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Introduction

About 18 months ago we saw a sudden interest from manufacturers in producing  new super-wide 21:9 aspect ratio displays. Aimed primarily at multimedia uses, movie viewing and those who just want to replace dual-screen set ups, there was a flurry of 29" sized screens released with a 2560 x 1080 resolution. We reviewed Dell's offering, the U2913WM at the time, although since then there hasn't really been much further investment in 21:9 format displays. The market seems to have been focused on 16:9 format screens and other new technologies like motion blur reduction backlights, and recently NVIDIA's new G-sync tech. Recently though, 21:9 seems to be making a bit of a come-back, this time being offered in a massive 34" screen size and sporting higher resolutions pushing towards the current 4k resolution trend. These new 34" displays offer resolutions ~1.8x larger than the older 29" models we mentioned, and mark the next step in the evolution of ultra-wide desktops.

We've got LG's 34UM95 with us for review at the moment which is the World's first 34" Ultra-Wide monitor. Other manufacturers like Dell and AOC are also set to release equivalent models, and there's also been a recent focus on offering curved displays of a similar type it seems. LG are expected to release the World's first 34" curved monitor later this year in fact, the 34UC97. In the mean time these 34" models are attracting some interest from buyers looking for high resolutions and large screen sizes for a wide variety of uses. Their use of LG.Display IPS panels means the displays should be able to offer strong all-round performance, allowing them to be targeted at anything from colour critical work to movies and gaming.

It should be noted that LG also offer another similarly named 34" model, although with different specs and features. Their 34UM65 is 34" in size but only offers a lower 2560 x 1080 resolution. It also has an 8-bit panel (not 10-bit support like the 34UM95) and comes with DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces, as opposed to those discussed in the following section for the 34UM95 model we are testing. It also lacks the factory calibration and hardware calibration features that the 95 model offers and so is a lower-end model.

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Specifications and Features

The following table gives detailed information about the specs of the screen:

Monitor Specifications

Size

34"WS

Panel Coating

Light AG coating

Aspect Ratio

21:9

Interfaces

DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI, 2x Thunderbolt

Resolution

3440 x 1440

Pixel Pitch

0.2325 mm

Design colour

Glossy black bezel with shiny silver trim, matte silver base

Response Time

5ms G2G

Ergonomics

Tilt only

Static Contrast Ratio

1000:1

Dynamic Contrast Ratio

n/a

VESA Compatible

Yes 100mm

Brightness

320

Accessories

Power cable and brick. HDMI, DisplayPort cables. Factory calibration report

Viewing Angles

178/178

Panel Technology

LG.Display AH-IPS

Weight

With stand: 7.7Kg

Backlight Technology

W-LED

Physical Dimensions

(WxHxD) with stand
829.9 x 468.9 x 172.9 mm

Colour Depth

1.07b (8-bit + FRC)

Refresh Rate

60Hz

Special Features

Picture By Picture (PbP), 2x 7W stereo speakers, headphone port, 1x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports, factory calibration, hardware calibration support

Colour Gamut

Standard gamut ~99% sRGB

The 34UM95 offers a good range of modern connectivity options suited to this type of screen. There are 2x Thunderbolt, 1x DisplayPort 1x HDMI interfaces provided for video connections. Thunderbolt 2 is a revolutionary cable technology that simultaneously supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single, compact port. Users can now take advantage of transfer speeds up to 20Gbps and easily expand computing capability by connecting up to six devices via a simple daisy-chain configuration. Note a daisy-chain configuration may not be available depending on PC performance, interface or graphic card. There is no DVI or D-sub offered here. The DisplayPort and Thunderbolt connections can support the full 3440 x 1440 resolution at 60Hz refresh rate, while the HDMI port can only support the native res at 50Hz. It's nice to see HDMI provided for connection of external devices, consoles, Blu Ray players etc as after all this is a screen orientated towards movies with its aspect ratio being what it is. Cables are provided in the box for both HDMI and DisplayPort which is good to see.

The screen has an external power supply so there is an external power brick supplied in the box. There are several additional features as well for this screen. These include a factory calibration, hardware calibration support (additional software and device required), 2x 7W stereo speakers, 1x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports, a headphone port and Picture By Picture compatibility. Oddly there is not a USB cable provided in the box to connect the screen back up to your PC which you will need if you want to use the USB hub and hardware calibration feature and are using DisplayPort and HDMI. Apparently it's not needed when using ThunderBolt.

Below is a summary of the features and connections of the screen:

Feature

Yes / No

Feature

Yes / No

Tilt adjust

DVI

Height adjust

HDMI

Swivel adjust

D-sub

Rotate adjust

DisplayPort

VESA compliant

Component

USB 2.0 Ports

Composite

USB 3.0 Ports

Audio connection

Card Reader

HDCP Support

Ambient Light Sensor

MHL Support

Human Motion Sensor

Integrated Speakers

Touch Screen

PiP / PbP

Hardware calibration

Blur Reduction Mode

Uniformity correction

G-Sync



Design and Ergonomics


Above: front views of the screen. Click for larger versions

The 34UM95 comes in a black and silver design. The bezel and edges to the screen are black (glossy bezel), and there is a shiny silver trim around the entire edge. There is an LG logo in the middle of the bottom bezel, but no other model names or writing on the edges at all. You immediately notice just how wide this screen is when you first unpack it. It really is a massive display and the 21:9 aspect ratio takes a bit of getting used to when coming from a 16:9 or 16:10 format display.


Above: view of silver trim. Click for larger version

The silver trim around the edge of the screen is shown above and gives the screen a premium feel, making it feel a bit like a TV in fact in style.


Above: rear view of the screen. Click for larger version


Above: rear views of the screen showing LG logo and VESA mounting holes. Click for larger versions

The back of the screen is well rounded and looks sleek as shown above. There is a shiny silver LG logo at the top, and VESA 100 mounting holes also if you want to wall or arm-mount the display.

 

The edges of the screen (sides and top) are made up of a black panel border which measures about 11mm in thickness, and a shiny silver trim edge which measures about 1.5mm. This gives LG it's "cinema screen bezel" design but don't be fooled by any marketing suggesting the bezel is only a couple of mm thick. You need to account for the panel border which is where the  image stops. The panel border has the same AG coating as the actual visible screen area. Along the bottom edge of the screen is a more traditional glossy black plastic bezel. This is about 18mm thick, and there is then a smaller 5mm panel border before the image starts. Again the shiny silver edge continues all around the screen so there is another ~1.5mm or so of visible silver edge as well. All in all the "edges" around the screen look thin and attractive and the shiny silver trim gives a nice premium design feel as well.


Above: showing stand and attachment on the back of the screen. Click for larger versions

The base of the stand is a fixed folded shape as shown above. It needs to be screwed onto the back of the screen using the provided screws (x2). You can actually select two slightly different heights on the back which gives you a small choice of the vertical height of the screen. Note the two sets of holes on the plastic stand in the photos above. Even at the highest connection though the screen still sits pretty low on the desk. The bottom edge of the screen is ~85mm from the top edge of the desk when connected in this way. The back of the stand is a clear plastic which is dubbed "Crystal Float" by LG. It is designed to make the screen look like it is floating in the air. In reality, the screen sits low on the desk so a lot of people may not be able to see the plastic section anyway. Certainly from our normal viewing position / chair height we couldn't see the back of the stand. Being clear as well it means that you can see the cables behind it as well so it's a bit debateable whether this feature is a good thing or not. There is a plastic trim section provided to cover up the screw connections as shown in the photos above, which features a cable clip to try and steer the cables out the way if you want.

