How to buy an ultrawide monitor

The Philips 498P9Z on a desk, displaying gameplay from Cyberpunk 2077.
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best monitor is hard enough, but finding the best ultrawide monitor can be even tougher considering how many options and price points there are in the market.

What complicates matters further is figuring out whether an ultrawide monitor is even the best option in the first place, which depends on the kind of activities you'll be using it for in the first place. Gamers may be pairing it with the best gaming PC, while creative or productivity workers may be looking for an ultrawide monitor to complement their best computer.

But buying an ultrawide monitor doesn't have to be a hassle either, as long as you know what and how to look for the right one. Not to mention making sure that an ultrawide is the right monitor for you. 

For those reasons, we have this handy guide that will teach you how to buy an ultrawide monitor, no matter what you're looking for.

Steps for how to buy an ultrawide monitor

  1. Figure out what your needs are
  2. Create a budget you can stick to
  3. Wait for sales and deals

Tools and Requirements

  • Various retailers like Amazon or Best Buy
  • List of what you need from an ultrawide monitor
  • List of specs and ergonomic features that fit your needs
  • A budget

Step by step guide for buying an ultrawide monitor

1. Look at ergonomics and adjustability

One of the most important, yet overlooked, aspects of purchasing an ultrawide monitor is its ergonomics. How adjustable is the monitor stand? How much does the screen incline back? Does the monitor curve make the entire display easy to see?

While many of the sales and discounts are online, it's important to visit physical retailers when possible. You need to test out several models in order to get a better feel for what you can comfortably use. This also helps you figure out whether it's even a good fit for you in the first place.

2. Look at what your needs are

Why do you need an ultrawide monitor? If you're a casual gamer, it offers incredibly high resolution and allows you to see the entire UI, which is especially important for the best PC games that have a lot going on the screen. However, if you're a professional gamer, the 21:9 aspect ratio offers too much of a competitive advantage and most competitions won't allow gamers to use such a display.

If you're a multitasker, 21:9 is perfect for having a variety of windows and applications up at the same time, meaning you can keep that conference call up on one side while working on your data entry and emails on the other side.

If you prefer video and audio editing, multitasking through an ultrawide is perfect for those tasks as well, especially for editing apps that use a timeline.

When it comes to writers, editors, programmers, and photographers, you'll need to find an ultrawide that can turn to portrait mode, since all those tasks use vertical scrolling.

You also have to keep in mind that many devices including current-gen consoles, most movies, and TV shows only support 16:9 aspect ratios which will result in ugly stretched-out images.

3. Figure out the best size for your setup

There are tons of sizes for ultrawide monitors, though the standard is 34-inch with a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440. While large, that's still a size that can fit most office desks whether at work or home. 

Then there are monitors like the Samsung Odyssey OLED G9, which is a massive 49-inch monitor, and even ones that are larger than that. Those offer truly premium features and specs but require an extremely large amount of space that many desks cannot accommodate.

4. Figuring out your budget

Ultrawide monitors are very expensive, with even the lower-end ones costing over a thousand dollars or pounds. If you're on a budget, it's best to either save up for one or consider a standard 16:9 monitor instead.

However, if you're still set on an ultrawide monitor, one of the best ways to lower the cost is to wait for retailer deals like Amazon Prime Day or special holiday sales like Black Friday PC deals or Cyber Monday. These events can significantly lower their costs.

If you're in the market for an ultrawide monitor deal with superior specs that fall short of your maximum budget, then consider waiting for retailer deals and holiday events to ensure the best possible price.

However, be careful when taking advantage of sales and deals. Sometimes retailers will use this opportunity to sell lower-quality monitors.

Final thoughts

Purchasing an ultrawide monitor can feel daunting, considering the higher specs and prices involved. And you should be cautious buying one, as it's a long-term investment that can't be done on impulse. But if you follow each step and find out which brand and specs work best for you, then you'll have an excellent monitor that should last for years.

Not to mention how impressive it looks too. These monitors, especially ones with RGB lighting and a lovely color palette, are built to look great sitting on your desk. And if you're playing a Triple-A title that can take advantage of the high resolution, aspect ratio, refresh rate, and color gamut, then you'll look even more stunning.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.