Guide to Ultrawide Monitors, Display Market’s Latest Trend, Part 1
You have probably noticed in your favorite computer store, on your co-worker’s desk, or see some images of ultrawide monitors online and offline and wondered, ‘are they really worth the hefty price tag’? Manufacturers started releasing “ultrawide” monitors, which shuns the traditional 16:9 Aspect Ratio for a wider 21:9. Any owner of ultrawide screens can tell you the difference on how they get better productivity at work during the day, and watch movies and play better games by night. But is the hype really true? Is it a good investment for your setup? In this entry, Dual Monitors Guide will breakdown the things you need to know about the market’s latest trend, and help you understand ultrawide monitor better.
Acer XR341CK (image from Amazon)
What Makes an Ultrawide Monitor?
Ultrawide monitor is a new class of screen that made a splash in the display market in the past couple of years, as it’s designed to give dual monitor and triple monitor users a single display alternative.
The obvious difference of ultrawide screen from standard screen is – you guessed it – the size, its width in particular. Traditionally, monitors in the market are designed with 16:9 Aspect Ratio or 1.77:1 (width to height measurement), the ultrawide offers a significant upgrade on horizontal aspect as it comes in 21:9 Aspect Ratio or 2.37:1.
From their name itself, they’re pretty wide.
This type of monitor runs at either WQHD (2560×1080 pixels), Ultra HD (3440×1440 pixels) or even 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels) , depending on the size of the screen and panel type. Higher pixel density means more room for apps, programs, games or videos at once in the same desktop, without having to constantly switch between them.
Ultrawide monitors promise increased desktop space for better multitasking, as users can work with more apps and windows, the same way as dual monitor or triple monitor setup, offer more immersive gaming experience with wider view and improved viewing experience through cinematic movie viewing, as it mimics what we see in the movie houses.
Things to Consider Before Buying
As nice as they may sound, this type of monitor also has its own set of pros and cons. Also, ultrawide screen monitors usually come with a premium price tag. So here are some things you need to consider before you make the jump.
What Are You Going to Use It For?
Multi-Task at Work for Productivity
Samsung S34E790C (image from Amazon)
If you’re one of the millions of people around the world who works at home, or planning to get a new monitor for your home office, then you should definitely consider ultrawide monitor. The additional screen real estate will definitely make a significant impact in your work, as you can open and see multiple of apps and windows on your screen, at once. You can open a chat window while working on a document or spreadsheet, while video chatting, etc.
Almost the same effect as dual monitor or triple monitor setup, but some still prefer the good-old multiple monitor setup for their built-in drivers between workspaces, which helps divide windows. However, ultrade wide monitors still can’t surpass the real estate of two or three monitors sitting side-by-side, as two standard monitors with 1080p can sum up to 3840×1080, whereas one ultrawide monitor will only have 1080p at 2560x1080p.
Wider Screen Real Estate for More Immersive Gaming Experience
Acer Predator Z35 (image from Amazon)
The wider screen obviously provides more beautiful field of view for gaming, which many consider better than dual monitor or triple monitor setup, as there are no bezels in between to cut the screen. Utrawide monitor is quite excellent for competitive gaming, particularly for MMORPG games like League of Legends or Rocket League, where there is more of the battle field being displayed on screen, giving players better peripheral vision to spot opponents coming from blind spots. Racing games and flight simulation games are also better in ultrawide screen, especially on curved screen monitors, as they try to mimic the windshield of the vehicle.
The benefit of ultrawide screen monitor however, is emphasized more in FPS (first-person shooter) games. It displays more of the map, provide better peripheral vision, provide better spots for the ammo count and radar, etc.
In theory, ultrawide monitors really offer great alternative for work, entertainment and gaming. However, not all titles can scale well in the 21:9 Aspect Ratio. Thus, when choosing games to play on your widescreen, it is important to make sure the gam supports 21:9 scaling. There are tools like Flawless Widescreen and online forums like this one from WSGF to help you.
Wider Screen for Better Cinematic Experience
Obviously, the ultrawide screen is even better for watching movies and TV series. Movies look incredible on 21:9 aspect ratio, especially if you’re tired of seeing those black bars on both top and bottom of the screen. Many movies these days are shot at anamorphic modern widescreen format, which is at 2.39:1. Ultrawide, which works at 2.37:1, will fill the screen (mostly) with every frame, giving you better full-screen viewing experience.