Should I buy an Ultrawide Monitor or 4K?

Dharma-P

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2018
27
52
So right now I'm in the market for a new monitor and I can't decide between a 4K display and Ultrawide. I visited the store but they couldn't show me good content so I was left undecided. I was wondering what you guys think?

Right now I have a 13'' MacBook Pro 2018 and mostly do text editing and light gaming on in (maybe I will buy a eGPU later on). The Ultrawides look very cool buy I'm wondering if they are sharp enough so that you can't see the individual pixels... because I'm so used to Retina displays after using the MacBook and 5K iMac which unfortunately died... I don't want to use like a display that's noticeably not as sharp as a retina display.

Now I also heard that these Ultrawides have higher refresh rates so I really am not sure what to get. Can someone enlighten me? Especially people who have used both. I don't want to spend too much on a phone since I'm a student. Right now I found these three monitors:

LG 34'' Ultrawide 1440p 75hz IPS monitor priced at 750 euros


LG 27'' 4k 60Hz IPS Monitor priced at 499 euros.


Samsung 34'' VA 100Hz Panel at 650 euros
 
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_Kiki_

macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2017
843
253
I have this one

https://www.acer.com/ac/en/GB/content/predator-model/UM.CX0EE.P01
I'm using mainly with my desktop, it's a 34" IPS UW-QHD (3440 x 1440) with 100Hz standard refresh rate (120Hz possible with overlock), image is extremely sharp during working with text or image also games looks brilliant, I paid about £600 (€700) but it's was discounted during Black Friday/Cyber Monday, I like working on this monitor more than my iMac 27 Retina 5k, the image is more smooth and it's better for my eyes during long work
 
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velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,618
1,192
Georgia
It really depends on your workflow. You say you do text editing. If all you do is that and have no need for side by side documents. An ultrawide will have too much wasted real estate or be far too zoomed in if you work documents at full screen.

4K will have more be more comfortable. Although if my main work was documents. Not only would I go with the 4K screen. I would use it in portraight mode. That way you can fully utilize the screen with large documents. That's what I do with one of my screens when working with PDF or word files.

Now if you do a lot of multitasking. The ultrawide may be more comfortable. As you could have a word document and web page side by side. Perhaps some small windows on the side for tasks, emails and text messages.

As for gaming. More games will properly support a 16:9 aspect ratio used in the 4K screen than 21:9 used in the ultrawide. It's just a more popular format and has been around longer. I'm sure most recent games support 21:9 but it'll be hit or miss in older ones. Others which do work may have odd camera problems. Such as being too zoomed in, cutting menus/text or fisheye.
 
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Dharma-P

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2018
27
52
It really depends on your workflow. You say you do text editing. If all you do is that and have no need for side by side documents. An ultrawide will have too much wasted real estate or be far too zoomed in if you work documents at full screen.

4K will have more be more comfortable. Although if my main work was documents. Not only would I go with the 4K screen. I would use it in portraight mode. That way you can fully utilize the screen with large documents. That's what I do with one of my screens when working with PDF or word files.

Now if you do a lot of multitasking. The ultrawide may be more comfortable. As you could have a word document and web page side by side. Perhaps some small windows on the side for tasks, emails and text messages.

As for gaming. More games will properly support a 16:9 aspect ratio used in the 4K screen than 21:9 used in the ultrawide. It's just a more popular format and has been around longer. I'm sure most recent games support 21:9 but it'll be hit or miss in older ones. Others which do work may have odd camera problems. Such as being too zoomed in, cutting menus/text or fisheye.
Thanks for your reply! I think the main thing I want is that I can seamlessly go from my MacBook to a monitor without thinking like 'oh why is the text not as sharp'. Right now Ultrawides are not as sharp as 4K monitors so I think it's the best option for me to just go for a 4K panel.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,618
1,192
Georgia
Thanks for your reply! I think the main thing I want is that I can seamlessly go from my MacBook to a monitor without thinking like 'oh why is the text not as sharp'. Right now Ultrawides are not as sharp as 4K monitors so I think it's the best option for me to just go for a 4K panel.
That certainly does make a difference. Although a 27" 4K won't be quite as sharp as the Macbook. That would take a 5K 27" panel for a close PPI match. A 5K 27" iMac, 13" retina and 15" retina displays all hover around 220 PPI a 27" 4K panel is about 165 PPI and one of those 34" 3440x1440 are about 110 PPI.

Simple PPI Calculator
https://designcompaniesranked.com/resources/is-this-retina/
 

Dharma-P

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2018
27
52
That certainly does make a difference. Although a 27" 4K won't be quite as sharp as the Macbook. That would take a 5K 27" panel for a close PPI match. A 5K 27" iMac, 13" retina and 15" retina displays all hover around 220 PPI a 27" 4K panel is about 165 PPI and one of those 34" 3440x1440 are about 110 PPI.

Simple PPI Calculator
https://designcompaniesranked.com/resources/is-this-retina/
I took a look at the iMac my sister owns which is a 1080p 21'' iMac with a PPI of around 102, which is comparable to a 110 PPI ultrawide, I noticed the pixels right away and don't think I could work with it honestly... 165 PPI sounds way better.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,964
2,461
SF Bay Area
I"I don't want to use like a display that's noticeably not as sharp as a retina display."

If this is hard criteria for you don't get an Ultrawide. Look at the 4K or 5K 27" monitors.

And consider a dedicated gaming rig before an eGPU. Windows shines when it comes to gaming titles. And serious gamers dump last year's hot systems for a song.