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Lifewire / Gannon Burgett
Immersive, curved display
USB-C display and power delivery
Easy mounting options
Slow refresh rate
The LG 34UC98-W is an impressive ultrawide monitor that offers an immersive experience whether you’re looking through countless pages of spreadsheets or playing against your friends with the latest MMO or first person shooter.
When it comes to desktop immersion, nothing compares to having a curved, ultrawide computer monitor. The vast amount of screen real estate combined with the wrap-around view provides an experience no other setup can replicate. The LG 34UC98-W Curved UltraWide Monitor is just one of the options out there, but it manages to combine a ridiculous aspect ratio with impressive resolution and a great selection of ports to make it an enticing option. To see just how nice it is, we put it to the test. Read our thoughts on it below.
The LG 34UC98-W follows a similar design language to LG’s other monitors. It features a thin bezel with a silver outer edge and a small black bezel that measures about half a centimeter. The rear of the display and stand are white, with silver accents around the bezel of the screen and on the front of the stand for a slightly more premium look.
The curve on the display is prominent, but not overly dramatic. When sitting the proper distance away from the monitor, the curve nicely contoured our field of view and provided plenty of real estate that didn’t require much head-turning, even when looking from one corner to another. The monitor can be tilted 90 degrees as to be vertical, but the ridiculous height when in that position, combined with the curve, made it far from intuitive.
When sitting the proper distance away from the monitor, the curve nicely contoured our field of view and provided plenty of real estate that didn’t require much head-turning, even when looking from one corner to another.
The I/O on the monitor are located on the back—positioned on the left-hand side of the mounting point, when viewing the monitor from the front. We found the placement of the connections and distance between the connections well thought out, with plenty of room to easily identify cables, even if we were trying to move things around without having to turn the monitor.
The included stand was far more sturdy than looks led us to believe. It securely connected to the monitor with a snap, and adjusting the height was as easy as lifting up the monitor or pressing down on it from both sides of the display. Although the curved base of the stand doesn’t appear to be prominent enough to hold such a massive monitor, it never felt unsteady, even when adjusting the height or rotation of the monitor.
Due to its size, setting up the LG 34UC98-W is a little more cumbersome than your average monitor. When shipped, the monitor itself will come separate from the stand it attaches to. After opening the box, you will first want to remove the monitor stand and place it where you intend to have it on your desk. Then, remove the monitor itself and take care to lift it without damaging yourself or the display, as it’s quite heavy. Once you have a secure grip on it, take it to the display stand, align the attachment point on the rear of the monitor with the dedicated attachment point on the monitor, and slowly guide it into place until it clicks.
When the monitor is securely attached to its stand, it’s just a matter of plugging in the included power cable and the display cable of your choice. The exact settings you choose will vary greatly depending on the computer you’re hooking up to it and the purpose you plan on using it for, but generally speaking, it should be good to go out of the box and work with the latest version of both macOS and Windows 10 without issue.
The LG 34UC98-W features a 21:9 ultrawide curved WQHD IPS display that measures 34-inch diagonally. It features a 60Hz refresh rate, a full resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels, a 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and a 5ms response time. To see just how well the LG 34UC98-W holds up to LG’s claims, we put it to the test, running both real world tests and benchmarks to see whether it held its own against LG’s spec sheet.
According to LG, the 34UC98-W offers more than 99 percent of the sRGB color space and a typical brightness of 300 cd/m2 (nits). Using a Datacolor Spyder X monitor calibration tool, we tested these claims and were able to confirm LG’s claims and then some. According to our calibration tests, the LG 34UC98-W was able to achieve a maximum brightness of 305.2 nits and covered 100 percent of the sRGB color gamut. Furthermore, it managed to reproduce 78 percent of Adobe RGB, 74 percent of NTSC, and 81 percent of P3 color gamuts.
With this level of color accuracy, you probably won’t want to be using this monitor for post-production work on photographs or video if you intend to use them for commercial work, but for basic photo editing for images that will appear on the web, it gets the job done. Outside of photo and video editing and other color-specific work, color reproduction isn’t quite as vital, so you can probably overlook these specs.
As tends to be the case with ultrawide monitors, the backlighting was very inconsistent across the display, with a very noticeable amount of bleeding in the corners.
The screen was plenty bright in our tests and, if anything, we felt it was more than bright enough at just 50 percent of its brightness setting for most environments—even lower if you’re playing in a dark room with bias lighting.
One area where the monitor did fall short is in the backlighting consistency. As tends to be the case with ultrawide monitors, the backlighting was very inconsistent across the display, with a very noticeable amount of bleeding in the corners. This inconsistency wasn’t dramatic when working with programs that had white or brighter interfaces, but when editing photos/videos full screen and when playing games with darker environments, it was easy to see the inconsistency, especially when playing in darker rooms.
