4K Vs Ultrawide (Non 4k) Discussion

Anyone used both before quite heavily for work/general productivity and some light gaming?

Trying to determine which one is best fit for my use.

Work is mainly in Video conferencing along with documenting information on Confluence/JIRA and some light Excel use along with the usual emails etc…
I also do some process mapping in Visio.

Personal use is mainly web browsing/youtube etc… with probably 10-20% gaming and another 10-20% video editing.

Looking at anything 34" and above. No particular budget as I'll start to pull one once I actually compare the ones I want.

Thanks all!

Comments

  • I would personally choose ultrawide. The convenience of having that extra real estate is much more worth it than the 4K imo.

    • Ultrawide does not have more real estate than 3840x2160 unless you think "real estate" means something other than resolution.

      • I am talking real estate in terms of the aspect ratio of the screen allowing you to have things arranged on the screen in a more natural way. For example, I like to watch things on YouTube while writing stories using Microsoft Word. When I do this I have a full sized Microsoft Word on one side of the screen, and then YouTube in the top right corner while my notes for the stories are in the bottom right corner.

  • I have a 40" 4K Philips and it's honestly too big for me. You have to move your head constantly to take in the whole screen. I'm going to buy a 27" 2560x1440 because I think that will be the right balance between screen size and resolution for me. A 34" 3440x1440 might be OK too but they're much more expensive and still pretty big (would be great for gaming where you can sit back a bit but my main use is programming). That sounds like it might be the sweet spot for you though.

    Edit: I probably should mention that I have two other 24" 1080p monitors running too.

    • Heh, see I think 40" is about where a good 4K experience happens without scaling.

  • +6 votes

    I'm using a 34" Ultrawide and I would never go back to a dual monitor setup or consider 4k until its much more mature

    pro:

    its like have side by side screens without the middle bezel / seem
    heaps of apps, and windows in general, have DPI and scaling issues with 4k, the alternative is you put up with microscopic views in native res
    if you game AAA titles, you need more processing to get you steady FPS on 4k

    cons:

    none, sick with a 1440p and don't bother with a 1080p ultrawide

    • +2 votes

      forgot to add, games look amazing in 21:9

    • its like have side by side screens

      It's not two screens, more like 1.5.

      32:9 is like having two screens.

      • +2 votes

        I'm not going to argue semantics with you.
        It's not like you have 100% of 1 window open 50% of another when you run 2 windows side by side on a 21:9
        Even at 16:9 there is an abundance of unused space on edges of the screen during day to day use.

  • I have similar needs and my setup is:

    On the left - 15" Macbook pro, on a twelve south curve stand (keeps macbook screen at eye level and gets the mac keyboard/cpu etc off desk where it is wasting space and cramping my style)
    In the middle - 27" 4K USB-C monitor, landscape, with a logitech webcam. (I dont use the macbook webcam because it is off to the left and everyone would only see the side of my head most of hte time)
    on the right - 27" 4K USB-C monitor, portrait.

    Wireless keyboard and mouse.

    One thing to consider is just how awesome USB-C monitors are. Single cable to your laptop and charges the laptop, and you can plug peripherals (webcams etc) into the back.

    If you don't have a particular budget I would consider getting 2x 27" instead, and make sure they are USB-C.

    One of the monitors was an upgrade from a 27" 2K monitor and you can definitely tell the difference.

    • One thing I'll ask: how much fire is coming out of your laptop during normal use, and do you need to wear ear protection due to those jet engines fans? Which year / GPU is your laptop? :)

      • It’s a 2017 i7 15” MacBook Pro.

        And yeah, 1x 4K monitor + retina laptop screen= no fans
        2x 4K monitor + retina laptop screen = fan.

        But I wear QC35s and spend most of my day in zoom calls so can’t hear it. MacBook can isn’t particularly loud to begin with though.

  • 4k doesn't really help much on monitors below 32 inches. The text becomes too small and you need to zoom it which beats the purpose of multitasking on one screen.

  • I use a 27" 4K monitor at 100% dpi. At a distance of about 60cm from my face. It's readable if it's an IPS panel. The one at work is 28" 4K and a VA panel and I cant read that.

