LG 38UC99 review: 4K UltraWide

LG brings 21:9 UltraWide to another level

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Introduction

There is no other monitor manufacturer that believes as much in 21:9 monitors as LG. At the end of 2012 we already covered the EA93, a model with a ‘wide full hd’ resolution of 2560x1080. In 2014 we were able to review the previously announced 34UM95, with ‘ultra wide quad hd’ or 3440x1440 pixels. For this year the Korean company takes the next step with the 38UC99. This new top model has a resolution of 3840x1600 pixels and a diagonal of nearly 38 inch. We started using the new flag ship to see how we liked it, and of course we tested it using our own extensive test method.


We have already stated this before: the diagonal with super wide monitors – as we call the 43:18 / 21:9 class informally – is somewhat misleading. Where a 16:9 monitor of 32-inch towers over you, a 34-inch model is just as tall as a 27-inch model, only slightly wider; over 80 cm. This sounds big, but feels a lot less big than a monitor that towers over you.. 

LG 38UC99-W
LG 38UC99

In the same way the 38UC99 does not feels as big as a 40 inch 16:9 model, but it is still a very big monitor. Officially the diagonal is 37.5 inch, which is 95 cm. The width is 89.8 cm; for comparison: the 34 inch 34UC98 is 81.6 cm. This is more than 8 cm difference when it comes to the width of the monitor. The 34UC99 has a minimal height of 46.5 cm and a maximum of 57.7 cm, including its base. The 34UC98 measures 45.3 and 56.2 cm respectively – pretty much identical. In other words, on paper the monitor might not seem all that big. However, in practice it is without a doubt a (very) big monitor.

The monitor does offer a lot more work space than the ‘smaller’ uwqhd counterparts. 3840x1600 pixels results in nearly 6 million pixels, while with 3440x1440 there are ‘only’ about 5 million. Because of the increased diagonal the pixel density is identical: 110 ppi. This means you have the same density as a 27 inch monitor at 2560x1440, which means it is not necessary to use scaling in your operating system. We did find this combination of resolution and size ideal for those that need a lot of work space – with ultra hd some scaling is pretty much unavoidable if you work with smaller sizes than 32-inch, and even at 32 inch some pieces might be very small.

This means that the 38UC99 is an excellent workhorse. Because of its horizontal resolution it has the right to be called a 4K-class monitor, but at ultra hd you will have even more pixels. LG call this resolution WQHD+ themselves. If you look at the price / pixel ratio you might be surprised: the MSRP of this monitor as well as the average price in our Price Comparison is 1520 dollars. At the time of writing we cannot find it for less than 1397 dollars. At this price point you can easily buy a solid ultra hd-monitor instead. Nevertheless, as stated earlier, as soon as you use scaling on an uhd-monitor you lose out on work space – at 125% scaling you effectively have the same amount of pixels that the 38UC99 offers.

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LG 38UC99-W

37.5 inch, 3840x1600, 111 ppi, IPS, AMD FreeSync, 75 Hz, HDMI input, DisplayPort input, 5 ms, 300 cd/m², 1000 : 1

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