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
8.0
Media Creation
7.2
HDR Gaming
Size 38"
Resolution 3840x1600
Max Refresh Rate
175 Hz
Pixel 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.
8.0 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.
7.2 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
  • 8.0 Media Creation
  • 7.2 HDR Gaming
  1. Update 10/19/2020: Verified it has support for PIP/PBP modes.
  2. Update 9/24/2020: We've retested the HDR peak brightness and HDR color gamut using the latest firmware (version 1.20).

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
509 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
510 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
511 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
512 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
512 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
509 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
510 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
511 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
511 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
511 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.000

Update 09/24/2020: We've retested the HDR peak brightness using the latest firmware (version 1.20). We measure a slightly higher peak brightness overall, increasing between 10cd/m² to 12cd/m² in most scenes.

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. If you want a similar monitor that gets brighter in HDR, look into the LG 38WN95C-W.

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.

7.7
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
84.4 %
Rec. 2020 xy
69.3 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Gamer 1

Update 09/24/2020: We've updated the monitor to the latest firmware (version 1.20) and retested the HDR color gamut. We measure a much higher DCI P3 coverage, increasing from 63.88% to 84.4%. The Rec.2020 number hasn't changed. The P3 coverage is still lower than the advertised 98%. This is due to the way that we measure DCI P3, as we measure it by sending a Rec. 2020 signal, but limit the colors to the DCI P3 primaries. This results in a lower, but arguably more accurate measurement.

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

7.3
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
81.8 %
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
65.1 %
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