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Ultrawide Monitor vs Dual Monitor (2021): Which Setup Is Better?

More screen real estate is always better especially when it comes to work, productivity, gaming and even everyday use. With a single monitor, the available screen real estate can run out easily and things can get crowded fast. In you run into this issue regularly, you should definitely look into getting an ultrawide monitor such as the LG 34GN850-B. Alternatively, you can also go with a dual monitor setup with monitors designed specifically for this setup, like the ASUS PA278QV. Both are great options to get more screen real estate but which one is better for you?

Ultrawide Monitor vs Dual Monitor Comparison Chart

UltrawideDual Monitors (dual widescreen)
 LG 34GN850-B 34 Inch 21: 9 UltraGear Curved QHD (3440 x 1440) 1ms Nano IPS Gaming Monitor with 144Hz...ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27” WQHD (2560 x 1440) Monitor, 100% sRGB/Rec. 709 ΔE  2, IPS,...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Screen Size25 – 38 inches (ultrawide)
43 – 49 inches (super ultrawide)
21.5 – 43 inches
Resolutions2560 x 1080
3440 x 1440
3840 x 1600
3840 x 1080 (super ultrawide)
5120 x 1440 (super ultrawide)
1920 x 1080
2560 x 1440
3840 x 2160
5120 x 2880
Aspect Ratio21:9
32:9
16:9
16:10
Panel TypeVA
IPS
TN
VA
IPS
Curved or FlatCurved and flat optionsCurved and flat options

Ultrawide vs Dual Monitor Setup

An ultrawide monitor is easier to set-up, while a dual monitor setup gives you more screen real estate.

Both setups can have a clean look.

There are two types of ultrawide monitors—ultrawide 21:9 monitors and super ultrawide 32:9 monitors. With an ultrawide monitor such as the LG 34GN850-B, you’ll be getting a wider screen than a standard widescreen (16:9) monitor, about 33% wider on each side. A super ultrawide monitor like the Dell U4919DW, on the other hand, offers the widest view and it’s just like having two widescreen (16:9) monitors side-by-side, without the bezels in the middle.

With a dual monitor setup, you simply have two monitors on your desk. You can use two widescreen monitors, one widescreen and one ultrawide and so on. There are no restrictions to the types of monitor that you can pair in a dual setup mode. You can have a side-by-side dual monitor setup with one monitor on landscape mode and the other on portrait mode, a stacked setup and more, it’s up to your preference how you want to arrange them.

Ultrawide Pros and Cons

The most common ultrawide monitor resolutions are 2560 x 1080, 3440 x 1440, 3840 x 1600 and 5120 x 1440 (super ultrawide). With ultrawide monitors, you’ll get more screen real estate without the bezels in the middle for a more seamless experience. This is great for gaming, media consumption, content creation, video editing and more. Also, it’s easier to setup since you only have one monitor. There are less cables to deal with and you don’t have to tinker with display settings to set it up properly. You just need to set it to its native resolution and you’re good to go.

While it does have a lot of advantages, there also disadvantages to ultrawide monitors, the biggest of which is its price. There are affordable ultrawide monitors but they don’t have the best features such as an IPS panel, high refresh rate and more. If you want an ultrawide monitor with the best features, you’ll have to be ready to spend some serious money.

Dual Monitor Pros and Cons

With dual monitor setups, you can potentially spend less money to get more screen real estate. You can do this by getting one premium monitor for your main display, then getting a cheaper one for your secondary display. Since widescreen monitors are cheaper than ultrawide monitors, you can really save a lot of money by opting to go for a dual monitor setup. Another advantage is that you can position your monitors however you want to fit your preference.

One of the biggest drawbacks to having a dual monitor setup is that the bezels in the middle can be really annoying, even with monitors that have super thin bezels. If you want to watch a movie or play some games, you can’t really use the two monitors to display a single image since the bezels in the middle will be in the way. Also, a dual monitor setup can be harder to setup if you are not used to doing so.

Another drawback is that two monitors, even if they are the same model, can be hard to match when it comes to color, brightness, etc. You’ll do a lot of tweaking if you want to have matching displays.

For Professional Use

You should choose between a dual monitor setup or an ultrawide depending on the work that you do.

The ASUS PA278QV (image) is great for color-centric projects since it displays accurate colors.

Depending on your workload, a dual monitor setup or an ultrawide monitor will be better. For video editing and content creators that deal with timelines on a regular basis, an ultrawide monitor is recommended since it can have a fuller view of the timeline. An ideal setup here is a dual monitor with an ultrawide and a standard widescreen, since you’ll be able to use the secondary screen for previewing your work. However, if your budget does not allow you to have this setup, then you should opt for a single ultrawide monitor.

