The ultrawide monitor category is firmly established as a gamer go-to. Though 21:9-aspect screens can be, and often are, used for productivity, they are best-suited for immersive games, like first-person shooters and vehicle simulators. Unless you don one of the best VR headsets, there's no better way to wrap a virtual environment around you.
The downside to these displays has been price. On a cost-per-feature basis, they ride at the premium end of the spectrum alongside the best gaming monitors. But inevitably, prices fall, and what was once bleeding-edge technology is starting to become a commodity.
Breaking the price barrier is the Gigabyte G34WQC. Sporting a 34-inch VA panel with 1440p resolution, a 144 Hz refresh rate, Adaptive-Sync, extended color and HDR, it sells for just $400 at this writing. It wasn’t long ago that these specs would set you back at least $800 so this is a definite coup.
Gigabyte G34WQC Specs
|Panel Type / Backlight||VA / W-LED, edge array|
|Screen Size, Aspect Ratio & Curve||34 inches / 21:9|
|Curve radius: 1500mm|
|Curve radius: 1500mm||3440x1440 @ 144 Hz|
|AMD FreeSync Premium: 48-144 Hz|
|Native Color Depth and Gamut||8-bit / DCI-P3|
|HDR10, DisplayHDR 400|
|Response Time (GTG)||1ms|
|Video Inputs||2x DisplayPort 1.4|
|2x HDMI 2.0|
|Audio||3.5mm headphone output|
|Power Consumption||27.1w, brightness @ 200 nits|
|Panel Dimensions WxHxD w/base||31.8 x 15.3-19.3 x 9.2 inches (808 x 389-490 x 234mm)|
|Panel Thickness||4.5 inches (114mm)|
|Bezel Width||Top/sides: 0.4 inch (9mm)|
|Bottom: 0.7 inch (18mm)|
|Weight||18.5 pounds (8.4kg)|
Gigabyte starts with our favorite monitor technology, Vertical Alignment (VA) and rolls in the latest gaming features. The G34WQC delivers a reliable 144 Hz with AMD FreeSync Premium and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility, as confirmed by our tests, althought it's not certified by Nvidia (for more, see our How to Run G-Sync on a FreeSync monitor article).
Color comes in a wide gamut with the G34WQC specced for 90% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space. And the monitor's WQHD resolution means an ideal 109ppi pixel density. That’s a sweet spot, where high frame rates are achievable with moderately-priced video cards, (including some of the best graphics cards). and the pixel structure is not visible to the user. You also get HDR support with a DisplayHDR 400 certification.
Gaming features are included as well, starting with a handy on-screen display (OSD) joystick to control all monitor functions. There’s an effective overdrive to reduce motion blur, plus a backlight strobe to reduce it further, provided you’re willing to give up Adaptive-Sync.
The Gigabyte G34WQC is an impressive package for $400 but does it perform as well as its specs suggest? Let’s take a look.
Assembly and Accessories for Gigabyte G34WQC
The tool-less assembly requires only attachment of the base with a captive bolt. The upright is already fastened in place, but if you remove it, there’s a 100mm VESA mount pattern for aftermarket arms and brackets with no adaptor needed.
The cable bundle includes one each of HDMI and DisplayPort. There is no USB, since there are no corresponding ports. The power supply is internal, so an IEC cord is also in the box.
Gigabyte G34WQC Product 360
Despite its extra width and heft, the Gigabyte G34WQC sits solidly on a substantial stand. The base is wide and deep enough to ensure stability. The upright is also quite beefy, keeping ergonomic movements appropriately stiff and free of play. There is no swivel adjustment, but you do get 4 inches of height and -5/20 degrees of tilt.
However, at its highest point, the G34WQC sits a little lower than most monitors. You might have to adjust your office chair down a tad to put your eyes comfortably at center screen.
The front view shows a thin bezel that's 9mm wide and flush mounted. The bottom trim is 18mm wide and features only the Gigabyte logo. There's an OSD joystick around the back-right side that controls all functions, including power. The status LED softly glows on the desktop, rather than being visible from the front.
The back and side views are simply styled with just a few shiny bits surrounding the joystick and another Gigabyte logo. Ventilation happens along the top with a narrow grill. We observed only cool running during our time with the G34WQC.
