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Curved vs Flat Monitors: What’s the Difference?

Are you in the market for a new monitor and you’re unsure of whether you should get a curved or flat monitor? In this post, we discuss the differences between curved and flat monitors to help you determine which option is right for you.

When it comes to computer monitors, there are two types of monitors available on the market: flat and curved. It was long thought that curved monitors were just a temporary fad, but with how popular they’ve become, it’s safe to say that they’re here to stay.

Confused about the difference between the two? Curious to know what the pros and cons of both are? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re in the right place because we’re going to cover everything you need to know in this article right here.

Let’s jump straight into things, starting with some info about curved monitors.

Curved Monitors: Curvature Ratings

No two curved monitors are the same, and we’re not just talking about size here – we’re talking about curvature. Every curved monitor will have a curvature rating given to it based on how much of a curve it, typically somewhere between 1500R and 4000R.

But what do these ratings mean exactly?

Well, let’s take 3000R, for example. The “R” here stands for radius, and the number before it tells you what the monitor’s radius is in millimeters. Essentially, if you extended the monitor all the way out, following its curve, you’d get a circle with a 3000 millimeter (or 3 meter) radius.

Monitor Curvature

So, if you do the math, it comes out that the smaller the number before the “R”, the more curved your monitor will be. The monitors with the most curvature will fall into the 1500-2000R range, and the higher you go, the more subtle the bending will be.

The curvature rating also has another meaning though.

Interestingly, the maximum distance you should be sitting away from your curved monitor to get the most out of it is actually equal to the curvature rating. This means that if you have a 1500R monitor, for example, you should be sitting no further than 1500 millimeters (or 1.5 meters) away from it. Any further and the image will become slightly distorted and difficult to see.

For most people, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but if you’re someone that likes to watch things on your monitor from your bed or somewhere further away from your desk, you may want to consider a monitor with a high curvature rating (3000R+) or simply get yourself a flat one.

Curved vs. Flat Monitors: Ultrawide

When it comes to screen sizes, both for curved and flat monitors, there’s such a big range on the market that it’s difficult to list them all. However, one thing that’s unique to curved monitors is that you can go ultrawide with them.

Curved ultrawide monitors have more horizontal screen space than traditional monitors and utilize greater aspect ratios as a result. Whether you just want more uninterrupted screen space to work with or are looking for a truly immersive gaming experience, ultrawide monitors have got you covered.

Ultrawide Curved Monitor

Now, you may be wondering, surely flat monitors can be ultrawide too? It’s just extra screen space, right? Theoretically, yes, but you’d be putting a lot of strain on your eyes.

Curved ultrawide monitors work because they take advantage of your peripheral vision, letting you take everything in without having to move your eyes as much. It wouldn’t work the same with a flat monitor, hence why ultrawide monitors are almost exclusively curved.

Advantages of Curved Monitors

Next up, let’s go over the advantages curved monitors have over traditional flat monitors.

1. Greater field of view

As mentioned earlier, curved monitors make really good use of your peripheral vision, letting you see more things at once without having to constantly shift your eyes to focus on different parts of the screen. This ultimately results in a more pleasant viewing experience free from distortion, which is a big advantage over traditional flat screens.

2. Excellent immersion when gaming

When it comes to gaming, curved monitors are incredible. They provide a much more immersive gaming experience than flat monitors, so if you want to truly feel like you’re in the virtual world of your game, a curved gaming monitor may very well be a worthwhile investment.

3. Less strain on eyes

Because of the increased field of view, and the way our eyes work, curved monitors are actually easier on the eyes than flat monitors. If you find yourself often suffering from eye strain when working or gaming for long periods of time on your PC, a curved monitor is something you should definitely consider, as it could be a big help in relieving some of your issues.

4. Uninterrupted screen space if you go ultrawide

As mentioned earlier, ultrawide curved monitors are a thing, and if you’re looking for uninterrupted, bezel-free screen space, then they’ve got you covered. Having multiple screens is nice but having one ultrawide screen is arguably even better.

5. Stylish in appearance

If you’re someone that cares about how your computer setup looks, then a curved monitor may very well be the way to go because they’re incredibly stylish and well designed. We guarantee that anyone that walks into your room will be impressed when they see a curved monitor on your desk because it’s not something most people see every day.

Disadvantages of Curved Monitors

Let’s now talk about some disadvantages of curved monitors, and ways in which they fall short compared to traditional flat monitors.

1. You have to sit directly in front of it

Curved monitors, though excellent for immersion, require you to sit directly in front of them otherwise the image gets distorted. This may not seem like a big deal for most people, but it’s an important consideration to make if you’re someone that uses their monitor for more than just gaming or working at your desk e.g. watching films from bed.

For this reason, TVs are rarely curved, because you’ll often have people watching from a variety of angles and it doesn’t make sense to have the screen distorted for all but one person.

2. Issues with glare

Curved monitors are typically more prone to glare than flat monitors because they’re exposed to light from more angles, so if you get a curved monitor, you may experience some issues if you work in an area with lots of ambient light.

Don’t worry though – this shouldn’t be too much of an issue so long as you carefully set up your monitor in a way that prevents bright sources of light from hitting it directly.

3. Wall mounting

Not only can curved monitors be difficult to mount to walls because of their curvature, but they also just don’t look as good as flat monitors do when mounted. You can’t push them snuggly up against the wall because they’ll always be sticking out slightly on either side, so that’s something you’ll need to deal with.

It’s not too much of an eyesore, but for some people, it can be a dealbreaker, so it’s worth mentioning.

4. They take up a lot of space

To reap the benefits of a curved monitor properly, you need to get one that’s big enough for the effects to come into play. This means that curved monitors are generally quite big and take up a lot of space, and that’s not to mention ultrawide ones that are enormous in terms of their width.

If you don’t have a lot of space to work with on your desk, then getting a curved monitor may be a bit of an issue, so you’ll want to consider this before you buy one for yourself.

5. Black bars when watching videos

A lot of videos online, like those on YouTube, will play at a 16:9 aspect ratio, so if you have an ultrawide curved monitor that has a bigger aspect ratio, then be prepared for black bars to appear on either side of the screen. This may occur when watching certain films, too, although many of them tend to support ultrawide viewing, at least up to a 21:9 aspect ratio.

6. Cost

Curved monitors are usually priced a bit higher than their flat counterparts, so it’s important to consider whether the extra cost is worth it for the supposed benefits.

Ultrawide monitors are especially expensive and can cost anywhere from 2 to 4 times the price of standard monitors, so that’s worth bearing in mind too.

Curved vs. Flat Monitors: Summary

So, which should you get? Curved or flat? Ultimately, it’s up to you and your preference, and to help you out, we’ve summarised all the key points from the article down below.

You should get a curved monitor if you’re looking for:

  • An immersive gaming experience
  • Increased eye comfort
  • Extra uninterrupted screen space (if going ultrawide)
  • Less screen distortion

Alternatively, you should get a flat monitor if you’re looking for:

  • A relatively cheap monitor
  • Easy wall mounting
  • A monitor that can be viewed from multiple angles without issues

Thanks for reading, and if you’re still undecided, maybe sleep on it and come back to this article tomorrow. Monitors are expensive investments, so it’s a good idea to be sure of what you want before you commit to a purchase.

Robert Hobbs

Hey! I’m Rob, and I’m a big fan of all things tech and gaming. When I’m not writing, you’ll probably find me playing Valorant, writing code, walking my dog, or competing on a volleyball court somewhere.

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