- The best ultrawide monitor expands your desktop for enhanced productivity or immersive PC gaming.
- Dell’s Ultrasharp 34 Curved USB-C U3419W is our pick for the best ultrawide monitor overall.
- Read more: The best computer monitors of 2021
Ultrawide monitors are a popular alternative to large 4K displays. With their large size and impressive visuals, the best ultrawide monitors can give you a more immersive gaming experience and provide more screen space to view multiple apps at once.
A typical monitor or television has a 16:9 aspect ratio. Ultrawide monitors have a 21:9 aspect ratio, though a few are even wider. You can generally expect to pay more but you’ll have more space, which is great for video editors and anyone using a lot of apps at once.
I’ve tested dozens of monitors over the past decade, handled hundreds of monitors at trade shows, and I use an ultrawide monitor every day. This hands-on experience gives me the expertise to definitively rank the best ultrawide monitors available right now.
My top pick right now is the Dell Ultrasharp 34 Curved 3419W, an ultrawide with outstanding image quality, tons of useful features, and a long warranty. While this model will work well for many people, there are also picks for gamers, video editors, and more.
Here are the best ultrawide monitors:
- Best ultrawide monitor overall: Dell Ultrasharp 34 Curved USB-C U3419W
- Best ultrawide gaming monitor: LG Ultragear 38GN950-B
- Best ultrawide monitor under $300: Viotek GNV34CB
- Best ultrawide monitor for video editing: LG 34BK95U-W
- Best 49-inch ultrawide monitor: Samsung Odyssey G9
Updated on 01/28/2021 by Jenny McGrath: We’ve been researching and testing ultrawide monitors for this guide since 2019. While these are the best models available right now, there are several we’re looking forward to testing, including Dell’s upcoming replacement for our current top pick.
The best ultrawide monitor overall
Dell’s Ultrasharp 34 Curved U3419W looks great, has excellent image quality, and its USB-C hub enables a one-cable connection for most laptops.
Pros: Excellent color gamut and accuracy, USB-C for one-cable laptop connectivity, includes 9-watt speaker system, three-year warranty, good overall value
Cons: Not great for fast-paced gaming
The Dell Ultrasharp 34 U3419W is an outstanding ultrawide that will fit most purposes and satisfy owners for many years. Its reasonable size and resolution keep the price outside the $1,000-plus range of the biggest and most expensive options. Yet this monitor has excellent image quality and future-proof features like USB-C connectivity.
Buying the Dell U3419W gets you a 34-inch ultrawide display with 3440 x 1440 resolution and a noticeable, but modest, curve. The Dell 3419W has an IPS display panel that covers up to 99% of the sRGB color gamut, so it’s a good pick for photographers, videographers, and other creative professionals. It also has great color accuracy, which helps in all content, including movies and games.
The Dell 3419W works as a USB-C hub with power delivery up to an impressive 90 watts. Laptops that charge over USB-C can be powered directly by the monitor while also handling video, allowing a one-cable connection to the display. This monitor even has four additional USB 3.0 Type-A ports that can be used to connect peripherals.
That’s not all. This monitor comes with a 9-watt dual speaker system, a highly adjustable VESA monitor stand, an anti-glare display coating, and a three-year warranty. These features make the Dell 3419W a good long-term bet.
The only notable omission is a high refresh rate or variable refresh rate support, two features that gamers desire.
The Dell 3419W is $959.99, but it’s often on sale for $800 or less. And here’s a hot tip for bargain hunters. The Dell U3419W is only the newest in a line of ultrawides that extends back to the Dell Ultrasharp 34 3415W, first released in 2015. Older models can often be found on clearance at very low pricing. While they lack features like USB-C connectivity, they’re a good budget pick if you can find one below $500.
The best ultrawide monitor for gaming
The LG 38GL950G-B pairs excellent image quality with a 144Hz refresh rate for the best gaming experience.
