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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  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately, with the high input lag, that seems to rule it out for serious gamers altogether, leaving it as something just for cinephiles to use, but they can get a larger 2.35:1 image on a 42” or 50” LCD or Plasma and have a remote for input control and volume adjustment.

    Why don't you ask LG (or Dell) for a detailed technical explanation for this input lag? I tried but failed. :(
    If the input resolution is right the scaler should be bypassed and if the resolution isn't right scaling still shouldn't take more than 5 ms.
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I did talk to LG in depth about it and the concerns that came up during testing. They seemed receptive to the idea in the future that a mode to bypass all of the processing for displaying the information faster for games about be useful. I have no idea if anything will come of it, but at least they understand the issue from gamers and what they want.

    From all the displays tested, the lag seems to be a combination of multiple inputs, screen adjustments (such as the CMS here), and then scaling the image. The scaler itself might play little to no role in it, and it can all be the inputs and the image adjustments that cause the issue, but without being able to test the individual panel with different components, it would be hard to determine.
  • Olaf van der Spek - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    The HP has multiple inputs too and doesn't suffer from input lag.

    Color adjustments should be possible without latency. I guess LG couldn't come up with a technical explanation for the lag?
  • rwei - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Was kind of confusing for a few seconds
  • aranyagag - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    recently (3 months) bought an asus PA246Q, wide gamut(Adobe RGB), 16:10 screen, for professional use and at the same time got an Lg 32" as a present. the ergonomics of the asus screen have to be experienced, as have the colours( in colour aware apps-- even Firefox). Even videos are be good to go through as the media player control do not hide the material.
    I think you should consider reviewing it, as it offers tremendous VALUE FOR MONEY.
    The only thing is that I have no idea how it will work for use as a home cinema use-- because that is NOT what I got it for.
  • aranyagag - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

  • Kevin G - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    From the article:

    "Of course there aren’t any 21:9 CRT displays around that I’m aware of so once again this is tested at 1920x1080 resolution using SMTT and the 1:1 mapping selected in the menu."

    Is there any way to test it at its native 2560 x 1080 resolution? I can imagine the scaler for this displaying being a bit unique considering its aspect ration and relatively high resolution. The scaler isn't altering the image resolution but it does have to add the black bars on the side of the image. It is at the very least doing something and running the display at the native resolution would be able to by pass it resulting in lower lag. The lack of 21:9 CRT's would be a problem but couldn't the display be tested against itself? IE two side by side. Getting a solid number would be difficult but observing a significantly lower input lag should be possible.

    I'd also like to see a review of the Dell U2913wm display. it should use the same panel and will likely get similar results (which aren't bad). The main difference appears to be that the Dell supports DisplayPort chaining so there would be a case for testing more than one. :)
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    The testing was done at 1920x1080 and the LG doesn't scale that image, it is centered in the display which in theory should introduce no lag. The only analog displays that I'm aware of that can do 2560x1080 at 60Hz are high end CRT projectors with 9" CRT guns. While still available used, they're still thousands of dollars and a couple hundred pounds to install, so I wouldn't count on seeing one soon for testing a display like this.
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    FWIW, my FW900 can push 2560x1600@60Hz with some driver patching and custom resolution tweaks. I've heard of people getting up to 70Hz, but that requires exceeding some boundaries I'm not comfortable with. I rarely go above 1920x1200 with my daily work and gaming, but that's only because those super high resolutions have such low refresh rates and they are too difficult to resolve - making it rather moot.

    I'll see if I can match the native resolution of this LG.
  • malkion - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I tend to dislike seeing tech reviewers get personal feelings involved, or how their opinions of any technology regarding future outlooks are, however, I will never mind it, the review itself being more important.

    The bottom line for me is always to keep new technology affordable, or I will have to wait a few years until it does.

    For any particular monitor that's not a big screen, I'll only pay around $300 tops for it. You can easily guess this fits me into the current sweet spot to buy 27" LCD monitors at the moment, right? For desktop, the is very nice.

    As far as the 21:9, 16:10, 16:9 debate, I actually want them all. More variety for end users. And the popular opinion vs unpopular opinion state-side isn't all that bad either (not that I actually lean towards the 'in the box' mindset)

    I never did like the VCR vs Beta debate, nor do I like industry standards too much over competing tech such as Blu-Ray vs HDDVD or HDMI vs Display Port. I can live with dual players instead. Haha. Or Monitors that sport both types of connectors. It doesn't cost that much for either one to be printed on disc or to include both kinds of connectors. Ok, signing off.

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