For a little while now I’ve been looking into ultra wide monitors and I wasn’t convinced if the sizes of 40 inches and above are actually comfortable to use. I am sure there are a lot of you out there with the same question.
For that we have secured two of the widest monitors from local Singaporean company Prism+. There will be a video about each of them, and we are going to start with the latest addition to their ultrawide lineup - P438. It is a 43.8 inch flat ultrawide monitor featuring IPS panel. Let’s see if size does matter.
The first and most noticeable thing about this monitor is that it is all white. In the box we find a monitor itself, white monitor stand, white screws and white cables which include power cable, display port cable, usb type C cable as well as USB uplink cable, more on that later on. Prism also includes screws for VESA mounting and a standard looking remote. But I must say, on a display like this, I am loving the remote. As you can see, I sit slightly back and would hate to move closer to make any adjustments - remote makes it very convenient.
Now that this unit is all set up, we can have a look around. As mentioned earlier, it is all white to the detail (even cables and screws) so it certainly looks clean. It features zero bezel or almost zero bezel design I should say. Since there is a black separation line all around the screen, I think Prism should have opted out of using white bezels. A black version would create a greater sense of bezel-less experience.
On the back we have a pretty funky RGB strip running along the middle. You can change between 6 colours or go full RGB, three different brightness levels in several different presets.
While we are at the back, let's check out all the ports. To one side there is a USB type C, HDMI 2.0 and 1.4 ports, as well as display port 1.2 and audio out.
By the way it does have onboard speakers and I’d say they are pretty average for monitor speakers. I would not recommend using them as your main sound source, pick something up for 40 or 50 dollars and enjoy much better performance.
On the other side there are three USB 3.0 type A ports for input and single USB 3.0 type B for uplink to your PC, as well as a standard power connector.
You can tell this is a higher tier monitor from Prism Plus as it has a monitor stand with more adjustment options. It has height, tilt and swivel adjustments, which is not something that is available on their smaller and cheaper monitors.
Display itself is 43.8 inches which certainly makes it fall into the ultra wide category. It comes with a 10bit IPS panel that according to PrismPlus has 125% sRGB coverage. We tested this using professional equipment and software and found it has 136% coverage of BT.709 colour space which is really good, but coverage is not the only thing that matters.
For many people colour accuracy is one of the crucial features. Let’s see what we got in our testing. Judging by the results, it is ok for a general user. For those who are not familiar with these terms - delta E value refers to the difference between perfect colour accuracy and what is measured, so you want this number as low as possible. While perfect does not really exist, any colour shift under value of 1 is imperceivable. Values between 1 and 3 are noticeable to professionals, 3 to 5 are noticeable to enthusiasts and 5+ is noticeable to everyone.
In this example we have an average under 4 with a maximum value of 9.8. With these values you will be fine to play games and enjoy this as a general use screen but I would recommend against using it for colour accurate work.
On the other hand this advice completely changes if you have access to a screen calibrator. And if you are a professional who works with colour sensitive work, then it is a must-have anyway. Once we have calibrated this display, our average dropped to delta E value of 1 and maximum is now only 2.4 which places this squarely in the professional display bracket.
The results are quite unexpected. As a comparison we can take a much more expensive professional display made for colour work, it has an average delta E of 0.7 and maximum 1.2.
Something to note though - just because you have calibrated the display today, does not mean it will stay calibrated for a long time so do bear this in mind. For best results you should be recalibrating it every few weeks.
Resolution on this display is a bit of a mixed bag for me. It is 3840 by 1080 making it equivalent to merging two 1080p monitors side by side without the middle bezel. By today’s standards it is pretty low resolution, however it requires a much lower performance graphics card to drive it, which for some people could be very important.
It also features a 120Hz refresh rate with AMD FreeSync support, as well as 1 milliseconds Moving Picture Response Time or 6 milliseconds of Gray to Gray response time. I like that Prism is sharing this in their technical information sheet rather than hiding it away.
Last major display feature is a combination of HDR 600 and 24 zone local dimming. Normally these are two separate features, but for some reason here they are linked. Local dimming can only be enabled via enabling HDR on the monitor as well as enabling it within your operating system. Here are some tests with this first disabled and then enabled.
As you can see there are multiple vertical zones. Do bear in mind that this video is a slightly exaggerated view of the worst case scenario to show the feature in the most obvious way. When it comes to in-game performance, well this depends. Why don't you judge it for yourself. This is Shadow of the Tomb Raider, naturally, when recording the screen with a camera the experience is different than when seeing this with your own eyes, so do remember this when I'm going through the results. But this gives you a reasonable feel on what to expect.
To me some scenes feel better with HDR disabled as it gives a more moody impression, but overall I see more detail with HDR enabled. This is still pretty subjective, it will depend on your taste.
Having a large flat display can result in issues due to the viewing angles. Since this is an IPS display, it doesn’t suffer from this and can be viewed from pretty much any angle, but of course being right in front of it is the best experience.
My favourite addition on this monitor is USB 3 hub. This works really well for people who have wireless devices on their desk, with the PC hidden away. This way you can plug in dongles from a keyboard, mouse and desktop speakers straight into the monitor. This reduces any wireless interference for the devices and also allows you to have only one cable running to the PC. Manufacturers should really make it a default feature.
We have covered a lot of things about this monitor and I can say that it is definitely a feature-rich 43inch beast, but it does have a few caveats. First is the size combined with a flat panel. Curved monitors nowadays are dominating the market, so I was curious to try out a flat ultrawide version.
It certainly does look impressive but I find edges are a little bit too far away to have comfortable experience for professional work. If you’re OK using corners for less important things like monitoring your team chat, stock market or having your calendar there while working in the middle of the screen, then it can be a great compromise and you will definitely enjoy having so much screen real estate to multitask on.
If you decide to go for it, then there is one Important thing to note - you should use display port cable to ensure you are able to utilise display to its full potential which includes 120Hz refresh rate and 10bit color at the same time. If you use HDMI 2.0 then you can only have one or the other.
Another thing is colour accuracy - we only have results from one out of one, but the rest of the panels should be similar. If you use it as is (straight from the factory), I think it’s OK, but also not amazing. Ideally you want to have a way to calibrate the display to get the most out of that IPS panel. After the calibration it actually surprised me, proving its price-to-performance ratio can increase significantly.
Calman Color Calibration Software - https://www.portrait.com/calman-calibration-software/
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