What to Look For in an Ultrawide Monitor in 2023
There are several things to consider while buying an ultrawide monitor. First and foremost is your use case. What are you going to do on your monitor?
Suppose you are primarily buying an ultrawide monitor for gaming. In that case, you will want features like a high refresh rate, support for variable refresh rate (VRR), low input lag, quick response time, and a curved screen for an immersive experience.
But content creators will prioritize color accuracy, wide color gamut, and excellent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space. In addition, some creative professionals will prefer a flat monitor over a curved one because of their precision work. It’s important to buy an ultrawide monitor that’ll best fit your needs.
Size and screen resolution are also important. While the most common size among ultrawide monitors is 34-inch, you can go as low as 29-inch and as high as 49-inch. Depending on the space available to you and your budget, you can pick a suitable screen size.
In terms of resolution, you will mainly find Ultrawide QHD (3440×1440 pixels) and Ultrawide FHD (2560×1080 pixels) monitors on the market. While the Ultrawide FHD monitors are cheap, they are not worth investing in unless you have a limited budget. On the other hand, the Ultrawide QHD resolution is sufficiently future-proof and offers a crisp image on any screen size.
If you are curious about 4K or UHD ultrawide monitors, you can find some WUHD (5,120×2,160 pixels) monitors on the market. They are relatively rare, and you need powerful hardware to run them. So if you’re considering a WUHD monitor, make sure your computer can sufficiently power it.
Lastly, you can also look for features like HDR support, Thunderbolt or USB-C input for single cable operation, and USB hub functionality, depending on what you want or need.
Now, it’s time to delve into our recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are ultrawide monitors good for gaming?
For setups with the right amount of space, ultrawide monitors offer a more immersive gaming experience. The curved display brings the edge of the monitor into your natural field of view, allowing you to see more of the action to make you feel part of it.
Are ultrawide monitors good for productivity?
An ultrawide monitor can benefit your productivity due to the larger working space. You can efficiently fit two windows side-by-side on one screen without shrinking size. An ultrawide monitor is similar to having two displays side-by-side, but requires fewer wires and is more aesthetically pleasing for your desktop.
How do I know if my graphics card can run an ultrawide monitor?
You’ll want to check the manufacturer’s specifications against your computer’s graphics card. To see what card is in your PC, press “Windows Key + R”, and type “dxdiag” in the dialogue box. Choose “Display” to see information on your graphics card. If you have multiple “Display” tabs, the first is typically your primary graphics card. Most modern PCs will be compatible with any ultrawide monitor, however.
Are ultrawide monitors better than dual monitors?
It depends on what the user is doing with their setup. For productivity, dual monitors allow for more versatility and more screen space to work with. It’s easier to organize windows across two monitors, and you have complete flexibility in arranging your monitors. Gamers benefit most from ultrawide monitors due to the improved field of vision and large playing surface. Streamers will want to consider an ultrawide and standard flat display, using the latter to monitor their chat.
Can you do split screens on ultrawide monitors?
Like a traditional flat display, ultrawide monitors allow windows to be snapped to different grids using Windows 10’s Snap Assist. Alternatively, if your monitor supports picture-in-picture or “MultiTask,” you can divide the screen between multiple inputs.
Best Ultrawide Monitor Overall: LG 38GN950-B
- ✓ High refresh rate
- ✓ Excellent color accuracy
- ✓ IPS panel ensures great viewing angles
- ✓ VRR support
- ✗ Expensive
- ✗ Poor local dimming
- ✗ No USB-C port
Our top pick for the best ultrawide monitor is the LG 38GN950-B. It’s a 38-inch monitor with a QHD+ (3840×1600 pixels) resolution. While LG is known for making fantastic monitors, the 38GN950-B is in a class of its own. It packs everything that you would want from an excellent ultrawide monitor.
The large panel offers plenty of space for multitasking, and the 2300R curve radius ensures you can easily view all parts of the screen. In addition, you get 98% coverage of DCI-P3 color space and superb color accuracy out of the box, making it great for creative professionals.
Gaming features are also a highlight of the LG 38GN950-B, and it supports a native 144Hz refresh rate and compatibility with variable refresh rates technologies such as DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro. Although the monitor doesn’t have the G-Sync module, it’s officially certified to be Nvidia G-Sync compatible.
The monitor also excels on the HDR front and easily exceeds the brightness requirements of the DisplayHDR 600 certification. However, its local dimming performance is disappointing.
