LG 29UM65 Review


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+Nexus18

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:


http://i.imgur.com/OxuSEOSl.jpg

 

Second monitor @ 20% brightness:

 

http://i.imgur.com/FwBuGhel.jpg

 

The photos make the bleed and IPS glow 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.

 

Packaging:

 

The box is relatively small considering the size of the monitor. The monitor and items are well protected.

 

KdlEShXh.jpg

 

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.

 

Features:

  • 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!

 

Jg5wikGh.jpg

 

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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 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.

 

psuKQ2Oh.jpg

 

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)

 

VIOdIWmh.jpg

 

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 :p Dell still have the best stands out there.

 

Image quality:

 

Unfortunately, my camera will not do this screen any justice so you will just have to take my word!

 

JyfK3dGh.jpg

 

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/snapshot from a video of a black screen @20% brightness, once again, the camera makes the bleed/glow/blacks look worse than what it really is, the top and bottom 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.

 

QBHQawTh.png

 

The screen looks absolutely amazing, it is extremely bright, so much that I have the brightness set to 10% and my PC/monitor sits right beside a big velux window too.

 

After much testing and tweaking, I have found a brightness of 10% and contrast of 66 with everything else on default except colour temperature set to custom to look the most accurate to my eyes. I have set my brightness to 10% 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 1000 & 1400 on this particular model, remember all panels will vary slightly though.

 

Cinema mode is probably the best preset, however, I find it to be too aggressive on the gamma and contrast, the two other presets 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 very good (virtually no grainy look to it), definitely better than my Dell U2311H anti-glare coating.

 

gxvlDcAh.jpg

 

Once I got the monitor set to my ideal settings as above, 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/dark 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 at its peak.

 

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. Ant Man, however, with the right media player, you can zoom in, this works pretty well for most films and the quality, sharpness still looks great especially if you sit further back. 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.

 

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pERq0eAh.jpg

 

1C8EgkEh.jpg

 

1AeR7vqh.jpg

 

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 the UI/HUD will still be in 16.9 format i.e. Assassins Creed Syndicate and GTA 5

 

FCMvSLOh.jpg

 

OrrOPynh.jpg

 

Thankfully there are a few games that have no HUD or have been developed with 21.9 in mind, some might require a bit of messing around in cfg files though i.e. Fallout 4:

 

G0OTd3Ch.jpg

 

xiMonB2h.jpg

 

bKQ3dG0h.jpg

 

46f1Isah.jpg

 

J9kLnYPh.jpg

 

EIbLIKyh.jpg

 

F1fSLk1h.jpg

 

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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 game play, 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.

 

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 out as well as this youtube channel.

 

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 about 5-13ms. 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 "high" setting to be the best, it has the least motion blur with some inverse ghosting and feels a little bit more responsive than the "medium" preset to me, I used this site to test all the options.

 

I can't say that I feel at any disadvantage in FPS shooters 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.

 

CU3dMFGh.png

 

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.

 

QpTmBLth.jpg

 

There are a few videos, which support the 21.9 aspect ratio though.

 

9OLzcKgh.jpg

 

Thankfully there is a superb chrome extension to fix this issue.

 

Conclusion:

 

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.

 

Pros:

  • Good price considering what you get
  • Great image quality all round thanks to a decent contrast ratio, amazing anti glare finish & good out of the box calibration settings
  • 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

Cons:

  • 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
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Phouchg

I've got myself 29EB73-P some months ago. Your review pretty much captures my sentiment with it. There aren't many things I really like. I do like this one. Unfortunately, mine also suffers from visible bleed. Because of reasons that at this moment are obvious, I'll just let it be. It's certainly there, but not a deal-breaker. They seem to be using the same panel and process for all their current models. I placed EB73-P model above others because I liked its stand.

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  • 3 months later...
+Nexus18

I have just updated this review with some more information :)

 

EDIT:

 

I also got some LED lighting a while ago and have to say it does a decent job. Crappy pics, looks better in "real life".
 
yJfPxoxh.jpg
 
4eOXzzZh.jpg
 
It definitely gives the perception of an improved contrast ratio and makes the screen stand out even more.
Edited by Nexus18
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MikjoA

it's quite surprising that there are almost no reviews yet of this monitor..
So thank you for the review, it convinced me to buy one =)

It has been over a year I'm looking for a new monitor, I wanted to wait for the perfect one but the new LG ultra-wide monitors, 34UM65, 34UM95 and 29UM65 really caught my eyes..
I think the 34UM65 was the least interesting I guess, since it has the same resolution than the 29UM65 and is nearly twice more expensive.
The 34UM95 looks fantastic, but way too expensive and... 5 million pixels is quite a bit of a challenge even for great graphic cards... It would really benefit from GSync for nvidia users, but hopefully freesynch will be possible with this one, and as Linus says the 29UM65 is noticeably snappier, and this is quite important to me.

All in all the 29UM65 is really the best choice for me, even though it is not a 34" I'm sure it will look quite big, since it shares the same height than my current 23" monitor and I never felt that it was small.
So I just ordered one yesterday evening for quite a good price, 285? VAT and shipment included.

Hopefully it will not suffer from backlight bleed too much and without any dead pixel.
I can't wait receiving it, delivery is planned for wednesday 29. The wait will be long :D

I'll post some pictures and my impressions as soon as I can.
I have no tools to make an in depth review but luckily my current monitor has an amazingly low, CRT like, input lag, http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2312hm.htm
so I will be able to compare them and estimate it's input lag :)
Linus showed it's surprisingly quite faster than the Asus PB278Q so I already feels confident it has a low input lag.

If I can overclock its refresh rate to 75hz or more this monitor will be just perfect.

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+Nexus18

No problem :)

 

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

 

Regarding overclocking, a few users have tried with this and the 34" screens and haven't got any higher than 61-65Hz without frame skipping. Although I think it largely depends on what cable you use.....

 

 

Also, welcome to the forums! :)

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Krome

Yeah nice review... Neowin should put this on the main page...

 

This monitor is perfect for anyone that wants to enjoy a real cinematic movie or those FPS game... A lot of the movies comes at this resolution I think...  Monitor looks great... I want one :)

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MikjoA

No problem :)

 

Look forward to hearing your thoughts!

 

Regarding overclocking, a few users have tried with this and the 34" screens and haven't got any higher than 61-65Hz without frame skipping. Although I think it largely depends on what cable you use.....

 

 

Also, welcome to the forums! :)

 

Thanks =)

Hmm overclocking the refresh rate also depends on other settings such as "Front Porch" "Synch Width" "Total active pixels" etc Hopefully I'll get better results. And 29" model may handle it better or worse ^^

But you're right it also depends on the wire with DVI I would not expect anything high than 65hz. On the other hand I think any display port cable would be more than enough.

I've good hope I can overclock it above 70Hz, Most monitors I tested would easily go above 75 without noticeable frame dropping and smoother experience in fast fps.

I even managed a 3440x1440 @ 77hz on my 1920x1080 60Hz monitor.

But even if I do not manage to overclock it, it would not prevent me to enjoy it. I just need more than 60hz for just one game, all other I'm more than fine with 60.

In all case, I'll share the results and my thoughts =)

By the way how does yours handles those test ?

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/black.php

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/white.php

These are very important and rarely ever done in reviews.

 

Yeah nice review... Neowin should put this on the main page...

 

This monitor is perfect for anyone that wants to enjoy a real cinematic movie or those FPS game... A lot of the movies comes at this resolution I think...  Monitor looks great... I want one :)

Yeah I think fps games are among those which would benefit most with an ultra-wide monitor, I'm convinced it is much more immersive.

I can't wait to try skyrim with this one, I've already tried on my current 23" 16:9 to make 21:9 custom resolution, and hmm it already looks awesome.

I definitely think that 4K can wait, 21:9 monitor adds much more immersion than 16:9 high pixel density + low fps.

And for movies hmmm it will be delicious I am sure!

It's funny because a year or two ago, I thought that 21:9 was a stupid idea and that it was just an other marketing reason to sell monitors.

In the meantime, my 16:9 feels a bit square :D

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+Nexus18
 

Yeah nice review... Neowin should put this on the main page...

 

This monitor is perfect for anyone that wants to enjoy a real cinematic movie or those FPS game... A lot of the movies comes at this resolution I think...  Monitor looks great... I want one  :)

Thanks! I hope they do as well :)

 

Yup, the majority of my films are shot in this aspect ratio, it is mainly just the older films (i.e. 80s and before) that have black bars at the sides.

 

Keep an eye on overclockers.co.uk, they quite often have good deals on these LG 29" screens.

 

Thanks =)

Hmm overclocking the refresh rate also depends on other settings such as "Front Porch" "Synch Width" "Total active pixels" etc Hopefully I'll get better results. And 29" model may handle it better or worse ^^
But you're right it also depends on the wire with DVI I would not expect anything high than 65hz. On the other hand I think any display port cable would be more than enough.
I've good hope I can overclock it above 70Hz, Most monitors I tested would easily go above 75 without noticeable frame dropping and smoother experience in fast fps.
I even managed a 3440x1440 @ 77hz on my 1920x1080 60Hz monitor.
But even if I do not manage to overclock it, it would not prevent me to enjoy it. I just need more than 60hz for just one game, all other I'm more than fine with 60.

