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Lenovo 30 inch Professional Monitor Review

I was offered the opportunity to take some quality time with the 30” Lenovo ThinkVision LT3053p WQXGA IPS LED backlit LCD professional flat panel monitor. I’d never had the opportunity to use a display that large, so I was excited to say the least.

Lenovo LT3053pwA Flatpanel Monitor

I thought I’d offer some perspective here. My day-to-day Dell 23 inch monitor (right) is a nice large display, but it is dwarfed by the Lenovo 30 inch ThinkVision monitor (left). You really need to see it to believe it.

A very large box showed up in the office. I tried to get a good picture of all of it, the there was no decent way to capture that in a single image. There is a lot of stuff for a monitor. What was in there?

Lenovo 30 inch Monitor Box Contents

  • Monitor
  • Stand
  • 2 USB cables
  • DVI, HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort cables
  • Hood / Shade
  • Cover
  • Instruction and calibration sheet
  • And a lot of Styrofoam

Specifications

USB Hub (5 ports: 1 x USB3.0 w/ Battery Charge 1.2, 2 x USB3.0, 2 x USB2.0)

VGA, Dual-Link DVI-D, HDMI1.4, DP1.2, MHL connections

USB Keyboard and Mouse Switch

ThinkVision PIP Anywhere Solution (software)

DaisyChain support

Detachable tool-less full ergo stand (Lift, Tilt, Pivot, Swivel)

Bundled Professional Hood

Max. Resoution 2560×1600

Brightness 350 cd/m2

Max Colors Built in Screen 1.07 billion

Contrast Ratio 1000:1

Display Type Backlit LED

Dot Pitch 0.251mm

Height 471.05mm (18.55 in.)

Width 690 mm (27.17 in.)

Depth 62mm (2.44 in.)

Weight 11.5 Kg (25.35 lb.)

Power Consumption + Units 88 W

Height Adjustment Metric 110mm (4.33 in.)

Monitor Technology AH-IPS

Viewable Image Height 400.8mm (15.78 in.)

Viewable Image Width 641.28mm (25.25 in.)

Stand Lift Tilt Swivel Pivot

Swivel +/-45 degrees

Tilt -5~30 degrees

Vertical Viewing Angle 178 degrees

MSRP: $1599 USD (Amazon.com)

The Lenovo ThinkVision 30 Inch Monitor

I enjoyed using the monitor. It’s BIG, clear, and of good quality. With the exception of a small technical issue that slowed us down a bit (discussed later in the section), there was nothing bad to say about the unit.

I started the review at a resolution of 1920×1080 because the NVIDIA Quadro professional workstation graphics chipset on one of the workstations used to test the monitor could not support its full resolution. Fortunately, we got past the technical holdbacks and were able to complete the review properly.

Appearance

The ThinkVision flat panel is black and attractive, with little frills or wasted space on curvature or fairings in the name of ‘frilly appearance’. I have always liked the Lenovo look, and this monitor is consistent with those lines. The frame is about 1” wide, not too bad considering the size of the unit. The thickness is stated to be 2.44 in., however the frame and display portion is only about 1 in. thick (remainder is taken up by electronics on the center rear section along with the stand mounting section). Controls were on the front side of the frame, at the lower right hand corner as expected.

Lenovo LT3053pwA Monitor buttons

The stand snaps firmly into small recess in the rear of the unit and requires no tools to install or remove. The stand / monitor recess and mount design takes less room than others that I have seen and is well thought out. This makes the rear of the unit simple and attractive as well.

There was nothing in or about the monitor that suggested a lack of workmanship. The unit was attractive and easily installed. The stand was sturdy, but adjusting the stand was a bit awkward. Let’s face it, that monitor is big, and will require more than a single hand to elevate. The exterior of the stand was plastic, and the tilt and rotate resistance was limited by friction joints. However, the stand held the unit properly, and I never experienced any fault with the stand. Once adjusted, the unit held its position well, and resisted vibration from the work area.

Ports, Connections, and Cool Features

It took me a bit of time to get a grip on all the connections that the unit comes with. Along the bottom of the unit is an array of USB / HDMI / VGA / MHL / DVI / DP ports.

Lenovo LT3053pwA Bottom view

The ThinkVision 30 in. monitor allows video inputs from DVI, HDMI, and MHL (Mobile High Definition Link) connectors. MHL allows displays from mobile devices to be viewed on the monitor while the mobile device is simultaneously charging. I didn’t try it but it sounds cool, especially if that functionality will work with PIP.

The monitor also provides a hardware switch that allows users to easily swap between multiple workstations, and keep a single display / mouse / keyboard without purchasing additional switching hardware. A USB cable is supplied to bridge the monitor and the workstations. Once connected, users simply have connect both displays and their keyboard /mouse setup. When it is time, the displays and controls between the workstations are swapped by the push of a button.

Lenovo LT3053pwA side view and connection panel

Lenovo has thoughtfully added an output panel so that audio and auxiliary USB connectivity is maintained with whichever workstation is in focus. (That yellow USB port is powered for charging).

