Buying a monitor? Please refer to this post before purchasing.
September 8, 2020 at 7:11 am #61135rssphanromz
Hello I’m looking for an ultrawide monitor and your site is the best I’ve seen so far that could possibly help me with my search. I need a monitor to connect to my Surface Book 2 for college work, some programming and some AutoCad and rendering. From my research I believe an IPS panel would best satisfy my needs. I’d like something with some bumped up specs to future proof when I change my PC. However I’ve been getting confused when looking at pages and comparison, especially unsure which is a newer monitor and the best connection to use.
3440 x 1440
Work with Surface Book 2 (USB-C to USB-C/Display Port)
some future proofing
Budget: ~$600, preferably less
Are there any other monitors out there that I should look at that would offer me more value or are any of these perfect for my use case? And then I presume the curved models are recommended more right? ThanksSeptember 8, 2020 at 7:30 am #61138PCM2
Hi rssphanromz and welcome,
I’d agree that an IPS-type panel would generally make sense for your uses, given the strong gamma consistency. With VA models you’d get some ‘black crush’ centrally and shifts in gamma towards the edges or as you move your head. And that could potentially have a negative impact on the work you do. Although some people do still quite use (and like) VA models for modelling and designing if it isn’t colour-critical. Which would make something like the Philips 346B1C a possibility.
Whether or not a curved monitor is preferred is entirely a matter of preferences. Some would argue it’s better to have a flat model for CAD/CAM and suchlike due to the geometric perfection offered. Others would say that for an UltraWide screen, it’s better to have the edges of the screen brought a bit closer to the eyes and it gives a more ‘natural’ and comfortable viewing experience if the monitor is curved. Entirely a matter of opinion, really. Personally I prefer a bit of a curve to my UltraWide monitor, but that’s just my preference and I don’t use my monitors for anything that might need geometric perfection.
Assuming the curved IPS UltraWide route is preferred, the curved models you’ve selected are quite good choices really. The core performance of all of them should be similar, although I have no experience with them or user feedback to share so can’t get particularly technical. The 34WL75C and 34BL85C are both the same thing, essentially, aside from the 2 USB 3.0 ports on the ‘BL85C’. The 34WN750 has a thicker bottom bezel but supports 8-bit colour rather than 10-bit- for your uses, I assume you’re working in 8-bit colour anyway so this is probably here nor there. And with them being sRGB gamut models it’s not something I’d stress about either way.
If you’re happy with a flat model then look no further than the Acer XV340CK. It may appear more basic than the LG models, and it is if you look at its design. But you’d benefit from a higher refresh rate, which some people really enjoy even on the desktop and when rotating models. It uses the 144Hz version of the panel used in the 34WN750. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the Acer and it’s actually on my review shortlist, although I keep getting sidetracked by other models.September 11, 2020 at 7:19 am #61179rssphanromz
Thank you for the reply. I will go ahead and get the Acer XV340CK due to it’s high refresh rate and my wish to pair it up with a next gen Xbox Console in the future.September 11, 2020 at 7:20 am #61184PCM2
I hope you enjoy it, please share impressions on this thread when you’ve had a chance to use it.September 29, 2020 at 9:45 pm #61419PCM2
Any impressions to share on the Acer?October 14, 2020 at 12:39 pm #61596JosePto
Hi again, I’m posting here to not start new thread on UW 3440×1440 monitors. This time I want to improve my work flow by using a monitor this format, so on Prime Days I have several models in mind for work and smooth experience on daily usage and (why not) gaming. These are my candidates:
1. Xiaomi curved VA panel 144 Hz (€419)
2. LG 35WN73A-B curved VA panel 100 Hz (€419)
3. iiyama XUB3493WQSU-B1 flat ADS-IPS panel 75 Hz (€379)
4. Philips 345E2AE flat IPS panel 75 Hz (€389)
Maybe I should avoid curved VA panel due to they are prone to suffer BLB on pressure points of the panel (but I don’t how bad this could be). I like #1 because the refresh rate but I’ve seen response times are not so good, #2 has USB-C (not relevant by now for me) but lower refresh rate and I don’t know about response times (no information available apart from the official) but includes screen split and basic on screen control software, #3 is very well rated by buyers on Amazon and I like it because it’s flat and IPS but the refresh rate is the same as in my 10 year old TN panel, #4 it’s the newest of all of them and I like it because it’s flat and IPS (again) but low refresh rate (again). I’m so confused right now because the two first prices are available until the end of today. I hope you can help me, thank you a lot.October 14, 2020 at 12:53 pm #61598PCM2
