REVIEW 30" First F301GD Live (updated with calibration)

Discussion in 'Video Cards & Monitors' started by Fortigurn, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    Here are my initial thought son the 30" First F301GD Live (perfect pixel). This review will be updated when I have the opportunity to calibrate the monitor with a coloromiter. I managed to find the website of the original Korean manufacturer; those interested can find more information on the monitor here.

    Vendor

    I purchased from 2560x1440 Monitor in Korea. Key service features.

    * Tested before shipping
    * Perfecta Pixel ('up to 1pcs of black dead pixel may be included')
    * 12 month warranty

    The monitor cost US$479.98, and DHL shipping from Korea was free. I ordered it on a Wednesday, and it arrived on the Friday. There was a small fee of US$5 to pay the courier, which was fair enough given he had carried it up three flights of stairs to our apartment. :lol:

    It was well packaged and arrived in one piece.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Dead pixels

    There aren't any. :)

    Mounting

    As with all Korean monitors, the stand isn't going to win any design awards. It's plastic, fastening to the monitor with four screws, two of which didn't want to go in all the way. The stand supports the monitor, but that's all it does. It will sway and rock alarmingly if the desk is bumped hard, but even after I shoved the desk around very hard, the monitor remained in place. The fact that it sits very low on the stand, close to the surface of the desk, undoubtedly helps (the low center of gravity helps keep it stable). The stand provides limited swivel and tilt ranges (and of course no option for portrait orientation), but I managed to nudge it into a convenient position.

    Interestingly, the monitor is VESA mount ready (200mmx100mm), with four screw holes conveniently accessible on the back. This is a welcome change from many Korean monitors, which require some dis-assembly of the monitor in order to access VESA mount screw holes.

    [​IMG]

    Color gamut

    The color depth advertised online is '10bit, 1.07 Billion Colors', and it's CCFL backlit, so I am hoping it has an extended color gamut. However, the box has 'Display Color: 16.7M' on the outside. I will only be able to verify its gamut once I've had a chance to purchase a proper coloromiter (I'm going to pick up the Sypder 4 Express).

    Editing images in Lightroom and Photoshop on this monitor is a dreamy experience, so I hope it's a wide gamut monitor. Even if it isn't, if it can render color sufficiently accurately for my printing purposes then I will most likely buy another one.


    Edit: I have now calibrated the monitor with a Spyder 4 Pro. As I suspected, it is not a wide colour gamut monitor. It covers 98% of sRGB, 74% of NTSC, and 78% of AdobeRGB.

    [​IMG]

    Overclocking the refresh rate

    I used CRU to push it to 70Hz, and immediately started to see artifacts. So no overclocking for this monitor. However, that wasn't a consideration for me, and leaves me in hope that this is a wide gamut monitor; the wide gamut monitors don't overclock. I searched and read many forums, and the general consensus is that all the 30" CCFL monitors are wide gamut, but really want to check for myself with a coloromiter to be sure.

    Backlight bleed & uniformity

    [​IMG]

    Surface

    It also has a matte surface, and I'm used to the glossy surface on my 24" HP W2408H (a beautiful wide gamut monitor which has served me without fail since early 2010). However, my secondary monitor has been a 22" Benq FP222wa with a matte surface, so I'm used to alternatively viewing matte and glossy monitors on a daily basis. The matte surface of the Benq never bothered me.

    There has been much discussion of matte surfaces on 27"-30" monitors. The heavy coating on some earlier Dell monitors became notorious, and people complained a lot about the 'grainy', 'pixelated' and 'blurred' look which resulted. Apparently current Dell matte monitors have a much more subtle look, which is proving more acceptable.

    The discussion has been renewed as a result of interest in the cheap Korean monitors such as the Catleap, Crossover, and Shimian. There have been complaints that most of the Korean matte finish monitors have an 'aggressive' matte coating like the older Dells. This image summarizes the current state of play, and explains why monitors such as the 27Q-LED remains popular among those who don't like a matte finish.

    The 30" First F301GD Live I purchased has a matte finish. The matte surface did take a few minutes to get used to, but I find the size of the monitor encourages me to sit back further, resulting in the slight grainy finish becoming less noticeable. I would not call this matte surface 'aggressive'. At worst it could be classified as 'mildly irritated'.

    I'm using it as my primary monitor, with my 24" HP W2408H as the secondary. I already prefer the finish on the 30". The image is clear and sharp, and text is very crisp. In fact text on the HP W2408H now looks surprisingly soft in comparison.

    I now realise also that I had become so accustomed to the glossy finish of my 24" HP that I no longer recognized its drawbacks. Here are the two monitors side by side (though at odd angles), showing the high reflective surface of the 24" HP.

    [​IMG]

    Now here's a direct comparison of the two monitors; two different photos placed side by side (30" matte at left, 24" glossy at right). The mirror like finish of the 24" HP looks appalling in comparison to the soft matte surface of the 30" First, and shows just how much a glossy monitor can get away with when it spends most of its time turned on.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  2. WRX_STi

    WRX_STi Member

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    Cheers for the review i am most defiantly buying one of these in Matte as well in a month when i come back from holiday.

    I never liked gloss ever, never owned one, terrible things.
    On the last photo i thought monitors were side by side and was like wtf how is the 30" only look 1" larger then the 24 but soon realised what you did there. ;)

    I can't seem to find anything on those sites about refresh rate, i am assuming 60hz?
    Also do you have idea if it is overclockable like the Qnix and some others?