  • 100% ultrawide. So much nicer than multiple 16:9 screens - ESPECIALLY for video editing. I used to have two Dell 16:9 1440p monitors, but once I got my Acer Predator X34P, I sold both of them and didn't even bother with a second screen.

    Few recommendations:
    Get a 1440p monitor. Do not even consider the 1080p variant. The pixel density on the 1080p is atrocious compared to the 1440p.

    Really toss up 32:9 vs. 21:9. Going 32:9 is the same as stacking two 16:9 monitors side-by-side, whereas 21:9 is only about 30% wider than 16:9. So if you're used to two 16:9 monitors, going to a single 21:9 monitor is technically less screen real estate, just in a more concentrated area. I've honestly not had any issues with 21:9 as it's forced me to be more efficient with my window management.

    And speaking of window management, you'll want to get Windows PowerToys for their Fancy Zones functionality, which allows you to have non-standard window snapping zones to more easily arrange your windows.

    You'll also likely find that due to the bulk and the width of them, that you won't really be able to deal with a secondary monitor as it will require quite significant turning of the neck/body to view it easily. About the most you'd want is a second monitor in portrait orientation (or perhaps above your UW). And due to the aforementioned bulk, you'll want quite a decent monitor arm to support it. The stands that come with them are massive, and will take up half your desk - so budgeting for a decent monitor arm is also important (I went for the ZenSpaceDesks Single Monitor Arm)

    Another consideration is the power of your PC (specifically graphics card) for gaming. Going from 2560x1440 to 3440x1440 is a 34% increase in raw pixels, which means you can expect significantly lower frame rate if you run at the same settings you're currently running at. Thankfully nVidia's Geforce Experience does an excellent job at optimising settings for games to run at an acceptable frame rate. I generally let it handle the optimisations for me rather than spend hours tinkering to find the best settings.

    Hope this helps! Happy to answer any other specific questions.

    • Thanks for all the info!
      Anything you recommend in particular?

      I was originally looking at 34" and 43"
      The issue with 43" is the display is 3840 x 1200 vs the 34's or 35's are 3840 x 1200

      Unsure if my work laptop (HP X360) can cope but I'm sure my graphics card for home PC can!
      MSI 5700 XT

      • Sure!

        As always, RTings is a fantastic source for full nerdy tech details/reviews on the best monitors around. However, most of their reviews are for aging monitors now as there's a new wave of ultrawides coming soon.

        Case in point, their top monitor has a new (slightly more budget) iteration that's just about to be released, the LG 34GN850-B. Not available in AU yet, but looks to be preordering around $1k US, so would expect around $1.4-$1.6k AU for it.

        The other resource that's very helpful is PC Part Picker. This gives a very good rundown of each monitor compared to other monitors, as well as their price (and price history).

        I personally opted to pay the extra for the IPS panel over the VA panel (don't go TN - it's for competitive FPS only) due to the colour reproduction. I've been very happy with my Acer Predator X34P for about 2 months now. It is a 2+ year old monitor, so I would likely expect a new iteration either this year or next year. I paid $1149 for it, and the lowest it's been is $999 I believe.

        Other brands that are constantly recommended are the ASUS ROG ones, the LG UltraGear ones, and the Dell/AlienWare ones.

        Finally, would recommend trawling through posts on /r/ultrawidemasterrace for personal experiences with the monitors (as well as "ascension" pics of how they look).

    • I got the 34" Samsung Ultrawide with USB-C (LC34H892WGEXXY), have had it for around 3 or 4 weeks now. Really enjoying it, decided for this over 2x 27" and it has been great. There aren't that many USB-C monitors around hence getting the Samsung despite it being a VA. I haven't had any issues with colour reproduction/viewing angles at all. The one issue I have had is with screen sharing, in the past I used to share my whole monitor so that I could swap windows in and out at ease, but for the plebs common folk without an ultrawide monitor, my screen comes up very small for them. Can solve this by just sharing specific application windows but isn't ideal. I'll look into PowerToys, thanks for the suggestion!

