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Massdrop Vast 35 Inch Ultrawide Gaming Monitor: 1440p Ultrawide You Can Actually Afford

Hardware Reviews By Christopher Coke on April 07, 2018

Massdrop Vast 35 Inch Ultrawide Gaming Monitor: 1440p Ultrawide You Can Actually Afford

The Vast is BACK! When Massdrop first revealed their 35” 1440p high refresh rate gaming monitor, it sold out right away. Well, they’ve brought it back for another group buy and we were able to get one in for a full review. Read on to find out why this is one of the best ultrawide gaming monitors available today.

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Specifications

  • MSRP: $549.99
  • Panel maker: AU Optronics
  • Panel type: VA
  • Diagonal size: 35 in (88.9 cm)
  • Curvature: 1800R
  • Resolution: 3440 x 1440p (UWQHD)
  • Refresh rate: 100 Hz
  • Response time: G2G 2ms (OD)
  • Static contrast ratio: 2,500:1
  • Aspect ratio: 21:9 (UWQHD)
  • Pixel pitch: 0.32 x 0.32 mm
  • Brightness: 300 cd/m²
  • 100% sRGB Coverage
  • Freesync Enabled (49 - 100 Hz)
  • 16.7 million colors (8-bit)
  • Viewing angle: 178º
  • Surface treatment: Anti-glare, 3H
  • Bezel material: Bent aluminum
  • Inputs: 3 x HDMI (1 x v2.0, 2 x v1.4), DisplayPort (v1.2)
  • Speakers: None
  • Height adjustment: 4.3 in (11 cm) range
  • Tilt adjustment: -5 - 15°
  • Weight (with stand): 18 lbs (8.2 kg)
  • Weight (without stand): 12 lbs (5.4 kg)


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When the Vast first hit Massdrop, a palpable wave went through the tech world. Not only was it Massdrop’s first custom monitor but it was massive thirty-five inch curved ultrawide, rocking high refresh rate of 100Hz and a full 3440x1440 resolution at 2ms on a VA panel... all for hundreds of dollars less than the competition. While ASUS, Acer, and HP are all still charging $850 or more for similar displays, the Vast comes in at only $549.99. That’s impressive by any measure.

Still, $549 is a lot of money and compared to those others, it might even be enough to make you wonder why it’s so much less. No one wants to be surprised by cut corners, after all. Well, I have some guesses about how they pulled it off but none of it comes down to quality. In the last two weeks I’ve spent with the monitor, it’s impressed me in every way. It’s screen is beautiful, incredibly responsive, and offers the kind of buttery smooth gameplay only 100Hz plus can provide. After using dual monitors on my editing PC, making the jump to a big ultrawide makes me wonder why I didn’t do this in the first place.

Since you’re reading MMORPG.com, it’s safe to assume you know a thing or two about monitors. If you’ve shopped in the gaming space, there’s a good chance you’ve perused your fair share of TN panels. These are your standard “gaming” panels that boast 1ms response times and are usually fairly affordable. The downside is that they’re color reproduction really isn’t that great and can sometimes even look washed out. On the opposite end of that spectrum are IPS panels, which are usually used by content creators for their excellent color accuracy. They’re vibrant and beautiful but also slow and can cause ghosting while playing. They can also be expensive. VA panels are the middle option and have become my gaming panel of choice.

A good VA panel like the one in the Vast can achieve the best of both worlds. With overdrive enabled, it’s able to pull off a 2ms grey to grey response time (and it ships with overdrive enabled, so there’s no need to change settings). This makes it perfect for any type of play, even competitive shooters like Counter Strike or Rainbow Six: Siege. It also features rich, vibrant colors with deep blacks and no backlight bleed. I didn’t have a color tester to do any scientific test of its color accuracy but suffice it to say that it looks great and much better than the two TN panels I’d used previously. The viewing angles are also excellent:

Apart from being a huge and immersive 35-inches corner to corner, the Vast also has two other big selling points for gamers: a superb 3440x1440 (1440p) resolution and a 100Hz high refresh rate (which some users have overclocked to 120Hz). If you’ve shopped around in the ultrawide market before, you’ll have noticed that under $700-800, you’re hard pressed to find anything bigger than 27” inches with a 1440p resolution that’s also 100Hz or more. The Vast offers both for less on a screen size that’s just glorious.

