Ultrawide vs Dual Monitor Setup – What’s Better

Stay tuned with this post if you are confused about which different screen setups to try from Single Monitor to Wide Monitor and Dual monitors. We’re gonna compare a dual monitor setup to a single ultrawide and this will hopefully help you to figure out what’s the best choice for you.

Comparison between Ultrawide and Dual Monitor

  • So first let’s talk about price because comparing solutions that cost hugely different amounts of money is kind of pointless. A few years ago ultrawide monitors were luxury products and you’d have to pay a big premium over a dual monitor setup.
  • But that’s not the case anymore. Ultrawide prices have continued to drop and after looking around at various kinds of monitors it looks like a dual monitor setup is around the same price as a single ultrawide.
  • This of course heavily depends on what exact models you’re talking about, both regular and ultrawide monitors vary a lot in resolution, refresh rate, response time, and of course size.
  • For the purpose of this post, we’re going to assume you’re trying to pick between a single 34” ultrawide or 2 27 inches 16: monitors because I think this is the closest comparison we can make.

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Advantages of having a Dual Monitor Setup

  • One of the advantages of having a dual monitor setup is you can pick different monitors for different purposes. Since you’ll only be gaming on one of them, you only need one of them to have a high refresh rate.
  • The second monitor could be a cheaper version just for general use, or if you’re a content producer it could be a higher resolution or a more color-accurate monitor for your work.
  • So if you’re going with an ultrawide, you need to make sure it meets all of your requirements which may still end up costing you more. Aesthetics are subjective but if you want my opinion, an ultrawide monitor will look much cleaner on your desk than two separate monitors.
  • If you do go for a dual monitor setup you may want to look into getting a monitor arm so you don’t have 2 sets of stands taking up precious space on your desk.

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Advantages of Having an Ultrawide Monitors setup

  • It’s also a good idea for ultrawide monitors but bears in mind that they generally weigh quite a lot more and will need a more sturdy – and therefore more expensive monitor stand.
  • So if you do want a monitor arm, the factor that into your cost calculations because a premium monitor arm can easily cost you between $2-400 dollars. So let’s move on and talk about actually using the monitors.

Multitasking Advantages In Ultrawide Monitors

  • For multitasking and ultrawide is perfectly capable, it can easily do the same job as a dual monitor setup. You have enough real estate to have 2 full-screen windows side by side and even enough to have 3 usable windows at the same time.
  • The extra horizontal real estate is nice when you’re focusing on a single task too, like say video editing. I do appreciate being able to see more of my timeline.
  • However, with a 21:9 monitor your vertical space is likely to be less and I do notice that when I edit my videos I’m usually using several layers which I don’t always see without scrolling down.
  • Web browning is great, I often have several and I do mean several tabs open at the same time and the extra horizontal room means the tabs don’t get crammed into oblivion as much so I really do appreciate that.
  • Looking at videos and movies is also a great experience. Movies are usually using a 21:9 aspect ratio which means they will fill your screen perfectly without any letterboxing that you would have on 16:9 screens.
  • YouTube videos these days, a wider aspect ratio so that they look good on mobile devices and again that’s a benefit for ultrawide monitors.

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Disadvantages In Ultrawide Monitors

  • On the other hand, some programs, mostly thinking about games here, like to run fullscreen and in that case, you have no options with the ultrawide but to run them in windowed mode.
  • Which first of all you might not like to do and second of all in many games that come with a performance penalty.
  • Dual monitors have a clear advantage, letting you run your game full screen whilst on the second monitor you can display whatever you want. Of course, you’d still have to exit fullscreen from your game to actually change what’s on your second monitor.

Gaming Experience 

Ultrawide gaming experience so far has been a mixed bag. On the one hand, if your game supports ultrawide resolutions, the extra immersion you can get from having a more peripheral vision is awesome.

  • The World of Warcraft ran in 16:9, Now here it is in 21:9. Not only do I have far more aware of what’s going on around me, but I also have loads more space for my user interface. which means that the most important parts of the screen aren’t taken up by my minimap or chat function.
  • In Call of Duty instead, you will be able to have a wider field of view without sacrificing the center of your screen as much. I could have the same field of view on a 16:9 monitor, but it would mean that everything in the middle would be even smaller and targets would be more difficult to hit.

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Now come the Downsides –


  • First of all, when you have such a wide field of view, depending on how the game treats this ultrawide resolution, you may find that objects towards the edges of the screen become skewed or distorted. This is quite noticeable in Call of Duty: Cold War, whereas you can see the edges become skewed and appear to be closer than they actually are.
  • If you play a lot of competitive first-person shooters an ultrawide may not be for you. Not only because of the distortion, but also because you have a much larger area to cover with your eyes. This is why almost all professional gamers tend to use either 16:9 monitors or even 4:3 monitors.
  • As crazy as you may think that sounds, this allows them to keep their eyes focused in the middle of the screen without worrying about what’s happening on the very edge. However, for single-player games, I think the extra immersion is so nice to have, that I will personally keep using an ultrawide going forward.


  • New games are mostly coming out with ultrawide support but if you’re into playing older games, many of them either need complicated mods to make it support ultrawide properly, or they don’t work at all.
  • Now I’ve read around and there do seem to be mods available to fix this, but my point is simply you may need to get your hands dirty to make some older games work properly on your ultrawide display. So I think that covers everything from my side.

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Ultrawide monitors are by no means perfect, they have advantages and disadvantages like almost everything in life. Some people love them, some people prefer the good old dual monitor setup and that’s perfectly fine. It’s also not like you can’t have an ultrawide and a second screen anyway, sure you can.

Just bear in mind that either your second screen will be very far off to one side, or you need to have the second screen above your primary screen. Which in my opinion is not optimal as you’ll be having to bend your neck and look up whenever you need to use it.

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About Author
An engineer and MBA, who is a technology and a gadget freak. I write about smart home solutions and gadgets like all wireless devices, technology brands like Apple. Love to follow the latest trends in the technology space and write about latest developments.