If you’ve been looking for a new monitor and have done a little research on the market, you’ve found that there are different types of monitor curvature or curvature now. And technology is advancing rapidly, and more and more curved models are available. And the truth is, curved screens will mean a lot to us, because our peripheral vision will be excellent with them, resulting in more immersion and less visual fatigue.
If there is still a distrust of curved monitors, we wanted to prepare this article to get to know them better and see what benefits and disadvantages they can bring us. We already anticipate that the advantages will be greater, especially if we are in front of the screen to watch movies and series for long hours, or if we use our equipment to play games.
Why are curved monitors produced?
If we do some memory, it will remember that CRT monitors were originally introduced as curved. Well, more or less, and also the opposite of currently having a convex screen. It certainly didn’t fit our way of thinking at all, but it was necessary for the type of technology used.
It makes sense around the world to switch to LCD-based flat-panel monitors first and then to concave curved monitors. The human eye has peripheral vision, which means the field of view will be approximately 180o curved. The central vision is 30o and focuses on the details of the image, while the periphery has more sense of motion.
Knowing this, manufacturers decided to create curved monitors to take advantage of both aspects of our vision to give us maximum immersion. We can have the most lifelike experience through a screen, and that will have a lot to do with the type of curvature chosen. But in short, we will get a more natural panoramic view without distortion and less visual fatigue without having to adapt our vision to something 2D, flat.
Does it affect the image quality?
With the attributes currently being handled in panels, monitor curvature types shouldn’t affect quality, but should even improve it. Talking about quality will depend on the type of panel used, as VA is currently the most used type to build these monitors.
By better adapting to human perception, we will see less deformation and more realistic dimensions. The concave design can also benefit us in detecting reflections on the screen, since it has a curved surface, the incidence of light will be less. Of course, with a light just behind it, the reflection can be concentrated in the center, having the opposite effect.
Another feature of display panels will be the pixel density and the proximity between them. On a curved monitor, some movement is required to create the curve, and the pixels may need to be slightly further apart to create this movement. Currently this is not an issue even with OLED screens and as there are 27” 4K 1500R models both sharpness and pixel density can be similar on a curved and flat monitor.
Which panels support monitor curvature?
Speaking of panels and display technologies, there will currently be three panels that can be used to create a curved monitor: two based on LCD and OLED technology such as IPS and VA.
IPS panels use the curvature-inducing ability of liquid crystal. The orientation of these crystals in a collective horizontal position on the panel, with the famous color mixing effect, represented significant image quality issues. But shrinking the pixels down to just microns makes this problem irrelevant and not applicable.
Having a backlight system based on LED or QLED light points spread across the panel also simplifies its construction. However, one of their problems is that if they are not well manufactured and their layers are not perfectly stacked, they will continue to bleed or light leaks, which are typical of these panels.
Much more used than before, VA panels will be available on almost all curved monitors. In this case, the crystals are oriented vertically and allow for more types of curvature, greater size and better pixel density, improving their flexibility.
Currently, VA technology is capable of achieving the same image quality as IPS, with natural colors and wide coverage. They also offer more contrast, which enlivens the image and improves the depth of black. While their response times aren’t that great, they hit the order of a millisecond in MPRT, and with high refresh rates of up to 240Hz, they’re perfect for gaming.
OLED technology is not usually seen in curved PC monitors but it will be totally valid. In fact, it is the one that offers the greatest versatility in this respect, because not only are it curved, but there are also transparent panels. Flexible panels like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and others can be created using light-emitting diodes without the need for backlighting.
Types of monitor curvature – Curved monitors
With the current development of VA technology it is possible to have different types of monitor curvature in a multitude of sizes and image formats. Each will be geared towards some type of monitor or a specific use as we will now see, although it will always depend on everyone’s own taste.
The curvature of a monitor is given numerically, for example 1500R or 1800R. The “R” at the end of the name stands for Radius, the radius of curvature. And obviously the number will refer to the length in mm of that radius. For example, 1500R means we have a monitor with a radius of curvature equal to 1500mm or 1.5m.
It goes without saying that the larger the number, the wider and lighter the curvature, resulting in monitors with more or less concavity. However, this number will also tell us the maximum recommended viewing distance. Because our vision is peripheral, a greater distance from the curve of the monitor will only produce a distorted image with loss of information due to physical limitation.
1000R curved monitors
This will be the approximate curvature of our field of view, so the monitor that succeeds in mimicking it will be the closest to our natural perception. Although MSI also has the 1000R, as almost always Samsung was the first to achieve this aggressive curvature on a 16:9 and 27 inch format monitor.
Capacity in this area is still somewhat limited, and the recommended maximum viewing distance of 1 meter means that the diagonal can’t be too many inches. So the 1000R will be the format that gives us a more natural look and better immersion.
