Is Ultrawide Right for You?


What Makes Ultrawide Different?

The big difference between ultrawide and “normal” monitors is aspect ratio. Traditional monitors typically operate on 16:9 aspect ratios, while ultrawide screens are stretched horizontally to 21:9. That typically means ultrawide displays use a native resolution of 2560×1080 (2k) or 3440×1440 (1440p), depending on their screen size.

This image makes the difference between 16:9 and 21:9 very clear. 21:9 stretches the panel horizontally several inches, for a wider field-of-view and more screen space.

A bigger resolution means your screen has increased pixel density. For work, that means you can fit more applications on your screen without having to toggle between windows. For play, that means you get a cinematic viewing experience that’s essentially equivalent to a one-person theater.


Who are ultrawide monitors for?

If you’re working from home or looking for an office display, the extra screen real estate of an ultrawide can make you more effective at doing all sorts of tasks.  In fact, one of the most common features for ultrawide displays is screen-splitting, which can help you divide your display into multiple quadrants and run it as though it were multiple screens — only without that ugly bezel dividing up the middle.

Anyone who spends hours each day staring at a display will benefit from that display being easy on the eyes. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider the benefits of ultrawides if you find yourself working with computers for any serious length of time.


For movie-lovers, there’s no comparison to an ultrawide. If you don’t like staring at those black bars at the margins of the movie, you’ll be pleased to know most films are shot in a 2.39 aspect ratio. That’s why ultrawides can display films in ways standard monitors just can’t, and fill up the entire screen.

For gamers, you can’t beat the field of view you get from ultra-wide. There aren’t any bezels in the center of your view like you’d experience with a dual monitor setup. You can also achieve a full field-of-view that isn’t possible on a standard monitor. 

For FPS-fanatics, widescreen can be hit and miss. Some HUD elements like ammo counts have been known to get lost in peripheral vision due to the size of the screen. For a pro gamer spending 8-hours-a-day practicing, a 16:9 monitor might be better for playing some types of competitive games that haven’t yet adapted to the increasing popularity of 21:9.


Having said that, an increasing number of AAA game studios have begun to design specifically for ultra widescreen resolutions. Massive games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and the Call of Duty franchise are all already on-board in designing around ultrawide displays.

Finally, it’s important to ask if your GPU can handle running an ultrawide monitor. Having 140% more pixels than 1080p setups, you’ll need an equally large increase in graphics power to display all those pixels. If you don’t have a GPU made in the three generations, you might not have the power necessary to run an ultrawide smoothly.

Curved vs. Flat

Curved vs. flat can be debated all day. There are numerous benefits to curved displays, but most of the difference really comes down to immersion vs. viewing angle. Curved displays provide much more immersion, are easier on the eyes, and by-design offer a less distorted image than large flat panels physically can offer.

But that curved screen also means viewing from awkward angles, like you might while watching a movie with a group of friends, can lead to a significantly worse viewing experience. On the other hand, if you’re mostly watching things by yourself or with one other person, you can’t beat a gorgeous ultrawide for visual fidelity.


Ultrawide Specifications

What’s response time? What’s a good contrast ratio? What does refresh rate do? What kind of numbers matter? If you find yourself lost in the technical jargon of selecting a widescreen, you’ll want to check out this post where we explore all the technical aspects of picking an ultrawide.

The Take-Away Message

In the end, picking an ultrawide vs. a standard monitor is a matter of personal preference. There are numerous viewing benefits to ultrawide, making it the superior choice for most people most of the time. Some people simply can’t fit a three-foot display on their desk. But if image quality and immersion is something that matters to you,  whether it’s in games or movies, then ultrawide is what you want.


Acer RC271U — 2017’s Best Budget Monitor?

With so much attention being driven towards displays aimed at gamers, with fancy refresh rates and other costly features that only interest a niche crowd, it’s easy to forget some people want something more simple. Fancy features are nice, but they’re not as nice when they’re rarely (or never) used, because those features can be expensive. 

So if you’re looking for something “simple”, that’s exactly what you get with the Acer RC271U. This RC1 series includes a more minimalist design than previous iterations, keeping up with the industry drive to modernize the look of monitors, particularly when it comes to the bezel. It features both 2560×1440 resolution and a 27’’ screen size, combined with an IPS-panel.

Technical Discussion

The surface of the screen blends seamlessly into the bezel, for a particularly stylish look when the screen is off.  The on screen display controls are downward-facing analog buttons, on the right hand side of the display. The OSD is extremely standard, and really nothing to write home about.

You’ll also find a standard 60 Hz refresh rate and a slightly above average 350 cd/m2 brightness. Professionals will appreciate the strong color consistency and richness of colors evenly across the screen., A matte screen surface provides an image clear of grain, with true 8-bit color in up to 16.7 million shades. What this means is that you’ll get a visual experience that looks crisp and clear to any standard consumer, but might not be up-to-snuff for media editing professionals.

You can expect standard sRGB coverage and a modest 4ms response time, which are again fairly standard figures. What’s somewhat less standard are the BlueLightShield settings which can help make it easier to spend longer periods of time looking at a screen. 

The stand has a very standard range of tilt, and there are VESA mounting holes in the rear. While there are on-board speakers, they’re only 2 watts, meaning they can only provide basic sound and you shouldn’t expect anything spectacular. For ports, you’re looking at DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, and audio/headphone jacks. An external power brick is also used, which helps to keep the monitor extremely light and slender.

The Takeaway 

If you’re looking for a rock-solid 27’’ display without paying for all the bells and whistles, you’ll want to keep your eyes out for the imminent release of the Acer RC271U. This screen doesn’t have 144 Hz refresh rates, incredibly fast 1 ms response time, or billions of colors displayed with perfect accuracy. It’ll still be a few weeks until this display hits the market, but when it does, it will almost certainly be a staple both for Acer and for anyone in the market for a 27” budget gaming monitor. 

What this screen does have is absolutely everything you need in a professional and efficient monitor, with none of the burdensome (and costly) excess.  But if you’re looking for something on the market right now, be sure to check out these, the best Acer monitors currently available.