Welcome to the world of curved gaming monitors! If you’re looking to take your PC gaming experience to the next level, curving your display is one of the hottest tricks right now. Compared to traditional flat panels, today’s curved monitors wrap around your field of view to make you feel part of the action.
But with so many curved gaming monitors now on the market, how do you choose the right one? Let’s delve into the benefits of curving your display, the top models out now, and what to look for when making your purchase. After reading this guide, you’ll be ready to select a monitor that matches your budget, graphics setup and gaming style.
The Advantages of Curved Gaming Monitors
Curved monitors may sound like flashy gimmicks, but they offer some key advantages for gamers:
- More immersive experience – By curving around your field of view, these monitors fully encompass your peripheral vision to make it feel like you’re inside the game. This can boost your sense of connection to the gameplay and environment.
- Reduced eye strain – A curved monitor contours to the natural shape of the human eye, requiring less effort to scan to the edges of the screen. This minimizes eye fatigue from long gaming sessions.
- Expanded field of view – The wrap-around viewing angles let you spot enemies and action at the peripheries that might go unnoticed on a flat monitor. This widened perspective gives a competitive edge.
- Enhanced gaming performance – Some curved monitors even deliver a slight performance boost in select games by engaging more of your visual cognition.
Thanks to these benefits, curved gaming monitors have exploded in popularity over the last few years. But with different specs like refresh rates, response times and screen sizes, how do you pick the right one? Let’s run through the top contenders currently dominating wish lists.
The Top 5 Curved Gaming Monitors Available Now
Samsung Odyssey G7 – The Ultimate High-Speed Contender
If you want a curved monitor that leaves flat panels in the dust, the Samsung Odyssey G7 is one of the finest options out there. Available in 27 or 32 inch variants, it’s built around a radically-curved 1000R QLED panel.
Combining Quantum Dot technology with edge-lit local dimming, this monitor delivers stunning colors and inky blacks. A blistering 240Hz refresh rate with 1ms response time also means silky smooth visuals. With support for both Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, the Odyssey G7 matches your graphics card’s frame rate on the fly.
The icing on the cake is a sharp 2560×1440 QHD resolution. While not 4K, at 27 inches this provides excellent crispness and detail. There are a couple of tradeoffs like the steep $700+ price tag and lack of HDMI 2.1. But for fast-paced competitive gaming, the Odyssey G7 is hard to beat.
ASUS ROG Strix XG35VQ – An Ultra-Wide Beast
For an immersive ultra-wide experience, check out the ASUS ROG Strix XG35VQ and its colossal 35-inch curved display. The 21:9 aspect ratio gives you the equivalent of two monitors side-by-side, letting you see more of the battlefield.
It uses a VA panel for excellent contrast ratios and rich blacks, while the 100Hz refresh rate keeps up with frenetic gaming action. Response times clock in at a modest 4ms, but input lag remains low thanks to AMD FreeSync support.
The 3440 x 1440 UWQHD resolution combined with the 1800R curve makes it feel like you’re at the helm of a starship bridge. Just note the XG35VQ is not built for esports, and has limited ergonomic adjustments. But for engrossing single-player adventures, this monitor lets you dive in fully.
Acer Predator Z35P – An Affordable Ultra-Wide Choice
Not ready to drop a grand on an ultra-wide display? The Acer Predator Z35P delivers an enveloping curved experience for hundreds less. It uses the same 35-inch diagonal VA panel as the ASUS above, complete with 3440 x 1440 UWQHD resolution.
The color reproduction is excellent out of the box, while Nvidia G-Sync variable refresh rate tech matches the 100Hz refresh to your GPU’s output. Gray-to-gray response times of 4ms mean minimal ghosting during FPS deathmatches and racing games.
Most impressive is the extremely aggressive 1900R curvature. It’s like having ultra-wide monitors planted on either side of you. While the Z35P misses extras like HDMI 2.1, for under $700 it’s a mighty fine curved display.
MSI Optix MAG341CQ – Great Budget Ultra-Wide Value
Want to dip your toes into ultra-wide gaming at a friendlier price? The curved MSI Optix MAG341CQ delivers an immersive experience just over the $500 mark. It shares the same 34-inch VA panel with 3440 x 1440 resolution and 1900R wrap as the Acer above.
With a 100Hz refresh rate, AMD FreeSync support and 4ms response times, the MAG341CQ performs admirably in games from Gears Tactics to Forza Horizon. HDR looks lackluster, and the connectivity options are limited to DisplayPort and HDMI.
But for an affordable entry to ultra-wide resolutions, the Optix MAG341CQ backs its vivid colors and deep blacks with smooth variable refresh rates. Just adjust your expectations around HDR visuals and response times.
Alienware AW3418DW – A Premium 34-Inch Contender
Rounding out the top curved monitors is a premium 34-inch model from Alienware. The AW3418DW may have launched in 2017, but it still keeps up with newer displays. Its IPS panel delivers fantastic color accuracy and wide viewing angles.
