Below is a brief review of the LG 29UM65 ultrawide monitor, which comes in at about £280.
Unfortunately my first two units had extremely bad backlight bleed, mainly the bottom left corner and the second one also had a dead pixel in the central area. It seems like this is quite a common problem with these LG 21.9 ultra wide monitors as a number of users on various forums have reported the same issue as well as a few of the 34" model owners... This third one is a lot better but still not "perfect", however, under normal conditions, the bleed & IPS glow is not noticeable.
My first monitor @ 20% brightness:
Second monitor @ 20% brightness:
The photos make the bleed look worse than what it really was like. It was mainly the bottom left that was very noticeable even during daylight usage.
I contacted LG directly for the second one to see if they could repair it rather than me doing another RMA and getting an even worse one, however, their response was an absolute joke, essentially they told me to "only use the monitor during the day and with a low brightness", needless to say, I cut the guy off there and proceeded to sort a RMA out with the retailer.
I was determined to get a good one as there was nothing else on the market that interested me at all and I didn't fancy any of the other 29" monitors due to them having their own downfalls.
The box is relatively small considering the size of the monitor. The monitor and items are well protected.
Along with the monitor, we receive one HDMI cable, audio cables and the power brick (which is pretty small, it is a bit longer than a credit/debit card with the width being smaller than a credit/debit card) + power cord.
- Screen size: 29"
- Panel Type: IPS
- Aspect Ratio: 21:9
- Resolution: 2560x1080
- Brightness: 300 cd/m2
- Contrast Ratio: 50000000:1
- Viewing Angle: 178/178
- Colour Depth: 16.7M (8-Bit)
- Pixel Pitch: 0.315 x 0.310 mm
- Colour Gamut: sRGB
- Surface Treatment: Hard Coating (3H), Anti-Glare
- Connectivity: 1x DVI-D, 2x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort
- Dimensions (with stand) - 702.5 x 181 x 418.2
- Dimensions (without stand) - 702.5 x 63.8 x 328.2
- Warranty: 2 years
Aesthetics and Stand:
The monitor looks absolutely gorgeous overall, due to the bezel free edges at the top and sides (as in no plastic chassis sticking out), the front looks very sleek. My only complaints with the aesthetics are; the LG symbol AND "LG" writing at the front, only need to have the one there, not both... and the glossy plastic finish, I still don't know why manufacturers insist on using glossy plastic these days, it just looks cheap and is a finger print magnet, give me a matte finish any day of the week!
Underneath the power LED, we have a directional joystick for controlling the OSD, which in my eyes is better than having 5+ buttons to use like you get with DELL monitors. The OSD menu is very nicely laid out, it is easy to use and best of all, there is an option to turn off the power LED. Although some sections could be better organised
The rear ports on the back face outward, which I much prefer to downward facing ports, I find it much easier to connect and disconnect cables. We also have VESA mounting holes (75x75)
The stand is very basic, you only have angle adjustment and two height choices, with the max height still being a bit too low, a box will fix this though . Dell still have the best stands out there.
Unfortunately, my camera will not do this screen any justice so you will just have to take my word!
Out of the box, the screen looks well calibrated already although it is far too bright but then they did have the brightness set to 100%.....the cinema preset mode looks more accurate though, I will go into this more later on. I think the right side of my monitor is a bit darker than the left side. A photo of a black screen @13% brightness, once again, the camera makes the bleed/glow/blacks look worse than what it really is, the top left is IPS glow as if I move the camera and my head more towards that area, it disappears, if this was bleed, it would remain visible no matter how I view the corner.
The screen looks absolutely amazing, it is extremely bright, so much that I have the brightness set to 15% and my PC/monitor sits right beside a big velux window too.
After much testing and tweaking, I have found the Cinema preset mode to be the best for colours/calibration. I have set my brightness to 15% in order to achieve an ideal contrast ratio. Whilst the official specs state a "50000000:1" contrast ratio, with proper calibration for "normal" usage, this is impossible for an IPS display, you can expect the contrast ratio to be between 900 & 1100.
The other two preset modes are awful; game mode is far too blue & photo mode over saturates the colours especially red.
The anti-glare coating seems really good, not too aggressive and not too light, the clarity/sharpness is just amazing (virtually no grainy look to it), definitely better than my Dell U2311H anti-glare coating.
Once I got the monitor set to my ideal settings i.e. cinema preset mode & 15% brightness, I went to Lagom LCD test web site to properly test it:
Black test; all 20 grey squares are distinguishable
White saturation test; all 12 patterns are distinguishable
Gamma Calibration; to my eyes, it looks like the darker & lighter bands blend in at 2.2 (the ideal gamma setting for all displays)
Banding; If I look very closely, I can just about detect some banding
Once again though, in order to get the best and most accurate gamma, colour temperature, RGB values etc. you NEED a hardware calibrator.
