The Innocn 40C1R is a 40-inch ultra-wide monitor with an IPS-style panel, AMD Freesync Premium and a 144Hz refresh rate – all standard stuff, right? What makes this monitor unique is its form factor: the 40C1R is completely flat, making it a tempting alternative for folks who don’t appreciate the curved screens endemic among modern ultrawides. You’re not paying a premium for it either, with the 40C1R being surprisingly affordable given its titanic proportions: $600 is list price, with the price dipping to $480 or less during sales.
I met Innocn for the first time this year, when I sampled one of their portable OLED monitors – which I thought offered a nice combination of portability and image quality with all the benefits of OLED technology. The 40C1R isn’t an OLED screen and I’m not a big fan of LCD technology so I was skeptical but thought I’d see how it compares to my own similarly sized LG 38GN950 monitor and if it’s a suitable choice for PC gamers looking for a full-sized panel at a decent price.
Once you unbox the 40C1R, the first thing that stands out is the understated design. Devoid of the typical ostentatious game-oriented elements so common in PC monitors, the 40C1R is limited by a slim and modest black bezel, a clean rectangular stand and a small lip running along the bottom of the frame housing the controls. It’s a nice monitor that will look great on just about any desk – well, any desk that can handle its girth, at least.
The rear panel includes several inputs hidden under the chassis: a pair of HDMI 2.0 inputs (max 3440×1440 at 100Hz), a DisplayPort 1.4 connector (3440×1440 at 144Hz), a USB-C port that allows video input (max 60Hz) and a 3.5mm audio jack. The rear of the panel is otherwise blank with a 100×100 VESA mount if you prefer to mount your monitors on an arm. The included stand allows height and tilt adjustment and is equally unobtrusive – just a heavy square slab that complements the monitor’s design.
The menu system is reasonably robust with options to adjust response time, enable Adaptive Sync, adjust image settings, and enable features such as a refresh rate monitor and crosshair overlay. Menu navigation is handled via a collection of four buttons along the bottom side of the monitor’s bezel – it’s functional if not particularly intuitive compared to my LG monitor’s micro-stick. Once set up correctly, however, you shouldn’t need to spend a lot of time adjusting the settings – something we’ll talk about shortly.
However, what really sets this monitor apart from the usual offering is its size and form factor. The 40C1R is completely flat and measures 40 inches, making it an unusual display. Most ultrawide monitors opt for a gentle curve to better focus the eyes, but Innocn instead uses a completely flat IPS ADS panel in this monitor. Whether it works for you will depend on your viewing distance – on a larger desk the presence is welcome, but if you prefer to sit closer to your monitor its size can feel overwhelming. This is an important point to keep in mind when monitoring your purchases.
The big question then is performance and there are several key areas where I define panel quality – resolution, motion clarity, panel brightness, color accuracy and contrast.
Let’s start with the choice of the resolution which, in this case, is 3440×1440. This is a common choice usually featured in 34-inch ultrawide monitors, but when extended to 40-inches the pixel density seems slightly lacking for desktop use. This monitor offers a pixel density of approximately 93 pixels per inch, which is equivalent to a 32-inch 16:9 1440p monitor. You’ll find that most modern PC games support this resolution, while the reduced pixel count compared to 4K makes it much easier to drive even a mid-range GPU. In that sense, while I prefer a higher resolution for productivity, 3440×1440 could be considered a sweet spot for PC gaming.
When you turn on the monitor for the first time, I recommend that you immediately open the settings and make changes. The default gamma curve and color temperature are both higher than what I would recommend with cool color temperature and colors that are too dark. First impressions weren’t particularly positive, but you can never judge a monitor by its default settings. It’s possible to run a full calibration, if you have the hardware, but the sRGB option available in the ‘professional’ menu immediately produces a much improved image. The gamma curve is now more accurate and the color temperature less cold, closer to the D65 white point.