In all case, I'll share the results and my thoughts =)

By the way how does yours handles those test ?

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/black.php
http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/white.php

These are very important and rarely ever done in reviews.

 

Yeah I think fps games are among those which would benefit most with an ultra-wide monitor, I'm convinced it is much more immersive.
I can't wait to try skyrim with this one, I've already tried on my current 23" 16:9 to make 21:9 custom resolution, and hmm it already looks awesome.

I definitely think that 4K can wait, 21:9 monitor adds much more immersion than 16:9 high pixel density + low fps.

And for movies hmmm it will be delicious I am sure!

It's funny because a year or two ago, I thought that 21:9 was a stupid idea and that it was just an other marketing reason to sell monitors.
In the meantime, my 16:9 feels a bit square :D

Cool! Looking forward to hearing your OC results as I may try it if you get good results :D I think I read somewhere that HDMI was the best for OC?

 

 

Good shout on the lagom tests, I have updated my review with this. Thanks  :)

 

Using cinema preset and 15% brightness:

 

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

 

 

And yup, I agree, 4k isn't ready yet, still too many issues, need 3 GPU's for 50+FPS and high/max settings + the price....... This article sums up my thoughts on 4k and 21.9 pretty well:

 

http://www.pcgamer.com/lgs-34-inch-219-monitor-has-convinced-me-that-ultrawide-is-better-than-4k/

 

 

hehe, I think all the current 21.9 monitor owners thought the same too (including myself) but now.... 21.9 seems to be really taking of! :D

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+Nexus18

Just read that someone has been able to overclock the 29ub65 (same panel) to 70Hz without frame skipping :)

 

He is using a nvidia 970 and HDMI cable.

 

 

I just read through the guide for overclocking but see that it breaks some things i.e. hardware acceleration so will hold of for now.

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MikjoA
[...]

 

Cool! Looking forward to hearing your OC results as I may try it if you get good results :D I think I read somewhere that HDMI was the best for OC?

 

 

Good shout on the lagom tests, I have updated my review with this. Thanks  :)

 

Using cinema preset and 15% brightness:

 

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

 

 

And yup, I agree, 4k isn't ready yet, still too many issues, need 3 GPU's for 50+FPS and high/max settings + the price....... This article sums up my thoughts on 4k and 21.9 pretty well:

 

http://www.pcgamer.com/lgs-34-inch-219-monitor-has-convinced-me-that-ultrawide-is-better-than-4k/

 

 

hehe, I think all the current 21.9 monitor owners thought the same too (including myself) but now.... 21.9 seems to be really taking of! :D

 

Great to read that the 29UM65 perfectly handles these tests ! it sounds very promising !

That's true it is not an accurate way of measuring the gamma, but I think it is reasonable enough to say it is very good for most users :).

I'm going to use input lag test of lagom.nl to compare the input with my current display which is said to be of an average only 0.6ms.

Yeah I 100% share the opinion of the article ! The 34UM95 is really a far better option over any 4K monitors, but the price ouch, so if 21:9 is taking of, that's a really good thing, as it could bring their price down and improve games compatibilities.

Yes HDMI is often a better choice than VGA or DVI for refresh rate OC because it has much more bandwidth, but it's the Display Port which has the highest bandwidth, so Display Port is probably the best choice. With DVI at 1080p I was limited to 66 / 67 Hz

As to refresh rate OC, I have never encountered such problem. I looked for a bit about the hardware acceleration problem because I had actually never heard about it.

I do not know why it happens to some users, one of them was using several displays, with different refresh rates, hmm it could be a driver issue..

And to be honest I don't really know if it can damage the monitor or not, there are not much information about it. As long as it is not a big overclock (like the qnix qx2710 evolution II 60-> up to 140Hz), but around 75Hz, I believe it's risk free by the way 75Hz was very a common standard refresh rate a few years ago among 4:3 and 5:4 LCD monitors.

Also I think that most monitors are locked via the EDID or other internal software which strictly restrict a refresh rate range of 50 - 75Hz which is the reason that most of the time I couldn't set up more than 76 / 77Hz. And not because I'm pushing it to its limit, for instance my dad's monitor easily accepts up to 87Hz @ 1920x1080 but a few second after a message appear right in the center telling this is not the manufacturer resolution, the message can't be removed and is annoying although the monitor doesn't show any artifacts or flickering. The message appears as soon as a resolution is set above 77hz. Same for my current monitor, except than the image turn black with the same kind of message.

By the way I had forgot to mention, the LED lighting you put behind the monitor look really really good, I'd like to do the same too.

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+Nexus18

Yup, it is pretty expensive although once other manufacturers get something out to compete with it then we should see a more sensible price (hopefully), dell and AOC will be bringing their version out relatively soon and next year Samsung will be bringing out their version but with a VA panel, hopefully they will be freesync ready too........

 

 

Cool, thanks for the info. on this OC monitor stuff. I can't say I have seen much mention of damage etc. from oc a monitor either. I might give it a go any way and see how I get on, if I experience any problems, I can just go back to 60HZ :)

 

 

I got this LED strip:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00FF2CYOS/ref=pe_385721_37038051_TE_3p_dp_1

 

I had to cut of quite a bit, it is just stuck above the top VESA mounting holes.

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MikjoA

Hey there !

Well I still don't have my monitor yet... Because I've been visiting my parents for the holidays, the monitor waits for me since tuesday in the shop x__x well I'm very very impatient.
I really like the idea of that led, I'll think I'll do it too =)

Did you try to make a custom resolution?
Well in any case I'll tell tomorrow evening when I pick up the monitor =).

And by the way, I'm a little bit crazy... kind of a compulsive buying syndrome or something, but I did buy an other monitor in the meantime rofl that was unexpected... LOL
Well it seemed like a great deal ! But the scary part... It's 16/9 and I can already hear "Noooooooooooooooooooooo" :D but and it's a TN "Omg he is lost" 24" 1080p *face palm* but it is a 144Hz 1ms ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur I think) and it has G-Sync :o
It is the AOC G2460PG for 252?... I just couldn't help :D

So I'll be comparing them lol although they have nothing in common... but I still believe the LG 29UM65 will be much more immersive, and look much better, while the AOC well I'll use it for some fast fps. Maybe I'll return one of them not sure which one yet lol, but I think there is many possibilities :D but I believe the LG is the one I will still prefer. TN are just awfull but I never tried high refresh rate monitor and gsync but I'm sure I'll love them too... At least for fast fps. For the rest the LG will be much better.

1 I keep them both
2 I keep the 29UM65 only
3 I return the LG only because it has an awefull backlight bleed or dead pixels and get a new one
4 I return them both because they both have problems and ask for replacement


but in any case I'll sell my U2312HM

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+Nexus18

I wondered why you hadn't posted anything! :D

 

For ?5, you got nothing to lose tbh, honestly I can't use my monitor without the LED back lighting now, I just find it to be easier on the eyes + love how it makes the screen "float/stick" out more.

 

No, I haven't tried out a custom resolution/refresh rate yet, happy enough with 60HZ tbh.

 

 

Wow! That is a cracking price for a 144HZ GSYNC screen  :o

 

Yup, they are both very different monitors and excel in different areas, as you have said. From what I have read about gsync, it really is amazing for gaming, supposedly EXTREMELY smooth (when the FPS drops from 144 to around 60/70, people say with gsync, you don't notice it :cool:) with very little input lag + no screen tearing at all, essentially just like using vsync in games but without the problems. I am very sensitive to screen tearing so have to use vsync in every game and honestly can't say I notice input lag at all, although I do it a bit differently:

 
Either
 
- enable borderless windowed mode so that the game is then using windows native vsync + triple buffering (this was a god send for shadow of mordor, the in game vsync is useless, once you go below 60FPS, it drops to 30 where as with this method, it was always >58FPS)
 
OR
 
- cap my FPS to 59 and turn vsync on in game
 
I am using the second method for BF 4 (although have turned triple buffering off) and notice absolutely no input lag, constant 59FPS.
 
 
ULMB is supposedly very good too especially for FPS games although iirc, the colours are really bad when using that.... I would personally stick with gsync for the perfect smooth experience + no screen tearing.
 
 
For myself, the biggest difference/advantage of the AOC screen will be motion clarity, another area that I am very sensitive too :(
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MikjoA

GOT IT !!!

I could not test it more than 10 minutes I have to go back to university, but it seems there is not noticeable light bleeding! Colours / contrast looks great, it's HUGE and WIDE

Annnnd very quick try -> 79 Hz @ 2560x1080 32bits

It looks perfect, sadly I can't even enjoy it yet...


GOT IT !!!

I could not test it more than 10 minutes I have to go back to university, but it seems there is not noticeable light bleeding! Colours / contrast looks great, it's HUGE and WIDE

Annnnd very quick try -> 79 Hz @ 2560x1080 32bits

It looks perfect, sadly I can't even enjoy it yet...

