LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN review: LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Fantastic black levels. Passive 3D is much kinder on the eyes than active. Front-mounted buttons and context-sensitive OSD make the monitor easy to use. Zero defective pixel policy.

The Bad Not great when used as a PC monitor. Better image quality out there for cheaper if you choose to forsake 3D. Crashing software for PC games. Competitors offer better than LG's one-year warranty. Display overly sharp. Wobbly stand.

The Bottom Line LG's D2542P-PN is more suited to console playing and movie watching when in 3D mode, but as a straight monitor there's much better value to be had elsewhere.

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Despite the huge marketing push, 3D has never appealed to us. The clunky glasses, the eye strain, the potential headaches induced by active shutter solutions — it's always seemed nothing more than a novelty designed to sell more TVs. Even that didn't quite work out as planned, with 3D slowly making its way to being just another check box on the features list.

And so here we have LG's Cinema 3D D2542P-PN — a solution that uses passive 3D glasses, which are lighter and induce considerably less eye strain. For prescription wearers, LG thoughtfully includes a lens-clip version, which due to being frameless is more immersive than the default set.

While 3D is certainly the marquee feature on the box, we want to see if it stacks up as a standard monitor as well. To the test lab!

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN front

LG's fascia is quite plain.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Specs at a glance

Size 25 inches
Resolution 1920x1080
Aspect ratio 16:9
Pixel pitch 0.288
Panel technology TN
Viewing angles
(10:1 contrast)
H: 170°
V: 160°
Response time 5ms black to black
Max vertical refresh 60Hz
Connections VGA, DVI, HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack (for HDMI/DisplayPort audio-out only)
Accessories VGA, DVI cables, framed and clip-on 3D glasses

Stand and ergonomics

LG's stand is the bare minimum — no cable management and tilt adjustment only. It also wobbles worryingly when touched, and the base can only be attached if you have a screwdriver or coin — there's no hands-free method as has been found on every other monitor we've seen.

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN stand

LG's stand is very basic, and the screen wobbles quite a bit after any adjustment.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Connections

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN inputs

Power, 3.5mm, VGA, DVI, HDMI.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

Buttons and on-screen display (OSD)

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN buttons

LG's buttons aren't labelled. In this case, it's not a bad thing.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

LG's buttons are pleasingly front-mounted, and aren't labelled because they don't need to be. They're context sensitive; that context being shown by the on-screen display (OSD), which is shown whenever a user hits any button. This means adjustments can be made quickly and easily in the dark as well as light. LG hasn't included an up button, though, which means if you accidentally miss a menu item, you'll have to cycle through the whole lot to get back to where you intended to be.

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN OSD

Thanks to its context-sensitive nature, LG's OSD is easy to use.
(Credit: Craig Simms/CBS Interactive)

By monitor standards LG's options are highly limited, giving brightness, contrast and RGB controls. There's also a "3D Color Effect", which dramatically over-sharpens for PC use, and can thankfully be turned off. There are "warm", "medium" and "cool" colour presets, but as always, we recommend you stick to "user" to get the most out of your display. Lamely, the video input can't be manually set: the monitor autoscans.

The D2542P-PN doesn't support 1:1 pixel mapping; if your resolution isn't the full 1920x1080, you only have the option of full screen or aspect scaling. It's worth noting that the scaling in the LG is awful and very blurry, causing significant degradation of image quality. 1080p all the way here, folks.

Performance

Using the LG as a straight monitor is a little off-putting due to obvious horizontal lines in the display. This is the price you pay for 3D — sit back over a metre or so, and it becomes unnoticeable.

For a TN screen, LG really has managed some impressive deep blacks, probably helped in part by the semi-gloss screen.

3D performance
LG's polarised glasses don't have curved lenses, and as such the frame dominates a large amount of your vision and sits a good distance from your face. The glossiness of the lenses also means any light sources behind you will reflect in them — an unwelcome distraction when your ocular focus is already being manipulated.

Good 3D isn't all about the glasses, however — it's a combination of painstaking work with the source material, and the technology used to realise that work. As a result you get a huge variety of quality, from images that have out-of-whack depth, to movies that throw things out of the screen at you and have their separate elements appear as if they're floating on separate 2D planes, to something more subtle and enjoyable like the efforts made in Avatar or Monsters vs. Aliens.

The optimal point for 3D viewing on the LG is around a metre away from the monitor, and it can only afford a small range of movement before things move out of alignment. Even in the sweet spot, ghosting is often present.

3D is achieved in two separate ways on LG's monitor; either via LG's included "TriDef" software, or for external devices, through the monitor's OSD. Mac users are sadly left out in the cold, and LG wastefully splits its software across two CDs instead of a single DVD: software on one, manual and monitor driver on the other.

Its TriDef 3D portal is a media centre-style application, allowing playback of movies and viewing of images. Its bare minimum stuff that simply splits an image into an interleaved version, and isn't the most intuitive interface we've used either — but it works.

The game launcher is a bit more complex. You can scan your hard drive for existing games that match the included profiles, or browse and add your own, so long as it uses DirectX 9 - 11. It also pops up on overlay telling you to use 1920x1080 if you are using another resolution.

Sadly, you can't create your own profiles within the app, you need to tweak within the game itself and the profile is saved automatically. This can lead to a situation where if LG's program causes your game to crash, you have to remove the profile and start all over again, otherwise your game will always crash. You can export your profile, but it's not human readable in any way — the end user is completely denied manual editing.

Once the program has been run, LG launches an overlay in which hotkeys can be used to adjust the stereoscopy depth and how far "in front" images appear. We tested Batman: Arkham Asylum and found that the stereoscopy had to be turned down to the lowest setting to reduce the image visibly splitting apart as the camera moved. Without fail, the 3D would also switch itself off partway through. Any attempt to reinitialise during the game would cause a crash. Game performance was also dramatically impacted, average frame rates at 1920x1080 dropping from 35 frames per second on our test machine to 13 frames per second.

Despite having a specific profile for Metro 2033, the game was incorrectly rendered to the point of only showing white light sources.

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Where to Buy

LG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN

Part Number: CNETLG Cinema 3D D2542P-PN

Typical Price: $449.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

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