LG 38GL950G-B Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Jul 20, 2020 at 08:25 am
LG 38GL950G-B Picture
8.0
Mixed Usage
7.9
Office
8.4
Gaming
7.9
Multimedia
7.9
Media Creation
7.1
HDR Gaming
Size 38"
Resolution 3840x1600
Max Refresh Rate
175 Hz
LCD Type
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
G-SYNC

The LG 38GL950G-B is a great ultrawide gaming monitor that features LG's NANO IPS technology. It's the largest member of the UltraGear lineup, sporting a 38-inch 21:9 screen to deliver an immersive gaming experience. Motion handling is superb thanks to its outstanding response time and 175Hz refresh rate, but it lacks an optional black frame insertion feature. It has exceptionally low input lag, it delivers a decent HDR experience, and it comes with a Picture-in-Picture mode that can be useful for streamers and multitaskers. Unfortunately, its contrast ratio is low and there's visible backlight bleed, so it's not the best option for dark rooms. Lastly, it has native G-SYNC support, FreeSync compatibility, and there's even some RGB lighting to set the mood.

Our Verdict

8.0 Mixed Usage

The LG 38GL950G is a very good monitor for most uses, even though it's primarily designed for gaming. Its large screen size feels incredibly immersive, and it provides plenty of screen space for productivity tasks. It has a fast response time, low input lag, and it supports variable refresh rate technology. It has an outstanding SDR color gamut for content creation and it comes with an sRGB mode that's impressively accurate. Unfortunately, it has bad ergonomics and it doesn't perform all that well in dark rooms due to its low contrast ratio.

Pros
  • High refresh rate.
  • Outstanding response time.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Bad ergonomics.
7.9 Office

The LG 38GL950G is a good office monitor. Its large screen size provides plenty of screen real estate to have multiple windows opened at the same time. It gets bright enough to overcome glare, it has wide viewing angles, and text looks sharp thanks to its high pixel density. Unfortunately, it has bad ergonomics, as it only allows for height and tilt adjustments. On the upside, it has low input lag and the backlight is flicker-free.

Pros
  • Good viewing angles.
  • Impressive peak brightness.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Bad ergonomics.
8.4 Gaming

The LG 38GL950G-B is a great gaming monitor. It has a 175Hz refresh rate, outstanding response time, and exceptionally low input lag. Its large screen provides an immersive gaming experience, and its high resolution delivers a sharp image. Sadly, it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look grayish and there's a lot of backlight bleed, making it less ideal for gaming in the dark. It supports G-SYNC to reduce screen tearing, and it's also compatible with FreeSync.

Pros
  • High refresh rate.
  • Outstanding response time.
  • Native G-SYNC support.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Mediocre black uniformity.
7.9 Multimedia

The LG 38GL950G is a good monitor for media consumption. Its large 38-inch screen feels immersive, it has a high resolution, and it supports HDR. It lacks swivel adjustment, but you can still share content with others thanks to its wide viewing angles. It isn't the best option for dark room viewing, though, as its low contrast ratio makes blacks look gray and there's a lot of backlight bleed, which can be distracting.

Pros
  • Outstanding response time.
  • Good viewing angles.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Bad ergonomics.
  • Mediocre black uniformity.
7.9 Media Creation

The LG 38GL950G is a good monitor for content creators. The 21:9 aspect ratio is great for those who need a lot of horizontal space. Images and text look sharp, it gets very bright, and it has wide viewing angles, so you can easily share your work with colleagues. It has excellent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space and superb gradient handling. It lacks swivel adjustment, and it can't rotate to portrait mode due to its ultrawide format.

Pros
  • Good viewing angles.
  • Impressive peak brightness.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • Bad ergonomics.
  • Mediocre black uniformity.
7.1 HDR Gaming

The LG 38GL950G is a decent monitor for gaming in HDR. It has low input lag, a fast response time, and it supports variable refresh rate to minimize screen tearing. It can display a wide color gamut, it has a decent HDR peak brightness, but sadly, no local dimming. Also, like most IPS panels, it has a low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity, so it isn't the best option for dark room gaming.

Pros
  • High refresh rate.
  • Outstanding response time.
  • Native G-SYNC support.
  • Low input lag.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast ratio.
  • No local dimming.
  • Mediocre black uniformity.
  • 8.0 Mixed Usage
  • 7.9 Office
  • 8.4 Gaming
  • 7.9 Multimedia
  • 7.9 Media Creation
  • 7.1 HDR Gaming

Check Price

Black 38GL950G-B
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved Yes
Curve Radius 2300R
Weight (without stand)
16.5 lbs (7.5 kg)
Weight (with stand)
21.8 lbs (9.9 kg)

From the front, the 38GL950G is a simple-looking monitor and looks almost identical to other ultrawide monitors from LG's UltraGear Gaming monitor lineup, such as the LG 34GN850-B. It has very thin bezels on three sides and a thicker bottom bezel. The screen has a mild curve, which helps with immersion as well as visibility. The V-shaped stand is wide but the feet are thin. There are some red accents and the circular ring on the back of the monitor lights up. The RGB lighting can be customized using either the on-screen menu or LG's UltraGear Control Center software.

