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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  • Visual - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    People complaining from the 16:9 vs 16:10 or 16:10 vs 4:3 are not complaining just based on aspect ratio. Actually everyone would like a wider display and not complain... if it really were wider. Unfortunately manufacturers often accomplish these wider ratios by cutting out vertical space instead of by adding horizontal space.

    With this display we do have added horizontal space over a regular 1080p display. So I do not expect anyone to complain... Unless this is priced to compete with 2560x1600 displays instead of with 1080p displays, in which case, yea, it is a no-go.
    Reply
  • Rick83 - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Price is quite disconnected the number of pixels.
    With this display being so uniform, it's reasonable to add a premium to the price.
    Additionally, there's a bit of exclusivity thing going on, with only two screeen manufacturers marketing that panel.
    Reply
  • Strunf - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I complain and I complain cause of the aspect ratio, my office desk doesn't have unlimited space, if I allocate 50cm for the screen then I'll lose screen area when I move from a 16:10 to a 16:9, on a 4:3 screen I could easily open a page on Office and see everything now I always have to scroll up and down same with web-pages, the ribbon thing on Office doesn't help either! Reply
  • Galcobar - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I must agree with Visual.

    The complaint with the transition to 16:9 was not about the aspect ratio. Rather it was that the transition was accomplished by shrinking the height and thus the screen.

    Had the 16:9 panels been introduced at a resolution of 2133x1200, it's unlikely there would have been much complaining.

    These 21:9 panels are presented as an expansion of the existing standard; you're not losing display area unless you're transitioning from a 2560x1440 monitor which usually costs half-again as much.

    If 1080 is an acceptable vertical resolution for you, then this screen offers the opportunity to expand horizontal coverage (run a 16:9 game/movie window and keep other information visible) without using up all your desk space or dealing with two bezels right in the middle of your field of view.
    Reply
  • peterfares - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - link

    It's priced to compete with 27" 2560x1440 screens. This is 2560x1080. They chopped off some vertical resolution, they didn't add horizontal resolution. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    " the film was more enjoyable when freed from black bars that distract from the film at hand. "

    Really? Black bars are distracting? Sounds like have ADHD or something.

    Then what are you going to do when the movie isn't in that specific ratio? Because plenty aren't. Goodness me, of all the complaints I've heard, that's a poor one.
    Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    You would probably need to have OCD to really be bothered by it. I'm sure most with ADD or ADHD wouldn't be. You would need to have an actual anxiety related syndrome to be really bothered by it. Not raging out for loosing a match in CS in front of their computers.

    I guess you must have Tourrett syndrome for yelling out insults? Well it's the internet. So..

    There is a field and a small market out there for people who want something close to 2.35:1. There is plenty of content produced in anamorphic wide screen or within that 2.35-2.40 range. Is a matter of preference for some and obviously the reviewer didn't think it hit the mark with this one. It isn't unreasonable that it should work in it's intended aspect ratio. There is some interest in this kind of monitors. Obviously on a 2.37:1 screen like this it would be letterboxing all around a 2.35 film that isn't custom cropped. It would just be at the top and bottom on a 16:9/10 or 4:3/5:4 screen. Here it would also have bars on the sides giving you an much smaller effective viewing surface. Much worse so then a 1.85:1 or 16:9 movie. The real advantage is only there if you can crop the movie to fit the screen, otherwise 2:35:1 content is just unusable.
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    What this is, effectively, is an attempt at CIH for direct-view displays. More and more projectors are beginning to adopt this feature or allow for CIH lenses (usually above the $2,500 mark), but the same problems exist there. You have to adjust for pillarboxing instead. I much prefer pillarboxing to letterboxing. Of course, with CIH projection, you never lose 1:1 mapping.

    The downside to all of this is that all 1080p films on Blu-ray are 1920x1080 resolution for the video streams including the black bars. So when you blow up a 2.35:1 image on a native XXXXx1080 display, you no longer have a true 1:1 resolution, so you need a high-quality scaler to avoid artifacts. ~1920x800 would be better suited to this, but obviously then you would lose resolution for 1080p 16x9 and 4x3 content.

    I really like the wider screen for gaming, but you can achieve the same horizontal resolution with a standard 30" monitor, but gain vertical res as well.
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I also am probably one of the targets for this monitor, as my home theater uses a 2.40, 122" screen, so I'm very familiar with all the reasons for anamorphic screens, as well as the issues that can arise in the setup of them. It's really about the choice of Constant Image Height over Constant Image Width, where both are going to have compromises for the viewer. For those that want a CIH setup, a 21:9 monitor offers something that is very expensive to do with a projector (a high-end anamorphic lens is thousands of dollars alone), but still has flaws of course. Reply
  • wwwcd - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Too short and fat. These manufacturers and marketing managers are arrogant! Reply

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