Ultrawide Monitors for Work and Everyday Use – Worth It?

Deciding to purchase an ultrawide monitor can be a tricky task. At what point is a monitor too large for work purposes and everyday use? Most people have the typical 24-inch monitor with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Anything larger than this can be quite difficult to use when you are sitting up close. Ultrawide monitors on the other hand maintain the heights aspect ratio while increasing the width aspect ratio. This creates a larger FOV (field-of-view) when you are using the display.

Ultrawide monitors have been picking up in popularity amongst workers and everyday computer users. They offer significant benefits that a single monitor simply can’t, increasing your productivity and overall user experience. I personally have owned numerous ultrawide monitors over the years and have loved every moment of using them.  

Ultrawide Monitors Increase Work Productivity

Since ultrawide monitors offer you a larger total working screen space, this means you can use multiple applications at once. When compared to a single monitor this is a significant benefit. Essentially it is like having two displays in one. I would also like to note that ultrawide monitors work best if the display is curved. As it is more immersive and covers your peripheral vision better.

ultrawide monitor setup in room

Writing While Researching

The capability to write and research at the same time is amazing. An example of this is writing an email, you will now be able to write your email while referencing important documents or information. Of course, you can do this on a single monitor. However, you have to click in between your open applications. This may sound like a minor problem but it can be annoying at times. Especially if you are like me keeping 15 applications and tabs open at once. 

Ultrawide monitors can also help you while you are writing important documents. I personally find this to be super beneficial if I need to do any research on a project that I am working on. The ability to keep my document/file open while searching for information for it is amazing. It allows me to quickly cross-reference between the two which helps to ensure accuracy. I am sure we have all made typos or errors on an important piece of work, an ultrawide monitor may assist with these errors.

Multi-Tasking

For myself, this is a big benefit for ultrawide monitors. We briefly touched on it above but you can have multiple applications open at once. This saves you a significant amount of time as you can essentially work or view multiple projects at once. For example, say you are working on a project with a team and are chatting with them while working. This will allow you to keep a chat or video calls open while working on the project. Or maybe you are working on something and would like to send an email to somebody. The possible combinations are endless and will depend on each individual. I find that after a while you get into a rhythm as to what you like to have open on the monitor for each task you work on. 

Ultrawide monitor with two applications

Satisfaction Increases

I have worked on some very tedious and boring projects in my lifetime, I am sure you have as well. I am talking about the mind-numbing tasks, that take no effort at all but are very tedious. Having more screen space to work with makes these tasks a lot more enjoyable. Whenever I have to work on a task like this I open up my favorite streaming service and work away. This alone makes an ultrawide monitor worth it for me. I can now essentially work away on a boring task while catching up on my favorite TV shows or movies. In my books, that’s a big win

Ultrawide Application Benefits

Excel

Using excel on an ultrawide monitor is an entirely new experience. When you open up a single spreadsheet it will fill the entire screen. This makes working on large tables and dashboards very easy and efficient. We have all been there when a dashboard has too many columns and you have to scroll left and right to find the information you need. Being able to visualize the entire project offers a significant benefit that a single 16:9 monitor just can’t.

excel on computer screen

Another useful feature of this is that you can have multiple spreadsheets open at once. When I am working on a large project, I find that there are typically a lot of spreadsheets associated with it. Trying to switch between excel files on a regular monitor can be difficult and annoying. Being able to have 2, or even 3 sheets open at once is amazing. It makes transferring data and formulas between them incredibly easy. Another added benefit is that it makes comparisons between sheets very fast and accurate. I am sure if you have worked on excel before, you have had to do this at least once. 

Word

As mentioned above an ultrawide monitor will allow you to write while you are researching. This is extremely beneficial if you are writing a report in word or maybe writing an essay. Another added benefit is that you can have more than one page of the document open at once. This makes any editing super easy as you are not having to consistently scroll through the pages of the document.

It is also useful in the sense that you can compare your paper to other sources. Many times we just need to quickly update a document, it is so nice to be able to reference the old one to make changes. Or maybe you would just like to compare your writing to a colleague. Having an ultrawide monitor makes this a breeze.

video editing software on monitor

Video Editing Software

Ultrawide monitors significantly increase your productivity if you are using video editing software. The increase in timeline size is honestly amazing saving you a bunch of hassle. With a standard 16:9 monitor, constantly having to adjust the timeline is one of the most annoying parts. I find that an ultrawide monitor makes this process significantly easier and I can visualize the project a lot better.

Another benefit is that many of the editing software’s allow you to open certain asset classes beside the main application. This can be extremely useful in many ways. When you are adding media to your timelines you can have that bin open and all you have to do is drag and drop. Another example is when you are color correcting anything, you can have that open as a separate application beside it. This makes it very easy to make and changes and see what is being done. Of course, this all depends on what software you are using but most support these features.

