A Huge Deal With Some Compromises

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9


Rating:
7/10
?

  • 1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 – Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 – Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $600

INNOCN Ultrawide 40-Inch Monitor and other items on a desk top
Bill Loguidice

As with any new computing accessory, getting a different monitor can be quite an adjustment. Most monitors are designed for up-close-and-personal work, while others, like the oversized INNOCN Ultrawide 40-Inch 40C1R Monitor, offer a whole new perspective on what it means to be a computer user.

Here’s What We Like

  • Huge IPS display
  • Low price
  • High refresh rate of 144Hz
  • AMD FreeSync Premium support
  • 90W USB-C power output

And What We Don’t

  • Obtuse menu system
  • Poor HDR support
  • Chunky aesthetics
  • Weak speakers
  • Ports are hard to access

While there are bigger monitors, the INNOCN is arguably right around the limit of what can be considered a usable monitor size rather than something more like a TV. Fortunately, this monitor has some compelling features at a competitive price point that may make it worth challenging your expectations and rethinking how you both work and play.

Unboxing Is a Two-Person Job

  • Package Dimensions: 47.1 x 20.4 x 7.6in (119.63 x 51.82 x 19.3cm)
  • Item Weight: 35.5lbs (16.1kg)

Unlike most monitors, because of its size and roughly 35-pound (16kg) weight, we removed the INNOCN Ultrawide 40-inch Monitor from the box horizontally rather than vertically. While one person can arguably handle the box and unpacking, this is really a two-person job if you don’t want to risk an accidental drop with the awkward dimensions of both the box and display itself.

The top layer of the box includes the base, user manual, color calibration report, power cable, DisplayPort (DP) video cable, USB-C cable, and four hexagon mounting screws if you want to use an optional VESA mount instead of the included stand. On the bottom layer of the box are the screen and stand.

Woman attaching a monitor stand to its base.
Using the base screw to attach the stand to the base. Bill Loguidice

There’s oddly no separate quick start guide, but even with some rough English, the manual does a great job of explaining the steps for physically setting up the monitor. While there are also instructions and screws for using a VESA mount, we just used the included stand. Setting up the stand was no more complicated than securing the stand to the base and then snapping the stand into the back of the display.

A woman attaching a stand to the back of a monitor.
The stand just snaps into the back of the monitor. Bill Loguidice

The stand’s 4.72-inch height (120 mm), swivel (30 degrees to the left or right), and tilt (-5 to 15 degrees) can all be adjusted to varying viewing angles. However, we found that we still had to put the display on a 3.5-inch (88.9 mm) tall monitor stand to achieve a comfortable viewing height on our standing desk. While it would be great if the stand allowed you to raise the monitor even higher, the limitations are understandable given the display’s dimensions and weight.

If you’re worried about accommodating such a large monitor on your desk, it’s important to note that unlike some slightly larger displays with static two-legged stands, the center-mounted stand and base provide some versatility. It’s about 6-inches (152.4 mm) from the back of the stand base to the front of the monitor, with the base itself just over 10.5-inches (266.7 mm) wide and just under 9.5-inches (241.3 mm) deep. The width of the monitor is just over 37-inches (939.8 mm).

Connectivity: HDMI, DP, Type-C, and Audio

INNOCN monitor ports.
Bill Loguidice
  • HDMI 2.0 (x2)
  • DisplayPort 1.4 (x1)
  • USB-C (90W) (x1)
  • 3.5mm Audio Out (x1)

The two HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.4, USB-C, and 3.5mm audio out ports are clustered in one location under the display. The monitor’s power supply is built-in, with the AC power cable plugging into the port under the display to the left when viewed straight on.

Tip: These ports are not easy to access once the monitor is in place, so we recommend you plug in all of the cables you plan on using in advance.

There’s no real cable management system, so you’ll see whatever cables you plug in hanging down when viewed from the front. You can place your cables through a dedicated hole in the stand, but you still end up with dangling cables. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing way of doing things, but at least it keeps the cables clustered.

And speaking of aesthetics, the design of the display and stand are utilitarian at best. The monitor itself is on the thicker side at nearly an inch (25mm), but at least the black-on-black styling doesn’t draw much attention to itself, which is always a plus for a monitor that focuses on gaming as much as it does other use cases.