     
Above: side views of the screen showing full tilt range. Click for larger versions

From a side view the screen offers an attractive and thin profile as you can see above. There is a basic tilt function offered by the stand only. This is easy to move and offers smooth adjustments. Unfortunately no other ergonomic adjustments like height, swivel or rotate are offered here so the stand is very limited.

A summary of the screens ergonomic adjustments is shown below:

Function

Range

Smoothness

Ease of Use

Tilt

Yes

Smooth

Easy

Height

n/a

-

-

Swivel

n/a

-

-

Rotate

n/a

-

-

Overall

Limited adjustments with only tilt available. Smooth to use but the screen is a bit wobbly.

The materials were of a very good standard and build quality felt sturdy and strong. There was no audible  buzzing noise from the screen even when conducting specific tests which can often identify buzzing issues. The whole screen remained very cool even during prolonged use as well which was pleasing.


Above: rear views of the screen showing connections. Click for larger versions

The back of the screen features all the connection options. You will note there is an HDMI connection on the side of this section, shown as the most left hand connection in the photo above (HDMI 2 input). There are then other video and audio connections, a port for the external power supply and then the USB ports on the far right.

By the way the sample we tested is a Rev 01, manufactured May 2014.

 



OSD Menu


Above: joystick controller on bottom edge of the screen

The OSD menu is accessed and controlled through a single joystick controller located on the middle of the bottom edge of the screen. This joystick is pressable as well and controls the whole menu.

Pressing the joystick left or right pops up a quick access menu for the volume control as shown above.

Pressing the joystick forward or backward, or pressing the button in pops up the launch menu shown above. It probably takes about 1 second to bring up this menu after pressing the button so it feels like it's pretty un-responsive. From here you have quick access to the Reader modes and PbP menu (which just takes you to that section in the main OSD menu). You can also enter the main menu by pressing left.

The 'Reader mode' menu is shown above with 2 presets offered if you want to use them. It would have been useful if you could change the quick access options when you first pop up this menu, as the PbP and Reader sections aren't of much use to us personally.

Pressing the left direction pops up the main OSD menu on the far right hand side of the screen. Again it takes about a second to bring up the menu after the joystick press so it feels a bit unresponsive again. The OSD menu is really big, filling up the whole screen vertically from top to bottom and a quarter of the screen horizontally. Excuse the large photos in this section!

Once you're in the main menu the controls are thankfully responsive as they should be, allowing you to quite easily navigate through the options. The menu is split into 6 sections down the left hand edge, and the options available in each section are shown on the right. The first 'Easy control' section gives you access to the brightness and contrast settings, and also you can change the aspect ratio in this section. There are options here for Wide, original, Cinema 1, Cinema 2 and 1:1 pixel mapping.

Scrolling down to the 'Function' section gives you access to the preset energy saving modes, an option to enable or disable the hardware calibration if you've done one, and also choose from a few preset picture modes.

The picture mode options are shown above.

The third section is the Picture By Picture menu as shown above if you have more than 1 device connected and want to make the most of split screen working on the large 34" screen.

The fourth 'Screen' section gives you two options, one for 'Picture' and one for 'Color'. In the 'Picture' sub-section there are a couple of options, perhaps most importantly the 'Response Time' option to control the level of overdrive being used. We will test that later on in the review.

The 'Color' subsection of the 'Screen' part of the menu gives you a wide range of options. You can change the preset gamma and colour temperature modes here and also change the RGB levels for manual calibration.

The fifth 'settings' section gives you control over a few things related to the monitor as shown above. We were disappointed that there was not an option to choose how long the OSD stays visible without action before it disappears, as it doesn't seem to stay there very long and made testing a bit of a pain. We had to keep going through all the steps to get back into a section we wanted to play with each time, and the whole thing was a bit cumbersome.

Below that is an option to reset the screen to default settings.

Overall the menu offered a good set of options. We found navigation a slow and quite painful experience though to be honest. The joystick is fairly intuitive to use, but having to press forward/backward to pop up the quick launch menu (with a 1 second delay), then press left to bring up the main OSD (with another 1 second delay) was frustrating. You couldn't change the menu time out either, so it disappeared quite often while we were testing different options, forcing us to go through the whole thing again. It didn't remember where you last were either so you had to start again. The software was very large and a bit clunky we felt as well. LG have tried to make things simple with a single joystick, but it all needs to be a lot easier to navigate we think.

 


Power Consumption

In terms of power consumption the manufacturer lists "normal" usage of 80.0W and 1.2W in standby. We carried out our normal tests to establish its power consumption ourselves.

State and Brightness Setting

Manufacturer Spec (W)

Measured Power Usage (W)

Default (70%)

80.0

58.9

Calibrated (hardware LUT)

-

42.0

Maximum Brightness (100%)

-

67.0

Minimum Brightness (0%)

-

32.8

Standby

1.2

1.0

We tested this ourselves and found that out of the box the screen used 58.9W at the default 70% brightness setting. Once calibrated the screen reached 42.0W consumption, and in standby it used only 1.0W. We have plotted these results below compared with other screens we have tested. The consumption is comparable actually to the GB-r-LED backlit displays (Dell U3014, U2713H etc), and uses a bit more than most W-LED backlights. This is presumably down to the monitors size and features.



Panel and Backlighting

Panel Manufacturer

LG.Display

Colour Palette

1.07 billion

Panel Technology

AH-IPS

Colour Depth

8-bit + FRC

Panel Module

LM340UW1-SSA1

Colour space

Standard gamut

Backlighting Type

W-LED

Colour space coverage (%)

99% sRGB, ~72% NTSC

Panel Part and Colour Depth

The LG 34UM95 utilises a LG.Display LM340UW1-SSA1 AH-IPS panel which is capable of producing 1.07 billion colours. This is achieved through an 8-bit grey scale and additional Frame Rate Control (FRC), providing an 8-bit+FRC panel. This 10-bit support is available when using the DisplayPort interface only according to the spec sheet. Keep in mind whether this is practically useable and whether you're ever going to truly use that colour depth. You need to have a full 10-bit end to end workflow to take advantage of it which is still quite expensive to achieve and rare in the market, certainly for your average user. This includes relevant applications and graphics cards as well, so to many people this 10-bit support might be irrelevant.

Screen Coating

The screen coating on the 34UM95 is a light anti-glare (AG) offering. It isn't a semi-glossy coating, but it is light as seen on other modern IPS type panels. Thankfully it isn't a heavily grainy coating like some old IPS panels feature. It retains its anti-glare properties to avoid too many unwanted reflections of a full glossy coating, but does not produce an too grainy or dirty an image that some thicker AG coatings can. There were no cross-hatching patterns visible on the coating.


Backlight Type and Colour Gamut

The screen uses a White-LED (W-LED) backlight unit which has become very popular in today's market. This helps reduce power consumption compared with older CCFL backlight units and brings about some environmental benefits as well. The W-LED unit offers a standard colour gamut which is approximately equal to the sRGB colour space (99% sRGB quoted). Anyone wanting to work with wider colour spaces would need to consider wide gamut CCFL screens or the newer range of GB-r-LED type displays available now. If you want to read more about colour spaces and gamut then please have a read of our detailed article.


Backlight Dimming and Flicker

We tested the screen to establish the methods used to control backlight dimming. Our in depth article talks in more details about a common method used for this which is called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). This in itself gives cause for concern to some users who have experienced eye strain, headaches and other symptoms as a result of the flickering backlight caused by this technology. We use a photosensor + oscilloscope system to measure backlight dimming control with a high level of accuracy and ease. These tests allow us to establish

1) Whether PWM is being used to control the backlight
2) The frequency and other characteristics at which this operates, if it is used
3) Whether a flicker may be introduced or potentially noticeable at certain settings

If PWM is used for backlight dimming, the higher the frequency, the less likely you are to see artefacts and flicker. The duty cycle (the time for which the backlight is on) is also important and the shorter the duty cycle, the more potential there is that you may see flicker. The other factor which can influence flicker is the amplitude of the PWM, measuring the difference in brightness output between the 'on' and 'off' states. Please remember that not every user would notice a flicker from a backlight using PWM, but it is something to be wary of. It is also a hard thing to quantify as it is very subjective when talking about whether a user may or may not experience the side effects.


