be happier with higher vertical res,guess there is no reason for them to not to that too at some point.
    The pricing is rather unfortunate, the Dell was quite a bit cheaper on BF and the input lag takes away so much of the benefit of having this AR.
    Wish someone (hint Samsung) would make a 3420x1440 (more or less) with flexible display where the curve can be adjusted.That would be way fun,maybe even help revive a bit PC gaming.
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    The movie assumption comes more from the presence of dual HDMI inputs, a CMS, and an MHL input than from the aspect ratio. Those lean more towards it being a shared desktop and TV/Gaming display, and once it's used for that then movies come more into play. Without the extra inputs and control I'd think it's more likely a dual monitor replacement. I think it's a bit of both, but needs some work. Reply
  • wsaenotsock - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    So this is how laptop screens will look in 5 years after this ratio catches on and homogenizes the global panel supply again? Reply
  • madmilk - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    You could buy a Macbook. Reply
  • peterfares - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I really hope this doesn't happen. 16:10 was so much better for computer usage, but 16:9 is still acceptable. This is just stupud. 27" WQHD screens are cheaper and much better, too. Reply

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