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Readers Inquire About LG 31MU97 31-inch 4K Display

See also my review of the 24-inch NEC EA244UHD 4K UltraHD display.

Order LG 31MU97-B 31-inch 4K display at B&H Photo.
Order NEC PA322UHD with calibration software and calibrator unit
Order NEC PA322UHD WITHOUT software/hardware calibration (not advised)

As of October 2014, my workhorse color calibrated display is the NEC PA302W, the “PA” being the professional color-calibration series. The likely next step is the pro-grade NEC PA322UHD; see NEC to Offer 32-Inch Professional UltraHD 4K Display Soon (PA322UHD). I expect to have review unit soon.

Update: B&H Photo is sending an evaluation unit of the LG 31MU97 for review (due in mid/late Nov). Thanks to readers for using the links above to buy at B&H and support their support.

Several readers have noted that the LG 31MU97-B 31-inch 4K display is less than half the price, clearly an appealing prospect for many (thanks for using this site’s B&H links to buy if possible).

Remember that a computer capable of driving 4K is necessary (Macs: 2013 Mac Pro, 2014 iMac 5K, 2013/2014 MacBook Pro).

Initial thoughts:

  • The LG display offers 4096 X 2160 resolution in a 31-inch form factor (vs 3840 X 2160 in 32 inch). This makes the LG display slightly higher-res with slightly denser pixels. For video users, the true 4096-wide resolution is a decided plus.
  • Like the NEC displays, the LG display “dead ends” the connection (no Thunderbolt data port daisy-chaining). So iMac 5K users (2 ports) eat one port to attach such displays, leaving only one (1) Thunderbolt port. However, the display should work at the end of the Thunderbolt chain.
  • Actual gamut can vary greatly against specified official figures. For example, the NEC display gamuts tend to greatly exceed AdobeRGB gamut, into the reds and blues. So “95% of AdobeRGB” can mean very different things; that specification has to account for all color shades (some of which might not be reproducible), but it does not reflect superior gamut into some colors.
  • For some professionals, color gamut and grayscale uniformity and tracking over time and temperature are all important. On the flip side, these can be fine points that are of little concern to many users, particularly those simply looking for a 4K display of reasonable size for general use.
  • Claims of “hardware calibration” need to be borne out by actual results, supported properly with software and measurement hardware, etc. Moreover, calibration can be real (the display itself, true calibration in 14 bits including “3D LUT” support and so on), or faux calibration. Many users might be well satisfied with faux calibration, but in my experience over some years, I never found satisfaction with the stepping errors in dark tones using faux calibration.
  • Warranty and support matter (and this can vary throughout the world): NEC support has been excellent in my experience, but I have no information on LG.

There are other practical operational questions as simple as: does the display sync up properly and at 60 Hz, does it wake from sleep properly, does it make any noise or smell, etc.


Using 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs with Mac computers at Apple lists the LG 31MU97 as supported, but only at 30 Hz and 50 Hz, and it’s unclear if the 4096 X 2160 resolution is supported.

You can use 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs with these Mac computers.

MacBook Pro (Retina, Late 2013 and later)
Mac Pro (Late 2013)
iMac (27-inch, Late 2013 and later)
Mac mini (Late 2014)

You can use 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs at the following resolutions and refresh rates via the built-in HDMI port.

3840 x 2160 at 30 Hz refresh rate
4096 x 2160 at 24 Hz refresh rate (mirroring is not supported at this resolution)

With OS X Mavericks v10.9.3 or later, the following DisplayPort displays are supported at their default using single-stream transport (SST) at 30Hz.

Sharp PN-K321
Dell UP2414Q
Dell UP3214Q
Panasonic TC-L65WT600

With OS X Yosemite, you can use all of the above displays as well as the following:
- LG 31MU97 4K display (at 30Hz or 50Hz)


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