Ultrawide monitors are relatively new, but have quickly become very popular. Not surprising, because they are handsome all-rounders. A modern 34 or 35 inch ultrawide monitor with the UWQHD resolution (3440 × 1440 pixels) offers a lot of work space and the large surface also provides an impressive entertainment and gaming experience.
We test the somewhat larger ultrawides (34 and 35 inches) with a high resolution. 29-inch or 2560×1080 resolution models are nice for some purposes, but if you want good image sharpness and really want to be productive in creative tasks, the Ultra Wide Quad High Definition (3440 x 1440p) is ideal. Incidentally, these screens do not have the best price-pixel ratio. If you want a low price, you should look at other options: large 4K screens often cost less than the approximately 499 euros that you spend for an entry-level ultrawide with UWQHD, and two small screens also cost less.
The better ultrawides such as the one we test focus more on a premium experience. Think of good image quality, luxurious features such as curves and high speeds and tight adjustments. They look great on the desk, and options such as height adjustment, wall or bracket mounting, USB hubs and audio passthrough are available on all screens.
We've tested the screens extensively, paying attention to things like gamut and color accuracy for photographers, and speed and contrast for gamers. Gray balance, power consumption, maximum brightness and dimmability are a relevant measurement for almost everyone. Matters such as gamma values and color temperature are important, but can often be easily made attractive via the screen itself (without calibration equipment). We also point out that some screens have speakers, but that you really want separate speakers or a headset for an attractive sound.
All eight monitors in this test are curved, which is usually nice given their width. We can already tell you that all eight screens are 'good'!
IPS Panels (In-Plane Switch)
IPS panels were traditionally used for good but expensive screens. There was a big difference with the tn panels that used to be common in thin screens: ips has better colors, better black values, much better viewing angles and an all-round neater presentation of the image. Traditionally ips was slower and not a logical choice for gaming, but nowadays there are also fast ips screens. This technique also remains unbeaten in viewing angles, also when compared to the VA screens in this comparison. If you mainly do a lot of work and/or creative tasks, then ips is worth considering, because the image quality is also subjectively often experienced as the best. If you also want to play games and keep costs within limits, then you will quickly end up with VA panels.
In your search for an ultrawide monitor, you can't ignore LG. The great Korean was the first manufacturer to release an ultrawide monitor, and there are currently more LG ultrawides for sale than all other brands combined. That makes it all the more striking that a really fast ultrawide screen from LG (100 Hz or faster) was not yet for sale at the time of writing. This 34UC99 comes in at a respectable 75Hz, but in this comparison with even faster options, that means LG has to rely mostly on business users and creative professionals.
Due to the expectations of the 99 in the product name – which stands for the highest positioned model – we should note that the factory setting is not entirely worthy of the top model. The adjustment of the colors is good, but the white balance is quite different, so that white looks a bit bluish. Even more striking is that the photo mode only amplifies that effect and makes the overall performance worse rather than better. After manual calibration, the image is excellent, but by default we expect more than 'quite reasonable'.
In terms of appearance, the LG is neat, one of the most understated models in the comparison. The ultriwides do not escape each other with some firmness, so LG neither gains nor loses points there. With minimal backlight bleed and neat uniformity, the LG 34UC99 leaves a good feeling, and with its USB-C connection, mobile workers who want to connect their laptop with one cable will also be attracted. It's a good and capable display without a doubt, but given the price that rivals fast all-rounders, we would have liked to see either a higher speed for gamers or a tighter factory calibration for professionals.
www.lg.com 8 Score 80
- Beautiful, very capable panel
- Neat, understated design
- Limited backlight bleed
- Good uniformity
- Manual calibration desired
- ‘Only’ 75 Hz
A recent addition to the monitor connections is the usb-c input. With this connection you can connect a laptop directly to the screen, as well as provide the screen and the built-in USB hub with energy. Such a connection is therefore ideal for a mobile laptop worker with a (compatible!) laptop: one cable in your laptop and you have a complete, fully-fledged workplace.
