In the world of modern gaming, there haven’t been many revolutionary technologies introduced to monitors apart from an increase in resolution and frame rate. As with other visual media moving away from the archaic 4:3 aspect ratio PCs and gaming consoles adapted to a wider aspect ratio, with the current industry standard being a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Monitors have evolved further to allow for a somewhat ‘letterbox’ gaming experience akin to modern movie aspect ratios. Essentially you can now game in a 21:9 aspect ratio making all of your games look like you’re at the movies. This increase in horizontal real estate doesn’t just increase your gaming ability in first person shooters and your immersion in driving games but it also massively increases your screen space for productivity purposes. Multitasking on Windows has never looked better.
In recent times monitors with aspect ratios up to 32:9 have been manufactured and released. If you’re looking for a bezel-less dual screen setup then this is the best shape of monitor for you. With extended resolutions, you essentially just get an increased amount of screen that you can work on. With the most common ultrawide aspect ratio of 21:9, you are getting two 3:4 monitors seamlessly stitched together.
We love these monitors for gaming for the reasons we stated above but they are amazing for much more. In RPGs, you get more screen to appreciate the diverse landscapes and settings lovingly coded into the game by the developers. In competitive games, you can push your HUD through to the borders of the screen freeing your immediate FOV from distracting UIs and distracting alerts.
Driving sims and high end F1 setups benefit greatly from the extra immersion you get from the extra pixels, especially if you’re using a curved ultrawide display and if you stream or run a gaming channel editing is made miles easier from the larger preview windows and with streaming you can forgo a dual monitor setup by using the PiP (picture in picture) settings that come built into most ultrawide monitors.
How We Picked
When we look at all of the available ultrawide monitors currently on the market (there are a lot) we need to break them down into specific categories, all of the monitors we’ve chosen are the best at one specific thing whilst also being great all-around. The criteria we use to judge each monitor is basically a blanket set of requirements that we’ll go into a little bit further down.
Ultrawide gaming isn’t for everyone, especially if you don’t have the desk space. A 29” ultrawide monitor takes up as much space as a 32” tv, make sure you have the space or mounting capability to fit your new monitor.
When you’re looking to purchase an ultrawide gaming monitor, as long as it meets your standards for each of these requirements and excels at some of them you’ll have a great ultrawide gaming monitor. Those criteria are: The resolution, the refresh rate, the panel type and brightness, and the stand and mounting abilities.
The final thing to note is that it isn’t just how well the screens meet the metric but also just how good they look to the eye.
Best Ultrawide Gaming Monitor in 2021
34” 3440 x 1440 resolution.
144Hz display with FreeSync built in
HDR10 compatible IPS panel
100 x 100 VESA compatible
Flimsy base and stand with limited motion.
The XV340CK is the best all-rounder monitor on the list, it comes with all the basic necessities for a pro gaming monitor without packing in too much technology to exponentially increase the price. This monitor has a resolution of 3440×1440 and therefore an aspect ratio of 21:9. This is the stretched QHD resolution and can fit a 1440p image or video in the center with extra pixels on either side. With the panel being 34” diagonally at this resolution, you get an extremely detailed image without being able to differentiate individual pixels from a distance of 2 feet.
A huge selling point of this monitor is that it is also a 144Hz monitor meaning that if your GPU can handle it you can play all games at 144fps maximum and get a buttery smooth gaming experience. What’s more, the monitor comes with FreeSync built in to match the frame rate to the refresh rate and reduce screen tearing and artifacting.
Another differentiating feature of the XV340CK is the fact that it is not only WQHD, 144Hz with FreeSync, and 34”, it also has an IPS panel. The IPS panel is the best looking panel type on the market and being able to marry that with a high refresh rate offers a unique gaming experience you often don’t have access to. The color reproduction and viewing angles are ideal with this panel. The only area the price of this unit is evident is in the maximum brightness. With a maximum output of 250 nits, the monitor won’t perform well in direct sunlight but with even light covering you shouldn’t face any issues.
The stand that comes included with this monitor also isn’t worth writing home about. It has a circular base and a thinner stem that don’t do well to support the heavy panel. You get minimal height and swivel functionality but this is mitigated by the fact that you can attach it to any larger monitor arm with the 100x100mm VESA compatible mounting holes on the rear.
