Thanks to its Nano IPS panel, high resolution, and giant 38″ ultrawide screen, the LG 38GL950G delivers an immersive viewing experience while its quick pixel response time and NVIDIA G-SYNC ensure flawless performance. It is expensive – as expected, given that it’s a top-of-the-line gaming monitor.
For those discontent with their 34″ 3440×1440 ultrawide gaming monitors, LG now offers an even bigger and faster alternative with their LG 38GL950G model.
Equipped with NVIDIA’s G-SYNC module and LG’s state-of-the-art Nano IPS panel with a wide 98% DCI-P3 color gamut, the LG 38GL950G provides impeccable performance as well as stunning colors.
To start with, the monitor features a screen resolution of 3840×1600 pixels, which, on its 38″ (37.5″ viewable) screen, results in a high pixel density of 110 PPI (pixels per inch).
Most people find this pixel per inch ratio to be ideal as you get plenty of screen real estate as well as vivid and sharp details, and you don’t have to use any scaling whatsoever.
Further, the Nano IPS panel of the LG 38GL950G monitor boasts 178° wide viewing angles and 98% DCI-P3 (135% sRGB) color gamut, which results in vibrant and consistent colors.
It’s also factory-calibrated and comes with an emulated sRGB color profile in case you need more accurate color representation.
While it does support HDR (High Dynamic Range) with VESA’s DisplayHDR 400 certification, its peak brightness of 450-nits and static contrast ratio, which varies between 700:1 to 1000:1 (depending on a particular unit of the monitor) deliver an overall underwhelming HDR viewing experience.
Some HDR content will look a bit better, but without local dimming, you can’t experience a ‘true’ HDR picture on an LED-backlit monitor.
At any rate, HDR is not really what the LG 38GL950G is focused on.
Instead, it excels at gaming responsiveness thanks to its quick pixel response time and high refresh rate while its large screen, high resolution, and wide color gamut still offer an exceptional SDR picture.
Naturally, due to the low ~1,000:1 static contrast ratio, blacks won’t be nearly as deep as those of equally-priced VA panel monitors, but those displays have disadvantages of their own such as significantly slower response time and not as accurate or punchy colors.
Alternatively, you may be interested in a 27″ 4K 144Hz gaming monitor such as the ASUS PG27UQ, which has an IPS panel and local dimming.
It offers both quick response time and ‘true’ HDR viewing experience with stellar contrast and brightness – but then you would lose on immersion that this gigantic 38″ ultrawide display provides.
So, there’s no ideal gaming monitor. You commonly have to sacrifice something, whether it’s contrast, motion-clarity, screen size, or something else – you just have to find the best compromise for you.
With input lag of just ~3ms, the LG 38GL950G has virtually instantaneous responsiveness; you won’t be able to notice or feel any delays between your commands and the result on the screen.
Now, LG’s specifies a pixel response time speed of 1ms GtG (gray to gray pixel transition).
While you can get such rapid response time by using the ‘Faster’ overdrive option in the OSD (On-Screen Display) menu of the monitor, it introduces an enormous amount of pixel overshoot.
Luckily, while using the ‘Fast’ preset, there isn’t any prominent overshoot nor visible trailing behind fast-moving objects allowing you to enjoy fast-paced video games without any distractions.
Thanks to NVIDIA’s integrated G-SYNC module, you also get variable overdrive, which will ensure that there’s no ghosting or overshoot at any FPS (Frames Per Second) rate.
Additionally, G-SYNC provides a variable refresh rate (VRR) with a 30-175Hz range, which entirely eliminates screen tearing and stuttering with minimal input lag penalty (~1ms).
The LG 38GL950G is the first G-SYNC monitor that supports VRR with AMD’s graphics cards too.
However, due to DisplayPort 1.4 bandwidth limitations, if you wish to use 10-bit color depth, you will need to set the refresh rate to 120Hz. With 8-bit color, you can set the monitor up to 160Hz.
