For maximum immersion with flight sims, you essentially have four options:
- VR headset
- Ultrawide monitor
- 4K monitor
- Multi-monitor setup
There are pros and cons to each, but I prefer VR and ultrawide over a multi-monitor setup or even 4K for that matter. Ultrawides are simply a step up over the multi-monitor setup in my opinion. Over the last few years, the quality and availability of ultrawides has increased significantly while the price has come down.
What features to look for in a monitor?
I have been buying ultrawides for personal use for some time now, and I can tell you it used to be tough. Getting everything you wanted in the same monitor was just not possible 3-4 years ago. But these days we are starting to get some damn near perfect ultrawides. Here are the things you must consider:
- Display Resolution – For ultrawide 3440×1440 pixels (WQHD) is the standard while 4K is 3840×2160.
- Screen Size – 34” is the most common ultrawide screen size although you see 35” or 38” as well. These are all close enough to be considered similar. 27” is too low to be considered in this list. Bigger ultrawides like 49” also exist and I will include them in this list. They are just a bit pricier. For 4K monitors, 27″ is still the standard.
- Refresh Rate – Back in the day, you had to be content with 60Hz which isn’t all that good. Personally, I am happy with anything over 100 Hz. You get 120Hz and 144 Hz options these days. If you are unsure about this, just stick to 100Hz or more and you will be fine.
- Screen/ Panel type – There are three screen/ panel types.
- IPS panels best overall with good colours/ vibrancy and good speed (pixel response time). But they are more expensive. Best for flight simmers and general use.
- TN panels are the fastest but have the worst color reproduction. Mostly preferred by competitive first person shooters because of the highest pixel response speeds.
- VA panels have the best colors but they are slower (pixel transition).
- Adaptive Sync – Important tech to consider to get rid of issues like screen tearing. Nvidia’s proprietary tech is called G-Sync while others use the open source FreeSync. G-Sync monitors are a bit more expensive. I will mention compatibility of each monitor.
- Curvature – Ultrawides are curved because otherwise the sides would eb further away form you than the centre. You don’t have to worry about the amount of curvature, but just make sure you are not buying a flat one as some of the cheaper ones are flat.
- Weight and mounting options – Weight might not seem important unless you want to mount it using a desk arm. Those things have a limit to how much they can lift. But if you just want to plop it on your desk or use a sturdy mounting brace and not a movable arm, you should be golden. The standard mounting option is VESA.
- Design/ Color/ RGB lighting – These are all personal preferences.
Based on all these factors and trying out quite a few of these monitors, here is my top list.
1. Best Overall (34”)
- Experience breathtaking views with a combination of immersive features
- Aspect Ratio is 21:9; Viewing Angle is 178º (H) / 178º (V); Brightness is 350 cd/m²(typical)
The newest Alienware checks all the boxes. IPS panel, 120 HZ refresh rate, G-Sync, good build quality and 3440×1440. This resolution is the sweet spot for flight sims as if you go higher, you would struggle even with the top end graphics cards to maintain frames.
- 34" WQHD (3440 x 1440) 21:9 Curved Nano IPS Display
- NVidia G-Sync with 100Hz (120Hz OC)
This is LG’s answer to the competing Alienware. It has the same screen size at 34”, an IPS panel, G-Sync etc. It’s default refresh rate is 100 Hz which should also be good and it also has the option to overclock it up to 120 Hz.
2. Best Free-Sync Ultrawide (34”)
- 34 inches WQHD (3440 X 1440) Nano IPS ultra wide display
- VESA displayed 400
If you need a FreeSync monitor, then this is your best bet. FreeSync monitors are inherently a but cheaper than G-Sync modules but other than that, there is not much difference. Get these if you have an AMD card.
It’s the standard ultrawide resolution at 3440×1440 with an IPS panel and 144 Hz.
3. Best 38” Ultrawide
- 38” 21 9 curved WQHD+ (3840 X 1600) Nano IPS display
- Aspect Ratio is 21:9; Viewing Angle is 178˚(R/L), 178˚(U/D); Brightness is 450cd (typ)/360cd (Min)
This is slightly bigger ultrawide than the standard 34” monitors on this list. The resolution is 3840 X 1600 which is where you start to push it in terms of performance. You will need a top end GPU for this and even that might struggle with some games but should be fine for most.
Other than that, it’s a gorgeous IPS panel with 144 Hz standard and 175 Hz overclocked refresh rate. It’s obviously a bit pricey but that is par for the course that this segment.
4. Best 49” Ultrawide
- DUAL QHD RESOLUTION: The 5120 x 1440 super ultra-wide aspect ratio lets you view content in...
- HDR1000 & QLED: Has a brightness rating of 1,000 nits and DCI-P3 95%, so colors are pure, bright,...
This is the most monstrous entry on this list and probably the max you can stretch without melting your graphics card. Its almost like having two 27” monitors. It’s a FreeSync monitor with 120 Hz refresh rate. No complaints there.
It’s HDR 1000 and the screen resolution is a whopping 5120 x 1440. At this point, you are going to start to hit the performance ceiling on games but if you are the discerning simmer, you can’t go wroth with this baby.
5. Budget Ultrawide (34”)
- Dual-Purpose Business Monitor – The GN34CW is an office-ready ultrawide 34-inch monitor, curved...
- Dynamic Color Reproduction – The thin-bezel 1440p monitor VA panel delivers a wide color gamut,...
This is a VA panel with FreeSync which means it is at a much attractive price point than the IPS panels. For someone like me, the difference is not that great between IPS and VA but I am not really that good at colour stuff anyway. If you are on a budget, this is perfectly viable option. It’s 3440×1440 with 144 Hz refresh rate.
- 34" Class (34" Viewable) AOC Gaming G2 Series monitor with 3440x1440 Ultra wide Quad HD (2K+)...
- Rapid 1ms response (MPRT) and 144Hz refresh rate with Adaptive-Sync for ultra-smooth competitive...
This is a 100 Hz VA panel in the 3440×1440 category. The price point is really getting very attractive now.
6. Entry Level Ultrawide (2560×1080)
These are all 2560×1080 panels. If you don’t have the GPU to push 3440×1440 but still want ultrawide, these are the ones you want.
- Curved Gaming display (1500R) – The best gameplay immersion
- FHD High Resolution - Game titles will even look better, displaying more details due to the FHD...
- 34" Class (34" Viewable) AOC Gaming G2 series monitor with 2560x1080 UltraWide Full HD Resolution VA...
- UltraWide super-curved 1500R monitor wraps around your vision to put you at the center of the action
- 30" Curved Gaming Monitor 2560 x 1080 Full HD Resolution. Response Time- 5ms GTG.Aspect Ratio: 21:9....
- DP Up to 200Hz Refresh Rate / HDMI 2. 0 Up to 120Hz Refresh Rate: More than double the standard...
7. Best 4k monitor
If you are really seeking the added clarity of a 4K monitor, these are my top picks for you:
- 27-inch 4K IPS gaming monitor with 144Hz refresh rate for super-smooth gaming visual.Response...
- Aspect Ratio is 16:9; Viewing Angle (CR≧10, H/V) is 178°/ 178°; Brightness (Typ) is 350cd/㎡
- 27 Inch IPS UHD Widescreen with 3840 x 2160 resolution
- Refresh Rate: 60 Hz, Response Time: 4ms; Dimensions (H x W x D) 15.80 Inches 21.70 Inches x 24.20...