100%                                                  50%                                                  0%


Above scale = 1 horizontal grid = 1ms

LG specifically market this screen as being Flicker Safe, a trend we hope more manufacturers adopt. At all brightness settings a constant voltage is applied to the backlight and there is no Pulse Width Modulation used. Instead the screen uses a Direct Current (DC) method and we can confirm that the screen is indeed flicker free as advertised.

Pulse Width Modulation Used

No

Cycling Frequency

n/a

Possible Flicker at

 

100% Brightness

No

50% Brightness

No

0% Brightness

No

For an up to date list of all flicker-free (PWM free) monitors please see our Flicker Free Monitor Database.

 


Contrast Stability and Brightness

We wanted to see how much variance there was in the screens contrast as we adjusted the monitor setting for brightness. In theory, brightness and contrast are two independent parameters, and good contrast is a requirement regardless of the brightness adjustment. Unfortunately, such is not always the case in practice. We recorded the screens luminance and black depth at various OSD brightness settings, and calculated the contrast ratio from there. Graphics card settings were left at default with no ICC profile or calibration active. Tests were made using an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter. It should be noted that we used the BasICColor calibration software here to record these, and so luminance at default settings may vary a little from the LaCie Blue Eye Pro report.

We turned the Super Energy Saving Mode to off for these tests since it limits the brightness adjustment range when enabled for specific power consumption profiles.

OSD Brightness

Luminance
(cd/m2)

Black Point (cd/m2)

Contrast Ratio
( x:1)

100

292.98

0.29

1010

90

273.43

0.27

1013

80

254.45

0.25

1018

70

233.57

0.23

1016

60

212.70

0.21

1013

50

190.63

0.19

1003

40

165.88

0.17

976

30

141.02

0.14

1007

20

112.85

0.11

1026

10

84.66

0.09

941

0

54.38

0.06

906

 

Total Luminance Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

238.60

Brightness OSD setting controls backlight?

Total Black Point Adjustment Range (cd/m2)

0.23

Average Static Contrast Ratio

994:1

PWM Free? 

Recommended OSD setting for 120 cd/m2

22

The brightness control gave us a very good range of adjustment. At the top end the maximum luminance reached 293 cd/m2 which was high, and only slightly shy of the specified maximum brightness of 320 cd/m2 from the manufacturer. There was a decent 239 cd/m2 adjustment range in total, and so at the minimum setting you could reach down to a low luminance of 54 cd/m2. This should be adequate for those wanting to work in darkened room conditions with low ambient light. A setting of 22 in the OSD menu should return you a luminance of around 120 cd/m2 at default settings. It should be noted that the brightness regulation is controlled without the need of Pulse Width Modulation using a Direct Current (DC) method for all brightness settings between 100 and 0% and so the screen is flicker free.

We have plotted the luminance trend on the graph above. The screen behaves as it should in this regard, with a reduction in the luminance output of the screen controlled by the reduction in the OSD brightness setting. This is pretty much a linear relationship with a slightly steeper curve from 50% and below. 

The average contrast ratio of the screen was very good for an IPS panel with an average of 994:1. This was pretty stable across the brightness adjustment range as shown above although at the lowest brightness settings below 20% the contrast seemed to drop slightly to around 906:1 in the most extreme case (0% brightness). This dragged the average down from what otherwise would have been around 1015:1.



Testing Methodology

An important thing to consider for most users is how a screen will perform out of the box and with some basic manual adjustments. Since most users won't have access to hardware colorimeter tools, it is important to understand how the screen is going to perform in terms of colour accuracy for the average user.

We restored our graphics card to default settings and disabled any previously active ICC profiles and gamma corrections. The screen was tested at default factory settings using the DVI interface, and analysed using an X-rite i1 Pro Spectrophotometer (not to be confused with the i1 Display Pro colorimeter) combined with LaCie's Blue Eye Pro software suite. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was also used to verify the black point and contrast ratio since the i1 Pro spectrophotometer is less reliable at the darker end.


Targets for these tests are as follows:

  • CIE Diagram - validates the colour space covered by the monitors backlighting in a 2D view, with the black triangle representing the displays gamut, and other reference colour spaces shown for comparison

  • Gamma - we aim for 2.2 which is the default for computer monitors

  • Colour temperature / white point - we aim for 6500k which is the temperature of daylight

  • Luminance - we aim for 120 cd/m2, which is the recommended luminance for LCD monitors in normal lighting conditions

  • Black depth - we aim for as low as possible to maximise shadow detail and to offer us the best contrast ratio

  • Contrast ratio - we aim for as high as possible. Any dynamic contrast ratio controls are turned off here if present

  • dE average / maximum - as low as possible. If DeltaE >3, the color displayed is significantly different from the theoretical one, meaning that the difference will be perceptible to the viewer. If DeltaE <2, LaCie considers the calibration a success; there remains a slight difference, but it is barely undetectable. If DeltaE < 1, the color fidelity is excellent.



Default Performance and Setup

The LG 34UM95 comes factory calibrated, showing LG's focus on providing a high quality product suitable for colour critical work. There is no specific preset mode specified in the documentation or on the factory calibration report, so we can only assume that this applies to the default settings of the screen. The screen is packaged with a calibration report unique to your screen, confirming the targets set and met during that process. Here they have factory calibrated to a 2.2 gamma, 6500k white point and with a dE colour accuracy of <5. A copy of the calibration report from our unit is  provided below for reference:

Default settings of the screen were as follows:

Monitor OSD Option

Default Settings

Brightness

70

Contrast

70

Picture Mode

Custom

Gamma

Gamma 1

Color Temp

Custom

RGB

50, 50, 50


LG 34UM95 - Default Factory Settings / Factory Calibration

  

 

Default Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

243

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.24

Contrast Ratio

1016:1

 

Initially out of the box the screen was bright and was set at a default 70% brightness setting. Colour balance felt good, and you could tell it was a standard gamut screen. We went ahead and measured the default state with the i1 Pro.

 

The CIE diagram on the left of the image confirms that the monitors colour gamut (black triangle) is roughly equal to the sRGB colour space. There is some minor over-coverage in some shades, with green and blue being a little wider than the sRGB space but not by anything significant. Default gamma was recorded at 2.1 average, leaving it with a small 4% deviance from the target of 2.2 which was reasonable. White point was measured at 6326k being close to the target of 6500k which was good and with only a 3% deviance.

 

Luminance was recorded at a bright 243 cd/m2 which is too high for prolonged general use. The screen was set at a default 70% brightness in the OSD menu but that is easy to change of course to reach a more comfortable setting without impacting any other aspect of the setup. The black depth was 0.24 cd/m2 at this default brightness setting, giving us a very good (for a IPS panel) static contrast ratio of 1016:1. Colour accuracy was pretty good out of the box with a default dE average of 2.0, and maximum of 4.9. Testing the screen with various gradients showed smooth transitions with no sign of any banding thankfully. There was some gradation evident as you will see from most monitors. Overall the default setup was good enough, with the gamma and white point being reasonable. Looks like the factory calibration does provide a reasonable setup for the screen which should be fine for most casual users.

