I will admit, I had never heard of Innocn before an email out of the blue landed in my inbox offering a screen that honestly looked too good to be true. But here it is, a 40-inch ultrawide IPS gaming monitor for $600 (discounted at $480 right now (opens in new tab)) that genuinely looks great in games. As an affordable big screen gaming panel, that doesn’t have the same sort of GPU demands as a 4K display, it ticks a lot of the boxes.
But, inevitably, it’s not perfect. There are still the classic IPS black level issues, and normally no amount of gamma correction or shadow boosting will fix that without screwing over some other aspect of the monitor’s color reproduction. Although actually some tweaking can actually mitigate a lot of those issues and leave you with some pretty bright colors.
HDR obviously sucks, despite its 500cd/m² peak luminance. But HDR on PC always sucks, so that’s not necessarily on the Innocn screen to sort out.
If you’re after a big, broad IPS monitor for gaming, and pretty much any productivity task, this is an affordable way to go about it. If you’re happy with a VA panel, and let’s be honest, they do still make for great budget gaming monitors, then there are smaller $300-$400 34-inch screens out there, with 144Hz refresh rates that will see you right.
Screen size: 40-inch
Native resolution: 3440×1440
Aspect ratio: 21:9
panel: ADS (IPS-like)
Refresh rate: 144 Hz
Input: 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, USB Type-C (90W)
Peak luminance: 500 cd/m²
Backlight: 16 zone LCD
Price: $480 (opens in new tab)
But the Innocn 40C1R delivers the full IPS experience and across a larger view. The panel comes from BOE, which means it isn’t strictly an AUO or LG IPS, and therefore it’s technically an ADS display, though it can be categorized as ‘IPS-like’.
It certainly does feel big and colourful, yet maybe not quite as vibrant as some of the more expensive screens we’ve seen recently, such as the glorious Alienware OLED (opens in new tab) or the Eve/Dough glossy 4K (opens in new tab). But then I get to sticking Red Dead Redemption on there—still a benchmark for good-looking games—and its expansive vistas are unrepentantly perfect for the cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio.
And when they’re blown up to 40-inches it really dominates your eyeballs.
It is a larger panel, but it doesn’t have a higher resolution than your standard 34-inch ultrawide. So you’re still getting a 3440 x 1440 resolution, not something like the 3840 x 1600 you’d get with the pricey 38-inch LG 38WN95C-W. That does mean the pixels per inch figure is pretty low at just 93ppi, as opposed to the 110ppi you’ll get with a standard 34-inch ultrawide.
In real terms that doesn’t mean a lot when it comes to gaming; the 3440 x 1440 resolution still looks great at this scale and means you don’t need a monstrously powerful GPU to cope with the demands of all those damned pixels. It does mean that it’s not the sharpest screen when you’re looking at text in Windows, but not in any way that it has my eyes straining, however.
There are 16 zones of local dimming when you’re engaged in HDR shenanigans, which I would heartily recommend you don’t. Honestly, HDR on PC is still a lottery, and if your screen either doesn’t have many thousands of local zones, or has a ludicrous peak luminance level, it’s not worth it.
The 500cd/m² brightness of the Innocn is welcome in standard mode, but it doesn’t really help when it comes to HDR gaming.
While we’re talking specs, I do like the USB Type-C connection offering both video-in as well as up to 90W of power. It means I can hook up my work laptop to the screen, keep it powered and have a huge second display to work on. Other than that there’s a DisplayPort 1.4 connection and a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports. It’s worth noting that the screen will run at 144Hz on a DP cable, but is restricted to 100Hz via HDMI.
The overall experience of gaming on the Innocn 40C1R is impressive. I love ultrawide gaming monitors, and the 40-inch expanse of screen real estate really works for me. The out-of-the-box experience isn’t brilliant, however, as the panel defaults to 60% brightness whenever you make a change to the monitor’s settings. As I said earlier, it also displays that classic IPS weakness when it comes to black levels.
Interestingly, switching to the Adobe preset in the OSD, and bumping the brightness up to 80% actually helped mitigate a lot of that weakness, however. And that’s without blowing out the white saturation, either. The contrast is decent, especially down at the lower end, although with these changed settings it does mean I’m losing a bit of the definition when it comes to shades of red specifically.
You’ll only really notice that when you’re fine tuning images in Photoshop, however, not when you’re running around the wild, wild west, or knocking out tanks in Battlefield V. Yes, I still play Battlefield V.
While I’m definitely a fan of what the monitor does, it only feels like great value at its regularly discounted price. At the full $600 asking price I’d struggle to say it’s not worth spending just that little bit more, hitting the $800 mark and going for a truly glorious image, such as with the Dough Spectrum 4K glossy.
But the Innocn 40C1R is often on Amazon for $499 or even as low as $449, and at that price it becomes an incredibly good value gaming monitor. There’s no other IPS-like ultrawide, that will deliver 144Hz, and such a broad gaming vista at that price, as the Innocn.