Do you want a huge amount of usable display space, but also want to stick with a single monitor? If so, an ultrawide monitor is the ticket. These monitors have a wider display panel that’s far more impressive, and immersive, than your average widescreen. I’ve tested a bunch of ultrawide monitors in order to name the best picks in various categories. You can learn more about our evaluation process and what to look for in an ultrawide monitor below our recommendations.
You can find even more monitor recommendations in our roundup of the best monitors.
Updated 09/14/2023: We’ve added the Monoprice 35-inch Zero-G Ultrawide as our choice for best budget ultrawide monitor. Read our summary below for more info on this affordable new pick.
Alienware AW3423DWF – Best ultrawide monitor
Excellent contrast ratio
Top-notch color gamut and accuracy
Great motion clarity
Respectable HDR performance
Extremely competitive price
Stand is a bit too large
Maximum HDR brightness is lackluster
Price When Reviewed:
The Alienware AW3423DWF is a legendary monitor. It packs the incredible contrast and realism of OLED in a 34-inch widescreen panel, yet it’s priced at just $1,099. That’s not inexpensive, but it’s better value than other OLED monitors available right now.
Image quality is where it stands out. It delivers a vivid, immersive, rich experience with deep black levels and bright highlights, which are enhanced by the display’s glossy finish. Movies and games seem nearly three-dimensional—as if you’re looking through a window, not staring at a monitor.
What’s the catch? The monitor is not bright, especially in SDR, so it’s a bad choice for a brightly lit room. We also noticed the OLED panel has trouble rendering small fonts smoothly. These are minor issues, though, and shouldn’t trouble most owners.
This monitor targets gamers, so it offers an enhanced refresh rate of up to 165Hz and supports AMD FreeSync Premium Pro for smooth frame pacing in games. However, its excellent image quality will be impressive in everyday use, as well.
It has good connectivity, with two DisplayPort inputs and one HDMI, as well as a USB-A hub with four ports. There’s even a healthy range of calibration options that help demanding owners dial in the image to their personal specifications.
Read our full
Alienware AW3423DWF review
Monoprice 35-inch Zero-G Ultrawide – Best budget ultrawide
Strong contrast ratio
Excellent color performance
Sturdy design and stand
Plenty of video input
Setup requires a screwdriver
Stand lacks ergonomic adjustment
Motion clarity could be better
The Monoprice 35-inch Zero-G curved ultrawide monitor (model #38035) is a versatile monitor well-suited to a huge range of tasks. Though marketed for gaming, it’s also a great display for beginning content creators and home office warriors who want more display real estate.
This monitor has a VA panel with an excellent contrast ratio of 3650:1. The strong contrast ratio helps the monitor achieve a rich, immersive image. It’s helped by a color gamut that spans 93 percent of DCI-P3, good color accuracy, and impressive sharpness. These traits are key to the monitor’s versatility. It’s great for games, office productivity, amateur photography, and entry-level video editing.
Gamers will enjoy the monitor’s 120Hz refresh rate and support for AMD FreeSync. The monitor provides a responsive, smooth image with decent detail in most titles. It can suffer meager response times in some situations, which leads to blur in darker games, but remains an upgrade over a typical 60Hz monitor.
The monitor’s build quality and design are solid for the price, with one notable exception: the stand. It looks and feels nice but only adjusts for tilt, which is a problem if your stand is too low or high on your desk. Third-party monitor arms are an option, but that cuts against the monitor’s budget price.
And it’s a budget price. The monitor retails at an MSRP of $399.99 but can go on sale for as list as $269.99. It’s great value at MSRP, and an absolute steal when it’s on sale.
Read our full
Monoprice 35in Zero-G Curved Ultrawide Gaming Monitor V2 review
LG Ultragear 34GN850 – Best midrange ultrawide for gamers
21:9 panel with a 34-inch screen
Impressive gaming performance
Ergonomic adjustment options
Only average power consumption
Price When Reviewed:
The LG Ultragear 34GN850-B, released in 2020, was once the king of ultrawide gaming. It was dethroned by Alienware’s AW3423DWF—and as a result LG has slashed the price. Originally $999.99, this monitor is now available for $699.99 (and sometimes less).
