Last year I reviewed the LG 29EA93 monitor before its scheduled US release date.  As someone that thinks there is a good market for ultrawide displays, the 21:9 aspect ratio was very interesting to me, and something I wanted to take a look at personally.  While the aspect ratio was nice and enveloping for gaming, there were aspects of the monitor that were disappointing, and in the end it was something I didn't really recommend.

I really dislike writing negative reviews. Writing one means that I’ve spent a good deal of time with a product while not enjoying the experience. It means that a team of engineers and designers has spent a lot of time working on something that didn’t make the cut, or they made a series of compromises for some reason that led to an end user experience that was unsatisfying. I’d much rather write effusive praise of a wonderful product that people should run out and buy than write something bad.

Typically when I write a negative review, I either hear a little feedback from a company, or nothing at all. Maybe they knew the product wasn’t great but released it anyway, or they didn’t care. Sometimes I hear that a company will fix something, and then I try to hold onto hardware and test that to see if they do, but I’ve never had feedback like I did from LG after I initially reviewed their 29EA93 ultra-widescreen monitor.

I had multiple emails full of detailed questions about how I test, what I was after, and what should be done to improve upon the current version. After all of these conversations, they flew out an engineer with an updated version of the 29EA93 that they said would address almost all of my issues with the first version. Did LG manage to go back and correct the problems that I found, so that the monitor now performs much better? I had to go ahead and test it to find out.

Since the exterior of the 29EA93 didn’t change, I’m going to skip over that and go straight ahead to performance. You can read more about our initial thoughts on the 29EA93 in our earlier review, and we'll just pick up from there. This is the first review that uses our new CalMAN test suite for monitor reviews. Using CalMAN gives us the ability to target sRGB or AdobeRGB gamuts, choose from more gamma choices including sRGB, and have measurements that are uniform with our tablet and smartphone reviews. It also allows for better grayscale balance and error measurements, better gamut and saturation measurements, and far improved uniformity measurements.

Because of the large change, we will be making a break from everything in the past and going with DeltaE 2000 for our measurements. Because of this the numbers from this review and going forward are not comparable with older reviews as different DeltaE formulas cannot be compared. I will write a longer article on this new measurement system soon, but this will be our first use of it for a desktop display. (Anand has been using portions of these tests for tablets for a while now.)

With the initial revision of the 29EA93, the most brightness I could coax out of it was 261 cd/m². On the updated 29EA93, the highest I could coax the contrast was 78 before I started to clip blue, and just past that it began to clip every color, leading to the top shades of white becoming uniform and not distinct. Keeping the contrast at 78 allows for the highest level of light output without any negative effects at the top of the grayscale. Finding this point is actually made easy by CalMAN as well, showing you where white begins to clip in each individual color and is yet another benefit to the new software.

Using a contrast of 78 and setting the backlight to the maximum 100 results in a light output of 325 cd/m². That is much better than our previous result with the early revision. Setting the backlight to minimum, but leaving contrast steady, results in a reading of 78 cd/m². Since our new target for low-light calibration is now 80 cd/m², this is enough range for that.

White Level -  XR Pro, C6 and XR i1DPro

The black level with the brightness at maximum is 0.2605 cd/m², and at a minimum backlight the black level is 0.0624 cd/m². Both of these are very good results given what the corresponding white levels are.

Black Level - XR Pro,C6 and XR i1DPro

With these white and black levels, we see contrast ratios that are over 1200:1, which is a better result than before, and one of the best results that we have seen. The LG 29EA93 already produced good contrast ratios in the early revision, but with their tighter manufacturing tolerances and adjusted electronics, the 29EA93 now produces one of the best contrast ratios out there.

Contrast Ratio -  XR Pro, C6 and XR i1DPro

While the increase in light output and contrast ratios is very good to see, it wasn’t one of the main items that I was concerned about in the early unit. Even so, we're happy to see these improved results. What we really want to see are better colors and uniformity.

