My LG 27EA83-D does NOT have PWM (and other notes)

romkyns

n00b
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
3
After spending ages reading reviews of various 2560x1440 displays, I went for the LG 27EA83-D. Various reviews say it has 120 Hz PWM, terrible input lag, vastly oversaturated colors, too much leakage, uneven brightness etc, so I was fully prepared to send it right back, depending on what it actually looks like.

All my fears were unfounded. This is one gorgeous screen. If I only had a chance to see it in person, I would have just bought it straight away.

Most importantly, it does not have PWM at any brightness setting. I can usually spot low frequency PWM quite easily, for example it's trivially visible on my Samsung S4 Mini. You just shift your gaze and see the strobe effect. Not on this monitor!

Seeing as I couldn't notice any PWM, I tried testufo.com's PWM tests, and once again saw nothing. Finally, I grabbed my camera, set it to manual focus and 1/4s exposure, and took some photos while moving the camera left to right across a couple of images:

Original (JsFiddle):
7067Kkx.png


Moving photo at brightness=0, showing just three of those white pixels smeared left to right:
msUqXwH.png


Moving photo at brightness=50:
wPZQvSs.png


Moving photo at brightness=100:
1sff4fE.png


So, my LG 27EA83-D does not use PWM.

Bear in mind that this was done hand-held, without a rail, so it's not perfect. Still, no trace of PWM. Also, the ISO is quite high at 800 and I've also cranked up the brightness in each photo, hence all that grainy grayish background.

If anyone isn't convinced, here's the same single pixels pattern shown on my Samsung S4 Mini phone at brightness=0:
37nish7.png


I count exactly 60 dots, which for a 1/4s exposure translates to 240Hz PWM. That's on my phone, not the LG display, for those skimming through my post inattentively. Hopefully you'll believe me now that I can photograph a 240 Hz PWM if it's there to be photographed in the first place :)



Firmware version

Many reviews mention that the old firmware has a huge input lag, and that v1.25 or v1.29 fixes it. It was also said that it is impossible to get this firmware anywhere. Well, my screen came with firmware v1.42 (!), much later than the overclockers.ru review that used 1.09:

5QHU9J1.png


Maybe this is why there is no PWM. Bought this one off eBuyer.com (UK).



Nitpicks

The default color mode is "Custom", which results in ugly over-saturated colors. Just switch yours to sRGB or Adobe RGB and it'll be fine. I used mine in sRGB mode for some time and it was alright, but eventually I set everything to custom and tweaked to my liking. Result: the whites are nearly twice as bright (same brightness setting) compared to sRGB mode, but the saturation remains reasonable and the colors look natural. Gamma tests show slight deviation here and there, by up to 0.1 point, but for non-color-sensitive work I do (software development, games, movies) it's very good. My settings, in case they work for others: contrast 76, color mode custom, gamma 1, color temp custom, red 48, green 44, blue 52, six colors all saturation 40 except magenta 50 and red hue 56. Six Colors mode works well enough for non-color-sensitive work.

The default sharpness level is 5. The Lagom sharpness test shows that this is not the neutral setting. The neutral setting for me was 6. Again, a puzzling default. Everything looks crisp on 6 and there are no noticeable artifacts.

The blacks are not as deep as my 10 year old PVA-based screen. I only noticed after comparing the two side by side though. A fully-black picture does look IPS-glowy-sucky, but I don't notice this in actual use. My AMOLED phone screen is a pitch-black hole compared to both the LG and the old PVA-based LCD... even when the phone is 100% bright and the LG is 0% bright. AMOLED FTW!

The darkest setting is as bright as my phone on 10% brightness. Too bright to use in complete darkness. Fortunately I always use mine in a brightly lit room, and I actually love the way it looks on maximum brightness.

You're gonna have a bad time if you hope to up your Windows DPI setting. It just doesn't work to a satisfactory degree. Not in Windows 7, anyway. I left mine at 100% and instead increased all the font sizes everywhere. This works well enough for me. You'll also have to zoom in the websites; the default font size is too tiny. On the upside, I do love that it's a high(ish)-DPI screen; the crisp fonts are ridiculously gorgeous.

