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The best ultrawide monitors for 2020

Upgrading your setup with an ultrawide monitor can deliver a more immersive gaming experience, and give you a larger space if you need to multitask at work.

There are some important considerations when it comes to size, resolution, and syncing capabilities with your graphics card when choosing a new monitor. Our guide to the best ultrawide monitors will give you a better idea of the features of the best products available on the market.

The best ultrawide monitors at a glance

The best ultrawide monitor: Samsung CJ791

Samsung CF791 monitor review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why we picked the Samsung CJ791:

This 34-inch monitor is a striking piece of hardware. The design is understated, effortless, and professional. The frame and stand all seem to melt away when you’re seated before its all-encompassing curved view. It’s a bit of a chameleon, too, as it could easily sit next to a flashy desktop PC decked out in LEDs or a dusty old workstation in the office.

Samsung’s CJ791 offers stunning picture quality, with rich inky blacks and vivid, lifelike colors saturating your vision from all angles. Video content is rich and fluid, thanks to the monitor’s 100Hz refresh rate and AMD’s FreeSync. It supports a variety of uses, providing one DisplayPort, an HDMI port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and two USB-A ports.

Overall, this level of quality on a standard 16:9 display would be outstanding. The fact that it’s on a massive 21:9 display with a deep curve makes it truly a sight to behold. It simply doesn’t need a flashy exterior design. Its size, clarity, and resolution make it a showstopper all on its own.

The best ultrawide for gaming: Alienware AW3420DW

Alienware AW341BDW Utrawide Gaming Monitor
Rich Shibley/Digital Trends

Why we picked the Alienware AW3420DW:

Dell’s 34-inch Alienware ultrawide monitor is an excellent choice for gamers. It packs a 3,440 x 1,440 resolution complemented by a curved IPS panel (1900R), producing rich colors and wide viewing angles. Complementing this panel is a 350-nit brightness maximum and a 1,000:1 contrast ratio.

The AW3420DW includes six physical menu buttons for toggling preset modes, automatic overclocking, dark stabilization, and controlling brightness and contrast. Tucked away below the display’s bottom edge, you’ll find a line-out jack, a headphone jack, five USB ports, DisplayPort 1.2 input, and HDMI 1.4 input.

In keeping with Alienware tradition, adjustable LED strips line the angular spines on the backside and stand. Gamers will also see the popular alien head logo shining on the back. The screen’s black bezels are minimal at best, while the back sports a gunmetal titanium finish.

Finally, Dell’s latest Alienware display features Nvidia’s G-Sync technology for smooth, tear-free framerates. It also has a native 120Hz refresh rate and a two-millisecond response time. It’s a slight step up from the previous model, the Alienware AW3418DW, which packs a lower native 100Hz refresh rate and a slower 4ms response time for $100 less.

For a look at the difference between FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync, check out our guide.

The best ultrawide monitor for Mac: LG 34WK95U-W

LG 34WK95U-W ultrawide monitor review

Why we picked the LG 34WK95U-W:

If you need an ultrawide panel without sacrificing a high resolution, this LG model offers both — that is, if you can afford it. A Nano IPS panel backs this display’s hefty 5,120 x 2,160 resolution with HDR. It’s also entirely flat, making it a wide choice when considering your work area’s physical space (or lack thereof).

You won’t need to worry about connections, however. There are plenty on LG’s display, including a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB-C port, two HDMI, a DisplayPort, a USB-A upstream, and two USB-A downstream connections.

The drawback is that wall-mounting isn’t advisable, as this could leave the ports inaccessible. Wall-mounting may also make the hidden joystick difficult to use, which you’ll need to modify the settings. With this joystick, you can toggle picture modes, manually adjust color temperature, and change the hue and saturation.

Our tests show that, in addition to the high resolution, this LG monitor supports 90% of the AdobeRGB color gamut. It also has a color error of only 1.1 and a gamma curve of 2.2 — all better than many of the top monitors we have reviewed. However, it’s important to note that the standard refresh rate is 60Hz, which isn’t the greatest option for some types of gaming. This display does not offer FreeSync or G-Sync technology.

Ultimately, if you need a top-shelf resolution for work or play, there’s no better ultrawide around to deliver it.

