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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  • 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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