Why ultrawide monitors are so popular?
The 21:9 aspect ratio and the 3440x1440 or 2560x1080 resolution offer a uniquely immersive experience. The immersion is increased by the 100Hz+ refresh rates and low input lag, which makes gaming even more enjoyable. On top of that ultrawide are just great for multitasking because of their high PPI (pixels per inch).
The main obstacle to the ultrawide monitor popularity used to be their price. That's why we've made a list of the best cheap ultrawide monitors available now, sorted from lowest to highest price according to Amazon US as it is usually much cheaper than in Europe due to lower taxes and shipping costs.
Picking an ultrawide usually sacrifices some image quality as opposed to 16:9 monitors because the 21:9 aspect ratio provides fewer vertical pixels, but there are exceptions in both cases. We've made a list of our favorite budget ultrawide monitor picks which offer great image quality for their price.
When do you need an ultrawide monitor?
Ultrawide monitors are great for multitasking. On the other hand, they are relatively small when compared to 4K or UHD displays which have more than twice as many pixels on their surface. So it might happen that some of your applications are too small to be used efficiently on an ultrawide display.
For example, video players like MPC-HC or PotPlayer usually offer fullscreen mode in which you may experience the lack of vertical space (unless there is a function activated by default expanding it vertically).
As another example, if you use several windows side by side in web browsers then it would be nice not to pay attention to white margins around each window which can be annoying especially when scrolling down pages like this one.
An ultrawide monitor can also be a great upgrade if you're using an old 4:3 display since the 16:9 aspect ratio is much more common now and provides a wider desktop area.
What to know before buying?
Ultrawide monitors offer non-standard resolutions like 3440x1440 (an ultrawide 21:9 monitor) or 2560x1080 (an ultrawide 16:10 monitor). These uncommon resolutions require specific graphics cards with DP 1.2 support, which are not always available now for example on AMD Radeon HD 4000 series cards.
To clarify things - there's no such thing as "full HD" monitors anymore because the 1920×1080 pixel resolution is considered standard by now and anything higher than that requires either DP 1.2 or HDMI 1.4 display connectivity which is not present on most graphics cards released so far.
Some manufacturers have their own proprietary connectors for ultrawide monitors like LG with its 38UC99-B, Samsung with SE790C, etc., but they are usually more expensive than the regular 21:9 displays, sometimes significantly depending on the manufacturer's reputation and warranty service quality.
The cheapest way to get into an ultrawide monitor market is to buy a 21:9 display and convert it into an ultrawide via some inexpensive third-party accessories like this one. You can also look at our list of best AMD Freesync monitors if you're using an AMD GPU as G-Sync is not available for budget gamers right now.
Is it worth buying an ultrawide monitor?
We've talked about the benefits of having an ultrawide in our article explaining 21:9 vs 16:9 aspect ratios. The advantages are increased immersion when playing games or watching movies, more efficient multitasking with side-by-side windows, and extra desktop space for work tasks.
Ultrawides are not just great for gamers but also for casual users who use their PC mostly to web browse, watch movies, etc. Having all these factors in mind will give you a better idea if an ultrawide monitor is something you should consider buying.
Here are the 3 best budget ultrawide monitors.
This monitor from LG features a 29" IPS panel with 2560×1080 resolution and a 21:9 aspect ratio. It offers an immersive viewing experience for compatible games or movies. With connectivity ports built right into the stand, you can easily connect your other devices without a hassle. The display's ergonomic design allows you to manually adjust tilt, height, and swivel to find the most comfortable setup from your desk.
LG 29WK600 main specs from LG official website: Screen Size - 29", IPS display, Max Resolution - 2560x1080, Response time - 5ms, Aspect Ratio - 21:9, Brightness - 250cd/m2, Contrast ratio - 1000:1, Connectivity - 2x HDMI, 1x Display Por,t 1x USB-C.
The front LG 29WK600 monitor is stylish and subtle with a nice stand that offers plenty of adjustability options. There's nothing outstanding about this design but it looks quite modern which can be a good thing if you don't want your display to attract too much attention. The screen size is included in the product name so there won't be any surprises when looking at the monitor from the front.
The rear has a V-shaped finish which can be an issue if you have limited space around your desk since this monitor will definitely take some room especially if you need to raise or tilt its stand. Cable management options are available, including a special channel where one end of the cable is attached for easier routing through other holes on the rear part of the stand. There are also two external HDMI ports so you can connect two devices at the same time.
LG 29WK600 is contracted by a 29" IPS panel with 2560×1080 resolution, which is quite common among budget ultrawide monitors. If you're looking for an ultrawide with higher resolution, look at our list of best widescreen monitors for Mac.
The image quality is quite good for this price range, offering accurate colors (after calibration) and plenty of detail.
There's nothing special about the maximum brightness or contrast which is not surprising considering it's a budget ultrawide monitor, but we're happy to report that black levels are quite deep despite the relatively low contrast ratio. Unfortunately, there is no local dimming feature so you won't be able to improve dark areas in games and movies with that technology and will have to rely on picture settings instead.
