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The best ultrawide monitor in 2022: expand your photo editing horizons

One of the best ultrawide monitors, on an office desk surrounded by plants
(Image credit: LG)

With the best ultrawide monitor, the task of editing photos becomes easier, quicker and more enjoyable. Whether you want to view a number of photos at once, place two multiple desktop windows side-by-side, or just see all your Photoshop tools and palettes without the screen cutting them off, you'll have so much more room to do so. 

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So what, exactly, does ultrawide mean? Well, ordinary monitors for photo editing have an aspect ratio (opens in new tab) of 16:9, but ultrawide monitors typically are 21:9. This gives you more space to work on, without having to set up multiple monitors. There are also an increasing number of monitors that have even wider aspect ratios of 32:9.

Yes, you could use multiple monitors to achieve the same thing. However, that tends to be more expensive, and creates a lot of clutter, as each monitor has its own stand, and will trail its cables and leads from your PC. There's also the fact that the edges of each monitor break up an image. With an ultrawide monitor, that's not an issue.

How to choose the best ultrawide monitor

So how do you choose the best ultrawide monitor for you? First, think about how big you want to be. Due to the wide aspect ratio, you'll want a large monitor to ensure the vertical height isn't too short. Look for one that's at least 34 inches wide. Also consider resolution. If your budget stretches to it, we'd suggest going for 3,440 x 1,440 at a minimum.

With all that in mind, below you'll find the best ultrawide monitors for photo editing. Note that many of these are primarily aimed at gamers. But that's no bad thing, as many game-orientated features, such as high contrast ratios, wide color gamuts and low latency are also beneficial to photo and video editing.

The best ultrawide monitor in 2022

(Image credit: BenQ)
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1. BenQ PD3420Q

The best ultrawide monitor overall

Specifications

Screen size: 34-inch
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440
Brightness: 350 cd/m2
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Response time: 5ms
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Color support: 100% Rec.709,100% sRGB, 98% DCI-P3
Weight: 9.3kg

Reasons to buy

+
Huge display
+
Excellent color space coverage
+
HDR

Reasons to avoid

-
A hefty investment

The BenQ PD3420Q is our overall pick as the best ultrawide monitor for photographers. It boasts a quality 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, spread over a 34-inch 21:9 ultrawide screen, giving you a huge desktop to work on. And its 2,500:1 contrast means your images will look bright and vibrant. 

The PD3420Q also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), backed up by VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification, enabling enhanced clarity in extreme highlight and shadow areas. Crucially, this monitor also has 100% sRGB, 100% Rec.709 and an impressive 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage, making it a great choice for photographers, videographers and designers alike.

(Image credit: LG)
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2. LG 34WP85C-B

The best ultrawide monitor with a curve

Specifications

Screen size: 34 inches
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3440x1440 (UWQHD)
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Accessible price
+
Decent 3440 x 1440 res for the money
+
99% sRGB coverage

Reasons to avoid

-
Huge width dominates a desk

Fancy a curved ultrawide monitor? Then we reckon the LG 34WP85C represents superb value. 

For starters, it's an IPS display, so color and contrast accuracy should be more reliable than a cheaper curved monitor using VA LCD screen technology. You also get a decent 95% DCI-P3 color space coverage, plus there's HDR10 certification for viewing high dynamic range content. 

The 3440 x 1440 aspect ratio is to be expected for this screen size, and matches equivalently-sized curved monitors at higher price points. And so all things considered, this LG panel is quite the bargain.

(Image credit: AOC)
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3. AOC Agon Curved Ultrawide CU34G2

The best ultrawide monitor for photo editors on a budget

Specifications

Screen size: 34-inch
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Refresh rate: 100Hz
Response time: 1ms
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 3,000:1
Color support: sRGB 100%
Weight: 8kg

Reasons to buy

+
100% sRGB coverage
+
Well priced
+
Fast response time

Reasons to avoid

-
Not particularly bright
-
Not IPS

The best ultrawide monitors don't come cheap. But if you're short on funds, it is possible to buy a quality monitor for less. And our top budget buy right now is the AOC Agon Curved Ultrawide CU34G2. 

Like many ultrawide monitors, this is primarily designed and marketed as a gaming monitor. But it has a lot to offer photographers too. This curved monitor has a high 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, decent 3,000:1 contrast ratio and high 100Hz refresh rate. This makes it feel smooth and responsive when in use. A 100% sRGB color space coverage is another nice feature to have for serious image editing. However with only a 300-nit max brightness, working with HDR content is a no-no.

