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

Included in this guide:

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

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Huge display+HDR
Reasons to avoid
-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

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+4K and Ultrawide+Built-in Qi wireless charging
Reasons to avoid
-No HDR

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 CU34G2

A well-priced ultrawide option

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-Not USB-C

The AOC Agon Curved Ultrawide CU34G2 is, like many ultrawide monitors, primarily a gaming monitor. And while its design might put some people off, 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 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.

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. 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 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.

best ultrawide monitor for photo editing - MSI Optix MPG341CQR

(Image credit: MSI)

5. MSI Optix MPG341CQR

MSI's latest ultrawide is a sight to behold

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 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.

(Image credit: Dell)

6. Dell S3422DWG

Another gaming display, but it's also great for photographers

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 

Yes, here's another gaming monitor, but that's par for the course with most ultrawide displays. At least the Dell S3422DWG sports a relatively inoffensive exterior design, though features like a keyboard-illuminating downlight may not be that useful if you're not planning on gaming late into the night. The respectable 90% DCI-P3 color space coverage is far more important for photographers, as is the DisplayHDR 400 certification, which combined with the excellent 3000:1 contrast ratio makes this a good choice for working with HDR content. Dual HDMI, a DisplayPort, and plenty of USB ports ensure good connectivity options.

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