As soon as you take the Dell U3419W out of the box, you feel that it is all solid; something that has impressed Dell with its Ultrasharp monitors for years. Build quality and finish are excellent, and it will appeal to the business user even more than the LG in this test. It has to be, because this Dell is the only 60Hz panel in the comparison and also the only one that does not support FreeSync or G-Sync. Serious gamers should therefore look elsewhere. Dell, like LG, also offers a USB-c function in return.
The IPS panel is beautiful and it shows in the test results. The adjustment is also fantastic right from the factory: the best in the comparison. A specific sRGB mode is missing, but that is of no use if the screen is already almost perfectly adjusted from the factory. Also in terms of uniformity, the Dell is the best in the comparison, and as we would expect from a good IPS screen, the viewing angles are top notch.
Just before the finish, however, we see two big cracks in Dell's new ultrawide flagship that keep him from a top prize. For example, our sample suffered from backlight bleeding. Not extreme, but more than five other models in this test. And if you sometimes work in the dark, it is a disadvantage. Something to check for other reviews of this model, because backlight bleeds are a well-known sample-specific phenomenon.
A second crack is the asking price, which is currently very high at 999 euros. For the difference in price you can buy a good colorimeter for a perfect adjustment of another screen, and then most of the strong pluses of this Dell fade. Fortunately, we know from Dell that the suggested retail prices around launch (and this product has just been released at the time of writing) are very hefty and that street prices often reach more reasonable points quickly. As soon as the price drops to the level of, among others, the LG (approx. 700 euros), then you have the ultimate IPS ultrawide screen, especially for business users in (illuminated) office environments, where any backlight bleeds are no problem. .
www.dell.nl 8 Score 80
- Sleek, solid design
- Excellent panel
- Excellent factory calibration
- A little too much backlight bleed
- High price
- No FreeSync or G-Sync
G-Sync and FreeSync
G-Sync and FreeSync are the technologies of Nvidia and AMD respectively to not fix the refresh rate, but to refresh the screen when the next frame of the game is generated. This prevents so-called tearing and in theory the game playback is smoother when you combine the right sync technology with your video card. The techniques are evenly matched, although some manufacturers limit their FreeSync implementation to a (too) limited fps range. Nvidia does not allow that for G-Sync, but it asks a lot of money for the G-Sync upgrade. You benefit the most from both techniques at a low fps value (35-55), which makes them a valuable addition on the 3440x1440 screens for people who like to play a game, but do not have the most expensive graphics card.
The Acer X34P had the strongest papers beforehand: an IPS panel, 120 Hz and G-Sync support (which, given the dominance of Nvidia video cards at the moment, will more often be an advantage than FreeSync). The physical design is clearly aimed at gamers, with its aggressive lines and red details. Still, the ips panel could in theory have been an advantage over the va alternatives for anyone who frequently does professional graphics work in addition to gaming.
The panel itself is definitely capable, it ranks among the best monitorland has to offer. Unfortunately, Acer has dropped the standard setting enormously, because we see unnecessarily large deviations on many points. From the factory we measure the gamma at 2.62 where 2.20 is the target (most other screens stay within one tenth of that), the average color deviation is the only one in this test more than the limit of 3.0 Delta E which we can call the 'good' limit for the sake of convenience, and the maximum color deviations of 5 to 6 Delta E are unnecessarily large. We are also not really happy with the gray deviation and the screen is also set a bit too warm.
With a little dexterity in the menus you will get quite far, but it is difficult to digest that you have to adjust the monitor to a gamma of 1.9 to arrive at a measurement of 2.2. Some neat results, such as uniformity, excellent viewing angles and only marginal backlight bleed make up for something, but to win this tough test, we just don't think the standard setting is good enough.
