LG 38WK95C-W review

In 2017, Apple announced that LG designed the UltraFine 5K monitor with the MacBook Pro in mind. With its Thunderbolt 3 and three USB-C ports, it was marketed as the high-quality Thunderbolt display you always wanted for your Mac, but Apple decided to no longer make for you.

Over the past couple of years, LG has produced a number of fantastic monitors, more and more of which automatically connect to the Mac for a relatively seamless experience.

The LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide curved display is one of those monitors. With the included USB-C cable, you can connect it to your Mac to mirror your display or set it up as a secondary display, plus send data to and from an external hard drive. If you're using the LG 38WK95C-W with a supported MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, you can also charge up your device at the same time. And yes, it works with the iPad Pro (2018), including charging.

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide curved display

Price: $1,099

Bottom line: Do you need a 38-inch curved display? Probably not. But if you want one for your Mac, the 38WK95C-W is the best option in this price range.

The Good

  • Base is well-designed
  • Super easy setup
  • USB-C upstream support
  • Variety of ports
  • Nice built-in speakers
  • Easy access to monitor settings

The Bad

  • White plastic backside
  • Screen resolution isn't as good as Retina
  • Sometimes doesn't connect to devices

Monitor everything

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide: The features

Share screen with MacBook Pro and LG 38WK95C-W

The 38WK95C-W is a 38-inch UltraWide (21:9) curved display with a USB-C read & write port, a DisplayPort port, two HDMI ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, but no Thunderbolt 3 port.

It supports Bluetooth audio if you want to build a killer sound system for your game or movie watching experience.

The screen is 35-inches wide by 15.5-inches tall with a diagonal measurement of 38 inches. The curved monitor sits on an Edge-Arcline base (that's LG's term for the fancy-pants curved base). The base has an incredibly small footprint and it has a stand that can be moved up or down, plus a tilting head so you can position the screen at different angles.

Category Feature
Resolution 3480 x 1600
ppi 111
4K/5K No
HDR HDR 10
Brightness 300 nits DCI-P3
Color Gamut sRGB 99% (typical)
Thunderbolt 3 No
USB-C data transfer & 60W charging
DisplayPort Yes
HDMI 2
USB-A 2
Audio Built-in 10W 2-channel speaker
Bluetooth For device audio connection
Headphone jack 3.5mm

Mini movie theater

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide: What I like

iTunes 4K movie on LG 38WK95C-W

It's big. Real big. I remember when I got my first 27-inch iMac. I was almost embarrassed at how unnecessarily big (at least I thought, at the time) it was. This one is 38 inches diagonally. Soooo.

Even at 38 inches, though, it does not seem like a behemoth. The monitor measures just 15.5 inches tall, so it doesn't seem like a big screen TV sitting on your office desk or anything.

I love the Apple aesthetic of the 38WK95C-W. Previous LG monitors, and many other brands, tend to design monitors with black plastic bases, which is fine if you've got a PC with a similar look. But the 38WK95C-W has that machined aluminum look that compliments a Mac office very nicely. The base is thin and curved and is well-balanced. For how small the base is, it's amazing the giant screen doesn't tip over. But, it doesn't.

Though it took two people to pull it out of the box, the monitor is incredibly easy to set up. No screwdriver needed to put the pieces together. There's a tightener on the bottom of the arm to connect to the base and a clip-in spot on the back of the monitor to put it all together. Plug in the power supply and you're ready to go.

The best thing about the 38WK95C-W is just how UltraWide it is.

The 38WK95C-W doesn't have a Thunderbolt 3 port, but what it does have instead is USB-C data transfer with support for 60-watt charging. This means you can connect your MacBook, MacBook Air, or 13-inch MacBook Pro and have it charge your laptop while you work.

Unlike LG's 5K UltraWide display, the 38WK95C-W actually has more than just USB-C ports. In fact, it's got two USB-A ports, two HDMI ports, and a DisplayPort port, so you're less likely to need a dongle or hub for connecting things like speakers and other peripherals.

LG 38WK95C-W with GarageBand full screen

Speaking of speakers; Most monitors I've encountered have pitiful excuses for speakers. The 38WK95C-W has a fairly decent set of boomers. I'm not saying it's got THX, blow-you-off-your-seat, audio quality. But it's got better sound with richer bass than most. Curved monitors are made for watching movies and playing video games, so it's no surprise that they didn't skimp on sound quality here. You really don't need an external set of speakers if you don't want to invest in them.

If you do, however, the 38WK95C-W has a 35mm audio jack, which most wired computer speakers use.

If you just want to connect your MacBook to the 38WK95C-W and have sound actually come out of the monitor speakers instead of your computer, open your Bluetooth settings for your computer and connect to the 38WK95C-W.

