The LG 38GN950G is a flagship ultrawide monitor that stands to improve on its predecessor with better HDR specs and great gaming performance. The monitor’s large Nano IPS screen looks like its well-suited not only for gaming but for productivity and creative use as well. The LG 38GN950G isn’t cheap, but let’s check out if it can produce a performance that will offset its top-end price tag.
LG 38GN950G Specifications
- Screen Size: 38 Inches
- Resolution: 3840 x 1600 WQHD+
- Aspect Ratio: 21:9
- Panel Technology: In-Plane Switching (IPS)
- Refresh Rate: 160Hz
- Response Time: 1ms
- Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 (Static)
- Brightness: 450 cd/m²
- Built-in Speakers: No
- Stand: Height – Yes
- Stand: Tilt – Yes
- Stand: Swivel – No
- Stand: Pivot – No
- VESA Compatibility: Yes (100 x 100)
- Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.4 x 1, HDMI 2.0 x 2, USB 3.0 x 2, 3.5mm Audio Jack x 1
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 35.4″ x 23.2″ x 12.3”
- Weight: 20.3 lbs
Design and Features
The LG 38GN950G sports the same distinct look of the UltraGear line that’s streamlined and minimalist with a hint of gaming attitude. The monitor has a stealthy matte black chassis that has red streaks in all the right spots to indicate its gaming-oriented nature. The display isn’t bezel-free, but the borders at the top and sides are flushed and mostly unnoticeable.
The LG 38GN950G is a massive monitor at almost 3 feet wide and around 20 pounds heavy. It also needs over a foot of depth from your desk when fully assembled, so make sure first that you have enough space for the massive monitor. The V-shaped base thankfully doesn’t eat up the whole area, so you can place peripherals in blank spaces between the pegs.
Build quality for the LG 38GN950G is excellent and there are no cosmetic defects on the body parts. The durable and thick panels match each other perfectly, so there are no uneven gaps that can make the product look like it was cheaply made. The stand doesn’t have any wobbling issues unless you tap it with enough force to rattle the heavy cabinet.
One of the distinct features of the LG 38GN950G is its RGB LED at the back called Sphere Lighting 2.0. You will normally find this on the brand’s top-end monitors, indicating that this indeed is part of the flagship tier. What’s great about this feature is it is bright enough to be noticeable while gaming and it casts a bias glow that helps keep your eyes comfy while increasing the immersive properties of the curved display.
LG also recently updated its Sphere Lighting with a few features which brought it to the 2.0 version. You can now sync the lighting with either sound or video, depending on your taste. The Video Sync Mode works like Philips’ Ambiglow which matches the LED’s colors to the shades of the screen, while the Sound Sync Mode rides the sound’s beat in-game.
Another favorite aspect of ours on LG’s monitors is the two ways you can manipulate their OSD. You can use the brand’s OnScreen Control app to access some settings directly in your OS or use the centrally located joystick at the bottom bezel. These two are more convenient than buttons since you can get to a specific sub-menu or setting faster.
The stand included with the LG 38GN950G only offers tilt and height adjustments, but that’s all you will need for curved ultrawides like it. You can swap it with a VESA mount, but that ruins the overall aesthetic of the monitor. You also have to factor in the cost of an aftermarket option that can support its size and weight.
The connectivity on the LG 38GN950G is simplified like all of its models, but you get a few extras since it is not restricted like the G-Sync exclusive models. The layout at the rear includes DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2. 0 slots, along with two usable USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5mm jack for your peripherals. That’s enough for most setups with secondary machines such as gaming consoles, but we would have loved to see more USB receptacles on the product.
The LG 38GN950G doesn’t include speakers, but those are rarely missed for the product’s intended purpose. Headsets or surround speakers will be better for immersive gaming, but built-ins are handy for purposes such as work from home setups. LG could have added an upgraded pair to this model, considering how expensive it is.