    On the purchasing website it says 6ms response and on the manufacturer site it says 8ms, i wonder what the go is?

    Thanks again though. Good read. :thumbup:
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    Yeah, 60Hz.

    I used CRU to push it to 70Hz, and immediately started to see artifacts. So no overclocking for this monitor. However, that wasn't a consideration for me, and leaves me in hope that this is a wide gamut monitor; the wide gamut monitors don't overclock. I searched and read many forums, and the general consensus is that all the 30" CCFL monitors are wide gamut, but really want to check for myself with a coloromiter to be sure.

    I don't know, but I'm not that concerned.

    You're welcome. It will be more useful once I've had an opportunity to test the color gamut and calibrate it properly. :)
     
  4. Luke212

    Luke212 Member

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    getting conflicting statements on resolution. can you confirm please?
     
  5. OP
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    Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    Where's the conflict?
     
  6. WRX_STi

    WRX_STi Member

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    I am 100% certain it is 2560x1600.

    I think the confusion might be the company he bought from, called "2560x1440Monitor.com" it's just a business name they sell monitors with other resolutions.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    Yes it's 2560x1600; both the product links I provided make this clear.

    Yep, that's just the business name. Most likely chosen because they started by selling the 27" 2560x144 models.
     
  8. Frenchpom

    Frenchpom Member

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  9. OP
    OP
    Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    The Kogan's stand is different, and it has more ports; this only has DVI-D, no VGA or HDMI.

    Thanks. I really can't wait to calibrate it properly. Very interested to see what the color gamut is. :)
     
  10. zehoo

    zehoo Member

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    Odd that the website you bought it from says it's 10bit 1.07 billion colours but the box says 16.7 million colours.
     
  11. Snowblindnz

    Snowblindnz Member

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    Looks good.

    Are you able to take a shot in the dark with it showing a black display so we can get an idea of any back light bleeding / uniformity?
     
  12. trackhappy

    trackhappy Member

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    sRGB/Adobe RGB specs available?
     
  13. OP
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    Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    Yeah I think that's weird. On their website, all of the 30" panels (Crossover, First, Yamasaki, Zevroid), are listed as having '10bit 1.07 billion colors', so I don't know what's going on there. The box it came in had four different models written on it, with a checkbox for each, and the model I purchased had been marked, so I don't know if it's a printing error on the box, or the box just shows the information for one of the several models it's used for, or if the website is wrong and it is only 16.7 million colors. I won't know for certain until I can calibrate it with a proper tool.

    Good idea. Here you go.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. OP
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    Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    Not that I've been able to find.
     
  15. mtma

    mtma Member

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    I would say that it's some generic box - mind you would you trust what the seller's information either? Will your calibrator tell you if it's 10bit or not?

    What's the feature on the box that they've put a sticker over? :D
     
  16. OP
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    Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    That's why I went looking for the manufacturer's site. The product page on the manufacturer's site is all in Korean, and doesn't say anything about it being 8 bit or 10 bit, with 16.7 million colors or 1.07 billion colors (though it does say it has a genuine S-IPS panel by LG), but under 'Specifications' it has something written in Korean, followed by '72%'.

    [​IMG]

    I am hoping that doesn't mean the color gamut is 72% of NTSC, because that would mean it's a standard gamut monitor rather than a wide gamut. But it probably does. Nevertheless, I'm happy with it anyway.

    I don't know, but it will tell me if it's wide gamut. Additionally, bit rate is not necessarily related to color gamut; my HP W2408H is an 8 bit PVA panel, but it has a color gamut of 92% (wide gamut).

    Something odd looking, named in Korean. :confused:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. zehoo

    zehoo Member

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  18. OP
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    Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    That's very useful, thanks. :thumbup: Now I need to see if I can find the model number of the panel used. But what's confusing is that the manufacturer specifications don't match any of the panels there; the contrast ratio is listed by the manufacturer as 700:1, which matches three S-IPS panels in the list with 71% NTSC color space (not wide gamut), but the brightness is listed by the manufacturer as 370 cd/m2, which matches the H-IPS panels with 102% NTSC color space, and the grey to grey response time is listed by the manufacturer as 8ms, which matches two S-IPS panels with 92% and 91% NTSC color space respectively. So there isn't a perfect match in that list, if I just go by the manufacturer specifications. :confused:

    This is the closest match.

    * LGD S-IPS LM300W01-STA4
    * 2560x1600 resolution
    * 12ms response time
    * 700:1 contrast ratio
    * 380 cd/m2
    * 178/178 viewing angle
    * 16.7m (8-bit)
    * NTSC color gamut 71%
    * Adobe RGB 74.3%
    * sRGB 93.7%
    * 16x CCFL backlight
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  19. OP
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    Fortigurn

    Fortigurn Member

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    I have now calibrated the monitor with a Spyder 4 Pro. As I suspected, it is not a wide colour gamut monitor. It covers 98% of sRGB, 74% of NTSC, and 78% of AdobeRGB.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Snowblindnz

    Snowblindnz Member

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    I Guess that is not too bad. In comparison, the new Apple 27" Thunderbolt display covers about 81% adobe RGB. The Dell 30" however does 99%.
     

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