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+Nexus18

Cool! Look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on the monitor :)

 

 

I have watched quite a lot of blu ray films on this monitor now and the quality, colours etc. are just amazing but more importantly, the aspect ratio, oh man, it is just sooooo good not having any black bars wasting screen space! Games in 21.9 are just fantastic too especially the really atmospheric ones i.e. alien isolation!

 

All I need now is a monitor which has perfect motion clarity, freesync/gsync and MUCH better blacks/contrast ratio. Hopefully Samsung will have a 29-32" VA 21.9 monitor coming out next year along with their 34" version.

 

edit:

 

Found a semi-decent review of this monitor:

 

http://en.gecid.com/disply/LG_UltraWide_29UM65-P_monitor_review_and_testing/

 

Probably the only review we are going to get :p

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MikjoA

Hi

here it is with, standing just next to my Dell U2312HM 23", 16/9 never felt this square lol.
i5SM0mJ.jpg

It was not an easy picture by the way, but it was the most realistic look I could get, brightness was set to 10% on the LG and 0 on the dell :D

This monitor is just gorgeous, and I was lucky enough to get a monitor that does not suffer from excessive backlight bleeding. There are some, at the bottom and left side.
But it's negligible really, it doesn't annoy me since I cannot notice it in normal use, it's only visible with a black image covering 90%+ of the screen. It also has 0 dead or stuck pixel !

The colors are astonishing and the contrast is high ! I only tried one game, the wider FOV and ultra wide ratio is really nice and increase a lot the immersion.
I did not try to watch movies yet, I can't wait ! :D

Well, Nexus18 already wrote a nice review, my first test with my monitor aimed to complete his review.

I focused on the gaming aspect of the monitor, I believe 21/9 is an ideal ratio for gaming. But to be a good gaming monitor, it must have a low input lag and good pixel responsiveness.
Input lag, I believe, is even more important, than pixel responsiveness when playing online FPS for instance.

So I started with its input lag, to make a proper comparison you must have a very fast LCD, CRT are actually the best, since they have no input lag at all.
Fortunately, my Dell U2312HM is probably one of the monitor that has the lowest input lag measured, even lower than the best 144Hz gaming TN monitors.

tftcentral.co.uk estimated its average input lag to be 0.6ms only ! prad.de estimated it to 1.1ms ! while most of the best gaming monitor only have around 6 to 12ms.
The Dell U2312HM use a LG panel :)

Well, the input lag of the 29UM65 is just FANTASTIC ! It was just as fast as the Dell U2312HM, showing no delay at all ! It seemed even a slightly bit faster !
To measure it, I used a high end APS-C camera and took shot at 1/4000s


sMNCKIt.jpg

Here are the other images comparing the input lag, some of them seems to give a slight advantage to the 29UM65.



dmwjIEG.jpg

RRgCq1T.jpg


VgKwUDn.jpg



NtX3NKh.jpg

TRrNVyp.jpg

tOUj41g.jpg



I've managed to get a 100% stable 74Hz refresh rate without any frame skipping (I checked with this website and a good camera : http://www.testufo.com/#test=frameskipping)

Here is the setting I've used to get a 74Hz frame skipping free :
hqy3ejg.jpg


To measure the frame skipping, I've used this website : http://www.testufo.com/#test=frameskipping
And I took photos with 1.6 second of exposure, so all white square are captured by the sensor but rendered as grey since most of the time they were black.

v FRAME SKIPPING TEST v


Exemple of frame skipping at 73Hz
v7DqCem.jpg

With my settings above and even more cases :
dUrihq6.jpg
(all grey = no frame skipping !)



v INPUT LAG @74Hz v (both monitors)

Having found its maximum refresh rate useable, I did a new input lag comparison with the Dell U2312HM.
This time I've set both monitor at 74Hz and none of them suffers from frame skipping.

The 29UM65 is now nearly two frame ahead !!
wLYwPs9.jpg


Other input lag comparison @74Hz



CcjKKyu.jpg

B7Pu6kG.jpg

uD2eHUq.jpg
 

tziAqW2.jpg

ZePugsh.jpg

zNwuu21.jpg

8lpiSQx.jpg

j8bKuB4.jpg




I think this is probably the best 21/9 monitor for gaming !

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+Nexus18

Very nice m8! Great test/review on the gaming side of the monitor and a nice photo showing the screen of too! :cool:

 

 

Think I am going to try overclocking my screen and see what I can get, will report back....

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MikjoA

Hey thank you :) !

Actually I feel that this monitor is already quite snappy even at 60Hz! :D The problem is avoiding frame skipping at all cost, otherwise it will stutter and it is worse than 60Hz. And I do not know if my setting will work with everyone there might be some slight variation amongst monitors, and maybe it can depends on GPU too ? I don't know.

Also, the response time I prefer leave it on medium, I noticed some reverse ghosting on high unfortunately, it's not very noticeable though.
And this is a common issue, with monitor. It feels quite good at medium anyway.

By the way I noticed yesterday something weird on mine, lol a kind of stupid flaw..  *facepalm*

gjnjUna.jpg

Who the hell stuck the LG logo like that ? :D

Well pretty trivial ^^

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+Nexus18

I tried overclocking mine but get frame skipping at 70HZ and at 74HZ even with with your settings :(, this is using both display port and HDMI connections so back to default 60HZ again. As you said though, 60HZ feels pretty damn smooth already so happy enough.

 

 

The LG logo and gloss finish is just horrible, still need to get around to sanding that bottom glossy strip away to give a nice matte finish like what mrk did with his 34um95:

 

bezelmatte_2.jpg

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ojay_c

nice review! i got mine 2 weeks ago but had to get it replaced since light gray grids can be seen on the screen (not sure what the proper term is)

900x900px-LL-693055fd_2013-10-11-2421.jp

 

anyway, already got the replacement and loving it. just hoping that the same will not happen anymore  :p

 

has anyone calibrated this monitor yet?

can you pls. share your settings?

 

thank you!

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+Nexus18
I haven't used a hardware calibrator, just manually tweaked mine.
 
10-20% brightness is ideal (if necessary, you can go higher but I wouldn't recommend it, most definitely not higher than 50% anyway!)
 
Either use the cinema preset, if you find the image a bit too dark overall, you can increase the gamma via nvidia or AMD's control panel.
 
OR
 
Use custom preset with these settings:
 
contrast - 65
gamma - gamma 1
custom RGB values - R/50 G/50 B/51
 

 

However, every panel is different so what might work best for one might not work best for someone else.
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MikjoA

For my monitor and my eyes, the only calibration tool I have besides lagom.nl, so far the best settings I've found are :

Brightness : 50 (I like bright screen and the review you have found says that the highest contrast ratio of 1325:1 is achieved at 50% of brightness.)
Contrast : 55 (On my screen contrast setting can really mess up everything, it's terrible, my white color can turn yellow, it can disturbs gamma, at first I though 65  was the best, but 55 resulted in better white balance and better gamma)

Picture mode : Custom
Gamma 1

Color Temp : Custom
Red : 36
Green : 35
Blue : 50
(much more harsh values than yours here :/)

This settings enables me to get a pretty good and well balanced white, and gamma. I can see all black square on lagom.nl and all the white ones except the 254 which is hard to distinguish.

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+Nexus18

Yeah when you increase the brightness, you will then need to decrease the contrast. I tried those two settings of yours and they do look good, unfortunately it is FAR too bright for me.

 

My screen is far too blue with your RGB settings though.

 

 

I really wish hardware calibrators were much cheaper, I just can't justify spending ?150+ on a decent one :(

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  • 2 weeks later...
MikjoA

I think I have a weird monitor lol

I'm having very hard time to calibrate it... My setup never really satisfy me.
as I said earlier I have no proper tools to calibrate anything accurately just my eyes, lagom.nl and an other monitor which I use for comparaison.

Now my new settings are the following :

Brightness : whatever it doesn't affect the calibration.
Contrast : 75%
Gamma : 1
Color temp : custom
Red : 30
Green : 21
Blue : 44

The settings on the colors seems really harsh but so far it's really the best I've achieved...
When I try to calibrated I look at white saturation, black level, gamma calibration, the adjust color balance of windows display color calibration and the grey colors with an other monitor.

Now the colours looks really good and well balanced, I can see every squares of the white and black test they all have neutral colours.
The only thing which is a bit messed up is the gamma. Perfect at 10 and 25%, but at 48% the blue color is arround 2.4 while red and green are arround 2.2.

I do not know what to think about my monitor lol very different settings from yours, very different from factory setup, it seems it was poorly calibrated looking way too warm (yellowish greenish) to me.
I'd be curious to have it properly calibrated with hardware calibrator probe just to see how different it would be from my current settings.

By the way, I've compared it to my AOC G2460PG TN well I'm pleasantly surprised colours look good too and was much much easier to calibrate. But they still look different although their grey scales looks similar now.
Needless to say it performs incredibly well in fps games and ULMB (can't be activated along with GSYNC and 120Hz max) does an amazing job with blur reduction, although I think I prefer G-SYNC & 144Hz over 120Hz ULMB.

