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LG 38WN95C-W review: A premium 38-inch ultrawide monitor that does everything

LG's flagship 38-inch ultrawide does it all – gaming, video editing, and watching a movie in HDR – but its $1,600 price is not cheap.

Lg 38wn95c W Hero
(Image: © Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Last year, I reviewed the Razer Raptor 27 – a monitor I liked so much, I bought one myself. It still holds up in 2020, but LG's randomly named 38WN95C-W is the new shiny object I'm obsessing over. See, whereas the Raptor 27 is a standard 16:9 display, the 38WN95C-W is a jaw-dropping 38-inch curved ultrawide.

So, why do I like LG's 38WN95C-W so much? It lets me work with an outstanding, color-accurate, anti-reflective QHD+ (3840 x 1600) screen that can also really game thanks to the 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response. I can also enjoy a movie, thanks to the VESA DisplayHDR 600.

The LG 38WN95C-W is the best of everything in a curved ultrawide, but you'll pay a hefty price for the experience. But there are options, too.

Awesome features

LG 38WN95C-W: What I like

Lg Logo Monitor

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The LG 38WN95C-W is an amazingly simple monitor to setup. The stand mount snaps into the back, and the large, curved stand easily connects without tools or any fuss. You will spend more time unpacking this display than plugging it in.

Considering its 38-inch wingspan, this is also a light monitor to move around, coming in at just 18.3 pounds (8.3kg) with the stand.

CategoryLG 38WN95C-W
Size38-inch
TypeIPS
ResolutionUW-QHD (3840 x 1600)
Aspect21:9
Contrast1000:1
Refresh + response144Hz, 1ms (GtG at Faster)
Surface treatmentAnti-glare
Ports2x HDMI
1x USB C Thunderbolt 3 (94W)
1x DisplayPort
2x USB A down-stream
Headphone
Power210W adapter (80W typical)
Speakers2ch with rich bass (5W)
Features2x PBP (Picture by Picture)
AMD FreeSync Premium Pro
NVIDIA G-Sync Compatible
Smart Energy Saving
Auto-brightness
Wide Color Gamut
DisplayHDR 600
Color Calibrated
Weight18.3lbs (8.3kg) w/stand
14.2lbs (6.5kg) w/o stand
AccessoriesHDMI, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt 3 cables
Warranty1-year parts and labor
AvailabilityNow (opens in new tab)

The display's rear features seven, easily-accessible ports with two HDMI, one DisplayPort, Type C with Thunderbolt 3, two Type A, and a headphone jack. The Thunderbolt 3 port is impressive as the relatively large 210-watt AC brick allocates 94 watts for that port, letting you power and recharge your laptop while also acting as a display input.

The LG 38WN95C-W is the best of everything in a curved ultrawide.

The stand lets you tilt the monitor forward and back and raise it up or down, letting you set a perfect viewing angle. On top of the display is something I don't often see – an auto-brightness sensor.

The display itself is excellent. My color calibration tests revealed 100 percent sRGB, 88 percent AdobeRGB, and 95 percent DCI-P3. That's just shy of the 98 percent P3 that LG advertises. This monitor is DisplayHDR 600 certified, and it fell just short of 600 nits hitting around 545 nits.

Thanks to the anti-reflective treatment, there is virtually no glare on this display, making it ideal for work (or gaming) for hours on end as you won't strain your eyes.

Even though 21:9 aspect displays are usually focused on work and productivity, LG made sure this one could do some serious gaming too. With a 144Hz refresh and 1ms response, the 38WN95C-W is a blast for playing my favorite games. AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and NVIDIA G-Sync Compatible let it work with any high-performance graphics card as well, ensuring no tearing, reduced flicker, and lower latency in both HDR and SDR.

Usually, I'd write off speakers built into a display (bottom-firing), but these five-watt ones are quite respectable. My hunch, however, is if you are spending $1,600 on a monitor, you probably have splurged for some premium speakers as well (I use the Razer Nommo Pros).

The bezels on the LG 38WN95C-W are relatively thin. While not near-bezel less, they are thin enough to give an overall pleasing aesthetic when standing back.

