The concept of curved gaming monitors has only recently started to gather interest as more and more gamers are looking for ways to take their gameplay to the next level. Curved screens have been around in the consumer OLED TV market for a number of years now, but it is only until recently that we have seen monitors with curved screens coming out from manufacturers such as Acer and Samsung.
Curved screen technology has existed since 2012 and was primarily introduced as a feature found on high-end TVs. However, there was a little off-putting impact on the visual output which meant that it did not gain much traction back then. More recently with advancements in display panels including IPS LCD technology, LED edge lighting techniques, NVIDIA G-SYNC technologies, etc., curved displays are starting to become more mainstream in the gaming monitor market.
Curved screens do have their advantages when it comes to displaying technology, but are these advantages enough to justify the premium price over regular flat panels? We will discuss this further below:
Wide Field of View (FOV) and Immersive Experience
Curved displays offer a wider field of view which is often referred as the ‘wraparound effect’ by gamers and film enthusiasts. However, with curved monitors coming out recently at around 34-inches that also offers an aspect ratio of 21:9 compared to 16:9 on conventional widescreen TVs, we can start seeing some issues where the FOV is simply too wide for comfortable single screen desktop usage. This might be an important thing to consider if you are looking into buying curved displays for non-gaming applications.
When it comes to watching movies, the display curvature certainly gives a unique cinematic feel where everything on screen seems to come forward towards you instead of traditional flat panels where viewing angles tend to shrink when viewed off center. The same cannot be said about gaming though. You can read more about this in our latest article discussing whether or not curved monitors will give you an advantage in FPS games .
Ultra Widescreen Displays
If your main reason for getting curved screens is really just for media consumption purposes such as watching movies and playing games than ultra widescreen displays might actually make more sense over conventional 16:9 aspect ratio screens. This is because with conventional 16:9 screens you are not actually getting more viewing area horizontally compared to what you would get on 34-inch 21:9 ultra-wide curved panels. Most curved monitors have a maximum resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels where the minimum is 2560 x 1080 pixels which means that for gaming, you are getting an equivalent viewing area of two 27-inch 16:9 screens side by side instead of one large surface.
One thing that many gamers do not look into before buying their first curved monitor is the performance issues associated with it. Most manufacturers these days are using AMD FreeSync technology to reduce tearing and stuttering in games so there really shouldn’t be any noticeable impact when it comes to visual quality or latency. However, colour accuracy and consistency from one edge of the screen to another is often an issue for many curved monitors as they use a number of different panels sourced from different manufacturers. The other major drawback with curvature is that it isn’t too great if you have multiple people sharing your display as the experience differs greatly depending on where you sit or stand in relation to the monitor.
What should I buy? Curved vs Non-Curved
If you are looking for a high-resolution gaming monitor, there really isn’t much difference between a curved panel and a regular flat panel unless the curve radius is very small because ultimately you will be sitting further away from your monitor instead of right next to it. With larger curve radiuses (1800R and above), the immersive effect is certainly positive, but your eyes will start to notice some subtle distortions as you move off-center, and due to an increased FOV, there might be issues with using these types of displays for desktop applications.
Does Curve have a place in PC Gaming?
In our opinion at Best Gaming Tips, curved screens do have their uses in non-gaming applications such as giving users more desktop real estate for work-related tasks or perhaps even just enhancing the overall media viewing experience by immersing you further into whatever content you are watching on screen. However, we aren’t exactly sold on the idea that curved monitors should become a mainstay amongst PC gamers who want nothing other than optimal performance from their gaming rigs. There are simply too many drawbacks that might just outweigh the few benefits.
If you are looking for productivity, ultra-wide panels with 21:9 ratio displays will definitely give you more screen real estate without any of the performance inconsistencies associated with curved monitors. If you want to enhance your gaming experience then there is no need to go curved as most conventional 16:9 aspect ratio flat panels do a better job due to their uniform viewing area and lack of distortion around the edges compared to curved screens which suffer from both color consistency issues along with off-angle performance degradation due to their curvature.