Although did you notice on your that Cyan/Turquoise colors are really strong ? This is very different from my previous monitor and my current AOC G2460PG...
I tried to increase the Cyan hue to 80 and decrease saturation to 35. Hmmm but I have no idea if it's better at 50~50 or 80~35

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MikjoA

Brightness : whatever it doesn't affect the calibration.

Contrast : 75%

Gamma : 1

Color temp : custom

Red : 30

Green : 21

Blue : 44

Contrast : 75%

Gamma : 1

Color temp : custom

Red : 22

Green : 21

Blue : 44

Looks much better !

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    • By indospot
      Huawei Mate X2 hands-on review: an expensive foldable with an ingenious design
      by João Carrasqueira

      It's been over two years since the first foldable phone made its way to the market. I find that it's a little crazy to think that it's been that long, and that's because despite it being two years now, these products still feel like a complete novelty. Despite numerous concepts, Samsung and Huawei have pretty much exclusively been the only companies releasing new models, and even then, they're still ridiculously expensive. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 launched for a whopping $1,999, and even the less impressive Galaxy Z Flip 5G costs $1,200 after a big price cut earlier this year. Even as a reviewer, it's been hard to get my hands on one.

      Huawei released the Mate X2 foldable in China a few months ago, and it really doesn't make things look a whole lot better in terms of making the foldable market more approachable. While international availability and pricing is still a mystery, the Chinese model starts at over $2,700.

      Now, the company has sent me a unit of the Mate X2 to try out, and I got a full week with it. I had a few minutes with the original Mate X at MWC 2019, and then with the Galaxy Fold later that year, but nothing that allowed me to really appreciate the features of those phones. Still, I choose not to call this a full review because first, I don't like making assessments based on a period as short as one week; and second, I think it's pointless to try and tell you that you should buy this phone. Aside from the fact that it's availability is still extremely limited, justifying that price point was always going to be an impossible task.

      I don't think the discussion around foldables as they are right now should focus on whether you should buy them, but rather on what each one brings to the table that we should hope to see in future iterations, what other companies should learn from them, and what still needs to improve. So let's take a look at what Huawei did right with the Mate X2 and what needs to be done to make future foldables better.

      Specs
      CPU Huawei Kirin 9000 - one Cortex-A77 at 3.14GHz, three Cortex-A77 at 2.54GHz, four Cortex-A55 at 2.05GHz GPU 24-core Mali-G78

      Display Exterior: 6.45 inches, 1160x2700 (21:9), 456ppi, 90Hz refresh rate, OLED, Glass cover
      Interior: 8 inches, 2480x2200 (8:7.1) , 413ppi, 90Hz refresh rate, OLED, Plastic cover

      Body Unfolded dimensions: 161.8 x 145.8 x 4.4-8.2mm (6.37 x 5.74 x 0.17-0.32in)
      Folded dimensions: 161.8 x 74.6 x 13.6-14.7mm (6.37 x 2.94 x 0.54-0.58in)
      Weight: 295g (10.41oz)

      Camera 50MP RYYB main, 16MP ultra-wide, 12MP telephoto (3x), 8MP periscope (10x)
      Front: 16MP Video 4K - 60fps; Front - 4K - 60fps Aperture f/1.9 + f/2.2 + f/2.4 + f/4.4, Front - F/2.2 Storage 256GB; non-expandable RAM 8 GB Battery 4,500mAh Connectivity Wi-FI 6, Bluetooth 5.2 Color White (as reviewed), Black, Crystal Pink, Crystal Blue

      OS Android 11 with EMUI 11 (without Google Play Services) Price ¥17,999 (roughly $2,779) Design
      Let's start with the design, which I think is truly where the Huawei Mate X2 shines the most. Unlike the original Mate X, the company has opted for a inner folding screen paired with a flat external display, similar to Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold line. Unlike its competitor, though, the inner display is covered by plastic, but since it's protected when it's closed, I think this is much less of an issue. Plus, while it is very impressive that Samsung created its Ultra Thin Glass that's able to fold, some users have noticed micro-cracks forming along the crease, so some work may still be required on that type of harder material.



      Additionally, Huawei is using a new folding mechanism that's somewhat reminiscent of the Motorola razr, where the display curves into a waterdrop shape when it folds. Huawei says this helps the crease be less noticeable since it's spread out over a wider area, and I'd say it works really well in terms of the visual effect, which is helped by the reduced reflectivity of the display cover that Huawei also touts. You need to look at the display from an unusual angle to see the crease, and even when you see it, it's not that distracting. You do feel it when you move your finger over it, though, but the rest of the display feels pretty solid considering the cover is made of plastic.



      What I think makes the design truly special and unique is how Huawei tried to cram most of the components into one half of the phone. When you unfold it, it gets thicker and thicker towards the right side, and while that may seem odd, it's actually great for usability. it reminds me of Amazon's Kindle Oasis, which is purposefully designed to be thicker on one side. What that does is that it puts most of the weight of the device directly on your hand, so you don't feel like it's going to tip over on the other side, and that means you can use it with one hand more easily than other foldables without straining your fingers to hold it.



      When you fold it, each half of the phone aligns in a way that makes it almost completely flat, so the odd shape isn't really noticeable when you're just using it as a normal phone. Its design also makes it noticeably thinner than Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold2, and it's actually manageable with one hand, even though it's obviously much thicker than your average smartphone. As I said above, I haven't had a ton of time with other foldables to make a direct comparison, but Huawei did some great work here.



      The hinge on the Mate X2 feels pretty good, but it's also a fairly new unit, and the real question with these devices is how well they hold up over time. There is some noise from the plastic flexing when you open and close the phone - but that's to be expected, according to Huawei - and otherwise everything feels as solid as can be. The phone slams shut with very strong magnets that are actually a bit challenging to separate when you want to open it, but you can get used to that.



      Just to round out some parts of the design, there are stereo speakers on the top and bottom of the phone, specifically in the thinner half, along with a SIM card slot on the top edge. The thicker portion houses everything else: a USB Type-C charging port and microphone at the bottom, another microphone at the top along with an IR blaster, and a volume rocker and power button on the right-hand side of the phone. The power button also doubles as a side-mounted fingerprint reader, so there isn't one under the display here.



      The two displays
      As mentioned above, the Mate X2 has two displays, one on the outside, and a foldable screen on the inside. Here, too, Huawei has outshone Samsung in a few ways. It starts with the external display, which has a much more reasonable aspect ratio of 21:9 - compared to the tall 25:9 display on the Galaxy Z Fold2 - and with a fairly high resolution, too, at 2700x1160. It's also a 90Hz display, while Samsung used a 60Hz panel for the cover display on its phone.



      Once again, this means that using the Huawei Mate X2 as a normal phone is a much better experience than on the Galaxy Z Fold2. It's only slightly taller than a typical smartphone display, and given that it's 6.45 inches diagonally, you still have enough space to type comfortably on a keyboard, or to have five columns of apps on the home screen grid.

      Of course, the star of the show is the inner 8-inch folding display, with its nearly square aspect ratio of 8:7.1. It, too, has a 90Hz refresh rate - which in this case is worse than the 120Hz panel used by Samsung in its foldable - and the resolution is 2480x2200, which means it has 413ppi. I've found it to be more than sharp enough, and if we're talking numbers, then it still edges out Samsung's competing device with its 373ppi.



      I've found the internal screen to be fantastic for reading and watching videos, of course, thanks to its large size. The aspect ratio of the display means you'll have huge black bars on top and under the video that's playing, but you still get a much larger canvas than a typical phone. As for reading, while I don't normally read e-books, this display is great for reading on the internet, simply based on how large the display is. It's just nice to have this big canvas, and some apps even scale to have multiple panes, like Telegram lets me see my conversation list on the left and the current conversation on the right.



      Games are also awesome on this big screen, and titles like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 scale really well to the big screen, so you get a huge canvas for them while still having solid controls. However, cloud gaming services don't work as well in terms of the touch controls offered, since they'll always be blocking your view at least a bit. It's up to each service to make it possible to move the game stream to the top portion of the display, though, which would help a lot.

      One thing that you might find disappointing is that you can't open the display halfway, so it's always either fully open or fully closed. As such, there's nothing that would take advantage of that ability, like being able to watch a video on one half while scrolling through comments on the other half. On the other hand, Huawei does better in terms of accessories and includes a case in the box that doubles as a kickstand, so you can watch videos on the big screen much more easily. The kickstand can be used in either portrait or landscape orientation, but when the phone is unfolded, it works better in landscape due to the weight distribution.



      However, I still find the lack of dedicated features for this big display a bit disappointing. Just like any other Android phone, the Mate X2 lets you use apps in split-screen mode, but using it on the big display is hardly any different from using it on the smaller one. You can split the screen in half, but you can't resize the apps to your liking as far as I've been able to tell. It's always half the screen for each app. I also feel like we could have used the ability to split the screen into even smaller sections, like how Samsung allows for up to three apps to be open at once. You do get floating windows for additional apps, but that's not the same thing. On top of that, you can't create app pairs so that the same two apps are launched at once, you always have to set them up manually, which is a cumbersome process after a while. You can, however, use a feature called App Multiplier, which lets you run multiple instances of the same app at the same time.



