Clickable picture of ASUS Designo Curved MX34VQ 34” UQHD 100Hz DP HDMI Eye Care Monitor

Ultrawide Monitor vs 4K TV: Which is the best option for you

One thought that may have popped into your head while looking at the plethora of absurdly expensive ultrawide monitor is, hey why don't I just buy a TV instead. Why not right? You're on the verge of spending upwards of 1000 dollars on a 34 inch ultrawide monitor, why not get a comparably sized 4k TV instead? You may be surprised, going with the latter option is actually going to save you a few hundred dollars in a lot of cases.

Ultrawide Monitor Benefits

Before we get all excited about this prospect, let's consider the benefits of an ultrawide monitor over a TV. Ultrawide monitors (and monitors in general for that matter) are much better suited for high performance gaming. They are often capable of higher than 60hz refresh rates and typically have very low response times of under 10ms. To put that in perspective, some TVs can have input lag as high as 40ms. That doesn't seem like much, but you'd be surprised how sharp the human perceptual system is.

You can without a doubt notice these differences, especially in competitive, fast gaming. If you're interested in having the best performance possible, definitely stick with an ultrawide monitor, perhaps even one with a 144hz refresh rate. We recommend you take a look at our ultrawide monitor guide, we've listed several options with over 60hz refresh rates.

Ultrawide Monitor Buyer's Guide

Another promising benefit of ultrawide monitors is the potential of picking up a model that features G-sync or Freesync. This is a technology that syncs the FPS of your GPU with the refresh rate of your monitor to eliminate any kind of tearing or stuttering that you may experience. This technology in combination with a high refresh rate yields the smoothest gaming experience possible. It is extremely optimal for high performance gaming.

TV Benefits

With that out of the way, let's look at the advantages of buying a TV and using that as your monitor. TVs right off the bat tend to be much larger than the largest of ultrawide monitors. Ultrawide monitors reach their peak at around 34 inches, where as modern TVs typically start around 40 and move up to a whopping 70 inches. While TVs may not have the performance and speed of a typical ultrawide monitor, they're just as eye-catching, if not more so.

You see, the best resolution you can get on an ultrawide monitor is 3440x1440 which you might think on the surface is "4k", but it's really. Resolution numbers are a little different compared to what you'd expect because of that 21:9 aspect ratio. TVs are almost always 16:9. So basically, a true 4K display at a typical aspect ratio of 16:9 is 3840x2160, which is actually much more pixels than what you can expect out of an ultrawide monitor.

This is not intended to conclude that 16:9 is superior. Just because you can have higher pixel density on a 16:9 display as compared to a 21:9 monitor (as of now), does not make it better. It is up to personal preference at the end of the day. An ultrawide monitor is going to give a superior experience for movie watching because movies are shot in that format. On an ultrawide monitor, there are no black bars when watching movies.

Besides the entertainment aspect, ultrawide monitors are fantastic for productivity because they're wide enough to allow you to multi-task with multiple windows without you having to buy seperate monitors. Also, at a resolution of 3440x1440, high end ultrawide monitors offer fantastic clarity without compromising on readability. You see, windows was never designed for crazy resolutions like 4k and above, so text and windows get shrunken down.

In order to combat this, you have to increase the scaling in your options which often times leaves things looking wonky because it simply was not designed for such a high resolution. It really is still the early days of ultra-high resolution monitors. Most people are still at 1080p after all.

Anyway, the point is it offers you the perfect balance between size, resolution, and practicality, making ultrawide monitors a great choice for productivity.

Real-world comparison

So we've discussed the potential benefits and disadvantages of both options in theory. We've looked at the differences in performance with regards to refresh rate, response time, and technologies like G-sync/Freesync which all contribute to smoother, seamlesss gameplay. Differences in resolution, size, and aspect ratio have also been compared to help give us a clearer picture of what option provides the richer, more immersive experience.

Now we're going to be comparing two products you can actually buy today. It's time for the showdown between high-end ultrawide monitor and 4K TV.

Ultrawide Monitor

Clickable picture of ASUS Designo Curved MX34VQ 34” UQHD 100Hz DP HDMI Eye Care Monitor

ASUS Designo Curved MX34VQ 34” UQHD 100Hz DP HDMI Eye Care Monitor


Our ultrawide monitor of choice for this comparison is the ASUS Designo Curved MX34VQ. This ultrawide monitor features a 34 inch display at a resolution of 100hz. It also features gamer oriented features like a response time as low as 4ms and FreeSync for seamless gameplay. This is one of the best curved ultrawide monitors on the market today. It is extremely premium and versatile. It works great for productivity, watching movies, and doing competitive gaming.

SIze Resolution Refresh Rate Freesync/G-sync Response Time  
34 inches 3440x1440 100hz FreeSync 4ms Price
Note: Once again, clicking on the product or "PRICE" button will direct you to the respective amazon.com product page. From there you can read customer reviews, answered questions, look at product pictures, and finalize your purchase if you decide to buy.

4K TV

Clickable picture of Samsung UN40KU6300 40-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Samsung UN40KU6300 40-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV


For our TV we have the Samsung UN40KU6300 40-Inch 4K smart LED TV. Starting at 40 inches and a resolution of 3840x2160, this TV already outranks our high-end ultrawide monitor in overall size and resolution. In terms of refresh rate and response rate, this 4K TV is at 60hz and 22ms respectively. While this isn't that bad, it doesn't at all compare to the ultrawide monitors ultra-low response time of 4ms and high refresh rate of 100hz. Also, don't forget that TVs don't come with technology like Freesync and G-sync, so that's another aspect where they just can't compete.
With that being said, this TV is significantly more affordable than the ultrawide monitor, and that's a big factor to consider.

SIzeResolutionRefresh RateFreesync/G-syncResponse Time 
40 inches3840x216060hzNo22msPrice

Conclusion

As with many technology-related products, it all comes down to preference. If gaming, productivity, and watching movies is a big part of your life, the ultrawide monitor is a fantastic option. Now if you're looking to save a little money and still have a kick-ass display, you really can't go wrong with a 40-inch 4K tv as a monitor. It might not be competitive for games, but it'll definitely be immersive. The price difference really is significant, so if you don't really care about having all the little bells and whistles that may or may not help you game or be slightly more productive, the 4K TV is a no-brainer.

Posted by Roman Stephen