Review: LG's Ultrawide Monitor Has More Where It Counts


LG Monitor

Vertical is an underserved dimension. The 29-inch 29UB65-P 21:9 Ultrawide Monitor from LG is about twice the width of those dusty 4:3 LCD monitors, and when put into portrait mode, will make people stop and take notice. It lays out a 2,560 x 1,080-pixel desktop that's roomy and versatile enough for the most demanding thought worker. And with a street price of around $459, its a worthwhile addition to the reseller portfolio.

When plugging the unit via DisplayPort, our test PC and its NVIDIA Quadro 1800 display adapter recognized the "LG Ultrawide" and set the system resolution to its native 2,560 x 1,080 with 32-bit color at 60Hz. The display looked great; nothing was stretched or shrunken. Without further adjustment, we paid a visit to the CRN Test Center's standard test images for LCD panels.

What we found were settings perfect for tests of white saturation, black level, contrast and gradient tests. All 255 shades of black and white were visible right out of the box, as were gradations of color and color-contrast bars with no banding or dithering visible. In tests relevant to high-speed movement, the monitor exhibited no "pixel walking" or flickering, and very little ghosting at 60 fps. The Ultrawide has a response time of 5 ms. Sharpness tests passed with flying colors. The IPS panel delivers consistent color regardless of viewing angle.

LG Monitor

This is an all-digital video monitor. There are two HDMI inputs and one each for DisplayPort and dual-link DVI. In the same tight grouping are audio input and output jacks and the input for DC power coming from a small AC adapter brick with C5/C6 "Mickey Mouse" connector. All connectors face rearward, which could present a challenge if flush-mounting on a wall is called for. The three-axis pedestal attaches in a VESA 100 configuration. In landscape mode, the monitor at full height stands at 21.25 inches high and 27.5 inches wide. At its lowest, it's 16.25 inches high. In portrait mode, it stands at just under 29 inches high and 12.75 inches wide and works with the manual orientation settings of Mac OS X and Windows. The base occupies about 12 x 9 inches on the desktop.

LG includes some handy features in the Ultrawide Monitor that further set it apart. For example, it can split the screen into as many as four parts, with each displaying content of its four input sources. When using the included Windows 7 and higher-only monitor driver, resolutions are automatically adjusted when picture-by-picture (PBP) modes are enabled; otherwise the source displays are scaled to fit. LG also provides a split-screen utility in the system tray to manually select layouts. When in portrait mode, this monitor provides more than 26 inches of vertical screen space, letting coders show more code, publishers show more page, and CADers show more of their CAD. Anyone that uses a spreadsheet, displays stocks or makes lists of any kind will find great utility in a monitor like this.  

We also like the single-button control for the OSD, which presents a circular interface for menu, access to its three factory calibration pre-settings, picture-by-picture (PBP) settings and power. A translucent text box appears below the circle to describe what the selected command will do.

Unlike most monitors built for the office, sound quality of the built-in speakers in LG's Ultrawide is quite good. To test them, we pulled up a video with high-quality audio and cranked up the volume. The 7-watt stereo speakers put out surprising good sound that was loud, undistorted and completely free of the tininess that too often accompanies today's flat-panel monitors. LG's down-firing speakers (when in landscape mode) might even satisfy media producers and editors.

The LG 29UB65-P 21:9 Ultrawide Monitor lists for $680 and includes a three-year warranty that covers parts, labor and its LED backlight. For power users that need extra screen real estate for any reason, the CRN Test Center recommends the LG Ultrawide. 

PUBLISHED AUG. 29, 2014