      The closest thing to a unique feature that you get for this dual-screen dynamic is that if you have an app open on one display, it will transition over to the other one when you fold or unfold the phone. I feel like that's the bare minimum you'd expect from this form factor, though. Even then, how well the transition goes depends on how each app scales its UI, and some apps may have to be restarted to offer the best experience on each display.

      You could argue that having a big screen that fits in a normal(ish)-sized phone is a big benefit by itself, and it certainly is, but Samsung has proven that more can be done with it, and I wish Huawei had learned from that.

      Cameras (and the one that's missing)
      One of the criticisms that's been directed at Samsung's foldables has been the fact that they're mostly using camera setups that lag behind its traditional flagships, making it seem as though they're an afterthought. The Galaxy Z Fold2, for example, has overall lesser cameras compared to the Galaxy S20 that preceded it, and even more so compared to phones like the S20 Ultra or Note20 Ultra.

      Huawei has taken a different approach, with a camera setup that doesn't seem to be lacking in any way, at least on paper. There are four sensors on the back of this phone, including the 50MP RYYB flagship sensor we've seen on other Huawei flagships. This sensor is a big deal for night time performance, and on that front, it delivers well. You also get a 16MP ultra-wide camera, a 12MP 3x zoom camera, and an 8MP periscope camera with 10x optical zoom. That combination of zoom levels is impressive and something I praised heavily in my review of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and it truly makes this feel like a flagship phone in terms of cameras.



      For the most part, the Huawei Mate X2 delivers in its camera performance, though I must reiterate my relatively short period for this review. The main sensor is naturally the star of the show, and low-light performance is so good it nearly makes night mode redundant. I did find some inconsistencies between the color balance across the different cameras, which I think were more noticeable than some other phones, even during the day. Even the main camera sometimes tends to oversaturate, and other times makes colors a bit too cool.

      Gallery: Huawei Mate X2 camera samples
      Like other phones, you'll see most of the differences between cameras at night, and that's where you'll really need night mode to help even things out. I find Huawei's night mode to be a bit more painful than other phones, since it often asked me to hold still for up to seven seconds while it took a photo, which meant I got blurry photos more often.

      One issue that I found is that the camera sometimes has issues with autofocus, specifically the 3x zoom camera can look very messy in some scenarios. I also had some problems nailing the right shot when zooming in to 100x, and got overall lesser quality than from the Galaxy S21 Ultra at that zoom level.

      One benefit of foldables is that the main camera can also be your selfie camera when you unfold the phone, and the main camera on the Mate X2 makes for a stellar selfie camera compared to the one on the cover display, but that's not to say that the selfie camera is bad. You can see a comparison of the two cameras above. One thing that Samsung does and Huawei doesn't is let both displays be used at the same time. For example, if you're taking a picture of someone else with the phone unfolded, the Galaxy Z Fold2 lets the other person see themselves on the smaller screen. You can't do that here, though.



      Here's a fun fact: you have to manually tap the option to switch cameras if you want to take a selfie with the main camera, and you have to tap it again to switch back. If you swipe up to go to the home screen while using the small screen to take a selfie, you can only go back to the big screen by closing and re-opening the phone, or opening the Camera app and switching the screens again. Again, I feel like some software work could be done to make this process a bit more natural.

      As for the selfie camera on the inside of the phone, there isn't one, which is one of the faux pas this phone makes in my opinion. Having no camera cutout on the inner display may please some people, but it means that you can't take video calls on this phone while using the big screen. The phone just asks you to close it and look at the cover screen instead. That's a big deal because a lot of people are taking a lot of calls right now. And when you're already charging this much for a phone, it's an odd omission.

      I also have to mention that I'm just not the biggest fan of Huawei's camera software. What you see in the viewfinder is sometimes radically different from the final shot, night mode takes a bit too long to process (though you get the benefits of that, too), and I would prefer if the zoom controls were closer to my thumb. Also, HDR is a whole separate mode instead of simply having a toggle for it while taking photos, which makes it more inconvenient than some other phones.

      Performance and software
      While I made the point earlier that there's no point debating whether you should buy this phone, I think it's still worth talking about the basics of a phone review. The Mate X2 is powered by the Kirin 9000, which is a 5nm chipset introduced last fall, but still based on older Cortex-A77 cores from Arm, opting out of both Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1 cores that were introduced last year. It also has 8GB of RAM, which seems oddly low for a phone this premium, and up to 512GB of internal storage.

      Despite that, the Huawei Mate X2 pulled slightly ahead of the Galaxy S21 Ultra and even the OnePlus 9 (though it loses to the 9 Pro) in the AnTuTu benchmark, so it looks like Huawei didn't miss out too much by using older cores. This benchmark measures various performance aspects in one test.



      Usually, I'd include GeekBench results as well, but the app refuses to run on the Mate X2, so we'll have to move on to GFXBench, which tests the GPU of the phone. The results here are in line with other flagships, too, so performance isn't something you'll be missing.



      Battery life on the Mate X2 is solid, often lasting me a day and a half with at least a couple hours of YouTube on the big inner display, some web browsing, and some texting. Considering the display size and the 4,500mAh battery, those are impressive numbers, but it doesn't take long to realize how that's achieved. Huawei phones are notorious for delayed notifications, and that certainly applies here. It's happened almost every day that notifications are either delayed or just not sent at all, and I've gone hours not knowing I had received messages in some of my apps. It's incredibly frustrating, and it's a long-standing issue with the brand, so if you're already a Huawei fan, it's probably not going to be worse than usual.

      Also, this phone is only available in China for now, but even if it releases worldwide, it will be plagued by the same problem as every other Huawei phone nowadays, which is the lack of Google services. No matter how much you hate Google, too many apps just don't work without those services. Like I said, GeekBench 5 wouldn't run even after sharing the APK file from another phone. Pokémon GO doesn't work either, and I also lost the ability to use Microsoft Authenticator because of this.

      Conclusion
      Despite being over two years old, the foldable market still feels like it's in an embryonic state, which makes it exciting to keep an eye on but also somewhat frustrating when it comes to actually using these devices. I love a lot of what Huawei did here, especially the design. Having most of the weight of the phone directly on the user's hand is ingenious and it almost makes you question why no one else has done it yet. It's also one of the thinner foldables right now, and the cover display has one of the most natural aspect ratios we've seen on any foldable so far, so using it as a normal phone is actually a viable option.



      I also appreciate that Huawei wasn't afraid of using a flagship camera setup on the back of the phone, which you can't say for Samsung's foldables. The results aren't always the best, but at least it isn't evident that Huawei was trying to cut corners in this area. And a lot about the phone is in line with flagship material - high-resolution displays, 90Hz refresh rate, and a solidly built design.

      But some decisions are a bit frustrating, such as the lack of a camera on the inner portion of the phone, making video calls far less convenient. I also feel like there's plenty of room for improvement in terms of multitasking on the big screen, and some software limitations make it feel like the dual-screen dynamic could have been more thought through. Of course, that's to say nothing of Huawei's overly aggressive battery management and lack of Google services.



      In the end, I don't think it would be possible to recommend any phone that costs over $2,700, no matter how much Huawei did right; I just wish I had been more blown away by it than I was. Regardless, there's a lot that other manufacturers can learn from this phone. I hope the wedge-shaped design becomes more of a trend with future foldables, and I hope more of them also have a cover display more similar to this one. I hope we'll eventually see flagship cameras on foldables like Huawei tried to do here. At the same time, I think Huawei could stand to learn from what Samsung has done, too, particularly on the software side of things.

    • By indospot
      Huawei Band 6 review: a stylish fitness band with a big display
      by João Carrasqueira

      A couple of weeks ago, I got the chance to review the Honor Band 6, the first smart band from Honor since it officially split from Huawei a few months ago. Soon after that, Huawei reached out to me about the Huawei Band 6, and to my surprise, the smart bands are still almost identical, though I suppose that's to be expected considering how little time has passed since the split.

      Regardless, I was interested in testing the Huawei Band 6 because there are some key differences that might make this a more compelling device, with the most notable one on the spec sheet being the additional sports modes available on the Huawei model, along with a higher price tag. Are the differences enough to justify the price hike? Let's find out.

      Specs
      Body 43x25.4x10.99mm, 29g with strap (18g without strap) Strap Silicone strap, swappable Display 1.47-inch AMOLED, 368x194, 282ppi Sensors Accelerometer Optical heart rate sensor (with sleep monitoring and stress monitoring) SpO2 sensor (with continuous monitoring) Battery life Up to 14 days with typical usage, 10 days with heavy usage Water resistance 5ATM OS LiteOS Colors Black frame: Graphite Black, Forest Green
      Golden frame: Amber Sunrise (as reviewed), Sakura Pink

      Price €59.99-€69.99 (varies by market) Design
      Like I said, the Huawei Band 6 is incredibly similar to the product from its former sister company in terms of design, and that goes right down to the packaging, which uses an almost identical template. I actually kind of prefer the more colorful look of the Honor Band 6's package, but that's probably a useless point to make.