The single DisplayPort can support the maximum resolution (3440×1440), refresh rate (144Hz), and all other features of the monitor. Either of the two HDMI ports support the maximum resolution up to a 100Hz refresh rate, although you can drop down to 2560×1440 to get as much as 120Hz. The USB-C port can not only handle video (at 60Hz maximum) and audio, but also provides an impressive 90W of charging power to whatever device it’s connected to, making it an excellent companion for most USB-C-powered smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

With PIP (Picture in Picture) and PBP (Picture by Picture) support, the monitor can also make good use of multiple connected devices. With PIP, the screen can be separated into two parts, with one device shown on the main screen at the same time another device is displayed in an adjustable window. With PBP, the screen is separated in half, displaying output from two devices simultaneously on the left and right sides of the display.

The 3.5mm audio output is the only way to connect external speakers to the monitor. If you don’t already have speakers or headphones that you use, you’ll want to invest in a good pair because the onboard speakers, which are located just behind the lower panel of the display, are severely lacking. They’re okay for casual usage as they do in fact output sound, but the audio profile is hollow, with absolutely no depth. There’s a reason INNOCN never mentions the onboard speakers on its product page.

Customization: Lots of Options, but the UI Puts up a Fight

The buttons on the INNOCN monitor.
Bill Loguidice

When you connect your device to the monitor and power on the display, it asks you to “Please select the default language” and then no other questions thereafter. You need to press the buttons under the up/down arrow icons to select your language and then the button under the home icon to confirm. This is your initial exposure to the INNOCN’s user interface (UI) and the first indication that you’re in for a frustrating learning curve.

On the front bottom right of the monitor, from left to right, are five icons: Enter the main menu (home icon), adjust the brightness (down arrow), adjust volume (up arrow), switch port input signal (door entry icon), and power ON/OFF (power symbol). Each respective button is located underneath the monitor directly below its icon, with the display’s user interface changing its function depending upon the context.

INNOCN on-screen display
The on-screen display can be a challenge to navigate. Bill Loguidice

If you press the main menu button, it will present the Game Settings, Professional, Picture Settings, PIP/PBP, OSD Settings, and Other Settings options.

INNOCN crosshairs showing when playing Fortnite.
The monitor’s crosshair overlay options (example shown in red) help with targeting in many first and third person perspective games like Fortnite. Bill Loguidice

The Game Settings tab is where you can define preset display modes with varying brightness, sharpness, and other levels, as well as turn Adaptive Sync on or off, set the response time and refresh rate, or display an in-game crosshair. With Adaptive Sync on, you can automatically adjust the display’s refresh rate to match your graphics card’s output, helping to minimize input lag, game stuttering, and screen tearing.

The Professional page lets you adjust the color mode (Standard, sRGB, Adobe, or Uniformity), sharpness, brightness, and other display settings. Picture Settings lets you manually adjust brightness, contrast, HDR, and aspect ratio.

PIP/PBP lets you turn on and adjust how the Picture in Picture and Picture by Picture modes react. The OSD Settings tab lets you adjust how the on-screen display looks and is positioned, as well as set the function of the three hotkeys, which are the default down arrow, up arrow, and door entry icon buttons.

Finally, Other Settings lets you choose the input, set the volume, display current information, and other minor functions.

Unfortunately, different actions will return a lot of the settings to their defaults, so we needed to set the brightness, response time, and color mode multiple times to return them to our preferences.

Display: A Sight for Sore Eyes

INNOCN monitor on a typical desktop
Bill Loguidice
  • Screen Size: 40in (101.6cm)
  • Display Type: IPS, LCD
  • Aspect Ratio: 21:9
  • Native Resolution: 3440×1440
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Response Time: 2ms
  • Brightness: 500Nits
  • Color Gamut: 95% DCI-P3
  • HDR400
  • AMD FreeSync Premium

For our primary testing, we connected the INNOCN 40-inch monitor via the DP input, using the included cable, to a Lenovo Legion desktop running Windows 11 with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 video card. Despite the monitor not having any drivers or custom software available, Windows 11 had no issues automatically detecting and making use of the display’s full 3440×1440 resolution.

