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Should you invest in a curved display?

4K and HDR technologies may well be on the horizon and arriving soon to a living room near you, but you also now have the option to invest in a display that's physically curved. Much like the aforementioned features, curved displays are a fairly uncommon sight, which is partly due to them being rather expensive. More manufacturers are looking to release more affordable curved displays, particularly for gamers, and so we'll be taking a look as to whether or not you may wish to pick one up.

Curved displays are marketed as being brilliant additions to any media viewing experience due to the increase in immersion for the viewer. It's touted as being similar to the visual wonders of IMAX, albeit on a smaller scale. Having the display itself physically wrap around the viewer helps increase the field of view (or FOV for short) and is the latest cool new hit after the slow and gradual fade out of 3D, which barely took off. But does all this actually work and is your viewing experience truly enhanced sitting in front of a curved screen?

Yes, and no. The curvature of the display can help bring images and content displayed on-screen to life to a degree, much like you'd find in a 3D set, but this can also lead to reflections becoming even more of a pain with the angled surface. At least with a flat panel you could angle it in such a way that your light source wouldn't hamper your viewing. Curved screens also may appear to look "cooler" than their flat counterparts, but this added wow factor requires you to part with more cash.

Samsung Monitor

Unfortunately, you really need quite the screen size to really reap any reward that comes with curved displays. This may be ideal for the living room with a 60-inch HDR, 4K monster of a panel, but for your office this could prove to be underwhelming, especially when you consider just what types of content you'll be gazing at throughout the day. Rocking two or more curved screens in a multi-monitor setup can create the illusion you're in a cockpit, but for the average gamer or PC user, I just don't see the advantage.

We're going to be seeing more and more curved displays on TVs, monitors and even laptops, but again it's entirely down to you as to whether or not you find it worth the money. I'd definitely recommend heading down to your local electronics store or supermarket and have a look at various screen units there, both flat and curved. What may not work out for me and many others may absolutely blow your mind away when you fire up Elite Dangerous on your new 2x 30-inch curved display gaming hub.

Here are some listings for curved displays, should you be interested:

Monitors

TV Sets

It really boils down to personal preference. If you're happy with a flat screen and also find yourself doing some work on the monitor, it may not be the best investment to fork out for a curved display. That said, if you want to upgrade to a 30-inch or larger gaming experience, having a curved screen to gaze into might just be the perfect match. Also, should you be someone who absolutely must purchase the latest in gadgets and remain ahead of the curve (excuse the idiom) then there's really nothing we could say to put you off.