PIP (Picture in Picture) anywhere support is available with a software install (provided). This allows users to select which display input channel they want to display in a PIP inset. This way they don’t miss the game while working. Audio from that source can be piped through the monitor’s output audio connection too.

The unit comes with a hood that helps keep direct light from room lighting off the display for better viewing and calibration.

Using the Monitor

I used the monitors for everything from CAD, Image editing, and landscape for numerous simultaneous support applications such as having my single bar Twitter client, Outlook, and Chrome up simultaneously when using CAD applications on the other monitor.

Initially I had dreams of mounting this beauty to the wall and putting all my communications and SharePoint panels up at once for quick viewing. Fortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity, and it would really be a shame to waste the beautiful color capabilities on communications software.

View Angles

The display remained bright and clear from viewing angles up to about 45°. Beyond that angle, the display was still completely legible, but generally darker, consistent with back-lit LCD.

Document Reviewing

It is by far the best PDF display I have ever encountered, and would rather have these documents up on the Lenovo Monitor than having them printed out. I can get an entire 18”x24” on the screen, and read it quite vividly without zooming. This makes reviewing construction plans and component details a pleasure. Having this display adjacent with my CAD monitor made it much easier to gather information from print documents, as looking at them no longer required me to look down at the table constantly; instead a mere glace to the left helped me maintain focus on what I was doing.

Color and Intensity

The Lenovo flat panel monitor supports optional color calibrations and has wonderfully rich display colors and nice brightness that my other monitors lack. Whenever I needed to do anything that was color intensive, I simply slid the application over to the lenovo display (plus the contrasting result packs a lot of punch, seeing the colors come alive when swapping from the lesser display to the Lenovo).

Kanazawa Japan shown on Lenovo Flatpanel monitor

The image above is from my home away from home in Kanazawa Japan. This is the closest I have ever seen the beautiful scene since I left. Thanks Lenovo for bringing this to life again (how I got this shot of the monitor in action to come out ok I will never know).

Color Calibration

This ThinkVision LT3053p display came with a calibration report from the factory. I visited a couple color calibration web sites and reviewed the unit performance using their tools. I understood that this method was not ideal, however purchasing color calibration hardware was not on my to-do list.

The unit performed as advertised and I was successfully able to distinguish between colors down to the 2-3% margin. I tried to capture the results in an image, but found it nearly impossible to reproduce the color shading accurately without hiring a professional photographer.

For fun I tried the color calibration evaluation on the lesser monitor I am using, and thought the colors were moderately acceptable, until I slid the web page over to the Lenovo display. To my surprise I found color bands being displayed on the calibration chart that I didn’t even know were there. I’m really going to miss this unit.

Design work

At first, CAD at a resolution of 1920×1080 was nice and bright, but not the full MSRP worth of wonder. Upon getting the resolution up to where it needed to be on a digital signal, I was impressed. The colors really popped, and especially so on a black background typical of AutoCAD. The lines were quite crisp, and I was even able to finally distinguish all of those useless colors in the outer bands of the AutoCAD 255 color spectrum; and yes I mean all of them. Another example was working through some problems with an overlap of lines and interpreted intersections; the operation was necessary to revisit. The crispness and definition on the ThinkVision monitor made the operation easier, and required much less strain on the eyes.

CAD wasn’t the only sweet deal. There was one other arena of design software where the Lenovo paid off well. Validation! The vivid colors, brightness, and clarity were well matched to the color contours of analysis software.

Lenovo LT3053pwA Flatpanel Monitor Software  Lenovo LT3053pwA and CAD Software

I was having trouble getting these images to come out well without bringing my wife and her Nikon in. I hope it will still deliver the great impression it left on me.

The Technical Glitch

I mentioned earlier that there was a minor technical glitch. The HDMI port input was originally thought to cut out intermittently on both machines I tested with; however the analog port was fine at the lesser resolution. Lenovo was happy to swap the monitor out, but I was determined to work through the problem. Rewiring the whole thing with new cables, using the HDMI cable to the lesser monitor, and picking up DVI on the ThinkVision cleaned everything up. (It may well have been a flaky cable).

A note about docking stations: If the analog output channel on certain docking stations is used for either of multiple displays, the max output of the entire array is set to that of the analog signal. I don’t understand all the technical issues related, but losing the analog VGA signal was the final piece of the odd puzzle we were experiencing.

Conclusions

Lenovo’s ThinkVision 30” backlit LED monitor is truly a professional unit. It is well made, bright, and vivid. I doubt that I will be satisfied with lesser displays in the future.

I have always said that “I would never go paperless” as viewing documents on a display was frustrating and useless. This unit however changed my mind, and after a short period with the ThinkVision monitor, I only print paper plans for the benefit of others.

This is a pricey tool? Sure. However one thing I learned was that we only buy good quality tools. If a well-lit display full of powerful, accurate colors is part of your job, then this tool will likely be a great investment for you. I don’t think that professional artists or anyone needing the landscape will disappointed in with Lenovo’s 30” professional monitor, even at the MSRP.

Disclosure: D&M tested this monitor at the request of Lenovo, without fee or benefit. The monitor will be returned to that company.

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