In terms of brightness, the default SRGB mode produces a measurement of 231 nits, but increasing the brightness slider to 100 on a full white background brings it up to a maximum of ~380 nits. I also took measurements using an X-Rite i1Display Pro. The panel is more than bright enough for SDR content and desktop use, and while it might not be as vibrant as my LG 38GN950, it’s surprisingly close overall with reasonable contrast and strong color reproduction. Unfortunately, this poses a problem for HDR, as the monitor’s 400-nit HDR brightness and lack of local dimming means it doesn’t deliver punchy HDR – I’d recommend sticking to SDR instead.
Importantly, horizontal viewing angles are adequate with relatively even brightness and color reproduction in the corners of the image when viewed from the front. This is essential for a large edge-lit panel such as the 40C1R, but there is a caveat – the vertical brightness shift is evident to some extent. While this isn’t an issue if the height is adjusted correctly for your setup, you may notice it when looking slightly above or below the center point of the monitor.
Overall, however, the image quality is impressive considering the underlying technology and the price. A large-format monitor capable of superior image quality pays a sizable premium over the 40C1R.
Next, let’s talk about gaming performance and resolution support which is, of course, the main reason to choose a monitor like this. Using DisplayPort, the monitor allows up to 144Hz refresh rate at 3440×1440, but the monitor also supports downsampling from higher resolutions. If you select full 3840×2160 at 120Hz, for example, the monitor can display that resolution in a proper 16:9 downsampled window. Using the native pixel grid, this means the 40C1R can become a 32-inch 1440p monitor if your input source doesn’t support ultra-wide resolutions.
More importantly, this monitor supports up to 2560 x 1440 120Hz over HDMI, which is useful for Xbox Series X and PS5; the latter performed well at 1440p60 and 1440p120 in SDR and HDR. Oddly though, the monitor may stretch the image to fill the 21:9 panel, resulting in an incorrect aspect ratio. Dig into the options menu and you’ll find the adjust aspect ratio option is grayed out – and to fix this you need to disable Adaptive Sync in the monitor menu, which restores the 16:9 aspect ratio suitable with black bars left and right. It’s frustrating if you’re planning on using this screen with a game console, as Series X and PS5 now support VRR and that can be a boon in some games.
In terms of motion clarity, this panel exhibits the typical persistent motion blur evident in all sample and hold displays. In the menu, there are four options dedicated to response time – off, normal, fast, and ultra-fast. In my testing, however, I found the difference between them to be somewhat negligible. Overtaking isn’t a big deal, even at ultra-fast, but motion clarity is still limited. That said, the actual pixel response time is very fast and comparable to other LCDs, it’s worth noting, so it’s no worse in that respect next to the competition. My main issue is that there is no motion blur reduction technology available. Inserting a strobe or black frame would have saved the day in this case, but it’s not available. At higher frame rates this may be less of an issue, but that’s the only big caveat. Of course, my LG monitor also lacks this feature, and it seems to be relatively rare on large format PC monitors, which is a shame. Luckily, you still get a responsive gaming experience thanks to the monitor’s low input latency, which I measured at a very reasonable 8ms at 60Hz. I tested this using the Black Dog Technology Time Sleuth display lag tester that relies on HDMI output, but DisplayPort seems to produce comparable results when sampling the same content over HDMI and DisplayPort.
Finally, this monitor also offers video input via USB-C, which is welcome, but that has its own catch – the monitor is limited to 60Hz over USB-C. I also tested the various picture-in-picture modes, which let you input two sources simultaneously and split the screen as you wish. Theoretically, you could connect two game consoles and enjoy split-screen action in games that normally lack this option, and of course the ultrawide format makes that quite feasible.
It’s hard to argue with a monitor like the 40C1R at least when it comes to the value proposition. The large-format design, feature set, and overall image quality are impressive considering the current price of $480. For most users looking for a larger monitor, this is a fantastic option and one I can wholeheartedly recommend. Most of my display issues are inherent to LCD technology, but it’s not like there are many other options out there. For most users, however, the 40C1R is a solid choice, perfect for a powerful gaming PC and still excellent for modern game consoles. Really worth a look!