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

51 Comments
  • I think curved displays is just a fad that will go away in a few years. Sort of like 3D.
  • Not the best wall mount solution as it doesnt hug the wall.
  • Nor does it hug shipping containers.
  • I have no idea why but this almost made me spit out my tea, lol.
  • I'd like to think of a plain and cheap monitor screen with some sort of display tech that would give you the visuals when you pair it with a more portable AR headset (HoloLens v2.0 kind of). Enabling different users in a room that choose different channels to watch or enjoy the same display with family and friends...
  • Curve screens maybe a fad, but 3D is awesome. It's a must have for me when buying a TV. Also one needs to try 4k oled, It's much nicer than 4k led TV's.
  • When I have a monitor size of IMAX I may think about it. Until then it's just a gimmick.
  • I agree that its a gimmick if you sit a long way from the display but if you sit close to an ultra-wide monitor it makes a lot of sense.
  • I think you would have to sit nose on the screen close if that curve should help in any way. Looking at the picture of the monitor, the curve is very mild, it won't help with immersion and it won't help with visibility. It's just aesthetics, IMO, which is fair enough, you like it you can buy it, but I don't think it brings anything else to/on the table.
  • Well, for a 35" monitor with 21/9 ratio, and using it at a 50cm distance, I'm pretty sure it could help a little, cause edges start to be far from the center of your sight for gaming.
  • But at that point, I find the display is so large I have content in the periphery, which isn't good for gaming, where having things in front of you is preferred.
  • Depends of the game. For rpg and mmorpg, UI could be better if not where the action occurs. Same for car simulation/arcade, and all the arcade games too.
  • I don't see how any of those are made better. I can't think of a game where 100% of the edges is UI, so if you are in front of a curved display, with content on the edged of your sight line, you're having stuff out of focus. I'm playing Forza now, and not seeing corss traffic or the minimap becuase of a curved display would be bad. Shooters, where maps are in corners, would be awful. MMOs, maybe? But then again, you're also talking about a display that is decent for one genre...two at best (since RPGs can have enemies coming from the sides as well).
  • Agreed, it seems to be they are only good when you pretty much fill your FOV with screen.
  • Tell ya what, when that day comes I'll be the first in line with beers and popcorn. But agreed, it's simply 3D 2.0.
  • Not mentioned is the fact the curved displays also cause vertigo in some people.
  • Everybody loves curves LOL
  • But according to the article, some people like flat and wide. To each their own
  • Ya I know... This comment is Just to LOL up...
  • Are curved displays intended to increase immersion? I thought their only purpose was to minimize reflections, which they do exceptionally well. We've had concave displays since CRT days.
  • On the contrary, they exaggerate reflections. Each light source is more focused (ie brighter), and it reflects more surface area than a flat panel.
  • ive never used one, but they sure look pretty. I dont want one thats like a half circle, but if its got a small curve, that would be nice :) 
  • Most of them are 3200mm radius. Really few are 2800 or 1800mm. So in fact, it is a really small curve in most of the cases.
  • Having used neither, I've a based-on-nothing feeling that a curved monitor would work better than a curved tv...
  • I was thinking along the same lines. At computer desk distance, a curved monitor seems like it would be a little more immersive than the flat monitor I'm looking at right now. At TV distance in the living room, I don't see how the slight curve that I can tell from these images would even be noticeable. It would almost seem a hinderance in a family setting where not everyone will be able to sit directly in front of the television.
  • I have used curved displays and is it purely asthetic there is no other benefit then you like the look thats it. Why the hostility, well some tried to claim there were other benefits and thats what led to it but I have a curved TV and its nice thats it.
  • It is not an "investment" it is a "purchase" or "expense". Curved displays are awful unless you are in the sweet spot and hope they go away like the 3D fad
  • Then you have my dad, who wants a curved, 3D TV. I end up shaking my head in bewilderment.
  • No need curved displays at all, unless you live in round tower or lighthouse... Peak of this nonsense is laptop with curved display.
  • Well, I sit often at a 30cm distance from the screen on a laptop, so in fact, this curved 21" 21/9 screen laptop could be the only one that help with a curved display. 21/9 is really wide.
  • Works great in a corner.
  • I prefer a touch-screen monitor to a curved one.
  • I did a lot of reseach on curved monitors when I was replacing my TV with a larger 4K model. I guess this is depending on who you talk to but the main beinfit is if you have a lot of light in you room, it does not driect reflect like a flat screen. It will help in SOME cases. I decided against it. As some far viewing angles viewing could miss some information (almost on the side of the monitor). I guess on the site if you sat 12" from a large PC monitor and it was a larger curved monitor, it might make you feel a little more involvied in it but, for day to day "work" it might not be as good.
  • Curved or not... Thin bezels, 2k display minimum.. Yes!
  • no.
  •   Impeccable timing!  I have just setup my dual monitors this morning.  I opted for the Samsung 27" models.  I work in the finance department and have some very large spreadsheets that are wider than one monitor. My position in the chair puts me at 40" from the screens across the entire curve.  Those of you with bi-focals will understand how nice this is as you pan your head across the displays - no more bobblehead!  It is also important to mount the screens a bit higher than normal as the curve seems to make the screen drop towards the edges and makes it harder to follow a straight line across the screen.  
