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Dell U3818DW vs LG 38WK95C-W for MacBook Pro 2019
Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2020
I was on the market for a 38" monitor to be used with my MacBook Pro 2019. Looking at internet reviews, Dell U3818DW was receiving a lot of praise. I decided to buy it, and quickly realized that it really is not working well with Mac. It was not recognized immediately by Mac, but after some finagling and reading on-line advice I was able to connect it. I also found out that Dell only produces its display manager app for the windows, but not for MacOS, same is true for the app to update monitor firmware.
Reading Dell customer support forum made me even more upset, as someone named Chris M suggested to every Apple user question that Dell does not test any of its monitors with Macs, and for any questions users should go to Apple forums. It reminded me of Michael Dell's infamous quote that Apple as a company should be sold out so as to not embarrass its customers. Soon thereafter, Apple became one of the most valuable companies, while Dell struggled from one bankruptcy to another, and even a recent infusion of 2 billion dollars from Microsoft and becoming a private company did not seem to help. But I digress...
After trying my best to adapt this monitor to my needs, my frustration grew and I started to look at alternatives. I quickly realized that Dell does not manufacture the display panel (they have not really ever manufactured anything - just re-selling at profit). The display panel for this model of Dell monitor is made by LG - it is LM375QW1-SSA1. It goes for $400 for a consumer on-line. I looked at which other monitor uses the same display panel and it did not take long to find the original LG monitor LG 38WK95C-W. The best thing is - this LG monitor actually sells for $100-150 less than Dell!
I purchased this LG monitor and could not be happier. Dell has been returned.
Since the display panel is identical, many aspects are similar, however there are few nuances that you may want to know:
1. LG monitor works very nicely with Macbook Pro 2019. It has a Mac OS app, was immediately recognized with the correct resolution and set up basically took connecting my USB-C between the Mac and the monitor. Dell as mentioned previously does not have a Mac OS app, you would not be able to upgrade the monitor firmware from Mac and most importantly it does not play well with Mac OS.
2. I prefer LG stand to the bulky Dell stand. While LG stand does not allow to rotate the monitor right and left (unlike Dell), it has not been an issue in my set-up. Also LG uses a satisfying pneumatic mechanism that allows to move the monitor up and down on the stand, while Dell stand uses metal rails. More importantly I can move the LG monitor above my Macbook when it is open (this is the setup I prefer), while Dell's stand does not allow to move the monitor that high (see pics at the max height).
3. Since the Dell monitor packs the power source inside the monitor, the monitor is much thicker, mostly in the
middle and has a ventilation screen that will collect dust overtime, while LG's power "brick" is separate from the monitor, and thus the monitor maintains a slick and thin appearance which I prefer. The downside is that LG's power source is only rated for 60W, while Dell's - 100W. Macbook Pro 2019 comes with a 95W adapter, so if you are working on video editing or other tasks that require significant power, Dell power source would be a more adequate one. However since I don't run high power apps all the time, I had no issues charging my Macbook from the monitor's USB-C connection without any issues. During this week I used an LG monitor, I worked and had to convert a video file. In the process, Mac's battery dropped to 85% over 4 hrs, but then quickly charged back to 100% without use of Mac's own power supply adapter. This is only important if you are planning to connect Mac to monitor via USB-C and can be fixed by still connecting it via its own power adapter, which is also the case if you connect to the monitor via DisplayPort or HDMI port.
4. Both monitors come with speakers. However LG monitor speakers are 10W and Dell's 9W. More importantly, LG allows you to connect to it's speakers not only via a cord, but also via a bluetooth. Both speakers are OK, and not spectacular, but I find them pretty useful.
5. Overall LG monitor has many more setups and more fine picture tune setups, including (pseudo)HDR when compared to Dell monitor.