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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  • markstock - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    AFAIK, analog VGA is limited to 2048x1536; hence no DB-15 connector. Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Even then most higher resolution 27" and 30" displays still include one for backup, just like they also include HDMI 1.3 ports that don't support resolutions beyond 1080p. The lack of it isn't a large negative to me, as that cuts down costs for something few people use now, but I'm sure some people would want to know. Reply
  • TypeS - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    This LG display seems to be very narrowly targeted at just film buffs, hence its size and panel type. This really would only be nice for films that stay in the ultra-wide cinematic aspect ratio.

    Elsewhere you've got TV shows that are full16:9, cheap direct-to-dvd/bluray releases that are 16:9 and films like the Dark Knight and Skyfall that have scenes in IMAX that will go 16:9. In all these cases you'll get vertical letter boxing. Just my own conclusion here, but horizontal letter boxing is less intrusive than black bars on the side.

    I suppose there could be some productive benefits to this, view 3 pages side by side? Or producing network diagrams and other visuals like those.

    Still seems a pretty niche target audience for this monitor. Wouldn't be a good trend to start with TVs either unless everyone dropped filming in 16:9.
    Reply
  • radbeard - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    i think its narrowly targeted at office productivity buffs. Reply
  • peterfares - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Taller screens are better for office work. Reply
  • James_Edge - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Cast you mind back to the old days, what aspect did people love for work, 4:3? 16:10, no, it was 5:4 aspect, like 1280x1024, this monitor as well as being great for movies lets you take advantage of the Windows 7/8 feature to dock two Windows on the screen side by side, and on this 2560x1080 screen that is a pair of 1280x1080 windows, 5:4 dual screen is back baby and you only need a single monitor to do it! :D Reply
  • TegiriNenashi - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    A book with landscape pages, what are you guys smoking? Reply
  • GullLars - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    Why not use something close to Phi as the convention for aspect ratio? 16:10 (1.600) is fairly close to 1.618. 16:9 is 1.777 and is going the wrong direction with respect to what feel natural to watch and work with.
    Phi also works nicely as an aspect ratio if you flip a screen into portrait mode, since it maps well to A4 (1.414) with window scroll bars and utilities.
    Most web pages, like AnandTech, also only uses 600-1000 pixels in the width, so wider screens as at the relevant resolutions makes no sense for browsing the web. Again, protrait mode for 1080P and 1200P works well on the web, and also many other productivity tasks.
    Reply
  • philipma1957 - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    .263 dot pitch means i can see the grid when reading print on a white screen. so this would work for movies only. I have funky eyesight due to implants.

    left eye sees 20-10 .

    right eye sees 20-80.

    so if dot ptich is not small enough the 20-10 eye will see the grid lay out.

    so get a 27 inch 1440p screen with smaller dot pitch no go the print is too small on certain websites and scales like crap.

    I have found a 21 inch or 22 inch 1080 p looks best for print.
    Reply
  • comomolo - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    I don't buy the reasoning about movie formats. Who watches movies sitting at their desktop? Who would use such a small display to watch movies from the sofa?

    The transition from 16:10 to 16:9 only makes sense because panels are cheaper when they get smaller. It has nothing to do with movies and HDTV.

    This monitor makes sense only in the office, for productivity, but it's absurdly expensive for that.

    Either it becomes extremely cheap or I give it no more than one year in the market. At most.

    Just as a sidenote: in Europe Philips introduced some time ago LCD TVs with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Nowhere to be found today.
    Reply

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