      In terms of an arm, I got a North Bayou F100A which has been fantastic. It is rated up to 12kg/35" screen and after upping the tension on it, works really nicely. I was planning on using the clamp mount but it wasn't that much effort and ended up being a better outcome drilling a hole through the desk and using the grommet mount. I have a crappy ikea desk that isn't solid so I have a metal plate on top and a bit of cable tray underneath to spread the load and avoid cracking through the desk surfaces.
      The mount also has some USB ports on the front of the base and extension cables so that they can be plugged into a computer or a wall charger if needed.

  • I bought a 32in 4k and returned it as the text was just too small. Spent ages stuffing around with settings, scaling etc and couldn't get it nice.

  • 34" 21:9, 3440 x 1440, never go back. There are great older models for quite cheap nowadays. I wouldn't mind upgrading to a 120hz one however - mine is 60hz, use it for gaming, video editing, photo editing, documents. It's a life changer.

  • Anyone used both before quite heavily for work/general productivity and some light gaming?

    After owning 4K and 3440x1440 monitors for a long time I think the 4K is better for gaming. With the exception of driving games and simulation games where ultrawide is better.

    If you play FPS predominantly Ultrawide is a worse choice compared to 16:9 because FOV is usually calculated vertically which restricts your ability to see the game world.

    4K is better for productivity.

    Just IME.

    • Most good FPS allow you to customize FOV though. Normal FOV is around 90 for PC, 60 for console. Ultrawide should be around 120-130.

      Sure, some of them don't allow it to go that high, and some don't have perspective warp compensation at FOVs that high, but that's really what you're after.

  • I had a 40inch 4K and swapped it for a Kogan ultrawide. You can see a resolution difference (particularly in games), but the 40 inch was just too big. I had to move my head to look around the whole screen, and it made it uncomfortable. Perfect solution for me would be a 4K resolution ultrawide, and while a couple exist, they are crazy expensive. Having to chose, the ultrawide, is better all day long.

  • +2 votes

    You said no budget… so I'll suggest the 34" LG 5K2K panel, it's the ultrawide 4K unit. I believe another company is also selling a product using the same panel now. Price has come down a bit I believe, although obviously you're still paying a bit for it. I'm also predominantly productivity, scientific work, coding, and DCC (Adobe, Apple etc.), but still plenty of gaming. Easy for most people push the gaming angle, but if you're doing equal amounts of video editing then colour accuracy has to be as much a priority as high refresh rate. Even with a gaming panel adjacent, I often find myself preferring to play in 5K at 60 Hz for all but fast FPS titles anyway. My work desk has 3x 27" 4K panels, so I use both… obviously would prefer an ultrawide if I'm paying. But honestly for your productivity uses, go the 4K route first. 1440p displays are painful to look at once you're accustom to HiPDI displays.

    • I'm with you on this. I notice the pixels on my 1440 ultrawide, because I've grown accustomed to 4K. A 4K ultrawide is the solution, but the cost is too high for me.

      • Agreed, it is quite expensive, depends how much it is worth to you. No different to proper HDR displays or the high end gaming displays. Personally, for productivity, higher resolution is nearly always better. For gaming, 1440p-1600p UW is probably ideal (even the 2080 ti struggles at 4k+ in some titles).

        • I find 1440p a tad too low for gaming. Frame rates are great, but I can see too many pixels (edit: that's the wrong term, I can't see the pixels, but the resolution means that you still get jaggies). Even the less detailed images on my xbox One X look crisper.

    • Agree with your sentiment. HiDPI spoils you, which is why I opted for a 24-inch 4K rather than a 27-inch 4K. When positioned next to my MBP, the change in resolution is a lot less jarring.

  • Tried 4K 43" and yes you can't see edges unless you turned your head. It is 4x 1080p monitors.

    Now back to 2x 21" 1080p which I had before and the 43" 4K is now a tv / presentation monitor.

    Ultrawide: depends on how wide. If it was width of 2x 1080p monitors then I would suggest go for it whether 1080p, 1200p or 1440p. If you want like 32"+ you'll probably want a screen that is curved.