PRISM+ XQ340 PRO
- Large 34" wide screen
- Great resolution for size (UWQHD)
- Fast 144Hz refresh rate
- Quantum Dot Technology for vibrant colours and deep blacks
- Great value
- VA Panel won't suit everyone
Buying a new monitor can be extremely daunting! There are few products that vary so vastly, yet essentially do the same thing (i.e. provide a visual display for your PC). However, it is that vast range of small differences that can add up to create anything from an incredibly underwhelming experience to an absolutely incredible experience.
It can be tempting to just buy the first thing you come across from one of the major brands, but that doesn’t often result in the best value experience. In fact, it doesn’t guarantee the best viewing experience either.
I recently came across the PRISM+ brand. New to the Australian market, they offer an interesting range of gaming monitors with some very interesting specifications. Curious, I asked PRISM+ to send their flagship PRISM+ XQ340 PRO over for a closer look.
Disclosure: PRISM+ provided Blog of Dad with the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO for the purpose of review and ongoing use. Any thoughts expressed about PRISM+ products in this article are based on my own experiences. For more information, visit my disclosure statement.
PRISM+ XQ340 PRO – First Impressions and Setup
I have already written about my first impressions of the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO, as well as my impressions of the brand in general. To summarise, my first impressions have been extremely positive. The PRISM+ team has been fantastic and fast to deal with, and there is an obvious passion for the product they produce.
As for the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO, it arrived well packaged, even if the overall size of the delivery was a little… spectacular! I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all this is a 34″ UWQHD monitor! That being said, the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO has left my desk feeling far more spacious and less cluttered than my previous two monitor (27″+24″ FHD) arrangement.
The monitor arrived in three pieces – the screen and a two-part stand. The instructions were very easy to follow, with a mixture of written and pictorial instructions to make each step easy. Three screws and a nifty backplate contraption later and I was in business! I was able to set up the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO by myself, but it may be worth having a second person on hand, mainly to help with managing the sheer size of the monitor.
The stand is excellent. It is reasonably discrete for such a large monitor, and stylish in a simple, understated way. While the feet are slimline, they thankfully pack a good amount of weight and the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO feels firmly planted on my desk. The stand offers a good degree of articulation, with 15 degree horizontal movement, 100mm vertical adjustment and +5 to -15 degree tilt. Adjusting the position of the monitor is smooth and easy, and my test PRISM+ XQ340 PRO holds firmly in place after each adjustment. Finding my perfect viewing position took a matter of minutes and the screen has held firmly in place ever since.
PRISM+ XQ340 PRO – Specifications
Welcome to the minefield! I still remember the sinking feeling of trying to navigate monitor specifications when purchasing my first new monitor for some time last year. I just hadn’t realised how much things had changed, and understanding what mattered and what didn’t was hard!
To make matters worse, the internet is littered with forums full of people with very strong opinions about every single option on offer. Naturally, there is a whole lot of contradiction and finding genuinely helpful information is a challenge!
Thankfully, I navigated that minefield and emerged relatively unscathed on the other side, eventually even gaining a good understanding of all the various acronyms plastered over monitor ads!
So when I saw the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO advertised for the first time, certain specifications immediately caught my eye:
I’m used to using a 27″ display as my primary monitor and I like the height. The PRISM+ XQ340 PRO is the same height as my previous 27″ monitor, but with substantially greater width (approximately 33% more). On the XQ340 PRO, I absolutely love it! While the width on offer is less than, say, two 27″ monitors, the experience is much smoother and more enjoyable. It is visually more pleasing, but I also find it more versatile. For example, I usually work with two windows open side-by-side, but with the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO I have greater adjustment over the size of each window. They no longer have to conform to the size of each monitor, I can be much more dynamic in the way I set up my workplace.
In gaming, the 34 inches of PRISM+ XQ340 PRO is a quite something. It’s fair to say that this review would have been published a few days earlier, had I not been so drawn into fully testing the gaming experience on offer! But once I got playing, it was hard to leave. The immersion of a screen this size is fantastic! I definitely appreciated the extra visibility in my favourite racing games, where it really makes a difference. In first-person shooters, the advantages are obvious. You can just see more of what is going on in the peripheries, which makes reacting quickly so much easier.
