Buying a monitor? Please refer to this post before purchasing.
April 9, 2020 at 4:04 pm #58985MrJ
at first, I want to thank you for all the phenomenal, incredibly long and detailed reviews. I’m reading through them for last two days but there’s so much info I can not really remember and compare between all rather confusingly named monitors. And because it’s not, at least for me, small investment, I’ve decided to ask for an advice.
Most of the time I use my PC for development of front-end for web apps (so I need at least somewhat color accurate display) and some casual gaming. I prefer slightly over saturated colors with deep blacks over perfectly accurate colors, so probably VA panel will be best for me?
What I’m looking for:
- 34″+ (max 38″)
- 3440 × 1440
- 100 Hz +
- curved ~ 1500 R
I don’t really care about viewing angels or ergonomics – I’m used to TN monitors with fixed stand and I don’t mind. I prefer subtle “professional” design but it’s not an important aspect at all. I don’t have strict budget, but I do not want to spend a lot of money on specs I’ll not even notice.
I was looking on possible upgrade to ultrawide for last two years or so and release of AOC CU34G2X 34″ caught my attention. At first, it looked as best choice, when I was comparing it to my previous favorites Samsung C34F791/ C34J791 /BenQ EX3501R / AGON AG352UCG6. Then I stumbled on ridiculously cheap MSI MAG341CQ. What is it that there are so huge differences in price for, on paper, almost same monitors? What justifies two or even tree times higher price of, for example, LG 34GK950F? Does average guy notice any remarkable improvements or are we completely in territory of diminishing returns?
Some monitors I was looking at with prices where I live:
MSI Gaming Optix MAG341CQ for 370 €
AOC CU34G2X 34″ for 550 €
Samsung C34J791 or BenQ EX3501R for 650 €
ASUS MX34VQ, AOC AGON AG352UCG6 or Samsung C34H890 all for around 700 €
LG 34GK950F for 1100 €
Also I’m in no hurry, so if there is any great new monitor, that should be released later this year, please let me know and I’ll wait.
What do you think? Should I go with MSI MAG341CQ or it has too many compromises and AOC CU34G2X is worth + 50 % price? Or does it make sense to pay another 100 – 150 € more for a older way more expensive but now discounted monitors?April 9, 2020 at 4:26 pm #58988PCM2
Hi MrJ and welcome,
The LG 34GK950F does lift itself above the VA options in some ways. It’s difficult to say whether “the average” person would notice, because in truth everybody is different and they have their own sensitivities. The pixel responsiveness is significantly better as you don’t have the distinct weaknesses for ‘high contrast’ transitions, which give you that ‘smeary’ trailing on the VA models. The colour consistency (even saturation of shades at different points of the screen) and gamma consistency (lack of ‘black crush’, dark detail levels at different points of the screen) are all superior on the IPS UltraWides like the LG. Although the VA models using the Samsung SVA panels (all 34″ VA models you listed) are quite good as far as the panel type goes and the models using the 35″ AUO VA panel aren’t too bad either. There’s still a distinct difference which to some would be very clear – to others, not so much. And you also have to factor in the stronger contrast with the VA options and a lack of ‘IPS glow’. All of these factors are explored in detail in our reviews, as you’re no doubt aware. They’re also summarised in this post.
The older 34″ models you listed are not substantially different from the newer ones. Taking the AOC CU34G2X as an example of a model using the newer panel generation, the 144Hz capability and steeper curve is really the key difference there. Personally I enjoy the higher refresh rate and game at frame rates that take advantage of that. But if you’re coming from a 60Hz model, even 100Hz can be a nice boost in “connected feel” and reduced perceived blur. The VA models don’t really make full use of either refresh rate, due to some of the weaknesses in pixel responsiveness. But you can still distinguish between 100Hz and 144Hz at suitable frame rates; I’d advise reading the responsiveness section of the CU34G2X review for a more thorough exploration of that.
I haven’t used the MSI MAG341CQ myself and don’t have any substantial user feedback to share. But bear in mind it uses the same panel generation as the ASUS MX34VQ. And that there aren’t substantial changes made more recently with the Samsung SVA panels. It certainly stands out given your local pricing, but you’d be sacrificing that 144Hz refresh rate and also have a narrower colour gamut (less vibrant) compared to some of the other options such as the CU34G2X. The 100Hz limitation might not be a big issue for you either, especially if you like to turn up your graphics settings and wouldn’t be exceeding 100fps in your games anyway. The 3440 x 1440 resolution is very rewarding either way and in my opinion works very nicely for immersive gameplay. I also think it would prove a substantial upgrade from your current TN model in many respects.April 10, 2020 at 6:25 am #58991MrJ
Thank you for your quick response.
