Curved monitors are a relatively new technology. When they first appeared, a lot of people thought it was just a gimmick. And while that may be true for curved TVs, it’s a whole different story for curved monitors. These monitors are quickly overtaking their flat counterparts among discerning users and this is thanks to the huge drop in pricing and several benefits they have to offer.
With most good gaming monitor brands now producing curved monitors, there have been debates about which is better for gamers and enthusiasts alike –curved or flat monitors. It’s for this reason that we thought now is a good time to take a more comprehensive look at this new technology VS the flat monitors so you can get the best gaming experience.
By the end of this post you will get answers to questions like are curved monitors better for gaming, the pros and cons of curved monitors, are curved monitors worth it, caveats to consider, and much more. Without further ado, let’s jump straight into it.
Table of Contents
What Is A Curved Monitor?
Curved monitors hit the market a little over 5 years ago and only recently gained traction; as such, some people may not be familiar with the technology. As the name suggests, it is a monitor that is slightly curved at the edges. The curvature of these screens is expressed in R (radius).
Most of today’s curved monitors have one of these three R measurements: 1800R, 3000R, or 4000R but you’ll also find measurements that are in between these numbers. The lower the number the more curve in your monitor –much like how aperture works on a camera. A monitor with an 1800R curve is more curved than 3000R. Curved monitors come in all screen sizes, from as small as 24-inches to well over 30 inches, which we call ultra-wide, curved monitors.
What Sets Curved Monitors Apart From Their Flat Counterparts?
Many of us enjoy watching movies on the big screens in movie theatres, but did you know that those screens are usually curved? It is said that such screens provide a better viewing angle and a more immersive experience for viewers, but why?
Think of the arc design as wrapping around your field of view. These monitors keep all images equidistant from your eyes, meaning the viewing distance and image presented remain consistent regardless of where you are seated. This increases immersion and allows for a comfortable visual experience.
Manufacturers copied the design of movie theatre screens to create curved monitors that would draw gamers deeper into their games. Manufacturers of curved screens argue that they offer a more realistic view; after all, the world is curved and not flat. Also, the human eye doesn’t see things completely flat, rather in a slightly curved way. Therefore, curved screens make better use of how the human eye works and how the world looks.
Are Curved Monitors Good For Gaming?
The essence of curved monitors is to enhance your peripheral sight and create a sense of immersion. They create a more relaxing, realistic, and enjoyable viewing experience, which is always the goal when playing a game. So, yes, a curved monitor is good for gaming. Here’s a more detailed look as to why curved monitors are better for gaming.
The Benefits of a Curved Monitor
They Are Immersive: More and more people are choosing to buy curved monitors over their flat counterparts because they are said to offer a more immersive experience. The arc design of these monitors does a good job mimicking the three-dimensional space that we live in and the structure of our eyes, thus ensuring every detail on your screen remains within your line of sight.
This optimum use of your peripheral vision is what enhances immersion to an extent of making you forget that you are staring at a screen. You’ll begin to feel like you’re in the game and able to see through the view of the character(s).
Less Distortion: Imagine how annoying it can be to view blurry graphics. Distortion usually occurs when what you’re trying to view is larger/wider than your peripheral vision. Although distortion can occur on screens of any size, they are more prevalent on larger screens.
The good news is with curved monitors, you never have to deal with such an issue. Unlike flat panel displays where light is shot in a straight line with some elements going past your peripheral vision, curved displays utilizes the viewing area right to the edge. They aim everything at the viewer, which ultimately leads to less distortion.
Cover a Wider Field of View: Since a curved screen bends its edges closer to the viewer, it can direct light from all angles towards your eyes. This gives you a better field of view, allowing you to see more and larger without much ocular exertion. Maybe an enemy is lurking at the periphery of your large screen and manages to snipe you because you were unable to see them.
This matters a lot for competitive players and also when playing fast-paced games. A wider field of view gives you more information to work with. To ensure you don’t miss anything that’s happening inside your game, a large 1800R curved monitor is your best bet.
Eye Comfort: Gaming is considered an intense visual activity; it usually requires your eyes to keep up with the fast-paced motion and gets so immersive that you end up playing for extended durations of time. You are bound to feel eye fatigue and strains and a curved monitor can help to considerably reduce these eyes issues.
By curving the screen, your eyes don’t have to travel far to view the edges of the screen and all images are kept equidistant from your eyes. Basically, the arc design matches the natural curvature of the human eye, allowing for a more natural viewing feel without eye strain. In other words, you can play your favorite game longer on a curved monitor and stay comfortable throughout.
While it’s true that many high-end flat screens come with eye care features such as blue light filters, some of them might cause other issues like affecting your sleep pattern.
Aesthetics: The arc design of these monitors is rather unique and gives a more futuristic feel. So, for some people, these monitors add a more aesthetic value to their computer setup and look cooler. If you’ve seen a curved monitor before, you can agree with us that they are way better looking than their flat counterparts.