Design
Stand
Width
18.9" (48.0 cm)
Depth
11.3" (28.7 cm)

The stand supports the monitor well and there's almost no wobble. The cylinder that attaches to the screen is metal, but the feet are plastic.

4.5
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
4.3" (11.0 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape No
Swivel Range No swivel
Tilt Range -15° to 5°

The 38GL950G has bad ergonomics. It can't rotate to portrait mode due to its ultrawide format. There's no swivel adjustment and the tilt range is pretty narrow.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back of the monitor is plain except for the circular ring that lights up. Unfortunately, there's no cable management at all.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.4" (1.1 cm)

The top and side bezels are very thin but the bottom bezel is a little bit thicker.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
9.4" (24.0 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
4.6" (11.8 cm)

The monitor is very thick due to its curvature and requires a deep desk when using it with the stand.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

The 38GL950G's build quality is good. It's mostly plastic except for the stand's trunk, which is metal. It feels very sturdy and there's almost no wobble at all.

Picture Quality
5.8
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
917 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
N/A

Like most IPS monitors, the 38GL950G-B has a sub-par contrast ratio. This makes blacks look more like gray, especially when viewed in a dark room.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Edge

The 38GL950G doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video above is provided for reference only.

8.4
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
445 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
464 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
465 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
466 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
466 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
466 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
464 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
465 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
466 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
466 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
466 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.000

Impressive SDR peak brightness. It's extremely consistent across different content, and it's more than enough to fight glare in the brightest lighting conditions.

7.2
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
482 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
498 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
499 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
500 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
500 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
500 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
496 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
499 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
500 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
500 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
500 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.000

Decent HDR peak brightness. It's again very consistent when displaying different content. It's bright enough to deliver a fairly good HDR experience in video games, but not HDR movies.

7.5
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
42 °
Color Washout From Right
43 °
Color Shift From Left
50 °
Color Shift From Right
53 °
Brightness Loss From Left
46 °
Brightness Loss From Right
48 °
Black Level Raise From Left
70 °
Black Level Raise From Right
32 °
Gamma Shift From Left
39 °
Gamma Shift From Right
36 °

The 38GL950G has good horizontal viewing angles. This is important for a screen this size, as it helps to prevent the image from degrading at the sides when sitting up close. Gamma shift happens rather quickly when moving off-center, but colors remain accurate until you reach moderate angles.

7.2
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
32 °
Color Washout From Above
32 °
Color Shift From Below
39 °
Color Shift From Above
39 °
Brightness Loss From Below
34 °
Brightness Loss From Above
34 °
Black Level Raise From Below
70 °
Black Level Raise From Above
70 °
Gamma Shift From Below
44 °
Gamma Shift From Above
39 °

Decent vertical viewing angles. The image remains accurate at the top and bottom edges unless you sit very close to the screen.

8.6
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.858 %
50% DSE
0.101 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.633 %
5% DSE
0.039 %

The 38GL950G-B has excellent gray uniformity. The corners are slightly darker, but this shouldn't be noticeable in normal content. There's very little dirty screen effect and uniformity is much better in dark scenes.

6.3
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.798 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
N/A

Mediocre black uniformity. There's visible backlight bleed along the top and bottom edges of the screen. The whole screen looks more gray than black due to the monitor's low contrast ratio.

8.4
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
sRGB
Luminance
202 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
32
Contrast Setting
70
RGB Controls
Default
Gamma Setting
Default
Color Temperature
6311 K
White Balance dE
2.41
Color dE
1.86
Gamma
2.13

Out of the box, the 38GL950G-B has an impressive color accuracy. The inaccuracies with most colors are difficult to notice without the aid of a colorimeter. White balance is only slightly off, and the color temperature leans on the warm side. The gamma follows the target curve reasonably well, but most scenes are too bright, and the sRGB mode doesn't allow any change to the gamma setting.

9.7
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Luminance
102 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
10
Contrast Setting
68
RGB Controls
49-48-56
Gamma Setting
Mode 2
Color Temperature
6484 K
White Balance dE
0.47
Color dE
0.33
Gamma
2.18

After calibration, the color accuracy is superb. There's still an issue with the color blue, which is normal for an LED monitor. The color temperature is much closer to our 6500k target, and gamma is better for the most part, except for very dark or very bright scenes.

