Over the past few years, curved monitors have gone from being rarities to familiar, if not commonplace, sights. They tend to be panels for gaming and professional design and content-creation use, but some general-purpose home and business monitors have adopted a curved design, too. And while they’re stylish, for sure, their appeal goes beyond mere appearance.
The experience of using a curved display is often described as “immersive.” It draws you into the scene, lending a feeling of dimensionality, which you don’t get with a flat panel. Many recent ultrawide monitors, including all of the 49-inch gaming and business monitors we have reviewed, are sharply curved, which gives the user a wider field of view with a minimum of distortion at the edges.
Below, we’ll get into everything you need to know about buying a curved display. Look below for a breakout of our top tested picks, followed by a buyer’s guide and detailed specs on our choices. Let’s dig in.
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More About Our Picks
Best Curved Gaming Monitor, Price No Object
- Exceptional gaming experience at 200Hz refresh
- Top-notch color accuracy
- Beautiful HDR
- Low input lag
- Integrated headphone DAC
- Responsive OSD
- Expensive compared to competing options
- Low DCI-P3 numbers
Samsung 24-inch CF396 Curved LED Monitor
Best Budget Curved Monitor
- Curved screen
- Great sRGB color coverage
- Bright for a budget monitor
- Mini-joystick controller
- Sparse port selection
- Stand limits you to tilt adjustment
- Meager one-year warranty
Alienware 34 QD-OLED (AW3423DW)
Best Curved OLED Gaming Monitor
- Gorgeous and sturdy design
- Beautiful picture quality in SDR and HDR
- Competitive price for the feature set
- Exceptional gamut and color coverage results
- Snappy and responsive gaming performance
- Significantly lower input lag than previous OLED monitors
- Finicky settings will take time to get used to
- Lower peak brightness than advertised in HDR mode
- Added image presets could detract from HDR experience
Samsung Odyssey G9 Gaming Monitor
Best Curved Monitor for Flight Sims, Racing Games
- Huge, luxurious wide-screen panel
- Very bright
- Strong color performance
- Input lag could be lower
Asus ProArt PA34VC Professional Curved Monitor
Best Curved Monitor for Creative Pros
- Excellent color accuracy.
- Software calibration tools.
- Ultra-wide screen with 100Hz refresh rate, 1900R curvature, and HDR support.
- Does not cover the full Adobe RGB color space.
Best Curved Monitor for Extreme Multitaskers
- Spacious 49-inch screen.
- USB-C port can charge devices, including laptops.
- Good color accuracy.
- Can handle HDR content.
- Powerful speakers.
- Skimpy one-year warranty.
- On the pricey side.
Best Curved Gaming Monitor for Esports
- Innovative design and wide gamer feature set.
- Decent color results.
- Very low input lag.
- Aggressively priced for its class.
- Overall HDR and movie quality is so-so.
- Contrast ratio tested lower than advertised.
- Built-in webcam is nifty but works only for facial recognition feature.
Dell UltraSharp 34 Curved USB-C Monitor (U3419W)
Best Curved Monitor for Business Productivity
- Ultra-wide IPS panel.
- Very good color accuracy.
- Covers 100 percent of the sRGB color spectrum.
- USB-C port.
- Virtual KVM switch.
- Lacks support for HDR.
- Tiny control buttons.
Porsche Design AOC Agon PD27
Best-Designed Curved Monitor
- Excellent contrast and color
- Very smooth motion
- Extremely low input lag
- Built-in speakers
- Attractive design with all-metal stand
- Clunky, awkward OSD
- Can’t be removed from stand
Best Curved Monitor for Game Designers, Graphic Artists
- Extra-wide curved screen.
- Trim bezels.
- Pleasing, accurate color.
- Pre-calibrated for a variety of color spaces.
- 100Hz refresh rate with AMD FreeSync.
- Height, tilt, and swivel adjustment.
- Button-based OSD controls.
- Luminance and contrast ratio didn’t meet ratings in our tests.
Philips 272E1CA Curved Frameless Monitor
Best Curved Monitor for Multiple Displays on the Cheap
- Cleverly designed base
- Built-in speakers
- Trim-looking bezels
- Four-year warranty
- Modest brightness
- Tiny OSD buttons
- Only supports tilt adjustment
How to Buy a Curved Monitor
A few years back, when I needed to upgrade my old VGA monitor to one that supported HDMI, I stopped by a local Staples and looked at the dozen or so general-purpose and productivity monitors on display. Among them, one stood out: The HP 27 Curved Display had a screen whose ends seemed to flex toward the viewer in a gentle concave arc, while the other displays all had flat screens. I examined them all—they each showed the same image, like in any typical showroom—and ended up buying the HP. I am viewing the words that you see here on it as I type.
The image quality of the panel I bought seemed fine, but something else was also at work. The display had a not-so-secret weapon: Call it sex appeal, snazziness, or pizzazz. With the glut of more recent curved monitors, it no longer stands out, but it has served me well.