For those who want to maximize the 38-inch wideness, you can run two inputs into the 38WN95C-W and split them down the middle as this monitor supports PBP (Picture by Picture), not to be confused with PIP (Picture in Picture).

LG also includes all the necessary cables (Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, and HDMI) in the box, which is expected at this price point, but at least they're white to match the display.

Menu navigation is also simple to access (power nob at the bottom), navigate, and understand. There are multiple presets for color, HDR, brightness, and advanced features, none of which is overwhelming. That power nob also doubles as a small nightlight, which is pleasant.

Little nitpicks

LG 38WN95C-W: What I don't like

Lg 38wn95c W Cables

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Although this monitor is exceptionally light, that is also because there's a lot of plastic. LG is a big fan of lightweight materials (see its Gram laptops), so while it is nice to be able to carry this display up the stairs, it feels less premium than my Raptor 27. While that stand looks aluminum, it's mostly not.

The LG 38WN95C-W is an impressive accomplishment and highly recommended.

LG has a plastic ring that goes around the stand to assist with cable management, which is OK. It would have been more fun to route the cables through the stand itself and out the back. That ring is a bit flimsy.

The auto-brightness sensor is a great idea, and LG places it right where you would expect on top and in the middle of the display. However, since there is no webcam built-in if you add a Logitech BRIO 4K, you are going to cover it, defeating the purpose. Luckily, you can disable it.

It also would have been nice to have TÜV Rheinland certification for eye comfort.

The competition

Philips 499P9H

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

The ultra-wide (UW) monitor market is one of the fastest-growing as everyone from graphic professionals to gamers wants to get in on the wildly new experience. Tradeoffs with UW monitors are also diminishing as "4K" resolutions, fast refresh rates, and color accuracy now match standard 16:9 offerings.

Our Best Ultrawide Monitors 2020 recommends the massive 49-inch Philips Brilliance 499P9H ($1,450) (opens in new tab). Still, it lacks any features for gamers, including high refresh rates (just 60Hz), is only HDR400, and lacks Thunderbolt 3 with Power Delivery. It does, however, have a built-in webcam with Windows Hello. Our full Philips Brilliance 499P9H display review goes in more detail.

Pivoting towards gaming is the Samsung CHG90 for $900 (opens in new tab). It too is a much wider 49-inch but features HDR600 LED, 144Hz refresh, and FreeSync (AMD Adaptive Sync). Again, it lacks Thunderbolt 3 with Power Delivery, NVIDIA G-Sync, is not anti-reflective, and no PBP.

There's also LG itself. While this 38WN95C-W costs $1,600, its highly-rated 38WN75C-B is only $900 (opens in new tab). You still get a 38-inch UltraWide QHD+ (3840 x 1600) IPS display with 99 percent sRGB, HDR10, and thin bezels, but give up Thunderbolt 3, high refresh rate, and the whole gaming-optimized feature set. That's a fair trade for many. There is also the 38WK95C-W for $1,000 (opens in new tab) that sits in between the two, so pick what you want or need.

LG 38WN95C-W: Should you buy

Lg 38wn95c W Hdr

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

You should buy this if ...

You want a do-it-all UW monitor

Like the Raptor 27, I like the LG 38WN95C-W so much because it basically does it all. I can edit photos knowing what I see on the screen represents my images, that content matches the creator's wishes, kick back and watch movies in HDR, or game at 144Hz. Why settle for anything less?

You prefer anti-reflective displays

I think it's ludicrous not to want an anti-reflective monitor (not to be confused with anti-glare or matte, which is more extreme). Seeing your content with few reflections is much easier on the eyes if you stare at the screen for hours on end. You still get color accuracy and sharpness, just no glare. LG did it right here.

You want reduced desk clutter

UW displays help save space, and when combined with Microsoft's PowerToys (FancyZones), you can multitask like a boss. Having one monitor on your desk that curves is one heck of an experience that I highly recommend.

You need to connect a laptop instead of a desktop PC

The LG 38WN95C-W works wonders with a full desktop rig stacked with the latest NVIDIA or AMD graphics cards but, if you need to run this display primarily from your laptop (and it supports Thunderbolt 3), this is an excellent choice as you can save on buying an external hub. And thanks to picture-by-picture support, this is also the right choice if you need to run two inputs simultaneously from a desktop and one from a laptop (or a tablet).

