LG 34UM95: A Thunderbolt KVM built into a 29" 3.5K Monitor?

(Hi Hacker News!!. You should come work at PagerDuty.)

I’ve been wanting a new monitor for a while, but was waiting for a refresh of the five-year-old Apple Thunderbolt Display to pull the trigger. My base requirements:

  • 4K at 60hz
  • Makes pretty pictures on the screen
  • Minimal cabling; ideally works as a USB 3 hub
  • Ideally 27″ or smaller, just for space and DPI’s sake.

This LG Monitor seems to meet those needs, with a bonus feature I never thought I’d see: the ability to switch both display and I/O inputs between a mac and a PC through an on-screen menu.

Lg-34um95-thunderbolt-2-monitor

From an Amazon review:

The real winner here for me is the back I/O ports. The thing has a built-in KVM switch and/or Thunderbolt dock. What I have is a brute of a PC and a late 2013 retina MacBook Pro. Both are plugged into the I/O on the back and both run native resolution and sound without any need for any KVM switch! Its built right into the menu on the display. Choose your input and the rear I/O does the magic. I am ONLY using the Thunderbokt port and cable running to my MacBook Pro. Nothing else. No USB, audio, nothing. I am using the display’s USB “uplink” to plug into my PC, and then I plug in my only keyboard and only mouse in the back USB “In” ports on the back of the display. All I need to do is use the display’s joystick menu controller and switch inputs and its works like a charm! USB data, audio, and display video are all carried over the single Thunderbolt cable to my Mac and the PC is controlled via the USB cables. Wow.

Assuming the Thunderbolt Display does get a refresh, it’ll have a little extra fanciness like controlling display brightness from your keyboard, your usual Apple industrial-art construction, and almost certainly a few more pixels (this is 3440×1440, closer to a standard 2560p 1440p display than the 3840 × 2160+ that defines “4k.” But this is the first time I’ve seen a third party really attack the KVM issue in a modern way, and if it works like the review says, it’s a very compelling alternative to a thunderbolt display, especially for those that have a lightweight mac alongside a cheap gaming PC.

See also:

Updates:

  • It’s been pointed out to me that this is closer to a normal 2560p monitor than anything approaching 4k, which is accurate. I think the real value of this monitor is the hub feature.
  • Another option for sharing a mouse and keyboard might be Synergy. Unsure how that would work for gaming. (h/t jrockway)
  • If the Zenboxx ever ships, that might be a nice complement to this.