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LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide curved display review: How it works with Mac notebooks

LG UltraWide Curved Display

(Image credit: Lory Gil)

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide curved display

LG sets the curve

Well-designed base
Easy setup
USB-C upstream support
Variety of ports
Nice built-in speakers
Easy access to monitor settings
White, plastic backside
Screen resolution isn't as good as Retina
Sometimes doesn't connect to devices 

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.

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: Price, availability, and features

LG UltraWide display

(Image credit: Lory Gil)

The LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide curved display is available on Amazon for $999.99, and Newegg for $749. It features a a 38-inch UltraWide (21:9) curved display with a USB-C read and write port, a DisplayPort port, two HDMI ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, but no Thunderbolt 3 port.

This UltraWide display 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, so it can be set up as a mini movie theater. 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 for the ultimate mini movie theater viewing experience.

CategoryFeature
Resolution3480 x 1600
ppi111
4K/5KNo
HDRHDR 10
Brightness300 nits DCI-P3
Color GamutsRGB 99% (typical)
Thunderbolt 3No
USB-Cdata transfer & 60W charging
DisplayPortYes
HDMI2
USB-A2
AudioBuilt-in 10W 2-channel speaker
BluetoothFor device audio connection
Headphone jack3.5mm

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide: What you'll like

LG UltraWide curved display

(Image credit: Lory Gil)

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 16-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.

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.

LG 38WK95C-W with GarageBand full screen

LG curved monitor with Garageband app on display (Image credit: iMore)

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.

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide: What you won't like

LG UltraWide curved display

(Image credit: Lory Gil)

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, Apple TV+, photos, and the best Mac 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.

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide: The competition

Samsung UltraWide 49-inch gaming monitor

(Image credit: Samsung)

SAMSUNG LC49RG90SSNXZA 49-inch CRG9 curved monitor

This ultra-wide display is 11 inches wider than the LG, appropriately earning its UltraWide title. The monitor features a sleek, black design, that may be more aesthetically pleasing to some. The 120-hertz refresh rate with AMD FreeSync 2 technology, crisp HDR content display, reduced input latency, and low framerate compensation, make it ideal for gaming. It's nearly a foot wider and more expensive than the LG, so choosing between the two really depends on your usage and needs. 

DELL 34-inch curved monitor

This 1800R curved, gaming monitor provides a truly immersive experience that offers more realistic visuals and comfortable viewing. A 144-hertz refresh rate allows fast-moving visuals to be seen with incredible clarity for faster reaction times. It also features a sleek, black design, which might make it more attractive to some — especially the backside. It’s significantly less expensive than the LG, but smaller, so choosing between the two will come down to your needs and the space you have. 

LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide: Should you buy it?

LG UltraWide curved display

(Image credit: Lory Gil)

You should buy this if...

  • You want to play games on your computer
  • You watch movies on your computer
  • You want the ultra-wide (21:9 ratio) experience
  • You do a lot of photo or video editing on a single screen
  • You have as many as eight windows open at once

You shouldn't buy this if...

  • You want to mount this display on a wall
  • You want to spend less than $1,000 on a monitor
  • You want a committed 4K, 5K, or Retina experience
  • You 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. If you're not sold, check out our other picks for best monitors for older MacBook Pros