LG 38GN950-B Monitor Review

Tested using Methodology v1.1
Reviewed Apr 16, 2021 at 09:25 am
LG 38GN950-B Picture
8.0
Mixed Usage
7.9
Office
8.3
Gaming
7.9
Multimedia
8.0
Media Creation
7.5
HDR Gaming
Size 38"
Resolution 3840x1600
Max Refresh Rate
160 Hz
Pixel Type
IPS
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync

The LG 38GN950-B is a great ultrawide gaming monitor. It's the successor to the LG 38GL950G-B, but unlike its predecessor, it supports FreeSync natively instead of G-SYNC. It's certified as G-SYNC compatible, though, so those with an NVIDIA graphics card still get a nearly tear-free gaming experience. It has low input lag, exceptional response time, and a 144Hz refresh that you can overclock up to 160Hz, resulting in amazingly fluid gameplay. Its 38 inch high-resolution screen provides incredible immersion and tons of space for multitasking, making it a good choice for work and media consumption. It has a great wide color gamut and impressive peak brightness to deliver a pretty good HDR experience, although it's not the best option for dark room viewing due to its sub-par contrast. Unfortunately, the stand doesn't allow for any swivel adjustment.

Our Verdict

8.0 Mixed Usage

The LG UltraGear 38GN950-B is a great monitor overall. It's great for gaming as it has a high refresh rate, exceptional response time, and VRR support, resulting in smooth and responsive gameplay. Its large, high-resolution screen feels immersive and provides plenty of space for multitasking, making it a good option for media consumption and productivity. Although its contrast is sub-par and its local dimming is terrible, it has a great color gamut and high peak brightness to deliver a good HDR experience. Its viewing angles are good enough for sharing content casually or playing co-op games, but there's still some loss of image accuracy that might be a dealbreaker for content creators.

Pros
  • Large high-resolution screen.
  • Good viewing angles.
  • Gets bright enough to fight glare.
  • Good text clarity.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast.
  • May struggle with bright reflections.
  • No swivel adjustment.
7.9 Office

The LG 38GN950-B is good for office use. It has a large 38 inch ultrawide screen that gives you plenty of space to open multiple windows side-by-side, and its high pixel density results in sharp images and text. Its reflection handling is just okay, but the screen gets pretty bright, so you shouldn't have any visibility issue in most settings. The stand doesn't swivel at all, which isn't ideal if you need to turn the screen to share your work with a coworker. On the upside, it has good viewing angles, so the image remains accurate at the sides when you sit up close and when viewing from the side.

Pros
  • Large high-resolution screen.
  • Good viewing angles.
  • Gets bright enough to fight glare.
  • Good text clarity.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast.
  • May struggle with bright reflections.
  • No swivel adjustment.
8.3 Gaming

The LG 38GN950-B is a great gaming monitor. It delivers an immersive gaming experience thanks to its large screen and high resolution. It has low input lag, a 160Hz refresh rate, and exceptional response time, delivering smooth and responsive gameplay. It supports FreeSync and is certified as G-SYNC compatible to reduce screen tearing. Unfortunately, it's not the best for gaming in the dark because it has a sub-par contrast ratio, and its terrible local dimming doesn't improve black level at all.

Pros
  • 160Hz refresh rate.
  • Exceptional response time.
  • Large high-resolution screen.
  • VRR support.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast.
7.9 Multimedia

The LG 38GN950-B is good for media consumption. It has a large, high-resolution screen that feels incredibly immersive. It doesn't handle reflections all that well, but it gets bright enough to combat glare in most lighting conditions. The viewing angles are good, so the image remains fairly accurate when viewed from the side, great for sharing content with others. Sadly, the ergonomics are somewhat limited because it doesn't swivel at all, and its sub-par contrast ratio isn't ideal for dark rooms.

Pros
  • Large high-resolution screen.
  • Good viewing angles.
  • Gets bright enough to fight glare.
  • Full sRGB coverage.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast.
  • May struggle with bright reflections.
  • No swivel adjustment.
8.0 Media Creation

The LG 38GN950-B is great for content creation. Its 38 inch ultrawide format is amazing for video editors working on a timeline, and its high pixel density lets you see all the fine details of your work clearly. It has full sRGB coverage, superb gradient handling, and no color bleed. The stand doesn't allow for swivel adjustment, which makes it harder to turn the screen when you need to show your work to clients and colleagues. On the upside, the viewing angles are good, so the image remains accurate when viewed from the side.

