LG UltraWide 5K2K is a beast of a monitor with Thunderbolt 3

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in Current Mac Hardware
LG has been catering to Mac owners for years, and the company's UltraWide 5K2K display is a great solution for creative professionals who want a bit more horizontal real estate.

LG UltraWide 5K
LG UltraWide 5K2K and 15-inch MacBook Pro


If you've got a MacBook Pro on your desk, a big monitor absolutely helps workflow. If you've got a more compact Mac mini, it's a requirement. With certain tasks such as video or audio editing, programming, or other content creation, more real estate is good, and a 34-inch wide display certainly provides that.




Resolution

As a display -- especially at this level -- it needs to kill it in the visuals department. The LG UltraWide 5K2K sports a resolution of 5120 x 2160, which at first blush makes this look like a 5K monitor.

Eagle-eyed readers will note, however, the vertical resolution. In short, it has the horizontal resolution of a 5K monitor and the vertical resolution of a 4K display.

LG UltraWide 5K
LG UltraWide 5K


A massively wide 21:9 display is going to have a bit of a niche audience but anyone who is coming from a resolution of 4K or below should be happy.

Color representation is accurate and like many high-end monitors, an individually unique color calibration report is included in the box to verify its integrity. It supports DisplayHDR 600 (HDR10) so between the brightness and accuracy, colors pop -- even with the matte finish.

As far as other specs go: The refresh rate is 60Hz, it has a max brightness of 450 nits, covers 90 percent of the DCI-P3 wide color gamut, has a contrast ratio of 1200:1, and an exceptionally wide 178-degree viewing angle.

A gamer may find flaws with the slower 60Hz refresh rate, but let's be real -- most hardcore gamers aren't going to be using a Mac. If you are a steadfast gamer who needs a gaming-focused monitor, we'd suggest looking elsewhere for 120Hz or 240Hz.

Connectivity

Connectivity isn't an issue, with a bevy of ports available.

LG UltraWide 5K
LG UltraWide 5K


Ports include:

  • 1 x Thunderbolt 3

  • 1 x DisplayPort

  • 2 x HDMI

  • 1 x 3.5mm Headphone

  • 2 x USB Type-A

  • 1 x USB Type-B

  • 1 x Power input
When you connect a 15-inch MacBook Pro over Thunderbolt 3, you get to take advantage of the audio output on the back of the monitor for headphones and the two USB ports while also drawing 85 watts of power. The 15-inch MacBook Pro can handle 87W so this is just shy of full speed charging.

In our testing so far, the 85W is more than sufficient to keep the MacBook Pro fully charged, even when under load.

LG UltraWide 5K
LG UltraWide 5K


The Thunderbolt 3 signal also routes the audio through the monitor's dual 5W speakers. The speakers themselves aren't anything to write home about. They beat the MacBook Pros internal speakers but still far cry from dedicated studio speakers.

To control the monitor there is a multi-purpose joystick on the underside of the front panel. It can be moved in four directions, as well as be depressed to make a selection.

LG UltraWide 5K controls
LG UltraWide 5K controls


Quickly moving it left and right will decrease and increase the volume while moving it forward will toggle mute on and off. If you depress the joystick, LG's menu is presented where you can access picture mode, settings, power, and input.

It is a simple control scheme that does its best not to bury settings too deep within the menu. The main menu is displayed at the bottom center, but once you go into a settings option it will appear on the right side of the display.

Setup

The display ships in three pieces -- the screen, the curved stand, and the pole that holds it all together. Unfortunately, the support post is largely made of plastic and painted to look like the silver metal of the bottom stand. This gives it a bit of a cheap feeling -- a sentiment we also had regarding the bezels around the monitor itself.

LG UltraWide 5K metal stand
LG UltraWide 5K metal stand


We really like the minimalist design of the curved stand, it still keeps our desk free for other clutter and the whole setup can stay fairly close to the back of the desk.

Once you take everything out of the box, the stand connects to the support pole with a simple thumb screw. Then the monitor snaps into place at the top.

