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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  • markstock - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

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

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

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

    A book with landscape pages, what are you guys smoking?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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