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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  • cheinonen - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    On every recent LED in house I've tried to test for PWM, but all photographs wind up with a solid line which indicates one of two things:

    - No PWM
    - I'm doing it wrong

    Believe me, I'm testing it, but unless I can get a positive result to ensure that the testing method is correct, I am not confident to state for a fact that a display does or does not feature it.
  • paradeigmas - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    Thank you for the most useful and insightful review. Do you think you would be able to review the new ASUS MX299Q which is sold at a significantly lower price point ($599) than the LG29EA93? That would be tremendously helpful in determining which one to buy.
  • 99sport - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    It makes absolutely no sense to me that LG would sell a home calibration kit (that only works with one particular model of monitor) for $100-$150. For that money, why wouldn't LG calibrate the display at the factory? That would save me the hassle of doing the calibration myself and LG wouldn't have to stock, ship and support the calibration kit, which I would only need once or twice in my lifetime.

    I have some experience doing display calibration, and my next monitor purchase will be a factory calibrated Dell (if I had a Mac it would be a factory calibrated Apple display). For those interested, the process of calibrating my Samsung TV consisted of buying the colorimiter for $150, finding and burning a BluRay of the test patterns (need a BlyRay burner for this), downloading the calibration software, and then figuring out what all the terms mean and how to do the calibration. Unfortunately, display calibration is highly iterative as changing one setting often upsets others. Plus the calibration is never perfect, so you are constantly trading one parameter for another - hoping to maximize as many parameters as possible. In the end, I was able to achieve a very good result, and this saved me from returning the TV (I was very disappointed in the color accuracy before calibration), but I spent three days figuring out what I was doing and then iterating a number of times - Like I said earlier, I would gladly pay $100 to be able to take the display out of the box and use it knowing the factory achieved an acceptable baseline. I assume LG's product is much more of a point and click affair then what I used, but that would mean it would be that much easier for them to do in house. They could even have a separate SKU for those willing to pay more for factory calibration.
  • Spoelie - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    Calibration is dependent on the device outputting the video signal. You could calibrate your TV perfectly for your bluray player, but have it completely miss the spot when connecting your xbox (or whatever). That's why each input will have its own settings on a "sane" TV.

    Some calibration can already be done in the factory though, that's true, it just won't be perfect. Panasonic does this with their G-range (and up) televisions, called THX-Cinema mode. See http://www.hdtvtest.co.uk/news/panasonic-tx-p50gt5...
  • cheinonen - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    You can go back and read some of my comments about the meter and how they likely build in profiles to account for the spectral signature of the LED backlighting.

    With a $100 colorimeter, like the i1Display2 or a Spyder, the simple fact is they are decent at what they do, but they drift relatively fast, and they work best on CCFL or CRT based displays. LED based LCDs and other lighting systems typically don't work well on them. The issue is that when using software to do the calibration, neither one of those items knows if the meter is reading correctly or incorrectly. Without verification by a spectrometer, you'd have no idea.

    The human eye is also very adaptable to what we see in front of us, and we adjust very fast. Whatever the brightest white is, we take that to be pure white and adjust from that. If a display is 9300K or 4500K instead of 6500K, I can typically spot that. If it's 6200K or 6800K and there is no 6500K reference in the room, your eye is going to adapt to that being correct.

    If they can program their meter to work better with their displays than the XRite or Datacolor solutions, and sell it for less, then for many people it's going to work fine. Calibrating at the factory adds time and money that many people don't care about unfortunately. For people like myself, we might pay the extra $100 for it, but for many people that $100 would mean they buy a different display. Multiple SKUs also make vendors and dealers unhappy, as it's more inventory to track and they'd rather just carry a calibration device.
  • 99sport - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    I want to thank AnandTech for being one of a few websites that check greyscale and color performance of displays - this site does an outstanding and thorough job. However, I agree with many other posters who believe this follow up test should be of a retail unit.

    As I understand it, some manager at LG read your previous review and then ordered his engineers to improve the display and have it retested. As an engineer who worked in a large corporation for many years, it is unthinkable to me that LG would pull a display off the assembly line and send it to you without first verifying it's performance. It would be a great way for the person given the task of improving the display to get fired if the second review does not live up to whatever goals LG management had. My hunch is that they either pulled a number of samples off the line, checked their performance and sent the best one, or took a random unit and then tweaked it to achieve the performance goals they were after.

    While it may be cost prohibitive to purchase every device tested on this site, this is clearly a case where the lack of a store bought sample casts doubt on the validity of the results.
  • flamefox777 - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    No Gold award?

    Is this "the" gaming and movie-watching monitor out right now?

    Am I 100% absolutely certain to get this new revision if I order from Amazon or Newegg?
  • xaueious - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - link

    Can you provide information on where you can tell the difference between the two?

    Also, there's a typo on the first page '28EA93'?
  • DelphiOracle - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    I would be very suspicious of any piece of hardware delivered for review with an company engineer. I suggest re-evaluating the monitor using a retail version. It is all too easy (and tempting) for the company to deliver a piece of hardware that has been screened and tweeked by the gift bearer!
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - link

    And surprising! I'm more used to companies just ignoring things, never responding, or worse. Really cool to see they were so awesomely responsive and fixed it!

    Will make me less nervous about buying an LG monitor or display...

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