This Massive 32:9 Ultrawide Monitor Changed the Way I Work and Game

After five years with this seemingly ridiculous aspect ratio, I'm never going back.

by Henri Robbins
A 32:9 super ultrawide monitor from
Photograph by Henri Robbins
Gear Reviews
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I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that one monitor changed the way I work entirely.

In a world of complex multi-monitor setups, with movable arms and adjustable everything, it seems a bit ridiculous to suggest that the best solution is to combine everything into one package, but that’s exactly what I’m suggesting. The 49-inch, 32:9 super ultrawide monitor is an absurd concept, but one that can help you write, code, game, and multitask like never before.

I should know, I’ve been using one for years (the curved AOC AGON AG493UCX) and while the switch to a monitor of this proportion is a big one, it’s one that you won’t regret.

Workspace utility

Anyone seeing all the marketing materials for this kind of monitor will immediately assume they’re primarily reserved for intense, immersive gaming, but that’s simply not the case. One of the biggest benefits is actually the seamless work experience it provides.

Multitasking never felt so easy.

Photograph by Henri Robbins

I don’t think I’ve ever been as productive or focused as I am when working on this kind of monitor. The massive on-screen real estate, with no breaks or bumps, makes everything feel clean and precise — no bezels, borders, or other disruptions to throw off your flow.

Right now, my computer is being used to write this article, transfer files, play music, and monitor a group chat. And all of this can appear on the screen at once. I don’t have to bother with constantly alt-tabbing between each window, relying on Windows’ barely-functional media overlay, or organizing all of my windows into tiny squares. Instead, it’s all just there.

You can have, easily, five or six windows open at any given moment on a monitor of this size. And with a bit of organization, that number can get up to 10 or 12. And since your entire work surface is one large panel instead of multiple smaller ones, you don’t have to deal with any borders or seams to disrupt your organization. Instead, you can place the most important window right in the center of your screen.

If that’s not your deal, you can also have one piece of software take up the entire screen — something that’s great for huge spreadsheets and timeline-based editing with apps like Adobe Premiere Pro.

Gaming experience

And it’s not just about work, my ultrawide monitor is also fantastic for playing any modern game. The immersion and engagement you get is mind-blowing. A monitor like this fills almost your entire field of view and makes any first-person game feel about as close as possible to a VR experience without a headset.

Even if you’re not looking for an immersive VR-like experience, there’s still unbelievable amounts of utility to such a huge screen — you can have a windowed game, a voice call, task manager, and a couple of browser windows open all at once in the periphery of whatever game you’re playing.

It’s easy to feel immersed with a screen this wide.

Photograph by Henri Robbins

The only real issue you’ll run into is that most older games default to stretching the image across the entire horizontal axis instead of creating black bars on the sides. And quite often, they don’t have a windowed mode that functions very well. Quite a bit of the time, menus won’t function either — for example, Fallout: New Vegas character creation is impossible to use when fullscreen, even after going into the games’ files and adjusting all the resolution values to match the screen.

The majority of these issues are either tolerable or fixable, though. Most popular older games will have simple workarounds or mods to fix these pitfalls, and if those don’t exist, you can switch your monitor to picture-by-picture mode to essentially have two 16:9 monitors that function separately.

Setup compatibility

Unless you're already running a beefy GPU, an upgrade might be in the books if you’re looking to utilize the full monitor at max settings — especially after the standard resolution of these monitors jumped from 3840 x 1080 to 5120 x 1440, almost matching the pixel count of a single 4K monitor. Utilizing that full resolution also requires a DisplayPort connection, so using a laptop as a desktop (or a desktop only fitted with HDMI) will have varied results.

You’ll probably need a new desk, too — these things are incredibly long, pretty deep, and need quite a bit of desk real estate if you want to use the original stand. I ended up buying an Ikea Utespelare specifically to fit this monitor

The switch to an ultrawide can be jarring, but you won’t regret it.

Photograph by Henri Robbins

Once you’ve figured all that out, there are some other annoyances. There aren’t many wallpapers that fit such an extreme aspect ratio, so finding one that meets your specific tastes will likely require dedicated searching or some Photoshop skills.

Personally, these super-ultrawide Studio Ghibli wallpapers from u/JasuinDiLoan on Reddit make up the majority of my rotation these days.

There’s no getting around it: This is a huge monitor. It’s 49 inches long, and probably a foot deep when accounting for the curve. Moving it anywhere is basically trying to solve the moving sofa problem with a $1,500 screen.

My current car could not fit a monitor like this without some serious effort (although I’m sure the guys in r/miatalogistics could figure it out), so I’m basically stuck asking a friend with a larger vehicle for help if I ever need to move it more than a short walk. And if I even want to move it more than across a room, I’ll need to get a friend for that, too — you can carry it by yourself, but it’s such an unusual shape that you’ll want to have a spotter of some sort, especially going up and down stairs.

The Competition

Compared to multi-monitor setups, a 32:9 is better for almost every practical use. It looks better, is easier to configure, and the single screen is great for both spreading out multiple windows and for having one all-encompassing program.

The only real downside is if you want to adjust and customize your monitor setup over time. But, much like a new chair, you’ll probably only use the adjustments a few times before finding a setup that works for you — so why not make the final setup one that’s as good as possible?

Photography by Henri Robbins

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