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The best ultrawide monitor in 2021: expand your photo editing horizons

LG ultrawide monitor
(Image credit: LG)

Welcome to our guide to the best ultrawide monitors for photo editing. Ultrawide monitors offer huge amounts of screen real estate, which makes them ideal for photographers. 

A wide screen allows you to open up multiple windows on the display, without them being hidden behind each other. And when using Photoshop, or other editing app, you can see all your tools and palettes neatly around your workspace. This makes multitasking much easier; enabling you to view and edit photographs all

First of all, let's explain what makes a monitor ultrawide. Traditional widescreen monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9 (see our guide to conventional 16:9 monitors for photo editing). However, ultrawide monitors have a 21:9 aspect ratio. So, while they are the same height, they are much wider, giving you a lot more space to work on without having to set up multiple monitors on the same desk. There are also an increasing number of monitors that have even wider aspect ratios of 32:9.

Traditionally, people would use multiple monitors to achieve this kind of desktop real estate. However, that approach has its drawbacks. First of all, buying multiple monitors can be expensive. They also take up more room on your desk, as each one has its own stand, and will trail its cables and leads from your PC. A one-screen solution is neater - and often much more affordable.

There's also the fact that when side-by-side, you'll have the edges of each monitor breaking up the image. With an ultrawide monitor, that's not a problem.

What to look for in an ultrawide monitor

On the hunt for the best ultrawide monitor for photographers? There are a few things you should bear in mind. The first one is size. Due to the wide aspect ratio, you'll want a large monitor to ensure that the vertical height of the screen isn't too short. Look for one that's at least 34 inches wide. 

You'll also want to make sure the monitor has a high resolution. While some ultrawide monitors come with 2,560 x 1,080 resolutions, we find the 1,080 vertical resolution to be too low, leading to the monitors feeling more cramped. If your budget stretches to it, we'd suggest going for 3,440 x 1,440 at a minimum.

We should also note that many of the ultrawide monitors on this page are gaming monitors – as the ultrawide format lends itself well to immersive gaming. That doesn't mean you should skip them if you have no interest in games, as many gaming-orientated features, such as high contrast ratios, wide color gamuts and low latency can also be beneficial to photo and video editing.

Best ultrawide monitor in 2021

(Image credit: BenQ)

1. BenQ EX3501R

The best ultrawide monitor for photo editing overall

Screen size: 35-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 100Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,500:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 10.4kg

Huge display
Needs a bit of tweaking

The BenQ EX3501R is our pick for the best ultrawide monitor for photographers. Its 3,440 x 1,440 resolution gives you a huge desktop to work on, and its 2,500:1 contrast leads to bright and vibrant images. It also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), which is still a rarity with ultrawide monitors. Crucially, this monitor has 100% sRGB support, making it a great choice for photographers and digital creatives.

(Image credit: Asus)

2. Asus Designo Curve MX38VC

A brilliant ultrawide monitor for creatives

Screen size: 37.5-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,840 x 1,600 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Response time: 5ms G2G (grey-to-grey) | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: 1.07 million colors | Weight: 9.9kg

4K and Ultrawide
Built-in Qi wireless charging

The Asus Designo Curve MX38VC is an excellent ultrawide monitor for photographers, thanks in part to its impressive colour accuracy and high resolution. It's got a stylish design that will ensure it fits in with most modern studios, and while it doesn't offer HDR like the BenQ EX3501R, it's still capable of breathtaking image quality. Built-in Qi wireless charging for smartphones is another excellent bonus.

(Image credit: AOC)

3. AOC Agon Curved Ultrawide AG353UCG

A fast, color-accurate, ultrawide option

Screen size: 35-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 1000 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 200Hz | Response time: 2ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 2,500:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 13.75kg

95% AdobeRGB coverage
Up to 200Hz refresh rate
Huge 1000 cd/m2 brightness
Thick bezels
Very expensive

The AOC Agon Curved Ultrawide AG353UCG is, like many ultrawide monitors, primarily a  gaming monitor. And while its design might put some people off (this monitor is all sharp edges and glowing RGB lighting), the screen itself would definitely suit photographers looking for a large monitor to work on. It has a high 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, decent 2,500:1 contrast ratio and high 200Hz refresh rate. This makes it feel fast, smooth and responsive when in use. The impressive 95% AdobeRGB color space coverage is another nice feature to have for serious image editing.

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung CHG90 QLED

The widest ultrawide monitor on the market

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

Flawless image quality
Impressive Color reproduction
Smooth 144Hz refresh rate
Only 1080p vertically

If you're looking for the widest ultrawide monitor on the market today, the huge Samsung CHG90 QLED is the one to get. At 49.5 inches it'll take up your entire desk, but the amount of workspace it offers is unbeatable. It has a staggering 3,840 x 1080 resolution and HDR support, so 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 expensive, but worth the money if you want a huge canvas to work on.


(Image credit: MSI)

5. MSI Optix MPG341CQR

MSI's latest ultrawide is a sight to behold

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

Punchy VA panel
Great gaming performance
Really strong overall feature set
This class of monitor is expensive

The MSI Optix MPG341CQR has made its way onto this list of best ultrawide monitors for photographers thanks in part 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 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 specifications you get.

Alienware AW3418DW

(Image credit: Alienware)

6. Alienware AW3418DW

This monitor is showing its age, but is still very good

Screen size: 34-inch | Aspect ratio: 21:9 | Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440 | Brightness: 300 cd/m2 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Response time: 4ms | Viewing angle: 178/178 | Contrast ratio: 1,000:1 | Color support: sRGB 100% | Weight: 11.8kg

Excellent display

Dell is well known for producing excellent monitors, so its no surprise that its gaming brand Alienware is also a dab-hand at making screens. While the Alienware AW3418DW has been out for a while now, it's still one of the best ultrawide monitors money can buy – for both gamers and photographers. Alienware's a premium brand, so the price can be a bit high. However, for your money you do get a stunning high-resolution panel with 100% sRGB coverage and a gorgeous design that's not too garish (as some gaming monitors can be) – and there are some nice deals to be had now that it has been out for a while.

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