If you are exploring the market for monitors, you must have seen those trendy curved monitors with huge displays, If you have never had a display with a curve to it, these displays might seem weird to you.
Today let’s have a look at curved vs. flat monitors, demystify curved monitors, compare them with flat monitors, and know everything you need to know before making a purchase decision.
You’ll also find answers to many questions about curved monitors that might arise in your mind, like what’s the point of a curved monitor? Do they have better displays than the flat ones?
Are all the curved monitors built in the same way, and if you should get a curved monitor or a flat monitor.
Curved Monitor Vs. Flat: Which One is Better?
This article is all about explaining flat monitors vs curved monitors and which one is better than the other, and are pros and cons of both of them. We’ll also see if there’s any measurable difference in experience between flat and curved screens, or is it just marketing hype.
By the end of this article, we’ll get the answer to the question that which one is a better choice between these two monitors and which one you should get according to your needs.
What Are Curved Monitors?
As the name shows, the curved displays come with a slight curve to them, or sometimes it back a very aggressive curve as we have seen in the latest Samsung Odyssey G9, but it can make the user experience better in many ways.
The experience on curved display monitors are mostly a bit better, but it depends on a lot of factors like how large your monitor is, the shape and angle of the curve, and how far do you sit from the display.
Curved monitors are a newer technology, and they are quickly overtaking flat monitors. So there might be some benefits which are making people buy them over the flat ones. There’s one thing necessary to mention here is that other than the curve, most of the basics are the same in both displays.
Like both displays come in different resolutions, the panel types, such as OLED and IPS, are the same, response rate, refresh rate are the same. And other technologies like Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync are supported by both of these display types.
So it is not like one display type has the advantage over the other in basic display functionalities like the screen resolution, refresh rate, and more.
It’s just which display has a better user experience over the other. However, Ultrawide curved monitors offer a different resolution, and it will be discussed in the upcoming sections.
There are many popular resolutions among curved monitors. They are basically the same as the flat monitors as already mentioned, there is no difference in resolutions of both kinds of monitors. The difference is somewhere else.
The resolution of the display does not affect the physical size of the monitor. For example, two displays with the same resolution can have different screen sizes and physical sizes. One might be 15” and the other might be 27”, and both can have the same resolution.
Similarly, two different displays with the same physical size can have different resolutions. For example, you can get a 27” monitor in 1080p resolution or 1440p resolution.
Here are the popular resolutions of the curved monitors available in the market.
- 1280 x 720
- 1920 x 1080
- 2560 x 1440
- 3840 x 2160
- 3440 x 1440
- 3840 x 1600
- 5120 x 1440
Colors, Response Time & Refresh Rate:
Different curved displays produce different types of color quality, and they come with different response times and refresh rates.
And if you’ve ever shopped for a gaming monitor, you must have seen the word “response time”. You might have wondered what does it really means. When it comes to the monitors, you should prioritize different specifications depending o what type of user you are.
For gamers, other than the resolution and refresh rate, you should pay attention to this thing called response time. Response time is not to be confused with input lag which is essentially how long it takes the monitor to react to any action that you’ve performed.
Response time is measured in milliseconds, and depending on what type of panel you have, it’s gonna be ranging from 0.5 ms to 5 ms or more.
In a standard 60Hz refresh rate monitor, a frame stays on the screen for just under 17 milliseconds, but individual pixel needs to transfer much faster than that so that there is no delay in showing the next frame.
To understand the response time better, let’s first talk about “ghosting” in monitors. Ghosting is basically the blur trailing behind the objects in fast scenes. It could be a car chase in a movie or if you are doing fast movements in any game.
It is extremely distracting, especially when you are playing fast-paced first-person shooter games like CS: GO. You want to headshot players, not ghosts. So better the response time of a monitor, lesser the ghosting effects.
Response time is measured in BTW (Black to White) and GTG (Grey to Grey). GTG is measured from one shade of grey to another. So how do you know what’s actually good when looking to buy a monitor while checking out their specification?
People have different opinions on what the maximum response time should be. If you are using your PC as a social media and web browsing machine, response time won’t matter to you much.
When I talk about gaming, people have different opinions on it. Some gamers say that they do not know any ghosting while gaming, even on the monitors with 8 ms response time.
Then there are some competitive gamers who swear by super quick screens with a response time of only 1 or 2 milliseconds.
Typically TN panels can be engineered to be quicker than their IPS counterparts. So you’ll often see higher-end TN Panel displays marketed as being for gamers.
But there’s one more thing to know about the TN panels that they have worse color accuracy and viewing angles than the IPS panels, so you’ll have to sacrifice them for a better response time in TN panels.
But hold on before you take seriously whatever the manufacturer has put over the spec sheet. That’s because there isn’t a standardized way for these companies to measure response time.
