Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
LG 29UM65 ultra-wide monitor
A potential replacement for users who currently use two separate monitors
- 2560x1080 resolution
- Very good colour reproduction
- IPS panel
- The extra width can take time to get used to
- This model has only a basic tilt stand
LG's 29UM65 is a 29in ultra-widescreen monitor that's perfect for multitasking and watching movies. Its picture quality is crisp and vibrant, and it uses IPS technology to provide a uniform image across the screen. Well worth a look if you're after a new monitor that could potentially do the job of two separate monitors.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
LG's latest range of monitors is designed to give you an expanded view of your desktop, as well as make movies fit your screen better. Rather than having a standard widescreen ratio of 16:9 and offering a 1920x1080-pixel resolution, monitors such as the 29UM65 offer an ultra-wide 21:9 ratio that bumps the resolution to 2560x1080 pixels, giving you a lot more width to work with.
The 29UM65 has a 29in diagonal size and it's based on an LED-backlit, LCD panel that uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology (this helps to make the screen look uniform when viewed from wide angles). It appears a little awkward at first glance because it's so much wider than it is taller, but going from a screen that's 1920 pixels wide to 2560 pixels wide is quite a big deal. You realise this as soon as you start multitasking or using programs that can benefit from the extra space.
The native resolution of 2560x1080, which is 640 pixels wider than a Full HD screen, can do wonders for productivity. It will, at the very least, allow you to very easily line up a mixture of two full-sized office application windows or Web browser windows side by side. If you're really adventurous, you could even line up three document windows side-by-side-by-side — the screen is about three A4 sheets wide (though a tiny bit shorter than an A4 page).
We think this method of multitasking with full views of open windows is one of the major benefits of this monitor, and it feels like a natural step up from a regular widescreen monitor. But even if you don't use it for multitasking, the ultra-wide resolution can come in handy for many programs. In particular, large spreadsheets will look great on it, and many video editing or music mixing programs can show you a longer timeline. You could even just use the extra space to organise your tool palettes.
LG also offers a screen splitting software on a CD. Unfortunately, we couldn't seem to find that software anywhere on LG's site, which would be a more useful way of delivering that software to those of us who don't have optical drives in our computers.
Photo sharing sites such as Flickr can also benefit from the extra width when displaying images, and slideshows look vibrant when they take up the entire screen. In this case, it helps that the picture quality of the 29UM65 is of a high quality. Colours appear accurately and with good contrast; we had no problems viewing intricate shadowing and fine details in our photos, and the brightness level was high.
There are different picture modes to select from, which are essentially presets that can change the characteristics of the screen to suit gaming, images, or movies, and there is also a reading mode that can be activated, which reduces the brightness and makes the screen easier on the eyes for the times when all you want to do is look at text.
All of these settings and more can be changed from the on-screen menu, and this menu can be accessed through the 5-way controller under the front of the monitor. This also acts as the power button. It's intuitive to use, and it makes the screen look neat as there are no other buttons present anywhere on the body.
We like the look of the monitor overall, as it has a thin bezel and a simple stand that only allows for tilting. There is another model in LG's range, the 29UB65, which has a stand that can support the screen in portrait mode. We've set up that screen in our office before, too, in portrait mode, and programmers were particularly drawn to it because they could see so much of their coding on the screen at one time. Other people just loved watching the Matrix screen saver. Go for that model if you want the ability to change from landscape to portrait orientation.
Importantly, the 29UM65 has a matte screen that won't reflect room lights, and its viewing angles are wide at 178 degrees, meaning the picture can be easily viewed from the sides. Vertical angles are also good, and we didn't have to adjust the tilt angle at all when viewing photos and movies. On black screens in a dark environment (specifically, when watching movies), we noticed some backlight seepage from the bottom, but it was not problematic.
Inputs include two HDMI ports (one at the rear, one at the right side), DVI, and DisplayPort, and there is a headphone port, as well as an audio input port (3.5mm). You can use the monitor's picture-by-picture feature to get more than one input displaying on the screen at one time, but the scaling of this feature isn't great. For example, when we plugged in a laptop and enabled picture-by-picture, the laptop showed up with a skewed and barely readable display. Changing the resolution of the laptop didn't fix this issue.
On the rear, there is a VESA-compatible mount, while on the bottom there are a couple of speakers. They are decent for close-up listening in an office, and if you use HDMI to transport both video and audio from your computer, the built-in speakers can cut down on the amount of cables and dangly bits around your desk area.
Overall, a very good monitor that's worth considering if you want something wider than usual, whether it be for increased productivity, or for watching movies. The extra width means you might have to move the monitor back a little more than you're used to in order to make it easier on your eyes, but it's light and easy to move as needed. This is perhaps the main drawback of this monitor: depending on how you're sitting, content at the far edges of the screen can seem to be too far away. It's for this reason we're not sure if this monitor is an ideal replacement for a dual screen set-up, considering that two screens can be positioned at angles to give you closer viewing.
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