The advantages get even better when using the 34 inches of PRISM+ XQ340 PRO for productivity. Of course, this isn’t just down to the extreme width of the monitor. Resolution also plays a big part.
UWQHD 3440 x 1440
Resolution is one of the biggest arguments in monitor-related forums and the conventional wisdom is that anything 27″ or larger needs to be a minimum of 1440p. I’ll be honest, I ignored that in my purchase last year and sacrificed resolution for frame rates, and I was okay with it. Using a 27″ screen at 1080p didn’t ruin my life and turn me into a miserable sod.
HOWEVER, now that I have experienced the visual delight of a 3440 x 1440 UWQHD resolution, there is no turning back. For me, this is definitely the sweet spot for resolution at this size. Text and images on the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO are sharp. Really sharp! I notice the difference when I am writing, reading, gaming, and especially when looking at my photos. As a photography enthusiast, I love the detail on show with the XQ340 PRO. Although fair warning to those amateurs like me, the flaws in your work will also be on show.
There are monitors with higher resolutions, but you’d better have deep pockets. Not only do the monitors themselves cost A LOT more, so too does the high-end hardware required to run them. For us average people, right now I believe 1440p is where the best value lies.
144Hz Refresh Rate
A high refresh rate is often near the top of the list when purchasing a new monitor for games, and with good reason. Entry-level gaming monitors tend to come with a 120Hz refresh rate, but PRISM+ have opted for an impressive 144Hz refresh rate on the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO, which is thoroughly enjoyable. In racing games like Forza Motorsport 7, that translates to silky smooth racing. The improvement over bog-standard 60-75Hz monitors is really noticeable.
Of course, to run games at a UWQHD resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate, you do require decent hardware on your PC. I use the PNY GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition, which sat perfectly in the performance vs cost sweet spot when I reviewed it last year. Things move quickly in the GPU world and that GPU has been superseded, with some very impressive offerings now vying for the title of 1440p king… if you can actually find stock…
Curved monitors improve user immersion and can help to reduce eye fatigue during extended use. The larger the screen, the more benefit there is to the curve. The PRISM+ XQ340 PRO uses a 1500R curvature, which is fantastic! When it comes to curves, the lower number is better as it comes closer to matching the natural curve of the human eye. 1800R are reasonably common at lower price points, while more premium models tend to adopt the 1500R spec.
I absolutely love the 1500R curve in the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO. It works extremely well with the 34″ UWQHD design, to wrap the action around me. Gaming is a completely different experience with this setup, and really it has to be experienced to be appreciated.
Vertical Alignment (VA) Panel with Quantum Dot Technology
Panel technology can be a particularly difficult minefield to navigate, with strong options about panel types quickly shared in any monitor-based forum discussion. IPS panels are commonly regarded as the gold standard, but even they are not without their shortcomings.
I had never used a VA panel for extended periods before the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO landed on my desk, and so I was a little nervous that it would prove to be the weak link in what is an otherwise impressive list of specifications. However, I am really impressed with what it see.
For starters, VA panels excel in contrast, and the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO offers a contrast ratio of 3000:1. This basically means whiter whites and deeper blacks, and I find the picture quality on offer from the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO extremely pleasing. However, the real gamechanger here appears to be the Quantum Dot Technology. What is Quantum Dot Technology?
“A Quantum Dot is a human-made nanoparticle that has semiconductor properties. They’re tiny, ranging in size from two to 10 nanometres, with the size of the particle dictating the wavelength of light it emits, and therefore the color. When Quantum Dots are hit with a light source, each dot emits a color of a specific bandwidth” – Samsung What is Quantum Dot Technology
The result is a wider and more saturated range of colours than would otherwise be possible. In the case of the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO, that is represented by a stated 140% sRGB colour gamut (103% DCI-P3) which certainly does deliver vibrant colours. For me, the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO was a little too bright and vibrant out of the box. This was easily adjusted to my liking with the straightforward adjustment menus.
From the same article quoted above, Samsung state that “Quantum Dot LCD displays are often compared to OLED” and even discuss some technical advantages of Quantum Dot over OLED. I was certainly blown away by the vibrancy, definition and deep blacks on offer when I used this Quantum Dot demo for the first time. I still marvel at how good media and games look on this monitor after two weeks of regular use.