Pros: Excellent image quality; 144Hz refresh rate, 160Hz overclocked; AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync compatible; DisplayHDR 600 certified
Cons: No speakers or USB-C
Ultrawide monitors offer the ultimate gaming experience thanks to wide, immersive screens. The only downside is that gamers, who often demand a high refresh rate for smooth gameplay, need to look at top-tier options to snag all the features they desire. The LG 38GL950G-B delivers.
This 38-inch monitor has 3840 x 1600 resolution, an overclocked refresh rate of up to 160Hz, and support for variable refresh rate standards including AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync. The specifications say it all. This monitor is massive, sharp, and smooth.
As LG’s flagship gaming ultrawide, the 38GL950G-B has the company’s Nano IPS technology. This is LG’s spin on Quantum Dots. It translates to an even wider color gamut than typical top-tier monitors, and out-of-box color accuracy is a highlight. While this is a gaming display first, it’s also a good pick for creative professionals. This monitor is VESA DisplayHDR 600 certified to handle HDR signals.
Unlike entry-level gaming displays, which usually skimp on build quality, the 38GL950G-B is attractive and feels solid. It has a good stand with height and tilt adjustments, though it can’t pivot. The monitor has two USB 3.0 Type-A ports for connecting a wired keyboard, mouse, or anything else you need near your monitor. However, it doesn’t have USB-C ports and lacks speakers.
The bad news? The monitor’s price is extremely high. Despite that, gamers quickly buy it whenever available, which can make it hard to find. This is also true of LG’s similar Ultragear 38GN950G-B. While the LG 38GN950-B has better HDR support, the LG 38GL950G-B is also worth buying if you can only find that model in stock.
The best ultrawide monitor under $300
The Viotek GNV34CB is a 34-inch monitor with acceptable image quality at $299.99.
Pros: Excellent value at $300, solid contrast ratio, immersive 1500R curve
Cons: Low pixel count, limited features, poor out-of-box calibration
Ultrawide monitors can be extremely expensive, but several budget brands have started to challenge that assumption with extreme pricing. The Viotek GNV34CB is an obvious example, delivering a 34-inch 2,560 x 1,080 screen for one penny less than $300.
You might expect awful image quality given the price, but think again. The Viotek GNV34CB has a great contrast ratio and a respectable color gamut covering 92% of the sRGB spectrum. It also has a 100Hz refresh rate for an improved gaming experience over standard 60Hz monitors. It’s AMD FreeSync and G-Sync compatible, though G-Sync must be manually enabled.
Viotek makes three sacrifices to keep the price down. First, the resolution of 2560 x 1080 is not as sharp as the 3440 x 1440 found on more expensive 34-inch monitors. This monitor also skimps on features. It doesn’t have speakers or USB ports for connecting additional devices. And, while the monitor can achieve reasonable color accuracy, you’ll likely have to tweak it manually for best results.
It’s not perfect, but don’t forget the headline feature. This is a 34-inch ultrawide for $300, which makes it price-competitive with many 27-inch monitors. The Viotek’s sheer size is (literally) a big advantage.
The best ultrawide monitor for video editing
The LG 34BK95U-W combines an unusually high resolution with excellent color accuracy, making it perfect for editing photos and videos.
Pros: Extremely high 5120 x 2160 resolution, excellent color gamut and accuracy, hiigh brightness, with DisplayHDR 600 certification, USB-C with power delivery up to 85 watts
Cons: Expensive for its size
All ultrawide monitors are great for video editing. Their width lets you view more of the editing timeline and offers more space to preview an edit and manage files. However, the LG 34BK95U-W stands out from the pack.
This ultrawide has a 5120 x 2160 panel, while most 34-inch ultrawide monitors are 3440 x 1440. The difference in sharpness is noticeable, providing a level of detail that you won’t see on competitors. A higher resolution also means a larger virtual desktop. You can simply fit more stuff on this monitor, which is important when juggling a variety of views in your favorite video-editing software. Finally, unlike its competition, this display lets you view the results of your edits at full 4K resolution.
