Curved vs. Flat Monitors: Things You Should Know Before Buying Gaming Monitors

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Posted on August 28 2018


When buying a computer monitor, in addition to factoring in price, the most crucial decisions as far as specifications go involve picking the size, resolution, and display aspect ratio of a monitor to fulfill your needs. You can take it one step further and consider the smoothness of the picture, or opt for models with higher refresh rates and faster response times. With the advancement of technology—though newer when compared to standard flat monitors—curved monitors have now been around for a good while. Competition today is fiercer than ever, with major brands launching their own curved monitors, making their prices more and more affordable. As you look to upgrade your monitor, have you noticed the curved monitors on the market? Let us take a look at the characteristics of curved monitors, and what kind of benefits they can offer gamers.
 

From movie theaters to curved computer monitor surfaces

Everybody enjoys that immersive experience of watching the big screen in a movie theater. If you take a close look, you'll notice that these big screens are not flat, but concave, curved surfaces with a slight arc. It is due to this arc design that the picture presented and the viewing distance remain consistent—no matter what viewing angle an audience member has—allowing for an even more comfortable visual experience. As display panel technologies advance, the curved screen design is starting to become more prevalent in daily life. First, this design was applied to televisions, improving the quality of audiovisual entertainment in the living room. Since then, its popularity has spread to the computer market, with more and more computer monitors adopting a curved screen design.
 

Immersive viewing experience offered by the curved surface

The greatest value of curved monitors lies in their ability to offer gamers an immersive viewing experience via their curved surface. Picture yourself standing directly in front of the screen's center while using a flat monitor: the distance from your eyes to the middle of the screen differs from the distance between your eyes and the sides of the screen. This difference in viewing distance results in a slight distortion in picture. The arc design of curved monitors, on the other hand, means both sides of the monitor are slightly bent inwards, so the viewing distance remains the same. Moreover, the arc matches the natural curvature of the human eye, providing a more comfortable, more immersive experience for viewers.
 

Impacts of curvature on visual effects

The curvature of a monitor, i.e. its magnitude of bending, is a significant specification to consider when choosing curved monitors. However, a more bent monitor isn’t necessarily a better one. If the magnitude of a curved monitor's bending is too small, you will not be able to differentiate it from a flat monitor. If the bending magnitude is too large, the picture will look distorted. In order to get the best viewing experience, viewing distance and monitor screen size must also be considered. Curvature is usually denoted by “xxxxR”, with common curvatures including 4000R, 3000R and 1800R. “1800” indicates the radius, with “mm” as the units of measure; the smaller the radius, the larger the magnitude of bending. Therefore, the smaller the curvature number, the larger the magnitude of bending: 3000R is more curved than 4000R, and 1800R is even more curved.

The typical viewing distance for televisions is further back than with computer monitors, so their magnitude of bending doesn't need to be very large. A computer monitor is much closer to its user; therefore, a larger magnitude of bending will result in a better viewing experience. A curved monitor that is 1800R will be more curved than those with 4000R and 3000R curvatures, and will therefore provide a more comfortable, more immersive viewing experience, as well as a better field of view. 1800R is the so-called “gold standard curvature", as emphasized by many brands when it comes to computer monitors.
 

Curved monitors offer a better experience when playing games and watching movies

The question of whether or not curved monitors are preferable to flat monitors hands down remains to be answered; it is hard to make an absolute assertion based on a single factor. Price is indeed still an issue: though the costs of curved display panels are generally dropping, there remains a difference in production costs, compared to flat monitors. In addition, curved monitors that provide the best viewing experience are the higher-end models with larger screen sizes and a larger magnitude of bending. Higher-end means higher price, so when factoring in budget considerations, a cheaper flat monitor may still be more attractive. Moreover, since curved monitors provide a bent picture, these monitors are not suitable for those who put a great emphasis on the accuracy of their graphic designs.

On the contrary, curved monitors, with their arc design and avant-garde style, offer a higher-tech quality, compared to common flat monitors. Their greatest benefit is the way the curved monitor's design conforms to the human visual system, offering a more immersive experience and wider viewing angle than flat monitors—and also contributes to the reduction of intraocular pressure. The more realistic, immersive viewing experience provided by curved monitors is not only great for watching movies, but also enhances video game action when playing games such as the NBA 2K18 basketball simulation, GTA5 car chases, PUBG battle royale matches, League of Legends games, etc. If your main focus is playing video games and watching videos, a large-sized 1800R curved monitor is your best bet. If your budget allows, you might even consider grabbing three curved monitors, and bringing them home to build yourself a triple monitor setup. This will allow you to experience a surround curved screen view with no blind spots, taking entertainment to a whole new level!
 

Check out more about MSI Curved Gaming Monitor:

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