One thing we noted right away was that the INNOCN’s default brightness was set way too low for our liking, at just 60%. Changing this setting to a higher brightness results in a warning about increased energy consumption, but it’s frankly worth it as going from 60% to 100% changed what was a dull and lifeless picture to one that pops.

The other initial issue was that Windows 11 defaulted the monitor’s refresh rate to just 60Hz, so we had to manually set it to 144Hz. You’ll likely want to do the same as the higher the refresh rate, the smoother the animation and gameplay. Similarly, we set the Response Time to Ultrafast under the display’s Game Settings.

Note: You’ll need to manually increase the refresh rate of monitors over 60Hz. You can do so in NVIDIA Control Panel or AMD Radeon Settings depending on your GPU.

Other than wanting to tweak those initial settings, this INNOCN monitor had no issues passing our test pattern, defective pixel, uniformity, color distance, geometry, and other standard display tests with its other default settings in place. INNOCN does a great overall job with its factory calibration and it’s clear that even with its lower price, this monitor doesn’t skimp on basic performance.

We were less enamored with the monitor’s HDR400 specification. As is typical for an IPS display with this feature, with HDR on we found that blacks looked more like a dark grey with limited contrast. If you want good HDR performance, this is not the monitor to get.

Gaming is great on this monitor, but of course, you’ll need a good dedicated video card to get solid framerates at its relatively high native resolution of 3440×1440. With our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 driving the display, we were able to achieve stable framerates with only limited tweaks to each game’s settings. Although our test setup didn’t support it, AMD FreeSync Premium is available for those with AMD GPUs or APUs.

One thing to note about the display quality is that the pixel density, which indicates how many pixels per inch (PPI) there are on a display, is mid-range at roughly 93. This won’t be noticeable for most users and use cases, but for those who need to do a lot of detail work, you may notice some pixelation up close.

Compatibility: It’s for More Than Just Computers

With so many inputs and features, it was worth testing representatives of other device types as well, including a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+, Asus CX1400CN Chromebook, and Microsoft Xbox Series X.

When plugging the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ into the USB-C port using the included cable, we were prompted on the tablet to start Samsung DeX, which lets you multitask on both the tablet screen and external display similar to how a traditional computer works. We then were able to use the monitor’s PIP/PBP option to select the second display and use it in conjunction with our main PC desktop output.

Similarly, on the Asus CX1400CN, after plugging in the USB-C cable from the INNOCN monitor, we gained immediate access to a second extended display, greatly expanding the utility of the inexpensive Chromebook laptop.

This INNOCN monitor didn’t do as well with the Xbox Series X because that console only outputs a maximum non-4K resolution of 2560 x 1440 at 120Hz, which it supports, but doesn’t scale properly. In addition, since the INNOCN only supports HDR400 and not the preferred HDR10 standard that the Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 support, you’re limited to the standard color contrast.

Despite its limitations with certain devices like consoles, when combined with the right inputs and smart use of its PIP/PBP options, this is a monitor you can be really productive with.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

The portability to take work and play wherever you go, the processing power to run your favorite programs, and the display to look good doing it.

Should You Buy the INNOCN Ultrawide 40-Inch Monitor?

While we were concerned that using such a large monitor wouldn’t be practical on our desk, it turns out that even at a roughly 24-inch (610mm) eye distance from the screen, we were able to adapt from a still-large 34-inch 21:9 monitor to this 40-inch INNOCN in less than a week. Beyond the resolution boost, we gained about 17% of diagonal screen space along with an overall area increase of 38%, while not taking up much more real estate on our desktop.

The INNOCN Ultrawide 40-inch 40C1R monitor is aggressively priced for such a large and feature-packed display, but you can certainly see where concessions were made in both usability and convenience. It’s a monitor that doesn’t excel in any one area and won’t necessarily appeal to hardcore gamers or dedicated graphic artists. However, for the rest of us who just want a large screen and don’t care as much about pro-level features, this INNOCN monitor proves a good value.

Here’s What We Like

  • Huge IPS display
  • Low price
  • High refresh rate of 144Hz
  • AMD FreeSync Premium support
  • 90W USB-C power output

And What We Don’t

  • Obtuse menu system
  • Poor HDR support
  • Chunky aesthetics
  • Weak speakers
  • Ports are hard to access





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