 

 

 


Colour Temperatures and Gamma

 

The 34UM95 features a range of 'color temp' modes within the OSD menu as shown in the below screen shots. There are also 3 pre-defined gamma modes available to choose from. We measured the screen with the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer in each of these modes to establish their colour temperature / white point. We also tested the average gamma in each mode, while color temp was left at the default 'custom' setting. All other settings were left at factory defaults and no ICC profile was active. The results are recorded below:

 

 

Gamma

Gamma Mode

Average Gamma

Deviance from 2.2 Gamma

0

2.2

2%

1

2.1

4%

2

1.9

15%

 

 

 

Colour Temperature

Color Temp Mode

Measured White point (k)

Custom

6160

Warm

6163

Medium

7707

Cool

8940

 

The gamma mode of 0 actually seemed slightly better than the default mode of 1, bringing us slightly closer to the 2.2 target. There was only a minor 2% deviance when using gamma 0 as the preferred setting, so this might make some minor improvements to your setup out of the box. The 'custom' color temp mode was basically the same as the 'warm' setting out of the box, being slightly too warm at 6160k. The 'medium' setting was noticeably cooler than the default setting, and the 'cool' setting was even more so. Both the medium and cool settings looked very blue. In the 'custom' mode allows you to adjust the RGB balance for calibration to bring white point nearer to your target (in our case 6500k).

 

 

Software Calibration

 

We used the X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer combined with the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software package to achieve these results and reports. An X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter was used to validate the black depth and contrast ratios due to lower end limitations of the i1 Pro device.

 

Monitor OSD Option

Calibrated Settings

Brightness

21

Contrast

70

Picture Mode

Custom

Gamma

Gamma 0

Color Temp

Custom

RGB

50, 48, 58


LG 34UM95 - Software Calibrated Settings

  
 

 

Software Calibrated Settings

luminance (cd/m2)

121

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.11

Contrast Ratio

1064:1

 

We changed to the gamma 0 mode to start with as we'd found that it gave us a starting point closer to the required 2.2 target (2% deviance out of the box). The 'custom' color temp mode would give us access to the RGB channels as well, where we had to increase the blue gain to counteract the slightly warm default setup. All these OSD changes allowed us to obtain an optimum hardware starting point and setup before software level changes would be made at the graphics card level. We left the  LaCie software to calibrate to "max" brightness which would just retain the luminance of whatever brightness we'd set the screen to, and would not in any way try and alter the luminance at the graphics card level, which can reduce contrast ratio. These adjustments before profiling the screen would help preserve tonal values and limit banding issues. After this we let the software carry out the LUT adjustments and create an ICC profile.

 

Average gamma was now corrected to 2.2 average, correcting the 2% deviance we'd seen out of the box (gamma mode 0). The white point was also corrected very close to the target, now measured at 6595k, correcting most of the minor 3% deviance out of the box. Luminance had been improved thanks to the adjustment to the brightness control and was now being measured at 121 cd/m2. This left us a black depth of 0.11 cd/m2 and maintained a very good static contrast ratio (for an IPS panel) of 1064:1. Colour accuracy of the resulting profile was very good, with dE average of 0.4 and maximum of 0.9. LaCie would consider colour fidelity to be very good overall. Testing the screen with various colour gradients showed mostly smooth transitions. There was some slight gradation in darker tones but no banding introduced due to the adjustments to the graphics card LUT from the profilation of the screen which was pleasing. You can use our settings and try our calibrated ICC profile if you wish, which are available in our ICC profile database. Keep in mind that results will vary from one screen to another and from one computer / graphics card to another.

 

 

 

Hardware Calibration

 

 

The 34UM95 features support for hardware calibration, allowing the user to directly access the internal LUT and make adjustments to the screen at a hardware level. This requires two things to make this possible: 1) a compatible calibration device (not provided) and 2) LG's "True Color" calibration software package. True Colour Finder is only compatible with Windows XP/7/8 by DisplayPort; Windows 7/8 by Thunderbolt; or New Mac Pro by DisplayPort/Thunderbolt. Thankfully LG have decided to allow their software to be downloaded for free, and for it to work with a wide range of existing calibration tools on the market. According to the user guide for the software the following devices are supported:

Supported Calibrators / Measurement Devices

  • LG Electronics

    • LG Calibrator (ACB8300)

    •     Version 1.33

          (Unsupported monitor : IPS277, IPS237)

       
  • X-rite Inc

    • ColorMunki photo

    •     Version 1.1.1

    • ColorMunki design

    •     Version 1.1.1

    • i1DISPLAY Pro(i1Display3)

    •     Version 0.4.7.2

       
  • Data Color Manufacturer

    • Spyder3

    •     Version 1.2.2

    • Spyder4

    •     Version 1.0.0.1

You will note that LG also provide their own calibrator tool (pictured above), the so-called "LG Calibrator" (part ACB8300). We will test this in a moment, but it was pleasing to see that popular devices were also compatible. Note that we also tried our i1 Pro spectrophotometer (v1) which was detected by the software as the i1 Pro 2. This suggests that maybe the i1 Pro 2 is a compatible device as well, although not listed in the system requirements spec LG provide. The i1 Pro (v1) didn't seem to work though sadly, and the software just gave a "device not found" message when we tried.

 

We downloaded the latest version of the Color Finder software from LG's website (72Mb, v 3.1.3). The monitor must be connected to the PC using a USB cable for the hardware calibration to function or via Thunderbolt. Oddly there is no USB cable provided in the box with the 34UM95, although they are very cheap to pick up from most places.

 

Note about hardware calibration: We did find a bit of a firmware bug when enabling and disabling the hardware calibration feature in the OSD, or carrying out a hardware calibration from new. It seems to restore the Response Time behaviour to the performance as if Response Time was set to "off", even if in the OSD it still reflected another setting. We're not sure why this is, but if you carry out a hardware calibration or turn it on or off, we recommend just going into the Response Time setting, turning it on to a random setting and activating it, and then returning back to your preferred Response Time setting. That seems to put it back into the desired mode.

 

 

 

Loading up the software presents you with the above interface. You can select from 2 modes, the 'standard' mode where white point and gamma are preset (6500k and 2.2 respectively), or a 'user' mode where you can change these if you like. In both modes you can easily change the desired brightness target using the slider. The top of the screen confirms your targets for calibration and you can simply press 'calibration' at the bottom then to progress into the fully automated process.

 

 

The actual calibration process provides you an area on the screen where you need to place your calibration device. It then goes through a series of automatic readings and adjustments to calibrate the screen for you. You don't have to change anything in the OSD at all, and in fact once you've started this process most options for colour/brightness/contrast adjustments are greyed out in the OSD menu. The screen enters the 'calibration = on' setting as well to signify that you have hardware calibrated the screen. With the whole process being automatic, it's very easy to use. Using the i1 Display Pro first of all as our calibration device, the calibration took around 5 min 45 sec to complete.

 

 

At the end of the process you are presented with a confirmation screen as shown above. There are no further reporting or validation features available in the software, just this simple summary. Checking the graphics card confirms no active ICC profile, and so all settings have been made to, and stored in the monitors hardware LUT. Clicking 'finish' just exits the software.

 

 

If you enter back into the True Color software the left hand side now confirms your last calibrated details as shown above. You can then do another calibration to over-write the saved calibration if you want.

