LG 34UC97 34-Inch Ultra-Wide Curved Monitor Review

Results: Grayscale Tracking And Gamma Response

Our grayscale and gamma tests are described in detail here.

The 34UC97 comes with a factory-certified calibration in the form of a test result data sheet. LG measures grayscale tracking and gamma for each sample as it comes off the manufacturing line. Our out-of-box results, while decent, are not quite as good as claimed. The likely reason is that LG uses DeltaE 94 to track errors and we use DeltaE 2000, which is more stringent. Our analysis definitely falls in the realm of nit-picking, however. Aside from tiny aberrations in the 50- to 90-percent levels, this is good tracking.

After calibration, we achieved a superb result with no issues at all. The 34UC97 is obviously capable of professional-level accuracy. Given that it costs as much or more than many pro models, that’s a good thing.

Here is our comparison group:

A result of 2.57 DeltaE is perfectly respectable for any business-class screen. If you just want to plug and play with the 34UC97, you will be very satisfied with its image quality.

Of course, .72dE is even better. It's a worthwhile improvement to the monitor's grayscale tracking. We’re glad to see that the two most expensive displays include factory calibrations and can live up to their billing.

Gamma Response

Even though the 34UC97 ships in a factory-calibrated state, there is one important thing you must do if you want proper gamma tracking: turn off the Smart Energy Saving feature. If you leave it on, you’ll see a little brightness pumping in the image as content changes from dark to light. In our tests, each pattern flickered a bit as brightness increased. It’s a little like the auto-iris on a projector, except it does nothing to improve black levels.

We left the gamma preset alone and turned off SES. The resulting trace isn’t as flat as we’d like, but it’s not too bad. The impact on picture quality is barely noticeable. In the mid-tones you might see a slight flattening of the image. Most users won't perceive a problem, though.

Here is our comparison group again:

The slightly wavy tracking results in a last-place finish. Gamma values range from 2.37 to 1.94. It’s not that bad, but the other displays fare better.

We calculate gamma deviation by expressing the difference from 2.2 as a percentage.

The average value is 2.10, which is 4.54 percent below our standard of 2.2. We tried using the next-darker gamma preset, but this resulted in white balance issues at the higher levels. This is the only area where the 34UC97 could use some improvement. Color, as you’ll see on the next page, is quite good, as are the contrast and grayscale results we’ve recorded so far.

This thread is closed for comments
44 comments
    Your comment
  • Grognak
    I sure wish I could afford a screen like that, or the rig to go with it. Still, it's interesting how 21:9 just feels more natural when human FOV is about 4:3. It makes for great gameplay experiences, especially in first person games.
  • spp85
    Is this a FreeSync display?? Love to see the review here :)
  • loki1944
    Too bad it's not $1300 cool. Even the ROG Swift is cheaper than this.
  • Sanjirox
    Maybe it's 120 degrees per eye in which case 4:3 is a perfect match if you can only use one eye.
  • arossetti
    Waiting to see the new gaming model -u67. I'm sure the price on that one U.S. gonna suck too! But it is like buying two monitors.
  • Merry_Blind
    @Grognak Interesting! I've always wondered what was the actual aspect ratio of our vision. That 4:3 you talk about, is it per eye individually? or the two combined together?
  • Fokissed
    Human FOV, according to wikipedia:
    "The approximate field of view of an individual human eye is 95° away from the nose, 75° downward, 60° toward the nose, and 60° upward."
    "With eyeball rotation of about 90° (head rotation excluded, peripheral vision included), horizontal field of view is as high as 270°."
    This means 155°:135°(31:27, very squarish) for nonmoving eyes, and 270°:135°(2:1) for moving eyes.
  • RedJaron
    I think it's unforgivable that they didn't pack the USB cable. A USB3 A-to-B cable is not something most people have just have sitting on a shelf. You could argue that someone spending $1300 on a monitor has the money to pick one up, but I say for $1300 LG could have included a $5 cable in the box. Just ridiculous.
  • teahsr
    We know this is an expensive piece of equipment, but there isn’t anything else like the 34UC97 out there.

    ^^Except my Dell U3415W that is.....which is awesome..

    Now that 3440x1440 is around and more manufacturers are making this resolution, can we get it included in reviews?
  • moogleslam
    Needs 120Hz+ and G-Sync/FreeSync.
  • tegiri nenashi
    Widescreen propagandists logic is bizarre. 4:3 aspect ratio per _one_ eye? What do you have square eyes?
  • hardcore_player
    its a good monitor for productivity ..but not gaming ..it has a slow response time that increases the overall lag of the monitor , not to mention the input lag ....
    above all its way too expensive where i live .....huh.... 9,990 ILS = 2,552 USD
    DAMN...
  • CaptainTom
    Make it 5K with FreeSync and you have yourself a buyer LG!
  • flaxx
    Why not go to a 40" UHD TV (wrongly advertised as 4K), which has 1 PPI greater density, is larger with more screen real-estate and available everywhere at less than half the price!
  • aaab
    Would having two of these work? Or would having the curved screen muck that up?
  • steve4king
    I'm a little bit annoyed that the curve is so subtle. The purpose of curving a display shouldn't be just for the purpose of the marketing "Curved!" but should place the edges of the screen, relatively equidistant to your eyes as the center of the screen.