      The smart bands themselves are also incredibly similar, with the same display size, the same lone button on the right-hand side, and the same strap mechanism. There are some key differences, though, and I prefer the Huawei version because of it. For starters, it's ever so slightly thinner, but the body is also slightly rounder, which I think looks more elegant. Huawei also offers more color variants of its band, with either golden or black variants of the metal frame along with four different strap colors (versus three for the Honor Band 6). Huawei also let me choose which color I'd get, and I love this orange Amber Sunrise model.



      The differences continue at the edges. The left-hand side of the frame is completely clean this time around, no Huawei branding in sight.



      Meanwhile, the right side has the same single button, but without any accent colors. I usually like accented power buttons, but I'm not a big fan of the red Honor typically uses, so I'm happy about this difference, too.



      The back is pretty much identical, housing the body sensors and the charging pins. You can also see that it uses the same strap mechanism.



      Over on the front, the 1.46-inch AMOLED display is also nearly identical to that of the Honor Band 6. It's the same size and resolution, though putting them side-by-side, the Huawei model seems to produce slightly warmer colors.



      A couple of things you'll be missing here are the support for automatic brightness and always-on displays. I don't mind the latter point at all, personally, but I know some people like it. Automatic brightness can be useful, though I find the medium brightness level to mostly work well enough both indoors and outdoors.

      Overall, I was already a big fan of the compact design and big display of the Honor Band 6, and it feels more refined on this watch, so it definitely gets a thumbs-up from me.

      Fitness and health tracking
      For general health tracking, the Huawei Band 6 covers all the basics, with 24/7 heart rate and stress monitoring, sleep tracking, and female cycle tracking (if it applies to you). One big advantage that this smart band offers versus the Honor equivalent is all-day SpO2 monitoring, and it's actually the first time I see any wearable offer this. Usually, you have to measure your SpO2 levels manually every time, but Huawei made it work throughout the day, which makes this feature much more useful. However, it still requires you to be relatively still for the measurement, so there will be some prolonged periods without measurements if you're constantly on the move.



      One thing to note if you're using a non-Huawei or Honor smartphone is that the Huawei Health app on the Google Play Store hasn't been updated in months. You'll need to find the latest APK files elsewhere on the internet for this feature to light up - but phones with access to the Huawei AppGallery can just update the app through there.

      There are more advantages to the Huawei Band 6, though, as it can track up to 96 exercise modes, which is a huge step up from the 10 modes supported by the Honor version. In fact, this number is the same as what's supported on the Honor Watch ES, which was much more expensive when it launched and is also significantly bigger. That model also offered guided workout routines, though, which you don't get here.



      The Huawei Band 6 still doesn't have a GPS, but one thing I learned during my review period is that if you have a Huawei phone, these watches can in fact pull your location from your phone automatically. It just doesn't work with other phone brands, and in that case, the "outdoor cycle" workout mode is hidden from the watch UI, and you have to start it from the Huawei Health app on your phone. What's annoying is that this doesn't happen for other outdoor workouts, like running and walking. You can start those from the watch, but it won't register any movement, so the workout isn't saved.



      In terms of health tracking, I found that the Huawei Band 6 is a bit more responsive to changes in my heart rate compared to the Honor sibling. I wasn't sure of this when I first reviewed it, but that model has a tendency to get stuck on the same value for longer, and sometimes it showed me very irregular values, like over 130bpm while I'm sitting at my desk. The Huawei version updates more quickly, both throughout the day and during workouts, and thus paints a more realistic picture.

      You can also sync your health data with Google Fit, which I like to do, but only some types of exercise are registered there. When I register a Ring Fit Adventure session as cross fit, it doesn't sync to Google's service, for instance.

      Software and battery life
      The Huawei Band 6 runs the same OS as most other Huawei and Honor smartwatches, including the Honor Band 6. That's a big jump from previous generations of the smart bands, though, which had simpler and less animated interfaces to fit the smaller screen. There's a myriad of watch faces available for the Band 6 so you can have it suit your preference.



      Swiping left or right from the watch face will show you widgets like your activity rings, heart rate monitoring, and so on, and you can customize those through the band's settings. You also get the usual slew of "apps" by pressing the side button, which are:

      Workout Workout records Heart rate SpO2 Activity records Sleep Stress Breathing exercises Music Weather Notifications Stopwatch Timer Alarm Flashlight Remote shutter (requires a Huawei/Honor phone) Find phone Settings The software is very simple and somewhat limited in what it can do, but that helps it achieve incredible battery life. Something like Wear OS has many more smart features, support for apps from the Play Store, and so on, but you can pretty much only use a Wear OS watch for one day before charging again. The Huawei Band 6 promises up to 14 days on a charge for average users, and 10 days of intensive use, which is about what I got. That's with some firmware updates in there, almost daily exercise tracking, and continuous heart rate, stress, sleep, and SpO2 monitoring. It's great to not have to worry about charging nearly as often.



      I've said a few times already that I still prefer having the smart features of Wear OS at the expense of battery life, but I'm starting to change my tune a bit. Wear OS has become incredibly frustrating for me because it requires me to reset my watch every time I need to use a different phone for a review, and whenever I reset it, it's a gamble what kind of experience I'll get. It may work flawlessly or it may have some weird bug that can only be fixed by resetting again. I appreciate how easy it is to pair the Huawei Band 6 (and other Huawei/Honor wearables) with a different phone without losing anything.

      Conclusion
      At first glance, the Huawei Band 6 doesn't seem to stand out that much from the device I reviewed a couple of weeks ago, but once you dive into it, there are a few advantages that make this easily a better device. The design overall is better and you get more color options to boot, it offers far more exercise modes if you need more advanced tracking, and it adds all-day SpO2 monitoring, which is completely new for a Huawei/Honor wearable. On top of that, heart rate monitoring just seems slightly more accurate here.

      At €59.99 in most European markets, the official price of the Huawei Band 6 is €10 above that of its Honor equivalent, but I'd say the advantages it has easily justify the price increase if you're in the market for a somewhat affordable wearable. Feature-wise, there's no disadvantage for the Huawei version, and even if you're only looking for the basics right now, a small step up in price can help you future-proof yourself if you want to get more serious about fitness later.



      You can buy the Huawei Band 6 from Huawei's website, though prices vary by country. In most European countries, it costs around €59, while others go up to €69.99. In the UK, it can be had for £59.99. You can also check out our review of the Honor Band 6 if you'd like to compare them,

    • By indospot
      LG posts highest quarterly revenue and profit ever in the first quarter
      by João Carrasqueira



      Like many other companies, LG has posted its earnings results for the first three months of calendar year 2021 this week, which in LG's case is also the first quarter of its fiscal year. Even though this is the quarter after the holiday season, LG managed to increase both its revenue and profit from the previous quarter, to 18.81 trillion won ($16.90 billion) and 1.52 trillion won ($1.36 billion), respectively. Not only is that an increase from the last quarter, but those are the highest quarterly results LG has ever posted.

      As to what contributed to those numbers, the LG Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company continues to be its biggest division, posting 6.71 trillion won ($6.03 billion) in revenue, up 23.8% from the same period last year. Operating profit was 919.90 billion won ($826.39 million), which is 22.1% higher compared to last year.

      The LG Home Entertainment Company - responsible for LG TVs and soundbars - was its second-biggest division, with 4.01 trillion won ($3.60 billion) in revenue and 403.80 billion won ($362.75 million) in operating profit. Those numbers are up 34.9% and 23.9%, respectively, from the previous year.

      The last division to post a profit was the LG Business Solutions Company, which saw a 9.1% increase in revenue year-on-year to 1.86 trillion won ($1.67 billion). Profits, however, went down to 134 billion won ($120.38 million) due to increasing costs of LCD panels and semiconductors.

      The LG Vehicle Component Solutions Company saw a whopping 43.5% increase in revenue from the past year, reaching 1.89 trillion won ($1.7 billion). The division still didn't turn a profit, however, and lost 700 million won ($629,000), though it did lower its losses.

      And finally, we have the soon-to-be-defunct LG Mobile Communications Company. With LG preparing to shut down its mobile division - a move announced shortly after the fiscal quarter ended - it didn't release any new products in this time. It posted 998.70 billion won ($897.18 million) in revenue in this quarter, and operating loss dropped 28% to 280.10 billion won ($251.63 million) thanks to its decreased investment. LG says it will include profits and losses for its discontinued operations in its second-quarter results.

    • By indospot
      Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: A mobile powerhouse
      by João Carrasqueira

      Samsung introduced three new phones in its Galaxy S family this year, and if you've been following us, you probably already know that two of them are pretty great additions to its portfolio. So, of course, I was very interested to see what the company could deliver with its top-of-the-line offering, the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

      The S21 Ultra is not only the range-topper for this year, it's easily the most distinct of the three phones. It's the only one with a Quad HD display (which is also the most power-efficient of the family), it's the one with the biggest camera setup, the biggest battery, and most notably, the only one with support for the S Pen, a long-standing trademark of the Galaxy Note series. Indeed, using the S Pen on a Galaxy S phone would have been really cool, except Samsung didn't send me one. There are other things that are worth talking about, though.