You can download our ICC profile calibration here. This is provided for reference only and shouldn't be used, as the calibration values vary per individual unit even for the same model due to manufacturing tolerances.

9.3
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
99.4 %
Adobe RGB xy
86.1 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Gamer 1

The 38GL950G has an outstanding SDR color gamut. It covers the entire sRGB color space, which is used in most content, and it has excellent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, used by most professional photo editors.

9.4
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
97.1 %
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
90.1 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Gamer 1

Exceptional SDR color volume. It only has trouble displaying dark colors due to its low contrast ratio.

6.7
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
63.9 %
Rec. 2020 xy
69.5 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Gamer 1

The 38GL950G-B's HDR color gamut is okay. Coverage of the widely used DCI-P3 color space is mediocre, but surprisingly, it has decent coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space.

6.4
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
62.2 %
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
65.4 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Gamer 1

The 38GL950G-B's HDR color volume is mediocre. It's limited both by its low contrast ratio and its HDR color gamut.

10
Picture Quality
Image Retention
IR After 0 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 2 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 4 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 6 Min Recovery
0.04 %
IR After 8 Min Recovery
0.02 %
IR After 10 Min Recovery
0.00 %

The 38GL950G doesn't exhibit any signs of temporary image retention.

9.8
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

Superb gradient handling. There's only some faint banding in the grays, which shouldn't be noticeable in normal content.

10
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.003 %
Pixel Column Error
0.005 %

There's no visible color bleed on this monitor.

7.3
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
5.8 %
Indirect Reflections
3.4 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
2.3 %

Decent reflection handling. Visibility should be fine in most rooms and the monitor's brightness can be increased to compensate when there's a lot of glare.

7.5
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

Text clarity is good. Text looks sharper overall with ClearType enabled (top photo), especially diagonal lines, but some vertical lines look thinner.

Motion
9.3
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
4.5 ms
Total Response Time
8.5 ms
Overshoot Error
0.0 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
5.0 ms
Dark Total Response Time
9.4 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
0.0 %

Overdrive Setting Response Time Chart Response Time Tables Motion Blur Photo
Off Chart Table Photo
Normal Chart Table Photo
Fast Chart Table Photo
Faster Chart Table Photo

The 38GL950G's response time when playing at its max refresh rate is outstanding, resulting in very little motion blur in fast-moving scenes. The recommended overdrive setting is 'Normal', which provides the best performance with no overshoot at all. The 'Fast' and 'Faster' settings cause a lot of overshoot, leading to visible inverse ghosting.

The response time was measured in chroma 4:2:2 since the monitor can't display a full RGB color profile at a 175Hz refresh rate due to bandwidth limitations. The response time at 160Hz, which is the highest refresh rate we can get while keeping a full RGB color profile, is nearly identical or within margin of error.

9.3
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
4.5 ms
Total Response Time
8.5 ms
Overshoot Error
0 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
5.0 ms
Dark Total Response Time
8.6 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
0.0 %

Overdrive Setting Response Time Chart Response Time Tables Motion Blur Photo
Off Chart Table Photo
Normal Chart Table Photo
Fast Chart Table Photo
Faster Chart Table Photo

The response time at 60Hz is outstanding, and nearly identical to the response time at max refresh rate. The best overdrive setting is also 'Normal'.

10
Motion
Image Flicker
Flicker-Free Yes
PWM Dimming Frequency
0 Hz

The backlight is flicker-free, which can be helpful in reducing eye strain.

0
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
No BFI
BFI Maximum Frequency
N/A
BFI Minimum Frequency
N/A

The 38GL950G-B doesn't have an optional black frame insertion feature.

9.3
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
144 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
175 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
FreeSync
Compatible (Tested)
G-SYNC
Yes (Native)
VRR Maximum
175 Hz
VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors DisplayPort

The 38GL950G has a 144Hz native refresh rate that can be overclocked up to 175Hz; however, this can only be achieved over a DisplayPort connection, as the refresh rate over an HDMI connection is limited to 85Hz. G-SYNC is supported natively, and it's compatible with VESA Adaptive-Sync, HDMI Forum's VRR, and FreeSync.

Inputs
9.5
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
3.7 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
12.2 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
4.7 ms
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz
14.0 ms
10 Bit HDR
N/A
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
N/A

The 38GL950G has an exceptionally low input lag, and it's only slightly higher with VRR enabled. The input lag at max refresh rate is measured in chroma 4:2:2 mode, as the refresh rate is limited to 160Hz when using an RGB color profile. The input lag at 160Hz with RGB is 4ms, and 5.5ms with VRR enabled.

