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Monitors are one of the most important parts of a PC, as they are the item you spend the vast majority of your time looking at (assuming you aren’t one of those weirdos that forego a display and instead just stare at their beautiful RGB rig all day; they exist, trust me). It’s critical to select a monitor that you will enjoy using for hours– and days and years– to come.
Curved monitors are a relatively new development in the world of PC displays. One of the main attractions of curved monitors is, well, their curve which makes things more immersive. Adding a third dimension to typically flat screens makes curved monitors feel more lifelike. Additionally, curved monitors cut down distortion over a wider field of view.
In this guide, we will cover the best curved gaming monitors you can currently buy. After that, we will cover everything you need to know in order to make the best curved computer monitor purchase for you.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Curved Monitor for You
When picking a curved monitor, it is important to pick the right monitor for your situation. There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing your monitor. This is the PC component you will be looking at the most, so you want to choose a curved monitor that fits you.
Curved vs Ultrawide
Just a small disclosure: these are not the same thing. I mean, this is pretty obvious, but it’s worth noting that– despite the prevalence of monitors that are both– these are not traits that need to come together. They merely happen to overlap rather often. For instance, our first pick in both this article and our best ultrawide monitors roundup is the enormous Samsung 49” CHG90.
The most obvious thing to consider when purchasing a curved monitor is screen size. Larger screens are more immersive and are great for gaming or movie watching. Of course, you have to be sure your screen can fit on your desk.
All things being equal, higher resolution screens always look better. The more pixels you can pack into a screen, the better the image quality.
The other important consideration when selecting a resolution is your PC’s graphics performance. If your GPU is weak, getting a 4K screen is inadvisable. You might buy a high-end monitor and end up not even being able to utilize it!
More importantly, consider what tasks you’re using your monitor for. For example, you may be able to watch a movie in 4K with a low-to-mid tier GPU, but gaming in 4K is much more intensive and requires a high-end GPU.
Pixels Per Inch (PPI)
The number of pixels per inch, or PPI, can have a big effect on the visual appearance of your screen. The higher the PPI of a monitor is, the sharper images on-screen appear.
PPI is affected by the resolution of the monitor as well as the monitor’s size. So a monitor with a higher resolution might still have a lower PPI if it is much larger.
As a rule of thumb, the higher a monitor’s PPI, the better. Higher PPI monitors tend to be more expensive though, as increasing the resolution increases the cost as well.
One more consideration to be aware of is how far away from the monitor you are sitting. This doesn’t change the PPI, but it can change how sharp an image looks.
Most people tend to sit at around an arm’s length away from the screen, but if you sit further away, the pixels will be less visible, meaning that a lower PPI is required to see a sharp image. Of course, if you sit closer the opposite is true. This is why TVs can get away with much lower PPIs: your eyes can’t tell the difference from a distance.
The refresh rate of a monitor is simply the number of times per second a display refreshes its image. So a refresh rate of 60Hz, for example, means that monitor refreshes its image 60 times per second.
Refresh rates place a hard limit on the visible frame rate. If you can run a game at 75 frames per second, but your monitor only has a 60Hz refresh rate, your GPU is creating frames faster than the monitor can display them.
This can lead to screen tearing, where multiple frames are shown on screen at once. In this case, a monitor with a higher refresh rate can solve the problem. Another benefit of higher refresh rates is the reduction of blur.
If you plan to game with your curved monitor, you should aim for a monitor with higher refresh rates. Of course, you’ll then need a strong enough GPU to run games at higher frame rates in order to reduce blur.
If you just plan to watch movies or browse with your monitor, you do not need to worry about having high refresh rates. For instance, most movies run at less than 30 FPS while most monitors are at least 60 Hz; effectively twice what you need for movie watching in most cases!
There are 3 different types of LCD panels, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Which one you choose will depend on your goals and uses.
- Twisted Nematic (TN). These are the most common type of panel. They are more inexpensive and have faster response times than other types of panels. However, their viewing angles are limited, and their contrast and colors are limited. TN panels may be most enticing to competitive gamers looking for faster response times.
- In Plane Switching (IPS). IPS panels boast wide viewing angles, great image quality, and superior contrast and color. Unfortunately, they tend to be more expensive. IPS panels are commonly used by graphic designers and photographers for their higher color accuracy. However, people wanting the most vibrant display just for movie watching or casual gaming may also be drawn to IPS panels.
- Vertical Alignment (VA). VA panels are somewhat of a middle ground between TN and IPS panels. They have better viewing angles and color than TN panels, although not at the level of IPS panels. They also have better response times than IPS, but worse than TN. The upside is they tend to be much cheaper than IPS panels.