Of course some nuance, because the results are far from bad, this is a tough and capable playing field. If you have access to a colorimeter, we would even strongly recommend this screen, because tightly tuned this 120Hz IPS panel is actually the ultimate all-round monitor we are looking for. Acer can take a look at why this 999 euro monitor is not delivered much better adjusted, because now it costs them the victory.
www.acer.com 9 Score 90
- Fast 120Hz Display
- Capable ips panel
- G-Sync for Nvidia GPUs
- Factory calibration very disappointing
Are curves better?
A few years ago, curved televisions were a real hype. But this concept has not really taken off in that industry, which is understandable given the less attractive wall mounting and the disadvantages if you don't sit right in front of it. However, the 34 and 35 inch ultrawides in this test do benefit from a curve: you are always right in front of it and much closer to it, which helps give the curve a more natural image. In our experience, the exact strength of the curve does not matter much, although something stronger is just a bit finer. The tested Samsung monitor has a slightly stronger curve (1500 R) than the other models (1800-1900 R). Keep in mind that in some working environments (for example, where a lot of work has to be done with perpendicular lines, graphic design or, for example, in construction) the experience is that the curve is sometimes very used or even completely undesirable. In most cases, however, we call it an advantage.
Samsung CF791 (C34F791WQ)
The first impression of Samsung C34F791 is very positive. Samsung's now well-known Quantum Dot makes this screen one of the few that is able to go well beyond the sRGB spectrum. As far as it is of great use to you, because the majority of all applications are limited to sRGB, and then you actually get more saturated colors, which do not appeal to everyone. But to keep it simple: the colors really pop.
This Samsung has a slightly stronger curve than the rest with its 1500R curve compared to the 1800-1900 R of the rest. The fresh silver-grey color scheme and the chic design look good, and if you occasionally listen to the sound from your monitor, it still looks good here. Plus you get a capable 100Hz panel with FreeSync support and exceptionally good contrast, plus the least backlight bleed in the entire test. And given that this Samsung with 769 euros is at the lower end of the average in this test, we are therefore quite positive.
The Samsung does not leave much to be desired. The color measurements of a few colors exceed the magical limit of 3 Delta E, but they are only minor caveats to an otherwise good performance. The slightly warm white balance (white looks slightly yellowish) and the medium uniformity of 18% deviation in white brightness between the center and the bottom right corner is just a bit noticeable. Also, the horizontal viewing angles are slightly less than the va competition.
If you're looking for a FreeSync-based all-rounder, it's between this Samsung and the ASUS. The latter offers a bit more OSD functionality, has a slightly better adjustment and uniformity, but also costs a bit more. Although the very different designs will probably be the deciding factor.
www.samsung.nl 9 Score 90
- Impressive color rendering
- Smooth 100Hz Playback
- Contrast and (lack of) backlight bleed
- Medium uniformity
- Adjustment could be a little tighter here and there
VA panels (Vertical Alignment)
VA panels are often seen as the golden mean between the expensive, beautiful IPS panels and the cheap tn panels with moderate viewing angles. In terms of viewing angles and cost, it is indeed the middle ground between the two, but VA panels are unrivaled and well ahead of IPS and TN screens when it comes to contrast. In addition, VA panels are often also somewhat faster than IPS screens, and we see the VA panels in this test offer 100 or 120 Hz without exception. If you are purely concerned with subjective image quality, business or creative performance and viewing angles (and therefore not with speed), ips is still the technology to look at.
This Philips screen is the cheapest in this test. Yet on paper you get a strong product in return: va panel, 100 Hz, FreeSync, and according to Philips, all its monitors are calibrated tightly from the factory. We must certainly admit the latter, the factory setting in terms of color and gray values is excellent. An average of 1 Delta E and white temperature of 6502 K gives the Philips the impression of an excellently tuned screen right out of the box. We do wonder why there is still an sRGB mode, because it is less good than the 'factory default'.