The 38GN950-B has a decent selection of ports with two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, one USB Type-B port, and two USB 3.0 Type-A ports. Unfortunately, there is no USB-C port for single cable operation, but it’s hardly a dealbreaker with everything else this monitor has going for it.
Best Ultrawide Monitor Overall
The LG 38GN950-B is a fantastic monitor for both work and play. It has a high refresh rate panel, support for VRR, and DisplayHDR 600 certification.
Best Budget Ultrawide Monitor: AOC CU34G2X
- ✓ 144Hz refresh rate
- ✓ Works with FreeSync and G-Sync
- ✓ Good contrast ratio
- ✓ Decent ergonomics
- ✗ No local dimming
- ✗ Narrow viewing angles
- ✗ No USB-C port
You don’t have to spend a lot to get a quality ultrawide monitor, and the AOC CU34G2X is a prime example of this. It’s a 34-inch Ultrawide QHD (3440×1440 pixels) monitor that provides excellent value for money.
This AOC monitor is packed with features like a fast refresh rate of 144Hz, a curve radius of 1500R for an immersive experience, HDR support, and DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync. Although AOC doesn’t mention Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync compatibility on its website, Rtings.com found it works with both.
Gamers will also be happy to know that the CU34G2X has a fast response time and very low input lag for a responsive gaming experience.
Being a budget monitor, it has a fairly plain plastic design, but you get decent ergonomics and thin bezels. Unfortunately, it lacks a USB Type-C port for single cable operation. Instead, you get two DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0 ports. There are also four USB 3.0 ports for connecting peripherals.
In short, the AOC CU34G2X is an excellent budget monitor that shines where it counts. But if you are looking for an affordable ultrawide monitor with higher peak brightness and better HDR performance, you should consider the Dell S3422DWG. It has a slightly less aggressive curve radius of 1800R, and it’s certified DisplayHDR 400.
Best Budget Ultrawide Monitor
The AOC CU34G2X is a superb affordable monitor that doesn't skimp on features. It has a high refresh rate screen, VRR support, and a fast response time.
Best Curved Ultrawide Monitor: Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Monitor
- ✓ Colors are vibrant and precise
- ✓ 175Hz and 1 millisecond response time
- ✓ Monitor is sleek and visually appealing
- ✓ Creator Mode swaps between native and sRGB color spaces
- ✗ Stand is a little bulky and cumbersome
- ✗ Fan can be noisy after prolonged use
- ✗ Very specifically designed for gamers
An ultrawide monitor is a fantastic addition to any desktop. Add a little curve to it, and you’ve greatly enhanced your experience. Alienware’s 34-inch Curved QD-OLED monitor sports a curvature of 1800R, and while that’s on the lower end of the spectrum, it’s enough to make a difference.
Gamers will become more immersed in their adventures thanks to the wider viewing angle and a greater field of vision. Of course, the vibrant 175Hz refresh rate and 1440p resolution certainly help. It’s a little overkill for a standard office setup, but HDR capabilities, one millisecond response time, over 1 billion colors with a color-precision Creator Mode, and NVIDIA G-Synch compatibility drive home the fact that the Alienware QD-OLED was made for gaming.
All of those features come at a price, and it’s not just a higher price tag. To prevent the curved ultrawide monitor from overheating, the monitor sports a fan in the rear that can be on the noisier side. It’s also a potential failure point, and you don’t want to add more of those to an already fragile and expensive piece of equipment.
With 360 degrees of ventilation and intuitive cable management for the ten available ports, this QD-OLED monitor is a complete package for performance and functionality.
Best Curved Ultrawide Monitor
Alienware 34 Curved QD-OLED Monitor
Alienware enhances its line of monitors with this curved 1440p IPS ultrawide monitor, which delivers peak performance and enhanced versatility, with a 175Hz refresh rate.
Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor: Acer Predator X38
- ✓ Zero-frame design fits any setup
- ✓ Significant curve enhances immersion
- ✓ 175Hz refresh rate and .3 millisecond response time
- ✓ NVIDIA-ready for G-Sync, eSports Mode, and Reflex Latency Analyzer
- ✗ HDR could use a little boost
- ✗ Dual 7-watt speakers are underwhelming
- ✗ Fan tends to be loud under a lot of pressure
When it comes to the best gaming monitor, you will look at performance and size. Acer’s Predator X38 is a good size at 38 inches, and its many components and features deliver an unprecedented gaming experience to justify the high price tag.