Aside from resolution, this monitor also scores high marks in brightness and color gamut, quoting up to 98% coverage of DCI-P3. It has solid out-of-box color accuracy, which can border on perfection after calibration. Other features include a 75Hz maximum refresh rate, Nano IPS technology, DisplayHDR 600 certification, and built-in speakers. Unlike many competitors, this display is not curved.
Because it’s targeted at professionals, this monitor includes Thunderbolt 3 with up to 85 watts of power delivery, enabling one-cable connections with most laptops. The display also has two USB 3.0 ports and DisplayPort 1.4. It technically has two HDMI inputs, but those max out at 4K resolution, so they’re not ideal.
There’s only two downsides to this display. First, it’s not great for gaming because it has a relatively low refresh rate for the price, so look elsewhere if that’s even a secondary concern. Second, it’s expensive, with most retailers asking at least $1,439 for it. That’s pricey for a 34-inch ultrawide monitor. Most video editors could manage with our top pick, the Dell Ultrasharp 34, which is more affordable, but the LG 34BK95U-W is the king.
The best 49-inch super-ultrawide monitor
Samsung’s beastly Odyssey G9 is massively immersive and packs all the latest gaming tech.
Pros: Wonderfully absurd size, class-leading image quality, extremely high 240Hz refresh rate
Cons: Demands a cutting-edge video card, too large for many desks
If an ultrawide monitor is better, why not go even wider? That’s the theory behind super-ultrawide monitors like Samsung’s Odyssey G9. These 49-inch behemoths embrace a 32:9 aspect ratio that’s equivalent to two 27-inch monitors side by side.
While sheer size is the Odyssey G9’s headline feature, Samsung throws everything in this display. It has a 5120 x 1440 resolution, Quantum Dots, AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync support, a 240Hz refresh rate, DisplayHDR 1000 certification, and a more extreme curvature than most ultrawides, no matter their size. All these features will set you back $1,479.99.
Samsung’s Odyssey G9 delivers class-leading image quality. It has a solid contrast ratio, good color accuracy, a high maximum brightness, and is better than most monitors at displaying HDR content (though it still falls short of a decent HDTV). It’s also extremely smooth, thanks to its high refresh rate and great motion clarity.
The only problem? This monitor is so forward-looking that you need a beastly rig to power it. No video card available today can play the most demanding games at this monitor’s full resolution and refresh rate. Also, you need a video card with Digital Stream Compression to drive this display at native resolution and full 240Hz. That means an Nvidia RTX 2000 series or newer, or an AMD Radeon RX 5000 series or newer.
It’s also massive, in both width and depth. Most desks are 30 to 36 inches deep. That’s not enough room to place this monitor at an ideal viewing distance. Buying a monitor this extreme could mean upgrading not just your PC, but your entire gaming den.
If you have the space for it, however, the Samsung Odyssey G9 is truly without peer. Several companies now offer competing monitors of similar size, and some are more affordable, but Samsung’s feature set can’t be beat.
What else we considered
BenQ EX3501R ($649.99): This 35-inch ultrawide is a popular pick, but its panel is somewhat outdated for the price, despite its major discount over the original price.
Alienware AW3420DW ($929.98): Although not a bad pick for gamers, this monitor’s 120Hz refresh rate feels outdated next to newer 144Hz options.
Sceptre C355W ($379.99): Sceptre’s budget 35-incher could be worth a look if you can’t spend more than $400.
LG 34WN80C-B ($549.99): An affordable workhorse, the LG 34WN80C-B’s might make sense for professionals with a slim budget.
HP 34f ($499.99): As with the LG, this HP is a perfectly reasonable pick, but its overall feature set is not on par with many newer monitors. It needs a higher refresh rate or USB-C support, to stand out.
AOC CU34G2X ($529.99): This monitor could be our pick for a mid-range gaming ultrawide, but AOC has struggled to keep up with demand. It’s almost never in stock, and when it is, it’s often sold above its suggested price, which makes it a poor choice.
Dell Ultrasharp 38 ($1,089.99): Dell’s 38-inch ultrawide has many of the benefits of the 34-inch model, but its lack of an improved refresh rate is more difficult to excuse at this monitor’s higher price.