Moving onto motion, the LG 34UC98-W offers a 60Hz refresh rate with a 5ms response time. Newer gaming monitors are consistently hitting the 120Hz refresh rate, so the 60Hz of the LG 34UC98-W isn’t too mindblowing. However, it does offer AMD FreeSynch Technology with compatible computers and offers a dedicated Game Mode that controls custom controls for tweaking framerate and black levels to better fit the needs of the game being played. Getting the right settings did take some trial and error, but once set, it helped to get the most out of the gaming experience.
All in all, we were impressed with the display. The backlight could be more consistent and we would’ve liked to see a 120Hz refresh rate, but it’s not necessarily promoted as a gaming-specific monitor and overall the specs prove solid for an ultrawide monitor that tries to be the jack of all rather than the master of one.
The LG 34UC98-W features LG’s MaxxAudio technology with two 7-watt speakers located directly below the screen, towards the center. The onboard speakers proved incredibly underwhelming across the board. The lows were muddled and the highs always felt like they were just short of hitting their peaks, regardless of what onboard settings we played with.
Whether we were playing games or trying to watch a movie, the integrated speakers left plenty to be desired, so we suggest hooking up external speakers or using headphones regardless of what you’re using the monitor for.
The LG 34UC98-W works hand-in-hand with LG’s On-Screen Control, an app for macOS and Windows computers that allows you to change the monitor’s settings directly from your computer and also adds productivity alterations to help expedite your workflow. Changing the settings directly through the computer is a nice convenience to have, as it negates the need to work with the fickle directional stick on the bottom of the monitor. On-Screen Control also offers Screen Split 2.0, which is LG’s version of multi-screen functionality.
Changing the settings directly through the computer is a nice convenience to have, as it negates the need to work with the fickle directional stick on the bottom of the monitor.
It offers up to 14 different options including picture-in-picture modes and split screen options that are especially nice on the ultrawide display. It can take a while to get used to setting up multiple streams and sometimes the software doesn’t play nice if you’re using it with a laptop (at least when plugging and unplugging), but aside from the occasional glitch, it’s a nice suite of tools to have, especially considering it’s free to download and available for both macOS and Windows computers.
The LG 34UC98-W retails for $900 but is usually on sale for $650. While a bit expensive compared to traditional monitors, this falls in line with other curved ultrawide monitors when taking into account its resolution, color accuracy, and other details.
The ultrawide monitor market is growing larger with each passing month, but the LG 34UC98-W has continued to hold its own despite being a little older than some of its competitors.
If you find the LG 34UC98-W at full price, you might be better off looking at its successor or other competitors. However, if you can find it a little discounted or refurbished, it’s well worth picking up, as it offers a lot of screen real estate and plenty of features to improve your computer experience, be it for productivity or gaming purposes. Considering the overall package, it’s a solid value and still worth it at retail price—just more so if you can find it on sale or refurbished.
While the ultrawide monitor market is certainly growing, there aren’t a ton of direct competitors to the LG 34UC98-W outside of LG’s own ultrawide selection. But, rather than focus on LG’s other monitors, we decided to pit the LG 34UC98-W against the Samsung CHG90 49-inch and the Deco Gear 35-inch E-LED monitors.
As the name suggests, the Samsung CHG90 is a 49-inch QLED monitor designed with gaming in mind. The QLED screen, which provides richer blacks than traditional LED monitors, features a 144Hz refresh rate and a 1ms response time. Combined with the FreeSync support, it’s clear this monitor is far better suited for gaming than productivity. The Samsung CHG90 retails for $999, making it $200 more expensive than the LG 34UC98-W, but if it’s gaming you’re interested in, Samsung’s option is clearly the better choice with a much faster refresh rate, improved response time, and better display thanks to Samsung’s proprietary QLED technology.
On the cheaper end of the spectrum is Deco Gear’s 35-inch ultrawide E-LED display. The monitor retails for $470, making it more than $200 cheaper than the LG 34UC98-W. Despite the lower price, it manages to squeeze in the same 21:9 aspect ratio, FreeSync technology, and 3440 x 1440 pixel resolution. Furthermore, it features a 100Hz refresh rate and a 4ms response time. It has a much less impressive contrast ratio though of just 3000:1.
A perfect multipurpose ultrawide monitor.
The ultrawide monitor market is growing larger with each passing month, but the LG 34UC98-W has continued to hold its own despite being a little older than some of its competitors. It offers a solid array of both input and output connections, a decent framerate, and provides adequate color accuracy for the price.