Pros
  • Large high-resolution screen.
  • Good viewing angles.
  • Gets bright enough to fight glare.
  • Full sRGB coverage.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast.
  • May struggle with bright reflections.
  • No swivel adjustment.
7.5 HDR Gaming

The LG 38GN950-B is good for gaming in HDR. It has low input lag, exceptional response time, and VRR support to deliver a great gaming experience. It has an outstanding DCI P3 color gamut and gets very bright in HDR, but unfortunately, it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks appear gray, and its local dimming is terrible. Also, the refresh rate is limited to 120Hz when gaming in HDR.

Pros
  • Exceptional response time.
  • Large high-resolution screen.
  • VRR support.
  • Outstanding DCI P3 coverage.
  • Great HDR peak brightness.
Cons
  • Sub-par contrast.
  • Terrible edge-lit local dimming.
  • Refresh rate limited to 120Hz in 10 bit HDR.
  • 8.0 Mixed Usage
  • 7.9 Office
  • 8.3 Gaming
  • 7.9 Multimedia
  • 8.0 Media Creation
  • 7.5 HDR Gaming

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Curved Yes
Curve Radius 2300R
Weight (without stand)
15.7 lbs (7.1 kg)
Weight (with stand)
20.5 lbs (9.3 kg)

The LG 38GN950-B is very similar in design to its predecessor, the LG 38GL950G-B. Like other 2020 UltraGear monitors, the stand has been redesigned slightly. The column is wider at the bottom, and the wide V-shaped feet are elevated so that they only make contact with the table at the tips. There are still some red accents and RGB lighting on the back.

Design
Stand
Width
17.8" (45.3 cm)
Depth
12.2" (31.0 cm)

The stand is plastic but sturdy, and the screen doesn't wobble much. The feet are relatively thin, so you can still use the space between them to put other things.

4.2
Design
Ergonomics
Height Adjustment
3.9" (10.0 cm)
Switch Portrait/Landscape No
Swivel Range No swivel
Tilt Range -15° to 5°

The LG 38GN950 has poor ergonomics. It can't rotate to portrait mode due to its ultrawide format, which is normal. However, it doesn't swivel at all, and the tilt range is pretty narrow.

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 100x100

The back is similar to the LG 38GL950G-B, except that the LG branding has been replaced with the UltraGear logo. The RGB lighting strip can be controlled through software or with the wheel at the bottom of the screen. The small cutout in the stand is for cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders
0.4" (1.1 cm)

The LG 38GN950-B has thin borders that aren't distracting, which is great for multi-monitor setups.

Design
Thickness
Thickness (with stand)
11.1" (28.1 cm)
Thickness (without stand)
4.4" (11.2 cm)

The screen and the stand are both thick, so you need a fairly deep desk to put it on.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The LG 38GN850's build quality is decent. The all-plastic construction feels basic but solid, and there are no obvious gaps or loose parts. There's a bit of flex around the RGB lighting, although it's not bad enough to be of concern. The stand supports the monitor well, and there's very little wobble. Unfortunately, the cable management cutout on the stand feels pretty flimsy.

Picture Quality
5.9
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
949 : 1
Contrast With Local Dimming
945 : 1

Like most IPS panels, the LG 38GN950 has a sub-par contrast ratio, which makes blacks appear gray when viewed in the dark. It's slightly below the advertised 1000:1; however, contrast may vary between individual units. The local dimming doesn't improve the contrast at all because our test pattern triggers all the local dimming zones. We measured a part of the screen that wasn't lit during our local dimming test and got a 5634:1 contrast. However, this rarely happens in real content because all the zones are on most of the time.

1.5
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Edge

The LG UltraGear 38GN950 has a terrible local dimming feature. It's edge-lit, and the dimming zones are huge. It doesn't do much in most content because all the zones light up even when there's just a tiny object on the screen. Subtitles and small stars also make the entire screen light up. Zone transitions are very visible, but again, it rarely happens that a zone is off when displaying real content.

8.5
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene
491 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
512 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
520 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
520 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
521 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
521 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
512 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
519 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
520 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
520 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
520 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.001

The LG 38GN950 has excellent SDR peak brightness. It's very consistent across different content and more than bright enough to overcome glare, even in well-lit, sunny rooms.

We measured the SDR peak brightness after calibration in the 'Gamer 1' Game Mode (picture mode) with Brightness set to max.