      Samsung sent me the base configuration for the S21 Ultra, with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, but you can configure that up to 16GB and 512GB, respectively. As usual, it's the Exynos-powered model, and Samsung sent me the Phantom Black color.

      Specs
      CPU Exynos 2100 (Octa-core) - one Cortex-X1 at 2.9GHz, three Cortex-A78 at 2.8GHz, four Cortex-A55 at 2.2GHz GPU Mali-G78 MP14 Display 6.8 inches, 1440x3200, 515ppi, 10Hz-120Hz, Dynamic AMOLED 2X Body 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm (6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35in), 229g (8.08oz) (mmWave)/227g (8.01oz) (sub6) Camera 108MP main with nine-pixel binning + 12MP ultra-wide + 10MP telephoto (3x optical zoom) + 10MP periscope telephoto (10x optical zoom) + ToF sensor, Front - 40MP Video 8K - 24fps or 4K - 60fps, HDR10+, Front - 4K - 60fps Aperture f/1.8 + f/2.2 + f/2.4 + f/4.9, Front - F/2.2 Storage 128GB UFS 3.1; non-expandable RAM 12GB Battery 5,000mAh Connectivity Wi-FI 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, UWB Color Available at retailers: Phantom Black (as reviewed), Phantom White
      Samsung.com exclusive: Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, Phantom Brown

      OS Android 11 with OneUI 3.1 Price €1,249-€1,279/$1,199 First impressions
      Design
      Let's be realistic here: the way Samsung presented the Phantom Black model during its unveiling of the Galaxy S21 Ultra sounded absolutely bogus. Samsung called it its "boldest color yet", which is ridiculous considering it's black. However, I have to admit the color has won me over. It's an incredibly smooth-looking black, and so little light reflects off of it that it always looks uniform. The camera module seems to use a similar finish, so the whole phone ends up looking almost completely flat.



      The glass on the back isn't like any other matte finish phone I've tried, either. It's so smooth to the touch that I sometimes find myself just gliding my finger across the back just for fun. The only part of it that stands out is the Samsung logo, which is etched to remove the haze effect and looks more glossy. Regardless, it's an extremely classy-looking phone.

      Samsung seems to take pride in the huge camera bumps on the S21 Ultra series, and that stays true here. The four cameras (plus a time-of-flight sensor) make for a very thick protrusion. However, I think it's balanced out by the new Contour Cut design that Samsung is using across the entire line, where the camera module melts into the frame of the phone. I loved it on the standard Galaxy S21, and I love it here.



      Looking around the sides of the phone, it's all pretty much business as usual. On the left side of the frame, there's nothing to be found save for a couple of antenna bands.



      On the right, you'll find the power/Bixby button and the volume rocker, both of which feel nice and clicky, but not too harsh.



      The top edge is also unexciting, featuring two microphone holes and another antenna band.



      And the bottom edge houses most of what you'd expect to find on the frame - a bottom-firing speaker, a USB Type-C port, a SIM card slot, and another microphone.



      Overall, if it's not obvious already, I love the look of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and I think a lot of that does come from the Phantom Black color. I haven't seen any of the other colors in person, but this is one is an easy recommendation.

      Display and sound
      On the front of the phone is, of course, the massive 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, only interrupted by the punch-hole cutout for the front-facing camera. You probably don't need me to tell you that Samsung makes great displays, but it holds true here. Colors are punchy with a very satisfying contrast, it gets very bright, and of course, it's super smooth thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. There are phones with higher refresh rates now, but I'd say you probably won't notice much of a difference in day-to-day use. It's also the only phone in the Galaxy S21 family to have a Quad HD display, so if you feel you need the extra sharpness, this is the one for you.



      As far as the quality of the screen goes, little more can be said, but one thing that's worth mentioning is that the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a wider range of adaptable refresh rates compared to its smaller siblings. It can go as low as 10Hz, so if you want to use an always-on display, the phone can save some battery by only refreshing the screen 10 times per second, while the other two can only go down to 48Hz. I would be remiss to ignore that phones such as the OnePlus 9 Pro go a bit further and can go as low as 1Hz, though.

      Of course, you can also use the S Pen with this display, but it's not included in the box, and for some reason Samsung didn't think it was worth it to send it out to reviewers. It's a shame because it would have been one of the biggest distinctive elements of the Ultra, and you'd think Samsung would want to highlight that, but it seems that's not the case. Either way, you can buy the S Pen separately by itself or with a dedicated case, which gives you a storage space for it. I'd definitely recommend the latter option if you don't want to risk losing your S Pen within two days of buying it.



      As for sound, the S21 Ultra offers a stereo pair of speakers, comprised of the bottom-firing unit and an amplified earpiece above the display, which you can barely see. Sound quality is great both from the speakers and the microphones based on my testing. The speakers get fairly loud and have a good range, but I do feel like it's outdone by some of its competitors in terms of volume. My OPPO Find X2 Pro seems to do a bit of a better job rising above surrounding noise, but that's not to say the S21 Ultra is really lacking in any way.

      Camera
      Just like with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung went all-out with the numbers on the camera setup in this phone. On the back, four cameras plus a time-of-flight sensor make for a gigantic camera module, and it's probably one of the best combinations of sensor I've had the chance to try. The main sensor here is Samsung's latest 108MP sensor with nine-pixel binning, resulting in 12MP shots. You also get a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and my favorite part, two whole telephoto cameras, both with 10MP resolution, but one capable of 3x optical zoom and the other going up to 10x. Even the selfie camera is something else, with a 40MP sensor using quad-pixel binning and phase detection autofocus.

      The most noticeable difference from its predecessor is the addition of the 3x optical zoom lens, and it's bigger than you may think at first. I've made it clear in the past that I love it when I can take out my phone and go from an ultra-wide shot all the way to a photo that looks to be very up-close to the subject even though I'm far away. I love periscope lenses for that very reason, but with a setup that only includes a periscope lens, you have a big range of zoom where the primary camera is still being used for digital zoom. With this 3x lens in-between, you can easily zoom into an object as much as you need to and get clear, sharp pictures at every level - until you start getting too close to the 100x digital zoom, that is.

      Gallery: Galaxy S21 Ultra daytime samples
      Now, that isn't to say that shots from this camera setup are perfect, but let's start with the positives. In daytime, the Galaxy S21 produces bright and vivid colors with sharp and detailed images across all of its cameras. I always love how sharp images are coming from Samsung cameras, as it makes each object pop, in my opinion. Even images from the selfie camera look super sharp, and Samsung phones consistently take some of the best pictures from the front-facing camera, in my experience.

      The color balance isn't perfect across all four cameras, but it's not too noticeable and the image processing helps even things out. I do find that there's a tendency to oversaturate, and greens especially seem to suffer from a noticeable case of yellowing. That does help plants and trees pop a bit more, but it's definitely not a color-accurate representation of them a lot of the time.

      Things get a bit iffier at night time, which really reveals the differences in the sensors used for each of the cameras. You can use night mode across all four of them, and the image processing there definitely helps. Without it, comparing the ultra-wide and main cameras, it's hard to believe it's even the same phone. Otherwise, though, I'd say night mode does a fairly good job at making night shots more visible and consistent across the cameras, and the overall results are solid, though not spectacular. You can see a full comparison between all the camera with and without night mode at the end of these samples:

      Gallery: Galaxy S21 Ultra night time samples
      As for video, you can record at up to 8K resolution and 24 frames per second from the main camera, 4K60fps from any of the others, including the front-facing camera. That isn't to say the quality is the same across all the cameras, though, and naturally, the main camera will offer the best quality in general.

      Samsung also offers a ton of modes for both photos and videos. Single Take takes a series of photos over 10 seconds and saves the best ones, which might be useful for capturing the perfect moment when a subject is moving. You also have things like Pro video recording and Director's View, if you want a bit more flexibility with recording videos.

      Performance and battery life
      Performance is the most boring part of most reviews, especially when you review a lot of flagships, because all of them nowadays are expected to run nearly flawlessly. That applies to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, too, which comes with an Exynos 2100 chipset, 12GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage, all of which keep things running smooth as butter in day-to-day use. If you're in North America, you'll get the Snapdragon 888 chip instead, which is arguably even better, but Samsung did a pretty good job with the Exynos 2100 and it's a huge leap forward compared to last year's Exynos 990.

      Looking at the benchmarks, the Galaxy S21 Ultra certainly holds its own. First off, there's AnTuTu, a general-purpose benchmark that measures almost every aspect of the experience:



      Because AnTuTu got updated with an all-new scoring system recently, we can't compare this directly to a ton of past phones, but you can see that the S21 Ultra is trailing behind Snapdragon 888 devices like the OnePlus 9. Looking at each section, you can also tell that the biggest reason for that difference is the CPU and GPU, both integral parts of the chipset. If you're in the U.S., there's a good chance the score will be higher here, since that version also has a Snapdragon 888.