LG has built in a very small amount of horizontal rotation which seems largely just to make sure the monitor is straight. The display is so big rotating it wouldn't be feasible on most desks anyway.

LG UltraWide 5K adjustments
LG UltraWide 5K adjustments


It easily adjusts up and down with very little assistance from the user. LG has the resistance balance perfectly which makes adjusting it a breeze. Vertically it can tilt ~5-15 degrees.

Build quality

LG did a bang-up job designing the LG34WK95U. The display itself looks fantastic, the silver and black body look sleek, but there are still areas that could improve.

It is odd that the front and sides are all black, but the hidden back is white. It would have looked a bit better if they went all one way or another in our opinion.

Most of the display is also plastic between the bezels, back, and the support column. We don't expect to see others taking Apple's approach of creating an all-metal display, but it could be improved.

The bezels around the display look particularly cheap. LG likely would have tried to get away with making the base plastic too if it didn't need the added heft.

To be fair to LG, almost all other display companies employ similar tactics so it is something that we see time and time again, we just miss Apple's propensity for design.

Nano IPS technology

LG is touting its new Nano IPS tech in this and other of its newer monitors. Nano IPS is a new, LG-specific version of in-plane switching LCD technology that uses nanometer-sized particles to help absorb excess light wavelengths to produce more intense colors. This is partially what earned it the DisplayHDR 600 compliancy badge on the front for HDR.

Even though HDR displays are often very bright, the LG34WK95U still isn't quite as bright as Apple's own displays -- such as that in the 5K iMac.

Living with an ultrawide display

The width takes some getting used to. There are some obvious use-cases for the display right off the bat, though.

Jumping into Final Cut Pro X, a much larger view of your timeline with the added horizontal real estate makes working pleasant. Instead of just having a library, preview window, and Inspector open, you can add color wheels on the top which helps streamline that workflow and reduces the need to constantly open and close UI elements.

LG UltraWide 5K with Final Cut Pro X
LG UltraWide 5K with Final Cut Pro X


I spent some time working on my web development projects as well. It was much easier to have multiple windows open at once such as the actual code and the live preview of my work. Instead of having to tab between my IDE and Safari, I can freely see them side by side.

This is a 34-inch monitor, so expectations should be set that it will occupy a large overall footprint. The horizontal span of this monitor will exclude it quickly from any smaller setups. For a long-term solution, we'd rather mount this to an arm so it can move more to the side and keep the space under it open.

LG UltraWide 5K
LG UltraWide 5K


Our Mac does a great job powering up such a large display, though your mileage will vary based on your machine. For example, the latest Mac Mini is unable to push this display at full native resolution. When you do run a 4K or 5K display at native resolution though, on-screen objects get insanely small.

It may be easier to be run the display at a scaled 2560 x 1080 instead, which makes user interface elements a comfortable size while still leaving you room to work. But, on the other hand, why pay for 5K2K if you don't need the resolution? This decision all comes down to workflow.

For the price, the display will be limited to the creative pros who can really benefit from the large horizontal space at a high resolution. It can make a world of a difference to those users' workflows. The bulk of other users may be better off with one of the flagship LG UltraFine 4K or 5K displays.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to buy

LG's 34-inch 5K monitor (34WK95U-W) is available at both B&H Photo and Amazon.com for $1,496.99. B&H is also throwing in free expedited shipping withing the contiguous U.S. and will not collect sales tax in a number of states.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    kestralkestral Posts: 225member
    The base is big and fulgly, would definitely want to mount it.
    thtneo-tech
  • Reply 2 of 21
    thttht Posts: 3,112member
    What scaled resolutions does this monitor support?

    Something like 3500x1500 or so would be nice. Or 4000x1650.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,431member
    Nice rig.

    Must be nice to have more money than you know what to do with.

  • Reply 4 of 21
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,116member
    Nice rig.

    Must be nice to have more money than you know what to do with.

