LG 34UM95 34-Inch Ultra-Wide QHD Monitor Review

LG 34UM95: Solid Performance And Real Usability

When we last looked at ultra-wide displays, we concluded that, while they were solid choices for gaming and entertainment, their lack of resolution and screen height made them less useful for productivity. Now that LG is following up with a 1440p 34-inch wide screen, we are forced to reassess our judgement.

Many users like two or three monitors on their desks for the extra working/gaming space (Ed.: I use three QHD displays myself). Even a relatively mainstream PC allows for easy multi-tasking and lots of concurrently-running applications. So, we need displays able to accommodate that functionality. Plus, it’s nice to be able to connect a smartphone or tablet and see its output alongside the PC desktop without giving up significant screen area.

An informal poll of the Tom's Hardware editorial staff suggests that 27-inch QHD panels are just about right for a single- or dual-monitor setup. The height and viewing distance mean we can sit fairly close and still see the entire screen without turning our heads. With two displays, I personally like to put one directly in front for the main desktop and one off to the side for ancillary tools.

Sometimes it’s handy to be able to stretch a single program like Photoshop or Excel across a large area. Splitting the image across two monitors is certainly doable. However, on a display like the 34UM95, it becomes a way of working that’s hard to give up. Here’s a perfect real-world example. When I create comparison charts for Tom’s Hardware reviews, I have the charts and data on a single Excel page. Normally I’m scrolling left and right quite often. But when I perform the same task on LG's screen, I'm able to see the entire spreadsheet without scrolling. In Photoshop, it becomes possible for me to work with a lot more open files because no windows are hidden from view.

As far as this specific model is concerned, the 34UM95 performed extremely well through our benchmark tests. Its color and grayscale accuracy were among the best for sure. We would like to see better native contrast in a $1000 monitor, and we found some black screen uniformity issues plaguing our particular sample.

Accessory- and feature-wise, LG provides a complete package that includes an excellent screen window management utility. Screen Split is fantastic for quickly arranging content in as many as four zones, and it’s easily reconfigured or turned off with a few mouse clicks.

We expect many entertainment-seekers will enjoy the 34UM95's ultra-wide form factor. I'd stop short of calling it a gaming monitor, given that 60 Hz refresh rate. But input lag does measure a bit lower than other IPS-based panels we’ve tested. The immersion factor versus a single 27-inch QHD panel cannot be overstated. It offers nearly eight inches of extra width, and when you sit closer than three feet like I do, the screen almost fills your peripheral vision. With a good surround speaker system, movie-watching in the office can take on a whole new dimension!

So, if you’ve considered adding a second monitor to your desktop, we recommend giving the 34UM95 a look. Offering solid performance, a sleek-looking chassis, and superior usability to its 29-inch forebears, it may finally be a reason to add an ultra-wide display to your system.

Christian Eberle
Contributing Editor

Christian Eberle is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He's a veteran reviewer of A/V equipment, specializing in monitors. Christian began his obsession with tech when he built his first PC in 1991, a 286 running DOS 3.0 at a blazing 12MHz. In 2006, he undertook training from the Imaging Science Foundation in video calibration and testing and thus started a passion for precise imaging that persists to this day. He is also a professional musician with a degree from the New England Conservatory as a classical bassoonist which he used to good effect as a performer with the West Point Army Band from 1987 to 2013. He enjoys watching movies and listening to high-end audio in his custom-built home theater and can be seen riding trails near his home on a race-ready ICE VTX recumbent trike. Christian enjoys the endless summer in Florida where he lives with his wife and Chihuahua and plays with orchestras around the state.

  • InfinityPixels
    I want this so bad.
  • rantoc
    4k gaming is amazing but demand alot from the computer hardware. Just got a dell 3214 and its hard to describe how much better the picture/emersion is with the way higher definition in the picture quality and still came from descent 2560x1600 before that.

    Playing on "full" hd (LD? Low definition) feels like a joke once you get to know uhd/4k
  • wtfxxxgp
    Rantoc, what does your comment have to do with the article? Seems to me that you were waiting for an opportunity to brag about your new monitor... Glad you got that out of your system. lol

    With regards to this monitor...I LOVE the looks...very elegant. I think the price tag is fitting as well - it has great resolution and there are still plenty of people who are gaming on 60hz displays that may have just enough GPU power to actually game at this thing's native resolution, albeit with slightly lower settings. GG LG!
  • ubercake
    Great to see larger-sized higher-than-HD res monitors.
  • Nossy
    For a grand, you can get two Asus PB278Q.
  • cknobman

  • xPandaPanda
    I have this monitor. Because of it's cinema format, market age, lower production numbers, and early adoption as competitors haven't offered this yet, it is reasonable to think this monitor would cost this much--a lot.

    It would have been nice to include what revision this is, because LG is aware of uniformity issues, which is why the product was largely on backorder and a Rev.2 is in place (but Rev. 2 didn't fix the problem either). My first one had a glaring Uniformity problem, but LG is cool and offered an advanced exchange. The new one has some uniformity problem, but it is very 'livable' and discrete.

    Overall, I am pleased with this product. I have a single 780 to push this and it works nicely. If I got a 4k monitor, I'd have performance issues as the GPU as a whole sector is behind.

  • eklipz330
    as a pc gamer who has been playing for ~15 years, i have to say that this is one of the biggest changes that i've seen on the pc platform. this is a big step towards bringing pc back to relevancy. it's something that will be held to acclaim in productive and gaming environments. in fact, the only thing that i'm surprised that they didn't do is make it curved, simply because when a user sets up a multi-monitor setup, they set the outside monitors at an angle. this makes curved monitor solutions make sense more so than tvs, especially since curved monitors benefit solo users the most. im shocked they didnt make it curved. probably going to cash in next year on that.

    seriously though, pc monitors have been lacking for some years now, falling behind in innovation and technology in general(phones have been jacking up their screen quality year after year, we've been stuck since like 2005). i bet 21:9 screens will have the biggest penetration on PCs.
  • josejones
    Why still the old HDMI 1.4 instead of HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 instead of the new 1.4 ???
  • Jamie Blumenfeld
    Wish this was 1600 pixels tall. Don't get the fascination with XX:9 at all.