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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  • Visual - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    People complaining from the 16:9 vs 16:10 or 16:10 vs 4:3 are not complaining just based on aspect ratio. Actually everyone would like a wider display and not complain... if it really were wider. Unfortunately manufacturers often accomplish these wider ratios by cutting out vertical space instead of by adding horizontal space.

    With this display we do have added horizontal space over a regular 1080p display. So I do not expect anyone to complain... Unless this is priced to compete with 2560x1600 displays instead of with 1080p displays, in which case, yea, it is a no-go.
  • Rick83 - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Price is quite disconnected the number of pixels.
    With this display being so uniform, it's reasonable to add a premium to the price.
    Additionally, there's a bit of exclusivity thing going on, with only two screeen manufacturers marketing that panel.
  • Strunf - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I complain and I complain cause of the aspect ratio, my office desk doesn't have unlimited space, if I allocate 50cm for the screen then I'll lose screen area when I move from a 16:10 to a 16:9, on a 4:3 screen I could easily open a page on Office and see everything now I always have to scroll up and down same with web-pages, the ribbon thing on Office doesn't help either!
  • Galcobar - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I must agree with Visual.

    The complaint with the transition to 16:9 was not about the aspect ratio. Rather it was that the transition was accomplished by shrinking the height and thus the screen.

    Had the 16:9 panels been introduced at a resolution of 2133x1200, it's unlikely there would have been much complaining.

    These 21:9 panels are presented as an expansion of the existing standard; you're not losing display area unless you're transitioning from a 2560x1440 monitor which usually costs half-again as much.

    If 1080 is an acceptable vertical resolution for you, then this screen offers the opportunity to expand horizontal coverage (run a 16:9 game/movie window and keep other information visible) without using up all your desk space or dealing with two bezels right in the middle of your field of view.
  • peterfares - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    It's priced to compete with 27" 2560x1440 screens. This is 2560x1080. They chopped off some vertical resolution, they didn't add horizontal resolution.
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    " the film was more enjoyable when freed from black bars that distract from the film at hand. "

    Really? Black bars are distracting? Sounds like have ADHD or something.

    Then what are you going to do when the movie isn't in that specific ratio? Because plenty aren't. Goodness me, of all the complaints I've heard, that's a poor one.
  • Penti - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    You would probably need to have OCD to really be bothered by it. I'm sure most with ADD or ADHD wouldn't be. You would need to have an actual anxiety related syndrome to be really bothered by it. Not raging out for loosing a match in CS in front of their computers.

    I guess you must have Tourrett syndrome for yelling out insults? Well it's the internet. So..

    There is a field and a small market out there for people who want something close to 2.35:1. There is plenty of content produced in anamorphic wide screen or within that 2.35-2.40 range. Is a matter of preference for some and obviously the reviewer didn't think it hit the mark with this one. It isn't unreasonable that it should work in it's intended aspect ratio. There is some interest in this kind of monitors. Obviously on a 2.37:1 screen like this it would be letterboxing all around a 2.35 film that isn't custom cropped. It would just be at the top and bottom on a 16:9/10 or 4:3/5:4 screen. Here it would also have bars on the sides giving you an much smaller effective viewing surface. Much worse so then a 1.85:1 or 16:9 movie. The real advantage is only there if you can crop the movie to fit the screen, otherwise 2:35:1 content is just unusable.
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    What this is, effectively, is an attempt at CIH for direct-view displays. More and more projectors are beginning to adopt this feature or allow for CIH lenses (usually above the $2,500 mark), but the same problems exist there. You have to adjust for pillarboxing instead. I much prefer pillarboxing to letterboxing. Of course, with CIH projection, you never lose 1:1 mapping.

    The downside to all of this is that all 1080p films on Blu-ray are 1920x1080 resolution for the video streams including the black bars. So when you blow up a 2.35:1 image on a native XXXXx1080 display, you no longer have a true 1:1 resolution, so you need a high-quality scaler to avoid artifacts. ~1920x800 would be better suited to this, but obviously then you would lose resolution for 1080p 16x9 and 4x3 content.

    I really like the wider screen for gaming, but you can achieve the same horizontal resolution with a standard 30" monitor, but gain vertical res as well.
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I also am probably one of the targets for this monitor, as my home theater uses a 2.40, 122" screen, so I'm very familiar with all the reasons for anamorphic screens, as well as the issues that can arise in the setup of them. It's really about the choice of Constant Image Height over Constant Image Width, where both are going to have compromises for the viewer. For those that want a CIH setup, a 21:9 monitor offers something that is very expensive to do with a projector (a high-end anamorphic lens is thousands of dollars alone), but still has flaws of course.
  • wwwcd - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Too short and fat. These manufacturers and marketing managers are arrogant!

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