  • what Razer keyboard is in that pic?
  • Better invest in HoloLens
  • LG's 6150 series is NOT curved, by the way.
  • I have the 27 inch Samsung screen, I like it a lot :) but it's not a game changer!
  • I dont see the point in the living room unless you have like an 8ft screen or something.
    ​For a monitor you are sitting close to, yes, I see the point. At work I have two 24" monitors and I have them arranged in a wide V shape, not in a straight line. If, instead of two monitors, I had one really wide monitor, a curve would do the same thing - even better.
  • Do NOT buy a curved display. Any tech site that has already looked into this CONFIRM it makes no difference. Even straight on. What it does do is from an angle make the picture larger at one end. It's a complete BS gimmick. Sony waste your money.
  • after reading this i would only buy a curved screen monitors
  • Curved displays are the new 3D TV. Hyped by manufacturers but nobody really wanted it.
  • I would personally love a curved display... but they are not for everyone. Considerations:
    If you are using a 'normal' sized monitor of 28" or less then there is minimal advantage or immersion with a curve
    If you use it in a multi-media setting where there are multiple concurrent users, then the curve is going to be more of a pain than a help
    If you are in a bright room, then the curve will focus more background to a finer point, which means that there are not only more reflections, but they are brighter.
    While some laugh about it, curved (or otherwise immersive) displays do cause motion sickness in people. If you are sensitive, then don't bother. But that said; if you don't suffer from motion sickness, have a controlled lighting environment, use it as a single user most of the time, and want to have a large 30"+ display then yes, you should absolutely consider a curved display.
    I am personally using a 38" 4K Samsung TV for my display at the moment (scratch and dent from Microcenter for $350! woot!) and I would dare say that anyone using a 40" display at a close PC distance (3-5') should absolutely spring for a curved option. It is really an issue of focal depth and eye strain. Perhaps not a huge deal for gamers or movie watchers would will spend 90% of the time staring at the middle 50% of the screen. But if you are doing multi-tasking and content creation where you are constantly looking at several areas of the screen then the eye strain is a real issue.
  • Another few considerations for those looking at purchasing a large display:
    1) Get a display with good color levels at low brightness settings. at 100 nits a normal 12-26" display is not too hard on the eyes... but 100nits across a 40"+ display is downright overwhelming when looking at white websites, spreadsheets, or word documents all day. It will seriously wear you out quick and be downright hard to look at. But most TVs have poor color reproduction when the back-light is turned down to a more PC friendly brightness setting. You will still want to crank up the brightness for movies and full-screen gaming... but for day-to-day use that is something to look for.
    2) Get a display with a damn power button. My TV ONLY turns on with a remote. There are literally NO buttons on it at all! Normally this is fine... but when the cat knocks the remote behind the desk, or the kids move it somewhere it becomes frustrating very quickly. I really wish TVs had PC-like sleep states that can pop back on when they see the signal come back on.
    3) Consider display scaling and viewing distance. My setup has me at ~3-4' from the display, at that distance 4K looks AMAZING, but there are some drawbacks. 38" at 3.5' is just at the point where text could benefit from scaling, but everything else looks much better without scaling. I would suggest going substantially smaller at 32" with scaling turned on, or else a bit larger at 42-46" with scaling turned off... or sit a bit closer to the display, but that isn't a real option with my couch and table setup.
    4) Make sure you have the GPU chops to push 4K resolution. I had a GTX570 and it frankly could not do it, so I moved up to a newer GTX960. With a 960 normal computer and movie viewing is great, and then I run games at 1080p or 1440p with minimal issues... but 4K gaming is out of reach with all but the simplest games. Most high-end laptops and gaming rigs will do just fine at 4K with 1080p gaming. But stock desktops, normal laptops, lower end NUCs and other such machines are going to struggle.
    5) HDR is not quite ready for prime time on PC... but it is coming. Displays tend to last much MUCH longer than the computer does, so if you can, hold out for an HDR capable TV. Even if your current machine can't take advantage of it, in a year or two you will be able to get a newer computer, or GPU that does, and OMG is it amazing! All that said; 4K on a nice large screen is pretty fantastic. If I had all the money in the world I would buy a 42" curved display with HDR, etc. etc. etc. But for $350 for a scratch and dent at a local store... I would absolutely do this again in a heartbeat. In fact, I may do it again soon so my wife can move up from her "little" 28" display.
  • How are you doing with the new economy after the 5.12 patch?
  • We are getting the 34" dells at my work place at Xmas! Cannot wait
  • I really dislike the term "invest" when talking about a consumer product such as this... you're not going to be making a profit on it after using it for a couple years - Should you "purchase" would be more appropriate
  • I've only seen them displayed at stores but I've found them to be easier on my eyes. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I think it might make some sense in a monitor where you are the only person using it but for social viewing the image only really looks right for one person, and even then you would need to be at a specific distance to get the full effect. I hope the fad dies though.