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Best ultrawide monitor 2022 - go big and wide this year

(Image credit: Future/Jeremy Laird)

The best ultrawide monitors are no longer just accessible to those with incredibly deep wallets, and incredibly big setups. These screens are now more affordable than ever and have an increasingly appropriate use and deployment in home, work, and play (or all three) setups.

But how do you choose the best ultrawide monitor for you? Well, we're here to help you separate some wheat from some chaff, ranking all our favourite ultrawide panels right here - some are so good that you'll also find them in our best gaming monitor list such is their quality.

These days bigger doesn't mean better - there's an increasing number of 'smaller' ultrawide monitors inhabiting the 34- and 35-inch spaces which make for perfect entry points into the best ultrawide gaming monitor market. They also tend to demand lower price tags too. However, immersion does increase as you go upwards in sizes through the 38-inch panels and all the way to the monstrous 49-inch screens from the likes of Samsung.

Having recently switched from two screens to one ultrawide I can personally tell you that it is a journey worth taking. You still get plenty of screen real estate for productivity and multiple windows, while also welcoming that incredible resolution for gaming - all while tidying up the setup a bit, and removing cables from your desk. Along with our thorough testing and reviewing, we're putting all our experience on paper, to guide you on your way to your pick for the best ultrawide monitor whatever budget you're working with.

The best ultrawide monitor 2022

The best ultrawide monitor for gaming

Specifications

Screen size: 34”
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3440 x 1440 at 175Hz
Brightness: 1,000 nits peak HDR
Response time: 0.1ms
Viewing angle: 178° H&V
Contrast ratio: 1,000,000:1
Features: QD OLED panel, 99.3% DCI-P3, Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate, DisplayPort 1.4 x1, HDMI 2.0 x2, USB hub, AlienFX lighting

Reasons to buy

+
Fabulous OLED panel
+
Incredible pixel response
+
True HDR performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Less convincing as a desktop monitor
-
Not the lowest latency option
-
Not exactly cheap

The new Alienware 34 AW3423DW QD-OLED monitor has rocketed up the internet's gaming monitor guides and rightfully sits atop our best ultrawide monitor pile. The new QD-OLED technology has finally come to gaming screens, and it delivers absolutely.

This screen has better contrast and a faster response than any LCD panel we’ve ever seen. In our testing, everything just looked richer, more convincing, and more immersive - and faster, sharper, and even clearer.

Only a couple of things are present that really raise the eyebrow - and even then it's not by much. The supposedly brighter HDR 1000 mode actually results in a picture a little duller than the more usable HDR 400 setting. The slightly low pixel density also means this isn’t absolutely perfect as an all-purpose display, and, if we're nit-picking, which we are, higher refresh panels will offer better latency. 

But for most types of gaming and productivity, and all-around use, this monitor is an absolute revelation. Easily the best ultrawide monitor you can buy right now and one of only a few panels to receive a perfect score from us.

Read more: Alienware AW3423DW QD-OLED review

2. AOC CU34G2X

The best value ultrawide monitor

Specifications

Screen size: 34"
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3440x1440
Refresh rate: 144Hz
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Response time: 1ms
Viewing angle: 178°
Contrast ratio: 3000:1
Features: FreeSync, G-Sync, VA panel, 4x USB 3.0 ports

Reasons to buy

+
144Hz and 1ms are the best specs for gaming
+
In-game performance in shooters and racing games is sublime
+
Ridiculously good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Color isn't quite as vibrant as some other monitors

No one would blame you for thinking, at least initially, that the best ultrawide monitors will cost you an arm and a leg - and that is true to an extent, But the AOC CU34G2X is here to firmly buck that trend. Simply put, if you want to reap the benefits of an ultrawide display but you don't want to fork out the big bucks, then this is the screen you've been looking for.

It's not got any flashy, attention-grabbing design quirks, but upon closer inspection it has specs inside that will get you excited - even if you're a twitchy or competitive gamer. The CU34G2X offers both a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time – two of the most important specs for speedy gaming, which means that - as well as the gorgeous ultrawide resolution and picture - you can be sure you're playing at high speeds too. 

Unfortunately, the AOC CU34G2X does lack a little when it comes to color vibrancy and HDR performance, but that's a compromise we're willing to make in order to get the rest of the specs, and that tremendous ultra-widescreen in a monitor that falls under the $500/£500 mark. A brilliant entry point into the best ultrawide monitor market, and the perfect place to start for anyone considering upgrading from, or making a change from, a 1080p or 1440p screen.

