Sceptre Nebula 44-inch Monitor review: Ultra-wide gaming on a budget [Video]

There’s no denying the benefit of having an extra-wide monitor at your desktop for working from home, but the benefits exist in the gaming world as well. While not all games and resolutions benefit from a picture twice as wide as the standard 16:9 ratio, they can lend themselves to a more immersive experience. We got the opportunity to check out the Sceptre Nebula 44-inch monitor and see how it performs in both working and gaming environments. Be sure to hit the video below to see all of the details. 

Sceptre Nebula 44-inch monitor: Design 

At its core, the Sceptre Nebula 44-inch monitor is a 32:9 aspect ratio gaming monitor with a resolution of 3840×1080. These super wide monitors are becoming more prevalent and offer a unique gaming experience compared to a standard 16:9 monitor.

One of the most noticeable design choices, in my opinion, is the lack of a curved screen in such a wide monitor. I’ve grown accustomed to the 1800R curve of the Monoprice 49-inch screen that I’ve been using for the last while, but some displays take it to the next level like the Samsung Odyssey G9 with a more aggressive 1000R curve. 

Sceptre has chosen to keep things straight on the Nebula monitor, which is interesting given the super widescreen shape. Since I am so accustomed to the curved monitor, I actually find myself getting a kind of convex effect where it looks like the screen is curving backward. Obviously, it’s not, but it’s a weird sensation – though I imagine most people wouldn’t experience it unless they are used to a super-wide curved monitor. 

Otherwise, I really dig the design of the Sceptre Nebula 44-inch monitor. The white colorway with small bezels looks sleek and modern. On the back, there are all of the inputs and outputs as well as RGB lighting that has a few settings within the menu. By default, the Sceptre features a spectrum color mode that cycles through the standard RGB rainbow. Color can also be set to breathing, strobe, or static with a variety of colors and brightness. 

Sceptre Nebula 44-in Monitor: Video

Raise and lower

One feature I really enjoy is the ability to easily raise and lower the screen. That’s something that is lacking on the Monoprice that I really appreciate on the Sceptre. It takes just the right amount of pressure to adjust so that it’s not easy to bump, but also isn’t too hard to move. 

Inputs and outputs

All of the ports are easy to see and reach on the back of the monitor. From left to right, we have connections for USB-C, HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2.0, DP 1.2, and a 3.5mm audio out which they have labeled for headphones. 

On the other side of the stand is a built-in USB-C hub with three USB-A 3.0 ports and a USB-B 3.0 port. 

Sceptre Nebula 44-inch monitor: Display 

Sceptre is using an IPS panel on the monitor. With a resolution of 3840 x 1080, it’s like having two 27-inch 1080 panels stitched together with a 32:9 aspect ratio. In my experience, this is great for productivity because it lends you more horizontal workspace, but I think it’s a mixed bag for gaming. In FPS games, I find the added width and resolution a bit overkill as there is too much to look at. It places HUD elements in the far corners and makes it difficult to see some of the info. I find myself having to turn my head left and right to look at the map in the upper left and check my gear in the bottom right.

In other games, like Star Wars: Squadrons, the added screen size adds some really fun immersion. Sure, Squadrons might still be best in VR, but a super-wide resolution is fun to play on as well. 

Likewise, playing racing games like Forza 7 adds a lot more immersion with a beautiful wide display. For the price at performance, this might be a great pick for those looking for a budget option for an ultra-wide monitor for a racing simulator setup. 

Continuing with the specs, the Sceptre E448 has a 1ms response time, up to 120Hz refresh rate, and 125% sRGB color gamut. 

Thanks to the IPS panel, the viewing angle is rated at 178 degrees, but I notice that as I move my head left to right in front of different sections of the panel, the sides appear to dim a bit. The display is still visible at extreme angles but not as bright as looking directly at a section. This is also where the decision to keep the panel flat surprises me, as a curved panel would help to mitigate this effect. 

Cleaning up the motion

As a gaming monitor, getting a clear image in chaotic battles is pretty important, and the Moving Picture Response Time setting helps to greatly reduce blurring at the cost of some brightness. While off, the UFO test reveals the screen to be a little blurry, but you flip the MPRT to extreme mode, the display sharpens up significantly. 

When gaming, this makes motion cleaner and easier to track than a blurry display. Of course, the drop in brightness might affect your gameplay, but if you’re a competitive gamer I would imagine you’re playing in a more controlled lighting environment. MPRT really makes for a very crisp and clear image. 

Display HDR 600

The Sceptre E448 44-inch monitor has also been Vesa certified with DisplayHDR 600. This means the monitor can reach a peak luminance of 600 nits, which is plenty bright for daytime viewing. 

Otherwise color looks great on the Sceptre monitor. It may need calibration if you are using it for photo editing or video production, but I’m pretty happy with how it looks out of the box.

Picture-by-picture mode

Since it is the size of two standard monitors stitched together, the Sceptre 44-inch ultra-wide monitor also supports a picture by picture mode that will split two inputs between the screens. I use this often when reviewing Xbox peripherals so I can play on one side of the screen and write or do research on the other side. While it’s great to have a PC and Xbox window or PC and Mac screen right next to each other, I have had a bit of trouble getting the aspect ratio to work properly.

When side-by-side with my Xbox Series X, my PC screen will look smooshed like it’s trying to get the 32:9 image crammed into the 16:9 space. If I play around with settings and reset the resolution and refresh rate in advanced display settings I can get it to work, but it’s not nearly as seamless as the Monoprice Dark Matter that I’m accustomed to. 

Sceptre Nebula 44-inch monitor: Audio

While the monitor has built-in speakers, they’re nothing to write home about. As a gaming monitor, you’re going to want a decent pair of headphones or a separate audio system. They sound like mid-tier laptop speakers at best without much bass or clarity. 

9to5Toys’ Take

Overall, the Sceptre 44-inch ultra-wide monitor is an interesting choice to me. From a gaming standpoint, the 3840x1080p resolution makes sense as the lower vertical resolution helps offset the greater number of horizontal pixels to keep frame rates high. From a productivity standpoint, I miss the extra resolution of the 5120x1440p Monoprice Dark Matter 49-inch monitor. I also didn’t expect to be as accustomed to a curved monitor, but I do miss the 1800 curve of the Dark Matter.

But if you take into consideration that you are getting basically dual 27-inch monitors with a 1ms response time, 125% sRGB, and that extreme MPRT mode in a sleek design, it can be pretty appealing for those looking to fit that niche. Especially for the $529.97 price point. For those looking to build a budget racing simulation rig with a wide monitor, this might be a great pick. 

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