The 2300R curve sucks players into the action, presented in pristine 3840×1600 resolution. The 0.3 millisecond response time is about as good as it gets, and NVIDIA G-SYNC functionality and a 175Hz refresh rate further enhance the already virtually unnoticeable latency. You may be underwhelmed by the HDR if viewed side-by-side against some other ultrawide gaming monitors, but the Predator X38’s shortcomings are difficult to spot on its own.
The X38 also comes with its built-in 7-watt speakers, which are better than most but could still be improved upon. You’re better off using your own, which you can do through one of the USB ports or audio jack. Headphones may work best with the Predator X38, as it suffers from a common among performance-heavy monitors—a relatively loud fan.
Despite its minor flaws, Acer’s Predator X38 is a well-rounded gaming monitor whose zero-frame design provides an appealing aesthetic for your desktop.
Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor
Acer Predator X38
Acer delivers on performance and a high-end immersive experience with the X38 curved IPS ultrawide monitor, complete with built-in speakers, 3840 x 1600 resolution, and 175Hz refresh rate.
Best Ultrawide Monitor For Productivity: Dell UltraSharp U4021QW
- ✓ WUHD resolution offers crisp and clear images
- ✓ Wide viewing angles
- ✓ Thunderbolt port for single cable operation
- ✗ Quite expensive
- ✗ No VRR or HDR support
- ✗ Could have been brighter
If you are looking for a monitor that can take your productivity to the next level, there is no better option than the Dell UltraSharp U4021QW. This is a 40-inch WUHD (5,120×2,160 pixels) monitor with 21:9 aspect ratio.
As a result, you get tons of screen space to open several windows side by side for multitasking. In addition, the monitor has a wide color gamut with full coverage of sRGB and excellent coverage of DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB color spaces. The IPS panel of the monitor ensures wide viewing angles, but it also means its native contrast ratio is low.
Content creators will appreciate that the monitor comes factory-calibrated, meaning it has superb color accuracy right out of the box.
Additionally, the Dell monitor supports picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes and has built-in keyboard, video, and mouse capability to switch between multiple computers.
There is also a fantastic selection of ports, including a Thunderbolt 3 port that can deliver up to 90W of power to your USB PD laptop for a single cable operation.
Unfortunately, the UltraSharp U4021QW is best suited for business consumers and content creators, not gamers, as it has a 60Hz refresh rate and lacks VRR support. There is also no HDR support, so you’ll want to get a monitor that’s more suitable for gaming if that’s what you’re going ultrawide for.
Best Ultrawide Monitor For Productivity
Dell UltraSharp U4021QW
The Dell UltraSharp U4021QW is made for productivity. It offers a large 40-inch screen, WUHD resolution, factory calibrated IPS panel, and a Thunderbolt 3 port.
Best 4K Ultrawide Monitor: LG 34WK95U-W
- ✓ Wide viewing angles
- ✓ Images and text look great at WUHD resolution
- ✓ Premium build quality
- ✗ Only 60Hz refresh rate
- ✗ No VRR
- ✗ Low contrast ratio
The LG 34WK95U-W is our pick for the best 4K ultrawide monitor. It offers excellent picture quality, wide viewing angles, and super crisp text and images, thanks to its WUHD Nano IPS panel. The monitor also looks premium and has a great build quality.
The out-of-the-box color accuracy is superb, and it has a wide color gamut with nearly complete coverage of the sRGB and excellent coverage of Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 color spaces.
Its HDR performance is also decent, and it’s rated DisplayHDR 600. However, the monitor doesn’t get bright enough to shine while watching HDR movies.
The port selection is good, and you get one DisplayPort 1.4 port, two HDMI 2.0, and one Thunderbolt 3 port. You can use the Thunderbolt port to power your laptop as it can output up to 85W.
The LG monitor’s Super Resolution+ technology ensures you get upscaling while viewing content that isn’t in 4K. Additionally, it supports a picture-by-picture mode to display two different inputs simultaneously.
While the lack of VRR on the 34WK95U-W may detract hardcore gamers, the monitor has a low input lag and fast response time for casual gaming. Plus, you will need a seriously powerful gaming PC to drive the WUHD resolution.
Best 4K Ultrawide Monitor
Looking to upgrade to a 4K ultrawide monitor? There is no better option than the LG 34WK95U-W. It offers excellent color accuracy, decent HDR performance, and a wide color gamut.