Technology evolves rapidly. Monitors weren’t always as diverse as they are now. A generic, cheap monitor is sufficient for everyday office work. Gaming monitors, like most of the items developed for the niche, tend to have better hardware designed to handle the visual strain of games.
Gaming monitors have better image quality, faster response times, and higher refresh rates, all of which impact the gaming experience. A faster refresh and response rate will increase frames and reduce tearing, while better image quality will just feel better overall. Your computer’s specifications will determine how many frames you’ll get, but without a capable monitor, you’ll experience visual tearing.
Ultrawide monitors take these requirements and add an extra spin to them. They’re designed to maximize image and immersion. Games will feel bigger and better when you’re visually surrounded by the environment.
For the purposes of this list, “ultrawide” is defined as 30 inches in width or higher. It could go as low as 27 inches, but that may barely qualify. Ultrawide monitors utilize a different aspect ratio than most monitors, one that’s more cinematic. This will be the primary way to recognize an ultrawide monitor compared to the standard option. Ultrawide monitors vary in their exact ratio, but a standard monitor will use a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Here are five of the best ultrawide gaming monitors to gift this holiday season.
Acer Predator Gaming X34
The Acer Predator X34 isn’t the largest monitor on this list, but it’s one of the cheapest options—though all of them are expensive, so that may not be saying much. Acer as a brand makes decent products that last.
The Acer Predator has a fast, 100hz refresh rate that can overclock to 120hz. This isn’t the fastest refresh rate, but it’s better than most monitor standards of 60hz. The response time is four milliseconds, one of the fastest on the market. It features G-SYNC technology, which is standard for most gaming monitors now.
Dell’s gaming brand Alienware has some vocal fans. Benefitting from the Dell brand, Alienware gets a lot of marketing and trust. And Alienware’s monitors, at first glance, are as decent as the Acer above.
With the same size, same overclocked 120 hz, and four milliseconds response time, it doesn’t offer much in terms of gameplay quality that the Acer doesn’t. But since Alienware can afford to add some extra bells and whistles, this model has four different lighting zones that can be customized for a nice, personalized look.
Asus ROG Strix XG49VQ
This Asus takes the competition to the next level. Coming in at a massive, curved 49 inches, this beast of a monitor will engulf you in your gameplay. It may also absorb anyone that enters your room with its entrancing colors and quality.
It has an excellent 144hz refresh rate, but a standard four milliseconds response time. You won’t notice something that small, so four milliseconds is negligible, even if faster response times exist. If you have an AMD graphics card, this monitor also offers Freesync two instead of G-SYNC.
The size is part of the package, but if you aren’t interested in this hulking beast on your desk, you can customize it so it acts as two separate, 27-inch displays. This is a handy trick if the size starts to feel overwhelming or for someone who needs to multitask.
Samsung CRG90 LC49RG90SSNXZA
Samsung is a strange, jack of all trades brand that’s great at everything it does. Another 49-inch monster that’s sure to make your television feel inferior, the Samsung CRG90 is a powerful gaming monitor.
While it’s a powerful monitor, it’s a step down from the 2017 CRG90. For a newer model, it has a slower response time at four milliseconds and a slower refresh rate at 120hz. Its predecessor was nearly flawless, coming in at 144hz and one millisecond. If it weren’t from 2017, it would take the title for best gaming monitor.
LG 34GK950F Ultragear
After reading about the previous monitor, this one might seem a bit small. The LG 34GK950F may seem like a step down, but it steps up where the others lack. This LG monitor has a speedy response time of one millisecond. While you probably won’t notice this in real time, it’s nice to have for reducing motion blur and increasing accuracy. It also offers a 144hz refresh rate and Freesync two technology through AMD. It has some quick select options to visually optimize your game.
Gaming monitors are a strange breed that offer a lot of unique variations. These are some of the best on the market right now, even if they’re all on the expensive side. All of the monitors on this list are curved. While it’s unintentional, it’s a common aspect of ultrawide monitors. Part of the appeal of ultrawide monitors is their ability to immerse the player in the game. A curved monitor adds to that effect.