Up until recently all 120Hz+ LCD monitor intended for gaming (regardless if for stereo 3D use or not) were using TN-based LCD panels due to the fact that this technology provides the best results in terms of pixel response and that is something you need if you want to have a higher refresh rate. TN LCD panels may be the fastest in terms of response, however they have other no so good aspects when compared to VA-based and IPS-based panels, but fortunately we now have what seems to be the first gaming oriented 120Hz LCD monitor with a VA-based panel from Eizo (it does not support stereoscopic 3D!). If you are not familiar with the name Eizo it is probably because up until recently the company was focused on professional monitors and it just recently started making monitors targeted at gamers.
EIZO Foris FG2421 is actually is not their first gaming monitor, but is the first one that is able to work at 120Hz refresh rate and as already mentioned it is nt with a TN panel. Eizo markets this monitor as a 240Hz gaming monitor, however this can be a bit misleading if you don’t read the details, in fact it is a 120Hz monitor that has a built-in processing to simulate 240Hz. Eizo calls this function “Turbo 240” and you can enable or disable it from the OSD menu of the monitor, what it does is doubling the frames (not interpolating, but doubling) and strobing the backlight in between them and the end result is a significant reduction in motion blur. This is pretty similar to how the 3D Lightboost technology on more recent 3D Vision-compatible monitors functions, although there is no frame doubling with them. Definitely an interesting thing to see as this Eizo monitor can turn out to be a great alternative to buying a 3D Vision-ready monitor that you may not use in stereo 3D mode at all, especially considering the fact that there are no other 120Hz displays out there that use better LCD panels than TN, so if you are not into 3D and hacking Lightboost to work in 2D mode you might want to check the EIZO Foris FG2421 out. Eizo also promises low input lag (less than 10ms) and no noticeable flickering with reduced brightness by using DC control and high rate PWM (Hi-PWM) control for driving the backlight instead just PWM.
– For more information about the EIZO Foris FG2421 gaming monitors…
– Additional information about how the Turbo 240 function works (PDF)…
Don’t ask me why I did not do this check earlier since I have the iZ3D monitor available for quite some time now, anyway here are a few comparison shots between the 22-inch iZ3D Monitor and the Samsung 2233RZ for which we already know that does not have any input lag. The iZ3D monitor is on the left and the Samsung is on the right on the photos below with both monitors connected to a single VGA output by using a DVI splitter cable as this is the right way to get correct results…
As you can see from the comparison photos there is very little to no difference between what is being displayed on both monitors at the same time. The first two photos show very slight shadow from the previous numbers being displayed, but that is most likely due to slower response time than to actually having input lag on the display. Anyway, I can pretty much say that the 22-inch iZ3D monitor does not have problem with the input lag and thus is a great for gaming for both plain 3D and stereo 3D without compromising with the player’s performance by introducing additional delays when displaying the image on the screen…
The first 120Hz LCD monitor from LG is now starting to appear on the market, the display is based on the introduced at the end of last year 23-inch 120Hz LG LCD panels. What LG is offering is another 23-inch Full HD monitor that is compatible with Nvidia’s 3D Vision active shutter glasses for displaying stereoscopic 3D content. And the LG W2363D is becoming another alternative to the Acer GD245HQ/GD235Hz and the Alienware OptX AW2310 as well as the soon expected to be available ASUS VG236H. So it seems that the things in the field of 120Hz monitors is starting to finally heat up and having more competition is just going to benefit us – the end users, because we are going to have wider choice of products, more affordable prices and better and better performing displays. But let’s get back to the LG for now and see what the W2363D offers and after that to put the monitor to some tests…
Specifications of the LG W2363D
Panel Size: 23″ Widescreen, 16:9
Panel Type: TN – Twisted Nematic
Native Resolution: 1920×1080 (Full HD)
Contrast ratio: 70000:1 (dynamic)
Maximum brightness: 400 cd/m2
Response Time: 3ms (typical) (GtG)
Viewing angles (hor./vert.): 170/160 degrees
Video Connectivity: 1x Dual-Link DVI, 2x HDMI
Energy consumption: 49W (in use), 1.4W (in standby)
Size & Weight: 555.5×205.95×419.2 mm, 5.2 kg
You can probably notice very easy that the specs are quite similar to that of the competition. An interesting thing here is the higher maximum brightness level that can be a plus for when using the stereo 3d mode, but that needs to be verified. Another thing that I’m pretty sure you’ll ask about, because the availability of two HDMI inputs, is if they will be 1.4 or not and if they can be used for feeding 3D content to the monitor? The answer to this question is no, they are not HDMI 1.4 and in order to display stereo 3D content on the LG you’ll need to use the Dual-Link DVI input on the monitor.
