LG 34UC97 Curved UltraWide Monitor Review
An extremely solid display that's mildly under-cut by the screen curvature.
The LG 34UC97 (MSRP $1,299.99) is an excellent performer overall, though its image quality is somewhat marred by edge-bleeding in the corners, likely due to the curvature of the screen. Even still, testing revealed a good degree of color accuracy, decent white balance, and satisfactory contrast performance. On the other hand, the 34UC97 is generally a worse performer than the flat 34UM95, though the degree of perceptible error between one or the other is almost negligible.
Our color gamut test measures how accurate a monitor's color production is compared to the sRGB or Adobe RGB standards for digital/print color. The 34UC97 does not approach Adobe RGB colors, so it won't work for photo editors or print designers who need that wider color space, but it adheres to the sRGB standard quite well.
It's not without some imperfections, however. Green is a bit oversaturated, which in turn skews the fidelity of both cyan and white. Overall, however, this color accuracy is good enough for almost any task that doesn't require professional-grade color production.
Grayscale Error & RGB Balance
Displays like this one produce "grayscale" elements (neutral tones, like gray and white) by combining red, green, and blue. When the combined RGB sub-pixels are emphasized evenly, they create clean, color-free grayscale tones. When one or more is over- or under-emphasized, the remaining colors must take the "brunt" of electricity meant for luminous production and add their color, unduly, to would-be neutral tones. It ain't good.
Error within the grayscale is expressed in a collective called DeltaE, where a DeltaE of 3 or less is ideal. The 34UC97 tested with a slightly higher DeltaE than we would like to see in this price range, though nothing so bad that it was visually distracting. Overall, we measured a grayscale DeltaE of 8.71, which is a good bit higher than the 4.81 result we got from the 34UM95, the flat variant of this display.
If we take a look at the UC97's underlying RGB emphasis, we can see where the problems lie. The display tends to gradually under-emphasize blue as it adds light at each signal step from 0 to 255. This results in the slightly yellow tint of the white point that we saw during the color gamut section.
Gamma, usually measured as 2.0, 2.2, 2.3, or 2.4, is a measurement of how quickly (or slowly) a display adds luminance as it progresses out of black (minimum luminance) and travels to peak white (reference luminance). Typically, computer monitors adhere to a flat gamma of 2.2, which is ideal for a normally lit environment. The 34UC97 performed in an odd manner in this regard, behaving with more variance between gamma steps than is ideal.
Overall, we measured a gamma of 2.1, which is not that far from the gamma standards. On the other hand, the gamma itself was quite choppy and irregular, meaning that while collectively it creates a 2.1 luminance shift across the entire spectrum, luminance changes between steps are erratic and inconsistent.
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