    Is $1500 for something that can be used very effectively professionally for work and content creation REALLY considered "having more money than you know what to do with"? 100% of my income is derived from using a screen, so I see this price as pretty reasonable given the size of the display, and the many thousands of hours that I would spend using it.
    edited February 8 StrangeDaysbeowulfschmidtanantksundarammacguibaconstangbonobobburnsidecgWerkswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 21
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 280member
    LG has other monitors with a similar base design. They feel and look cheap.
    At that price point cheap plastic should be nowhere in sight.

    My current desktop monitor is a 32" H-P Pavilion 2560 x 1440 that has a nice solid metal base connected to my i7 Mac mini. Nothing like a nice big display.
  • Reply 6 of 21
    Beware: I have this monitor and a Macbook Pro with the Vega20 and unfortunately there is a compatibility issue. When connected through Thunderbolt3 Cable, the system becomes sluggish and stutters every 2 seconds. I am in contact with Apple since over a month and until today, they have not come up with a solution.
    volcanrezwitswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 21
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,771member
    slurpy said:

    Is $1500 for something that can be used very effectively professionally for work and content creation REALLY considered "having more money than you know what to do with"? 
    $1,500 monitor with a $49 desk from Kmart.

    My desk costs more than my iMac5K. It is adjustable for height with adjustable keyboard as well. It is modular so the computer is in the corner module. I like a viewing distance of around 30". No way with the wimpy desk in the article. My workstation also has two nice side desks 48" x 60" each for papers, phone, etc. Also gives me a place to put down my camera bag when I come in to the office. There is plenty of room for trackpad, printer, headphones, a jar of pens, in-out box, big mousepad, a superdrive, power strip, scanner and a bowl of strawberries. Hell, even the Pantone matching system swatch set that sits on my desk costs more than the desk in the picture. I also have a really professional chair. I can work all day with perfect comfort and convenience.

    So to answer your question, No!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 21
    Nice rig.

    Must be nice to have more money than you know what to do with.

    I wouldn’t classify $1500 as having more money than you know what to do with. All kinds of mundane tools are near that price or more. Back in the CRT old days this got us a 21”. 
    davgregbaconstangcgWerksrezwitswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 21
    "For example, the latest Mac Mini is unable to push this display at full native resolution." Is this true? I was going to purchase this monitor, but if I can't get full resolution with the 2018 Mac Mini I might as well stick with my ancient, but still functional Apple 30" HD Cinema display at 2560 x 1600.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 21
    bryankd said:
    "For example, the latest Mac Mini is unable to push this display at full native resolution." Is this true? I was going to purchase this monitor, but if I can't get full resolution with the 2018 Mac Mini I might as well stick with my ancient, but still functional Apple 30" HD Cinema display at 2560 x 1600.
    Good question, I second it. I'd like to hear about the HiDPI (aka "retina") modes too. The tech specs at Apple.com for the current Mac mini suggest that it would be able to drive one of these displays at the max resolution, but maybe the odd aspect ratio throws off the integrated graphics? Perhaps a driver/MacOS update would enable support? Here's the relevant bit from Apple's site.

    "Support for the following combination of maximum concurrent display setups:
    • Up to three displays:
    • Two displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0
    • or
    • Up to two displays:
    • One display with 5120-by-2880 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0"
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,347administrator
    If you can't see your comment, take a minute to read our commenting guidelines. The answer you seek is there.
    edited February 8 watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,347administrator
    bryankd said:
    "For example, the latest Mac Mini is unable to push this display at full native resolution." Is this true? I was going to purchase this monitor, but if I can't get full resolution with the 2018 Mac Mini I might as well stick with my ancient, but still functional Apple 30" HD Cinema display at 2560 x 1600.
    Good question, I second it. I'd like to hear about the HiDPI (aka "retina") modes too. The tech specs at Apple.com for the current Mac mini suggest that it would be able to drive one of these displays at the max resolution, but maybe the odd aspect ratio throws off the integrated graphics? Perhaps a driver/MacOS update would enable support? Here's the relevant bit from Apple's site.