The monitor that I’ve tested is not an earlier sample, it is a production model just like the ones that are being sold already on some markets and that will soon be available on others. The monitor I got for a few days in order to test has been produced in May 2010 and has been assembled in Poland (Europe), but depending on where you live things might be a bit different in your case. Also have in mind that it is quite possible that different monitors from the same model might perform differently from the one I tested, although the tolerance in results should not be that big.
The LG W2363D uses a touch sensitive (capacitive) controls for navigation inside the monitor control menu. This looks and feels Ok, but you might need some time in order to get accustomed to quickly and accurately use the navigation buttons inside the menu. I want to point out the first button on the left (the one with a joypad icon) that is quite important, because it controls the so called THRU Mode on the display and that mode is important as it is intended to eliminate the input lag when activated, but more about that in a bit. And if the standard menu on the monitor is not enough for you, then you can also go to the Service Menu, but be careful and sure you know what you are doing should you decide to change settings in the Service Menu!
Accessing the Service Menu on LG W2363D LCD Monitor
– Turn off the monitor by pressing the Power button
– Press and hold the Menu button and then push the Power button to turn on the monitor
– When you see the image on screen you can release the Menu button and press it again to call up the Service Menu
– When you finish with the service menu you can turn the monitor off and then on again to be back in the normal mode
Should you have trouble and the display gets locked up and not responding to your commands, just disconnect the power cable for a bit and reconnect it and everything should be back to normal. Have in mind it is not recommended to play with the options in the Service Menu if you don’t know what you are doing! Unfortunately, unlike on the Acer GD245HQ/GD235HZ, here with the LG 2363D you don’t have an option to turn on and off the Overdrive function of the display in the service menu.
An important thing that you should know about the LG is that when it switches to 3D mode the brightness level (the Contrast slider) is automatically forced to 55 no matter what value you have set it to in 2D mode. The Brightness slider (controlling the contrast on the monitor) also becomes locked in S3D mode, but it retains the value you’ve set it to in 2D mode, you just cannot change it while in this mode. This might not be a significant problem, but the maximum brightness out of the possible 400 cd/m2 by specifications gets significantly limited while in 3D mode. I suppose that the reason for locking brightness to a lower level is that with 55 it provided the optimum results in terms of the monitor being bright enough while the ghosting that is visible being as little as possible.
I’ve already mentioned that the so called THRU Mode available on the LG is designed to eliminate any input lag that the monitor might have, so that you are not going to have delays in your reaction time while playing competitive games. In 2D mode you have control over that function if you wish to have it enabled or disabled, but when you switch to stereo 3D mode the function automatically becomes activated and you have no control over it, so you cannot disable (no that you would want to). But let’s put that function to the test and see if it really does what it is supposed to… Unfortunately I was not able to get a Acer GD245HQ/GD235HZ monitor to compare directly with the LG W2363D, so I did the comparison with the Samsung 2233RZ instead, but as I’ve already compared the Samsung 2233RZ and ViewSonic VX2268WM and found they both have the same input lag, and that input lag is almost identical to that of a good CRT display (meaning input lag of less than 1 ms if there is any at all). On the other hand the Acer GD245HQ/GD235HZ monitor has between zero to about 15-16 ms input lag delay compared to the ViewSonic and all this can help a lot in judging the results I got from the LG below, so pay good attention.
The minimum input lag I’ve managed to get with the THRU Mode disabled was 9 milliseconds delay as compared to the Samsung monitor. And after taking a long series of photos with an exposure time of 1/1000th of a second and high ISO setting the maximum input lag I was able to measure was about 18 seconds. Have in mind that these tests are performed with the use of a DVI splitter cable instead of connecting the two monitors to the two outputs of the video card and using a clone mode as my tests confirm that using the clone mode does not provide accurate results as compared to using a single monitor output with a splitter cable.
Enabling the THRU Mode on the LG completely eliminates the input lag on the LG, bringing it down to exactly the same results the Samsung is showing. So the THRU Mode on the LG does exactly what it is supposed to do – eliminate the input lag completely. So LG did a good job in providing a fast 120Hz LCD gaming display that has no input lag at all, but is the monitor so good in other aspects too?