1500R curved monitors
Until the 1000R came along, the 1500R was the most aggressive curvature on the market so far, used in 16:9 formats and monitors up to 27 or 32 inches. Like the previous one, it requires a relatively short viewing distance and the most normal thing is to opt for standard panoramic formats.
Because of this approach, manufacturers have used this curve specifically for gaming models, specifically Gigabyte, Asus, and MSI. So we find VA-type panels with Full HD or 2K resolution with refresh rates between 144 and 240 Hz, such as the GIGABYTE G32QC or AOC C27G2ZU/BK respectively.
Since there are many models available, this curvature would be the best option if we are looking for minimal visual fatigue and better immersion for office or gaming. We tested some models and their panels are really good in terms of performance and color quality, with good calibration and clarity. Undoubtedly, the difference is noticeable compared to other curvatures.
1800R curved mounts
The 1800R has been one of the monitor curvature types where the journey began and is therefore one of the most common in gaming models, for business, in 16:9 or 21:9 formats and different sizes. The more moderate radius makes the panel easier to implement, and that’s why we’re seeing models with 27 and 32 inches of 4K resolution. The regular size would be 34 inches, but it was designed as a very tall and narrow monitor for the reason we mentioned earlier.
This curvature is more tolerant in terms of viewing distance and will be a very good option for 3-screen setup simulators and setups. The 16:9 format would be ideal for this, as it gives us a good width for 3 x 27” monitors and even a 3×32” size that minimizes visual fatigue and maximizes mid-range immersion. It is still the most versatile curvature, perhaps due to the number of options available.
Because it’s a fairly open curve, it’s ideal for this type of format designed to consume multimedia content without the typical black bands that appear above and below. It will be the best format for movie buffs to take advantage of the capacity of Blu-ray and the like. Add to that the fact of having a larger desktop to work on or high refresh panels for 3440x1440p gaming usage.
3800R curved mounts
We also find forms of curvature in the 2300R and 3000R, but the next most common jump will be the 3800R for ultrawide or ultrapanoramic monitors. Normally they use the 21:9 format with a very high distance from the edges of the curve to the center because it is a very long rectangle. Since the 1800R has been implemented, fewer and fewer monitors are using this curvature.
Advantages of curved monitor
Now that it’s clear to us what a curved monitor is and the approach to use its different curvatures have, it’s time to see the key benefits we can achieve with this type of monitor.
- Improves our peripheral vision: the curvature adapts to our type of vision, so the ends of the monitor are used much better.
- Less distorted images: Due to what has been explained earlier, the image on flat monitors will appear at longer ends than we actually perceive in real life. In this way, the proportions will be better maintained and we will be closer to a virtual reality without glasses.
- Larger screen surface: By changing the distance from the edges to the center, curved screens will have a larger surface, and ultra-wide screens will have much more.
- Less eye strain and blurred vision: The extra effort our peripheral vision has to exert to reach the edges of the monitor decreases as we approach 1000R. This prevents visual fatigue and therefore the appearance of blurred vision after prolonged use.
- Gaming: a curved monitor allows us to better fill the side gaps and benefit from our field of view. To fill the void left by a flat monitor, we’ll know more about the sides.
- Ideal for multi-screen setups: If we add to the above the presence of several monitors at the same time, curvature will be required for simulators. The realism they offer is far superior to 3 flat monitors, which is why they are used in professional and racing simulators.
- Less reflection and light distortion: Greater indirect light distribution on a curved surface makes the panel appear clearer and non-reflective.
- Very high quality panels: Currently the quality standards are high enough to have the same features as a flat panel monitor.
- Multiple Curvatures, Form Factors, and Dimensions: We have many types of monitor curvature, so you can choose from as many options as in flat format.
Disadvantages of curved monitor
But not everything that glitters is gold, and there are also negative prices or uses for such monitors that are not recommended.
- The corners are more prone to bumps and there is less room on the desktop: A curved monitor will be slightly more susceptible to bumps than a flat monitor, even if the resistance is the same, as trivial as it may seem. But the corners are clearly more exposed, and we will need a deeper table to use it, however.
- Some users experience headaches: Using a curved monitor that is too close or too wide increases the likelihood of headaches.
- More prone to central reflection: As we said earlier, curved screens produce less reflections, if any, they are mostly concentrated in the central area.
- Changes in the perception of texts: Although curvature is a matter of getting used to, it can sometimes play tricks on the proportions of texts.
- Not suitable for professional design: Curved monitors are not a good option for designers, as the authenticity of text can be distorted, as they also change the proportions of photos and eventually even color.
- More expensive than flat monitors: The difficulty of construction and R&D cost are driving up the price of these monitors, but we are slowly seeing more limited models.
- VA panels are more prone to ghosting: A specific issue with VA panels has always been their slower response rates compared to TN and IPS. And even though we currently have 1ms responses and fast speeds, they’re still more prone to the typical black mark after motion pictures.
- Less ergonomic and impossible to place in reading mode: their curvature will not allow these monitors to be placed vertically, and sideways orientation is also not useful.