Hi again JosePto,
All of these models, as with any model really, have distinct strengths and weaknesses. You’re going to be compromising in one way or the other. There’s really no point in avoiding the VA options for reasons related to perceived contrast experience and uniformity in favour of a (budget) IPS-type alternative. Or any IPS-type alternative for that matter. The Philips 345E2AE and Iiyama XUB3493WQSU are both based around the 75Hz version of the panel used in the XV340CK mentioned earlier in this thread. It’s a BOE IPS-type panel (CELL – panel minus backlight) and as with all IPS-type UltraWides they’re prone to their own uniformity issues. The fact they’re not curved doesn’t mean they escape this. You also have significantly lower static contrast and ‘IPS glow’ to consider. The overall perceived contrast experience is generally worse, even if you’re lucky enough to get a unit with very good dark uniformity. Having said that, for some users the contrast you get between the central region on a VA model (good perceived depth) and regions affected by ‘VA glow’ (relatively poor perceived depth) can be quite off-putting. The ‘VA glow’ is brought out more strongly by clouding and other uniformity issues and the comparison between regions affected by that, typically near the bottom of the screen, and further up the screen can be quite jarring. I still consider them to offer the superior overall contrast experience, depth and atmosphere as covered in our reviews.
The IPS-type options offer advantages in terms of gamma and colour consistency and indeed pixel response times, as you highlighted. Our reviews of related models and panel types article sums this up nicely. As you’ll see from our reviews of 144Hz VA UltraWides (the AOC CU34G2X for example) there’s still benefit to be had from the high refresh rate, at suitably high frame rates. In terms of improved ‘connected feel’ and decreased perceived blur due to eye movement. You also need to be aware of colour gamut differences. The Philips 345E2AE is going to give you the the most vibrant colour output overall as it has an IPS-type panel plus a wide colour gamut. The LG will be the least vibrant overall as it is VA plus only has an sRGB colour gamut. The Iiyama and Xiaomi should be similar to one another in terms of vibrancy, not quite as vibrant as the Philips.
So ultimately it depends where your preferences lie and what you’re most willing to compromise on. You certainly shouldn’t opt for the IPS-type options over VA for contrast reasons, but for colour consistency (and gamma consistency) or tighter pixel responses they make more sense. The frame rate at which you’ll be playing would dictate whether a high refresh rate is advantageous (and indeed how high) and you need to be aware of the colour gamut differences highlighted with respect to the LG.October 21, 2020 at 2:48 pm #61721WanderingRuss
Having trawled the internet for useful & consistant information in the past months, YouTube brought me here! Having seen a breadth & depth of knowledge combined with genuine & balanced advice, so kudos and there must be some good karma involved at some point? I thought best to post here as in a similar vein to those who’ve posted already, but entirely understand if it gets relocated. To give you some context, last year I’d been putting off getting a new pc whilst my old basic Lenovo laptop limped on, but getting back into photography quickly showed its shortcomings, being unable to even browse my image library properly, much less try and edit. And having been a casual console gamer of FPS for years I also wanted something to break the seal on PC gaming, albeit at moderate settings. Initially I was naturally researching a desktop, but as the price gap between gaming/creative desktops & laptops has reduced a lot in recent years, I persuaded myself to go the laptop route. Therefore in April, with the need for a new laptop suddenly being all the more vital with homeworking upon us, I plumped for better or worse for a 2020 HP Omen 17 inch HP OMEN 17-cb0003na 17.3 Inch FHD 144 Hz Gaming Laptop (Intel Core i7-9750H, 20GB RAM/512 GB SSD/1 TB HDD / GTX 1660 Ti 6 GB to be exact). And of course, having spent a few months using it on my venerable but 7-year-old Benq 27″ 1080p VA 60 hz monitor, I was soon looking at an upgrade. Initially I was looking at gaming capable QHD IPS monitors, most likely the BenQ 27 EX2780Q whilst still considering ViewSonic, Asus Acer, Gigabyte, Pixio & LG offerings. However! Having been suddenly been thrown into home office working like many of us these past 5 months has slightly changed my perspective, with the need for productivity and more screen real estate becoming a big benefit. Adding an old Dell 23 1080p panel as a 3rd monitor has helped, but I wish to consolidate this now it to a younger, higher resolution & more colour accurate monitor.