From what I’ve red, I decided to go with a VA panel – higher contrast and significantly cheaper. If I get the second paragraph correctly, any of the older VA monitors does not have superior image quality overall and are more expensive than the AOC CU34G2X (I don’t need Qi wireless charging, Thunderbolt nor USB hub etc.). I’ve watched both your ‘AOC AG352UCG Weaknesses in Pixel Responsiveness‘ and review of AOC CU34G2X videos and I’ve get feeling that the older Agon monitor is actually slightly worse in pixel responsiveness, ghosting/smearing and similar problems yet is still more expensive. Does that match your observations?
I would just have last two questions for you. Have you got any plans on reviewing MSI MAG341CQ? Have you got any info about newer generation of monitors that would make sense for me to wait for?
Thank you very much!April 10, 2020 at 6:34 am #58993PCM2
Yes, the original AG352UCG was a bit weaker than the CU34G2X overall in terms of pixel responsiveness. The AG352UCG6 on the other hand is slightly stronger in terms of pixel responsiveness (albeit with more overshoot), but the overall image quality is not quite as good as the CU34. We don’t have any MSI press contacts and have more than enough to look at from other manufacturers who we do review products for, so we won’t be reviewing that or other MSI products for the forseeable future.
There are no upcoming VA UltraWides I’m aware of within your price range that would be worth getting excited about. There are some more expensive 38″ and 49″ UltraWides with enhanced HDR capability on the way and some new products using existing panels. But bear in mind the current pandemic and the fact Samsung are planning to cease LCD panel production later this year. Unless AU Optronics have some currently unknown UltraWide panel in the works, you shouldn’t expect anything substantially better than the current offerings. And even if they did, you shouldn’t expect anything new for a little while anyway.May 25, 2020 at 7:06 am #59634TomD
I thought I’d post in this thread instead of making a new one as my question is quite similar. My brother is after purchasing a new monitor after the 4K 43 inch TV he was using for PC gaming broke. He mainly plays racing games and truck sim so I suggested an ultra wide might be a decent option, but he only has a budget of £400. Is it possible to get a decent ultrawide at that price point or would he really need to extend his budget?
Are the AOC CU34G2 and the AOC CU34G2X exactly the same apart from the AOC CU34G2X being 44hz faster? If I understand correctly the CU34G2 is the exact same panel but is locked at 100hz? It seems like the CU34G2 is available for £430 and I’m wondering if it’s going to be a good buy.
Thanks.May 25, 2020 at 7:12 am #59640PCM2
Good call expanding on this thread instead of creating a new one, I think it’s a good addition to the thread to bring in the AOC CU34G2 as a good budget option. It is indeed the same as the CU34G2X, aside from refresh rate and lack of HDR support. The HDR support is certainly nothing to shout about on the ‘G2X’, but some users still like having it. The CU34G2 uses the same panel seen in the Philips 346B1C, but with the AOC’s styling and featureset and somewhat more effective pixel overdrive implementation. I’ve received a few comments on the YouTube video from people who purchased the 100Hz variant and they found the video very helpful and enjoyed the monitor even with 100Hz limitation. Which in many cases was just fine for the frame rate they were getting or games they were playing anyway.May 25, 2020 at 8:47 pm #59660TomD
Thank you for the reply. Is there anything else worth considering if the budget is increased to £500? I know from the above post that you don’t have any experience with the MAG341CQ, although it did look interesting, however not knowing anything about how it handles motion and things like that makes it a very difficult purchaseMay 25, 2020 at 8:50 pm #59662PCM2
Not really, there are some suggestions earlier on in this thread but even most of the ‘cheaper’ options would exceed that budget. Incidentally, the CU34G2X is supposed to retail below that price and did when we reviewed it. But the current pricing and availability is all over the place.June 21, 2020 at 8:27 pm #59960younglion
Recently I’m looking for a new monitor as my old one is too small for my needs. Right now I own this one -> AOC I2481FXH, but as I mentioned is too small, so I’m considering going into 21:9 monitor. It’s going to be used as my main and only monitor for work (I’m a web and mobile app developer). Sometimes I will also use it for gaming (RDR, Valorant, Chess), but most of the time it’s going to be work (95% – work, 5% – games). For work, I’m using Macbook Pro 2018 and for gaming PC with Windows (RX580 8GB, 8GB RAM, i3 7100 – it’s not that good, but it’s enough for me 🙂 ). My budget after converting to USD (I’m from Poland) is about 625USD. Can you please recommend something based on my usage and budget? Also, I’ve found some interesting options that I’ll list below. Can you please let me know what do you think about them? Oh and I almost forgot, I’m a little bit worried as my desk is 60cm deep. Do you think it’s going to be optimal for 34″ ultrawide monitor?
