With our change to CalMAN, we will also now be evaluating displays for their grayscale and gamma point. Previously we only targeted a gamma of 2.2 in calibrations but never measured it in the end. Now we will be choosing two targets in our reviews. For light output of 200 cd/m², we will target the same gamma of 2.2 right now. 2.2 gamma is still a de-facto standard, and is the standard for Apple computers and devices as well as video content. For our second calibration we target 80 cd/m² with an sRGB gamma curve. Both of these are specified in the sRGB standard, so those doing professional print or computer graphics work would likely want this.

Hopefully a display will be able to handle both of these tests, and we will also check for the grayscale quality on its own by checking 21 points, just like we do with our tablet and smartphone reviews. This will provide you with more data, as well as consistent data for the different devices.

  Pre-Calibration 200 cd/m² Target 80 cd/m² Target
White Level 201.5 198.4 80.1
Black Level 0.1689 0.1644 0.067
Contrast Ratio 1193:1 1207:1 1197:1
Average CCT 6545 6537 6599
Gamma 2.1648 2.2128 2.4109
Average dE2000 2.3847 0.535 0.6238

Looking at the RGB Balance for the data, the pre-calibration data starts out a bit too-blue, then develops a red tint, before finally winding up with a lack of green at the top of the grayscale. The average CCT remains close to 6503K overall, but the RGB balance shows that there is a lack of correct balance in there. Looking at the post-calibrations numbers for 200 and 80 cd/m², we see almost no deviation at all in the RGB balance, which is much better. The 80 cd/m² results have a bit too much blue perhaps, but overall they're acceptable.

The pre-calibration gamma point is very close to the 2.20 target, but looking at the chart we see some issues. The gamma point rises and falls across the grayscale, which will leads to midtones and highlights not having the correct level of light output, and will lead to a less dynamic image. The overall number is good, but the chart shows that it’s not quite right. The 2.20 target for our 200 cd/m² calibration is much better, with a very linear 2.20 gamma across the whole grayscale. There are a couple small bumps in there, but nothing that would be visible in daily use.

The sRGB target is different, as the gamma isn’t linear across the whole grayscale. Instead the shadows start at 1, and it ramps up as you leave the shadows, which results in an average gamma across the grayscale of 2.40 in the end. Because of this it’s far more important to look at the actual graph than the final number, and here the LG 29EA93 does very well at tracking the target. Once calibrated, the gamma curve for the LG is very good with either sRGB or Power Law targets.

The grayscale dE2000 values takes all of this data into account. Pre-calibration, the dE2000 starts out well in the shadows, but by the end of the grayscale we have dE2000 values above 3, indicating a visible grayscale error that we can see even in motion. The average error is pretty low, but by the end it’s higher than we would like. Post-calibration, both grayscales are free of all visible error. There isn’t a single point that is above 2.0, and no one should be able to see any errors in real world use. In the end, the grayscale is basically perfect for these displays after calibration.

Pre-calibration, the LG 29EA93 is good, but not great. Post-calibration, it’s virtually perfect and will be basically free of visible errors when being used.

Intro, Brightness and Contrast Color Performance
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  • Friso - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    So when are you going to update your review? This is turning into a bit of a joke here, with you raving about a version 1.25 and nobody having the means to verify what version they're actually buying. I have a box standing in front of me. How can I verify whether it's the 'good' version? Without this info, this is a legendary bit of PR by LG, allowing them to sell off all their old stock.
  • GeoffMorris - Monday, April 1, 2013 - link

    I agree with Friso.

    LG needs to know that many find this situation unacceptable and all this doubt is no doubt putting people off buying the monitor. I tried to contact them myself but couldn't seem to find an email address for my country (Japan).

    If they were so willing to work with you to iron out the issues product surely you have some way of letting them know that the situation as it stands is probably doing more harm than the 1.09 review.
  • newsama - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    Hey, did you manage to get that image? I'm really scared of shelling out 700 bucks only to get the crappy version =/
  • jjj - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    This is nice but in cases like this the review should be done on a retail unit just to be sure about what is in stores.
    The pricing is also way high , i imagine the AOC will retail at 500$ and that's still high but at least it's not 700$.
    I do wish you would have more screenshots (gaming included) and a video wouldn't hurt, the AR is new , would help to see it in action.
  • cheinonen - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    I will try to get some screenshots of games if I can, though the site someone linked earlier does provide a good example of showing the differences in aspect ratios. As far as the AOC, it makes no sense to compared the LG against something that isn't released yet. Look at the large difference in how this updated version performed against the original version. We have no way of knowing which one the AOC will perform like, or if it will be better or worse. It will use the same panel I imagine, but that's only one element as we've seen here.

    As far as retail samples go, the initial sample was the foreign model as it wasn't out in the USA, and then the USA launch was delayed until the issues were fixed, so there was no possible way to get a review unit at a store. It also is cost prohibitive to impossible to buy samples, and with as many issues as every reviewer manages to find with the review samples, believe me, if there's an issue in the product, we're almost certainly going to find it no matter what sample we get.
  • KLC - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    I agree with jjj, it's more than a little concerning that LG hand carried a new monitor to you for a special review. How will a retail version compare to this hand picked one? Nobody knows.
  • cheinonen - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    They hand carried the initial model to me as well, if that makes you feel better about it, so I don't think that has any effect on the performance or what I find in testing.
  • KLC - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    Of course it doesn't have any effect on performance or what you found, I'm not impugning either you or your results. But let's face it, corporations exist to generate revenue, LG wants to sell monitors. What better way to sell them than to get positive reviews? Why is it startling to suggest that they may tweak a piece of hardware in order to get one?
  • cheinonen - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    My question is how this review would be different than any other review then? Every display I've reviewed for AnandTech, aside from the iPhone 5 I bought myself, has been shipped from a company or a PR firm.

    I'm well aware of the fact that monitors could be sent that are ideal units, and so I attempt to read feedback from people that already own them on forums often to see what issues might exist to look for. To me, this unit is no more likely to be extra special than any other unit that comes in for review.

    Look at every other review that I've written, positive or negative, and see how many other companies have followed up to find out what they can do to improve their performance and then attempted to do so. Even when I've received feedback, it's been nothing close to this, and typically more defensive than actually inquisitive about how to improve performance.

    I'm certain someone else out there will buy a unit and test it and see if they match up. If they have a huge variance between them, then we can start to look into it more.
  • Lifted - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    Reading the title I had no idea if you like the product.

    Not realizing or remembering that this is a followup article, and then reading the first few sentences, I was sooo close to just moving along and not waste my time reading a review of what I assumed was an absolutely horrible product.

    I believe Anand usually puts some clue in the title of the review if there has been a major change in the product. This is not just a good idea for your readers, but also for yourself after spending so much time on this (you want people to read it, yes?), and LG for going above and beyond in getting this monitor right, which is extremely rare these days.

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