The Innocn 40C1R is an Affordable 40" 144Hz Dream Gaming Monitor

2022-07-02 09:44:07 By : Ms. jessica lee

Treat yourself to an immersive gaming experience with this affordable 40-inch superwide monitor.

Whether it’s for multitasking office work or high refresh immersive gaming, the Innocn 40C1R is the gaming monitor you've been dreaming of. It's great for watching movies too, with the cinema format using the full display area.

At $600, the Innocn 40C1R is a good deal—but it’s an absolute steal if you wait for a sale and can get it for closer to $500.

While the highest level of immersion for SIM racing and first-person shooters is undeniably a virtual reality headset. But the next best option, which works well for all game types and even office productivity, has to be an ultrawide monitor.

34-inch ultrawide screens are commonplace, but massively ultrawide—40 inches or more—have until now been prohibitively expensive, especially when you start looking for gaming features like FreeSync or high refresh rates. Innocn is here to make your dream gaming rig affordable though, with their 40C1R ultrawide 40" 144Hz gaming monitor. It's a dream to use, but won't break the bank, at an entirely reasonable $600 (or closer to $500 if you wait for a sale that may or may not be coming in the next few weeks, but I wouldn't be at liberty to disclose that sort of thing).

Even better: we've got two of them to give away to two lucky readers. Find out what we thought of the Innocn 40C1R first, then enter to win one at the end of this review.

Running at 3440 x 1440 px, otherwise known as UWQHD (Ultra-Wide Quad HD), the 40C1R features a 21:9 "cinema" display ratio. At 40-inches diagonal, that works out as around 93 pixels per inch. So it's important to bear in mind that while the resolution sounds impressive on paper (sort of 4Kish...), its tempered by the fact this the screen is enormous and extremely wide, so those pixels are spread out. In reality, it feels more like squishing two standard QHD monitors next to each other. You're unlikely to sit so close that it matters, but if you're using this for work rather than mostly gaming, it might be a concern.

The panel technology is ADS (Advanced Super Dimension Switch), a type of IPS display. In practical terms there's very little difference between the two, apart from slightly higher panel rigidity, which is not something you would generally worry about on a gaming monitor. With a contrast ratio of 1200:1, the 40C1R covers 94% of the DCI-P3 and 100% sRGB color space, and offers a maximum brightness of around 500 nits, providing fantastic image quality for both gaming and more "serious" productivity uses.

One thing to note about the design is that the Innocn 40C1R isn't curved. In theory, a curved monitor is more immersive simply because it wraps around you. It may also have less distortion because of the angle you see the light emit from, but in practice, I haven't experienced any distortion when using this, so I'm not sure what improvement adding a curve would make. Some people actually prefer a flat monitor, and while I haven't experienced a curved monitor in extended use to compare the two directly. That said, if you want a massive ultrawide curved monitor, you can expect to pay at least $900 for something that's otherwise lower quality than this.

For ergonomics, you have the usual tilt, swivel, and height adjustments (~15cm). You can't rotate the display to be portrait, because that would be absurd. The base of the 40C1R is a thick steel plate, and manages to keep the display sturdy. In total, the monitor is nearly a meter wide. Since most desks are 1.4m, this just about leaves enough room for a tower or pair or slimline speakers.

The only niggle I have is the controls, which consist of four physical push buttons on the underside at the lower right. While the quick functions for changing input source or volume are simple enough, they're just awkward to navigate the fairly complex menu with.

Finally, although the physical bezels of the display are very slim, at around 1mm on the top and sides, there's an additional 5mm or so of unusable screen area. This is more of a concern for actual multi-monitor setups, where you want to be able to place displays as seamlessly together as possible. With something this wide, you'll only ever need one monitor.

In terms of connectivity, you can provide input from either a single DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 ports, or USB-C. A DisplayPort cable and USB-C to USB-C are included in the box, but not HDMI. Speaking of what's included, you'll also find a standard IEC power cable (no external power brick required), some mounting screws should you wish to use a VESA mount instead, and a print-out with the test results of the color calibration from the factory, which is a nice touch.

Everything was well packaged. Despite our delivery being somewhat banged on the journey from Germany, there was no actual damage to the monitor, and it took mere moments to fit the neck onto the base and carefully lift this behemoth onto the mount. I wouldn't recommend doing this yourself; although not heavy, it is still bulky and awkward to maneuver.

DisplayPort 1.4 should be your first choice if your computer supports it, enabling you take full advantage of the highest resolution and up to 144Hz refresh. HDMI 2.0 will limit you to 100Hz at the full 3440 x 1440, but you can drop the resolution if you need a higher refresh.

