(Pocket-lint) - Picking up a top ultrawide monitor can transform your desk setup, whether you want to use the screen for gaming or working from home.
Before you toss your old CRT monitor onto the trash heap, though, it's important to understand what you're getting with an ultrawide monitor. Essentially, these wider screens let you view your content in a 21:9 aspect ratio, rather than the standard 16:9 ratio - kind of similar to watching something at the movie theater instead of your TV at home.
This means the bezel gap you find with dual-screen setups is eliminated, and you can enjoy wide-angle viewing in its most natural form.
Since there are enough models of ultrawide monitors to fill a warehouse, though, we've boiled things down and detailed some of the very best for every budget that can elevate your home setup - whether you're seeking more immersion in spreadsheets or your games.
What is the best ultrawide monitor? Our top recommendation is the AOC CU34G2X. However, others we think are worth checking out include the BenQ EX3501R, LG 25UM58, Samsung CRG9 and the LG Ultrawide 34WL50S.
Our Top Pick: Best Ultrawide Monitor
- 144Hz refresh rate with Freesync
- 1ms response time
- Immersive 1500R curve
- The speakers are terrible
If you're after a mid-range ultrawide monitor that can really elevate your gaming sessions, AOC's CU34G2X is one that manages to rise above the rest of the crop.
The 34-inch, 3440 x 1440 Quad HD resolution provides you with next-level crispness, while the 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms MPRT is the key behind some very smooth gameplay.
The screen itself offers 1500R curvature, which adds to the immersion, with room for two DisplayPort, two HDMI 2.0, and four USB ports.
Ultrawide monitors we also recommend
While the AOC CU34G2X is at the peak of this list, it's not necessarily the right monitor for everyone, especially with such a wide range of sizes and price points on the market. That's why we've also selected the following devices for you to consider.
- 100Hz refresh rate with Freesync
- HDR support
- B.I.+ ambient light sensor
- Needs some configuring for best results
The EX3501R ticks a lot of boxes, nicely sized, high resolution, adaptable refresh rate, 1800R curve, adjustable stand, HDR support and, importantly, it's competitively priced too.
Not only does it cover the basics well, but it also adds some more uncommon features too; including its B.I.+ sensor that can adapt the screen brightness to match your environment and single cable USB-C connectivity for supported devices.
- One of the cheapest ultrawide options around
- Over 99% sRGB coverage
- Blue light reduction mode
- The stand isn't very adjustable
Not everybody wants an ultrawide monitor primarily for gaming - sometimes you just want to stretch the screen to stop yourself drowning in different windows. That's where LG comes in.
The 25-inch, Full HD 1080p monitor can be both mounted or rested on the included stand, with features available for easily dividing up your screen.
If you do want it to double up as a gaming monitor, it does have three modes for different genres, as well as black-colour stabilization and Dynamic Action Sync to assist smoothness.
- Absolutely massive
- Split-screen mode for multiple devices
- HDR 1000 support
- Would benefit from more dimming zones
There's ultrawide, then there's super ultrawide - and if money is no object, Samsung's CRG9 should absolutely be on your considerations list.
The 49-inch, Quad HD curved behemoth is the equivalent of running two 27-inch QHD displays without the bezel gap, offering 120Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync 2 for the smoothest, sharpest HDR image possible.
There are also dedicated modes for both split-screen, allowing you to connect to two devices at once, and reducing blue light emissions, allowing you to enjoy flicker-free imaging in longer gaming sessions.
LG Ultrawide 34WL50S
- HDR 10 support
- AMD Freesync
- Narrow bezels and attractive design
- Only 60Hz refresh rate
For the work-from-home body who needs the ultimate ultrawide monitor for multi-tasking, say hello to this LG monitor.
The Full HD monitor gives you 2560 x 1080 resolution for a sharp image, with HDR 10 backing this up and elevating colours and brightness.
LG's OnScreen Control also gives you the ability to split your display when you're working, and there's even something for gamers - AMD FreeSync, with LG's Dynamic Action Sync and Black Stabilizer, all work to give you the ultra-smooth experience you crave.
Other products we considered
When trying to figure out what we believe to be the best ultrawide monitors currently available, we spent hours pouring over spec sheets and comparisons, as well as testing the devices in real-world scenarios. We consider a range of factors when it comes to recommending devices - and also when a new device enters our top five selections. We don't just factor in our own testing, either, but also consumer reviews, brand quality and value, too.
In all of our roundups, there are also many products we test that don't make the final cut. Since they may be the right fit for some people, however, we've listed them below.
Dell Ultrathin S2719DM
How to choose an ultrawide monitor
So, you've decided your next monitor is going to be an ultrawide model, but with so many to choose from, how can you tell which one is right for you?
Fear not, we've put together a short list of things to think about that should help you narrow the field and find your perfect match.
What will you primarily be using the monitor for?
We all use a computer for different reasons and each use-case has its own feature sets to think about. If you're a hardcore gamer then you'll likely want to pay close attention to the refresh rate and response times offered by the monitor, you probably won't care so much about sRGB coverage. However, if you're a photographer or graphic designer, then the opposite will be true.
If you want something that does it all, there are plenty of options, but they tend to get pricey. We'd recommend honing in on the features that are most important for your needs and it should become clear where you can cut back in order to find the best balance of price and performance.
How big is your desk?
This one is fairly straightforward but crucial to get right, the thing with ultrawide monitors is that they can get, well, ultra-wide. While we all want more screen real-estate, having a monitor that is too large for your desk not only looks silly but could leave it prone to knocks and damage.
It's also important to remember that just because a screen is ultrawide, that doesn't mean that it's large. Some more budget options are barely wider than a standard keyboard. If that's what you're after, then that's great, but it's easy to get caught out and buy something smaller than you bargained for.
Is ultrawide right for you?
Last but not least, it's worth considering if you might be better off with a second monitor, rather than an ultrawide monitor. Most of us tend to split the screen across two distinct applications, so if you already have a monitor that you like, you could get a lot of the same benefits by adding a second.
If you'll be gaming, you should consider that ultrawide monitors also tend to come with higher resolution displays - so running games on one will be more taxing for your graphics card. If you've got a beast of a PC then there's nothing to worry about, but those scraping by with lower spec machines will want to be careful.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been assessed thoroughly to ensure it will perform exactly as a recommended pick should.
We've thought about everything, factoring in how each model will perform when being used for gaming, work, web browsing and streaming. This meant diving into the key specs and features, like HDR compatibility, FreeSync, G-Sync, local dimming modes and more. From there, we've then crossed our judgements with each individual price tag to ensure they represent good value for money, too.
As with any roundup, it's not possible to deliver a list that works for every type of user, but we lean on the experiences and opinions of the wider Pocket-lint team - as well as thoroughly assessing the areas above - in order to do our best in this regard.
What we always tend to avoid when compiling these picks are needless spec comparisons and marketing lines; we just want to provide an easy to understand summary that gives you an idea of what each monitor is like to use. Our verdicts are concise, but this is purely in the interest of brevity.
PC Gaming now has a dedicated hub page!
PC Gaming Week in association with Nvidia GeForce RTX may have come to an end, but you can still find all of that great content as well as all future PC gaming news, reviews, features and more on our dedicated hub page.