Ultrawide vs. dual monitors: Which should you choose?


Want to maximize your desktop’s real estate? You have two options: an ultrawide monitor, or a dual-monitor setup. Either choice will massively expand the screen space at your command. But ultrawide and dual-monitor setups are not the same. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.  

Here’s how to decide whether an ultrawide monitor or dual monitors is right for you.

How wide is it?

Everyone looking to buy an ultrawide monitor or dual monitors wants more usable display space. But how much do you gain with each scenario?

A 34-inch ultrawide monitor, the most common size, is not as large you might think. This size of ultrawide is nearly identical to a 27-inch widescreen monitor in height and about 8 inches wider.  

Purchasing a second 27-inch monitor will, of course, net you a second monitor just as large as the first. A second 27-inch monitor adds 23.5 inches to the width of your setup. That’s about 15.5 inches wider than a 34-inch ultrawide monitor.

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Besides offering a wider expanse than a single ultrawide monitor, a dual display is more flexible in terms of screen angles and orientation.

To reach the equivalent of two 27-inch monitors in a single display, you must go all-out with a 49-inch super-ultrawide with a 32:9 aspect ratio, such as Samsung’s SHG90. That’s almost exactly as tall and wide as two 27-inch monitors side-by-side, but considerably more expensive.  

Going dual has another advantage, one no ultrawide can ever match: flexibility.  

You can use one of your two monitors in a portrait orientation, adding vertical instead of horizontal space. This is perfect if you need to display documents on a second screen or want to have multiple social media and chat apps open while working on your primary monitor. You can even mix-and-match monitors of different sizes to perfectly fit your desk.

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