Ultrawide Monitor vs. Dual Monitor: Which Setup is Better for Working?

I spent years working on a dual monitor setup and just recently purchased an ultrawide monitor to replace them in my home office. The monitor I bought is an 34” Acer CB342CK (3440x1440) with a 21:9 aspect ratio, and I only use it for “standard” office work (no video editing, photoshop, gaming, etc.) so some of the more expensive options weren’t necessary. I managed to buy it certified refurbished for $280, which seemed very reasonable given the cost of other similar options. The main factors that drew me to the ultrawide monitor were:
  • It provides a large, seamless screen to work on big spreadsheets etc.;
  • It can easily accommodate two open windows side-by-side for productivity; and
  • It looks cool.
So, which is better: a single ultrawide monitor or dual 16:9 monitors? After working with the ultrawide for a few weeks, I’ve put together a few points on my experience while comparing it to my old dual monitor setup. When it initially arrived, I set it up and connected it to my Lenovo T480 laptop using an HDMI cable. I was only able to get the resolution up to 2560x1080, which made text and images look grainy. I did some research and learned Lenovo uses old HDMI 1.4b technology in their HDMI ports, which can’t support a 3440x1440 resolution at 60Hz. My T480 does have a USB-C port, which can support the higher resolution, so I ordered a USB-C to DisplayPort cable off Amazon for $15 and it solved my problems.

Home Setup.jpeg

I’ve come to really like the monitor when working with large spreadsheets or when hunting through a dozen internet tabs. The extra “wide” space allows you to see a lot more than a standard 16:9 aspect ratio and makes everything easier to work with, which is something you can’t do with two separate monitors. Working with two windows side-by-side is OK, but I’m not sure if I prefer it over dual monitors yet. I find myself using the Windows Key + Left/Right shortcut a lot to split the windows to either side of the screen, which isn’t as quick or easy as clicking and dragging to maximize like you would with a true dual monitor setup. Plus, while the 21:9 aspect ratio provides plenty of space to work with two windows, you still lose space when compared to two separate 16:9 monitors.

If you spend most of your time in large spreadsheets or single, wide windows it may make sense to use an ultrawide monitor. The ultrawide also looks great and only requires a single display connection, which makes it attractive for those with a tablet-style laptop that only has a single port. If you’re willing to spend some serious money ($900+) on your setup, you can opt for something like the 49” Curved Samsung monitor with a 32:9 aspect ratio that gives you a true “dual monitor” feel on a single screen. Otherwise, a standard dual monitor setup provides the same productivity for cheaper with a slightly lower “cool factor”.

Samsung Ultrawide.jpg
About author
Adam Ewing has worked as an Engineer for aerospace and steel manufacturers as well as a Consultant for an R&D tax credit firm. He currently works as an Implementation Consultant for a financial software company. Adam has a B.S. and an M.B.A. from the University of Alabama. His interests include traveling, cars, cooking, and triathlons. You can also find Adam on LinkedIn.


There are no comments to display.

Article information

Last update

More in Reviews

More from adam.ewing