If you’re still using the standard-issue monitor that came with your PC you are missing out. Ultra-wide high-definition monitors can totally change your experience—transforming the sad apartment office to a digital command center out of some William Gibson cyberpunk thriller.
Like just about everything else in the tech world, specs matter, and can determine whether a monitor will be a life-changing buy or just an expensive paper weight. If you want to make sure it’s not the latter you must take into account what tasks you’ll be asking your ultra-wide to take on. If you’re a gamer, you’ll want to make sure you have higher refresh rates and technology that will sync with your graphics card. If you’ll be using this to enhance your multitasking as a day trader or social-media master, you’ll want to make sure our monitor can accommodate multiple screens at once.
We’ve got a short list that should guide you on your way through the land of the big screens.
At 49 inches, you should have all the space you need to keep tabs on trading windows, social-media platforms, breaking news, and everything else, all on one monitor. Built-in USB C chargers allow you to power your phone or laptop, and 2 10-watt speakers with extra bass keep things sounding good. The screen features HDR 10 and automatic brightness control. An adjustable ergonomic frame and a highly useful joystick navigation setup make it easy to customize the monitor to your needs.
This curved 49-inch, 5K monitor delivers stunning color in spades. It’s the perfect canvas for designing intricate worlds, manipulating highly detailed photos and editing gripping video. With a 60-Hz refresh rate it’s not ideal for gaming, but it still comes with AMD FreeSync technology and HDR. A built-in pop-up webcam optimized for Windows Hello facial-recognition provides security for your ultra-sensitive projects.
This LG is the standard by which all other ultra-wide gaming monitors should be judged. At 38 inches, a 144-Hz refresh rate that can be overclocked to 160 Hz and a 1-ms response time, you’ll see your actions reflected in brilliant definition in just about real time. Lag will not be an issue here. Other perks for gamers include compatibility with Gsync and FreeSync and HDR 600. Another fun perk–a built-in lighting system—can be programmed to reflect the game you’re playing.
This 34-inch ultra-wide is optimized for video editing, but it does enough of everything that it can function as a compromise for households that will put their monitor to various uses. A 100-Hz refresh rate is decent for gaming and does what you need for video editing. Its eye care sensor adjusts brightness and color tone to the light in your office. A USB C connector allows video transfer at up to 2K. Compatibility with FreeSync is also a plus for gamers.