If you’ve shopped for a computer monitor lately, you’ve probably seen retailers touting their ultrawide monitors. So is the immersive experience they offer worth the premium price, and can they boost your productivity? Let’s find out.
What Is an Ultrawide Monitor?
If you’ve never used an ultra-wide monitor before, you may be wondering what exactly constitutes one. Ultrawide monitors, as the name suggests, are a lot wider than your average monitor.
They start at 29 inches and have an aspect ratio of at least 21:9, but they can go all the way up to 32:9. The screen resolution starts at 2560 x 1080 pixels and can go as high as 5120 x 1440. For comparison, most contemporary monitors are between 22 and 27 inches with a 16:9 ratio and 1920 x 1080 resolution.
One thing to note is that ultrawide monitors are usually curved, and for good reason. For screens this wide, the curve allows you to take in more of the entire screen without having to turn your head or eyes far from the center. This will help reduce eye fatigue as well. Additionally, curved monitors provide a more immersive and realistic experience while gaming, watching movies, or working.
You can find ultrawide monitors as big as 49 inches. Before shopping for one, ensure you have enough desk space to fit it. Aside from being wide, though, they aren’t different from regular monitors. You can find ultrawide monitors with high refresh rates and resolution, low input lag, G-Sync and FreeSync support, and more. But as you’d expect, these monitors can be very expensive depending on the features.
SAMSUNG 49-Inch Curved Gaming Monitor
Sporting a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, this QLED monitor will completely immerse you in your favorite game or in your work.
Are They Worth It?
The easiest way to answer this question is by thinking about your current setup. For those who currently use a curved monitor, imagine what it would be like if it were much wider. You don’t have to imagine going from 27 inches to 49 inches because most people won’t need such an upgrade. Think about upgrading to a 32-34 inch monitor instead.
Keep in mind that monitors are measured diagonally from one corner to the opposite one rather than directly across the middle. Now, go through your daily activities and think about how an ultrawide monitor would improve them, if at all.
Do you spend a lot of time browsing the web or working on spreadsheets? An ultrawide monitor could give you more screen real estate to work with. Are you an avid gamer? An ultrawide monitor could give you a wider field of view, which could improve your gaming experience. Love watching movies or entertaining YouTube videos? An ultrawide monitor will give you an even more immersive experience than your regular curved monitor.
Also, you can always change the display resolution if the default one is too big. This isn’t recommended as it defeats the purpose of getting a wide monitor. However, gamers may want to change to a smaller resolution to zoom in on smaller targets. Some people also find using one wide monitor difficult to manage multiple applications.
An easy and practical solution is to divide your monitor into virtual windows so they act like separate monitors. DisplayFusion is software that lets you do this, and it’s free for personal use, though you can upgrade to access more features. You may find using software like DisplayFusion to be far more convenient and tidy compared to setting up multiple monitors, especially if they’re different.
Using multiple monitors of different sizes may not align well, and they’ll be inconsistent with each other. On one screen the picture might be brighter and more vibrant, whereas on another it’s darker. The image quality will always be the same if you use a single ultrawide monitor, and this may improve your overall experience.
What Are the Downsides?
Aside from the expensive price tag, one of the main downsides of ultrawide monitors is limited support from some applications and games. Some older games and apps may not work well or look right on the monitor. This isn’t a common issue, but it’s something to keep in mind before making the purchase.
Another downside is that you may have to rearrange your computer space to fit the monitor nicely. This could be an issue if your desk is small or if you keep a lot of objects on the same desk. Lastly, if you still want to use additional monitors, you’ll have to find a way to connect and use them all seamlessly.
We don’t suggest setting up multiple wide monitors as it can be challenging to manage. There might be too much screen space for you to use effectively. If you’re starting to turn your head to view things, you should probably reduce an ultrawide to a regular monitor. A tip to remember is to turn your chair rather than your neck for good posture.
Should You Get One?
You should only get an ultra-wide monitor if you’ll benefit from it–not everyone will. If you’re perfectly happy with your current setup, there’s no need to upgrade. But if you think more screen real estate can improve your productivity, gaming or movie experience, or general use, then go ahead and make the investment.
Just be prepared to spend a hefty price as these monitors don’t come cheap, especially if you’re getting one that’s designed for gaming. Overall, ultrawide monitors are incredibly versatile, so you can use and customize them in many ways. You can find plenty of ways to take advantage of the extra screen space on a single monitor.
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