LG 34UM95 Monitor Reviewby Chris Heinonen on June 18, 2014 7:00 AM EST
On prior 21:9 monitors I always felt they had a niche where they worked well, but they weren't a product for everyone. Perhaps it is just using too many 27' monitors at this point, but only having 1080 vertical pixels with such a wide screen feels very limiting. With menu bars and everything else that occupies program windows, you are left with very little vertical space and a plethora of horizontal space. For gaming and movies it works very well, but for a regular monitor it leaves me wanting.
With 1440 vertical pixels, the LG 34UM95 frees me of that problem. Using the 34UM95 as my only monitor for two weeks I never feel cramped or that I am lacking the space for work. On the contrary, it does a very good job of providing space for two programs side-by-side and allows me to actually be productive in both of them. While editing this article I almost have the space to run three programs at once since they need very little horizontal space but the vertical space is far more important.
When I started using dual monitors ages ago, like most I started with a pair of 17" or 19" CRTs. Having those two screens opened up productivity but dominated space on the desk. The LG 34UM95 is a very similar design to having two of those old 4:3 or 5:4 CRTs on your desk again. The resolution is higher, and the depth is much slimmer, but the overall experience is similar. Make no mistake: 34 inches is a lot of display for a desk, but if you're used to dual monitors already that shouldn't be a problem.
The little gaming that I do on the LG 34UM95 is also very enjoyable. I have covered this more in my prior 21:9 reviews, but the extra field of view makes for a more immersive environment than 16:9. The larger screen size of the 34UM95 compared to prior 21:9 monitors only increases that. It also has a very low input lag, making it a useful choice for those that are competitive at FPS and other games.
A direct competitor here is the Apple Thunderbolt Display. It is the only other Thunderbolt display on the market but it's a few years old now. It is lower resolution and lacks the HDMI and DisplayPort inputs, USB 3.0 support, and cannot use a VESA mount without an adapter. The Apple display includes a (now outdated) MagSafe adapter, webcam, Firewire 800, and Gigabit Ethernet Ports. Given the choice of the two, I would pick the extra resolution of the LG. The contrast ratio of the LG, and the uncalibrated numbers, are superior as well.
At $1,000 you have a number of display choices. The 24" Dell UP2414Q is a 4K panel available for the same price right now that offers even higher resolution. It has the 4K limitations involving DisplayPort 1.2 and MST that I mentioned in my other 4K reviews, so it won't work quite as easily. You will also need DPI scaling on it which can lead to some OS or Application appearance issues, but those should work out over time. The main thing is you're still in the 16:9 aspect ratio, so running two apps side-by-side isn't as easy as it is with the 21:9 ratio. Dual 27" monitors will provide more space for even less money than the LG 34UM95, but they also take up far more of your desk.
If I sound like I've come away liking the LG 34UM95 a lot, I really have. It has surprised me at what a difference the extra vertical resolution makes with 21:9. It does a wonderful job as a single monitor while not impacting my ability to multitask at all. Even though I don't play many games that would utilize the extra field-of-view I would still strongly consider the LG 34UM95 as my only monitor. It performs very well on the bench, it looks very good in use, and most importantly it helps me get things done. If you've previously discarded 21:9 as a niche, obscure format, you should try out the 34UM95. It has managed to convince me that 21:9 isn't so much of a niche anymore.