With an overclocked 120Hz refresh rate and G-Sync onboard, this monitor provides buttery visuals whether you’re lining up headshots in Rainbow Six Siege or exploring ruins in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The 4ms response time avoids ghosting issues, while the 1900R curve increases immersion.
If money is no object, the stunning aesthetics and build quality match the AW3418DW’s blazing speed. Just be prepared to pay a premium for the Alienware branding.
Key Factors When Choosing a Curved Gaming Monitor
Beyond deciding on a screen size and curved ultra-wide versus standard aspect ratio, there are a few key specs to evaluate when buying a curved gaming monitor:
This determines how sharp and detailed your games will look. 1920 x 1080 (Full HD or 1080p) remains the most popular, providing great visuals without requiring a high-end graphics card to run smoothly.
For more screen real estate, 3440 x 1440 and 2560 x 1440 (1440p) are excellent choices that balance visual crispness with performance demands. Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 (4K) offers incredible detail, but requires a powerful GPU.
Measured in Hz, this determines how many frames per second (fps) a monitor can display. Standard is 60Hz, while 120Hz and 144Hz are recommended for smoother gaming. For competitive online games, 240Hz monitors like the Samsung Odyssey deliver extremely fluid visuals.
This spec (measured in ms) indicates how fast pixels can change color from grey-to-grey. Faster is smoother, with 1ms being lightning quick. But anything under 5ms works great for eliminating motion blur and “ghosting” effects in games.
Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync match your monitor’s refresh rate with your graphics card’s fps output in real time. This prevents image tearing and stuttering for super-smooth gameplay. Look for the version compatible with your GPU.
TN panels offer the fastest response times of 1-2ms but suffer from poor viewing angles and color reproduction. IPS panels are slower at 4-5ms but have vibrant colors. VA panels land in the middle with good contrast but 4ms times.
Look for monitors with an 1800R-1900R curvature for maximum immersion, versus flat or subtle 3000R+ curves. Aggressive 1000R curves can seem distorted up close.
Ultimately, choose a curved gaming monitor based on your budget, what types of games you play most, and your PC’s technical capabilities. Prioritize refresh rate and adaptive sync tech for fast-paced competitive gaming, while gamers wanting stunning single-player visuals may prefer IPS color quality and 4K.
Frequently Asked Questions About Curved Gaming Monitors
Are curved monitors good for gaming?
Absolutely! The immersive screen, expanded field of view and reduced eye strain give a noticeable competitive edge over flat monitors. Any game will work flawlessly.
Do all games support curved monitors?
Yes, all modern games are designed to work perfectly with curved monitors with no special settings required. Some games even gain a performance boost thanks to engaging more of your peripheral vision.
Is a curved or flat monitor better for gaming?
Curved monitors win for gaming thanks to the more immersive experience that pulls you into the world. But some may still prefer flat panels for work with spreadsheets and documents. It comes down to personal preference.
Is a 27-inch curved monitor too small?
Not at all. A 27-inch diagonal is popular for curved gaming monitors, as it avoids visual distortion while still providing an engrossing view. But larger options are available if you have ample desk space.
Are ultrawide monitors better for gaming?
The expanded field of view on an ultrawide can definitely translate to a competitive advantage in multiplayer games. But they require a more powerful GPU, and some competitive esports players may prefer smaller 16:9 displays.
Is a 4ms response time good enough for gaming?
Absolutely. While 1ms would be optimal, anything under 5ms is excellent for gaming and eliminates ghosting or motion blur issues. Most curved VA monitors land around 4ms.
Do I really need a 240Hz refresh rate monitor?
For fast-twitch competitive esports gaming, 240Hz provides an incredibly fluid experience. But for more casual gaming, 120Hz or 144Hz will still appear very smooth. Higher refresh rates also require a beefy GPU.
Is G-Sync or FreeSync a must-have for gaming?
Adaptive sync tech like G-Sync and FreeSync are highly recommended to match your monitor’s refresh rate to your GPU’s output and eliminate screen tearing. Get the version compatible with your Nvidia or AMD graphics card.
Are curved TVs good for console gaming?
Definitely! Curved 4K TVs can provide a very immersive big-screen console gaming experience in your living room. Xbox Series X and PS5 games look stunning. Just expect to pay more versus an equally-sized flat screen TV.
Dive Into the Curve and Enjoy Next-Level PC Gaming
Curved monitors may still seem like gamer vanity purchases, but they can truly improve your moment-to-moment enjoyment and sense of immersion in virtual worlds. Whether you go ultra-wide or stick to 16:9, embracing the curve could make your gaming station feel brand new again.
Just be sure to choose the right display size, resolution, refresh rate and other specs based on your GPU capability, gaming habits and budget. Prioritize speed for competitive online games or picture quality for solo adventures. And adaptive sync is a must for smooth variable refresh rates.
The monitors we’ve covered today represent the top of the curved gaming market. But there are also affordable curved monitors under $300 that let you test the waters without breaking the bank.
Whichever you choose, curving your next display can take your favorite games from flat 2D screens to wrapped 3D experiences. Once you go curved, you may never go back! Let us know if you have any other questions about making the leap. Game on!