An Update and Correction for the New 34″ Ultrawide 240Hz QD-OLED Panel

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People have been eagerly awaiting the new generation of 34″ ultrawide QD-OLED panels from Samsung Display. Their first generation panel was produced all the way back in 2022, first appearing in the Dell Alienware AW3423DW which was the first gaming OLED monitor launched to market. That feels like an age ago now! That same panel, with a 3440 x 1440 resolution, 1800R curvature and a 175Hz refresh rate has been widely adopted by display manufacturers ever since, even right up until recently in fact in some new displays like the MSI MAG 341CQP for instance, that we recently reviewed.

A new 240Hz 34″ ultrawide panel for 2024

Samsung Display (the panel manufacturer) are this year producing an updated panel option in this size which replaces that original gen 1 panel which is now deemed end of life by them – although of course display manufacturers may well have plenty of panel stock left. This new panel has an increased refresh rate, now reaching 240Hz and bringing it in line with a wide range of other OLED monitor panels already available with this refresh rate, in sizes like 27″, 32″, 45″ ultrawide and 49″ super ultrawide. That will offer improved motion clarity and frame rate support for gaming, and that’s obviously something a lot of people are interested in. You can see the improvement this increased refresh rate makes to motion clarity from our pursuit camera photos above, which are designed to capture real-world perceived motion clarity.

Updated pixel structure expectations

We were originally told by Samsung Display that this new 240Hz QD-OLED panel would feature the same updated pixel structure from their gen 2 (produced in 2023) and gen 3 panels (produced in 2024), which moved from a diamond shaped sub-pixel, to a larger and squarer shape as you can see from the macro photos above. This change helped improve text clarity and reduce fringing on these panels. This is a logical expectation given this panel is being produced this year in 2024, two years on from their original first gen 175Hz panel and that is what Samsung Display told us.

Generations explained

This new panel is being produced this year alongside their gen 3 panels, but we were told it didn’t feature the new Quantum Enhancer technologies that are used elsewhere for their new 27″ 360Hz and 32″ 4K 240Hz panels which are both classified as gen 3, and so Samsung called this gen 2 themselves. We labelled this gen 2.5 as it is being produced this year and so doesn’t quite fit alongside their other gen 2 panel (49″ in size) which was produced last year. That left us with this infographic to demonstrate the different generations and features:

Our testing of this panel has identified something different

Actually, to our surprise our testing recently of the upcoming MSI MPG 341CQPX display that uses this new panel has revealed that this panel still uses the old diamond shaped sub-pixels from the original first gen panel, it has not been updated unfortunately to the squarer shape from their later generations. As a result, the panel has the same text clarity as the previous 175Hz panels already available which is a shame.

We can’t blame MSI or other manufacturers who are adopting this panel like Gigabyte and Acer for this confusion and mix up, they never talked about the improved text clarity of newer pixel shape, that came from Samsung Display. We apologise for our part in reporting this expectation as well, we were going only on information supplied to us by Samsung Display. All these new 34″ ultrawide 240Hz QD-OLED monitors will have this same older sub-pixel layout.

  • Stay tuned for our full review of the MSI MPG 341CQPX coming soon

Seeking further information from Samsung Display

It does seem strange that having shifted to the new pixel shape last year in 2023, a new panel being produced now in 2024 doesn’t feature it. We’ve reached back out to Samsung Display to get further clarity on the situation and confirm if we can which panel technologies are utilised here – like HyperEefficient EL, IntelliSense AI 2.0, Quantum Enhancer etc that are listed on the infographic above.

It’s still a newer panel being produced 2 years later than the original, but apart from the higher refresh rate offered now there may not be any other obvious spec or performance updates.

We will provide an update on Samsung QD-OLED panels, generations and information at some point soon as we’re also exploring some seemingly new lower refresh rate panels that have started to appear like the recently announced 32″ 4K 165Hz and 27″ 1440p 240Hz panels, as featured in some upcoming MSI screens and probably others soon. We’re likely to have to amend our naming convention from “gen 2.5” but we await further information before we re-map these generations and panels.

What that means for upcoming 34″ ultrawide QD-OLED monitors

The take home point here is that contrary to what Samsung Display originally told us and our expectations, all the forthcoming 34” QD-OLED monitors with a 240Hz refresh rate still have the older pixel shape and so don’t offer the text clarity improvements that gen 2 and 3 panels have unfortunately. So far we’ve seen models announced from MSI, Gigabyte and Acer and there will probably be more in the coming months.

We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact though that there are still decent improvements in the refresh rate available here, and potentially some longevity enhancements if any of the other new technologies apply here. We will confirm on that as soon as we have more information. It’s also possible that everything about the panel is the same as it was before, except the change to the higher refresh rate, which would explain why the newer sub-pixel shape doesn’t apply here.

Alternative WOLED 34″ ultrawide options

Also keep in mind that the alternative panel option is LG.Display’s WOLED panel which has a 3440 x 1440 resolution and 240Hz as well. However their panel, as used in monitors like the Asus ROG Swift PG34WCDM that we’ve reviewed, has a far more aggressive curvature at 800R. We find this too steep personally. That panel also has a grainer matte anti-glare screen coating, whereas this 34″ QD-OLED panel (and we can confirm this from our testing as well) has their standard semi-glossy finish which looks cleaner and clearer than the WOLED alternative. We expect the new 34″ 240Hz QD-OLED panel to still be a great panel.

  • Stay tuned for our full review of the MSI MPG 341CQPX coming soon

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