LG 29LN450W UltraWide TV Review
LG's new display suffers from identity crisis
Behind the Screens
The LG 29LN450W (MSRP &649.99) has one standout trait: a native 21:9 aspect ratio, comprising 2850 x 1080 pixels. Yet from a classical standpoint, its picture quality is nothing special. Replete with some of the worst black levels we've tested all year, the LN450W ultimately failed to impress with sub-standard color fidelity and a horrible contrast ratio. On the other hand, we also tested excellent motion performance, perfect uniformity, and a very wide horizontal viewing angle for an LCD. Ultimately, this TV/monitor hybrid is great for some tasks, but quite unsuitable for others.
Contrast ratio is an X:1 figure determined by dividing a display's peak luminance (brightest output) by its minimum luminance (darkest output). The contrast ratio result says a lot about a display's ability to immerse the viewer in content. Unfortunately, for a TV, the LN450W sports a very poor contrast ratio.
We tested an overly bright black level of 0.44 cd/m2n and an equally stunted peak brightness of 120 cd/m2 within the LN450W's Cinema mode. The resulting contrast ratio of 272:1 is actually normal for a computer monitor, but is much too narrow for most televisions. In fact, it is awful, just really un-television worthy.
For an LCD "television," the LN450W actually has a very respectable viewing angle. We tested a total viewing angle of 115°, or ±57° from the center to either side of the screen. This means you'll be able to watch your ultra-wide screen from an ultra-wide number of angles without picture degradation.
While LG generally has a good track record with color fidelity, the 29LN450W didn't do so hot during our color tests. This television claims to fulfill "99% sRGB," which is the standard monitor gamut—again, what is this thing? Fortunately, the sRGB gamut and the international HDTV gamut are practically identical. Unfortunately for this display, its color accuracy needs a little fine-tuning. The primary colors (red, green, and blue) look more or less fine, but two of the secondary colors (cyan and yellow) are skewed to the wrong hue.
Grayscale & RGB Balance
A display's "grayscale" refers to the combined blacks, grays, and whites created by simultaneous use of its three sub-pixels. Imbalances in the utilization of sub-pixels can result in visual errors within the grayscale, the sum of which is expressed in DeltaE. The LN450W tested with a DeltaE of 5.29, which is out of the 3 or less acceptable range.
Taking a close look at the LN450W's sub-pixel balance reveals that it overemphasizes the blue sub-pixel and underemphasizes the red sub-pixel during grayscale production. This means a slightly blue tint will affect most of the neutral shades the display creates, which—obviously—is not ideal.
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