Display and Performance
The LG 38GN950G sports a massive 38-Inch ultrawide Nano IPS panel with a 3840 x 1600 resolution, a 160Hz max refresh rate, and a boosted 1ms response time. The backlight is rated at 450 cd/m2 while the contrast ratio sits at 1000:1 like most IPS panels. This model is certified for DisplayHDR 600, so it can raise its backlight limit when HDR mode is active.
The screen on the LG 38GN950G may have become bigger, but it doesn’t mean it has a loose pixel density. The WQHD+ resolution still provides plenty of details and crispness, but it doesn’t miniaturize text and small objects. This means games will look pleasingly detailed and you won’t need scaling for browsing or document processing.
The LG 38GN950G is capable of fantastic vibrancy thanks to its 130% sRGB and around 96% DCI-P3 coverage. Out of the box accuracy is superb as well since the deltaE average is limited to 1.51. The color temperature is slightly warmer than the 6500K point, but it is not as disturbing or as yellowish as other monitors we’ve tested.
Calibrating the monitor isn’t worth it, but we did get a 0.98 dE average with the help of a colorimeter. It’s only necessary for editing tasks, but even the default setting is already decent for that purpose. Results between each unit will vary, but ours is a good measure of LG’s factory calibration for its high-end models.
The LG 38GN950G only managed an 870:1 contrast ratio at 40% brightness in SDR, but its backlight reached as much as 500 cd/m2 in this setting. It’s a different story when HDR kicks in since the backlight peaks at 720 cd/m2, raising the contrast to more than 7000:1. This result creates considerable improvements in the depth and details of games, especially those that are fully HDR compatible.
Panel uniformity is great for the LG 38GN950G but there is some light leaking from one upper corner. This flaw dropped the contrast in the affected quadrant, so you might see a grayish patch up there when viewing dark scenes. Thankfully, this will vary between every unit due to tolerances, so there are better ones out there.
Pixel response times are great on the LG 38GN950G since it doesn’t present a lot of blurring and persistence. Some can be seen in contrasting and fast-paced transitions, but the overdrive’s Fast setting is more than enough to curb it. Maxing out the latter isn’t recommended since it will induce overshoot which is worse than the original issue.
The LG 38GN950G is a FreeSync gaming monitor, but its also certified by Nvidia to be G-Sync Compatible. This duality is great so you can freely swap between GPU brands as needed without spending on a new monitor just to enjoy adaptive sync. Input lag sits at 9ms, so there is no need to worry about de-synced instances while gaming.
Thoughts on the LG 38GN950G
The LG 38GN950G is a mighty fine choice if you are after a vibrant and immersive ultrawide screen. The extra color-pop and contrast make gaming visuals more interesting thanks to the product’s effective HDR 600 implementation. We also love the RGB-equipped aesthetic of the monitor which completes its premium nature.
The LG 38GN950G only has a few flaws such as its low SDR contrast and the backlight bleeding. However, these flaws are common with IPS panels, so the benefits it offers outweigh them completely. The biggest hindrance here will be the price which is only a few notches under monitors like the Samsung Odyssey G9 which is technically better if we based the comparison on the spec sheets.
- Excellent Gamut Coverage and Default Accuracy
- FreeSync/G-Sync Compatible
- Attractive Design with RGB and Great Build Quality
- Great HDR 600 Performance
- Responsive Big-Screen Monitor
- Prone to Backlight Bleeding
- Low SDR Contrast
-About the Author:
Paolo is a gaming veteran since the golden days of Doom and Warcraft and has been building gaming systems for family, friends, and colleagues since his junior high years. High-performance monitors are one of his fixations and he believes that it’s every citizen’s right to enjoy one. He has gone through several pieces of hardware in pursuit of every bit of performance gain, much to the dismay of his wallet. He now works with Monitornerds to scrutinize the latest gear to create reviews that accentuate the seldom explained aspects of a PC monitor.