      Moving on to GeekBench 5, which is a CPU-focused test:



      My particular Galaxy S21 Ultra actually holds its own very well against Snapdragon 888 devices, though it does trail them slightly. GeekBench also apparently added a new feature recently that highlights the average scores for your device, so you can have a better idea of what to expect. I personally run benchmarks off of a fresh reboot, which might explain the above-average scores.

      Finally, there's GFXBench, which is a very intensive test focused on the GPU:



      These scores are also very much in line with what we've seen from other flagships, even Snapdragon-powered ones. It's nothing too surprising, but Exynos gets the job done pretty well this year.

      Performance-wise, the biggest problem I've noticed with this phone is that the Wi-Fi reception is worse than most other flagship phones I review. I've seen worse, but the signal definitely gets blocked far more easily than other phones that command such a high price.

      As for battery life, with a massive 5,000mAh, you can only expect it to be great, and it is, showing once again how much Exynos has improved over the last generation. It's always lasted me easily through a day, and usually it goes about a day and a half without charging for me. I always had the phone set to Quad HD+ resolution and adaptive refresh rate enabled, so you can get even more out of it if you leave it at Full HD+ or 60Hz (or both). In fact, the display resolution is set to Full HD+ out of the box, and frankly, you probably won't see a difference in image quality.



      The big thing to note with the S21 Ultra is that it doesn't come with a charging brick, which makes fast charging a bit trickier. If the charger you have right now doesn't support the fastest charging speeds - which I don't - it can take well over an hour to charge this phone's battery. That's a downside of the "environmentally-friendly" approach that Samsung is taking with its phones' packaging. By the way, the phone does support wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.

      On the software side, it's all the same as I explained in the Galaxy S21 review, so I won't repeat myself too much. It's running Android 11 with OneUI 3.1 on top, and it's pretty nice, even if the overflow of settings and apps can make it a bit hard to adapt to the phone at first. Samsung has some cool exclusive features like DeX, which lets you connect to an external screen and use your phone like a PC, and it also offers the best integration with the Windows 10 Your Phone app.

      Conclusion
      After what I considered to be a year of disappointing phones for Samsung in 2020, the company seems to have redeemed itself with its first flagships of 2021. The Galaxy S21 Ultra, much like its smaller siblings, is $200 cheaper than its predecessor, and it hardly makes any compromises to get there - of course, barring the removal of the charging brick in the box.

      It has the same high-resolution, high-quality panel, the design is arguably way better than what we got with the S20 series, and the camera setup is just a wonderful combination of sensors that makes this a very versatile phone for taking all kinds of pictures. On top of that, non-American users can rejoice in the fact that Exynos processors are much better in terms of performance and battery life this year. As a bonus, you can even get an S Pen for this phone now, even if you have to pay extra to buy it separately.



      It's not a perfect phone, and I found the below-average Wi-Fi reception to be especially disappointing considering it's still a phone that starts at $1,199, or €1,249 in Europe. There are also some inconsistencies between the rear cameras that are especially noticeable at night, and even though night mode helps alleviate them, it's certainly jarring when you see it for the first time.

      All things considered, though, those are relatively small parts of the experience on what's otherwise a stellar phone. The asking price is nothing to brush off to the side, but you get a whole lot of phone for your money.

      If you're interested, you can buy the U.S. version of the Galaxy S21 Ultra from Amazon, where it's currently going for $1,186.14 for the Phantom Black variant. Over in the UK, while official pricing starts at £1,149 with 128GB of storage, you can actually get the 256GB model for £1,114.79 in Phantom White as of the time of writing.

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    • By Namerah S
      Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro review: The perfect earbuds for business use
      by Namerah Saud Fatmi

      Anker-owned audio brand Soundcore unveiled the Liberty Air 2 Pro true wireless earbuds at a virtual event in mid-January. The earbuds are equipped with features like targeted ANC, numerous mics, and wireless charging. Taking the charging case into account, Soundcore states that the buds can provide up to 26 hours of playback.

      Successors to the Liberty Air 2 and Liberty 2 Pro, the Liberty Air 2 Pro offers completely customizable audio. Users get the opportunity to personalize their earbuds to their own personal sound preferences through the companion app. Priced at $129.99, the earbuds are a good bargain on paper. Today's review will assess whether the touted specs translate well in real life.

      Specs
      Weight 2.4 ounces Dimensions 4.61 x 2.4 x 6.73 inches Design In-ear Connectivity

      Bluetooth 5.0 | USB Type-C | Qi wireless charging Battery 5V, 55mAh per earbud, 500mAh charging case| Up to 7 hrs, 26 hrs with charging case Speaker 11mm PureNote drivers Frequency response 20Hz to 20,000Hz Codecs SBC, AAC Supported profiles AVRCP, A2DP, HFP Colour Crystal Pink Price $129.99 Design


      Soundcore's Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds have a stylish design and come in four shades: Onyx Black, Titanium White, Sapphire Blue, and Crystal Pink. For this review, Anker sent me the Crystal Pink option which has a lovely rose gold colouring. The case and buds are made of similar material, they are very smooth and feel nice to the touch.

      I quite like the way the lid of the case opens, it slides upwards instead of swivelling open. Each earbud has touch panels on the top, where the small brand logo is located. The touch controls on them are pretty standard but can be changed completely with the companion mobile app. Soundcore really focused on customizability with this product and I'm very happy with that. However, I did find that the panels were not as responsive as some of the other earbuds that I've used.



      The charging case has three LED lights to indicate the battery status of the earbuds on one side. There is also a power button on the opposite side, next to the USB Type-C charging port. The case supports Qi wireless charging which adds functionality.

      Comfort
      There are nine ear tip sizes included in the box which is pretty generous. Users can choose between XXXS, XXS, XS, S, M, M+, L, L+ and XL size variants. Changing the ear tips to match your preference is very important as it can transform your entire user experience, especially for truly wireless earbuds.

      Unfortunately, no matter what size ear tips you choose, the wear experience with the Soundcore buds is very unpleasant. The shape of the earbuds' heads was very uncomfortable after a while and I had to remove them periodically to relieve my ears. It was almost like having strange bulbous hooks lodged into my ears.



      If the ear tips aren't changed, users may have issues with the earbuds falling out or being too tight. In my case, both issues occurred. When I didn't push them is in as much as they're supposed to go, they fell out. But when I pushed them further in, the buds were quite painful. I think it depends on the size of your ears so for the sake of completion I had my husband use the Liberty Air 2 Pro as well. He has large ears and most earphones tend to fall out. In his case, they fell off a couple of times even with the correct ear tip size but when he pushed them deeper to make them stay put, it hurt.

      The problem lies with the design of the heads of the buds I would say. They are quite chunky and don't sit nicely when worn. People who feel uncomfortable wearing such audio devices usually don't push them in as much as it is painful, therefore they fall out. Either way, the experience is pretty bad and not suitable for long-term use.

      Performance


      The Liberty Air 2 Pro has targeted active noise cancellation, 6 microphones, HearID for personalized sound, and a companion app that lets you customize almost everything. There are several presets for users to choose from in the app. These presets allow them to let certain sounds pass through, such as voices, or no sound at all.

      Along with targeted ANC, the multitude of mics make the experience of online meetings and conference calls much better than usual. I did not have to worry about stray background noises such as my cats meowing or the loud whirring of the ceiling fan. The Liberty Air 2 Pro made for an excellent work-from-home companion.



      Aside from office use, the Soundcore true wireless earbuds were pretty average. Don't get me wrong, the sound quality is pretty decent. Highs and lows sound good, and bass is okay. The audio quality is like a staple food that does the job, like rice. It isn't bad and you can mess around with the different equalizer and HearID settings to alter it to your liking, but it just doesn't excel.

      Battery life
      On paper, the wireless audio device has a 500mAh battery which supposedly lasts for up to 26 hours overall. Soundcore claims that the earbuds and the case altogether can be charged back up to full power in two hours.



      In my testing period, the Liberty Air 2 Pro lasted for five days with moderate usage. This included attending several long calls and meetings each day, a few hours of music, watching a whole two-hour movie, and consumption of other audio-visual media. I was satisfied with the battery life as this matched the audio brand's claims more or less.

      Once completely drained of power, the entire charging case inclusive of the dead earbuds took me a few minutes shy of two hours to charge. In terms of charge time, I found that the Liberty Air 2 Pro to be consistent with its spec sheet.

      Conclusion


      On its website, Soundcore recommends the Liberty Air 2 Pro for 'commute, travel, workout and business calls'. After weeks of usage, I think these earbuds fit the official description to a T. They're great for calls and virtual meetings where crystal clear audio is nearly essential.

      Outside of a professional work setting, the earbuds get the job done in a neat and tidy manner. But for me, I think the Liberty Air 2 Pro lack pizzazz. There's nothing spectacular about the audio quality, it's best described as just plain decent.

      For an asking price of $129.99, I think the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro provide good value for money. Users can expect a nice and simple experience with plenty of options to tailor the sound quality to their liking. It won't blow anyone's socks off, but it will not disappoint either.

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