The input panel includes two each of DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0. At the native 3440 x 1440 resolution, you’ll need DisplayPort to support a 144 Hz refresh rate with Adaptive-Sync (FreeSync or G-Sync) or use HDR. We were also able to engage HDR with both FreeSync and G-Sync (unofficially) at 144 Hz through DisplayPort. If you connect via HDMI, you'll be limited to a 100 Hz refresh rate
The G34WQC includes a well-designed OSD like the one in all Gigabyte’s gaming monitors that's standardized across the product line. Press the joystick, and then click up to engage it.
The Gaming menu starts with an option called Aim Stabilizer that's actually a backlight strobe. To use it, turn off Adaptive-Sync and make sure the refresh rate is 100 Hz or higher. It eliminates blur effectively but reduces brightness by around 20%. We preferred to keep Adaptive-Sync running and use the excellent overdrive, which can be set to maximum without causing ghosting artifacts.
The Picture menu features six image modes. Standard is the default and allows for full calibration via RGB sliders and gamma presets. It employs the Gigabyte G34WQC’s full color gamut. If you prefer the smaller sRGB space for SDR content, there's a reasonably accurate sRGB mode available that locks out all image controls except for brightness. Also here is a low blue light mode for reading and a dynamic contrast option that varies the backlight to expand dynamic range. It doesn’t crush highlight and shadow detail, but we saw occasional flicker when using it.
To access gaming features, like aiming points and frame counter, press the joystick once then click either left or right for those enhancements.
Gigabyte G34WQC Calibration Settings
The Standard picture mode on the Gigabyte G34WQC comes close to the 6500K grayscale standard with near-perfect gamma and good color gamut accuracy. We switched to the user color temp, which visibly improved grayscale tracking.
Interestingly, we could derive no further benefit from adjusting the RGB sliders, so we left them at their default settings. Gamma 3 renders a near-perfect 2.2 luminance curve. The sRGB picture mode covers that gamut properly, but has a slightly cool white point.
HDR signals don’t allow for any adjustment, but we found good grayscale, luminance and color accuracy in HDR mode. Here are our recommended settings.
|Brightness 200 nits||40|
|Brightness 120 nits||16|
|Brightness 100 nits||10|
|Brightness 80 nits||80|
|Color Temp User||Red 50, Green 50, Blue 50|
Gaming and Hands-on With Gigabyte G34WQC
The G34WQC is a bright and colorful monitor suited for any task. Its curve is gentle enough to prevent distortion of spreadsheets or documents but tight enough to wrap a gaming or movie environment around the user.
One thing we noticed was that when returning from HDR to SDR mode, user settings like brightness and color temp werereset to their defaults. A workaround is to use the Save Settings feature and reload your custom memory when switching back to SDR.
We recommend sticking with SDR for workday tasks, photo editing and viewing any SDR-encoded content. HDR should be reserved for HDR content: games or correctly mastered video. In HDR mode we noticed a distinct green tint when viewing photos and apps with white backgrounds, yet HDR games, like Call of Duty: WWII, didn't show this behavior.
SDR games, like Tomb Raider, played with deep contrast, excellent blacks and plenty of crisp detail. The Gigabyte G34WQC’s extended color gamut is around 85% of DCI-P3, according to our testing (more on that later), which makes for a good compromise between sRGB and wide gamut content. The smaller gamut material benefits from the extra vibrance but doesn’t look over-blown or cartoonish. Tomb Raider played at 110-120 fps with detail set to maximum with our GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Radeon RX 5700 XT.
We tried Call of Duty WWII in both SDR and HDR modes and found the latter to look a little better with images looking look natural and vivid. Though there is no dynamic contrast happening here: The G34WQC’s native ratio of almost 3500:1 made an impact. This isn't the best HDR monitor, but the G34WQC does HDR better than most gaming monitors, especially at this price.
Motion resolution and response were as good as the better gaming monitors we’ve tested. Though it runs at 'only' 144Hz, it plays fluidly, never calling attention to itself. We played for hours without fatigue. During the more intense action scenes, frame rates dropped below 100 frames per second (fps) on occasion, but it didn’t detract from the experience. HDR exacted a slight processing overhead because when we switched back to SDR for the same game, it played about 10 fps faster.
Video content was much the same. We found no fault with motion processing, but HDR mode should be used only with HDR content. Turning Windows HDR on and watching an SDR video made the picture look flat and a bit green with elevated black levels; almost as if a slight haze were present. The takeaway is to stick to SDR for regular content and use HDR only for HDR content.
If you're curious about audio, a pair of built-in 2W speakers played at a polite volume and was focused on the upper mid-range frequencies.