Grayscale and Gamma
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  • cheinonen - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    I don't add calibrated settings for a reason: They're specific to that display, and that one only. The level of tolerances on a consumer panel is high enough that just plugging in the settings from someone is no guarantee that the image will be better or worse, just different. And since it can be just as easily worse as opposed to better, I don't provide them. Otherwise I know it will result in many people getting those settings from somewhere else, or without a disclaimer like this, using them, and then posting "The AnandTech settings made my display worse, they have no idea what they're talking about".

    If the display has a mode that is more accurate, I typically mention which one I used for calibration so everyone could use that specific mode, buy beyond that and adjustments are just as likely to make a display worse as better.
  • SpartanGR - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Don't bother with this monitor yet. There's no 1.25 version out there.
  • Adrianojp - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - link

    This is my first post, but I have been reading your site for years now.
    Thank you for all your great work!

    Response times: in your 1.25 review, you state that RT's have been tested at 1080p resolution because of some CRT limitations. Could you please iron this out for me?
    I am a hardcore FPS gamer, and am out shopping for the fastest 27-30 monitor out there! This would be very interesting because of it's huge landscape, but lag is a no no!
  • mcfrumpy - Monday, March 11, 2013 - link

    So I noticed that now Newegg and Microcenter are carrying this monitor. There's a guy on the HardOCP forums that bought one and is doing a review. The picture he took of the back shows a manufacturer date of January 2013, but a rev00. I know they weren't released in the US officially so for all I know rev00 is the 1.25 here, but seems kinda risky to buy without knowing for sure.
  • carloverthepond - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - link

    I purchased this monitor from South Korea arrived with build date Dec 2012 Rev 00 shockingly poor panel over 30 stuck/dead/live pixels. This month I purchased one from Frys again build date Dec 2012 Rev 00, then one from MicroCenter yet again build date Dec 2012 Rev 00. The money I have lost in shipping and restocking fees is now a joke. Currently awaiting one I ordered from Newegg arrives 03/22/13 their website photos show build Feb 2013 Rev 01, so how do we know if this is revision 1.09 or 1.25. After several conversations with LG USA they posted the comment below on Neweggs website, how can you truly tell what revision you have when it's not labeled clearly and manufacturer just says it's revision 1.25 are we to take their word? If anyone has any idea how to identify which revision other than sticker on rear of panel? An LG USA have been very clear they will NOT update older revisions to their knowledge they don't even have the means to do so.

    Manufacturer Response:
    1. The older version is neither defective nor low quality. It was just a running change to update the firmware
    to newer versions (like is done with other electronics).

    2. Currently, there hasn’t been any game resolution support issues reported for this model. Please contact us with
    any issues you find so we can test. Our previous internal testing did not find any resolution support issues for
    any games. Also, Software version is not related to resolution support and different versions do not effect ability
    to support full 2560 x 1080 resolution.

    3. All of models sold to are firmware version 1.25.

    Please call us with any more questions. 800-243-0000.
  • carloverthepond - Thursday, March 21, 2013 - link

    Received new monitor today from newegg and the manufatures response is incorrect, newegg are selling revision 00. So some people get the new revision and others like me yet again get the old one. This will now be my fifth monitor, will I ever get the new revision. Is it accurate that rev 00 is really 1.09 and rev 01 is 1.25?
  • 5150Joker - Saturday, March 23, 2013 - link

    Your guess is as good as mine. I picked up an LG 27EA83-D from Fry's which just recently received a firmware update of its own with similar results as the panel you bought. However mine was manufactured in Jan 2013 and is Rev 00. I wrote LG USA about it and they had no clue (surprise surprise). So right now I'm trying to get a hold of someone in Korea that can provide firm answers. Otherwise as much as I love this display, it might go back to Fry's.
  • rogerRion - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    1.09 / 1.25
    what do i have?
    the same in germany.
    A) isnt there a way to find out which revision do you really have? maybe with powerstip on the DDC data?
    B) is a simple Firmware Update (like on CDRW drives) possible, or is this thought technical not logical?
  • SpartanGR - Monday, April 1, 2013 - link

    A. Unfortunately no
    B. No again for some reason but i strongly believe that it may well as be diff. electronics along with diff. firmware
  • dim.thelights - Thursday, April 4, 2013 - link

    How to know which Rev. you will buy in the shop?

    Anyone know how to find out?

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