AOC CU34G2X Curved
Iiyama G-Master GB3461WQSU Red EagleJune 21, 2020 at 8:37 pm #59964PCM2
I’ve merged your thread with this one as it’s a suitable place. I don’t cover or review Iiyama models as they don’t serve our primary user base (North America). That isn’t to say I don’t gather user feedback on their models, but in this case I have none to share. I can however recommend the AOC CU34G2X for your uses, it will work nicely with your GPU and I feel you’ll get plenty of enjoyment out of it. As explained in this thread I think it’s the best bet unless you’re prepared to pay significantly more for one of the alternatives with an LG Nano IPS panel. And given your budget that’s out of the question. For your uses I don’t feel it’s necessary either.
As noted in the review, the stand of the CU34G2X is ~25cm deep and the screen centre would be ~19cm from the rearmost point of the stand. That’s actually a relatively shallow stand base for an UltraWide. Assuming your eyes were a little way back from the front edge of your desk (they usually would be, if sitting normally). So you would be quite close but not extremely close to the monitor. Some people sit as close as ~45 – 50cm to monitors like this and that gives them a really nice immersive feel. It’s all down to personal preference. It can take some getting used to, but people will usually adapt to it. What I’d recommend is bringing your current monitor so the screen’s surface is ~19cm away from the far edge of your desk. See how you find it. Although it’s smaller, if you find that fine you should find a larger UltraWide screen fine from such a distance in terms of comfort. It will fill up more of your visual field but you shouldn’t, in theory, find it feels uncomfortably close to your face if you’re happy to have your current monitor at that distance. You might want to lower your brightness a bit if this is much closer than you usually sit from your monitor, at least initially.June 21, 2020 at 10:05 pm #59965younglion
Thanks for your quick response and thanks for merging my thread (you’re right it’s suitable in here 🙂 )! Oh, I didn’t know that Iiyama is not available in NA. However, I think I will go with the mentioned AOC as I think curved screen is a better fit for 34″ ultrawide than the flat one, and based on your review it seems that this is a great deal at this price. Also, I wanted to ask if you maybe know if there are any upcoming monitors that can compete with the mentioned AOC in this budget? I see that MrJ already asked you about that, but that was in April and I’m curious if anything changed since then.
By the way, I wanted to thank you for your reviews! You’re doing a really great job out there! 🙂June 21, 2020 at 10:06 pm #59967PCM2
I’m not aware of any upcoming model that would be a better fit than the AOC. I agree that the curve is a nice addition to UltraWide models and it would be more appropriate than a flat model as you’re sitting quite close. I also appreciate your kind words about the reviews, it’s nice to have the work appreciated. 🙂June 22, 2020 at 9:28 pm #59984younglion
One last question! I just found out that Iiyama is also releasing a curved version of GB3461WQSU. I know that you don’t cover Iiyama models, but I just wanted to ask you as an expert about specifications. It seems that this curved version (G-Master GB3466WQSU-B1 <- they’ve got pretty weird naming there 😀 ) it’s going to be almost the same VA panel as the AOC, but it’s going to have some improvements compared to AOC one. It will have brightness at 400 cd/m², FreeSync Premium Pro, HDR400. Taking into consideration that AOC is 300 cd/m², when it comes to brightness, FreeSync Premium and that it doesn’t have HDR400 is it worth to wait for the Iiyama or it will not make such significant difference?June 22, 2020 at 9:35 pm #59987PCM2
The Iiyama GB3466WQSU-B1 uses the same CELL (panel minus backlight) as the CU34G2X, hence the maximum luminance being different. VESA DisplayHDR 400 is the lowest standard VESA certifies for. It’s far from a ‘full-fat’ HDR experience and doesn’t mandate local dimming or any enhancement to contrast. So all the Iiyama will really do for you is give you higher brightness under HDR. Still not particularly bright by HDR standards and with no local dimming you’ll get a raised black point and worse depth and atmosphere for dark scenes as well. Hardly seems worth plumping for what’s a completely unknown and unproven product for the sake of slightly higher brightness, which you may not actually want to use anyway. Just because it uses the same CELL as the AOC doesn’t mean the pixel response tuning, input lag or calibration will be as good (it might be, but this is what I meant by unknown and unproven). And it could potentially have other issues.June 23, 2020 at 9:43 pm #59993younglion
Thanks again! I’ve ordered today CU34G2X 🙂June 30, 2020 at 7:10 am #60101Laurbergsen
Thought it would be a good idea to ask my question in this thread seeing as i’m in about the same situation as above 🙂
I’m currently looking for a new monitor to replace my 27″ 1440p 144 Hz TN monitor, and I have been looking into some Ultra-wide 1440p monitors. Right now i have set my sights on the above mentioned AOC CU34G2X going for around 500-600€, and seeing as it is an affordable and well-performing monitor it is currently my number one pick.