Acer Predator X38

The best 38-inch ultrawide monitor

Specifications

Screen size: 38"
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3840x1600
Refresh rate: 144Hz (overclocked to 175Hz)
Brightness: 450 cd/m2
Response time: 1ms
Viewing angle: 178°
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
Features: G-Sync, IPS panel, 2 x 7w speakers, HDR 400, VESA 100x100mm, 4 x USB ports

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent picture quality
+
Gaming-first specs
+
Great size and immersive curve
+
Acer monitor pedigree

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling HDR performance
-
Comfortably more expansive than slightly smaller competitors

The Acer Predator X38 is a beast of an ultrawide monitor if you're looking for a go big or go home

Our variant of the X38 - there are a couple floating about so make sure to interrogate the specs list to make sure you get the one you're after - is the X38 Pbmiphzx model and features a whole bunch of gaming-focused specs that produce a glorious ultrawide playing experience. The screen is a 38-inch Agile-splendor IPS panel, and there's a 1ms GtG response time, and a 175Hz refresh rate which is plenty fast enough for such a sizeable ultrawide monitor. Throw in G-Sync functionality too and you are flying with the smoothest images. The image quality is beautiful, crisp, and vibrant (despite a 'just OK' HDR performance), and the amount of game, landscape, or spreadsheet you can take in is spectacular.

The gentle curve of 2300R is nowhere near as harsh or aggressive as those going for the 1000R measure, but the immersion doesn't really get impacted by this - there's just so much screen to take in, your eyes are really blessed.

I really value the extra inches of screen compared to the 34- or 35-inch ultrawide monitors that colleagues have, and the extra height, as well as width, makes it a great monitor for work as well ensuring there's plenty of space no matter the task. It's even comfortably light enough to be mounted on a monitor arm despite its size. It has gaming at its forefront, but the Acer Predator X38 is easily one of the best ultrawide monitors whatever you'll use one for.

At the time of writing I am testing and using this screen, so look out for our full review in the near future.

The best ultrawide monitor for absolute immersion

Specifications

Screen size: 27"; 1000R curve
Panel type: VA
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Refresh rate: 240Hz
Response time: 1ms
Brightness: 350 nits
Contrast ratio: 2500:1
Features: G-Sync Compatible, FreeSync Premium, 2x USB 3.0 hub

Reasons to buy

+
Stupendously immersive gaming experience
+
Stupidly bright and punchy
+
Fantastic response and speed

Reasons to avoid

-
Mini-LED backlight is surprisingly crude
-
Pixel density is nothing special
-
Insanely expensive

The Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 ultrawide monitor has been with us for a little while now, but it's still just as impressive: 49 inches, 240Hz, seven million pixels, a crazy-immersive 1000R curvature, and a slightly silly 2000 nits is a hell of a recipe. 

Arguably more important isn’t the peak brightness but the fact that a 10-zone edge-lit backlight has been ditched in favour of a cutting-edge 2,048 zone mini-LED backlight. On paper, that’s a huge upgrade. In practice, it’s a bit more complicated. This is a big screen, and even with that many zones, the granularity of the backlight control is a little crude. However, when it's performing at its best, the Neo G9 puts on a spectacular HDR show that few ultrawide monitors can match.

It won't be a suitable home for console players - the likes of LG’s 120Hz C1 and CX OLED TVs are better matched for that from a big-screen perspective - but for pure PC gaming, the Neo G9’s wrap-around immersion is seriously hard to beat.

Read more: Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 review

The best ultrawide monitor all-rounder

Specifications

Screen size: 34-inch
Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 at 144Hz
Brightness: 1,000 cd/m2
Response time: 1ms MPRT
Viewing angle: 178° H&V
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Features: IPS panel, AMD FreeSync Premium, DisplayPort 1.4 x1, HDMI 2.0 x1, VESA DisplayHDR 400

Reasons to buy

+
Great overall feature set
+
Nice ultrawide IPS panel
+
Really good pixel response

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive compared to competitors
-
Subdued image quality in SDR mode

The BenQ Mobiuz EX3415R monitor is the best ultrawide monitor for all-around use - whatever you want to use an ultrawide screen for, this can do it. It's got a quality 34-inch IPS panel, 3,440 by 1,440 pixels for a perfect compromise between detail and fidelity, and also boasts a 144Hz refresh rate, a 1ms response, and HDR response! Throw in a delightful curve for immersion and it really is an attractive proposition - despite its relatively high price of admission. 

You also get really nice build quality and a fully adjustable stand. The slight snag is subdued image quality in SDR mode. To get an experience that delivers on the 400 nits quoted panel performance, whatever the content, you have to run Windows in HDR mode and then tweak the brightness for SDR content. If you've been looking for an awesome ultrawide monitor and don't mind investing considerably to get the right screen, then this could very much be the panel you've been looking for.