It's also worth mentioning the USB-C port. If you have a compatible device, you can both power your device (up to 90W) and transmit video and audio back over that single port. The quality is more limited with a maximum refresh of 60Hz, but it can be very useful for things like a Macbook, or the SteamDeck (our review).

However, for the SteamDeck specifically, while the library interface supports the full resolution and screen width, games are locked to 1200 x 800 px resolution unless you run them from desktop mode. And if you did try and run them at a higher resolution, performance wouldn't be great.

Other than that, there's a 3.5mm jack for stereo out. There are built-in speakers, which aren't horrendous, but nor are they worth dwelling on. If you've spent $600 on an ultrawide monitor, you likely have other solutions for audio output.

Of notable absence is a USB hub. This seems like a missed trick considering the USB-C connectivity and would have made the 40C1R into the ultimate docking station for hotdesking and productivity. On the other hand, for most gamers with a full tower PC, this probably isn't an issue. Even my gaming keyboard has its own USB hub built-in, so I won't miss one on the monitor.

If you've not used an ultrawide display before, it's worth talking about that 21:9 screen ratio as it does affect the content you can comfortably view on it. After all, a 40-inch TV and 40-inch ultrawide gaming monitor are dramatically different beasts, despite both being technically 40-inches diagonal.

Traditionally, TVs and monitors were 4:3 ratio, which is fine for office and document work. But as watching movies at home became more commonplace, the modern 16:9 widescreen ratio was introduced as a compromise—somewhat midway between boxy traditional displays and the wider cinema format.

However, 21:9 (or 64:27 to be precise) has always been the film industry's ratio of choice. That means that most theatrical content is going to fill the 40C1R perfectly. And if you have this on your desktop, you'll almost certainly want to watch some movies on it, because they look incredible.

On the flip side, it also means that anything you watch destined for TV is going to have black bars on either side.

Older TV content in the 4:3 ratio will be wasting almost half the entire screen area. And some consoles won't support the full display ratio either—it's best paired with a desktop PC.

Visually, the Innocn 40C1R is a feast for the eyes. I've been using a 27-inch Innocn monitor for a few months now as my main work monitor, so I'm used to the quality, and this is no different.

To test out the black levels, I tried a very simple test: watching some content in 16:9 ratio that resulted in black bars either side. With the lights off, I can happily report the bars weren't annoyingly grey. They certainly aren't pure black either, but there's no discernible light bleed from the neighboring illuminated pixels, nor do they glow overtly from the backlight. Overall, good black levels.

I also ran through a standard suite of tests from Eizo, and found nothing untoward or worthy of reporting. No dead pixels, no smearing, and no distortion in geometries.

More importantly, I've been gaming on the 40C1R for weeks now, and it's been incredible. While the colors are gorgeous, it's the smoothness of the refresh rate and sheer immersion offered by the superwide field of view that really make a difference. In Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy's movements are silky smooth as she rolls around fluidly and scrambles up hillsides; then you pause to appreciate the expansive vista.

The cockpit view in Dirt Rally 2 really shows off the side of the mountains as I tumble to my death at 120Hz. Just kidding—I drive so slowly that'd almost never happen.

... and the neon glow of Cyberpunk has never looked so good.

But even for things like simple office work or web browsing, you get all the benefits of a multimonitor setup, without the hassle of actually having more than one monitor. You can watch your meme stonks tumble perilously close to zero on one half of the screen, as you doom scroll about the end of the world in another.

On the downside, despite technically supporting HDR400, much like the Innocn 27C1U that I reviewed before, the HDR effect is somewhat disappointing. It's just a little lackluster and just too dark for my preferences. It isn't comparable to the sort of HDR you might find on a good 4KTV. Regular modes feel more than vibrant enough, though.

The 40C1R supports sRGB and Adobe color modes, as well as Picture-in-Picture, but these will be of little interest to gamers.What might be of more interest are the presets for things like "RTS/RPG Mode" and "FPS Arena Mode", which seem to tweak the brightness, saturation etc. But precisely what changes are made isn't explained, so you'll probably just want to experiment with the various modes on offer to find which suits you best.

Whether it’s for multitasking office work or high refresh immersive gaming, the Innocn 40C1R is the gaming monitor you've been dreaming of. It's great for watching movies too, with the cinema format using the full display area.

At $600, the Innocn 40C1R is a good deal—but it’s an absolute steal if you wait for a sale and can get it for closer to $500.

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James has a BSc in Artificial Intelligence and is CompTIA A+ and Network+ certified. When he's not busy as Hardware Reviews Editor, he enjoys LEGO, VR, and board games. Before joining MakeUseOf, he was a lighting technician, English teacher, and data center engineer.

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