l am a sucker for ultrawide monitors. Their size makes them perfect for high productivity work and immersive gaming while looking hella cool for your Instagram desk setup shots. I’ve reviewed a fair few ultrawide’s here but even my love for them can’t deny that they generally cost an arm and a kidney. So I was extremely pleased to be invited by Prism+ to review their extremely affordable $599(at current discount) XQ340 Pro Curved Gaming monitor.
Besides the low price, what makes the XQ340 Pro stand out from the crowd of ultrawides is its VA panel with Quantum Dot LED technology — something you’d normally associate with expensive Samsung or LG monitors. At the time of writing this review, the XQ340 Pro is the cheapest QLED ultrawide gaming monitor money can buy.
For that price, you get a 34-in UWQHD Curved HDR monitor that’s great for games but also for professional work. I’ve lived with this monitor for several weeks now and I’m honestly impressed given the relative anonymity of Prism+.
Prism+ XQ340 Pro Curved Gaming Monitor Review
Prism+ prides itself on keeping final cost to gamers low. They do this by removing the retail middle man and selling direct to the customer. But even then, they still have to make some compromises to keep cost down while still providing bleeding edge tech like QLED.
For starters, the looks of the XQ340 Pro are very tame compared to most gaming monitors. It’s an understated and svelte look for the XQ340 Pro with clean lines, smooth black plastic panels. There’s no crazy RGB or flashy alloy metal finishes and etchings; in fact, the XQ340 Pro looks more like a productivity monitor than a gaming one. Instead, you get a subtle blue light ring around the stand mount that looks very classy.
The 34-inch VA panel has a gentle 1500R curve that is immersive enough without being obnoxious like Samsungs wrap-around G-series monitors. The subtle curve still allows you to scan all the edges without needing to rotate your head. When gaming though, I found it best to sit at least arms length away from the monitor to get the most comfortable view.
The monitor stand is also very simple consisting of a plain metal cylinder with a two thinner cylindrical legs in a triangular formation. These legs sit about a foot and half wide and a foot deep which isn’t too bad. The stand is very stable and the monitor doesn’t wobble even at the highest setting.
You can swivel and tilt the monitor but you can’t rotate into portrait mode unless you VESA mount it to a monitor arm. I also found adjusting the monitor to be somewhat stiff and jarring movement. The OSD menu buttons on the underside of the monitor are also quite stiff and require a fair bit of effort to activate. Some soft touch buttons would be nice.
When it comes to ports, we can see clearly where compromises were made. The XQ340 Pro only has video inputs, 2 HDMI 2.0 and 2 DisplayPort 1.4. There are no USB Type-C or USB 2.0 ports whatsoever. Most ultrawide monitors have at least two USB 2.0 ports(many with four) and an upstream USB Type-B. If you have a laptop setup, this could be a deal breaker.
Quantum Dot panel
The XQ340 Pro uses a VA panel laced with Quantum Dot magic that produces deep contrast with bright, vibrant colors. As a VA panel, speed is a given and the XQ340 Pro refreshes at 165Hz with a 1ms response time. And thanks to those Quantum Dots, the monitor has a pretty good color coverage of 140% sRGB which is good for creative work like design and photo editing.
I did feel the colors were a tad over saturated and had to do some calibration to get things to my liking but I do wish Prism+ would factory calibrate the monitor as most folk don’t have the tools or knowledge to do so and would think they got a busted panel.
Color uniformity is generally very good but when the screen is mostly black, you do see the few edge lighting zones around the monitor and it looks a little weird. That can’t be helped unless you have local dimming but that would drastically increase the price of this monitor.
The OSD menu gives you plenty of control in the OSD to tweak colors, brightness, gamma and more. The main navigation buttons are conveniently located on the right of the bottom bezel which means you won’t be fiddling around the back to change settings. The five buttons are context sensitive and change function depending on where you are in the OSD menu.
One of my favourite things about ultrawide monitors is the UWQHD resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels in that expansive 21:9 aspect ratio. This gives a vast canvas that is perfect for daily work tasks and also not too taxing for games to run smoothly. As a interactive designer, I appreciate the space for working on large canvases in Adobe Creative Suite.
Another benefit of the ultrawide aspect ratio comes in when displaying two different inputs at the same time via Picture-by-picture or Picture-in-Picture modes. You can show two symetrical 10:9 inputs or adjust it for a simulated two monitor setup. It’s a bit of clunky and tedious process to do so in the menu and I would have loved the context sensitive buttons to handle this when PIP/ PBP is active.
But we all know we want this monitor to play games in gorgeous ultrawide and the XQ340 Pro excels in that regard. 21:9 aspect ratio is supported by pretty much all AAA titles and provides a level of immersion that’s hard to beat. And with the excellent color vibrancy and high refresh rate, games look and feel stunning especially with Ray tracing and HDR turned on.
I played the campaign of Halo Infinite and also recently started playing Dying Light 2 which is probably the new poster child for ray-tracing down well. The dark, zombie infested buildings are exceedingly foreboding with the deep blacks that are almost impossible to see through. Turn on Aiden’s flashlight and rooms are illuminated in a natural way.
The XQ340 Pro supports HDR400 but even in SDR mode, it deftly handles darks and highlights brilliantly. You will need a good GPU to push the monitor to the limit of its 165Hz refresh though. I did get Doom Eternal to run at those speeds and thanks to Adaptive sync(Prism_ doesn’t specify whether it’s AMD FreeSync or not) I never experienced any tearing or ghosting in my game play.
Verdict – should you buy?
The Prism+ XQ340 Pro is a wonderful monitor that nails the basics and then some without breaking the bank. The VA QLED panel is stunning to look at with saturated colors that pop and sizzle and yet is still accurate enough for more professional work. Games look fantastic on this panel thanks to rich contrast, vibrant colors and fast response.
The monitor is short on some key features like essential USB ports and a KVM switch which is a bit of a handicap. The stand adjustments aren’t smooth and the OSD could be better. But none of that changes the fact that it’s a great panel for work and play and given the incredible price it’s at right now, there’s absolutely no reason to not get one a.s.a.p!