Email and Planners

This kind of falls into the same category as being able to multi-task with an ultrawide monitor. I personally make use of a lot of calendar planners to keep track of my days and schedule. While I am working this feature is even more beneficial. With an ultrawide monitor, you will be able to keep your email or calendar open at the same time. I find this most useful when I am in a virtual conference call or meeting. Being able to keep an eye on my emails or make quick appointments while in a call is incredibly useful

Passing Time With Game Applications

Although ultrawide monitors are great for work, and increasing productivity, they can also provide a great way to pass time. Ultrawide monitors provide amazing visuals and many video games support the increased aspect ratio. I have my PlayStation 5 hooked up to my monitor and I love it. If you stumble upon any ultrawide supported games and have some free time with your computer, try one out! These ultrawide supported games deliver a much more immersive gaming experience than on standard 16:9 monitors. 

Disadvantages of an Ultrawide Monitor

I am sure you can tell by now, I love working on an ultrawide monitor. But there are some negatives to it as well that you should be aware of. This would not be a fair article if I did not bring some of the issues with them to light. 

The Size

Just as the increased size is a benefit, it is also negative. In simple terms, ultrawide monitors are big. They will take up a lot more of your precious desk space that you may not be willing to sacrifice. To compensate for this it might be worth looking into a monitor mount or monitor arm. This device will lift the monitor off of your desk, also making it easier to manipulate. This is a must-have if you utilize your desk for multiple purposes. 

With the increase in size, opening up a single application may not make use of the entire monitor. This can leave awkward black bars or free space on the sides of the monitor. This is especially prevalent if you only have a video open on the display. While this may not be a problem for you, it is worth mentioning. It is also important to consider the potential for distortion. Some applications may not support the increased aspect ratio of an ultrawide monitor. To compensate for this, the app may stretch to fit the entire screen. This can be quite annoying even though it is an easy fix. Typically, all you have to do is make the application smaller by minimizing it.

Multi-Tasking

Again, multitasking is just as much a benefit as it is negative. I find myself commonly watching too many shows while I am ‘working’ on a project. As I mentioned above this can be a great benefit if you are working on a mindless task. However, when it is time to actually work, it might be difficult to do so. 

Apart from that, it can also potentially be bad having too many applications open at once. Sometimes it is nice to just have a single document open and only focus on that. It totally just depends on what type of work you are doing. I occasionally find it distracting when I am just trying to finish one project but have my emails, work chat, and the internet open. 

Cost

Ultrawide monitors can be quite expensive depending on the model you are looking at. Of course, there are many features each monitor has that contributes to this. Some of these features include the refresh rate, size, and resolution. Before you decide to purchase one, take a look at what you plan to use it for. With that info, you can find some pretty nice ultrawide monitors on a budget that won’t send you running. 

Computer Load and Hardware

With an increase in pixels that means your computer is going to work even harder to use the display. While most newer mid-range computers will have no problem handling an ultrawide monitor, some may not be able to. If you are working on an older or even lower range computer you may run into some problems. It is also worth mentioning that if you are running graphics-intensive programs or software this may be an issue for you as well. It is important to take a look at your computer’s specifications before you decide to make a purchase. If you are looking to learn a little more about what kind of graphics card you need, I have written an article on them.

Is Ultrawide Better Than Dual Monitors?

Of course, dual monitors offer many of the same benefits as an ultrawide monitor. However, there are some features dual monitors just cannot offer that an ultrawide monitor can. For some additional benefits to dual monitors check out our article on the 9 benefits of dual monitor setups.

two monitors sitting on top of desk

No Middle Bezel 

Having no middle bezel or gap between your displays is amazing. Not to mention it just looks a lot better as well. It makes managing applications a lot smoother and more unified. It will also make certain applications as mentioned above a lot more enjoyable to use. If you have ever tried to use one excel sheet on two monitors the bezel makes this awkward

Dual Monitors Offer More Functionality

Although an ultrawide monitor supports using multiple applications on the same screen for increased productivity. It may be better to have two separate monitors. For some people, having two separate monitors, rather than one ultrawide monitor makes items on your computer easier to organize. As it is easy to identify the separated monitors

Many users like to put their application in focus on their main monitor and use the other monitor for related resources. Especially for gamers, as it is quite common to be playing a game in full screen. You can have a full-screen window for the game on one monitor, and a guide or video on the other. However, playing a game that supports full ultrawide is quite breathtaking as the ultrawide screen provides greater immersion. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, ultrawide monitors can significantly increase your productivity, if you can make the most out of them. At a higher price than standard 16:9 monitors, these ultrawide monitors use an extended 21:9 aspect ratio. This aspect ratio allows for an increased screen size that enables you to multitask more efficiently and boost your productivity. However, in the same regard, distractions can become prevalent if you are not practicing self-discipline. Overall, I would recommend an ultrawide monitor for anyone who spends a lot of time working on their computer. Now if you are already using a dual monitor setup, or still using a single 16:9 monitor then switching to an ultrawide is worth some thought. An ultrawide monitor could be that next big step to boosting your workflow and spending less time stuck on the same page.


If you are curious as to how to clean your monitor, I have written an extensive guide for this!

How do I setup an ultrawide monitor?

Setting them up is just as easy as any other monitor. Once you have assembled the monitors base and have it on your desk. First plug the display cable into your computer. Then plug the other end into the back of your display.

What size of an ultrawide monitor should I get?

This totally depends on your budget and what you plan to use the monitor for. Generally speaking I think that a 34″ ultrawide monitor is perfect for most users. However they do come at a higher cost.