PRISM+ XQ340 PRO – Use
I have been using the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO as my regular monitor for the past two weeks. It replaced a mismatched 24″ and 27″ dual-screen setup, and I can safely say that I prefer the aesthetic of this beautiful 34″ ultrawide screen on my desk. As I stated earlier, I am surprised by just how quickly I have adjusted to the single screen setup, but it is fantastic!
The PRISM+ XQ340 PRO has been used broadly in this time. My usual week involves a mixture of gaming, work, web browsing and media consumption.
Like the vast majority of gamers out there, I am a casual gamer. Those who are heavily into competitive formats may value features like the 200Hz refresh rate on offer on the PRSIM+ X300 more, but for my liking the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO presents a fantastic balance of size, width, resolution, speed and visuals. PRISM+ appear to have carefully selected the components that provide the broadest range of appeal to gamers, while cutting back on features that would otherwise add significant expense. Make no mistake, this is a premium monitor, but with a significantly lower price tag than some of the competitors.
I have played Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Motorsport A LOT on my 27″ IPS 1080p monitor, so this seemed like a good place to start when testing the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO. Two things immediately stood out to me. The first was that the 1440p resolution on the Quantum Dot-enhanced display looked absolutely stunning, with excellent details and brilliant colours genuinely bringing a smile to my face!
The second was that a 34″ UWQHD format is unbelievably immersive. The extra width is absolutely brilliant! It creates a more believable feeling of being inside the car, but also provides that bit more visibility, which can be so important. The 144Hz of the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO does its part to make the fast-paced racing action feel gloriously smooth.
Some tweaking was required with the 2070 SUPER to find the right balance between visuals and frame rates in order to maximise the glory of the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO, as Ultra settings delivered a still enjoyable 114 FPS. After a couple of minor tweaks, I was enjoying the super smooth high frame rates on offer. The PRISM+ XQ340 PRO does offer Adaptive Sync, which is activated through a two-step process (on-screen menu and display settings). This is designed to eliminate all visual tearing, stuttering and jamming, and it seems to work well.
Other games look great too! Microsoft Flight Simulator is a visual masterpiece and in ultrawide mode at 1440p it is breathtaking! Of course, frame rates take a big hit with this demanding simulator, but they aren’t nearly as important as in high-action games.
The Halo Master Chief collection looks absolutely fantastic and again the wide angle of the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO makes a difference. There is a distinct advantage to having greater peripheral vision. It was also a great opportunity to test the crosshair overlays built into the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO. I had assumed this was a bit of a gimmick, but my chosen overlay (small red dot) seemed to help improve my ability to land a headshot on a series of unsuspecting Grunts. I did a bit of research, and this article did a good job of explaining why built-in crosshairs can help non-pro gamers like me to perform a lot better.
Throughout my gaming I found the experience consistently responsive, smooth, great-looking and thoroughly enjoyable. Professional gamers might go in search of different specs in certain fields (frames per second, for example), but for gamers like me the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO provides an awesome balance of features and an experience that I find hard to fault.
My PC build isn’t all about fun. I spend as much time working on it as I do playing, so the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO has to be up to the less exciting task of productivity.
My first observation is that the screen real estate is fantastic. 34 inches really is substantial, and the width is great for organising and accessing work easily. I don’t have to move my head around much to see everything, yet I don’t find the space lacking.
Single documents feel awfully lonely, with kilometres of white space filling the rest of the screen (maybe an exaggeration). But it is rare that I ever work on a single document in isolation, and the ability to snap multiple windows side-by-side is great. Using a single ultrawide monitor over a dual screen setup has advantages, such as adjusting window size to perfectly suit your needs.
Text in word processing applications and websites is crisp and clear, thanks to the 3440 x 1440 resolution. I never had a problem working on a 27″ 1080p monitor for extended periods, but I definitely appreciate the sharper resolution now that I have it. For starters, it allows text to be smaller, but still perfectly readable. This effectively further expands the workspace on offer.
