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Using an external monitor is a great way to improve your productivity at work because it allows you to see more information than the smaller display built into your laptop. This allows you to multitask more easily, or see more of one complicated app (like a photo or video editor) at once. Ultrawide monitors take that principle to the extreme.
Instead of using the standard 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio found on TVs, laptops, and traditional external displays, ultrawide monitors use a 21:9 orientation. The result is a display that’s significantly wider than it is tall. The benefit to using this type of screen is that it fills more of your peripheral vision. Another differentiator is that you’re given greater flexibility of where to put your apps in physical space.
For example, you may want to keep your messaging app of choice in a small window on the left side of the screen at all times, while keeping your main app front and center. You can view your messaging app instantly by turning your head, but it won’t distract you from your work. This setup is a lot more convenient than keeping apps in your dock, and constantly showing and minimizing them.
Many modern games have also been programmed to take advantage of ultrawide monitors, which provides a far more immersive PC gaming experience than a typical display. Again, your HUD (heads up display), which is on screen at all times to show you your current health level, items, and other crucial information won’t draw your eye as easily. Instead, you can focus on the gameplay.
What Are The Best Ultrawide Monitors?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right ultrawide monitor for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Screen size: The first thing to think about when buying an ultrawide monitor monitor is the size of the display. Because of the way that ultrawide monitors are built, all of our recommendations are 34-inches long, which is far larger than a traditional external display. Make sure that your desk can accommodate a screen this big before picking one up.
Resolution: An ultrawide monitor’s resolution (measured in pixels), determines how much information can be viewed on it at one time. Most of the ultrawide monitors have a high resolution of 3440 x 1400, which means they’re capable of displaying a very clear picture.
Refresh Rate: A monitor’s refresh rate determines how quickly the display can be updated with new information. This isn’t important if you’re using the display for general office work, but it’s very important when playing games. The higher a monitor’s refresh rate, the smoother the gameplay will be. A display’s refresh rate is displayed in Hertz, which is shortened to Hz.
Ports: To connect your computer (or other peripheral like a game console) to a monitor, you’ll need it to have the right inputs, commonly called ports. Our picks generally have a DisplayPort and one or more HDMI ports on them, so you should be able to plug your computer into them without an adapter. For Mac users, we’ve chosen monitors that have USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, which serve the same purpose.
Ergonomics: You’re going to be looking at your ultrawide monitor for several hours a day, so it’s important that it’s comfortable to use. We’ve selected monitors that can be tilted forward or backward; some of them can be height adjusted, too. Consider getting a monitor stand if you need a little more lift (or to clear some room on your desk).
1. LG 34GP83A-B
LG was quick to adopt the ultrawide monitor design, and its 34GP83A-B is our top pick in this guide.
The display stands above the rest for a few key reasons. The first is its ultra-fast 144Hz (hertz) refresh rate, which combined with support for both Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync Premium technology makes it an excellent choice for gamers. There’s even an option to push the monitor to refresh rates as high as 160Hz, which is 100Hz higher than a traditional external display.
Next, the monitor supports 98% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which means you’ll get extremely accurate color reproduction when editing photos and videos. It’s important to have this level of fidelity because you won’t have to worry about your media looking washed out or over-saturated when it’s printed or viewed on a different display.
When it comes to ports, this monitor is fully loaded. It’s got two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort, plus a headphone jack, two USB-A ports, and a USB-B port. If you connect this display to your computer using a USB-B cable, you can use it as a hub for accessories like a webcam or external hard drive.
Finally, LG’s 34GP83A-B is both height adjustable and able to be tilted, which means you’ll have no problem finding the a sweet spot for the display to maximize comfort. There’s no such thing as perfect, but when it comes to ultrawide monitors, LG’s display is as close as you can get.
2. Samsung Odyssey G5
If you’re looking for an ultrawide monitor specifically for high framerate gaming, Samsung’s Odyssey G5 is an outstanding choice.
This display’s key feature is a peak refresh rate of 165Hz, which is the highest speed you’ll find in this guide. It supports HDR (high dynamic range), which guarantees you’ll see vibrant colors, and is compatible with AMD’s FreeSync Premium technology. Oddly, this monitor isn’t compatible with Nvidia’s G-Sync, which is its only real downside when it comes to gaming performance.
The Odyssey G5 has one HDMI and one DisplayPort for connectivity, so you’ll have no problem hooking up your PC. The display can be tilted, but its stand isn’t height adjustable with is a little disappointing considering how premium the actual screen is.
Having a high refresh rate display is essential if you want to play fast-paced games like first person shooters competitively online. Samsung’s Odyssey G5 is an excellent choice if you’re looking to upgrade to an ultrawide monitor as part of a gaming setup.
3. Philips 343E2E
If you plan on hooking up a laptop to your ultrawide external display, Philips’ 343E2E should be the fist external monitor you consider.
The display checks all the boxes you’d need from an ultrawide screen: Support for 123% of the sRGB color gamut, a respectable 75Hz refresh rate, a height adjustable stand, and an HD resolution of 2560 x 1080. Those specs are perfectly fine for general office work, though its gaming performance suffers a bit compared to our other recommendations.
What helps this display stand out is its ports. In additional to the typical HDMI and DisplayPort, the Philips 343E2E has a USB-C PD port. If your laptop is connected to this port with a USB-C cable, the display will provide power up to 65W, which means your laptop will be charged while it’s connected to the monitor. This is extremely convenient, and means you won’t have to use two outlets to charge your computer and use this display.
It may sound small, but having a USB-C PD port puts Philips’ 343E2E in a class of its own if you use it with a laptop.
4. Dell S3422DWG
Dell’s S3422DWG offers a compelling mix of features and performance at an impressively low price, which makes it the best value in this guide.
This display was designed with gamers in mind, which is why it has a peak refresh rate of 144Hz, support for AMD FreeSync, and support for HDR. Again, support for Nvidia’s G-Sync is noticeably absent. Dell introduced some additional gaming features with this display that we haven’t seen in other monitors.
The standout is a built-in cooling system, which prevents the display from overheating if you’re pushing it to the limits for several hours at a time. It also has an FPS (frames per second) counter, which gives you insight into each games performance. Finally, the S3422DWG has a blue light reduction mode, which sacrifices color performance to make the display easier on your eyes at night.
Beyond gaming, Dell’s ultrawide monitor can display up to 90% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is pretty good if you want to use it to edit photos and videos. It comes on a stand that’s height adjustable, and allows you to tilt the screen to a comfortable angle. In terms of ports, Dell outfitted its ultrawide monitor with two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, an audio out jack, a USB-B ports, and four USB-A ports.
If you compare its feature set to its price, Dell’s S3422DWG is the clear winner in the ultrawide monitor category.