My trusty old Samsung 305T 30inch monitor has died finally. Well, not exactly died, it's backlight died. I could get it fixed and extend its life again, but I gave up.
Why? Biggest reason is Power Consumption. It really killed in power consumption and I was in the market for a replacement monitor which is LED backlight so I can have some advantage in power consumption and heat production. No more do I have to sweat out during long summer post-processing hours, nor do I have to worry about leaving the screen on for too long.
Anyway, here's my new set up.
Comes my new monitor at work, AOC Q2963PM. An ultra wide 21:9 ratio monitor with IPS panel and LED backlight. Now, the laptop at the side is someone else's. I was setting up windows for him. And don't mind the loose photos hung on the wall, that's just something I found from the garage that's got me in it.
I've only used this monitor for less than a week now, and I don't play games as much as I used to, so I'll have a brief notes on how I feel about this monitor.
Size It's screen is as high as usual 23 inch full HD wide monitors. It's about an inch wider than 30inch monitors. I've done some research and calculations, and any 23 inch wide monitors will go on the sides quite nicely with almost the same pixel size and screen height, with the same pixel count. Which is why I am planning on getting extra 2 23 inch wide monitors to each side.
Monitor Calibration Probably the most important part. It went well with my Spyder 3 Elite. Compared to my old 30 inch monitor, colour does not seem off at all. It actually pops quite well, and after calibration, spot on.
Feel about the ratio It was very awkward in the beginning. Seems extreme wide and very short. Very shot was what my wife said when she saw it on desk. Actually, she couldn't see it at first as she was so used to glaring the monitor from standing point. Good thing is, I don't get as much glare from the window on my back. Even with antiglare coat I had with Samsung 305T, I could still see a bright blurry spot at the top right side of my screen which was the reflection from the window. Now, since this new monitor is short, I don't get that top right glare. I guess it needs some time to get used to. But it seems after only a few days, I'm already quite comfortable with it. At the sitting height, I think this is just about the right size to do any sort of documenting work. Web surfing is easy and slight bigger text helps in reading long articles. Watching movie is great if the ratio is right. If the ratio is off, then I get too much of wasted black screen at the left and right which is quite annoying. It feels like I'm not getting any advantage here. BUT, when the screen is filled with correct aspect ratio movies, It looks amazing and feels great. Now, problem is when I'm editing. For landscape photos, not much problems. The screen is so wide, I can have lightroom in develop mode and pull all side taps and my photo in 3x2 ratio will still be filling up the screen. Problem is when I'm doing portrait photos. It looks awful tiny, especially coming from 30 inch monitor. It looks so tiny, I even feel like I'm looking at laptop screen with portrait photos. And although in library mode, I see quite a lot of photos in one glance, I still feel it's just laid out too wide and feel quite restricted. Not much problem I see with colour reproduction, but height restriction is quite a handicap.
Overall When I bought the monitor from the shop, I heard one of the shop clerks said, "you know that ultra wide gaming monitor". Now, I used to play lots of games. But I never found ultra wide to be good for gaming, UNLESS there is a native support from the game. I know there will be more games providing full support for this awkward aspect ratio for games, but I think it's still not good enough to be called as a gaming monitor. Rather, multimedia monitor seems fitting to me. For photography purpose, I think this will work just well. Many are still using professional grade 24 inch monitors to do their photo post process works. This is not much shorter from those and you get quite a bit of extra to the side. As I'm typing this, I'm only using half the screen right now. The other half, I'm glancing over some works I've done today in lightroom. Some people recommended this as an ultimate multitasking monitor at a budget. I still say, if you are as much as a multitasker as I am, you still need extra monitor. But if you enjoy the IPS screen's bright screen with LED backlights power consumption, and multimedia connectivity (you can connect your tablet, add extra monitor with DP and stuff) this is a great monitor for you.
I can see myself holding on to this monitor for a long time, with extra monitors at the side. Of course it will be until I can afford myself a 4k 28-32 inch monitor.