Due to bandwidth limitations, we can only measure the input lag with HDR at 60Hz over an HDMI connection. The input lag at 60Hz with 12-bit HDR is 12.2ms. 10-bit HDR isn't available over HDMI and we currently lack the necessary tools to test the input lag with HDR over a DisplayPort connection.

8.9
Inputs
Resolution And Size
Native Resolution 3840 x 1600
Aspect Ratio 21:9
Megapixels 6.1 MP
Pixel Density
111 PPI
Screen Diagonal 37.5 inches
Screen Area 498 sq inches

The 38GL950G-B's large 38-inch screen provides an immersive gaming experience, and it's big enough to have multiple windows opened side by side for better multitasking. It's an uncommon resolution; the pixel density is about the same as a 34-inch, 3440 x 1440 screen. Do note that not all games support a 21:9 aspect ratio, so depending on the game, there might be black bars on the sides, or the image might be stretched to fit the screen.

Inputs
Inputs
Inputs
Total Inputs
DisplayPort 1 (DP 1.4)
Mini DisplayPort No
HDMI 1 (HDMI 2.0)
DVI No
VGA No
DisplayPort Out No
USB 2 (USB 3.0)
USB C No
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 1
Microphone In 3.5mm No
Digital Optical Audio Out No
Analog Audio Out RCA No
Power Supply External Brick
Features
Features
Additional Features
RGB Illumination
Controllable
Speakers
No
HDR10 Yes
Multiple Input Display
PIP + PBP

The 38GL950G has a few extra features. There's RGB lighting on the back on the monitor, which can be controlled either with the LG UltraGear Control Center software or using the on-screen menu. The on-screen menu only has a few preset lighting effects, so it's recommended to use the software for full customization options. There's a Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture mode that lets you display images from two sources at the same time, which can be useful for streamers or multitasking. You can also add a virtual crosshair for shooter games, an on-screen frame rate counter, and there's a 'reading' mode that suppresses blue light to help reduce eye strain.

Features
On-Screen Display (OSD)
Features
Controls

There's a joystick to navigate the main on-screen menu and a clickable wheel to control the monitor's RGB lighting. Both are located at the center of the screen, below the LG branding.

Features
In The Box

  • Power supply
  • Power cord
  • DisplayPort cable
  • USB-A to USB-B cable
  • HDMI cable
  • User guide
  • Setup CD

Differences Between Sizes and Variants

We tested the LG 38GL950G-B and it's only available in a 38-inch size. It's the biggest monitor in LG's UltraGear Gaming monitor lineup, which includes over a dozen models in different configurations.

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their LG 38GL950G-B doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, such as the gray uniformity, may vary between individual units.

Our unit of the LG 38GL950G-B was manufactured in May 2020; you can see the label here.

Compared to other monitors

The LG 38GL950G-B is a great ultrawide gaming monitor. It performs almost identically to its smaller sibling, the LG 34GN850-B, but it's significantly more expensive, placing it in the territory of large high-end TVs. For other options, you can also see our recommendations for the best gaming monitors, the best ultrawide gaming monitors, and the best 144Hz monitors.

LG 34GK950F-B
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Overall, the LG 38GL950G-B is slightly better than the LG 34GK950F-B. The 38GL950G-B has a faster response time and its refresh rate can be overclocked up to 175Hz. It also has a higher peak brightness, a bigger screen, and it comes with a Picture-in-Picture mode. However, the 34GK950F-B has better viewing angles and a black frame insertion feature. The 38GL950G-B is a native G-SYNC monitor while the 34GK950F-B is FreeSync.

LG 34GN850-B
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

For most uses, the LG 38GL950G-B and the LG 34GN850-B perform very similarly, with the 38GL950G-B being marginally better. The 38GL950G-B has a bigger screen, it gets brighter, and it has a higher max refresh rate. On the other hand, the 34GN850-B has a faster response time and a much better HDR color gamut.

Dell U3818DW
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Although the LG 38GL950G-B and the Dell U3818DW share the same screen size, aspect ratio, and resolution, the LG performs significantly better than the Dell for most uses. The LG has an outstanding response time, high refresh rate, and it supports VRR. Also, the LG gets brighter, it has lower input lag, and it supports HDR. However, the Dell has better ergonomics, wider viewing angles, and a much better color accuracy.

Dell Alienware AW3420DW
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The LG 38GL950G-B is a better monitor than the Dell Alienware AW3420DW for most uses. The LG has a bigger screen, a higher refresh rate, and a faster response time. Additionally, the LG has a much higher peak brightness, wider viewing angles, and it supports HDR. However, the Dell has better ergonomics and a much better build quality.