That’s great news. Although surpassed by the Alienware, LG’s Ultragear 34GN850-B is an attractive monitor with excellent color performance, good image clarity, and a bright, vivid picture. It has an enhanced refresh rate of up to 144Hz (with a 160Hz overclocked mode) and supports both AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync for smooth gameplay.
Its weakness? Contrast. The IPS panel scores lower in contrast than other monitors on this list, including the Asus ProArt PA348CV, which also has an IPS panel. The image can look hazy in darker scenes.
Connectivity is respectable with two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, and two-port USB-A hub for connecting wired peripherals. The monitor also retains many of the features that would be expected of a high-end monitor including a sturdy ergonomic stand and attractive design.
Read our full
LG Ultragear 34GN850 review
Asus ProArt PA348CGV – Best ultrawide monitor for professionals
Excellent SDR image quality
Sturdy, hefty design
Wide range of customization
120Hz refresh rate
USB-C hub lacks video-out or ethernet
HDR is merely passable
Price When Reviewed:
The Asus ProArt PA348CV surpassed our expectations. Priced at just $729.99, it’s towards the low end of pricing for a professional ultrawide display—yet its performance is near the top of the pack.
This monitor has a wide color gamut, excellent color accuracy, and a virtual buffet of image-quality calibration features that let users precisely tune the image. It’s also a bright and vivid monitor, making it easy to use in nearly any office. Admittedly, it doesn’t set any records in image quality tests—but it ties or comes close to alternatives that are hundreds of dollars more expensive.
Asus throws in a useful USB-C port that supports DisplayPort Alternate Mode and delivers 90 watts of USB Power Delivery. It also drives a USB-A hub with four downstream ports. Additional video connectivity includes two HDMI and one DisplayPort for a total of four input options.
Surprisingly, Asus throws in an enhanced refresh rate up to 120Hz. It’s not sold as a gaming monitor, but it can handle gaming well enough. That’s good news if you need one home office monitor for both work and play.
Read our full
Asus ProArt PA348CGV review
What to look for in an ultrawide monitor
Ultrawide monitors are a favorite of PC enthusiasts, but remain a niche within the larger monitor market. This leaves shoppers with fewer options. Most ultrawide monitors have a 34-inch panel with a resolution of 3440×1440, and similar connectivity.
Still, these monitors can differ in several key areas. Here’s what to look for.
Panel type is a big deal
Ultrawide monitors offer less choice in some regards but that script is flipped when it comes to panel type. Ultrawide monitors come in a variety of panel types: IPS, VA, and OLED.
IPS panels are common in mid-range and premium ultrawide monitors. This panel type delivers great color performance, high maximum brightness, superb sharpness, and good motion performance. It’s weak in contrast, however, which can disappoint when viewing TV shows or movies.
VA panels are typically a budget option, though some are found in premium ultrawide monitors. They have better contrast than IPS panels and deliver similar color performance and brightness—however, budget VA panels tend to be merely okay in these areas. Most VA panels fall short in motion performance and may look blurry when playing fast-paced games.
OLED is king of the hill. It leads in color, contrast, and motion performance. Sharpness is often slightly reduced compared to IPS and VA, but most people will find it a minor downgrade. OLED also is the best choice for HDR.
In general, OLED is better than IPS, and IPS is better than VA. However, some people might prefer VA over IPS because it has a better contrast ratio and looks darker in dark content.
A height-adjustable stand is a must-have
All the monitors on this list provide an ergonomic stand that adjusts for height, tilt, and swivel. This is a must-have feature, but one that isn’t found on the least expensive ultrawide monitors.
As tempting as it may be to save money on a budget model without a height-adjustable stand, you would regret it.
Ultrawide monitors are bulky and tend to require a larger, heavier stand, which in turn makes them more difficult to place on an elevated platform. The old college trick of sticking a monitor on a shoe box won’t work.