On a few points we see the somewhat lower pricing of Philips hinting. For example, the construction is slightly less solid, although you have to put these eight next to each other to experience that. The maximum brightness is sufficient in itself with 272 cd/m2, but lower than the rest. The uniformity of the sample we tested is downright mediocre: almost 24% difference in white brightness is too much, and we still see quite a bit of backlight bleed. The lowest price seems a strong argument, but it remains 649 euros and we expect better for that. The equally cheap BenQ doesn't come as tightly calibrated as the Philips, but don't let this kind of big stumble.
Yet this Philips is also one to consider, that is not up for discussion. But we think that someone who is considering spending more than 600 euros on a screen, would rather pay a hundred euros more for, for example, the Samsung, which scores a lot better on average and does not drop any major stitches. As a result, this Philips falls a bit between two stools for us. It's not bad, exceptionally good on a number of fronts, but for the same money we see a slightly better balanced alternative, and for a little more money we see convincingly better options.
www.philips.com 7 Score 70
- Good panel
- Excellent factory calibration
- Maximum brightness can be higher
- Uniformity moderate
- Backlight Bleed
HDR (High Dynamic Range)
We see the term HDR (High Dynamic Range) coming back more and more, it is already fairly well established in television land. This technique offers extreme (peak) brightness, unprecedented contrast and more impressive colors. The integration of HDR into desktop computers and monitors is a lot slower than with televisions. This is partly due to the fact that Windows has only recently been able to handle it reasonably well and partly to the lack of (good) HDR monitors on offer. For an impressive HDR display, a monitor must be able to display those extreme peaks of brightness and colors, and the latter in particular leaves something to be desired.
This BenQ ultrawide monitor has a friendly price (679 euros), but we do see a smooth 100Hz VA panel and FreeSync support. Although it lacks some of the luxury finish of the Dell, or some of the gamer-bling of the Acer or ASUS, the BenQ still delivers a solid and attractive physical picture for that modest amount. It is slightly less height-adjustable than the rest, but that doesn't spoil the fun for us and we think the shallow depth is a practical plus.
The EX3501R is the only ultrawide that offers HDR support, but that's about it. Although it offers itself with Windows as an HDR panel, the screen does not have the brightness and color range necessary for a true HDR experience.
But don't worry, because if we put that fact aside (after all, we don't suffer from it) what remains above all is a good product for this price. The USB-c input is nice (albeit with limited charging functionality). While the BenQ doesn't really have the best setup and none of the results really shine, we don't see it making any major mistakes anywhere. The factory calibration is just fine, white balance is good, maximum and minimum brightness are good, the uniformity is about the level of the more expensive VA options and the viewing angles are fine. Our sample even had zero backlight bleed: very nice when you work in the dark.
No element really stands out as 'wow', but given that each element is not or hardly inferior to the more expensive alternatives, we do see the affordable topper in this BenQ EX3501R that we hoped to find.It could be better, but if you think 679 euros is actually enough and are looking for a screen that is good at graphical tasks and on which you can play a game smoothly, then you've come to the right place.
www.benq.com 9 Score 90
- Physical and panel solid
- Relatively cheap
- Don't drop big stitches
- HDR does not come out well
- USB-C with limited charging power (10 W)
Speed: more than Hertzen
In this test we see the necessary screens of 100 and 120 Hz, which is significantly faster than the traditional 60 Hz monitors. You immediately experience the difference between a monitor with 60 or 75 Hz and one with 100 or 120 Hz (certainly when comparing them). But: the gap between 100 and 120 Hz is not so big that you immediately notice it. In addition, there is more to a fast game experience than just the refresh rate, think of the response time, the quality of the overdrive and the consequences of possible overshoot when the monitor tries to respond too aggressively to fast movements. 120 Hz sounds appealing, but the differences between the 100 and 120 Hz monitors in this test are kept to a minimum.
