LG 34UM95: Solid Performance And Real Usability
When we last looked at ultra-wide displays, we concluded that, while they were solid choices for gaming and entertainment, their lack of resolution and screen height made them less useful for productivity. Now that LG is following up with a 1440p 34-inch wide screen, we are forced to reassess our judgement.
Many users like two or three monitors on their desks for the extra working/gaming space (Ed.: I use three QHD displays myself). Even a relatively mainstream PC allows for easy multi-tasking and lots of concurrently-running applications. So, we need displays able to accommodate that functionality. Plus, it’s nice to be able to connect a smartphone or tablet and see its output alongside the PC desktop without giving up significant screen area.
An informal poll of the Tom's Hardware editorial staff suggests that 27-inch QHD panels are just about right for a single- or dual-monitor setup. The height and viewing distance mean we can sit fairly close and still see the entire screen without turning our heads. With two displays, I personally like to put one directly in front for the main desktop and one off to the side for ancillary tools.
Sometimes it’s handy to be able to stretch a single program like Photoshop or Excel across a large area. Splitting the image across two monitors is certainly doable. However, on a display like the 34UM95, it becomes a way of working that’s hard to give up. Here’s a perfect real-world example. When I create comparison charts for Tom’s Hardware reviews, I have the charts and data on a single Excel page. Normally I’m scrolling left and right quite often. But when I perform the same task on LG's screen, I'm able to see the entire spreadsheet without scrolling. In Photoshop, it becomes possible for me to work with a lot more open files because no windows are hidden from view.
As far as this specific model is concerned, the 34UM95 performed extremely well through our benchmark tests. Its color and grayscale accuracy were among the best for sure. We would like to see better native contrast in a $1000 monitor, and we found some black screen uniformity issues plaguing our particular sample.
Accessory- and feature-wise, LG provides a complete package that includes an excellent screen window management utility. Screen Split is fantastic for quickly arranging content in as many as four zones, and it’s easily reconfigured or turned off with a few mouse clicks.
We expect many entertainment-seekers will enjoy the 34UM95's ultra-wide form factor. I'd stop short of calling it a gaming monitor, given that 60 Hz refresh rate. But input lag does measure a bit lower than other IPS-based panels we’ve tested. The immersion factor versus a single 27-inch QHD panel cannot be overstated. It offers nearly eight inches of extra width, and when you sit closer than three feet like I do, the screen almost fills your peripheral vision. With a good surround speaker system, movie-watching in the office can take on a whole new dimension!
So, if you’ve considered adding a second monitor to your desktop, we recommend giving the 34UM95 a look. Offering solid performance, a sleek-looking chassis, and superior usability to its 29-inch forebears, it may finally be a reason to add an ultra-wide display to your system.