Our testing methodology
Our methodology can be broken up into two categories. Image quality, and everything else.
Image quality is impacted by color gamut, color accuracy, resolution, contrast ratio, refresh rate, and brightness.
We place the highest emphasis on color gamut and color accuracy, because these have the broadest impact across the viewing experience. Displays that do better in these areas look their best across all forms of content.
Resolution is a key specification for computer monitors. Monitors are often closer to a user than a television, which makes a difference in resolution easier to see. A higher resolution also translates to more potentially usable display space, which is never a factor for a TV. And best of all, this specification is easy to understand. More is always better.
Contrast ratio is also important, because it determines the sense of depth a monitor can provide, and correlates to better black levels: a particularly important specification when watching movies. However, monitors often are used for tasks where contrast ratio is not that important, such as editing a document. As a result, contrast ratio is less important for a monitor than for a television.
Next up is refresh rate. A 60Hz refresh rate is fine for most tasks, but we prefer to see a higher refresh rate when possibly. This is key for gamers, who crave a high refresh rate for a smooth game experience. If you only use a monitor for work, though, it’s unimportant.
While higher brightness is technically superior, most users don’t need a maximum brightness much beyond 200 nits, which nearly all monitors can provide. As you may notice in your own use, an overly bright monitor can cause eye strain. That’s why brightness contributes the least to our opinion of image quality.
Which brings us to “everything else.” This includes the many extra features that are part of a monitor: connectivity, VESA mount support, build quality, and the warranty, among other things. While no individual feature is more important than image quality, a combination of many additional features can sway us. We’re particularly fond of USB-C connectivity and a longer-than-average warranty.
What we look forward to testing
Dell Ultrasharp 34 U3431WE ($1,199): Dell has announced the Ultrasharp 34 USB-C Hub Monitor U3431WE, a replacement to the U3419W that is currently our top pick. We expect it to perform extremely well, but it will be more expensive, retailing at $1,199. Editor note: No product link currently available
Alienware 38 AW3821DW ($1,899): Alienware has a new curved ultrawide, the Alienware 38 AW3821DW. It has a 3840 x 1600 resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, and DisplayHDR 600 support. It also earns the rare Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate certification for butter-smooth gameplay.
Acer Predator X34GS ($1,099): Acer has announced a new ultrawide gaming monitor, the Acer Predator X34 GS. It will have a 180Hz refresh rate and wide color gamut support at an MSRP for $1,099. Acer’s past Predator ultrawide monitors were excellent, and Acer hopes to repeat the trick here. Editor note: No product link currently available
Check out our other guides for the best monitors available right now
The best computer monitor
Still not sure what type of monitor you should buy? Our best computer monitors guide will set you on the right track. It pulls in selections from every monitor category on the market today.
The best 4K computer monitor
A 4K monitor is the obvious alternative if you’re not sold on the benefits of an ultrawide display. These retain the more common widescreen aspect ratio but up the pixel count. In most cases, a 4K monitor will look sharper than an ultrawide.
The best gaming monitor
Ultrawide displays are great gaming monitors because they deliver an awesome, immersive experience. However, you can often find a higher refresh rate at a lower price if you buy a traditional widescreen. Ultrawide support is also limited in certain games, so make sure to check the hardware compatibility of your favorite title before buying.
The best FreeSync monitors
AMD’s FreeSync is a popular standard for variable refresh rate displays because it’s easy to implement. In most cases, G-Sync will also work with a FreeSync display, though it might require some tinkering. Competitive gamers looking for a tear-free, lag-free experience should check out the best FreeSync monitors.
The best computer monitors under $500
Price is an obstacle between many shoppers and ultrawide bliss. Even the budget model is $300, and you’ll need to drop at least $500 for a mid-range display. Our best ultrawide monitors guide has a range of widescreen alternatives, ranging from budget general use monitors to budget gaming displays.
The best portable monitors
Portable monitors connect to a laptop or desktop through USB and don’t require an additional, external power source. They’re not meant to be used as a primary display, but they’re the perfect way to add a second screen to a laptop.
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