You should not buy this if ...

You're on a budget

Sure, you can buy a professional monitor for $5,000, but that doesn't make the $1,600 asking price here any easier to swallow. There are plenty of UW displays that are hundreds cheaper. They lack many features compared to LG's offering, but if that doesn't bother you …

The LG 38WN95C-W is an impressive accomplishment and highly recommended if you have the cash. For too many years, buying a display was always a choice between certain features with gaming going in one direction (fast, but low quality) and graphic design (slow, but high quality). In 2020, you can not only have it all but all in a fantastic 38-inch monitor.

The price is high, but there are very few things not to like. The LG 38WN95C-W leaves you satisfied no matter what you choose to do on your PC, and that is all you can ask when pushing it to the extreme.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

12 Comments
  • Hey, just thought you should know, the Samsung CHG90 does support G-Sync, the Nvidia Control panel says it's not validated but it does work (via firmware update) and also has PBP. Source: I own one along with a RTX 2080 Super....
  • Thanks , will add.
  • 38GN950-B seems similar to this one and goes on sale from Costco for black Friday for $1299.
  • Oh, interesting. Yeah, that's kind of the "gamer" version. I think the differences are: Smaller AC adapter No Thunderbolt 3/ 94W PD for laptop No picture-by-picture Those choices and the lower price point make it a smarter choice if you don't need those extra functions and prefer just the 38" experience. Will try to get a post on that costco deal, thanks.
  • From what I understand LG makes all the panels for everyone who makes a curved 38". I bought the Dell version (U3818DW) ~3 years ago for $999 also from Costco. It has been awesome. The feature that I really liked was the built-in KVM that allows me to switch from personal to work computers easily while keeping my desk somewhat tidy without all the additional clutter of a traditional KVM. It was a nice to have up until COVID-19 but now is practically a lifesaver. I don't get why more companies don't put KVMs into their monitors.
  • https://www.costco.com/super-friday-preview.html ONLINE-ONLY
    STARTS NOV. 26
    $300
    OFF
    LIMIT 2
    LG 38" Ultrawide WQHD Curved Gaming Monitor
    Item 1462569
    Online Price $1,599.99
    OFF –$300.00
    YOUR COST $1,299.99
  • 1600p is just not enough. For that price I'd expect 4k in a 38 inch screen. Pass
  • It's more about the aspect ratio and curve. A standard 4K (UHD to be technically correct) would be 16:9 where as this is 21:9. What you are maybe expecting is "5k" which is 5120x2160. That would cost both arms and legs. I much prefer the ultrawide curve and will take a "reduction" in the resolution as a result.
  • Agreed. I'm not concerned about the pixels; I want a 32:9 or 32:10 and I'm perfectly fine if that's 3840x1080/3840x1200. My current 34" is 21:9, and I really miss that extra horizontal space. My holy grail is an affordable 38" in 32:9/32:10 aspect ratio, but all I've found are 43" and 49" which is a bit more desk space than I can spare.
  • "1600p is just not enough. For that price I'd expect 4k in a 38 inch screen. Pass"
    As @randyoaks187 notes above while it would be nice to have such a resolution (1) I'm not aware of such a display currently on the market that is 38" and curved and true 4K at 21:9. The excellent MSI Prestige PS341WU is close at 5,120 x 2,160, but it's (1) Not curved (2) Only 34-inches (3) Doesn't have TB3/94W PD and (4) Lacks all the gaming optimizations e.g. just 60Hz and no G-Sync/FreeSync and is $1,000 🤷‍♂️ If that MSI tickels your fancy, I mean, you could just get the LG 34BK95U-W, which is also "5K" and 21:9. All that backs up my point that it's hard to "have it all", although this LG monitor comes the closest, imo. If you are aware of a true 4K 38-inch curved 21:9 monitor that can also game at 144Hz and has TB3, please let me know as I can try to review it. Just remember: Samsung and LG make the panels for pretty much everyone out there, including MSI, so it's not like to you have to look far.
  • Hey Daniel, the sub-headline should be corrected to say "its" not "it's". (currently: "but it's $1,600 price")
  • Yikes, I'm a bit late, but fixed. thanks.