So I look to you for sage advice please! Currently factoring my needs for productivity, photography & gaming in that order, I have been looking at circa £500-600 monitors, and have shortlisted the following options:
I have also considered if it’s worth looking at the more expensive monitors but am unsure how much I will benefit? I’ve been investigating:
With my current set up it seems very unlikely I’ll break the 120 or even 80 fps on games too often? I know the 1660Ti isn’t ideal, but it’s what I have. Therefore, I guess I’m after as good a balance as possible of comfortable hours of viewing at work & play, good colour accuracy and a solid mid setting, non-competitive gaming. Looking between models, I was initially favouring one of the new wave of 34″ VA 1500 curve models but am now concerned that that may be too tight a curve if viewing docs or photos from around 1 meter away? And I’ve also wondered if an older or “inferior” narrower colour gamut monitor that covers around 100 % sRGB might actually present more accurately to me than a wider gamut panel for online media purposes, if that make any sense?!
Sorry for the essay! Does this all sound realistic, or am I asking too much? And if so, what would be your advice & thoughts on my choice for a purchase in the next 2 months? Thanks in advance!
RussOctober 21, 2020 at 3:03 pm #61724PCM2
I appreciate the kind words. 🙂
Because your main priority is productivity (followed by photo editing) and then gaming, I’ve merged your thread with this one as it’s a more suitable place. The 34″ 3440 x 1440 experience is certainly attractive for both work and play. But put simply, if you value colour accuracy then you want to focus on the IPS panel type – VA simply doesn’t cut it in that respect as covered in our panel types article and relevant reviews of such monitors. The lack of colour and gamma consistency, even if you’re sitting around 1m away, makes them much less suitable than IPS-type panels for such purposes. So you can cut down your list significantly with that in mind.
You shouldn’t fear a 1500R curve – as covered in our reviews it’s something that’s a lot more subtle than you’d think (example). You can’t judge it from photos and videos of the monitor and even from 1m away you should adapt quite readily. Then again it’s quite subjective and given the models you should now be focusing on you won’t need to worry yourself about such a ‘steep’ (although it isn’t, really) curvature. I don’t think you need to go overboard with specs or price for your uses, but get the format (34″ 3440 x 1440) and panel type right and anything else could be considered a bonus. Given the pricing perhaps consider the Acer XV340CK P that’s covered earlier in this thread instead of some of the more expensive models like the ASUS PA34VC. That way you needn’t worry about any particular curvature, either. And you get a nice boost in pixel responsiveness compared to the VA options and a more appropriate colour gamut for accurate sRGB output to go with it.
The ASUS MX38VC is worth considering if you’re happy to spend the extra as well. The extra ‘real-estate’ from the 37.5″ screen and higher (3840 x 1600) resolution is nice. It’s again a standard gamut model, which I feel is most appropriate for your uses. And whilst you drop to 75Hz instead of 144Hz, with a GTX 1660Ti and casual gaming in mind I don’t think you should concern yourself too much with chasing 144Hz. It is nice to have for the desktop to some extent, but I’d say the extra resolution and screen space will be more useful and not just “nice”. There’s a related thread, although it focuses primarily on higher end models that combine the 37.5″ screen size with a high refresh rate as well.October 22, 2020 at 9:19 pm #61757WanderingRuss
Thanks for that information, helps yo cut away some options! I guess therefore I’m looking now at the
Acer XV340CK P, which does seem to be a good all-rounder. Have you any experience the new Iiyama GB3461WQSU, which I assume is based on the same panel? I gather from looking around early models had some issues, but I wonder if these are resolved it’s worth trying as so much cheaper than the Acer?