Curved 34” display with 1900R curve
120Hz panel with G-Sync built in
Nano color IPS technology
RGB v-shaped, heavy based stand
Almost 1 foot thick
This over the top, all out monitor, provides a perfect gaming experience without compromise but comes with a price tag to match. With the same WQHD resolution of 3440×1440 as the previous monitor we can guarantee a sharp and high definition image. Alienware has also opted for a 34” panel meaning that viewing distances are still around 1 ½ to 2 feet. This is also a curved display with a 1900R curve, this reduces the distance between your eyes and the sides of the screen. A curved screen allows for a much more immersive gaming experience.
The panel has a refresh rate of 120Hz meaning that you get double the standard 60Hz refresh rate you’ll usually find in standard, non-gaming monitors and screens. The doubled refresh rate doubles the smoothness of your viewing experience, especially in gaming. Alienware has paired the high refresh rate with G-Sync technology. When you match a G-Sync enabled monitor with an Nvidia GPU you get a fully matched frame rate and refresh rate that even outperforms FreeSync. If you have any experience in display overclocking, you have the ability to achieve 144Hz.
The monitor uses an Adapting IPS Nano color technology to ensure that this panel meets at least 98% DCI-P3 rating. The viewing angles are brilliant and with the curve in the display they are even better. With a maximum brightness of 350 nits you shouldn’t encounter any issues with sunlight or backlighting.
The stand of this monitor is very well thought out. You get a large range of motion, not only vertically but also in tilt and swivel. The wide-stance, v-shaped legs offer massive support for the heavy monitor and even includes an RGB halo that can light up your wall behind the monitor and looks really cool. There is also a cable routing hole to tidy up the back of your monitor. You also get VESA mounting capabilities if you want to mount the monitor.
49” Dual QHD panel equivalent to 2 27” monitors
120Hz with FreeSync
VA panel that hit 95% of the DCI-P3 color Gamut
Huge panel meaning you need to have enough space
This is the only super ultrawide monitor on the list that equates to 2 standard panels stitched together. This Super Ultrawide 49” monitor has a resolution of 5120 x 1440 which means it has an aspect ratio of 32:9. This is a single monitor that has the same resolution and size as 2 27” 2560 x 1440 monitors sat side by side, the major difference is that there is no immersion-breaking bezel in the center of your field of view. The panel also has a curve of 1800R letting it wrap around your field of vision.
Samsung has implemented a 120Hz panel paired with FreeSync to make this an ideal gaming monitor. With such a large portion of your FOV being taken up by this panel, you’ll find that racing simulators and games like Elite Dangerous feel more immersive.
The 49” monitor uses a VA panel meaning that the color accuracy won’t be as good as an IPS panel but Samsung claims that the panel meets 95% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. The panel also has a peak brightness of 1000 nits meaning that you could use it with the sun shining directly on it and you wouldn’t notice.
The stand is roughly the same as the Alienware stand but not as sturdy or feature packed. You get VESA mounting capabilities with this monitor also.
34” Ultrawide panel with 3440 x 1440 resolution
1500R tight curve
144Hz VA panel
Lack of proper adjustability in the stand and OSD.
This is the budget option for ultrawide QHD gaming without making too many compromises. The Nixeus EDG is also a 34” 3440 x 1440 monitor that caters for all gamers. The 1500R tight curve also increases immersion immensely.
The 144Hz refresh rate gives you silky smooth frame rates and looks even better when combined with FreeSync. You’ll have that competitive edge you need to overcome the other team when you get to see them twice as fast and for twice as many frames.
To make this monitor a budget friendly option, Nixeus chose a VA panel that can easily run at 144Hz. With a 400 nits maximum brightness and 100% sRGB color grading (not officially measured on the DCI-P3 color gamut) the EDG 34 can be used in mostly all lighting conditions without noticeable issues.
The stand has been designed to look minimal and serve its purpose as only a stand. There is no height adjustment but some tilt functionality. There is also a headphone stand at the top of the stand which is a bit of extra functionality. If you want extra adjustment then you have 75×75 VESA mounting capabilities.
Full IPS 29” panel
75Hz refresh rate with FreeSync
2560 x 1080 resolution
Excellent LG build quality
Feels like a budget option
The 29UM69G-B is a great ultra-budget friendly and PC friendly monitor. With a resolution of only 2560 x 1080 this is a WFHD monitor that is a stretched out 1080p monitor. At only 29” this is ideal for the same viewing distance as the other monitors. There is no need for a curve due to the lower horizontal length.
