By Neil Bennett | on April 06, 2009
Pros: Exceptional output quality; huge resolution; excellent software
Cons: Prohibitively expensive, with poor value for money compared to smaller models.
LaCie’s 730 30-inch display may be an extravagance too far for even the most high-profile design agencies at the moment – despite being the best 30-inch monitor on the market by quite some margin.
Targetting the most demanding graphic design and advertising agencies, the LaCie 730 boasts a superb output quality across a massive desktop resolution of 2,560-x-1,600 pixels. This is 78 per cent more than the 1,920-x-1,200 offered by most 23- to 27-inch displays, so you’ll see far more detail in your photos, artwork or layouts.
This resolution alone doesn’t justify the £3,199 price tag though – you can pick up Apple’s 30-inch Cinema Display for under a third of that price (£1,020) or Dell’s UltraSharp 3008WFP SuperView for £1,399. What the 730 offers that no other 30-inch display does is both a 14-bit Look-Up Table and 14-bit per colour processing, and an output colour gamut that’s 23 percent larger than that of the Adobe RGB standard used in applications such as Photoshop.
The 14-bit colour system takes the 8-bit output of your graphics card’s dual-link DVI port and modifies it into the monitor’s output using an overall palette that has 192 times more colour shades than the graphics card’s output – so the colours displayed will more accurately reflect what’s coming out of the card.
To ensure this works correctly you need to calibrate your monitor, and for this LaCie supplies its Blue Eye Pro Proof Edition software for Mac and Windows. This is a powerful calibration tool that enables you to quickly match the monitor to any desired colour temperature or brightness – and even includes advanced tools for controlling blackpoint, adaptation and profile type. Blue Eye Pro works with the standard set of calibration hardware, and while you can purchase the 730 with a Blue Eye Pro calibrator for £3,390, this is just a rebadged X-rite i1Display2, which you can pick up for £125 from Colour Confidence and save yourself a few pounds.
The LaCie 730 is based on the same panel and case as Samsung’s XL30 and 305T, which are both significantly less expensive than the 730. In fact, logos aside they look identical. LaCie has saved its attention for improving the image quality, rather than tweaking the case.
However, the 730 is prohibitively expensive, especially as you can pick up the LaCie 724 for £1,745, which offers just as good output quality but on a smaller screen with fewer pixels. The only circumstances where we’d recommend the 730 is either you’ve got money to blow or you need an amazing monitor to present to clients on. Otherwise, it just doesn’t offer the value for money we’d expect.