Ultrawide vs dual monitor

Svetlana November 11 2021

Do you want to maximize the space on your desktop? Then you have two options: an ultrawide monitor or a dual monitor setup. Either option allows you to significantly increase the amount of space available on the screen. However, ultrawide and dual monitor configurations are not the same thing. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Below is how to decide whether an ultra-wide monitor or two monitors is right for you.

What is an UltraWide monitor?

To understand what an UltraWide monitor is, you first need to know its aspect ratio, which is essentially the ratio between the width and height of the monitor, expressed in pixels. For example, 16: 9 means that for every 16 pixels wide you have 9 pixels high. 

With that said, an UltraWide monitor is any 21: 9 aspect ratio display that is similar to the aspect ratio you see in traditional movie theaters. The most common UltraWide resolutions are 2560 × 1080 and 3440 × 1440, and as you can see, they add a lot of horizontal screen combo as if you had a widescreen monitor. The monitors vary in size, but they are typically 29 to 34 inches tall.

So now comes the real question and you have to decide whether you should get an UltraWide monitor or a dual monitor or even a triple monitor setup so that you can improve your productivity or your gameplay.

Ultrawide and widescreen monitors: the key differences

Ultrawide monitors are much wider than dual-monitor setups or multi-monitor configurations, which means that they can display more information at once. They also provide a more engaging gaming experience by offering a wider field of view.

Unfortunately, in most cases, ultrawide monitors do not deliver the high refresh rates and pixel densities that you need to enjoy games on 4K resolutions. In addition, UltraWide screens have been known to reduce productivity due to their unusual aspect ratios and requiring users to regularly turn their heads from side to side while working on their desktops.

In short, if your favorite game is Battlefield or Call of Duty then you should stay away from UltraWide monitors because the extra width will only serve as an obstruction when playing the game.

On the other hand, if you are a writer or just love to have a lot of information on your screen at once then an UltraWide monitor is going to be perfect for your needs. If productivity is what you're after then a dual monitor setup should be more fitting as long as you can afford it and have room for two extra monitors. 

Flat or curved ultrawide monitor?

There are two types of UltraWide monitors curving and flat. The curvature is designed for multiple monitor setups, so if you want to use more than one monitor in your setup, the curved ultrawide monitor is probably better for you.

Similarly, since you can adjust the curvature on the curved display that it almost looks like eye candy when compared to less curvy displays. However, there are some issues with this technology that may or may not be something that bothers you - they're heavy and not exactly ideal for gamers because they don't offer much immersion due to their smaller frames.

What are dual monitors for?

If you're looking for a full-screen experience, then two monitors are probably the best way to get it. You can increase your productivity simply by having more screen space. Plus, this setup will allow you to perform multiple tasks at once.

As with any type of monitor configuration, there are some drawbacks when using dual monitors.  You will have to adjust your desk setup in order to fit all of the monitors on top of each other instead of side by side.

Also, keep in mind that if you are not sitting directly facing them, it may be harder for your eyes to focus on the screen instead of one monitor slightly overlapping into another due to the parallax effect. Additionally, you might also need an extra-long video cable if you decide to connect both monitors to separate graphics cards.

Benefits of UltraWide vs.dual monitors

The advantage of an UltraWide monitor over dual monitor setups is that they don't have screen bezels to break the flow, and they give you a seamless work and gaming experience. You also don't need different connections for different displays and your graphics card, as you can simply plug them in (usually DisplayPort) and you're good to go. 

You don't have to invest in two or three cards to get the necessary input options and performance unless you're playing AAA games with extremely high graphics settings.

UltraWide monitors let you use the native resolution of your graphics card unless it's very old. You can also run your games on an UltraWide monitor, which gives you a larger field of view that enhances your gaming experience.

Almost every game supports an aspect ratio of 21: 9 so you don't have to worry about it, and if there ever happens to be a game you want to play that doesn't support it, you can always use it with an aspect ratio of Run 16: 9 and play it like on a widescreen monitor.

UltraWide monitors are relatively new so they are still expensive. We still think it was worth it and are very excited about the new 34-inch UltraWide Curved 1440p 75Hz G-SYNC / FreeSync monitors from Acer, which are just around the corner. 

