Curved monitors are an increasingly common sight in gaming setups, especially for gamers who use larger displays. However, if you’re considering a curved monitor, you’ve likely wondered: Do these sinuous curves actually make a difference in visual quality, or do they just look really cool on your desk?
We won’t deny that they do look extremely cool — but fortunately, curved monitors have real benefits to match their beauty. They can make your gaming experience sleeker, more comfortable, more immersive, and overall deliver everything that you’re looking for in a gaming monitor. Let’s learn about how they do it.
- Curved monitors can help reduce eye strain while you’re gaming.
The discomfort of eye strain can be a major problem for gamers, especially if you’re playing on a large monitor, says AOA. To simplify, the basic problem is that your eyes are often trying to take in an image that’s larger than the human eye’s natural field of view, meaning they have to constantly refocus as they look back and forth from the center to the periphery. This can produce all kinds of negative effects — from tired eyes to image distortion in your peripheral vision.
A curved monitor can help with this because it lets your eyes fall on the monitor in a more natural pattern and places the peripheral edges of the screen closer to your field of view. It’s a small change that can make a surprisingly big difference in your comfort levels after long sessions. Plus, if you’re planning to use your monitor for work applications, it’s even more critical to protect yourself from eye strain. A small study by Harvard Medical School researchers found scientific evidence that curved monitors reduce eye tension when performing visual search tasks.
- Curved monitors help immerse you in your favorite games.
Immersion is a big priority for many gamers, especially those who play first-person games, such as first-person shooters and racing simulators. Curved monitors offer a subtle-but-significant upgrade to the immersive properties of a game’s graphics, thanks to their slight wrap-around effect that mimics the natural shape of your visual field.
Of course, even if you don’t play first-person games, a curved monitor can still enhance your gaming experience. The curved screen can help draw you into the game’s world, which can be important for fans of atmospheric genres like RPGs and horror games. Plus, as we’ll discuss below, you can actually get a wider in-game FoV if you have an ultrawide monitor and a game that supports wider aspect ratios.
- Monitors with different curvature ratings are available.
Several different levels of monitor curvature exist, each expressed as a number followed by the letter R. The lower the number, the more pronounced the monitor’s curvature. At the most subtle level is the 4000R curved monitor, which has only the slightest curve. On the other end is the 1000R, with an extremely pronounced curve and the narrowest field of vision of any monitor style.
Generally, the rule of thumb is that larger monitors benefit more from a high degree of curvature. (See below for more on this.) However, which one you choose is completely a matter of personal preference. So, even if you’re not crazy about the ultra-pronounced curvature of a 1000R, you can still enjoy the benefits of a curved monitor on models with a more gentle radius.
- Curved ultrawide monitors take the experience to a whole new level.
Curved monitor tech has also brought us another awesome innovation: a new generation of curved ultrawide monitors. These monitors often top 35 inches or more, all the way up to truly massive (and accordingly priced) models like Samsung’s 55-inch Odyssey Ark. At such sizes, a curved design is pretty much a necessity to minimize the amount that you have to look back and forth across the screen.
As we mentioned above, a curved ultrawide monitor will also allow you to play games in wider aspect ratios like 21:9 and even 32:9. This is a potentially huge upgrade that widens your actual in-game field of view, which not only improves immersion but can potentially be a competitive advantage in certain games. Note that not every game supports ultrawide aspect ratios, so check the game’s specs if you want to play something specific on an ultrawide display.
Caveats of Curved Monitors
All that said, curved monitors do come with their own set of potential challenges you should be aware of. Let’s run through some of the most important things you should know before you decide on a curved monitor:
- Curved monitors are at their best when viewed straight-on from the center of their radius. That makes them ideal for use as desktop displays, but less suitable for any application that requires multiple viewing angles, like mounting in a classroom or conference room. If you’ll be using a curved monitor in an application where people might be viewing it from many different angles, an adjustable mount is recommended so you can swivel and tilt the monitor to find the ideal angle.
- Glare can be a bigger problem with curved monitors than with flat ones. You might need to experiment with lighting in the room where you’ll have your monitor set up, and flat monitors or gaming laptops may be a better choice for rooms where you don’t have much control over the lighting.
- Curved monitors often come at a somewhat higher price point than flat monitors. Of course, part of the reason for this is that curved monitors tend to be larger anyway, and the price difference is much less noticeable now than it was when curved monitors debuted. That said, you may still want to adjust your budget slightly upward if you plan to shop for a curved monitor.
With curved monitors steadily increasing in popularity, now is a great time to look at the options available. The new level of immersion and comfort that curved monitors provide could be just what your gaming setup needs!
Last Updated: December 23, 2022