As usual with good IPS panels, the viewing angles are great. The top left of this monitor is quite bad for IPS glow on a black screen though once you view it from the right side.
Also, the "warm up" time from when you first turn the monitor on is very short i.e. it is very bright within milliseconds, with my Dell U2311H, it would take a few minutes till the brightness was normal (although it was fairly old so that probably had an impact)
The area where this monitor really shines and the sole reason I bought it is because of films, the majority of films take the full screen up so no black bars that you get with 16.9/16.10 screens. Of course there are a number of films that aren't shot in the 21.9 aspect ratio i.e. Pacific Rim, however, with the right media player, you can zoom in, this works pretty well for most films and the quality, sharpness still looks great. Most TV shows will have black bars at the side. With the content that has black bars at the side, the video image will be the same size as a 23" 16.9 monitor.
The majority of games also work well with the 21.9 aspect ratio. Some will have no problems at all where as others might have a few issues i.e. cut scenes & menus, the screen will go back to 16.9 so black bars at the side and some seem to cut of a bit at the top and bottom i.e. watch dogs, you should be able to see the menu completely but with this res./aspect ratio, you don't.
As you can probably tell from that last photo of BF 4, you also get more FOV at the sides, which is superb for vehicle gameplay, especially when flying jets. Not much of a MMORPG or racing gamer but I am sure that those sort of games would look even better on this monitor.
You can enable the 21.9 aspect ratio via file tweaks with most games that don't support the aspect ratio out of the box.
EDIT - There is a fantastic program that will properly support ultrawide and give the proper FOV now called flawless widescreen
For more info. on which games do and don't support the 21.9 aspect ratio, check this thread on overlockers.co.uk out.
I don't have the proper equipment to test the input lag, however, going by the AOC, ASUS and other newer LG 29" monitor reviews, the input lag should be 0-10ms. I am not 100% sure on the response time either.
In Linus's youtube review he says that he finds this monitor noticeably snappier than the 34UM95.
There are multiple settings for the response time in the OSD menu; off (highest response time), low, middle and high (lowest response time). After much testing, I have found the "medium" setting to be the best, it has the least motion blur with no inverse ghosting (you get this with the high setting), I used this site to test all the options.
I can't say that I feel at any disadvantage in FPS games with this monitor, I still do well. Of course if you are a serious FPS gamer and don't mind not having the best image quality, colours, viewing angles etc. then you should be looking at TN 144Hz monitors.
For general usage i.e. browsing, windows etc. I don't have any complaints about the 1080P vertical height res. I see some comments from people on a number of forums who regard it to be an "utterly stupid vertical height res.", true, you have to put in a lot more effort to scroll the middle mouse wheel a bit more often to see the next line...
You can easily watch a video plus read a web page on this ultrawide monitor. Three windows is a bit a too cramped for my liking.
Now this is the only other area that is rather disappointing, the majority of youtube videos out there will have black borders all the way around the actual video i.e.
There are quite a few videos, which support the 21.9 aspect ratio though.
All in all, I couldn't be happier. The monitor does everything I wanted. For any type of media and even general usage for browsing, 21.9 aspect ratio is superior to 16.9/16.10 in my opinion.
Films and games have that cinematic look now, which simply put, feels a lot more immersive than 16.9/16.10 aspect ratio monitors.
There are other 29" ultrawide monitors out there using the same panel but none of them ticked all the boxes like this LG model, we have the following:
AOC - stand looks really bad plus is sat too far forward (problem for me since my desk depth is already very small), build issues
Dell - would have been my choice due to their superb service and swap on door service (wouldn't have minded paying the extra £100 just for that), unfortunately the input lag is very high
ASUS - seems like the best screen all round for performance and image quality etc. but there are quite a few negative posts on their customer service/RMA, issues with build quality, no VESA mounting holes and a £100 more
So really the only area where LG could improve this monitor is; the stand, better QC and a matte plastic finish
- Good price considering what you get
- Great image quality all round thanks to a decent contrast ratio, amazing anti glare finish & a pretty accurate out of the box calibration (especially when using the cinema preset)
- The 21.9 aspect ratio is just sublime, gaming is much more immersive and being able to watch films without black bars is stunning
- VESA 75x75mm mount
- No chassis bezel + thin bezel/black borders
- Lottery as to if you will get a good one or not with regards to back light bleed i.e. QC testing is crap by LG
- Glossy plastic finish
- Very basic stand, only two height adjustments available, which are hindered by two screws i.e. not free moving like DELL's stands