So you might be seeing a cherry-picked measurement for how long will it take for pixels to switch between grey to grey but end up disappointed with the actual performance of the monitor.
Fortunately, this is a situation where a little research can go a long way. There are websites that independently conduct the measurements of response times and input lags for different monitors.
Check the response time of your monitor there so that you can compare it to the monitors measured by the same website. Moreover, remember to check customer reviews when you try to buy a new monitor. Check if the users are happy about it or are they complaining.
Even if the manufacturer says that the monitor has a 1 ms response time, many people complaining about ghosting could be a clue that what’s on the spec sheet isn’t all that accurate.
Now let’s talk about the refresh rate. Refresh rate is the number of times per second that your display will update with new information. On older CRT monitors, refresh rate was critical as it reduced perceptible flickering and improved user comfort.
But modern LCD and OLED displays don’t work quite the same way. There is no issue of flickering with the modern displays, even at a lower refresh rate.
To understand the refresh rate better, let’s take an easy example. Move your hand from one place to the other and record its video of one second long.
Now, if you play it on the screen with just a 3Hz refresh rate, you will only see the hand at 3 different places in one second. It is obviously not a pleasant experience to watch a video.
Now, if the refresh rate of your screen is 60 Hz, you’ll see the hand at 60 different places in one second because the screen refreshed 60 times in 1 second. And all these 60 images will result in a beautiful video. The smoothness of the video will increase with the refresh rate.
Even most of the phones are now coming with a 90 Hz or 120 Hz refresh rate, which results in a smoother experience because a smartphone has many icons and stuff that keeps moving here and there when we swipe.
Depending on what type of user you are, choose your monitor accordingly. If you are a general user who loves to browse the web and just watch some videos, a 60Hz curved-screen monitor will be fine for you. But if you are a gamer, especially a competitive gamer, you should get at least a 120 Hz screen.
The biggest benefit of the curved monitor is that it reduces distraction as it covers up more of your peripheral vision covering more of your surrounding area, which enables you to focus more on your work. Hence the curved monitors produce a more immersive experience for you.
Moreover, curved monitors reduce distortion. As even if the monitor size increases, the curves at both ends of a curved monitor make it easy to see what’s on the screen.
In simple words, the flat displays produce images and emit light in a straight direction while the curved display projects everything towards the viewer, which makes it easy for the viewer to see everything.
Curved displays are also more comfortable for your eyes for the same reasons mentioned in the above 2 paragraphs. As the monitor is projecting the light towards the user, it will be more comfortable for the user to see everything.
And of course, one of the biggest benefits of curved monitors is that they cover a wider field of view. Flat monitors have a limitation of how wide they can be as users generally sit very close to the monitor, and it won’t make any sense to make a flat monitor wide as the user won’t be able to see the content at the edges properly.
Whereas on the curved display, the edges are curved and focused towards the user, therefore a curved display can cover a much larger field of view.
Why should you avoid them?
There are some cons of the curved displays as well. One is glare, as the curved display is prone to glare when viewed from certain angles. Curved displays attract more sunlight which disturbs the viewing angles sometimes.
Moreover, a curved display is harder to mount on a wall as, unlike flat displays, they require special mounts and positions in order to be mounted.
What Are Flat Monitors?
Although curved monitors are replacing flat monitors quickly but flat monitors are still used by most users as it is the standard set for many years. Remember the old CRT monitors? They were flat as well, and eventually, LCDs and Amoled displays replaced them.
Other than the flat screen, there is no difference between the curved and flat displays. Flat displays also have the same resolutions, same screen technologies, and same type of panels, including IPS and TN.
Flat displays also come in the same resolutions as curved displays. Here are the popular resolutions flat displays come in.
High Definition (HD) display with a resolution of 1280×720.
Full HD, FHD display with a resolution of 1920×1080.
2K, Quad HD, QHD display with a resolution of 2560×1440.
4K, Ultra HD display with a resolution of 3840×2160.
Colors, Response Time, and Refresh Rate:
Flat displays also produce accurate colors, and they also have excellent viewing angles. It all depends on the quality of the display you are getting. There is no difference between flat and curved screen displays here.
Response time of flat displays also varies, just like the curved displays. It might come in the range of 0.5 ms to 8 ms and more. But some companies fake market their monitors, and the response time is not always true what’s written on the specification sheet.
So make sure to check the reviews of the monitor you are purchasing to get an idea of how good it is and if it has any problems.
Flat-screen displays also come in a variety of refresh rates. The minimum refresh rate on any display nowadays is 60Hz. 120 Hz displays are also very common nowadays.
There are many benefits of flat monitors as well. The biggest one is the price. Monitors with flat displays are cheaper, so if you have a limited budget and cannot afford the curved displays, you should get a flat display.