8.3
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene
734 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
754 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
761 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
727 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
730 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
730 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
753 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
760 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
544 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
545 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
545 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.025

The LG 38GN950 has impressive HDR peak brightness. It gets pretty bright, exceeding the brightness requirement for its DisplayHDR 600 certification, but there's some frame dimming in some of the sustained windows. Overall, It's bright enough to deliver a great HDR gaming experience, and it's very decent for HDR movies as well.

We measured the HDR peak brightness in the 'Gamer 1' Game Mode with HDR enabled.

7.6
Picture Quality
Horizontal Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Left
42 °
Color Washout From Right
43 °
Color Shift From Left
52 °
Color Shift From Right
54 °
Brightness Loss From Left
48 °
Brightness Loss From Right
49 °
Black Level Raise From Left
70 °
Black Level Raise From Right
33 °
Gamma Shift From Left
39 °
Gamma Shift From Right
37 °

The LG 38GN950 has good horizontal viewing angles, similar to the LG 38GL950G-B. Although our black level results are very different between the left and right side, the difference is actually very minor because the left side stays below our 3% threshold while the right is only slightly above. Overall, you shouldn't see much loss in image accuracy when viewing from the side.

7.2
Picture Quality
Vertical Viewing Angle
Color Washout From Below
31 °
Color Washout From Above
33 °
Color Shift From Below
39 °
Color Shift From Above
43 °
Brightness Loss From Below
33 °
Brightness Loss From Above
35 °
Black Level Raise From Below
70 °
Black Level Raise From Above
70 °
Gamma Shift From Below
41 °
Gamma Shift From Above
40 °

The LG 38GN950 has decent horizontal viewing angles. The image looks dimmer and washed-out when viewing from above or below.

8.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.016 %
50% DSE
0.092 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.382 %
5% DSE
0.031 %

Gray uniformity is excellent; however, this varies between individual units due to manufacturing tolerances. The corners and sides are a bit darker on ours, but there's almost no dirty screen effect in the middle. Uniformity is much better in dark scenes.

6.8
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.478 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
1.330 %

Black uniformity is okay. The whole screen looks gray, and there's visible backlight bleed at the top corners. There's no difference between having local dimming enabled or disabled because our test pattern seems to trigger all the local dimming zones. This picture from our local dimming video shows the difference between the zones that are on and the ones that are off. Note that black uniformity varies between units.

8.4
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
sRGB
Luminance
134 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
10
Contrast Setting
70
RGB Controls
Default
Gamma Setting
Default
Color Temperature
6477 K
White Balance dE
2.07
Color dE
2.14
Gamma
2.21

The LG 38GN950-B has impressive accuracy out of the box. Most color and white balance inaccuracies are difficult to spot. The color temperature is very close to our 6500K target. Gamma follows the sRGB curve well, but some dark scenes appear darker than they should and some bright scenes are a little over-brightened. Note that accuracy can vary between units.

9.7
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Luminance
98 cd/m²
Luminance Settings
3
Contrast Setting
70
RGB Controls
49-50-48
Gamma Setting
Mode 2
Color Temperature
6526 K
White Balance dE
0.46
Color dE
0.30
Gamma
2.17

Accuracy is superb after calibration. The remaining color and white balance inaccuracies aren't visible to the naked eye. The color temperature is a bit cooler but still within the same ballpark and close to our target. Gamma is much improved, although some very dark and very bright scenes are a bit too bright.

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 due to manufacturing tolerances, even for the same model.

9.4
Picture Quality
SDR Color Gamut
sRGB xy
99.7 %
Adobe RGB xy
88.6 %
sRGB Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Adobe RGB Picture Mode
Gamer 1

The LG 38GN950 has an exceptional SDR color gamut. It covers the entire sRGB color space used in most content, and it has excellent Adobe RGB coverage, which is used for photo editing.

9.4
Picture Quality
SDR Color Volume
sRGB In ICtCp
97.4 %
Adobe RGB In ICtCp
90.5 %
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.

8.2
Picture Quality
HDR Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
93.4 %
Rec. 2020 xy
69.7 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Gamer 1

The LG 38GN950 has a great HDR color gamut. It has outstanding coverage of the DCI P3 color space used in most HDR content, and the tone mapping is absolutely superb. However, its coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 is much more limited.

