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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  • SpartanGR - Friday, April 5, 2013 - link

    No there is no way of knowing. i'll buy this monitor 6 months from now just to be sure. Reply
  • sant2468 - Friday, April 12, 2013 - link

    To get the service menu up, first switch off the monitor, then while holding down the menu key simultaneously press and hold the power button, keep holding both buttons until the monitor powers up then release them. Press the menu button once and up pops the menu. To revert back to the OSD menu, turn the monitor off then back on again. Reply
  • Ubercake - Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - link

    If they can get this to operate at 120Hz, I'd buy it tomorrow. Reply
  • sant2468 - Friday, April 19, 2013 - link

    i have to say. i went for the dell version and it clocks to 75 hz. haven't tried to overclock this any further and it runs so sweat.
    All games run very nice at 75 fps.
    Reply
  • zewolf5 - Monday, April 22, 2013 - link

    I asked dustinhome if they knew what revision they had for sale. Got this answer: " ...there is new firmwares released now and then. And there shouldn’t be any other difference than the firmware between these revisions, if there is something wrong with the firmware in a product then the customer can contact LG and they will decide if a firmware upgrade can solve the problem. For this product it isn’t possible to upgrade the firmware as a user, it needs to be done by LG Service. And we don’t get any information about which revision we get delivered, since it is delivered on the same part number." Reply
  • Big_Lund! - Monday, April 29, 2013 - link

    Just bought a LG 29EA93-P from Fry's this week (San Jose CA). Mgr date is Feb 13 2013 Rev-01 which is version 1.25. The way to verify is to Hold the power & Menu button's together and you will see the version number on the top left corner! Once calibrated the best monitor to date! Great for games, movies & editing photos. Reply
  • noknowsu - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - link

    I bought this led monitor because of this new update on the monitor . im am so happy you did this review because it made my decision to buy!! i also got the new revision model 1.25 and bought it off newegg at $540 total they had a special . Thanks anandtech!! Reply
  • MacDavePro - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Why does the review author continue to be evasive regarding identification of units shipping with the tested firmware revision? Just review a damned retail unit and restore the reputation of AnandTech as a legitimate reviewer. Otherwise this whole review is just a joke. Chris has basically reviewed a mythical, maybe never to be released, one-off that may or may not bear any resemblance to a display of the same name which is available for sale. If I reviewed a Chevrolet stock car as representative of a showroom model you'd laugh me off the web. Joke. Reply
  • retlaps - Monday, June 3, 2013 - link

    i just got mine today, the setting show this:http://i39.tinypic.com/1ij43l.jpg
    Does this mean there is now a Rev 1.31??
    Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - link

    Any idea if the LG 29EB93-P has these updates as well? I'm trying to decide between the LG 29EA93 and the 29EB93-P I would much prefer the nice stand and more professional look of the 29EB93-P but not at the loss of these nessesary updates. Reply

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