For the maximum refresh rate of 175Hz, you will need to use 4:2:2 chroma subsampling. This type of compression will make text appear fringy, so you shouldn’t use it for games with text.
Considering how demanding the 3840×1600 resolution is, and how small the difference is between 8-bit and 10-bit color depth in games, we recommend setting the monitor to 160Hz with 8-bit color.
Moving on, the LG 38GL950G monitor has a flicker-free backlight and an integrated low-blue light filter, so it will be easy on your eyes even after prolonged use.
IPS glow is minimal and negligible on this monitor, though this can vary across different units.
The OSD menu of the monitor is user-friendly and easy to navigate with thanks to the 5-way joystick placed beneath the bottom bezel.
You will find plenty of useful features such as pre-calibrated picture presets (FPS, RTS, Reader, sRGB, and two customizable Gamer profiles), custom crosshairs, Black Stabilizer, and an FPS counter.
Unfortunately, the monitor does not offer any MBR (Motion Blur Reduction) technology, but its native pixel response time speed provides brilliant motion clarity anyway.
At the back of the monitor, there are various RGB LEDs which are pretty bright and can create quite an atmospheric ambient lighting as you can synchronize it to content on-screen via the Video Sync Mode in the Sphere Lighting 2.0 feature.
Design & Connectivity
The stand of the LG 38GL950G ultrawide monitor is sturdy and even offers height adjustment up to 110mm as well as 100x100mm VESA mount compatibility and -5°/15° tilt, but no swivel option.
Next, the screen has a subtle 2300R curvature and a low-haze anti-glare coating, which eliminates reflections without making the picture appear grainy.
There’s also a cooling fan inside the monitor, but it’s pretty quiet.
Connectivity options include DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, a dual-USB 3.0 hub, and a headphones jack. Note that the HDMI port is limited to 85Hz at 3840×1600.
Both G-SYNC and Adaptive-Sync/FreeSync are supported over DisplayPort 1.4 with a 30-175Hz range.
Price & Similar Monitors
The worst part about this monitor is the price of $1,800 (at the time writing). While it is expensive, it does offer a unique and first-class viewing and gaming experience.
For ~$300 less, you can get the LG 38GN950, which is a FreeSync version of this monitor with better DisplayHDR 600 support. It doesn’t have a G-SYNC module, but it has a very good overdrive implementation and a good 48-160Hz VRR range with LFC.
Other alternatives worth considering at this price range including the already mentioned ASUS PG27UQ and the Acer Predator X35, which offers a much better HDR picture quality, but it’s more expensive, and it doesn’t have as smooth motion clarity.
You might also be interested in the Samsung Odyssey G9, a 49″ 5120×1440 240Hz super-ultrawide monitor with a VA panel that offers a higher contrast ratio and fast response time.
Visit our best gaming monitor buyer’s guide for more information and the best deals currently available.
The LG 38GL950G is an absolutely marvelous gaming monitor, but its price is not as pleasing.
|Panel Type||Nano IPS|
|Aspect Ratio||21:9 (UltraWide)|
|Refresh Rate||120Hz – 10-bit color depth|
144Hz/160Hz – 8-bit color depth
175Hz – 4:2:2 chroma subsampling
|Response Time||1ms (GtG)|
|Adaptive Sync||G-SYNC (30Hz-175Hz)|
*Supports FreeSync over DP
|Ports||DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0|
|Other Ports||2x USB 3.0, Headphone Jack|
|Contrast Ratio||1000:1 (static)|
|Colors||1.07 billion (8-bit + FRC)|
- Big screen with a high resolution
- Vibrant and accurate colors
- Quick response time speed
- G-SYNC up to 175Hz
- Plenty of additional gaming features
- Height-adjustable stand, USB ports
- Low contrast ratio
- Design lacks swivel option
- DisplayPort 1.4 limitations