If you are tight on cash you probably shouldn't invest in an UltraWide monitor unless you can find a great deal. In summary, it can be said that there is no real winner in the UltraWide against the double monitor battle.

What monitor is better for gaming?

This answer is not straightforward. If you play AAA titles, then UltraWide might be the way to go since it provides an immersive gaming experience with a larger field of view compared to dual monitors. On the other hand, if you are playing older games or indie titles, then you probably won't notice much of a difference between ultra-wide and dual monitor setups.

What monitor is better for work?

This one is easier to answer. Since UltraWide monitors are the same size as dual monitor setups, you won't have problems with overlapping work areas or confusing which application you're working on.

It's also very easy to set up since all of your primary applications will easily fit on the screen due to its larger size, allowing you to avoid opening and closing applications. Depending on how many displays you use, looking away from your computer every now and then can be tiring for your eyes.

To solve this problem, some people set their second display further out than they would if they were using a single monitor just so that they don't need to look directly into the center all of the time. This can reduce eye strain but may take a toll on the quality of your work.

Which monitor is better for your eyes?

When it comes to eye strain, there is no winner. However, you can use remedies such as using different colors for your background and applications on one monitor than the other (eg: Green for work, red for games). That way you don't have to constantly switch between two monitors every time you change tasks.

Price difference

You should also consider how different each setup will affect your wallet. Ultrawide monitors are still relatively new and therefore more expensive compared to double or triple monitor setups.

On the other hand, a dual monitor setup may require two graphics cards if you want higher framerates and quality settings in demanding titles running at full resolution which might end up costing almost as much as an UltraWide at some point.

The fourth option 

If you are determined to have better multitasking capabilities, but your budget doesn’t allow for ultrawide or two screens, then there is another solution that can give you more screen space without sacrificing anything. Or rather invest in three displays instead of one big ultrawide display?

That was a thought process at first, but after some research, we found out that 3 monitors provide almost the same experience as a single ultrawide display. The only disadvantage of having three screens is the need for powerful graphics cards, but if your current GPU can handle games at 1440p with decent framerates, then this solution might be perfect for you.

User-level

We'll also briefly discuss the different types of people that would enjoy each type of monitor. UltraWide monitors are ideal for competitive gamers since they allow you to have a large area on your screen that shows you what is going on around them in-game.

This can be especially useful if you have multiple enemies attacking you from different angles, or if you want to keep an eye on your sniper's position during a search mission. On the other hand, for more casual gamers who aren't so concerned about being at the top of their game, dual monitors are probably fine although it doesn't hurt to try out an ultra-wide anyway.

What about a triple monitor setup?

If you are not into competitive gaming and you just play older games or indie titles on your PC, then your performance will almost certainly stay unaffected by using 3 monitors vs one UltraWide screen.

However, since Triple Monitor setups don't usually offer higher resolutions than UltraWide's 3440 x 1440 pixels, they may run slower in demanding games due to more pixels being rendered per second compared t ultrawide's 20344800 pixels per second.

Peripherals

This section will break down whether double or triple monitors setups are better depending on your peripherals.

Keyboard/Mouse: For keyboards and mouses, you should consider your needs carefully depending on how you use your PC. If you play a lot of games or work with new productivity software such as Adobe Photoshop, multitouch trackpads might be the better choice for you.

However, if you don't need many buttons on your mouse or keyboard then a dual monitor setup might be enough since it allows for more room to move on the desk itself which can make things easier when working with large monitors that aren't next to each other.

Monitor Arms: Monitor arms (also known as VESA mounts) are devices that connect between the display and the wall to allow multiple monitors to be moved around using one stand. Depending on how flexible you need your arm to be, you can choose between a cheaper dual monitor mount that only supports two monitors versus an expensive triple monitor stand which gives you more room to move your screens around.

Conclusion

After comparing Ultrawide vs. multiple monitors, it's clear that ultrawide monitors are the best choice for casual competitive gamers since they allow you to see more of your game world which can be useful in shooters or 1v1 games.

The only reason why someone would want to use two monitors over an ultrawide is if they need the extra screen space because of work-related software (Photoshop) or simply prefer having a bigger monitor over multiple ones.