    This is an older display and the image is distorted, but shows a correctly designed parabolic arc.

    http://theawesomer.com/photos/2010/08/083010_ostendotech_43_curved_display_3.jpg

    How far does the focal point (my nose) have to be for the 34UC97 to be a reasonable parabola? From the pictures, I would guess nearly four feet.
  • HideOut
    the curve is prefect, if you sit at the perfect distance away. Thats all you gotta do, is either move forward or back to adjust...
  • morerice
    I'm curious who exactly these high-end monitors are designed for? It's not really optimized for serious pc gamers with the 5ms response time and 60 Hz refresh rate. At that price point, it may be more worthwhile to invest in a tv for console gamers. It's not really optimized for professional work either with only support for 8-bit color. It seems to have a target a rather niche market.
  • steve4king
    @HideOut Do you want the curve of the monitor to dictate how close you should sit to your monitor?

    I haven't found any numbers to describe the actual curve, but another review suggested that the focal point is actually closer to 10ft away. Do you want to pay a premium for this monitor, only to sit 10ft away because that is "the purfect distance"? This arc would be great if this were a 60"+ screen. But at 34" the curvature is unimpressive.

    Personally, I like to sit with my eyes about 24" from my monitor. I would pay $1500 for a 34" monitor with an arc that has a 26"-32" focal point. Sitting more than 32" from a 34" monitor greatly reduces the effect of the curve and also reduces the immersion (since 34" no longer fills your FoV at that distance.)

    If a manufacturer is going to take the time to make a curved monitor, I would want them to design it with a focal point, just slightly longer than the expected viewing distance. Is that unreasonable?
  • uber_national
    As an early adopter of the 34um95, I STRONGLY SUGGEST people stay away from ordering ultrawide monitors from LG until they have read personal reviews and anecdotes about the manufacturing dates and backlight bleed from the 34uc97.
    I dropped $1400 CAD in april on the 34um95 that has major backlight bleed splotches (re: ones that don't go away if you look at it from another angle) rendering the monitor useless for movie viewing in the dark (when it's the most annoying and obvious). Gaming suffers considerably too, as playing something like Alien: Isolation is difficult when you can't make out the shadows due to a giant grey splotch in your view that won't go away.
    My experience isn't alone: dozens of testimonials here: http://www.overclock.net/t/1476919/lg-34um95-and-lg-34um65-owners-club/410 show that not only does LG have poor build quality but also terrible service, often packing up the same monitor that was shipped back and sending it back out. You can imagine what the shipping costs would be on that alone.

    As far as I know the 34um95 manufacturing process still introduces terrible backlight bleed, and LG has done nothing about it -- so buy beware on this new, undoubtedly expensive model.
  • iam2thecrowe
    curved monitors just dont look right. As has been said, you really need to sit the perfect distance away. At this stage gsync and freesync should be at the top of any gamers list, you will need lower end PC hardware and can have lower framerates and still get smooth gameplay.
  • Skypine27
    I own both the flat LG 34 AND the curved LG 34 (flat model is for sale on ebay) using a 2 x GTX 980's in SLI. To me, they were both great screens and I don't notice any of this BLB complaint stuff. (but I game with the lights ON normal levels, not in a pitch black room.)

    But to the reviewer:
    Did you REALLY write this review via HDMI @ 50hz!??!?

    Both the flat and curved LG are limited to 50hz when using the HDMI input (unless doing the clever un official custom resolution creation work around with a GTX 970/980 HDMI 2.0 but you did NOT mention anything about this)

    So I have to assume you are reviewing this with normal HDMI, thereby limiting yourself to 50hz. The Black Level option is "grey-ed out" and non selectable with a DP connection, I can confirm this on my monitors. So if you have changed this setting, it means you are running HDMI @ 50 hz. Which would be a travesty when 60 hz via DP is available....

    Did I miss something?
  • Skypine27
    Some answers to peoples questions:
    1. This monitor (nor the flat one) does not support Free/G Sync.
    2. The new LG 34" coming out, the -67, does support Free Sync BUT it is NOT 3440 x 1440. I repeat, it is 2560 x 1080. Some early leak sites got the specs wrong and assumed the 34um67 would be 3440 x 1440 like the um95 and c97, but its sadly not:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGpR7ziHvQ
    3. I am exclusively a gamer and 'general' windows 8.1 user, and I loved the flat screen 34um95-9 as well as my 34uc97. I use high end hardware (2 x GTX 980s in SLI and obviously use the DP cable, not HDMI, to get 60hz). Games look amazing. I also owned the 144 hz Asus PG278Q with the same video card setup. Yes, the Asus at 144hz and g-sync on was AMAZING when it came to speed and the liquid like fluidity of motion. But the picture, colors, and size of the LG's won out (for me) and I sold the Asus on ebay.
    4. Yes, it was lame that the curved LG did not come with the USB 3.0 Type B cable whereas the flat screen model DID come with this cable.
  • milkod2001
    @Skypine27

    From your personal experience which would you recommend curved of flat and why?

    give us some CONS/PROS. Could curved screen be used for productivity?(graphic Design)

    Thanks