With the current crop of GPUs, 1440p is the sweet spot for high resolution gaming. You get the crispness of those extra pixels without the massive performance hit of 4K. Now, the Vast does have higher system demands than a standard 1440p screen because of the added width, so I’d advise having a GTX 1070 or above. That said, recent AMD users can enjoy a smooth gameplay experience thanks to Freesync support between 49-100Hz.

Gaming on a 35-inch monitor is a huge upgrade. Your field of view is - excuse the pun - vastly expanded, which provides an advantage in games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The 1800R curve also goes a long way toward drawing you in. I’ve really come to enjoy it for RPGs too, where I find it easier to immerse myself than on my 27” flat panel. It’s not that far from gaming on dual monitors except, well, better thanks to the curve and lack of annoying bezels breaking the image.

For productivity, it also provides a ton of additional workspace. The video review you see above was created using the Vast and it absolutely increased my workflow. For other tasks, like plotting our hardware reviews in Excel, the monitor supports splitscreen when dragged to the left and right side, eliminating the need for alt+tabbing between two programs. If you have more than one device, the Vast also features Picture-in-Picture modes, which can be great for throwing on the game while you’re knee-deep in FFXIV.

There are a total of four inputs on the rear of the monitor. It supports three HDMI devices (x1 v2.0, x2 v1.4) and one DisplayPort v1.2, as well as a headphone jack if you don’t have speakers.

On the bottom right, you’ll find the main control interface: a clickable joystick. This stick caught a lot of flack in early reviews and I’m not sure why. Either they changed it or if I’m adaptable because I didn’t find it confusing in the least. You press up to bring up an on-screen reticle (another boon for gamers in games without ADS), down to change to a different picture preset, left to change input, or right to enter the menu. I found the Standard picture setting to be best and don’t use a reticle or multiple inputs, so mainly I’m pressing right to enter the menu, which is as intuitive as you would expect it to be. No problems here but your mileage may vary.

What I don’t like? The bottom portion of the back is a glossy black that attracts fingerprints and cat hair like nothing else. In a future revision, I’d love to see a matte black that resists these things. For now, it’s a good thing you don’t look at the back of your monitor very much.

A quick look at the market shows Massdrop having a clear lead on the competition in ultrawide gaming monitors with these specs. The next cheapest on NewEgg is an ASUS ROG Strix for $769. The only other way to pay this price is to order a Korean monitor on Ebay and, I don’t know about you, but that makes me a little leery. Spending hundreds of dollars to buy a no-name display from a seller on the other side of the world, hoping it will actually be what was advertised… no thanks.

But people do exactly that, so what does the Vast have on those monitors? An excellent stand, for one. The cheap Korean displays are well known for having flimsy, barely adjustable stands and spotty after-market stand/VESA support. The Vast, on the other hand, has a fantastic stand with 11cm of vertical adjustment, angle and tilt adjustments, and the ability to turn it completely vertical if you’d rather have a three-foot portrait display.

What’s more, it also has aluminum bezels instead of the standard plastic found on cheaper models. They’re not the thinnest in the world, but they’re slim enough so as not to be distracting, which is good enough for me.

Most importantly, you actually know who you’re buying from. You have can reach out for support if you need it. The Vast also has a community actively discussing their monitors and helping each other on a daily basis. I would much rather have that peace of mind with a purchase this big. It’s just too much to gamble on a random Ebay listing.

Final Thoughts

At this point, I’m sure my feelings are crystal clear. The Vast is not only a great monitor but also a great value. For $549, you not only get massive ultrawide but one built on a VA panel that offers vibrant colors and an exceptional 2ms response time without ghosting. You’ll need a powerful system to run the full 3440x1440 resolution at a steady 100 FPS to match the refresh rate, but if you can, it’s makes for a stunning gaming experience, particularly if you’re coming from a smaller flat panel.

Group buys at Massdrop are limited time events. The current drop for the Vast is set to run through April. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, please use our link so they know MMORPG.com sent you.

Pros

  • HUGE - Vast is an appropriate name for this one
  • 100Hz refresh rate makes for buttery smooth gameplay
  • Great 2ms GTG response time - no ghosting
  • Nice viewing angles with vibrant colors
  • Excellent stand
  • One of the best priced 1440p ultrawide monitors available

Cons

  • Glossy back
  • Not all games are optimized for ultrawide displays

The product discussed in this review was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review. Affiliate links are a requirement for product sampling through Massdrop for tracking purposes.

Christopher Coke / Chris has been a fan of MMOs since the mid-1990s when he cut his teeth on MUDs. These days he scours the internet for the latest and greatest multiplayer gaming experiences.