The Xbox Series X features the most powerful hardware ever seen in a game console. With the more powerful hardware comes support for much higher framerates, including up to 120 FPS at resolutions of up to 4K.
This pushes the traditional boundaries between console gaming and PC gaming and puts the Xbox Series X solidly into PC gaming territory. Ultrawide monitors with a 21:9 aspect ratio are popular in the PC gaming space, and many gamers were hoping that Ultrawide support would be coming to Xbox.
Unfortunately, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S do not support ultrawide monitors. This is not surprising when you consider that no other consoles properly support ultrawide displays either.
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Does Xbox Series X Support 21:9 Aspect Ratio Monitors
The Xbox Series X does not support 21:9 aspect ratio monitors. 21:9 monitors are the same thing as ultrawide monitors. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are not designed to handle any aspect ratios other than 16:9.
This means that ultrawide and super ultrawide monitors are not supported.
Why Does Xbox Series X and Series S Not Support Ultrawide
The goal when designing a game console is to appeal to the mass market while keeping the price point as affordable as possible. As a result, support for ultrawide displays did not make the cut. Microsoft was clearly betting on most people using a 4K TV rather than an ultrawide 21:9 gaming monitor. So far, that appears to have worked out well.
The vast majority of Xbox gamers have no intention of even owning an ultrawide monitor. It is simply too niche of a market to make its way into a flagship game console. The latest generation Xbox consoles do support 4K, 1440p, and 1080p, all with variable refresh rate.
How to Play Xbox Series X on an Ultrawide Monitor
If you have an ultrawide monitor that you want to use with your Xbox Series X, you have a few options to consider. It is possible to use your monitor, but there will be some compromises that you will have to make. Listed below are the best options to consider based on my testing.
Xbox With Black Sidebars on Ultrawide Monitors
The first option, and likely the best for most gamers, is to play with black sidebars on each side of your monitor. This is far from an ideal solution and defeats the purpose of having an ultrawide display.
However, if you already have an ultrawide display, this is a simple option to use it with your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. It also has no negative impact on picture quality and will be just like using a 16:9 monitor. Games will look natural and as they were intended to look when using sidebars on your ultrawide.
Virtually all ultrawide displays, including those from Dell, HP, LG, Samsung, BenQ, and Asus, have the ability to operate this way. It is simply a matter of choosing the right options from within your monitor settings.
Xbox With Stretched Image on Ultrawide Monitor
Another option is to set your ultrawide monitor to stretch the image to fill the screen. This obviously has a negative impact on the picture quality and can look quite unnatural. Some games look better than others using this option.
In my opinion, games with wide landscapes are the most forgiving of the stretching. If you don’t like playing with sidebars, this may be a good alternative for you. Based on the games that I play most, I was not impressed by this option as it looked completely unnatural.
However, I do know other gamers who play certain FPS games with this option enabled. It really just comes down to personal preference.
Xbox With Zoomed Image on Ultrawide Monitor
A third option offered by many ultrawide monitors is to zoom into the image to fill the screen. In most cases, this is the worst option when it comes to gaming, as you are essentially cutting off a huge part of the picture. This makes many games unplayable, and menus get cut off in most cases.
I tried several games with this option, and all of them were unplayable. I would not recommend this option to most people.
Some games may look okay zoomed in, but I did not find any myself. However, in many games, critical portions of the picture get cut off. Generally, this would be an option I would avoid, but it is a valid alternative to stretching the picture.
About Ultrawide Monitors
Ultrawide monitors feature a 21:9 aspect ratio. The most common resolution is 2560×1080. This is essentially a 1080p monitor with additional horizontal pixels to increase the width of the display. This is a popular choice with some gamers and also a great choice for some productivity tasks.
1440p ultrawide monitors feature a resolution of 3440×1440. Generally, this makes for a better picture, including sharper details that get lost at 1080p resolutions. The downside is 1440p ultrawide displays tend to be more pricy and require a more powerful graphics card to run at the same frame rate.
Ultrawide support is nearly universal on modern computers. They do, however, demand more from your GPU due to the extra pixels. If you are unsure about how powerful your computer is, you will want to make sure that it will properly support an ultrawide display before purchasing one.
Ultrawide monitors are not intended to be used with game consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation. Traditionally game consoles have been designed to plug into a TV rather than a computer monitor. However, connecting to a 16:9 computer monitor works just as well as using a TV with your console.
What Monitors Work Best With Xbox Series X
The Xbox Series X will work properly with just about any 1080p, 1440p, or 4K gaming monitor. The Xbox Series X has the ability to automatically choose the optimal settings based on the display that is connected to it.
For the best gaming experience, you will want to choose a 4K monitor with HDMI 2.1 support so you’ll be able to play in 4K and 120fps. Remember, the Xbox Series X does not support DisplayPort. A good gaming monitor can also double as a PC display or as a display for another game console, such as a PS5.
Brands including BenQ, Asus, LG, Samsung, Dell, HP, and many others all make quality 4K monitors. If you are on a tight budget, a 1440p monitor will also work just fine. You will, however, lose some of the benefits of the latest generation Xbox Series X by not going with a 4K monitor. 4K monitors are coming down in price but still cost a fair bit more than 1440p monitors at this time.
Avoid anything that is not a 16:9 aspect ratio. It will not work optimally with your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S.
Conclusion: Xbox Series X Ultrawide Gaming
Xbox Series X | S ultrawide support is not native. There are a few workarounds that can allow you to use an ultrawide monitor with your Microsoft console, with a few major limitations.
All of the workarounds are less than ideal, and therefore, I would not recommend purchasing an ultrawide monitor if your primary use is going to be playing on the Xbox Series X. If you primarily play on PC and like the ultrawide form factor, you can use it with your Xbox Series X as a regular monitor.