Using a single display with a computer can be a bit restrictive, especially if you’re using lots of programs or software that need a lot of desktop space. LG's 34UM95-P monitor seeks to remedy this, either on its own or as a second screen. Gizmag spent a week with this ultrawide 21:9 monitor to see how it measured up.
The 34UM95-P was announced at CES earlier this year to much lusting and leering. As noted in our article at the time, it flew rather under the radar in light of various headline-grabbers like 4K TVs, smartwatches and smartglasses.
LG calls it "the world's first 34-in ultrawide QHD" monitor, and it's the monitor's aspect ratio that's the headline act here. At 21:9, it's as though a standard (16:9) monitor has been pulled at either side and stretched to movie-friendly proportions. This is great for people working with timelines, such as video editors or music producers. Even if, like me, you just use it to display more windows at one time, the additional display real-estate is really very useful and it's pleasing that it's not split across multiple smaller monitors.
When the aspect ratio is coupled with a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440, using the 34UM95-P is a little like using four monitors in one. There is a huge amount of space. Graphic designers are likely to enjoy using the screen as one large canvas, avoiding the need to scroll and zoom around to the same extent as would be the case with 16:9 aspect monitors. For those simply juggling windows, the 34UM95-P comes with a nifty piece of software that allows you to split the screen up into different sections.
The 4-Screen Split software takes the form of an icon that will switch to a new screen configuration each time it is clicked. Up to eight different screen layouts are available to which windows will snap, from fullscreen to varying two- and three-screen splits, to having the screen split into quarters. The simplicity of this tool has to be applauded. It would have been easy to over-engineer a piece of software for selecting the required layout. Credit to LG for recognizing that sometimes less is more. I should add that using day-to-day software in full-screen mode can be a revelation. Microsoft Excel stretches to 47 columns and 63 rows, for example. Other pieces of software, such as Microsoft Word or internet browsers do not really gain much, which is when the screen is best split up.
Where colors are concerned, less is definitely not more. Happily, LG has got this right too. The 34UM95-P screen looks stunning. Colors are rich, deep and well-balanced. 10-bit color is supported and the True Color Finder software allows Windows users to calibrate the display to their preferences.
For me, I found that the programs I use day-to-day, such as Spotify and Tweetdeck, looked super sharp and were rendered with much greater contrast than most other monitors can offer. Videos too took on a different life. Of course, being display in a 21:9 ratio meant that the screen was filled without a letterbox view. Better than that though, was how rich the colors looked and smooth the motion was.
Among the other features of the 34UM95-P are the ability to daisy-chain two or more of the monitors using Thunderbolt 2 connections and to link-up two devices to the monitor and have them both displayed simultaneously via split-screen. The monitor also features what LG calls its "Flicker Safe" technology, which aims to minimize flickers and blue lights, thereby reducing the strain on your eyes.
The 34UM95-P is a joy to use. Content looks superb on it and it provides plenty of screen space. There are a few minor niggles, though. For example, managing the layout, behaviors and themes of two monitors when one is 4:3 and the other is 21:9 required a bit of attention. Background images, for example, won't work on both. It would been nice, therefore, to have some software included for that, although there is third-party software available.
On the whole, however, this is a high-quality display that achieves what it sets out to offer. The only question to ask yourself is whether you can justify the US$1,000-1,200 price tag. I certainly don't think that's an unreasonable price, but I expect it seems more worth the money for video editors, graphics pros, photographers and music producers than for home users.
The LG 34UM95-P is available to buy now in markets across the globe.
Product page: LG 34UM95-P
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