The same is true for spreadsheets. Anyone used to working in large spreadsheets on a regular basis would marvel at the sheer cell coverage on the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO. It is vast. The amount of viewable cells at any one time is mind-blowing (2,968, for anyone who is interested)! The fact that I have used a blank Excel document to show off this monitor to two people so far (both of whom were suitably impressed) says a lot about the screen real estate on offer (and maybe a little about the nerdiness of the company I keep…).
Whether you are viewing one large spreadsheet, or two side-by-side, or analysing data from a spreadsheet and working in a word processor, the productivity on offer is through the roof.
Browsing and General Use
On the vast PRISM+ XQ340 PRO screen, websites appear vibrant and sharp. Text is easy to read, again thanks to the appealing 3440 x 1440 resolution.
One common complaint with VA monitors is known as colour shifting. In my day-to-day use with the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO, the impact of this is minimal to the point that I just don’t notice it. I can comfortably look at any part of the screen from my normal viewing position and enjoy the quality of the image on offer. Those with a particularly refined eye, or involved in professional, colour-critical work will naturally opt for IPS (and pay the premium for it), but for my personal enjoyment, the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO is fantastic! This includes when dabbling in photo editing and viewing.
Websites can comfortably placed three wide across. I often have two windows open side-by-side, but will regularly adjust the widths to best suit my needs. Windows can also be snapped into quarter-screen positions, and this actually works quite well in some scenarios. Basically, I find the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO flexible to use and great to look at in every scenario so far.
Watching video on the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO has consumed a lot of my time in recent days. I have spent a lot of time searching YouTube for content that can take advantage of the incredible 21:9, 1440p HDR Quantum Dot display. It really is impressive! There is a noticeable difference between content displayed at 1080p resolution and that at 1440p. The 21:9 screen ratio takes compatible content to the next level! It is a very immersive experience watching movies and videos that utilize the entire width of the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO.
The deep blacks and expanded colours of the VA panel with Quantum Dot technology shine with suitably high-quality content. The trailer for Avengers Infinity War in 21:9 1440p is awesome, as is the one for Godzilla vs. Kong (even if the movie looks a little… far fetched).
I’m in two minds as to whether activating HDR settings on the monitor and computer are actually worthwhile – content on the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO looks fantastic even without it. I think there will be quite a bit more experimenting before I settle on my preferred setting, but one thing I know is that the more I tweak my setup, the more impressed and excited I become.
I have also become a little obsessed with Ronald Soethje’s 4K Journey’s Around The World series. These 21:9 time-lapse films look stunning on the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO. With international travel off the cards for the foreseeable future, they go some way to satisfying my travel urges.
PRISM+ XQ340 PRO Warranty
PRISM+ offer a 3 year limited warranty on their range of monitors, which appears consistent with most other leading monitor brands in Australia. The full Terms and Conditions of PRISM+ warranties can be found here. It is worth noting that PRISM+ are operating from and Australian website with an Australian ABN, making them subject to our excellent Australian Consumer Law (as on their warranty page). There is also the advantage of the seller being the manufacturer, which means there is less complexity during a repair or replacement. Anyone who has ever dealt with the time delays and blame-shifting that can occur when more than one party is involved in a return process knows what I’m talking about.
A clear pixel policy is standard practice for monitor manufacturers. PRISM+ offer a competitive pixel policy, with two bright or three dark (to a total of 3) warranting repair. This is in line with a lot of other manufacturers, and even trumps a couple of the big brands. Pleasingly, my review PRISM+ XQ340 PRO is pixel perfection! I have run a few tests to pick up dark or bright pixels, and the monitor passed with flying colours!
PRISM+ XQ340 PRO Final Thoughts
The PRISM+ XQ340 PRO earns a five star review from me because the carefully selected combination of specifications has provided an exciting and impressive, high-quality user experience. Is it “perfect”? No – the VA panel, for example, is a compromise that some people in certain niches just won’t make. Those people won’t settle for anything less than IPS, and will be willing to pay the premium. But, for the average user, the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO represents compelling value in the premium gaming monitor space. From my experience with the PRISM+ XQ340 PRO over the past two weeks, the combination of 34″, UWQHD, 144Hz, 1500R Curvature and Quantum Dot Technology is an absolute winner, and I just can’t find any meaningful way to fault it.