 


LG 34UM95 - Hardware Calibration, i1 Display Pro



  
 

 

Calibrated Settings,
Hardware calibration

luminance (cd/m2)

122

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.11

Contrast Ratio

1064:1

 

We wanted to validate the calibrated state a little further. We had calibrated the screen using the LG True Color software and the X-rite i1 Display Pro device. The resulting validation was carried out using the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software and our i1 Pro spectrophotometer. The results were pleasing overall. Gamma and white point targets had been met pretty well, although there was some slight deviance in the white point here with it being a little too warm. This difference is down to the different devices and software being used, but it's interesting just to check the hardware calibration results using a "reference" point anyway. Colour accuracy was very good with dE average of 0.9 measured. Contrast ratio remained strong as it had at default monitor settings with a contrast ratio of 1064:1 being recorded. All in all, the True Color software seemed to have done a very good job of calibrating the screen as intended. One quibble however is that with the OSD brightness control now locked, you cannot change even a basic setting like that without having to completely re-run the calibration again. It would have been nice if you could hardware calibrate the screen to reach desired gamma and white point levels and return good colour accuracy, but still had access to manually adjust the brightness if you wanted to. After all, different uses might require access to that setting, and changing it wouldn't affect other aspects of the calibration.

 


LG 34UM95 - Hardware Calibration, LG Calibrator



  
 

 

Calibrated Settings,
Hardware calibration

luminance (cd/m2)

120

Black Point (cd/m2)

0.13

Contrast Ratio

907:1

 

We re-ran another hardware calibration, this time using LG's calibrator device. The whole process was a little faster and only took 5 min 23 sec to complete this time. The LG True Color software confirmed the targets had been met well (2.2 gamma, 6500k white point, 120 cd/m2 brightness). We again validated these results using our i1 Pro and the LaCie Blue Eye Pro software.

 

Here, results were not as pleasing as when we'd hardware calibrated with the X-rite i1 Display Pro. The main issue seemed to be the white point, which was now too cool and although the target had been set to 6500k, it had ended up being 7383k. This suggests maybe the LG Calibrator has a hard time correcting the white point, or perhaps doesn't have the necessary correction filters to read the white point of the W-LED backlight properly? Other areas had been met pretty well as before, although colour accuracy was a little worse (dE average of 1.6 instead of 0.9 now), and contrast ratio was lower also (907:1 instead of 1064:1).

 

The LG device is pretty low cost, available for 29.99 from Overclockers.co.uk but it didn't seem to offer as reliable a result as using a higher-end third party device. It seems it has trouble reading the white point of the W-LED backlight which is common to a lot of colorimeter tools as they are commonly designed to work with standard CCFL backlighting. They often have trouble reading the white point of wide gamut or LED backlights.

 

If you have an existing colorimeter then at least the True Color software provides support for most popular and recent colorimeters which is pleasing. There's no need to specifically buy the LG device if you want to hardware calibrate the screen. If you want optimum results then you would probably be better buying a device like the i1 Display Pro, although cost is higher than the LG device. It should be noted that the LG True Color software doesn't work with any non-LG screens, and the LG calibrator doesn't appear to work with third party software packages either. So you can use it for this and other compatible LG screens only. Again, if you want a device to use with other displays you'd be better getting something separate.

 

 

 

Calibration Performance Comparisons


 

The comparisons made in this section try to give you a better view of how each screen performs, particularly out of the box which is what is going to matter to most consumers. When comparing the default factory settings for each monitor it is important to take into account several measurement areas - gamma, white point and colour accuracy. There's no point having a low dE colour accuracy figure if the gamma curve is way off for instance. A good factory calibration requires all 3 to be well set up. We have deliberately not included luminance in this comparison since this is normally far too high by default on every screen. However, that is very easily controlled through the brightness setting (on most screens) and should not impact the other areas being measured anyway. It is easy enough to obtain a suitable luminance for your working conditions and individual preferences, but a reliable factory setup in gamma, white point and colour accuracy is important and not as easy to change accurately without a calibration tool.

 

From these comparisons we can also compare the calibrated colour accuracy, black depth and contrast ratio. After a calibration the gamma, white point and luminance should all be at their desired targets.

 

 

Default setup of the screen out of the box was good with a gamma and white point within a few % deviance from the targets. Colour accuracy was good at dE 2.0 average, and contrast ratio was strong at over 1000:1. It is too bright of course, but that's easy to turn down via the brightness setting.

 

 

 

The display was strong when it came to black depth and contrast ratio for an IPS-type panel. With a calibrated contrast ratio (software calibration mode) of 1064:1 it was basically as high as any other IPS variant we have tested. The Dell P2714H pipped it by 1, at 1064:1. This was a very good performance for an IPS panel and we were pleased with the contrast ratio offered. It can't compete with VA panel types which can reach over 2000:1 easily, and commonly up to 3000:1.

 


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Viewing Angles


Above: Viewing angles shown from front and side, and  from above and below. Click for larger image

Viewing angles of the 34UM95 were very good as you would expect from an IPS panel. Horizontally there was very little colour tone shift until wide angles past about 45 although the image did get darker from a wide angle. Shifts were more noticeable in the vertical field but overall they were good, with some darkening introduced as you get to a wide angle. The screen offered the wide viewing angles of IPS technology and was free from the very restrictive fields of view of TN Film panels, especially in the vertical plane. It was also free of the off-centre contrast shift you see from VA panels and a lot of the quite obvious gamma and colour tone shift you see from some of the modern AMVA and PVA offerings. All as expected really from a modern IPS panel. It should be noted that due to the very wide format of this screen you may notice some contrast shifts as you glance towards the edges, depending on your viewing position and your proximity to the screen.


Above: View of an all black screen from the side. Click for larger version

On a black image there is a characteristic white glow when viewed from an angle, commonly referred to as IPS-glow. This is common on most modern IPS panels and can be distracting to some users. If you view dark content from a normal head-on viewing position, you can actually see this glow as your eyes look towards the edges of the screen. Because of the sheer horizontal size of this 34" panel, the glow towards the edges is more obvious than on small screens, where there isn't such a long distance from your central position to the edges. Some people may find this problematic if they are working with a lot of dark content or solid colour patterns. In normal day to day uses, office work, movies and games you couldn't really notice this unless you were viewing darker content. If you move your viewing position back, which is probably likely for movies and games, the effect reduces as you do not have such an extreme angle from your eye position to the screen edges. This might be one area where the new 34" curved monitors work a bit better, as the edges curve in towards you a little and should reduce the IPS-glow effect somewhat.



Panel Uniformity

We wanted to test here how uniform the brightness and colour temperature was across the screen, as well as identify any leakage from the backlight in dark lighting conditions. Measurements of the luminance and colour temperature were taken at 35 points across the panel on a pure white background. The measurements for luminance were taken using BasICColor's calibration software package, combined with an X-rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter with a central point on the screen calibrated to 120 cd/m2. Measurements for colour temperature (white point) were taken using BasICColor software and the i1 Pro spectrophotometer which can more accurately measure the white point of different backlighting technologies. The below uniformity diagram shows the difference, as a percentage, between the measurement recorded at each point on the screen, as compared with the central reference point.

It is worth noting that panel uniformity can vary from one screen to another, and can depend on manufacturing lines, screen transport and other local factors. This is only a guide of the uniformity of the sample screen we have for review.
 


Uniformity of Luminance

The luminance uniformity of the screen was pretty good overall. There were some darker regions in the upper corners where luminance dropped by a maximum of -20% to 100 cd/m2. This was the worst case example and the actual regions were fairly small where luminance dropped by a noticeable amount. Around 80% of the screen was within a 10% deviance of the centrally calibrated point.


Backlight Leakage


Above: All black screen in a darkened room. Click for larger version

As usual we also tested the screen with an all black image and in a darkened room. A camera was used to capture the result. The camera picked out a small area of leakage along the bottom left hand edge, and some clouding from the right hand corners. Overall there wasn't anything too severe but you could spot these brighter areas with the naked eye when looking at a dark screen in a darkened room. In normal uses and normal ambient lighting you couldn't really see any adverse effects to be honest. By the way the sample we tested is a Rev 01, manufactured May 2014.