There is a joystick style button at the bottom edge of the screen, which gives you direct access to the monitor's settings. From here, you can control input options, picture modes and quality adjustments, sound quality, and various on-screen settings like power saving mode and standby.

I really appreciate having these controls right at the bottom of the screen. If I'm watching a movie or playing a video game, I can quickly adjust the settings without having to download any software or open any panels on my computer.

The best thing about the 38WK95C-W is just how UltraWide it is. I've always got, at a minimum, four windows open on my Mac. With this monitor, I can easily have eight small windows open that I can work in. Four across the top and four across the bottom. Yes, the windows are small, but sometimes, you don't need a lot of room to work in.

For those that do need a lot of room to work in, there's no denying that this monitor was made for you. Stretch out your photo or video editing software to full screen to make use of every bit of screen space possible.

When it comes to watching movies, if you're watching something in HD or 4K, you'll be impressed with how it looks on the 38WK95C-W. It's like a mini movie theater in your office.

Cheap look

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide: What I don't like

LG 38WK95C-W backside

It's big. Maybe a little too big. It's so big that I sometimes get lost looking for something on my screen because I'm able to keep so many windows open. Just kidding. That's not a complaint.

The backside of the 38WK95C-W is made out of plastic, and it's white, to boot. If your monitor is going to be set against a wall, no big deal. It's hidden away. If, however, your desk is in the middle of a room, or somewhere where the backside of the monitor is accessible to the world, they're going to be looking at a big, white, plastic rectangle. Take that for what you will. Some people won't care about the backside but care more about the front, the part of the screen you'll be looking at for hours and hours at a time.

You're really downgrading in terms of resolution when you plug into the 38WK95C-W.

As for the front, the screen itself, I have to admit, I didn't connect my MacBook Pro and just think, "wow!" In fact, I found it to be just a bit grainy in terms of what words look like. It's subtle. Not a dealbreaker for me (though it might be for some). When you're used to the super-high quality of a 5K iMac screen, or even the smooth, crisp display on a 13-inch Retina display with 2560 X 1600 resolution and 227 ppi, you're really downgrading in terms of resolution when you plug into the 38WK95C-W. This screen is definitely for people that need the wide display for workspace and not for people that want a Retina screen. Movies, photos, and video games still look stunning, but those extra pixels-per-inch really make a difference when you're looking at a lot of words all day, which is what I use it for.

On more than one occasion, I had trouble connecting my MacBook Pro or iPad Pro (2018) to the 38WK95C-W. Using the included USB-C cable, you're supposed to be able to just plug it into your device and it mirrors the screen. Sometimes, that would happen. Other times, I'd connect my MacBook Pro or iPad Pro and the screen would be black. It would charge my device, but nothing appeared on the screen. The monitor would wake up for a moment, identify the USB-C port in use, and then trigger sleep mode because it wasn't reading the screen.

Sometimes, I'd unplug the included official cable from the device and plug it back in, and voila, connection made. Other times, I'd have to unplug the monitor itself and plug it back in before I could make a connection again. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the issue, nor is there one specific thing that works every time to fix it.

It's important for me to point out that, though the 15-inch MacBook Pro does connect to the 38WK95C-W, and works with data transfer USB-C, it will not significantly charge the larger laptop, which requires an 80w power source. If you leave your 15-inch MacBook Pro plugged in overnight, it'll trickle charge it, but for the most part, you'll still need to connect it to a separate power source to keep it charged up while you work.

Bottom line

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide

Share screen with MacBook Pro and LG 38WK95C-W

4 out of 5

For people who want:

  • To play games on their computer
  • To watch movies on their computer
  • The ultra wide (21:9 ratio) experience
  • To do a lot of photo or video editing on a single screen
  • To have as many as 8 windows open at once

Not for people who want:

  • To mount their display on a wall
  • To spend less than $1,000 on a monitor
  • A committed 4 or 5k or Retina experience
  • Don't have a lot of desk space

An UltraWide monitor is not for everyone, and frankly, a curved monitor is for even fewer. You have to know what's important to you, in terms of your monitor needs, before deciding to make such a big purchase. If you're a content creator, software developer, or professional photo editor, there is a lot of value in an UltraWide monitor. If you consume an abundance of movies or video games, a curved display really does enhance the experience.

If you're in the market for an UltraWide monitor, the 38WK95C-W is seriously a performance enhancer and a top-of-the-line monitor that you will truly love. It's even got a bit of an Apple design aesthetic to match your Mac-friendly office.

See at Amazon

If a curved, UltraWide monitor is a little too much for you, check out our recommendations for the best USB-C monitors.

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