The 10 Best Ultrawide Monitors
10. LG UM68
9. BenQ EX3501R
8. Acer XR382CQK
7. Asus Designo
6. Samsung CF791
5. LG 34UM69
4. ROG XG35VQ
3. LG UC80
2. Samsung CHG90
1. Dell UltraSharp 38
The Benefits Of Using An Ultra-Wide Monitor
When I’m not writing or researching for these pages, I spend my days as a filmmaker. I spend a tremendous amount of that time sitting in front of a monitor, editing and affecting the frames I manage to capture. For the longest time, I did this work on a 15-inch laptop, and I can personally attest to both the slow and horrific workflow that such a small screen produced, and the resulting problems in color correction and shot matching that followed.
Then, in 2016, I directed a film with enough of a budget that I didn’t need to edit it myself. What was the first thing I noticed when I walked into that professional editor’s space and saw his setup? A large, ultrawide monitor — two of them, in fact. One contained his meticulously organized workflow spanning three different picture editing software (one for cutting, one for color, and one for special effects), and the other was dedicated to playback, so he could see his work full-screen at all times. Needless to say, I was jealous.
Film editing is, however, only a single example of the usefulness of these ultrawide monitors, though it speaks to something that most people who spend a lot of their day working on a computer can confirm: screen real estate is precious. The more windows you have to stack on top of one another for whatever workflow you’ve designed, the more you’ll have to clumsily switch from one to the next, having to hold important information in your head or on your clipboard as you go.
An ultrawide monitor allows you to lay out your entire workflow on a single screen, without any stacking. That means you’ll have access to all the information pertinent to your work at any time. You can keep your email open on one side, your word processor open on another, and your collection of cat videos open in the middle, where they belong. You’ll work more quickly, with fewer mistakes and more cats.
Ultrawide Monitors Can Be Fun, Too
When you’ve finished with all of this tedious work, you’ll want to relax, of course. While it might be a good idea to finally peel your eyeballs away from a screen for a while, there’s a good chance you aren’t going to do that. It’s more likely that you’re going to pop on your favorite TV show, watch a great movie, or fire up a good video game.
It’s probably a given that film and television will look great on many of these monitors. They tend to boast at least 1080p resolution, and have many of the same features you’d find on a good flat screen television. It’s in the gaming world that these babies really shine.
Coincidentally, the same features that make these ultrawide monitors ideal for work also make them great for playtime. Screen real estate is a factor here, for sure. Being able to see as much of the field as a game designer intended, while also keeping your HUD in full view on that very same screen can give you an enormous advantage over the competition.
Differences Between The Monitor And The Television
You may take a look at the ultrawide monitors on our list and rightfully ask yourself why you don’t just go out and get a cheap flat screen TV. It is true that the line between the two has blurred significantly in recent years. Since TV manufacturers are aware that many of their customers connect computers and similar devices to their sets, they often built compatibility across a wide range of potential resolutions into their products. That allows the majority of these televisions to double as computer monitors when necessary.
Of course, some televisions won’t accommodate your specific resolution options. In my personal experience, my laptop and television do not share a resolution option, so if I want to display something on my television, I either have to sacrifice the upper and lower portions of the screen or settle for a smaller look at whatever I want to see. Monitors tend to have a greater number of available resolution options, so the odds of one matching your computer’s output are far greater.
Televisions also tend to have more limited color customization options. If you’re planning to use your monitor for word processing, data entry, and internet research, that might not be the biggest downside. If you plan on editing photos or videos of any kind, however, it’s quite possibly the biggest reason not to use a television for your work.
Proper color calibration is so important for film and photo work that professionals often won’t simply rely on their eyeballs and whatever adjustment settings come on a given monitor. The best monitors can sync up with third-party color calibrators to achieve results that more closely resemble the colors of the original scene. This is especially important to fashion and product photographers whose clients demand that the images of their products match those products’ colors in the real world.
Available inputs are one last vital feature with which you can see a clear difference between TVs and monitors. Going back to my personal setup, my laptop’s only video output is a mini-display port. The MDP is small and convenient, and a male-to-male MDP cable can connect many computers to the vast majority of monitors on the market, most of which also have the port. To connect to my TV, however, I need an MDP-to-HDMI converter.
Consider what hardware you want to connect to your monitor, and investigate what its native outputs are. That way, you can select an ultrawide monitor to which you can connect without an adapter. There’s nothing inherently wrong with using an adapter for your connection, but it does create one more part in the chain that can fail. The simpler you can keep your setup, the more durable it will be and the easier time you’ll have diagnosing any problems that may arise.