The viewing angles are great thanks to its IPS panel so color and contrast loss when looking at the screen from an angle should not be an issue unless you sit too far away from your display. For best results look at the screen head-on but if you're not that picky and sit at a reasonable distance you'll enjoy nice colors.
Pixel response time is advertised as 5ms but the monitor has an overdrive feature that can improve pixel transitions to as low as 1ms so we wouldn't worry about ghosting issues, especially if you play fast-paced games where every millisecond counts.
If you are looking for a budget ultrawide monitor but prefer VA panels over IPS, Samsung G9 is definitely what you need. It comes with a 29" VA panel and offers the true 8-bit color depth, 3000:1 contrast ratio, and 178-degree viewing angles.
Samsung G9 main specs from Amazon: Screen Size - 29", Aspect Ratio - 21:09, Resolution - 2560x1080, Brightness – 300cd/m2, Contrast Ratio – 3000:1, Response Time – 4ms.
Most of the design elements are the same as on other Samsung monitors such as its curved stand and connectivity layout so we're not going to waste your time talking about that again. Instead, let's focus on its appearance which is quite edgy and aggressive thanks to the red color that dominates most of its parts including the stand and neck.
While this is not a bad thing in itself, you should be aware that people with limited desk space may find it too big and bulky.
But on the other hand, such design enhances stability since it won't fall easily (unless you bump into its leg or pull on cables attached to its back) so we think Samsung G9 is perfect for gamers and movie enthusiasts who want to feel like they're part of their favorite game while staying comfortably seated in front of their PC.
Samsung G9 brings more connectivity options than your average monitor, including 3x HDMI ports (one of which supports Display Port 1.2 if needed), two USB 3.0 ports, audio in/out jacks, and a pair of 2-watt speakers that are surprisingly loud and offer above-average sound quality for monitors in this price range.
Samsung G9 brings several pictures presets including HDR which can be used if your PC supports it but we recommend using the Standard preset since it offers the most accurate colors with 100% sRGB coverage. Keep in mind however that adjusting setting will damage color accuracy so make sure you know what you're doing before messing with these options.
While not as sharp as 1440p ultrawide monitors, image clarity is great thanks to 2560x1080 resolution on a 29" screen which allows for plenty of detail even when reading small text or looking at photos and games from a short distance.
Samsung G9 panel uniformity is generally great but we can't say the same about viewing angles which are not the best considering it's a VA monitor with 1800R curvature. That means you'll have to look at it head-on for colors and contrast to be accurate or you'll notice color and contrast loss when looking at its screen from an angle.
All in all, Samsung G9 offers excellent value for money thanks to its high contrast ratio, good brightness level, rich connectivity options including two HDMI ports and three USB 3.0 downstream ports as well as nice design that will fit beautifully in most gaming setups while offering no-compromise image quality along plenty of useful features.
If you are looking for an ultrawide monitor with the maximum possible resolution, Dell AW3821DW offers 3840x1600 pixels on its 37.5" IPS panel which is perfect for multitasking or showing several full-size windows at the same time without having to move them around all the time.
Dell AW3821DW main specs from Amazon: Screen Size - 38", Aspect Ratio - 21:9, Resolution – 3840X1600, Brightness – 400cd/m2, Contrast Ratio – 1000:1, Response Time – 5ms.
Design and connectivity
Dell's bezel-free InfinityEdge design is implemented here as well which means that aside from a small cutout in the bottom right corner, Dell 3821DW has no bezel surrounding its screen. This makes it perfect for multi-monitor setups or if you are very limited on space, although this is less of a problem now that most modern monitors have very thin bezels.
Connectivity consists of DisplayPort 1.2 along with two HDMI ports, but keep in mind that only one HDMI port supports full 60Hz 4K resolution so choose accordingly or use DP instead if you want to play games at the monitor's native resolution.
Image clarity is excellent thanks to the IPS panel which brings wide 178° viewing angles and accurate colors out of the box without much adjustment required apart from brightness since 400 cd/m2 is somewhat low for an office environment.
Dell AW3821DW is a great choice for designers and gamers alike thanks to its high resolution, superior color reproduction, and ability to display 1920x1080 content at 60Hz which means you won't have to scale images or deal with blurry text.
Even though it's not as sharp as 1440p ultrawide monitors, Dell AW3821DW offers slightly higher pixel density than its competition which is noticeable in daily use and makes it more suitable for gaming even though we recommend using an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or above if you want to play games at 3840X1600 pixels.
Finally, a response time speed of 5ms (GtG) might seem like a problem but unless you're used to very fast panels such as ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q which has 4.1ms GtG, you won't see much difference between fast panels and Dell 3821DW's 5ms time since it's the pixel response time that matters more for this type of monitors.
These 3 budget ultrawide monitors are very different from each other so it's up to you to choose one depending on what you are looking for. If you are looking for the best money can buy Samsung S38A offers good enough picture quality for both work and entertainment purposes at a much friendlier price.
Dell 3821DW is an excellent choice if you are looking for rich connectivity options along with high resolution on an IPS panel that will suit your needs not only for gaming but also content creation thanks to accurate colors which are essential for designers who care about color accuracy above pretty much everything else.
Also, keep in mind that ultrawide monitors are becoming mainstream so you'll have more options.