 


General and Office Applications

One of the key selling points of the 34UM95 is it's high resolution and large screen size. The 3440X1440 UltraWide QHD display offers a sharp but comfortable picture. Its pixel area is about 1.8 times larger than an UltraWide Full HD 21:9 monitor, and about 2.4 times larger than a Full HD 16:9 monitor. It provides an efficient environment in using Microsoft Office programs showing 47 columns and 63 rows in excel. Thankfully the high resolution is of a very comfortable size on the 34" panel, with a 0.2325mm pixel pitch is is very comparable to a 27" 2560 x 1440 monitor (0.2331mm). This means you are basically getting a wider desktop to work with, with a similar font size to a 27" model, and maintaining the same vertical resolution as well. If you're coming from a lower resolution / larger pixel pitch you may still find the fonts look quite small to start with, but like the 27" 1440p models out there you soon get used to it. We did feel it was far more comfortable than recent 4k 28" screens when working at native resolution.

Side by side multi-tasking on this screen is excellent. Splitting the screen in half is maybe not quite enough with the horizontal resolution offered, but thankfully LG have included a handy solution. With a 21:9 wide screen ratio, now you can multitask with 4 programs on one screen at the same time. This 4-Screen Split feature (software provided by LG) conveniently divides your screen from 2 to 4 customizable sub-screens of your preferred size, without any overlapping of windows. Compatible with Mac, it provides 8 different screen ratios, changeable by a single click, and increases not only your convenience but also productivity. 4-Screen Split software requires DisplayPort or HDMI connection with Windows XP/Vista/7/8 or Mac OS X 10.9(Mavericks).

The light AG coating of the IPS panel doesn't produce any graininess to the image like some aggressive AG solutions can and so white office backgrounds look clean and clear. The wide viewing angles of the IPS panel technology provide stable images from different angles, meaning you can use the screen if you want for colour critical work, photos etc. This panel technology still offers the widest viewing angles and so is well-suited to colour work. Some contrast shifts and IPS-glow may be evident because of the very wide size of the display, as you glance towards the edges from a centrally aligned position. That's hard to avoid on such a large desktop monitor from close up, even with IPS technology.

The brightness range of the screen was also very good, with the ability to offer a luminance between a high 293 and a nice and low 54 cd/m2. This should mean the screen is perfectly useable in a wide variety of ambient light conditions, including darkened rooms. A setting of ~22 in the OSD brightness control should return you a luminance close to 120 cd/m2. The backlight regulation is controlled without the need for PWM at all, and so the screen is flicker free. A definite pro for sensitive eyes and for comfortable long-term viewing. There was no audible buzzing from the screen, even when specifically looking for it using test images with a large amount of text at once. The screen remains cool even during prolonged use. The screen offers two 'Reader' modes from the OSD menu which provide a couple of preset brightness/temperatures which some people might find useful for extended text work or reading.

There are some extras provided as well with this screen. 2x USB 2.0 and 1x USB 3.0 ports are included on the back. These aren't as easy to access as when they are located on the side, but at least they are provided. There are also 2x 7W stereo speakers built into the display which should be adequate for general office sounds, the odd mp3 and Youtube video. A headphone port is also provided if needed. There aren't any other extras light ambient light sensors, human motion sensors or card readers here.

 
Above: photo of text at 3440 x 1440 (top) and 2560 x 1080 (bottom)

The screen is designed to run at its native resolution of 3440 x 1440 (4k) and at a 60Hz recommended refresh rate. However, if you want you are able to run the screen outside of this resolution. We tested the screen at a lower 2560 x 1080 resolution to see how the screen handles the interpolation of the resolution, while maintaining the same aspect ratio of 21:9. At native resolution the text was very sharp, small but comfortable as we've already discussed. When running at a 2560 x 1080 resolution the text is still pretty sharp, with low levels of blurring. You do lose a lot of screen real-estate as well, and it gives you a flavour of what the 34UM65 model must look like.



Responsiveness and Gaming

Quoted G2G Response Time

5ms G2G

Quoted ISO Response Time

n/a

Panel Manufacturer and Technology

LG.Display

Panel Part

LM340UW1-SSA1

Overdrive Used

Yes

Overdrive Control Available to User

'Response Time'

Overdrive Settings

Off, Low, Middle, High

The 34UM95 is rated by LG as having a 5ms G2G response time which indicates the panel uses overdrive / response time compensation (RTC) technology to boost pixel transitions across grey to grey changes. There is user control over the overdrive impulse within the OSD menu using the 'Response Time' option. The part being used is the LG.Display LM340UW1-SSA1 AH-IPS panel. Have a read about response time in our specs section if you need additional information about this measurement.

We will first test the screen using our thorough response time testing method. This uses an oscilloscope and photosensor to measure the pixel response times across a series of different transitions, in the full range from 0 (black) to 255 (white). This will give us a realistic view of how the monitor performs in real life, as opposed to being reliant only on a manufacturers spec. We can work out the response times for changing between many different shades, calculate the maximum, minimum and average grey to grey (G2G) response times, and provide an evaluation of any overshoot present on the monitor.

We use an ETC M526 oscilloscope for these measurements along with a custom photosensor device. Have a read of our response time measurement article for a full explanation of the testing methodology and reported data.
 

Response Time Setting Comparison

First of all we carried out a smaller sample set of measurements in each of the four 'Response Time' settings. These, along with various motion tests allowed us to quickly identify which was the optimum overdrive setting for this screen.

First we tested the screen with the Response Time option set to 'off'. Response times were slow with an average of 12.6ms G2G being measured. There was no overshoot at all as overdrive was not being used, but response times were too slow and it resulted in a lot of noticeable blurring in practice. Rise times were particularly problematic with 15.4ms on average.

With the Response Time setting now switched up to the 'Low' mode, response times had improved a little. The transitions remained free of any overshoot still, and visible blurring was reduced a tad. Average G2G response time was now measured at 10.7ms. Not great still, but heading in the right direction.

The Middle setting improved response times again a little, with average G2G being measured at 8.8ms now. Some of the slowest transitions had been sped up nicely. For instance the troublesome 0-50 transition had basically halved from 18ms to 9.1ms at this setting. Some overshoot was introduced as a result (16.7 %) but it was nothing too severe. Most transitions showed no overshoot at all, so this response time setting had improved on the 'off' and 'low' settings reasonably well, and without many ill-effects.

The maximum 'High' setting resulted in some improved response times again, with average G2G now dropping to a very respectable 7.2ms (for an IPS panel). However, more noticeable overshoot was introduced as a result of the more aggressive overdrive impulse, to the extent that it became noticeable in practice during motion tests and games. This mode is probably a bit too aggressive although some people may prefer the overshoot trade-off. The optimum response time mode seems to be the 'Middle' setting, where overshoot is pretty much non-existent. Some people might want to experiment with the 'High' setting as well, although we felt the overshoot was not really worth the improvement in response times.

 

If we take some test photos using the PixPerAn tool you can make some further visual comparisons between the overdrive 'Response Time' settings. With Response Time off the slow response times lead to a pronounced blur to the moving image in practice which you can easily see. Turning the setting up to Low makes minimal difference really, but switching up to the 'Middle' setting brings about some positive changes. Blurring is reduced quite nicely and the moving image looks sharper. There is still some blur visible of course but it's better than 'off' or 'low'. The 'High' setting improves response times a little more again, but some overshoot is visible on certain transitions. It's not that noticeable in the PixPerAn tests but our oscilloscope revealed it was a problem to a moderate degree. Worth trying out to see what you think, but we personally felt 'middle' gave us a better balance.

