8 34- & 35-inch wfhd-monitoren review: widescreen gaming

Big diagonal, few pixels: ideal for racing games?

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Lower price, bigger size

Firstly this is due to the fact that their prices have gone down significantly. A 29-inch wfhd-monitor can be bought for about 224 pounds / 250 euros or 269 pounds / 300 euros at the time of writing. Having said that, it is mostly LG that still offers models with this combination of size and resolution; while 21:9 is the spearhead for this Korean brand, the rest of the market has mostly retreated from this segment. The caveats that we had with these 29-inch models are still present. These monitors are basically 24-inch models in terms of height, which means that they do not offer the best experience. The prices of wqhd-monitors have also gone down quite a bit, which means that these still offer more work space at an attractive price. 

This means that we have to look elsewhere for the interesting models with wfhd-resolution; slightly bigger. With a diagonal of 34 or 35 inch a small number of manufacturers offers a modest amount of really big monitors, that are mainly commendable for gamers. An early example of this is the still available Benq XL3501, which we included in this test. Because of the big size these monitors allow you to be 'in' the game. Especially in racing games and flight or space sims this adds to the experience, while the increased width - provided that the game supports it, but this is often the case especially in these genres - results in a considerably wider view of the game world. 

WFHD-advantages

Wide full hd might offer less work space in terms of pixels compared with full hd than wqhd (2560x1440) does, but it offers added work space nonetheless. To be more specific: this resolution can perfectly show three full A4 pages next to each other in a word processor, or show a lot more columns in a spreadsheet. You do miss vertical space compared with 16:9 monitors. Especially for gamers the low resolution offers two advantages. 

First and foremost a lot more graphics cards can show about 2.8 million pixels (wfhd) at playable framerates than 3.7 million (wqhd). This means you can choose higher quality presets, or achieve higher framerates, even if you do not have the latest most powerful graphics card. Aside from that, the maximum refreshrate is not quickly limited by the interface with which the monitor is connected. With displayport 1.2 the effective bandwidth is limited to 17.28 Gbit/s, with HDMI 2.0 this is 18 Gbit/s. This means that at a resolution of 3440x1440 pixels no refresh rate of 120 Hz or higher is possible with 8-bits colour quality. With the same colour depth at 2560x1080 a refresh rate of 200 Hz is possible. We see multiple models in this test that allow you to choose this frequency. Of course you will need a faster graphics card in order to achieve these framerates, or you can choose a lower quality preset. 

High framerates and sims

You might be wondering why you would want to play a sim game - racing, flight, space, etc. - at a high framerate. The easy answer is this: latency, or the delay between the action of the player and the observation of the result on the monitor. With a refresh rate - and therefore a maximum framerate - of 60 Hz it takes about 16 ms before an action is translated to a visible change in the game world. At a frequency of 144 Hz this is only 6.94 ms, at 200 Hz it becomes 5 ms. In itself not a shocking difference, but in the total chain of delay it can certainly make a difference. Bear in mind that there is also a few milliseconds of delay because of the time it takes to process the signal in the monitor (usually called input lag), and the same goes for the delay of mouse or keyboard. With the fastest peripherals this is 1 ms, but with a standard usb-setting it is 8 ms. 

An easy way to measure whether or not a high framerate impacts your performance in, for example, a racing game is to write down your lap times on a track you know well when using your standard settings. After that you set the settings as low as possible, which should always result in a higher framerate. Once again you should drive around a bunch of laps and write down your lap times. Now you can compare the average lap time (and if you want to be even more certain, compare the standard deviation as well) and find out whether you have to get better or if your hardware is becoming the limiting factor. In the second case a monitor with a high refresh rate is definitely worth considering. 


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