Finding an affordable ultrawide monitor means threading the needle: Finding a high-end device at low-end prices. We still have yet to see a fantastic UWQHD ultrawide monitor selling under six hundred, and it maybe a while before that happens. There are ways to enjoy the ultra-wide marvel if you are willing to accept a few limitations and would instead absorb the benefits of an engrossing, single screen.
What to Expect When Buying Affordable Ultrawide Monitors
The first hit you can expect when purchasing a cheaper ultrawide is it most probably will have a lower resolution, which sits at 2560 x 1080. The enthusiasts would always suggest getting a 3440 x 1440 screen with refinements such as Adaptive-Sync solutions or sophisticated designs, but these models cost around 800 or more. It’s impossible to find something that fits these descriptions if the budget is limited, at least for the time being.
Size could also be an issue when looking for a steal in the ultrawide marketplace, although there are 34-inch models that could fit the bill right away or drop down in price during sales. We highly recommend against getting 25-inch models because they are too narrow, so viewing comfort can be an issue. Always start with choosing from 29 inches since this type is almost as tall as a regular 24-inch monitor, making viewing more natural.
Cheap ultra-wides will often come with simplified exterior features like tilt-only stands, no VESA compatibility, or no built-in speakers. These easy-on-the-wallet devices will often come dressed as a typical office monitor, but we usually like it that way for a much cleaner look. The bottom line is if you buy a package in this price range, you can only expect to receive the essentials, which are the most important parts of a purchase.
Do not be discouraged, however, since 29-inch or 34-inch 2560 x 1080 options are still viable because, for one, they require less GPU power, and they still offer the convenience of a 21:9 aspect ratio, among other things. You still avoid having to use multiple displays split by annoying bezels, so this category will still hit the sweet spot. We’ve played games, worked on documents, or simply stared at multiple types of screens, and we can say that the experience from an ultrawide, no matter how entry-level it is, will always be unique and satisfying.
Update: January 2024
It’s now 2024, and fortunately, most of what’s been originally written or said above is now inaccurate. Facts like budget ultrawides not have 3440 x 1440, so you don’t have to settle for the less crisp 2560 x 1080 models. You also don’t have to make do with a 60Hz or 75Hz model if your budget is well below half a grand at this point.
The market has matured enough to give us full gaming specs at the same price you would pay for the previous models included in this list. Both gaming and prosumer variants have drastically reduced price points now thanks to the growth in this market. You can get a great gaming variant for 300 bucks, more or less, as opposed to having to spend close to a thousand before.
It also used to be a fact that a powerful GPU is necessary to run a 3440 x 1440 high-refresh monitor. GPUs have matured as well, so you don’t need a top-end card to get high framerates. It’s never been easier to build a battle station with affordable ultrawide monitors while having a limited budget.
The Best Affordable Ultrawide Monitors Available Now
The AOC CU34G2X has been around for some time, ever since it helped start the pricing revolution for ultrawide gaming monitors. It started as a sub-$500 offering, but it can be had for less than that now. It’s a curved ultrawide with a 144Hz refresh rate and a price that used to only buy you a 60Hz model.
AOC’s monitors have been associated with being at the cheaper end, but their offerings are often built well and very competitive. They also don’t skimp on creature comforts, so you get more value by going with their products.
The Gigabyte G34WQC is one of the few proponents of the price drop for 34-inch 144Hz gaming monitors. You get a curved VA panel with a 3440 x 1440 output, HDR 400, and FreeSync Premium for under $350. It’s not perfect, but it certainly offers more bang for your buck compared to other ultrawide in the same category.
Its imperfection lies in its slower pixel response time, which, to be honest, is an expected limitation from VA panels. It also doesn’t pack a lot of features you’ll find on the brand’s Aorus offerings, but all the essentials are there. This model has been available for quite some time now, but that is proof of its success more than lackluster sales.
The Asus ProArt PA348CGV is a peculiar option in this category since its prosumer-oriented nature sort of contradicts the premise of budget monitors. It is built like a true professional monitor with a calibrated IPS panel, but it also has double the refresh rate and FreeSync/G-Sync compatibility. It’s equipped with USB-C connectivity and a host of other options, making it the most flexible in this lineup.
Its true pricing is far from what a budget model costs, but we consider it to be very practical. Its imaging quality and gaming performance make it a perfect dual-edged solution for creators who play. It is rare to find something that performs great on both aspects, especially at sub-$1000 pricing.
The Asus VG34VQL1B offers great gaming performance and a special feature you won’t normally find on other gaming monitors. It has a 165Hz ultrawide screen with goodies like FreeSync Premium, but it also includes the brand’s ELMB feature. The latter is important because it’s an effective solution for VA weaknesses without locking other essential functions like VRR.
It’s not perfect, nor is it the cheapest, but it’s better suited for fast-paced games. It’s a TUF gaming monitor as well, so it is built quite well despite having a lower price point.
The AOC U34G3X is the most affordable ultrawide monitor in this lineup with an IPS panel. It currently sells for the price of a VA variant, so it is an attractive choice for users who want the panel type’s benefits over higher contrast. It also offers faster pixel response times, so it’s not prone to blurring like its counterpart.
The U34G3X is flat, so it’s also ideal for productivity or editing work. Curved displays can often make some images look distorted, so it’s another advantage for dual-purpose applications. AOC also mentioned that it’s pre-calibrated, and a lot of other budget models cannot compete with that.
The terms affordable and ultrawide are difficult to mix and find a suitable model since offerings in this category are still treated as upmarket items. We fixed the budget for this guide at $600, and yet, we only found these five amazing products within that category. Honestly, $600 is already a high-end price, but doing the math of how these affordable ultrawide monitors can replace two similar quality 16:9 screens tells you that calling this amount “affordable” is still sane.
Newer and better technologies are emerging, so maybe in a year or two we can expand this list with more options including higher resolution models. But if you are itching to enjoy the eye-popping visuals of ultrawide screens and the convenience of having a single display, then these five models are your best bets. Other cheap options have tons of sacrifices in specs, making them lose the performance per dollar we tried to find.