 

More Detailed Measurements - Response Time = Middle

Having established that the Response Time 'Middle' mode seemed to offer the best response/overshoot balance we carried out our normal wider range of measurements as shown below:

The average G2G response time was more accurately measured at 9.5ms which was modest for an IPS panel overall. Some transitions were faster at 6.1ms minimum, particularly when changing to black (x > 0). The rise and fall time average was very similar and so pixel transition times were fairly consistent across the board.

There was pretty much no overshoot as well in this Response Time mode, with only a couple of transitions showing anything at all, and even then, pretty low. The overdrive impulse was being applied well and in a controlled fashion which was pleasing.


Transition: 0-50-0 (scale = 20ms)

The above gives an example of the highest overshoot which was on the 0-50 transition (16.7%). Nothing really to worry about in this Response Time mode.



Display Comparisons

The above comparison table and graph shows you the lowest, average and highest G2G response time measurement for each screen we have tested with our oscilloscope system. There is also a colour coded mark next to each screen in the table to indicate the RTC overshoot error, as the response time figure alone doesn't tell the whole story.

The response time performance of the 34UM95 at the 'Middle' Response Time setting was good overall for an IPS-type panel. With an average G2G response time of 9.5ms measured, it was only slightly behind some of our reference IPS screens in these tests, like the Dell U2414H and Dell P2714H (8.9ms) for example. Those models represented about as good as you can get from modern IPS response times without introducing a significant amount of overshoot. The LG 34UM95 was only slightly slower so that's a good performance. Some IPS models can reach lower response times, like the Dell U2713H for instance (7.2ms) but not without the cost of very high overshoot. Modern TN Film panels are still much faster, reaching down to 2.9ms for instance in the example of the new Asus ROG Swift PG278Q (with moderate overshoot).

 

The screen was also tested using the chase test in PixPerAn for the following display comparisons. As a reminder, a series of pictures are taken on the highest shutter speed and compared, with the best case example shown on the left, and worst case example on the right. This should only be used as a rough guide to comparative responsiveness but is handy for a comparison between different screens and technologies as well as a means to compare those screens we tested before the introduction of our oscilloscope method.


34" 5ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS (Response Time = Middle)

In practice the LG 34UM95 performed best with Response Time set to 'middle'. There were relatively low levels of motion blur and no real ghosting visible. Thankfully no overshoot was detectable in nearly all cases, with very few transitions affected according to our oscilloscope tests as well.


34" 5ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS (Response Time = Middle)


28" 1ms G2G Innolux TN Film (Overdrive = Faster)


27" 8ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS


27" 5ms G2G Samsung PLS (Trace Free = 40)


27" 12ms G2G Samsung PLS (Response Time = Advanced)


Firstly it is interesting to compare the 34UM95 to some of the other high resolution panels we've tested. First of all there's a comparison against the Samsung U28D590D with its 28" 3480 x 2160 res TN Film panel. As you might expect, the LG isn't quite as fast as the Samsung in practice as the TN Film can offer some very low response times. The Samsung showed a lower level of blur and sharper image, but then it is a screen more aimed at gamers to be honest.

There is also a comparison against a range of popular 27" 2560 x 1440 resolutions and IPS-type panels (IPS, PLS). The Dell U2713HM felt a little bit faster than the LG and eliminated a lot of the visible blurring, but also remained free from overshoot which was a bonus. The Asus PB278Q was again a little faster, and although it showed a little dark overshoot it was very slight. The ViewSonic VP2770-LED was more comparable to the LG in visible blurring and response times it seems.

 


34" 5ms G2G LG.Display AH-IPS (Response Time = Middle)


27" 1ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film @ 144Hz (OD = Normal)


27" 1ms G2G AU Optronics TN Film + 144Hz (AMA = High)


23.5" 4ms G2G Sharp MVA + 120Hz

We've also included a comparison above against 3 very fast 120Hz+ compatible screens we have tested. The other screens shown here are all aimed primarily at gamers and have various features and extras which make them more suitable overall for gaming. Firstly there is a comparison against the Asus ROG Swift PG278Q with its 144Hz refresh rate and fast response time TN Film panel. This showed very fast pixel response times and smooth movement thanks to its increased refresh rate. You are able to reduce the motion blur even more through the use of the ULMB strobed backlight as well if you need to. In other related areas this screen also supports NVIDIA's G-sync technology. There was some slight overshoot noticeable on the Asus but nothing major.

Then there is a comparison against the BenQ XL2720Z with another very fast TN Film panel and 144Hz refresh rate. This showed very low levels of motion blur, but some dark overshoot was introduced as a side-effect as you can see. This screen even includes a native Blur Reduction mode to help eliminate further perceived motion blur.

Lastly there is the MVA based Eizo FG2421 screen with a fast response time (especially for the panel technology being used) and 120Hz refresh rate support. There is also an additional 'Turbo 240' motion blur reduction mode which really helps reduce the perceived motion blur in practice.

While these pixel response tests from PixPerAn give one view of the performance of the panel, there is something else going on as well here which can't be picked out by the camera. All of these other gaming models are running at 120Hz (or higher) refresh rates, which allows for improved 120fps+ frame rates and in some cases the support of 3D stereoscopic content as well. This can really help improve smoothness and the overall gaming experience so these screens still have the edge when it comes to fast gaming. Any additional extras to reduce perceived motion blur can also have a real benefit in practical terms, and again not easy to pick out with this camera method.


The overall gaming performance of the LG 34UM95 was good really. They've done a good job of offering a range of Response Time settings for the user to experiment with. We felt the 'Middle' setting returned the most favourable balance between response times and overshoot. At this setting, the average 9.5ms G2G response time was respectable, and the absence of any real overshoot was very pleasing. It wasn't quite as fast as a few other IPS-type models we've tested, but wasn't far off. Obviously gamer-orientated TN Film models are quite a bit faster, and their additional extras like blur reduction modes, 120Hz+ refresh rates, G-sync etc make them far more suited to serious gaming if that's your aim. At the moment though, the new 34" screen size and ultra-wide aspect ratio are only available in IPS panels like this and that in itself brings a new dimension for gaming in its own right. The IPS panel offers wide viewing angles and stable colours so for gaming you can use the screen from a variety of positions comfortably. The large screen area and wide aspect ratio creates a very wide experience as well for games which can support 21:9 aspect ratio, and they really do feel immersive and involved as a result. You can also comfortably use the screen from a further distance because of its size if you want to. If you like the wide aspect ratio then this screen is certainly capable of offering decent IPS-grade gaming performance.
 



Additional Gaming Features

Aspect Ratio Control - The 34UM95 has 5 options for aspect ratio control through the OSD Easy Control > Ratio menu. There are options for wide, original, cinema 1, cinema 2 and a 1:1 pixel mapping mode as shown below. The following table describes their operation:

Preset Modes - There is a specific 'game mode' available in the OSD which appears to make the image much cooler and more blue. Probably easier to set up the custom mode to your liking, although it's there if you want to try it out.




Lag

We have written an in depth article about input lag and the various measurement techniques which are used to evaluate this aspect of a display. It's important to first of all understand the different methods available and also what this lag means to you as an end-user.

Input Lag vs. Display Lag vs. Signal Processing

To avoid confusion with different terminology we will refer to this section of our reviews as just "lag" from now on, as there are a few different aspects to consider, and different interpretations of the term "input lag". We will consider the following points here as much as possible. The overall "display lag" is the first, that being the delay between the image being shown on the TFT display and that being shown on a CRT. This is what many people will know as input lag and originally was the measure made to explain why the image is a little behind when using a CRT. The older stopwatch based methods were the common way to measure this in the past, but through advanced studies have been shown to be quite inaccurate. As a result, more advanced tools like SMTT provide a method to measure that delay between a TFT and CRT while removing the inaccuracies of older stopwatch methods.