I relate that experience to say: It’s a good idea to take a look at one of these panels, if you can, in person. Ideally, view it alongside a selection of like-sized flat panels to see if a curved model is what you are after. You may well find that it grabs you in the same intangible way that it struck me, and in a way that a mere description on a web site can’t.
Understanding Degree of Curvature
Not all curved monitors are curved the same amount. My HP 27 model, for one, is gently curved—as are most similar, general-purpose arc displays—while gaming and ultrawide productivity monitors tend to be more tightly curved.
Among curved monitors, the degree of curvature is a measurable stat. Those highly curved monitors often have what is dubbed “1800R” curvature. This means that if you were to place enough of these monitors side by side to form a circle, its radius would be 1,800mm—that’s 1.8 meters, or 5.9 feet. And if you were positioned that far from the screen, the center, the right edge, and the left edge all would be equidistant from your eyes.
(Credit: Molly Flores)
Few viewers would normally be that far from the screen, except perhaps when watching movies in a group. When you do move closer, especially with a large ultrawide monitor, the curve makes for a panoramic, immersive experience as the screen’s edges almost seem to wrap partway around you. This creates a three-dimensional effect (which a flat panel can’t provide) and is often said to reduce eyestrain.
What Resolution and Ports Should I Seek in a Curved Monitor?
Curved monitors tend to be large. A 24-incher is the smallest such display I have encountered. Most have 27-inch or larger screens (measured diagonally), with clusters at 30 inches, 34 inches, 35 inches, and 49 inches.
Often, curved monitors are also ultrawide panels, defined by having 21:9 or 32:9 aspect ratios. The former tend to have WQHD (3,440-by-1,440-pixel) native resolution, while the 32:9 monitors—which include all the 49-inchers we have reviewed—have native resolutions of either 5,120 by 1,440 pixels or 3,840 by 1,080 pixels.
As for ergonomics, height and tilt adjustment are common, swivel control less so (it’s seldom seen on the really wide monitors), and pivot control—allowing you to rotate the monitor from landscape to portrait orientation and back—is basically nonexistent. (For obvious reasons, the curvature doesn’t make sense in a vertical orientation.)
Ports on these displays tend to face downward in back, which is less than ideal considering that most of these are large, heavy, and unwieldy monitors. It’s a good idea to connect any cables you might ever want to use during the initial setup process.
(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
Whether they are gaming, productivity, or professional monitors, curved displays commonly have a DisplayPort connector and at least one HDMI port; an upstream USB port (for connection to your computer) and several downstream USB ports (for flash drives and other peripherals); and an audio-out jack to connect to a headset or external speakers. Some have built-in speakers, but they can vary widely in quality.
(Credit: Zlata Ivleva)
The controls to navigate the onscreen display (OSD) on general-purpose curved monitors tend to consist of small buttons, while those on gaming and some professional monitors are often four-way mini-joystick controllers, which are easier to use than buttons. (See how we test monitors.)
Factors for Artists, Gamers, and Multitaskers
If you look beyond general-purpose use, you can lump curved monitors into three categories: for multitasking (productivity work with several apps or windows at once), for professional use, and for gaming.
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With a curved, large-screen productivity monitor, you can have several documents (or one gigantic spreadsheet) open in full-size windows at once, and view them with a minimum of eyestrain. A few monitor makers provide software to let you easily size, tile, and configure windows. You could even take this multitasking to another level by adding a second identical monitor for a dual-monitor setup.
That said, you’ll want to look with care at the size of the bezels and the degree of curvature if you are considering pairing up more than one curved panel in a multipanel display. You’ll need a big, wide desk with adequate front-to-back clearance to allow for the natural curve to align across two of these panels. Also, thick side bezels could mean a big black bar in the center of your sightline with two panels.
(Credit: Chris Stobing)
As for graphic designers, photographers, and other creative professionals, they could have several illustrations or photos open side-by-side on a curved monitor. This would provide more natural viewing angles than on a flat monitor, so that the artist could examine, say, three images at once without the outside ones appearing stretched.
(Credit: Chris Stobing)
Gamers get a more three-dimensional view with a curved monitor than with a flat panel. Curved gaming displays are particularly good for racing games and flight simulators, and other games (particularly non-shooters) that provide panoramic views. One thing to note, though, is that some older AAA games don’t support the ultrawide aspect ratios typical of curved gaming panels.
So, Which Curved Monitor Should I Buy?
Curved monitors aren’t for everyone. They are a mixed bag for gamers, and they don’t provide practical advantages at small sizes, which is why you don’t see them as much in panel sizes smaller than 30 inches. Apart from their aesthetic appeal, what sets curved displays apart from other computer monitors is that the edges of the screen face you, which isn’t the case with a flat panel. This provides a more panoramic view with less distortion, which can be a boon to gamers, graphic artists, and multitaskers alike.
Now that you know the basics of curved displays, you’re ready to dig into the details of some of our best-reviewed models. You can also find more information in our roundups of the best ultrawide monitors, gaming monitors, and 4K monitors we’ve tested.