And at the other end end, the new LG 34GP83A sounds interesting, but I couldn’t find a price in the UK?
The Asus ProArt 34 sounded interesting but I assume from your comments it doesn’t really offer more, apart from factory/built in calibration profiles? I guess with the money saved on a cheaper model I could buy a colorimeter anyway.
The ASUS MX38VC is rather tempting as an all-rounder. My heart says yes, but my head is debating if the 1660ti could run it at more than 30 fps! Or would lower resolution/scaling work, or look awful? I might also add a next gen console at some point also.October 22, 2020 at 9:27 pm #61761PCM2
I don’t have any feedback to give on the Iiyama, but it does use the same BOE IPS-ADS panel as the Acer. User feedback on it seems quite mixed though, not as positive as the Acer. The Acer is available more broadly though, so there’s simply more feedback – Iiyama don’t sell locally in North America, for example, which is why we don’t cover them. It’s where most of our users are based. There’s no confirmed availability for the 34GP83A in the UK. It seems to be a US-specific model – the only product page on LG’s website is in the US, as far as I can see.
I wouldn’t say the 1660 Ti would be that bad for the 3840 x 1600 resolution. It isn’t as demanding as ‘4K’ and you should expect somewhat higher frame rates than that if you make sensible compromises to graphics settings. It’s not ideal having to run any monitor at a non-native resolution, it can be especially complex with UltraWides as you can’t just throw them into Full HD as an easy to run fallback due to aspect ratio incompatibility. The MX38VC doesn’t offer very flexible scaling capability, so you’d need to use GPU scaling. You could use the 2560 x 1600 resolution which would give you black borders at the side, but a perfectly crisp and undistorted image. Or 2560 x 1080 if you want to keep the 21:9 aspect ratio. But with the GPU scaling that would be used, you’d get a moderate degree of softening to the image. But you might not need to do any of this as many games offer a resolution scale, rendering resolution or similar slider. This offers a much more flexible way of gaining some extra performance, whilst potentially having less impact on image quality or the overall experience.October 24, 2020 at 11:30 am #61801WanderingRuss
The Acer or Iiyama do seem to be hitting the sweet spot, I may have to hold on till I see if the Acer goes on special deals locally then. It’s currently around £250 more than the Iiyama in the UK from most retailers. The US prices certainly make it more appealing!
Thanks for info also on scaling from the GPU,that, it does help. And regarding the MX38VC, whilst scaling could help my frame rate, the monitor would still top out at 75? Or is overclocking to say 100 easy/viable? Forgive my ignorance, knew territory as I say!October 24, 2020 at 11:31 am #61803PCM2
The MX38VC is a high resolution 75Hz monitor, you won’t be able to reliably push it beyond that. Also note it is Iiyama (2 x “i”) not Iyama. I’ve silently corrected this in your posts but should mention it now so you’re aware – I know it’s an odd brand name.March 8, 2021 at 2:34 pm #63807nmaaron
Comparing two monitors for work. I am a just looking to do things like zoom, spreadsheets, and email. Overkill some say but my current 32″ isn’t wide enough for multiple apps and I don’t want to go multiple monitors.
Option 1: LG 34WN80C-B 34 inch – a little more expensive than the second option but not sure why IPS.
Option 2: LG 35WN75C-B – 35” QHD – seems newer but different panel type – VA?
Can you help me understand what would be more beneficial for my type of work? Are there other options to consider from a brand perspective or features?
Using this on a macbook air 13″ so usb-c is handy it sounds like.March 8, 2021 at 2:50 pm #63810PCM2
I’ve merged your thread with this one as it’s a suitable place and it covers my recommendations. For your uses I think either model would suit you quite well. As far as panel type goes for such uses, it’s entirely personal preferences. Some would prefer the somewhat ‘inkier’ look to text that a VA model brings whilst others get on better with the more consistent colour and gamma reproduction of IPS. Both panel types have their distinct strengths and weaknesses and it depends what you want from the experience. The 34WN80C is limited to 60Hz and even for productivity some would prefer a higher refresh rate. The pixel responsiveness is better on IPS models like that vs. VA models, though, so it’s 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. It’s all very subjective I’m afraid and there’s no absolute answer.