ASUS ROG Swift XG35VQ
If something says ROG, you know right away that it is not the cheapest option. With the rather high price (above 800 euros) for this 100Hz VA panel FreeSync, we would like an exceptional experience. Physically, ASUS doesn't disappoint, as the XG35VQ stands out the most: RGB lighting effects on the back, a logo projected on the table that you can customize with a little creativity, and an aggressive design with many lines and details that you simply cannot ignore.
The image itself is also impressive. The remarkably good maximum brightness comes into its own if you are frequently in very bright rooms. The contrast is good, the gamma, color and gray adjustment are very good, and the uniformity is on the right side of average for the va panels. Although this ASUS 'only' has 100 Hz (in addition to the 120 Hz of the Acer and AOC), this is not noticeable in practice. The screen leaves a very quick impression. The white balance is a tad on the cold side, but our experience is that it is nicer for gaming than a warmer setting, and this setting remains useful for photography as well.
At the bottom of the line, ASUS is actually only a bit against its price. For example, the Samsung is a lot cheaper and not everyone will want to pay more for a slightly tighter adjustment. However, the extra light, game and OSD options are pluses for gamers. The AOC model we tested is slightly more expensive for practically the same performance, but it does include a G-Sync module (which costs the manufacturer around $150, compared to virtually zero for FreeSync). For gamers with an AMD video card who are not short of a few bucks, this is the best screen.
ASUS ROG Swift XG35VQPrice
www.asus.com 9 Score 90
- Smooth, capable panel
- Good adjustment
- Lots of extras for gamers
AOC AGON AG352UGC6
This ultrawide from AOC is beautiful to see. The rear is quite aggressively designed with a lot of lighting in it, but if that doesn't appeal to you, turn it off. It then looks quite neutral (at least from the front) with a sleek aluminum base that can be set nice and high for the enthusiast. If you put the back in sight, then it is probably a bit too much for a non-gamer. In terms of possibilities, AOC does not leave any points: all common options are present, such as a VESA mount, USB hub, audio passthrough and even a handy suspension for your headset. Another advantage for this screen is G-Sync. That is of course only of added value for owners of an Nvidia video card, but at the top of the market (and that's where the ultrawide monitors of these amounts are), Nvidia dominates.
The color adjustment is slightly behind the competing models from ASUS and Samsung, but the differences are small and the absolute values are just right. As far as uniformity is concerned, it is roughly equivalent, but the standard gray deviation could have been smaller. Gamma and maximum brightness are good, the dimmability is excellent and the white balance is almost perfect from the factory. The power consumption is slightly higher, but that is a well-known consequence of the G-Sync scaler.
Things like viewing angles, backlight bleed and speed are, as expected, very good, which makes this screen stand out positively even in this strong playing field. It's not cheap, but compared to ASUS and Samsung, the extra cost is not great if you can use G-Sync - and if you have a Geforce card, you definitely want that with this resolution.
The only thing we would like to say to AOC is that their On Screen Display (OSD) really needs work, because it looks and feels very clumsy. In that regard, they can go and cheat at ASUS how that can be made more user-friendly and substantively stronger. Not something that gets in your way every day, but it unnecessarily detracts from the otherwise excellent performance of this screen.
AOC AGON AG352UGC6Price
eu.aoc.com 9 Score 90
- Smooth, capable panel
- Good adjustment
- 120 Hz and G-Sync
- Surcharge G-Sync
- OSD moderate
As far as we're concerned, the battle for the ultimate all-rounder is between Samsung, ASUS and AOC. You're fine with all three. Samsung is cheaper and does very well in terms of colors, ASUS is a bit more expensive and offers some gamer bling and content extras for gamers at an extra cost and they both go well with an AMD video card. Nvidia buyers will end up with the AOC AG352. If you have access to a colorimeter, it is best to purchase the Acer. If Acer got its calibration standard right, it would have been the clear winner.
Does it necessarily have to be cheaper? The BenQ EX3501R does not live up to the HDR promise, but at 679 euros it is a balanced, capable all-rounder for a somewhat friendlier price than the competition.
In the table below you will find all test results.