For power users that need the most screen real estate, a dual monitor setup is ideal since you can have dual 4K screens for the most screen real estate. Also, you don’t really have to worry about the bezels in the middle since it won’t be a distraction to your work. This setup is ideal for people that need multiple tabs or windows open for their work.

For graphic artists and artists in general, you can go with either a dual monitor setup or a single ultrawide monitor. The most important features that you’ll need to look at are the color reproduction and accuracy of your monitor. Something like the ASUS PA278QV is great for this since it is calibrated to output accurate colors.

For Everyday Use

A dual monitor setup is overkill for everyday use.

With a dual monitor setup, you can position the monitors however you want.

For everyday use like media consumption, web browsing and working from home, you don’t really need a dual monitor setup, but there are also no rules that say that you can’t. So it really is up to you, but if you want to save money, then going for a single monitor setup will help you do so.

In this case, we are more partial towards an ultrawide monitor than a standard widescreen monitor since it offers more flexibility. With an ultrawide monitor, you’ll have more screen real estate so you’ll be able to open multiple windows, tabs and so on. Also, the 21:9 aspect ratio of an ultrawide monitor is close to the 2.35 aspect ratio of movies, so you can have a more enjoyable experience viewing movies since there won’t be any black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. However, for shows or movies that are shot with a 16:9 aspect ratio, an ultrawide monitor will have black bars at the sides.

Of course, you can also get a standard widescreen monitor if you just want an external monitor for your laptop or you want something affordable. You’ll find that there are a lot of monitor options from top brands such as Dell, LG and more. On that note, here are our best Dell monitors for home office and everyday use.

For Gaming

When it comes to gaming, a single monitor is ideal.

An ultrawide monitor like the LG 34GN850-B (image) gives you an immersive and responsive gaming experience.

When it comes to gaming, an ultrawide monitor is ideal since you can’t really use dual monitors simultaneously because of the bezels in the middle. However, if you are also streaming, then you should definitely go for a dual monitor setup, preferably, dual widescreens. We recommend dual widescreen monitors for streaming since most streaming platforms are still janky when it comes to ultrawide aspect ratios.

If your PC is for gaming only, an ultrawide monitor is our top choice. With it, your peripheral vision spans the entire monitor for a more immersive experience. Also, its wider field of view will give you an advantage over other players in multiplayer games.

One downside is that most older games do not have any official support for the ultrawide aspect ratio, so you’ll need to rely on mods or patches to get them to work. Even then, not all games come with community patches or mods, so you’ll only be able to play them on a 16:9 aspect ratio. This is not a problem with newer games since majority of them have native support for ultrawide monitors.

Alternatively, you can go for a standard widescreen if you just want everything to run flawlessly. There are a lot of budget gaming monitors that offer great price to performance that you can choose from. Also, there are premium ones that have all the best gaming features but at a steeper price point, such as the Alienware AW2721D.

Verdict

Ultrawide monitors are easier to setup while dual monitors will give you more screen real estate.

An ultrawide monitor like the LG 34GN850-B is great for gaming, content creation, video editing and other tasks that involve a lot of horizontal scrolling. You can have a more seamless experience since there are no middle bezels that can distract you. Also, having just one monitor is easier to setup since you don’t have to mess with the display settings on your computer.

On the other hand, a dual monitor setup is great for overall productivity since it will give you more screen real estate. You can also save some money since a standard widescreen like the ASUS PA278QV is cheaper than an ultrawide monitor with similar features. However, a dual monitor setup can be more difficult to deal with since you have to tinker with the display settings on your PC to get them to behave as you like. Also, you can’t use both monitors simultaneously when it comes to media consumption and gaming since the bezels will obstruct your view. For work and productivity, a dual monitor can be a better solution than a single ultrawide monitor.

FAQs

📌 Are ultrawide monitors better than dual monitors?

Ultrawide monitors are not necessarily better than dual monitors, but they are simpler to setup and dealing with just one monitor instead of two is easier.

📌 Are dual monitors worth it?

It depends on the use-case. For everyday use or even gaming, dual monitors may not be worth it. However, for productivity and other work related tasks, it can save you time and make your workflow easier.

📌 Can you use an ultrawide monitor with a laptop?

Most modern laptops will work with an external ultrawide monitor.

📌 Do two monitors decrease FPS in games?

No, it will not affect your FPS if you’re only gaming on your main display, even with the secondary monitor enabled. However, if you play across two monitors, then the resolution increases and your FPS may suffer for it.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.