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article imageComplains pile up about $1,300 monitor that won't work near Wi-Fi

By James Walker     Jan 31, 2017 in Technology
LG has admitted that an issue with its flagship monitor leaves the display unusable if placed within two metres of a Wi-Fi router. The Apple-endorsed UltraFine 5K appears to lack electromagnetic shielding, making it susceptible to interference.
The LG UltraFine 5K was developed by LG in collaboration with Apple. It's built as a successor to Apple's discontinued Thunderbolt Displays and is sold officially in Apple Stores. Apple markets it as specifically designed to work with the new MacBook Pro.
Shipments of the $1,300 display began this week. A serious design flaw has already been discovered, preventing some customers from using the monitor at their desk. If placed within two metres of a wireless router, the hardware can become unusable, first displaying flickering lines and then solid black. It's seemingly due to electromagnetic interference caused by the W-Fi signals.
LG Ultrafine 5K monitor
LG Ultrafine 5K monitor
LG
The UltraFine 5K currently has mostly negative reviews on the Apple Store. Owners have described it as "very, very disappointing," owing to its serious usability issues. LG has confirmed the monitor can be affected by surrounding Wi-Fi signals, advising users to "keep the monitor away from the router."
In emails with 9to5Mac, the company said that only the UltraFine 5K is affected by the interference. None of LG's other monitors have the same problems. This suggests the range-topping product lacks a crucial component, electromagnetic shielding around its display controller. The controller appears to have a natural harmonic of oscillation at the same frequency as Wi-Fi signals, causing the localised interference.
LG Ultrafine 5K monitor
LG Ultrafine 5K monitor
LG
If shielding is the cause of the problems, it's possible customers familiar with electronics may be able to fix the issues themselves using insulating tape. However, it shouldn't be required of such a high-end product, endorsed by Apple and promoted as an "outstanding" display. LG hasn't commented on whether it's working on a fix.
The Wi-Fi interference isn't the only reported problem either. Users have also complained of software problems on the Mac and random flickering when no other devices are around. A particularly common bug occurs when unplugging the monitor with a MacBook's lid closed. The Mac crashes and reboots, taking unsaved work with it.
Some customers have experienced problems with the monitor's USB ports too, finding they sometimes refuse to recognise new devices. Faced with so many flaws, frustration is growing amongst early adopters, many of whom are threatening to return their monitors if LG doesn't fix the issues.
"Avoid this product, it's got serious defects," wrote one disheartened customer. "These monitors are trash," added another. "Avoid this product like the plague."
LG UltraFine 5K monitor
LG UltraFine 5K monitor
LG
LG's quality control seems to have been lacking during the development of the UltraFine 5K. However, 5K monitors like the UltraFine will become common over the next few years, giving buyers a wider range of options when picking premium monitors. 4K displays are still in their infancy but manufacturers are already pushing to develop their technology further.
With 3D displays now a thing of the past, 4K and 5K are being treated as the major selling point of next-generation monitors and TVs. The 27-inch UltraFine 5K boasts a resolution of 5,120 x 2,880 pixels, five times greater than 1080p Full HD. More rival panels can be expected in the coming months, hopefully with adequate electromagnetic shielding.
More about Lg, lg ultrafine, Apple, Macbook, Macbook pro
 
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