Having said that, I’d recommend you consider the 34″ models covered in this thread as your VA option instead of that LG. In my experience the 34″ UItraWide VA models (Samsung panels, usually) tend to be better than the 35″ AUO panels when it comes to gamma and colour consistency. I appreciate that USB-C would be useful given the system you use, but I’d recommend considering something like the Philips 346E2CUAE instead. It’s a newer version of the Philips 346B1C we’ve reviewed in detail and uses a similar panel, so that review will be a useful point of reference. The colour gamut on this is also a bit more generous than the LG models you’re looking at without being extreme – which can help improve the vibrancy as described in our review of the 346B1C. This will certainly be the case compared to the 35WN75C, which gives a look some would describe as a bit washed out. Especially near the edges of the screen where saturation is lost from an already reasonably low base.
If you’re not adverse to a flat screen and don’t mind dropping the USB-C, consider the Acer XV340CK which is covered earlier in the thread. The 144Hz refresh rate and strong responsiveness can be appreciated even for productivity, but again that’s very subjective and you may consider that overkill. Or prefer instead to have USB-C or a curve to the screen.March 8, 2021 at 3:59 pm #63811nmaaron
Wow thanks this is very helpful. Thanks for merging this! I watched the video and read the review on the Philips 346E2CUAE – very intriguing. In fact I feel almost completely swayed in just moments; even saving some money!
If I may ask for my own due diligence and ease my mind – Some say higher refresh rate helps eye fatigue, with the limit of 75 do you have any feedback on this? Again, this is productivity and I am not a designer so just spreadsheets and email for me – VA seems suitable, no need to consider an IPS? I probably couldn’t tell the difference anyway 🙂 I’m actually not sure if curved is necessary but it does seem it would help to avoid the nearly 3′ back and forth on certain tasks haha.
Thank you again, this is very informative and I’m very excited.
More info FYI; current monitor is LG 32MP58HQ-P 32-Inch IPS MonitorMarch 8, 2021 at 4:08 pm #63813PCM2
It’s really too subjective and impossible to generalise, but refresh rate is certainly a viewing comfort factor for some. And so is a curve to the screen for that matter. Even a boost from 60Hz to 75Hz can be welcome due to the reduction in perceived blur. But a further increase beyond that can be even nicer – I personally find 75Hz a lot more comfortable than 60Hz, but enjoy even higher refresh rates such as 100Hz or 144Hz+. I am very used to using a 144Hz monitor, though, and I’m very sensitive to refresh rate and other aspects of motion performance on monitors.
For your uses I don’t really see any huge drawbacks to the VA options like the 346E2CUAE, but you still need to consider some of the weaknesses such as pixel responsiveness. Even if you’re just scrolling through text on a page these weaknesses can become apparent. But not everyone notices them or finds them at all bothersome. Black text with a white background isn’t a huge issue anyway, the weaknesses are usually more apparent for dark backgrounds and medium-dark text. Browsing websites with ‘dark mode’ or similar enabled might reveal this (examples). And I generally find people appreciate the higher refresh rate even if some pixel responses aren’t as snappy as they could be.March 8, 2021 at 4:45 pm #63814nmaaron
Great, I’m going to try out the Philips, Using your link!March 8, 2021 at 4:55 pm #63816PCM2
I hope it hits the spot for you. And I appreciate the support. 🙂March 12, 2021 at 8:55 pm #63864nmaaron
Hi PCM2 – i got the Philips monitor. very large. The thing I notice is the text is crisp, but almost too crisp, like I can see some of the “squareness” of round “o”‘s for example. Is this a limitation of a specific monitor spec or configuration? I have it plugged in with the usb-c and get the advertised 3440 resolution (HDMI doesn’t support that oddly). Also – On my mac display I cannot go beyond the 60hz display setting, is the monitor still refreshing quicker or is this a limitation of Macbook air?
I guess my real question is, if I went IPS or another higher end model, would it smooth out some of the text to look as good as say my retina display or even the IPS old LG monitor?
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