One of the more serious (on the annoying side) issues with most of the currently available 120Hz LCD monitors is that the do have some backlight bleeding – more or less, depending on the model. The backlight bleeding is easily visible on completely dark image covering the whole screen (black for example) and the issue is presented in the form of non-uniform lit screen – brighter and darker areas. In the case of the LG W2363D there is almost no backlight bleeding, just a bit very close to the edges which is another good point of the LG, however you should be aware that the bleeding issue might be more apparent on some of the LG displays and less apparent on others.
I’ve already mentioned that you cannot disable the Overdrive function here on the LG (using higher voltages to make pixels switch their state faster in order to improve their response time). The Overdrive needs to be active when you are displaying stereo 3D content on the monitor as otherwise the response time of the pixels might drop too much and thus the ghosting you’ll be getting might increase significantly. On the other hand, when in 2D mode as a side effect of the overdrive you might notice that the picture is a bit too sharp, and this oversharpening might not be convenient for some people, but might as well be just fine with others – a matter of personal preferences. For me personally that is not an issue, but for some people the oversharpening of the image is a serious problem. And since you cannot disable the Overdrive function you cannot get rid of that sharpening on the LG, unlike on the Acer.
When talking about the level of crosstalk/ghosting the LG is performing quite well, very low level of ghosting even in the good sailboats test that is ideal to catch issues with ghosting, because of using very bright moving objects over a darker background as well as having a higher separation. The level of ghosting on the LG is quite similar to that seen on the Acer GD245HQ/GD235Hz monitors and probably as well as on the Alienware, but I’m not sure about that as I haven’t personally seen/tested the Alienware OptX AW2310 monitor yet.
Some color ghosting is present as well, but that is to be expected because of the Overdrive. The level of the burnt colors here you may see as shadows around bright objects on darker backgrounds is a little bit less than on the Acer, but the difference is not that big. The game Tomb Raider underworld is a good example to demonstrate that whit higher separation and that game does allow very high depth levels if you can handle them of course.
The problem with the top ghosting is still there on the LG as well as with just about any other 120Hz LCD monitor currently available. The usual reason of the presence of ghosting at the top of the monitor even if there isn’t any on the other part of the display is due to the synchronization timing between the glasses and image being drawn on the screen. Maybe we’ll see an improvement in that with version 2 of the 3D Vision glasses if/when they become available, but for now you should still be ready to tolerate a bit of top ghosting. Lowering the depth level should generally bring down the top ghosting.
Let’s take a look at the default color reproduction of the LG and what is the brightness level that you get. Now, here you should not expect great results and very accurate results as this monitor is using a fast TN panel and not a PVA/MVA/IPS-based one. But getting very accurate color reproduction on a gaming monitor has never been a goal for any producer of such hardware, if you need a monitor for working with colors – graphic design, web design, photo editing and printing etc., then you need a different class of monitor…
Nevertheless the LG is doing quite good and becomes even better after a calibration. The brightness levels are also quite high, so the end results are very good for the specific task of using the display for playing 3D videos and photos as well as gaming in stereo 3D mode. After pushing the brightness level of the display just to measure the maximum brightness I was able to get up to 305 cd/m2 measured, but then again the display is not very comfortable to be used with these settings, even the colors are reproduced with a high deviation with the delta E going over 16.
As a conclusion I can say that the LG W2363D is really a good step towards improving the 120Hz LCD monitors for providing better and better results in stereo 3D mode. No input lag, little ghosting, nice feature set. The LG is comparable to the competition and even bests other good displays like the Acer GD245HQ/GD235HZ in some aspects, but that comes with a bit higher price level than that of the Acer… though still cheaper than the Alienware. So if you already have a first generation 120Hz LCD from Samsung or ViewSonic you may still want to keep it and wait for even better new models, unless you really want to upgrade. But if you are currently thinking of buying your first 120Hz 3D-capable LCD monitor then the LG might be almost the perfect choice for you, at least for now, but depending on how you plan to use it and for what the Acer might also be a very good alternative choice.
And at the end another possible issue that might arise should you decide to get three LG monitors to build a 3D Vision Surround setup with them is that the monitor does not offer the thinnest bezels and the bottom of screen has an extension with a thicker round bezel. And if you decide to overlap the bezels of the display in order to minimize the “lost” screen space within the 3D Vision Surround configuration you might have trouble getting things right. The center screen will be a bit further or backwards compared to the other two because of the thicker bottom of the bezel.