Our DCI P3 measurement is lower than the advertised 98%. This is normal and due to the way that we measure DCI P3. We measure it by sending a Rec. 2020 signal, but we limit the colors to the DCI P3 primaries. This results in a lower but arguably more accurate measurement.

8.0
Picture Quality
HDR Color Volume
DCI-P3 In ICtCp
90.6 %
Rec. 2020 In ICtCp
69.0 %
DCI P3 Picture Mode
Gamer 1
Rec. 2020 Picture Mode
Gamer 1

Great HDR color volume. It mostly has difficulty with dark colors due to its low contrast. It has trouble with bright blues too, but that's typical for LCDs.

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
0.00 %
IR After 8 Min Recovery
0.00 %
IR After 10 Min Recovery
0.00 %

There are no signs of image retention, even after displaying a high-contrast image for 10 minutes. However, this may vary between individual units.

9.9
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

The LG 38GN950 has superb gradient handling. You shouldn't see any banding in most content.

10
Picture Quality
Color Bleed
Pixel Row Error
0.001 %
Pixel Column Error
0.009 %

There's no color bleed on the LG 38GN950.

6.6
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Matte
Total Reflections
6.7 %
Indirect Reflections
3.0 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
3.6 %

The LG 38GN950's reflection handling is just okay. It should be fine for most lighting conditions, but it may struggle with direct sunlight. That said, the screen gets bright enough to compensate, so you shouldn't have visibility issues in most instances.

7.5
Picture Quality
Text Clarity
Sub-Pixel Layout
RGB

The LG 38GN950-B has good text clarity. Windows' ClearType (top photo) makes diagonal lines appear bolder, like on the R and N, but some vertical lines look thinner.

Motion
9.5
Motion
Response Time @ Max Refresh Rate
Best Overdrive Setting
Fast
Rise / Fall Time
3.4 ms
Total Response Time
6.9 ms
Overshoot Error
3.5 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
3.5 ms
Dark Total Response Time
7.2 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
4.9 %

Overdrive SettingResponse Time ChartResponse Time TablesMotion Blur Photo
OffChartTablePhoto
NormalChartTablePhoto
FastChartTablePhoto
FastestChartTablePhoto

The LG 38GN950-B has an exceptional response time at its max refresh rate, resulting in clear motion with only a short blur trail behind fast-moving objects. The best Overdrive setting is 'Fast' because it has the quickest response time while keeping overshoot at an acceptable level.

9.1
Motion
Response Time @ 60Hz
Best Overdrive Setting
Normal
Rise / Fall Time
3.9 ms
Total Response Time
10.6 ms
Overshoot Error
2.3 %
Dark Rise / Fall Time
4.1 ms
Dark Total Response Time
13.4 ms
Dark Overshoot Error
5.1 %

Overdrive SettingResponse Time ChartResponse Time TablesMotion Blur Photo
OffChartTablePhoto
NormalChartTablePhoto
FastChartTablePhoto
FastestChartTablePhoto

The LG 38GN950's response time at 60Hz is outstanding, but some transitions are very slow, especially the 0-20%, 0-40%, and 0-60%, causing slight dark level smearing behind fast-moving objects. The best Overdrive setting is 'Normal'. The 'Off' option is very similar; it's slower overall but faster in the dark transitions. The 'Fast' and 'Fastest' options are slower and have significantly more overshoot.

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

The LG UltraGear 38GN950's backlight is flicker-free at all brightness levels, which helps eliminate image duplication and reduce 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 LG 38GN950 doesn't have a Black Frame Insertion feature.

9.1
Motion
Refresh Rate
Native
144 Hz
Max Refresh Rate
160 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
FreeSync
Yes
G-SYNC
Compatible (NVIDIA Certified)
VRR Maximum
160 Hz
VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors DisplayPort, HDMI

The LG 38GN950 has a 144Hz refresh rate that can be overclocked up to 160Hz to make motion appear smoother. Enabling Overclock also turns on Adaptive Sync. FreeSync works over DP and HDMI; however, the maximum refresh rate over HDMI is 75Hz. G-SYNC only works over a DisplayPort connection. The advertised G-SYNC range is 48-160Hz, but there was no tearing when the frame rate dropped below 48fps during our test.

Inputs
9.6
Inputs
Input Lag
Native Resolution
3.8 ms
Native Resolution @ 60Hz
9.2 ms
Variable Refresh Rate
4.1 ms
Variable Refresh Rate @ 60Hz