Curved displays for gaming are gaining ground despite the inflated prices simply because they offer something flat displays structurally cannot – immersive gaming. Yet, even though curved displays are a natural technological promotion over flat monitors, they do have some specific drawbacks.
If you are looking for a better gaming experience and for a competitive edge, you should opt for a curved monitor. But there are reasons enough to make you stick to your flat display, for the time being at least.
Here is all you need to come to a decision, to go curved or to stay flat with your gaming monitor.
Curved Vs Flat Monitor: A Complete Comparison
1. Field of View
On the horizontal scale, we humans operate at close to 210° viewing angles every moment. So, the preference for a curved monitor is only natural.
Curved displays come with various angles of curvature, measured as the concave angle from the center of the display. For any viewer in front of a curved display, the field of view is obviously larger with the curvature than without it.
Imagine a metal plate and now bend it at the edges. When bent, the plate is more compact although it has the same dimensions. This is our field of view; it is curved and not flat and this is one of the major advantages of a curved monitor.
Without a doubt, this is a straight-up advantage of curved monitors. Flat displays offer a limited field of view in comparison to curved ones. But they do have one advantage.
With a flat display, you can sit anywhere within the viewing angles and enjoy the full visuals. However, with a curved display, if you sit too close to one edge, you may find the graphics substantially compacted in perspective. Flats are still the first choice when there are multiple viewers involved. Curved displays do offer a better field of view but not viewing angles unless you go for the largest curved display you can find!
Field of view is better with curved monitors. You can enjoy a better gaming experience overall with one more individual gaming with you. But flats can accommodate more viewers, the more the merrier if you work with your gang on Warzone or CS GO.
2. Image Quality
With a flat display, you are essentially viewing a curved real world as flat. Scroll back to the metal plating you were bending earlier on and try to understand how a flat display seems to offer only distorted images at the edges.
With flat monitors, you do get to add more viewers but know that these monitors only project light in a straight line. So, for any individual viewer, there will always be some point of image distortion or the other. Typically, the distortion is more towards the edges as the frame is stretched out or compacted at these edges.
Curved displays too project in straight lines. But thanks to their curvature, display outputs are directed towards the center of the curvature. This makes way for minimal distortion at the edges and you will find zero distortion at the edges as each frame is evenly distributed across each pixel.
But curved displays can only provide distortion-free images to viewers sitting adjacent to the center of the curvature. For those sitting far from it, they will simply be unable to see the full-frame and may miss out on some details.
If you want an evenly distributed image without distortion towards the edges, go for a curved monitor. But know that even with a 34-inch curved monitor, gaming at 144 Hz may become a difficult proposition for more than 2 individuals.
Unlike a flat monitor where everyone will face some edged-out distortion, a 34-inch curved monitor will reserve optimal graphics for 2 individuals at best. Choose wisely!
3. Screen Size
Curved monitors famously provide 21:9 aspect ratios against the 16:9 of flat displays. In simpler words, you get more graphics with each frame.
With a curved monitor, you can get around 33% more screen space than a flat display with the same edge-to-edge width measured as a straight line. This extra screen space helps accommodate more graphics into each frame, a decisive advantage in shooter, racing, and similar action games.
So, with a curved monitor, you can see more from the same game at the same moment than another player using a flat display. Know that professional gamers and esports tourneys always use curved displays. So, you are only upgrading to professional-grade gaming with a curved display.
Flat displays are easier to use. A curved monitor does offer more but it takes getting used to curved crosshairs and other details.
You can choose to get a large flat display if you want more details. But make sure to increase mouse sensitivity as you may need to cover some extra distance with larger flat monitors.
Curved displays offer more screen size and better aspect ratios hands down. They can accommodate more graphics per frame than flat displays, perfect for competitive and immersive gaming.
4. Hardware Requirements
These monitors offer more graphics per frame thanks to better aspect ratios and need additional hardware acceleration to process the graphics curvature smoothly. In short, curved monitors are graphics-hungry.
You do get to see more with each frame on a curved display. But it does force your graphics card or console to work harder. So, if you can make do with an NVIDIA RTX series GPU with your current 144 Hz monitor, make sure to get an upgrade if you want to play on the same settings and fps on a curved display.
In a curved monitor vs flat for gaming debate, this is a simple choice to make. You will need more graphics rendering for a curved display than a flat one, but the results are worth it.
Curved displays offer more but need more as well. If you are willing to stretch your budget, then a curved monitor upgrade is worth it. If not, stick to flats and upgrade your GPU first.
5. Optical Health
Beyond the Eye Care techs and Blue Light Filters, curved monitors are naturally better for your eyes.
A curved display surrounds you instead of lying flat upfront. The edges are closer to you than on a flat monitor. With the latter, your eyes need to zoom in every time to track changes at the edges. As the edges close in towards you with a curved display, your eyes can track changes without the need to zoom in. This is how curved monitors make gaming a lot more immersive. What you find as engaging is only something your eyes find easier on a curved display.
Flat monitors can not compete on this pointer. They are at a design-wise disadvantage. But know that changing to curved monitor and getting used to it will take some time. So, keep your flat display around for a while.
Marathon gaming hours will take a toll on your eyes as they zoom in and out while trying to calibrate distance on flat displays. With a curved display, each pixel is radially equidistant from your eyes, causing less stress to the optics. Curved is the way forward for healthier gaming without cutting back on the hours.
6. Ease of Use
Even if you get the slimmest curved monitor on the market, it will take up a bit more space than a flat display. You surely know that not all monitors do offer 144Hz refresh rates and less than 4 ms response times, basic requirements for competitive gaming.
The fact is, a curved gaming monitor will need a bit more desk space. Also, fixing a curved monitor to the wall will need sufficient professional expertise, they are more front-heavy as well.
Flat monitors are simpler and more space-saving. Unless you opt for fancy stands, a flat monitor is simpler to install and most often a DIY.
Make sure you refer to the manufacturer or at least professional installation personnel for a curved monitor, especially if it is to be wall mounted. Or else, clean up your desk first!
Curved monitors are at least 25% pricier than flat counterparts. You will find this price difference easier to understand while comparing curved vs flat monitors from the same manufacturer.
Flat monitors are not the next-gen alternative and we are seeing more displays at cheaper prices available from up and coming brands.
If you are on a budget, stick to a flat display instead of foregoing with specs for a curved monitor. Simply, a flat-monitor delivering high Hz and resolutions is better than a curved one offering less on both fronts. But if you want a curved display with the same specs, make sure you have the bank for it.
Cured Vs Flat Monitor: Which Monitor to Buy for Gaming?
For gaming, curved monitors are a different experience altogether. It makes you feel like everything is happening right around you and closer to you. With a curved display, you are placed right in the middle of the action. Plus, you get more graphics with each frame as well.
But curved displays have their limitations and needs. Gaming on a curved monitor is not recommended for more than 2 or 3 individuals. Further, you need to have the necessary graphics processing power to enjoy curved gaming. So, the question comes down to only a few considerations.
Firstly, if you play alone or with just your gaming partner, go curved. Secondly, make sure you have the budget for it. Curved displays are expensive but worth it.
Especially, if you have at least a 2017 release graphics card or a PS4/Xbox One in your gaming setup. If neither, stick to your flat display and upgrade to a better one until curved monitors get out of this pricing bubble.
But know this, once you get a curved monitor for gaming, you will never enjoy a flat one again!