    "Support for the following combination of maximum concurrent display setups:
    • Up to three displays:
    • Two displays with 4096-by-2304 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0
    • or
    • Up to two displays:
    • One display with 5120-by-2880 resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI 2.0"
    The iGPU in the Mac mini doesn't care for the native resolution of this particular monitor. This appears to be the case in Windows as well. In theory, an OS patch could solve it, but who knows if that day is coming. 

    An eGPU with DisplayPort 1.4 or HDMI 2.0 drives it at native resolution fine.
    edited February 8 cgWerkswatto_cobraraoulduke42
  • Reply 13 of 21
    Nice rig.

    Must be nice to have more money than you know what to do with.

    Buy an iPad Pro with LTE  (256 GB $1299) the new Pencil ($129) and the Keyboard cover ($199) and you are already over $1500. That is w/o AppleCare or a decent adapter and cable- the one Apple is shipping is an embarrassment.
  • Reply 14 of 21
    I have the LG ultrafine 22” and the build quality is very very cheap flimsy and plastic. Especially compared to my previous LED Cinema Display. The actual display quality is worth it though. 

    Do these displays have have the same pixel density as the Ultrafine?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 21
    I love my LG LG 34UM95 and it's TWO tb2 ports. I have a 2016 MBP and might be interested in upgrading, bu the single TB3 port is a dealbreaker even though running at 4.5K may not leave a huge amount of bandwidth available on the MBP controller chip it's connected to. I have an LG 5k as a second monitor connected to the tb3 controller on the opposite side of my MBP. Perhaps the newer MBPs have a more robust controller. Anyhoo... too many devices only have single tb3 ports, which makes for too many dead ends IMHO.
    edited February 8 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 21
    Looks good...I appreciate the review Andrew. Well done.

    I'm of the generation where huge monitors are coveted.

    But I'm torn between getting the new 27" iMac later this year (~$1,800) or just going all in with iOS, i.e., and upgrading my iPad mini, my Se with an iPhone SeX, my first gen AppleWatch (with AirPods) and a 4K AppleTV...all for less than the new iMac.

    I've never been a fan of 'Mix and Match' devices. As you say, Apple's build quality is so superior, I'm not sure I would enjoy walking into my office and seeing a 'plastic-y' monitor. 

    Having said that, the space gray rig you show in the video, does look great! :)

    Best regards and have a great weekend! :)




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 21
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,400member
    davgreg said:
    LG has other monitors with a similar base design. They feel and look cheap.
    At that price point cheap plastic should be nowhere in sight.

    My current desktop monitor is a 32" H-P Pavilion 2560 x 1440 that has a nice solid metal base connected to my i7 Mac mini. Nothing like a nice big display.
    This is really disappointing. One would think Apple would be able to encourage them to step up their quality for the enclosure considering the prime real estate they are granted in the Apple Stores, which surely drive sales on these units.

    I bought an LG TV which had a metal strip glued onto the front of a plastic frame surrounding the TV bezel, which on first glance, looked great, but upon closer inspection really cheap. I’m even wondering now if it was really even metal or colored plastic. My Sony on the other hand has a solid metal bezel all the way around which really improves on the looks and feel of the tv which is otherwise mostly plastic.
  • Reply 18 of 21
    Does anyone besides me have a problem reading text on 4K monitors?  I have the text set to the highest Apple makes available but it is still very small: The maximum finder font size of 16pt type on a 4K is about the equivalent of 8pt type. And the toolbar type can't be made larger at all.  No questions that images render beautifully, but being in the graphic design business, readable type is a necessity. If you know of a widget that can modify type on a Mac pro, would love to know. Any Terminal commands?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 21
    Nice rig.

    Must be nice to have more money than you know what to do with.

    Really? This retails for less than what I spent on my 30" ACD.
  • Reply 20 of 21

    davgreg said:
    Nice rig.

    Must be nice to have more money than you know what to do with.

    Buy an iPad Pro with LTE  (256 GB $1299) the new Pencil ($129) and the Keyboard cover ($199) and you are already over $1500. That is w/o AppleCare or a decent adapter and cable- the one Apple is shipping is an embarrassment.
    So how are you liking yours?
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