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Ultrawide monitors offer an unparalleled level of immersion when it comes to watching movies or playing video games. Filling your peripheral vision with whatever it is you’re looking at makes you feel truly engrossed in it. Ultrawide monitors are also excellent for getting work done thanks to their extra screen real estate. If you’re looking for the best ultrawide monitor, whether you need it for work or play, then take a look at our reviews and guide below. We’re certain one of the options covered in our reviews will suit your needs.
How to Pick the Best Ultrawide Monitor for Your Needs
There are an almost innumerable amount of things to consider when comparing monitors. Ultrawide monitors both shrink the possibility space while adding in new factors to consider. Ultrawide monitors come in a variety of sizes, aspect ratios, and curvatures. On top of this, each one has different color production, resolution, and refresh rate.
To help ensure you are making the right choice when shopping for an ultrawide monitor let’s take a look at some of the most important things to look for when shopping.
Resolution & PPI
The first thing most people look at when shopping for any new monitor or TV is the resolution. The ultrawide resolutions are actually just like resolutions on any other monitor (yeah, it’s weird since resolutions are listed in predetermined aspect ratio).
Ultrawide monitors on our list come in two resolutions: 1080p and 1440p. 1080p has been around for years and is the resolution familiar to most people. 1440p is a more recent category and is, as one might expect, in between 1080p and the incredibly sharp 4k resolution.
For those who plan to use their monitor for gaming, there is a completely legitimate argument to be made for lower resolution monitors. Most gaming PCs can run games easily at 1080p and can even run them at very high frame rates. On the other hand, 1440p games are much more difficult for most systems to run, and you won’t be able to achieve the same refresh rates as in 1080p. So, if you’re interested in 1440p, you should either expect to sacrifice some FPS, or to buy a monster rig that could push you to high FPS at that resolution.
Another closely related specification to keep an eye on is pixels per inch, or PPI. While two monitors can be the exact same resolution, depending on their sizes relative to each other, one might have a higher density of pixels. A smaller screen at the same resolution as a larger one will actually appear sharper from close up, because it will have a higher PPI (as can be seen on the 29-inch LG 29UM68 compared to the LG 25UM58). 80 is a generally acceptable PPI, but anything around 100 should look really sharp.
If you’re looking for a 4K ultrawide monitor, there actually aren’t any quite yet. But you can do the next best thing by getting an ultrawide that has a high PPI for a crisper image.
When it comes to screens there are generally three types of panels. For starters there are twisted nematic, or TN panels. These are generally inexpensive to manufacture but have poor color quality and narrow viewing angles. None of the monitors on our list use this kind of panel.
Moving up the scale are the vertical alignment, or VA panels. These panels have much better color production than TN panels, but still suffer in some cases from poor viewing angles. The Samsung QLED at the top of our list is in fact a VA panel at heart, but it uses quantum dots that are literally what they sound like, very small light emitting particles, to produce even more vibrant color.
Finally, there are in plane switching, or IPS displays. These displays are generally considered to be the most color accurate and have excellent viewing angles, but generally run at lower frame rates.
The refresh rate is an incredibly important spec to keep an eye on for gamers. Your refresh rate is effectively the highest possible FPS that monitor is capable of displaying. So, if you were pushing 140+ FPS in Fortnite, but you only had a 60 Hz monitor, then it would only display 60 FPS.
Higher refresh rates offer smoother looking motion, especially when things on screen are moving by quickly. In things like racing games or fast-paced shooters, having a high refresh rate can have a huge impact on the experience.
Higher refresh rates are also ideal in competitive games because you’ll literally be able to see things happen more quickly and with greater precision than a lower refresh rate monitor. The Samsung CHG90 is easily the best monitor on our list in this regard with its 144Hz refresh rate.
Color gamut is a term very few people will be familiar with, but it is a good thing to be aware of. Color gamut is a term that effectively gives a quantitative value to how good a given monitor is at producing color.
The standard “color space” used for measuring this is the sRGB color space, but there are even more demanding color spaces including the Adobe RGB gamut. While 99% or more coverage of the sRGB gamut is considered good color, monitors like the Samsung CHG90 can reach well outside of the bounds of the sRGB color gamut.
This is important for those looking for a nice viewing experience while watching Netflix, but is even more important if you do a lot of photo or video editing. Having accurate color production will prevent you from working on something on one monitor, then having it look completely different on another.
Many of the monitors on this list are not only ultrawide but also curved. This curvature helps the monitor to fill even more of your peripheral vision and creates an incredibly immersive environment for enjoying all kinds of content.
You’ll usually see the curvature of TVs and monitors denoted with something like 1800R. This is a measurement in millimeters of the radius of the circle formed by the curvature of a given monitor.
All of the curved screens on this list are 1800R curvature except for the Dell U3417W which has a slightly more modest 1900R. This means that you should not sit further than 1.8 or 1.9 meters from the screen or the curvature will become less of an immersion builder and more of an annoyance.
Curved monitors have also been shown in studies to be better ergonomically for the human eye. Eyestrain and eye ache are significantly more common on flat monitors than curved ones, making them great for long working or gaming sessions.