Look for USB-C, but don’t expect it
USB-C compatibility is an excellent feature, and USB-C hub monitors can clear away tons of clutter on your desk. Unfortunately, many ultrawide monitors don’t support USB-C yet, or have limitations that detract from the USB-C port’s usefulness.
Asus’s ProArt PA348CV, our favorite ultrawide for professionals, is one exception. It has a USB-C port with up to 90 watts of Power Delivery, and the port drives a USB-A hub with four downstream ports.
Dell, HP, and BenQ also offer ultrawide monitors with USB-C. Most of these lack an enhanced refresh rate, however, and they’re typically more expensive than the Asus.
Pricing is important—and can swing wildly
Monitor pricing is always important, but it’s key for ultrawide monitors. Although very expensive at MSRP, ultrawide monitors routinely see huge price cuts during seasonal sales. They also receive major semi-permanent price cuts later in their life.
The LG Ultragear 34GN850-B is an example of this. Originally sold for $999.99, it’s now routinely available for $699.99, and went as low as $599.99 during Amazon’s Black Friday sale. That’s a 40 percent reduction in price! Waiting for a deal can save you hundreds.
Don’t buy an ultrawide for console gaming
A quick word of warning: You should not buy an ultrawide monitor if you plan to connect a game console frequently.
Game consoles don’t support ultrawide aspect ratios, so you’ll see black bars on either side of the image. That’s unattractive and wastes the monitor’s potential. It’s best to stick with a widescreen monitor if console gaming is a priority.
How we test monitors
PC World’s team of staff and freelance reviewers conduct in-depth testing to compare monitors across a wide range of categories and price points. We test dozens of monitors each year to find the best pick for every category and price point.
Our testing uses a SpyderXElite color calibration tool. It delivers objective, unbiased measurements for a wide range of metrics including brightness, contrast, color gamut, color accuracy, color temperature, and gamma. Results are recorded and logged for future comparison. This allows our experts to easily compare many monitors at once and eliminates subjective bias from the results.
What size of ultrawide gaming monitor is best?
Most ultrawide monitors have a 34-inch panel with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is the best option for most gamers.
Some ultrawide monitors are available in larger sizes, but these typically aren’t the best choice for gamers. Many do not support high refresh rates. Those that do are expensive and often use the same 3440×1440 resolution found on smaller ultrawide monitors, which means they appear less sharp than a 34-inch display.
What is the best resolution for an ultrawide monitor?
Nearly all 34-inch ultrawide monitors have a display resolution of 3440×1440. This is an excellent choice for gamers.
It’s sharp enough to look impressive in modern games. However, this resolution remains significantly lower in total pixel count than 4K, which makes it less demanding on graphics hardware. That’s good news if you have a mid-range graphics card like an Nvidia RTX 3060 or AMD Radeon RX 6650XT.
Larger 38-inch models have a higher resolution of 3840×1660—however, nearly all these monitors lack support for high refresh rates, making them a bad choice for gamers. LG offers a line of 34-inch 5K2K ultrawide monitors with 5120×2160 resolution, but this line also lacks support for enhanced refresh rates.
A few new 45-inch ultrawide monitors are available with 3440×1440 resolution. This can be a problem, because stretching the same resolution across a much larger display reduces sharpness. We recommend 3440×1440 only for 34-inch ultrawide monitors.
What’s the best refresh rate for an ultrawide gaming monitor?
A refresh rate of 144Hz to 165Hz is ideal for most ultrawide gaming monitors.
Very few ultrawide monitors exceed this refresh rate, and those that do are too expensive to make it a good value.
Also, gamers shopping for an ultrawide gaming monitor are likely to prefer immersive and graphically demanding games that make it difficult to see the full benefit of a refresh rate above 144Hz. You’ll need a high-end video card, like an RTX 3080 or AMD Radeon 6800, to drive most ultrawide gaming monitors at frame rates above 144 frames per second.
Does an ultrawide gaming monitor need HDR?
HDR isn’t a must-have for an ultrawide gaming monitor, but it’s a nice addition.
Gaming is a great use case for HDR—arguably the best, in fact—and it can deliver improved image quality. We recommend buying an ultrawide gaming monitor with HDR support if your budget is $500 or more.