In reality that lag / delay is caused by a combination of two things - the signal processing delay caused by the TFT electronics / scaler, and the response time of the pixels themselves. Most "input lag" measurements over the years have always been based on the overall display lag (signal processing + response time) and indeed the SMTT tool is based on this visual difference between a CRT and TFT and so measures the overall display lag. In practice the signal processing is the element which gives the feel of lag to the user, and the response time of course can impact blurring, and overall image quality in moving scenes. As people become more aware of lag as a possible issue, we are of course keen to try and understand the split between the two as much as possible to give a complete picture.

The signal processing element within that is quite hard to identify without extremely high end equipment and very complicated methods. In fact the studies by Thomas Thiemann which really kicked this whole thing off were based on equipment worth >100,1000 Euro, requiring extremely high bandwidths and very complicated methods to trigger the correct behaviour and accurately measure the signal processing on its own. Other techniques which are being used since are not conducted by Thomas (he is a freelance writer) or based on this equipment or technique, and may also be subject to other errors or inaccuracies based on our conversations with him since. It's very hard as a result to produce a technique which will measure just the signal processing on its own unfortunately. Many measurement techniques are also not explained and so it is important to try and get a picture from various sources if possible to make an informed judgement about a display overall.

For our tests we will continue to use the SMTT tool to measure the overall "display lag". From there we can use our oscilloscope system to measure the response time across a wide range of grey to grey (G2G) transitions as recorded in our response time tests. Since SMTT will not include the full response time within its measurements, after speaking with Thomas further about the situation we will subtract half of the average G2G response time from the total display lag. This should allow us to give a good estimation of how much of the overall lag is attributable to the signal processing element on its own.

 

Lag Classification


To help in this section we will also introduce a broader classification system for these results to help categorise each screen as one of the following levels:

  • Class 1) Less than 16ms / 1 frame lag - should be fine for gamers, even at high levels

  • Class 2) A lag of 16 - 32ms / One to two frames - moderate lag but should be fine for many gamers. Caution advised for serious gaming and FPS

  • Class 3) A lag of more than 32ms / more than 2 frames - Some noticeable lag in daily usage, not suitable for high end gaming

For the full reviews of the models compared here and the dates they were written (and when screens were approximately released to the market), please see our full reviews index.

(Measurements in ms)

 

Total Display Lag (SMTT 2)

24.0

Pixel Response Time Element

4.75

Estimated Signal Processing Lag

19.25

Lag Classification

2

 Class 2

We have provided a comparison above against other models we have tested to give an indication between screens. The screens tested are split into two measurements which are based on our overall display lag tests (using SMTT) and half the average G2G response time, as measured by the oscilloscope. The response time is split from the overall display lag and shown on the graph as the green bar. From there, the signal processing (red bar) can be provided as a good estimation.

The screen showed a total average display lag of 24.0 ms as measured with SMTT 2. Taking into account half the average G2G response time at 4.75ms (Middle Response Time setting), we can estimate that there is ~19.25 ms of signal processing lag on this screen. This is moderate and could present problems for anyone sensitive to lag, or playing fast FPS games. On the other hand for a lot of casual gamers it shouldn't present any real problem as it's 1.5 frames of overall lag.

 


Movies and Video

The following summarises the screens performance in video applications:

  • 34" screen size makes it a good option for an all-in-one multimedia screen, and pushing towards the diagonal size of a lot of smaller end LCD TV's even.

  • 21:9 aspect ratio is well suited to videos and particularly movies, leaving smaller borders on DVD's and wide screen content at the top and bottom. The ultra-wide aspect and size is well-suited to watching movies and really works well.

  • 3440 x 1440 resolution can support full 1080 HD resolution content.

  • Digital interface support HDCP for any encrypted and protected content

  • HDMI and DisplayPort connections available. Nice to see HDMI connectivity included for modern DVD players, Blu-ray, consoles etc.

  • Cables provided in the box for HDMI and DisplayPort.

  • Light AG coating provides clear images with no major graininess, and without the unwanted reflections of a glossy solution.

  • Wide brightness range adjustment possible from the display, including high maximum luminance of ~293 cd/m2 and a good minimum luminance of 54 cd/m2. This should afford you very good control for different lighting conditions. Contrast ratio remains stable across most of that adjustment range as well and is excellent for an IPS-type panel. Brightness regulation is controlled without the need for PWM and so is flicker free at all settings which is pleasing.

  • Black depth and contrast ratio are excellent for an IPS-type panel at 1064:1 after calibration. Detail in darker scenes should not be lost as a result.

  • There is a specific 'cinema' preset mode available for movies or video in the OSD which looked a little more yellow than our calibrated custom mode.

  • Good pixel responsiveness which can handle fast moving scenes in movies without issue. No real overshoot issues which is good news. Just stick to the 'Middle' Response Time setting for optimum performance.

  • Wide viewing angles from IPS panel technology meaning several people could view the screen at once comfortable and from a whole host of different angles. White glow from an angle on black content is also very low indeed which was pleasantly surprising.

  • Some slight areas of backlight leakage but nothing major on our sample which is good. Some uniformity variations may be visible on darker movie scenes in darkened room conditions.

  • Very limited range of ergonomic adjustments available from the stand, with only a basic tilt adjustment offered. May present problems when viewing the screen from different positions.

  • Integrated stereo speakers offered on this model, may be ok for the odd video clip but probably not for any movie viewing.

  • Decent enough range of hardware aspect ratio options available which is very useful for external devices.

  • Picture By Picture (PbP) is available on this model.

     


Conclusion

When we first plugged the 34UM95 in we were surprised with just how big and wide the screen felt. However, when we connected up a more common 27" 2560 x 1440 to write this conclusion at the end of our testing we were amazed at how small and square it felt by comparison. It takes a couple of days to get used to the size and shape of the LG but once you do it is a nice screen to work and play with. We liked aspects of the styling, with the silver trim, thin bezel design and rounded back casing. We were a bit disappointed the stand wasn't a bit more flexible though as height adjustment is really a must-have we feel for a modern desktop display. The connections and extras provided were good though and LG had done a good job making this feel like a high-end model. One area we didn't like was the operation and appearance of the OSD menu. There were plenty of options available which was good, but we found it slow and annoying to use on the most part.

The default factory setup was good overall with only minor deviances from the desired targets. The contrast ratio was very strong for this type of panel which was pleasing, and the use of a flicker free backlight was a very welcome addition. Let's hope LG adopt that on more of their screens. Having the ability to hardware calibrate the screen is certainly a premium feature, and the software provided was easy to use and decent enough. We were a bit disappointed with the LG calibrator device performance, although at least it is cheap. You could obtain very good results with a third party device and we were glad LG have at least allowed a wide variety of devices to be used if you want to. Pixel response times were very good for an IPS panel as well, with freedom from any significant overshoot if you pick the right mode. The IPS panel certainly offered very good all-round performance here and we were impressed.

The ultra-wide format lent itself very well to a lot of uses. Split screen working, including LG's 4 screen split software was very usable on a screen this size and with this high a resolution. Gaming felt immersive and gave you a very wide field of view and many people will probably like the unusual but enjoyable format. Movies of course benefited from the "cinema style" format and looked very good. We expect to see more large and wide format screens appear and look forward to also testing the new curved 34" models when they arrive. In the mean time, the LG 34UM95 makes an impressive large and very wide screen, with a lot of good performance to back it up.

If you appreciate the review and enjoy reading and like our work, we would welcome a donation to the site to help us continue to make quality and detailed reviews for you.
 

Pros

Cons

Massive screen size, high resolution and comfortable pixel pitch

Limited ergonomic adjustments offered

Good factory calibration and default setup

OSD is slow, clunky and a bit frustrating to use

Effective hardware calibration function

LG calibrator not that reliable or versatile


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