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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  • Reflex - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Seriously, that was one of the worst movies I've seen in a while. Ryan Gosling can't act his way out of a wet paper bag, and the plot was nonsensically ridiculous with some truly idiotic characters.

    I like artsy movies but I did not get the acclaim that movie recieved.
    Reply
  • TegiriNenashi - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Why blackbars on 16:9 screen? Just crop that ridiculous 21:9 to 16:9, which is more than enough wide already. Oh, you are afraid to loose some very important action happening on the sides?

    It is Hollywood, not display industry, that is desperately behind the times clinging to that ancient 2.37,2.40,2:35 (they can't even make their mind themselves for the exact figure). Lately, there is some sanity coming back, and many blockbuster movies shot in 16:9 OAR. They have to: to achieve maximum 3D effect it's better to fill in the entire field of view, and this is not possible with embrasure view. To summarize, we'll see slow and agonizing death of 21:9 in next 5 years.
    Reply
  • cheinonen - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    The ratio for CinemaScope has changed over time, for a number of reasons, but it's not a random number:

    2.55:1 - Original size with magnetic stripe for audio
    2.35:1 - Switch to analog optical audio track that takes up space on film
    2.39:1 - Switch in 1970 to smaller gate size to hid splices in the negative

    2.40:1 is what many 2.39:1 films are cropped to for home video releases (a difference of 3 pixels vertically). 2.37:1 is what 21:9 monitors wind up being as they use common sizes from other displays (1080 pixels high, 2560 wide like 27" and 30" displays).

    Cinemascope ratios aren't close to dying, and will be around just as much in 10 years as they are now as they still offer something that most people can't get at home.
    Reply
  • TegiriNenashi - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I must give LG a credit: take some defective 30" 2560x1600 panels, cut top and bottom and resell it as "new" "innovative" product...

    The industry moves in bizarre ways. Take that crippled 21:9 58" Vizio. It is passive 3D, so it's half of the resolution vertically. That's right, they have 540 vertical pixels, and 5(!) times more pixels horizontally.
    Reply
  • ReaM - Monday, January 21, 2013 - link

    No movie will ever be shot in 16:9, because 16:9 is aesthetically bad. It looks bad. It does not have that "magic" movie feel, which is basically 24 frames per second and 2.39:1.

    I for example don't watch cropped movies. It is for aesthetical reason that they use a format that wide. The frame looks different, there is more story told in each frame and there is a lot of useless detail missing that otherwise would be there (like a lamp overhead). You can do a lot more in 2.39:1 than in 16:9.
    Reply
  • radbeard - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    I recently started using a 29'' 21:9 display from the Dell Ultrasharp series. Some of my experience differs for this reason (minimal light bleeding and a stand that does allow the screen to move vertically), but it is largely a similar experience to this LG display.

    This monitor, and aspect ratio, are near-perfect for a specific set of functions and entirely wrong for most mainstream home usage.

    For movie watching, you are probably better off with a cheap and large 1080p 27'' panel. Most content is this, or nearly this, aspect ratio and the screens are less expensive.

    For games a true 2560x1440 monitor offers a larger display area, and is preferable.

    For web browsing a 21:9 monitor gives you an enormous quantity of dead space, and the same experience as a 23'' 1080p monitor.

    Where the 21:9 shines, and is quickly becoming indispensable for me is at-work productivity. As someone that is always working with 2-4 different files (pdfs, excel, email) I need to be able to see items side by side. Looking at a financial report and then updating the bits relevant, this is the perfect set of compromises.

    16:9 is NOT a work-friendly format. I do not need to see all those additional rows in excel normally (although 21:9 allows for more of that vision if necessary), I also don't need the extra width on PDFs (which are scanned from typical A4 letters), or emails, which scale.

    What I really need are 4:3 monitors, but a couple of then. The 21:9 format is very practically 2 of these monitors combined in one. You take different documents and give them each half a screen.

    It is for this use that the review should be directed. I strongly encourage offices that use multi-screen setups, or ask their employees to work with multiple pieces of data at once to consider these as replacements.
    Reply
  • Kevin G - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Have you been able to test the DisplayPort chaining this with that Dell? First monitor I've seen commonly available to have that feature. Reply
  • radbeard - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    afraid not. I have this at my desk at work. Reply
  • CharonPDX - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    Yes, I could do math, but I'm busy at work and too lazy to figure it out:

    How does this compare in vertical size to a 27" 16:9 display? Is it the same height, only wider? Or is it shorter in height?

    Did you compare input lag on different interfaces? DP vs. HDMI vs. DVI? It's possible that one input is "native" and the others go through conversion internally, adding lag that wouldn't be present on a different input.
    Reply
  • radbeard - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - link

    i have the dell version. its about the same height as a 23'' 16:9 display but wider.

    Its awesome for productivity, not media.
    Reply

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