The best ultrawide monitor in 2018


Traditionally, if you needed extra screen real estate – whether for work or play – you’d have to research the best monitors and buy an extra display or two. These days, ultrawide monitors are increasingly commonplace. And while the move to bigger screens has been partly driven by gamers, creative pros have much to benefit from the wealth of tech these huge screens offer. 

So what’s the best ultrawide monitor, and how do you pick the right one? Well, size is a consideration, of course – most of the ultrawide monitors in this roundup are 34 inches. Make sure you have enough desk space before investing in your chosen model.

You also need to think about connectivity (most of these screens feature both HDMI and DisplayPort) and what PC or Mac you’ll be using to drive the display. You’ll want either dedicated Nvidia or AMD graphics, or you’ll need to have Intel-based graphics from the last few years – we’d suggest HD Graphics 3000 or later, or Intel Iris Pro. And you’ll need to make sure you have the latest drivers installed.

In terms of resolution, look for WQHD (Wide Quad High Definition) – which gives you a pixel count of 2,560 x 1,440 – and a wide aspect ratio of 21:9. Meanwhile, another handy feature to check for is whether the display can also do picture in-picture or side-by-side, so you can connect up a couple of sources (like two computers, or a computer and tablet) to the same display. 

Finally, flat or curved? We believe a flat screen is still better for design work, but increasingly the market for large widescreen monitors has moved towards curved displays. Certainly on a flat 34-inch display the sides can feel a little distant. A curved screen will also slightly reduce the amount of side-to-side movement you have to do with your head. If you opt for one, remember to ensure you set up the monitor at an appropriate distance and height from your sitting position. 

They’re the main considerations you’ll need to make. Now read on for our pick of the best ultrawide monitors you can buy right now.

The best ultrawide monitors in 2018

01. Dell Ultrasharp U3415W

Hands-down the best ultrawide monitor for professionals

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Response time: 4ms | Who’s it for: Video editors, designers, creative professionals

Competitive price

Reliable brand

Plenty of connectivity options

No USB-C

Our top choice for the best ultrawide monitor overall, the Dell Ultrasharp U3415W monitor has wide appeal. It delivers impressive image quality with rich, near-perfect colours, high contrast, WQHD resolution (3,440 x 1,440) and a cinematic aspect ratio of 21:9. Dell’s design ethos has changed dramatically over the years, and the world’s third-largest PC manufacture now makes some pretty desirable gear. Alongside its excellent XPS devices, the firm has carved a great reputation for its displays, thanks to their winning combination of excellent panels and competitive pricing – and for us, the U3415W takes the crown. Sure, this isn’t the best-looking widescreen monitor you’ll find on the market, but it’s still elegant, and makes for a fantastic display for the money. There’s picture-in-picture and dual input support, while USB upstream 3.0 ports in the display mean you can use a keyboard and mouse or other peripherals with more than one computer or other device. Throw in its premium build quality and fantastic out-of-box accuracy, and the Dell Ultrasharp U3415W is easily out top choice for best ultra-wide monitor for creative pros. 

02. LG 34UC79G

The most affordable ultrawide monitor – great for gamers

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,080 | Who’s it for: Gamers and those dipping a toe into ultrawide

Well-priced 

AMD FreeSync compatible

Curved design won’t appeal to all

Resolution lower than many others

Designed for gaming, the LG 34UC79G is a well-priced ultrawide monitor with DisplayPort plus dual HDMI. There is a potential downside: at 2560×1080, it doesn’t have as high a resolution as more expensive options – LG instead opted for native 144Hz performance. However, we’d choose colour accuracy, contrast and motion blur reduction over a high pixel count – and in most of those areas the LG 34UC79G delivers. It has a great contrast ratio and black levels, alongside vibrant colours, but it does require some calibration for maximum accuracy. The monitor also features a couple of technologies designed to improve gaming performance, including AMD FreeSync (50-144Hz range) to reduce stuttering and motion blur. There’s a fast 1ms response time, too. A cheaper 29-inch version is also available. 

03. Samsung CF791

Still the best curved ultrawide monitor you can get.

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Response time: 4ms | Who’s it for: Designers and video editors who want a curved screen

Quantum Dot screen tech

High contrast ratio

Fast 100Hz response time

Response time could be quicker

Curved screens aren’t for everybody, but the Samsung CF791 ultrawide monitor has a sleek design with minimal bezels on three sides and the curve isn’t so exaggerated that you’ll feel cocooned. It will, however, mean a much more immersive experience and if that’s what you’re after for your design work, then look no further – this is also probably the best ultrawide monitor for video editing you can get too. Thanks to its Quantum Dot screen tech, after some calibration the Samsung CF791 delivers rich, sharp and very accurate colours, alongside a stellar contrast ratio. This screen also has some technologies – such as a fast refresh rate and AMD’s FreeSync – that will appeal to gamers. It doesn’t, however, have a response time that’s as good as the LG above (4ms instead of 1ms). Picture-in-picture is supported, or you can view two inputs side-by-side.

04. Dell Ultrasharp U3818DW

Go (even) larger with the biggest ultrawide monitor in this list

Screen size: 37.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 1,600 | Response time: 5ms | Who’s it for: Designers who want to go even bigger



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