After watching your review on the monitor i got a bit worried about the pixel responsiveness and the smeary trailing that you described in your review, and have been concerned that it would bother me too. Therefore i have also been looking into some used monitors, and can get a used ASUS PG348Q which has been used for about a year for about 400-450€. My only problem with this one is that the monitor is native 60 Hz overclocked to 100 Hz, which I have heard some bad things about, whereas a native 100 Hz option would have been better. I’m also a bit concerned about the fact that it is only 100 Hz as i’m used to gaming at 144 Hz and that the difference would be noticeable, though some people say it isn’t.
Would you recommend going for the IPS panel and sacrificing the 144 Hz for a better pixel responsiveness, or going with the VA panel sacrificing the better pixel responsiveness and trailing for the 144 Hz?June 30, 2020 at 7:14 am #60108PCM2
That’s a good question, but not one that has a simple or conclusive answer. Even with its pixel response weaknesses, especially the standout ones for some transitions, the CU34G2X brings you some benefits from its 144Hz refresh rate. You get an increase in ‘connected feel’ and decrease in perceived blur due to eye movement, as described in the review. Provided, that is, you’re actually running >100fps and ideally 144fps or close to take full advantage of that. There are plenty of pixel transitions that provide a decent performance at that refresh rate, but there are certainly those that will stand out as weaknesses – that ‘smeary’ trail as you mentioned. Whether or not that sort of experience is preferable to 100Hz but with stronger pixel responses without such strong pixel response weaknesses is entirely subjective. Of course, if your frame rate is closer to 100Hz or below you’d lose any benefit in ‘connected feel’ or reduced perceived blur to to eye movement from CU34G2X and you’d just have the disadvantages of the pixel response time weaknesses.July 7, 2020 at 8:53 pm #60263hayhayc86
Needing some advice Just built a new pc and now hoping to upgrade my monitor can get the two monitor at similar price after some discounts.
on paper the spec of the AOC CU34G2X (a 2020 model) seems better with freesync premium pro, 144hz vs 100hz on the samsung C34J791 (a old 2018 model). In terms of image quality, will the two be similar or one will edge over the other? Are there any other monitors that around this price point I should also take a look at?
p.s will be using it as my day to day work monitor and casual gaming mainly just LOLJuly 7, 2020 at 8:54 pm #60267PCM2
Have a look through this thread, which I’ve merged yours with, as both models are discussed here with your uses in mind. The AOC has a better subpixel structure (better text rendering) and higher refresh rate, the overall image characteristics on the Samsung are otherwise pretty similar. But it doesn’t have any real advantages over the AOC, unless you prefer the styling enough or really want the USB-C port.July 8, 2020 at 6:59 am #60282hayhayc86
Thanks for such a speedy reply! Seems at the same price point the aoc probably a better pick.
There is a iiyama model coming out (appreciate it been mentioned they are not available in NA) but as a general point they offer free sync premium pro vs aoc only with free sync. I have amd 5700rx &3700x & 16gb 3200 ram. It will be for casual gaming mainly just LOL, will I likely to benefit from having premium pro instead of just free sync?
The AOC is available right now vs the iiyama not yet release yet till end of the month.
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