Another benefit of flat displays over curved displays is the availability. Flat displays are widely available in both the new and 2nd hand markets, which makes it even more affordable as there are tons of different models of flat displays available in the 2nd market at affordable rates.
Moreover, flat displays are easier to mount, and no extra mounts or mounting skills are needed to mount them. And flat displays are generally smaller in size.
They are available at even a 17-inch size. Being smaller in size, they take less space. So if you have a small table or limited space to place your monitor, you should go with the flat displays.
Why you should avoid them:
There are multiple reasons to avoid flat displays. The biggest one among them is that flat displays are getting outdated and the curve is the new flat.
More people are now getting curved displays, and they look prettier and modern on your table. Flat displays are simply getting older, so your computer setup might not give modern looks after a year or two.
Another reason to avoid flat displays and choose curved displays over them is the viewing angles. Curved displays have far better viewing angles the light from them is focused towards the users through the curves at the edges. So curved displays are a far better experience than flat displays.
Curved displays usually maintain the same distance from your eyes from one edge to the other, which is not possible in the case of flat displays. The image quality at the far ends of a flat display usually feels lower if the display is bigger.
But the quality remains the same everywhere on a curved display as it points towards you. Another reason to avoid flat displays and consider curved displays when I talk about flat vs. curved displays is the field of view.
Curved displays have a much larger field of view which makes them an ideal choice for gamers and video editors. Flat displays have a very limited field of view which limits the experience of gaming the video editing.
What About Ultrawide Curved Monitors?
The thing that makes a monitor ultrawide is the aspect ratio. Rather than the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, ultrawide monitors use 21:9. This means that for every 9 vertical lines of pixels, there are 21 horizontal lines.
All of this result in a screen much wider than the average display, giving you more pixel for playing games, working, and everything in between. Ultrawide monitors come in many sizes, with the most popular ones being 29 and 34 inches.
Rather than the traditional 1920×1080, the ultrawide 1080p monitors have the resolution of 2560×1080 and the 1440p monitors have the resolution of 3440×1440 instead of traditional 2560×1440. You can see that the ultrawide monitors give you a much larger field of view.
Ultrawide curved monitors are prone to more reflection if you have multiple light sources in your room, causing glare. Other than that, ultrawide monitors are better than flat displays in almost every way.
Curved Vs. Flat Monitors: Which One Is Better For Gaming
Curved displays give a much larger field of view than flat displays, which make them ideal for gamers. You get the additional field of view at the edges, which makes the gaming experience more immersive, open, and inviting.
The curve allows you to sit a little closer to the monitor, which allows the surroundings to be covered by the display. This is something that flat panels will never achieve.
Moreover, curved displays produce a more immersive experience, reducing eye strain. As gamers sit in front of the monitors for multiple hours, a curved monitor is better as it is more comfortable for the eyes.
Curved monitors are more modern, and they are taking up the market share of flat monitors. You can say that curve is the new flat.
However, choosing the monitor between curved and flat is totally your choice. If you have a small, congested place to fit your screen, a curved monitor might not be for you. But if you have more budget and you want a more immersive experience, curved monitors should be your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 – Is a curved monitor better than flat?
It all depends on your budget and what type of user you are. In most cases, a curved monitor is a better choice as curved monitors are modern and more people are adopting them.
#2 – What is the advantage of a curved monitor?
There are multiple advantages of a curved monitor. The edges of a curved monitor are closer to your eyes, and a curved monitor gives a more natural feel of the display. Moreover, curved monitors have a much larger field of view.
#3 – Is a curved screen better for the eyes?
Yes, curved screens are more comfortable for eyes as the edges of the screen are closer to you, which causes less strain to your eyes.
#4 – Is a 24 inch curved monitor worth it?
The screen size is solely your choice. A 24” screen is definitely worth it if it fits your table well.
#5 – Can you put 2 curved monitors together?
Yes, just like the flat monitors, you can put 2 curved monitors together. There is not much difference between a curved and a flat display other than the curve.
#6 – Is a curved monitor good for watching movies?
Yes, curved monitors are good for watching movies as they give a larger field of view, making the movie-watching experience more immersive.
#7 – Do pro gamers use curved monitors?
Yes, pro gamers are also using curved monitors nowadays.
#8 – Are curved monitors bad for FPS games?
Not always, in FPS games, when the field of view increases, it causes a skewed effect seen around the edges. But gamers get used to it with time, so it’s not a big deal.
#9 – Do curved monitors affect your aim?
Not really. Once you get used to it, your aim won’t be affected by the curved displays.
#10 – Can you use a curved monitor vertically?
Yes, just like flat monitors, curved monitors can be used vertically. But keep in mind that the curved monitors are designed to be used horizontally.