Read more: BenQ Mobiuz EX3415R review

The next best 49-inch ultrawide monitor

Specifications

Screen size: 49"; 1800R curve
Panel type: VA
Aspect ratio: 32:9
Resolution: 5120 x 1440
Refresh rate: 212Hz
Response time: 4ms
Brightness: 600 nits
Contrast ratio: 3000:1
Features: FreeSync 2, 4x USB 3.0 hub, VESA 100mm x 100mm

Reasons to buy

+
Epic 49-inch panel
+
120Hz refresh

Reasons to avoid

-
Low pixel density
-
Doesn’t suit all games

At 49 inches - count them! - Samsung CRG9 is positively huge. It’s also immensely bright at 1,000nits - though that only applies to local hotspots, rather than panel wide. Finishing up the specs behind that you have excellent claimed colour fidelity with 95 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut, a 3,000:1 static contrast from the VA panel, a 120Hz refresh, and a gentle 1800R. All in Samsung styling - it really is, still, a great shout for the best ultrawide monitor you can get in 2022.

We've bumped it below its Neo successor and some other models as there are a few caveats - as well as it being a bit 'old' now: there's no 'true' HDR capability despite the claims (in part due to the limited number of local dimming zones), and there’s no USB-C connectivity. The CRG9 is also not the absolute fastest in terms of pixel response now, but it’s reasonably quick, and most gamers and users won’t care. Instead, they’ll be blown away by the ridiculous scale of this monitor and the mind-blowing, immersive experience. 

Now, the 21:9 aspect certainly doesn’t work well in all games, and it's a bit compromised back on the Windows desktop, and the massive resolution does end up lacking in some pixel density, but when this thing really clicks, it’s an all-consuming experience like little other and earns its place in the best ultrawide monitor conversation.

Read more: Samsung CRG9 review

Which is the best ultrawide monitor?

The best ultrawide monitor for you will be one that hits a few key criteria that are specific to you - and will hopefully be on this list of our picks for the best ultrawide monitor!

In reality though, chances are if you're thinking about one of the best ultrawide monitors then you may have an idea about some of the specifications you want, need, and can house. It's probably wise to think about size first as this basically governs everything else, and certainly price, so once you've narrowed that down, you can focus on getting the right specs, curvature, make, and model for you.

What is the best size for an ultrawide monitor?

As well as knowing your work and play-space limitations in a literal, size-based way, the best ultrawide monitor as far as size goes is going to be intrinsically linked to the budget - the connection between larger curved screens and larger price tags still tracks here.

Generally, the sweet spot is the 34- or 35-inch mark as these can have really great, aggressive price points. Once you go up to 38 and above, there is a significant and steep price rise generally. 

Those 49-inchers are colossal though so if you want a bit of desk space then these might be too large. I really value the extra size a 38-inch gives over a 34-inch even though it isn't too much in reality - the ultrawide resolution usually does the business and the talking in either, or any, size.


Is it worth buying an ultrawide monitor?

One of the best ultrawide monitors is a different experience for sure, from the traditional screens - but our money is on you not looking back once you've done it. The extra screen real-estate, the wider resolution, and the fact that you can absorb more, all while being immersed even more in games and movies  - and productivity - means that it is absolutely worth buying an ultrawide monitor.

And with increasing value-busting options on the table, there's never been a better time to try and move over to an ultrawide.

How we test gaming monitors at GamesRadar+

Between our on-team staff and our roster of expert freelance writers, every ultrawide monitor is treated just like every other monitor that comes our way: it's subject to the same kind of deep scrutiny to get to the bottom of its good bits, and not-so-good bits. 

We spend hours and hours testing each monitor, living with it where possible, and using it as our everyday screen for work and play. As a result, we test work and productivity functionality to give you an idea as to whether you can rely on it for the more mundane things, and then we play and run a big batch of games on the screens to ensure it provides good performance, no matter the price point or feature set. When it comes to games, we test single-player expansive games like RPGs and strategies to examine their detail, colour, and image quality, while also ensuring we test them with online and competitive shooters to see how they hold up when speed is key.

For more information, you can read more on How we test monitors at GamesRadar+ here, and for an overview of our approach to gaming tech then you can check out our full Hardware Policy

If you're after a new gaming screen that more TV-shaped then head over to our best gaming TV guide as well as checking out our best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X, best OLED TV, and best 120Hz 4K TV guides which will all see you right and lay out some quality options across the budget range.

I'm the Commissioning Editor for Hardware at GamesRadar+ and have been here since late 2018. I'm also a writer on games and have had work published over the last five years or so at the likes of Eurogamer, RPS, PCGN, and more. Day to day, I take care of a whole host of gaming tech reviews, buying guides, and news and deals content that pops up across GamesRadar+. I'm also a qualified landscape and garden designer, so I do that in my spare time. I'm also an expert on the virtual landscapes and environments of games and love to write about them too, including in an upcoming book on the topic!