The panel has a maximum refresh rate of 75Hz which is still much better than the standard 60Hz normally available. The monitor also has FreeSync built in to match frame rates. With the maximum refresh rate being slightly lowered and the maximum resolution being a stretched 1080p you can easily run this monitor with most budget/low end PC’s.
This monitor uses an IPS panel so you can assure great color accuracy and viewing angles.
The stand offers extremely minimal adjustability with only a 15° tilt adjustment and no swivel or height adjustment. You can use a VESA compatible mount to add the functionality that it lacks.
Things To Consider
The resolution of your monitor is essentially how sharp the image will be. A higher resolution is almost always better for sharper images. With standard aspect ratio monitors you’ll have heard of resolutions such as FHD (1080p), QHD (1440p) and UHD (4k). The resolutions of ultrawide monitors follow the same vertical resolution but increase the horizontal resolution to stretch your lateral field of view. The monitors in this list are essentially stretched out 1080p and 1440p monitors. For competitive gaming in most newer competitive games like Rainbow 6 Siege, Fortnite and Apex Legends an increased resolution can give you an edge in battle when another player the size of an individual pixel can be the end of your game. Obviously, the size of your monitor will help in this area also but an appropriate relationship between the 2 is what we’re looking to achieve. The resolution of a 1080p equivalent ultrawide monitor is 2560 x 1080 and of a 1440p equivalent is 3440 x 1440. We have one 49” monitor on the list that has a ‘super ultrawide’ resolution; it is a 32:9 aspect ratio monitor with a resolution of 5120 x 1440. This is equivalent to two 27” QHD monitors stitched together to give you a supremely immersive wrap around experience. To surmise, the higher the resolution the better and the smoother or sharper the image will be. Being able to run games at high resolutions are subject to the power of your pc and consoles only support 16:9 images so only look for monitors that your pc can run or plan on upgrading.
The refresh rate
The refresh rate is the frequency at which the pixels of the monitor update and is measured in hertz. The higher this number is the smoother your game and any compatible video looks. There used to be a myth that humans can only recognize 60 image updates per second but this has since been busted. The upper limit of our visual abilities is now seen to be at least 360Hz but this is something that follows the law of diminishing returns. The higher the number the less obvious the difference. The biggest increase you’ll see is between 30Hz (last-gen console gaming) and 60Hz (base level frequency of all monitors). 144Hz is seen to be the sweet spot between performance and quality, especially at higher resolutions.
Your refresh rate and your frame rate are almost equivalent in that both of them use the same metric but your frame rate is the limit of what your PC can output in frames per second and your frequency is the highest possible frame rate your monitor is able to display. When the 2 are out of sync you get weird artifacting and screen tearing that can ruin your gaming experience. Technologies like V-sync were created to combat this desynchronization but this was a digital matching. Newer tech like G-Sync and FreeSync from Nvidia and AMD respectively can be baked into a monitor to physically change the refresh rate to match the frame rate up to 144Hz and offer you buttery smooth visuals.
The panel type and brightness
The technology behind which type of pixels, how they are arranged and how they are lit is what makes up the panel type. The type of panel affects the color accuracy, the viewing angles and even the refresh rate. How good the picture monitor looks is largely dependent on its panel type. There are 3 main panel types in mainstream circulation currently; IPS, VA and TN. IPS is currently seen as the best for color accuracy and viewing angles but struggles at achieving higher (144Hz+) refresh rates. VA panels balance refresh rates with color accuracy and cannot reproduce color to the same degree as IPS panels; they are also commonly cheaper. TN panels are less common now and have largely been replaced by VA panels in desktop PCs, these had the worst viewing angles and worst color reproduction but were, and still continue to be, the cheapest panel type.
Stand and mounting abilities
With larger panel monitors; 29” being the smallest on our list, how they sit on the desk is extremely important. A good stand with proper support and good maneuverability is a must with ultrawide monitors. With the vertical dimensions of these monitors being squashed, having proper height and tilt adjustments can be the difference between a comfortable gaming session and a kink in the neck. These are some heavy monitors and if the stand that it comes supplied with can’t support that weight you end up with an expensive light-up bobblehead. There is an industry standard for monitor mounting and it’s known as the VESA mounting system. In PC monitors the most common VESA configuration you’ll find is 100x100mm, you can get 75x75mm VESA mounts but these are usually for lighter displays.