LG 38GN950-B, one of the best ultrawide monitors

(Image credit: LG)

4. LG UltraGear 38GN950

The best 38-inch ultrawide monitor

Specifications

Screen size: 38 inches
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3840 x 1600
Brightness: 450cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Huge screen
+
Fantastic picture quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Takes up desk space

Want a bigger screen than the 34-inchers we've listed so far? Then the 38-inch LG UltraGear 38GN950 will give you that extra space you're craving. With a  super-smooth 160Hz refresh rate, this premium-priced monitor is very much aimed at the gaming market, but it has a lot to offer photo and video editors nonetheless. With QHD+ resolution of 3840 x 1600 you'll be able to see everything in incredible detail, and with brightness of up to 450cd/m2 and DCI-P3 98% color gamut support, the picture quality is impressive indeed.

(Image credit: Samsung)
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5. Samsung CHG90 QLED

The widest ultrawide monitor on the market

Specifications

Screen Size: 49-inch
Aspect Ratio: 32:9
Resolution: 3,840 x 1080
Viewing Angle: 178/178
Contrast Ratio: 3,000:1
Color Support: N/A
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
Weight: 15kg

Reasons to buy

+
Flawless image quality
+
Impressive Color reproduction
+
Smooth 144Hz refresh rate

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Only 1080p vertically

If a normal ultrawide monitor isn't wide enough for you, and you want something even wider, then the Samsung CHG90 QLED is going to be right up your street. 

With a 49.5 inch screen, with an ultra-ultrawide 32: 9 ratio it'll take up your entire desk, but the amount of workspace will be unbeatable. With an impressive 3,840 x 1080 resolution and HDR support, you'll be able to work on multiple photos or videos at once, safe in the knowledge they'll all look fantastic on screen. This is an expensive option, for sure, but worth the money if you want the widest possible canvas for your photo editing.

MSI Optix MPG341CQR, one of the best ultrawide monitors

(Image credit: MSI)

6. MSI Optix MPG341CQR

The best ultrawide monitor for colour and contrast

Specifications

Screen size: 34-inch
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440
Brightness: 400 nits
Refresh rate: 144Hz
Response time: 1ms
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 3000:1
Color support: sRGB 105%
Weight: 9.8kg

Reasons to buy

+
Punchy VA panel
+
Great gaming performance
+
Really strong overall feature set

Reasons to avoid

-
This class of monitor is expensive

The MSI Optix MPG341CQR makes its way onto this list of best ultrawide monitors thanks to its use of VA panel technology. This offers more vibrant colors and better contrast when compared to an IPS screen, resulting in an impressive 3000:1 contrast ratio. 

The 34-inch screen also covers 100% of the sRGB color space, and its 400-nit max brightness is particularly high. Overall, this is an excellent ultrawide monitor for photographers, and it's reasonably well priced considering the specs.

(Image credit: Dell)
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7. Dell S3422DWG

A great choice for HDR content

Specifications

Screen size: 34-inch
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440
Brightness: 400 cd/m2
Refresh rate: 144Hz
Response time: 2ms
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 3,000:1
Color support: DCI-P3 90%
Weight: 7.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
90% DCI-P3 color coverage
+
High contrast ratio
+
Respectable brightness

Reasons to avoid

-
Not IPS
-
Unnecessary gamer features 

The Dell S3422DWG is another gaming monitor, and its keyboard-illuminating downlight may not be that useful if you're a non-gamer. What photographers will love, though, is the very respectable 90% DCI-P3 color space coverage and the DisplayHDR 400 certification. 

Combined with the excellent 3000:1 contrast ratio, that makes this 34-inch ultrawide monitor a great choice for working with HDR content. It offers great connectivity, too, thanks to the inclusion of dual HDMI, a DisplayPort, and plenty of USB ports.

How we test monitors

We evaluate a monitor with particular attention given to its core image quality, including brightness, contrast, color vibrancy and accuracy. While this can - and will - be assessed by the experienced eye of our professional reviewer, some manufacturer screen specs can only be definitively judged by an 'electronic eye' - a monitor calibrator. Where possible, a calibration device will be placed on the screen to verify its advertised color space coverage, brightness output and consistency, and factory color calibration accuracy. Beyond image quality, we'll also scrutinise the monitor's display and data ports to ensure acceptable connectivity, and will give a thorough assessment of build quality, including the range of ergonomic adjustment in its stand. Only then will we determine if a screen is worthy of use by a discerning imaging or video enthusiast.

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