The cable management doesn't just suck. It is non-existent. The cables just dangle there, and the stand is too thin to hide them. I hate all the reviewers who show photos without cables. The screen is not nearly as tidy as they make it look. Plus, if you do try to attach the cables to the stand with cable ties, you lose the ability to raise/lower the screen. Terrible.

The touch buttons suck big time. They are positioned in such a way that you really want to place your fingers over all three (left/right/OK) while navigating the OSD, so as not to lose them. Except you can't, because they react to touch. So you end up hunting for the right button every time, constantly pressing the wrong one (or having to look away from the OSD and at the buttons). If you want to change brightness all the time, it will get very annoying very quickly. The OSD menu itself, however, is rather pleasant and intuitive. Well done on that one.

Until you enter the OSD menu, the left/right buttons do nothing. What a missed opportunity. Could have used these as a direct shortcut to the brightness setting.

The stand is not as wobbly as some reviews suggest. It doesn't swivel, which is rather sucky. The stand is sticky enough that if you try to swivel by rotating the panel, it feels like it's gonna break off the stand before the stand loses friction with the desk. Rotating the stand base is very difficult. Basically, this is a no-swivel screen.



Verdict

I'm keeping it. It is lovely. The hate aimed at this screen in some reviews and HardForum posts is undeserved. I wouldn't mind seeing it next to a Samsung S27A850D or Viewsonic VP2770-LED to compare directly, of course, but someone here posted about buying the LG and the Viewsonic and said the LG looks vastly superior. Can't say I've seen both, but in real life (rather than contrived test scenarios), it is a gorgeous screen.

If you have any questions, ask.
 
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seb87

Weaksauce
Joined
Mar 15, 2007
Messages
105
great review! i've change my opinion yesterday before buying a new 27 inch display...

before i was certein to buy the lg...but after some review i move to the viewsonic vp2772...
 

Mr.Pixel

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 30, 2010
Messages
138
Thanks for the review and all the PWM test info. If you have a minute, you should send a link to this page to TFTCentral.co.uk so they can add it to their PWM-free displays list.
 

NCX

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
6,224
Wonderful news except there is no way to guarantee one gets a new unit, therefore it should remain on the garbage list, especially for those who do not have access to retailers with hassle free return and exchange policies.

It was criticized because of the insultingly low PWM frequency, fact that it is a wide gamut monitor=over-saturated and inaccurate colors when not color managed or using the sRGB mode and the reviews (PRAD, =DEAD=, Playerwares) indicated that the sRGB mode sucks since it has poor contrast (600-700:1) and mediocre sRGB color space coverage which made the sRGB mode vastly inferior to many similarly priced standard gamut 1440p monitor. Then there is the input lag variance...
 

romkyns

n00b
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
3
Will drop a link to TFTCentral. Got in touch with =DEAD= but he didn't seem very interested in mentioning this fact in his old review. He clearly wasn't a fan of this display, although having read many of his other reviews, I feel his mood is not always consistent with the numbers he measures.

=DEAD= measured the sRGB coverage at 97.8%, but I would agree about the contrast. It is noticeably poor in both of the precalibrated modes compared to the factory defaults. Really wish I could say something about the input lag, but best I can do is that I saw no perceptible difference between this screen and my old Samsung 173P and Eizo L768 while running around in CS (both LCD-based, so a poor test).

Maybe LG will think twice next time they consider releasing a half-baked product. Should have either fixed the firmware first, or bumped the model number after fixing it, else there really is no way to know what you'll get when you buy one...

P.S. Oh also, the official site states the UK warranty is 24 months, not 12 months.
 
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NCX

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
6,224
=DEAD= measured 83% sRGB coverage (the cheapest IPS monitors cover 87%+) in the sRGB mode which is horrible and the contrast sucks which makes it an awful choice for those who want proper colors and deep blacks in programs which are not color managed like games.

A PWM Free unit with low input lag is pretty good once calibrated using the default mode and used with color managed programs or by those who don't appreciate art design and color accuracy.
 
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