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I've fallen in love with ultrawide monitors, and I'm not going back

Ultrawide monitor
Ultrawide monitor (Image credit: Adobe Stock)

Ever since they first appeared on the market, I thought that ultrawide monitors were a bit gimmicky. Sure, the idea of having more screen space and a wider field of view (FOV) in games is cool, but is it worth the higher price and lower refresh rate compared to what traditional 16:9 monitors have? And is there really any true benefit to the format?

Up until now, I didn't think so, and I wasn't interested in buying an ultrawide display to give it a shot as a result. Recently, though, I was given a 34-inch Westinghouse UWQHD gaming monitor with a 100Hz refresh rate as a gift. And after trying it out for a few weeks, my opinion on ultrawide has changed completely. Here's why.

Ultrawide provides a tangible advantage in games

Above all else, I've noticed that thanks to the wider FOV that ultrawide provides, I've been a lot more situationally aware in the games that I play. In the Destiny 2 Vault of Glass raid clip above, for example, I'm able to keep an eye on the area around my team and figure out where enemies are shooting us from because of the extended viewing angle. I used this information to safely jump to the right when the boss' DPS phase ends. If I hadn't known where the enemies were, I might have jumped to the left instead, which could have resulted in my death. The wider FOV is also incredibly helpful in PvP games, too — I've been able to spot enemy players before they see me in Halo and see incoming attacks from the left and right better in For Honor thanks to ultrawide.

Admittedly, situations like these where ultrawide has helped me significantly in-game are rare. That being said, they still happen, and when you're taking on difficult PvE content like Destiny raids or playing competitive multiplayer games, it helps to have every advantage you can get. An ultrawide monitor won't instantly make you a better player, but it will help you make better in-game decisions by giving you more information to work with.

Ultrawide draws me into game worlds

Source: Windows Central Modded Skyrim with ultrawide is an absolute treat. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Another thing I love about my new ultrawide monitor is that the wider view helps draw me into the worldspaces of my games. I hate to describe the experience as "immersive" since it's the most overused term in gaming and has become a buzzword, but that's honestly the best way I can put it into words. Being able to see more of the world I'm playing in at once helps me connect with it and appreciate its intricate details. Sometimes these details are just aesthetically pleasing, but they can also often contribute to worldbuilding, too.

I think of it this way: Video games are works of art, and my monitor is the lens that I view that art through. A wider display means that I'm able to appreciate more of that art at once and observe how each individual part of the game's world fits into its environments.

Ultrawide helps me stay productive

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Finally, I love how productive I've been since I got my ultrawide display. Back when I had a 16:9 monitor, I didn't like to use split tabs while working since my screen space usually ended up feeling cramped. Fullscreen was more comfortable, but it also limited how much I could get done and keep track of at once since I had to constantly click between several different tabs all the time. Ultrawide solved this problem by giving me a few extra inches of space on either side of my screen, which in turn made using split tabs much smoother. Now I can write on one half of my display and view analytics or look up information on the other without the experience being uncomfortable and awkward.

It's true that this can also be achieved with dual monitor setups, but not everybody has the space for that (I definitely don't at the moment), and dual monitors can often be even pricier than an ultrawide solution. I'm planning to stick with ultrawide indefinitely because of these factors, and overall, I believe that ultrawide is the best option for people looking to maximize their productivity without compromising too much of their space or budget.

Final thoughts

While I used to feel dismissive towards ultrawide monitors because of their higher average cost and lower refresh rates, I've completely fallen in love with the form factor after going hands-on — and I won't be going back to 16:9. What do you think of ultrawide? Let me know in the comments.

The monitor I got as a gift is the Westinghouse WC34DX9019, which you can get right now for $343. If its not right for you, don't miss our roundups of the best ultrawide monitors, best PC gaming monitors, and best computer monitors for more awesome options.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

16 Comments
  • I definitely agree the format is great for games, but I also think two separate monitors work better for productivity.
  • You can run most of these ultra wides in split setup where your OS treats it like multiple monitors. On my DELL I can set up multiple zones to snap apps too so productivity is way up there. I love them too... on my second curved display... hopefully no shelf falls on this one :D
  • Disagree here... I switched 2 24" screens for a 34" curved 4k AOC screen. Using powertoys for improved zones it's a boost for my activities as a web dev. Can only agree with the article. Don't use it for gaming but productivity ftw here!
  • I agree with the responses which is what I used to replace dual monitor set-up. Power toys to customise your snaps on screen and virtual desktops to toggle between multiple desktops makes up for not being a dual monitor set-up.
  • It's hard to justify ultra-wide when you can get a 16:9 monitor of the same width (and horizontal resolution) but much taller, giving much more screen real estate, for less.
  • Wow, I always thought that ultrawide just displayed the same image stretched out to fit the screen. I didn't realize that support meant the game pushed the image past the normal view for other gamers with standard monitors.
  • At the end of the day it's just like widescreen vs non-widescreen, but taken to the extreme.
  • It depends on the game. Many of them do just stretch the edges. Though many do now have actual support for that wide of screen. Competitive multiplayer games may disable it to limit advantages.
    I have a "super ultrawide" and very few games actually support that. Almost all stretch out the edges (or just screw up the entire image by stretching it).
  • I too went for an ultrawide for my nice new alienware desktop and for gaming its ace. For productivity though i found I still needed a second 16:9 screen attached even with powertoys in use. This is primarily due to microsoft teams and the need to share my desktop which causes the screen to be far too small to view for everyone else with lower res displays or laptops.
  • I've had one for about three years. I don't game, just use it for work and it really is amazing. Would never go back given the choice.
  • 3440 X 1440 (21 x 9) split into 2 is 1720 X 1440, or 21 x 18. That's an odd aspect ratio that some graphics cards can't do properly. I only want an ultrawide if it supports a split screen from 2 separate inputs (2 different computers). Not all of them do.
  • 21:9 splits almost perfectly into 5:4 x 2. A really common ratio for a super long time. Your better off not using dual inputs to simulate dual screen on ultrawides though and using MS: PowerToys for it's "Fancy Zones" feature. Basically an enhanced Aero Snap.
  • If you liked two monitors, a super ultrawide is even better as it directly replaces to 16x9 monitors.
    Not as good as two monitors for things like running full screen video (youtube is a pain - I use "Youtube windowed fullscreen" extention in chrome to minimize this issue) in one and something else in the other but other tasks can be made usable with powertoys.
    Gaming is not the best though as most games do not support anything that wide, they just stretch the edges. And those with HUD's that can't be adjusted become unusable as you have to change your focus and look to the side.
  • Depends on your genre's. Most FPS games(old n' new) are golden with a few notable exceptions(Valorant and Overwatch), most racing games are golden, most flight/space stuff also golden. Just need to check your Wiki's for fixes if a game doesn't work outta the box. If I hadn't already experienced this when the switch from 4:3/5:4 to 16:9/16:10 happened, I could see being annoyed though
  • Just wait till you go 32:9 :D
  • I ran a 34in, then a 38in. I finally upgraded to a Dell 49" (U4919DW) Using the Dell Display Manager software, you can split the screen into as many zones as you want and snap your windows into those zones. I have 2 saved configurations 1) for coding 2) for non-coding work. I'm never going back.