Ultrawide vs dual monitor

I’ve used a dual monitor arrangement for years (well actually triple monitor, since I typically have my laptop screen positioned below one of two 24" desk monitors). Am considering replacing the two 24" monitors with a single ultrawide. Mainly this is because I suspect applications which have multiple panels within a main window may work better on an ultrawide screen. Also I tend to favour arranging windows on my laptop screen and the monitor directly above it, rather than the one over to the side.

I’m sure there are many on here who have tried both ultrawide and dual monitor setups and am keen to hear your thoughts. Do you have a strong preference for a single ultrawide over dual monitors, or vice versa? What’s the minimum size of ultrawide that you feel offers significant benefit over a single 24" monitor?

For a long time I loved having 3 separate monitors. I liked the clear distinction between them and each monitor was used for a specific purpose.

A few months back I replaced them all with an ultra wide after discovering Windows Powertoys, particularly Fancyzones.

This allows you to divide your screen up any way you want, with or without gaps between windows, it’s all fully customisable. You can then snap applications into the zones, and it remembers where you last placed the application so the next time you open it, it will open in the same place. Essentially behaving like separate monitors.

You can also create shortcuts to flip between ‘grids’ so depending on what task you want to do on your PC that day, you can instantly have a different layout of all your applications.

This was the gamechanger for me and I love my widescreen now. The downside is that I have lost some screenspace, as widescreens are smaller than 3x monitors. However, I found that my neck doesn’t hurt after long use because everything is in my peripheral vision now.

TL’DR, get a widescreen and Windows Powertoys.


Absolutely spot on advice. I’ve used the same physical layout as @o99 describes (laptop screen located below the 34" ultrawide) for over 6 years now. I’d never go back to multiple, external screens, although I am toying with the idea of a large portrait monitor to the left of the widescreen for various feeds/socials/etc. I don’t use Powertoys but instead have Windows snap in muscle memory (Win+arrow key) to move stuff around. Using apps like photoshop on a big wide screen is amazing.

Here’s an older picture of the setup at home (mid-lockdown), which is almost the same now except the monitor and peripheral hardware stay at the office and I carry the laptop with me:


Native snapping doesn’t allow for enough multitasking options on really wide displays. For an ultra wide I would definitely recommend either PowerToys Fancyzones or an app called WindowGrid.

Personally, I have three 32" 2k screens, so getting an ultra wide large enough to replace them all would probably cost more than my house!


I found screen sharing was weird for viewers when using just an ultra-wide - so I have an ultra-wide, normal monitor above (landscape) and one to the right in portrait mode.

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How do you find the Stream Deck XL’s - speeding things up nicely?

I’ve always been a dual screen user for work (standard 16:9 monitor, plus laptop display).
After working from home for a while thanks to COVID, and a “we are changing your contract so you are a homeworker permanently” contract change, I upgraded the work provided monitor to my own ultrawide (21:9) and returned the work provided monitor, keeping the laptop as my 2nd display (mainly for Outlook and Teams).
I can’t imagine using a 16:9 monitor now, especially since I work with spreadsheets and Visio all day. If you have to do screensharing, ultrawide can look tiny to non-ultrawide viewers.

Have you thought about upgrading one of your screens to ultrawide and keeping one of your 16:9 screens? Screensharing would be better on the 16:9, as will some older applications.

That’s a good point too.

You have to share window, instead of share screen otherwise it can be tricky for people to see the detail. It of course depends on what you’re sharing whether it’s an issue or not.

I really want to upgrade my screens but there’s a huge cost difference between a couple of screens and a ultra wide bad boy.

Plus I do have a bit of a fear of looking left to right and it feeling like I’m watching tennis if I go too big/too wide.

I have the same when sharing from a 2k monitor, since the company standard is still 1920x1080. I think that it’s going to be an increasing problem over time. Thankfully it mostly resolves it if you just share a window instead of an entire monitor.

They’re mostly part of the “personal” setup rather than the “work” one (full explanation below), since I do the technicals / production for the twitch streamed weekly live recording of a multi-person podcast, so they’re set up for the scene changes, audio control, sound fx, etc. for that. It just wouldn’t be possible without them. There’s about 5 pages of buttons that get shifted through across the course of the show. Excellent pieces of kit. That said, I do have some buttons for mic and camera control in Teams set up, which are useful.

My situation is similar. At the start of lockdown I brought my laptop home, and a dock, but rejected the two 24" 1080p monitors, since I had nowhere to put them. All the screens are dual input, so my home PC and the laptop dock are both cabled up, and whichever is on, gets the displays. I have a USB switch/hub that’s 2-in 4-out, so the keyboard/mouse, Stream Deck, and anything else I want to switch is just one tap away from being on either machine. The work laptop (actually a Surface Pro 8) is just peeping over the top of the center monitor, so the built-in camera can still see me and work for teams video calls.

Can Fancyzones (or something similar) not be used to solve this? i.e. can you not share a specific zone as it it were a separate screen?

I always work from a laptop positioned below a central external monitors, so my laptop screen will always be available for screensharing if screensharing from the ultrawide is an issue. But I don’t think I’d want an ultrawide plus another 16:9 external monitor as I don’t really want to give over that much space on my desk.

Nope, the sharing options in every app I’ve ever seen are either an entire monitor, or exactly one application window.

FancyZones (and WindowGrid) are only about setting the size of a particular application window to standardised constraints to assist with optimal tiling.

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Do it (I should’ve done it sooner)

Since moving to ultra wide I’ve found it even easier to do things such as comparison (excel v excel) and generally in terms of working on multiple files, plus the space it affords is exceptional.

I won’t be going back any time soon

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Once you go Ultrawide you’ll never go back.

You could go half and half - get something like a 34" Ultrawide, and a 27". You benefit from having two monitors, one being regular size, and benefit from one being wider without having to go full in on it.

But also depends how you like to manage windows, I like everything maximised so I only use the Ultrawide for fixed Chrome windows that don’t ever change, other monitors used for other apps.

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Don’t understand people sharing their whole screens on video calls! I’m very cautious about only sharing exactly the tab or window I have. No need for everyone on a call to see whatever else I may be doing.

Having loved the multi monitor life for many years, these days I’m all about one big screen and even the laptop is closed in a stand.

I personally prefer 32” 4K over an ultrawide but each to their own.

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Why did you change? What do you prefer about limiting yourself to a single larger screen?

I always do, it’s easier to then show another doc by just moving it to that screen. I always share the left one and my right one has my browser where I’m slacking/Teams/email, so there’s nothing extra to see on the left really.

I always used to show just a window then Teams made a UI change and I never bothered to realise that it was just below. It was only after reading this thread yesterday that I started a meeting by myself :nerd_face: to make sure I could share just a window in case I do go ultra wide.

The panel snapping that others have mentioned, having 3 big panes would be great for my workflow.

I think if Monzo do another Flex 6 months 0% I’ll get one. Maybe.


My 4K monitor has far more space than the two 1080p displays I replaced it with, so I don’t see it as limiting.

It is ultimately just personal preference. I like having one main display positioned directly in front of me for the best ergonomics.

I also find it helps me to concentrate more on important tasks. The mult monitor multitasking lifestyle was ultimately just too distracting all the time. I don’t need to see every email and slack coming in constantly. I find easier to alt tab to another window when needed then having to physically turn left or right.

The worst is when people have two monitors directly in front of them with neither being ideally positioned. That’s no way to work.


Fair enough. All my work happens in Chrome, so showing another doc or sheet is a matter of opening another tab.

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I had a 28" (I think) curved monitor, and didn’t get on with it at all. Gone back to a dual sestup.