As with any technology, curved monitors are not all perfect. Some of the caveats you may need to consider include:
Cost: Curved monitors require more advanced technologies, resulting in a higher price tag. While there are good affordable gaming monitors that cost around $300, you may have to live with lower resolution, lower refresh rate, lower-end panel technology, a smaller panel size, or other lower specifications. All these features are important for the best gaming experience, so it doesn’t make sense to buy a curved monitor if it means cutting corners with them. To get the best-curved PC monitor, expect to spend $1,000-$3,000.
Size: All the benefits we had mentioned earlier can only be felt on a larger screen (29 inches and above) with aggressive curves of 1800R to 1500R. If you are playing on a 24-inch screen that’s just slightly curved, you would have to put it closer to your face than it would be comfortable to get the immersion we talked about earlier. In that case, bigger is better.
Wall Mounting: Unlike flat monitors that can be mounted against the wall with ease, their curved counterparts generally require special wall mounts and positioning. Even so, they might look and feel awkward due to the positioning of the screen at a downward angle and change in elevation. That being said, adjustable arm mounts, as well as swivel and tilt brackets can be great solutions to overcome this issue of wall mounting.
It’s a One-Viewer Device: A curved monitor is designed so one person can view it from an optimal angle. This means that other viewers might not be getting a good view. This explains why curved televisions have more or less failed since TVs are meant to be watched by groups of people. If you enjoy split-screen gaming with a friend, a curved monitor may not be an ideal choice. Images will look distorted to the second viewer, hence a bad gaming experience.
Do Pro Gamers Use Curved Monitors?
From the text above, we can see that curved monitors are an ideal choice for gamers looking for an immersive experience, among other benefits. However, looking at many e-sports competitions, most of the professionals use flat gaming monitors and not the curved kind. Why is that?
Well, these monitors show some weaknesses for competitive gaming, especially first-person shooters. We know that even the slightest delay or disadvantage in a competitive setting can bring you down. Some of the advantages we discussed earlier for curved monitors become disadvantages for competitive gaming. Let’s see how:
Aspect Ratio of 21:9: A majority of competitive games are optimized screens with an aspect ratio of 16:9. But as we said earlier, the best size gaming monitors are usually bigger and this usually means an aspect ratio of 21:9. You might be thinking, great, now I can see more.
However, playing on a 21:9 screen means you stretch the game or play windowed, neither of which is ideal since it causes distortion and this can have disastrous effects on your gameplay. Furthermore, stretching the images outwards arranges the GUI elements further outwards, meaning you may no longer have all the information in view. You’ll have to move further from the screen to see everything and, obviously, this won’t allow you to play well.
Habit: We said that with practice, you can get used to gaming on a curved monitor. But the main reason pros don’t adjust is because most competitions use flat monitors. If you’ve been practicing on a curved screen for months and on the day of the competition you’re presented with a flat-screen, can your eyes and mind adjust within a few minutes? Most likely not. The stakes are high for competitive gaming so pros choose to stick to something familiar.
Related Questions about Curved Monitors
Now that you know the pros and cons of gaming monitors, is there anything else worth noting that can help you make the right decision when it comes to buying the best-curved PC monitor? Well, here are the FAQ about these pieces of equipment that we thought you should know:
Do curved monitors affect aim?: You may be wondering whether or not aim will be affected when you play on a curved monitor. First off, what affects the aim is refresh rate, FPS, and mouse sensitivity. It has nothing to do with the shape of the monitor. True, you might feel a little thrown off when you first play on a curved screen but in just a couple of days, you’ll get used to playing on a curved monitor.
Where can I buy curved monitors?: Like any other monitor, the curved ones can be found at most electronics retailers, through computer wholesalers, as well as directly from the curved monitor brands.
Can computer monitor be used as TV?: Yes, it can, so long as it features certain modern capabilities, including an HDMI input, built-in audio, and supports high resolution (a minimum of 720p).
Are gaming monitors better than monitors?: The answer to this is subjective as it depends on one’s needs and preference, among other factors. Everyone will not experience curved or flat monitors the same way, which is why it’s important to test using either before taking the plunge. That being said, curved gaming monitors offer that “wow” factor that simply cannot be achieved from their flat counterparts.
With all the above in mind, are gaming monitors worth it? We’ve seen that pro gamers don’t use curved monitors but they have their reasons. For a regular player, there’s so much that a curved monitor can offer. An immersive gaming experience and eye health benefits are good enough reasons to go for a curved monitor over their flat counterparts. And as for the drawbacks, they are quite insignificant and you can get around them.
That’s it for today and we hope that you have learned a thing or two about curved gaming monitors that will help you make the right decision during purchase. Please let us know your experience with curved monitors for gaming in the comment section.
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