The best G-Sync ultrawide monitor: Acer Predator Gaming X34

Acer Predator X34

Why we picked the Acer Predator Gaming X34:

Many great widescreen displays support G-Sync technology. If you’re looking for the best ultrawide that ticks gaming boxes, however, there’s nothing quite like the Acer Predator X34. It has a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440 — the sweet spot resolution for gaming — and a native 100Hz refresh rate (120Hz overclocked). The brightness isn’t the best at just 300 nits, but that’s more than enough for a non-HDR screen. Other great features make up for this panel’s lackluster brightness.

Thanks to its IPS panel, Acer’s display enjoys fantastic viewing angles for collaborative work and play. It doesn’t suffer much with response time, either, with a rating of just 4ms. Color support is strong, too, featuring 8-bit color depth and decent color accuracy across the screen.

The included G-Sync tech not only helps prevent screen tearing but stamps Nvidia’s seal of approval all over Acer’s gaming display. It’s fantastic and our favorite ultrawide for G-Sync gaming.

The best ultrawide monitor for video editing: BenQ EX3501R

Why we picked the BenQ EX3501R:

BenQ’s EX3501R has a professional, understated look and with good reason: This is a monitor for professionals. It features a gorgeous, immersive 1800R curvature, but don’t assume it sacrifices color accuracy for that wraparound effect. This is one of the most vibrant, accurate displays we’ve ever seen, beating out strong competition from high-end Samsung, Dell, and LG screens in our testing.

With a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440 and HDR, this 35-inch ultrawide packs plenty of screen space for multiple windows — or a very long editing timeline. It has a contrast of 1,100:1 and a brightness of more than 330 nits, providing beautifully dark blacks and bright whites. Connections include HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-A 3.1 Gen 1, and USB-C.

Although this screen isn’t designed for gaming, if you want to do it in your off-hours, it does a great job. With a refresh rate of 100Hz and FreeSync support to prevent screen tearing, there’s little else you could ask for. This is a fantastic all-around display, but it’s especially our favorite ultrawide for video editing.

Research and buying tips

Is an ultrawide monitor worth it?

Ultrawide displays are an alternative to multiple-monitor setups. They eliminate the ugly bezel dividing two or more displays, creating a cleaner, unified experience.

With multiple monitors, you can mix and match capabilities. For instance, you can have one for gaming and one for work. In both cases, the setup makes getting everything you need easier.

With an ultrawide, everything must reside in one display, or you need to make some sacrifices. That’s especially impactful in gaming, where an ultrawide’s large resolution can tax even high-end graphics cards.

You should also factor in the physical footprint of large ultrawide displays. They can be huge, so make sure your desk and room have enough space to accommodate the size.

Also consider media playback, like TV and movies. On an ultrawide, you may have to tolerate black bars running along the screen’s edges, as few productions shoot media that’s compatible with ultrawide aspect ratios.

Is an ultrawide monitor good for gaming?

It can be. Although not all ultrawide displays are designed with gaming in mind, the ones that are can offer some of the most immersive gaming experiences outside of virtual reality. Curved, large-screen, ultrawide monitors can wrap around your peripheral vision in a way that’s far more encompassing than traditionally-sized monitors.

Just be aware that not all games support ultrawide resolutions, and those extra pixels can tax your graphics card a bit more than normal.

How to split the screen on an ultrawide monitor?

How you portion out your screen will be up to you, but you can snap multiple windows or applications into place with ease in any recent version of Windows. Click and drag the window to any edge of the screen, and release it to have it snap into place. Alternatively, press the Windows key and any arrow key to lock the window to that part of the screen.

From there, you have the option to fill the additional space with other windows. You can also manually lock them there using the same method as above. Once everything’s in place, you can click and drag the dividing lines between windows to adjust their size.

Some ultrawide monitors offer more robust hardware solutions as well, though they depend on each manufacturer. Check your setup manual for the specifics.

What size of ultrawide monitor is best?

The size of your ultrawide is dependent on your needs and physical space constraints. If you’re looking to discover the largest ultrawide monitor, there are several 49-inch screens, like Samsung’s CHG90 or Dell’s 49-inch Ultrasharp display.

But you don’t need to go that big. As shown above, we lean to the slightly more constrained monitors that improve pixel density and offer better feature sets than the absolute largest screens out there.

The 34-inch options with a 21:9 aspect ratio are a good place to start. They’re large enough to experience the full effect of the width without completely overtaking your desk.

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