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If you’re looking for a new monitor for gaming, it may be time to ditch the flat screen and go for a curved monitor. Once a rarity and assumed gimmick, curved screens are now far more common on the desks of professionals, creatives and, of course, gamers.
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The big selling point for curved monitors is that they increase immersion. The curvature of the monitor gives images an added dimension that you don’t get with a flat screen. And using a curved monitor also reduces distortion and eye strain when looking at the edges.
So if you play a lot of 3D games like first-person shooters or open worlds with stunning panoramic views, a curved monitor is just what you need to enhance your experience. Our quick guide will give you the low-down on just which curved monitor is right for you, as well as the best curved gaming monitors on the market right now.
What to look for in the best curved gaming monitors
Curvature: The shape of the curve, from gentle to tightly wrapped around your vision, is referred to by the “R” spec – it stands for “radius” and is measured in millimetres. The lower the number, the more dramatic the curve. Most gaming monitors come in three R measurements: 1800R, 3000R and 4000R.
Resolution and refresh rates: If you’ve got a powerful gaming rig, you’re probably after as many pixels on your screen as possible – in which case you’ll want a 4K monitor. For the smoothest performance, though, you’ll want high refresh rates, which are measured in Hz. Current models go as high as 240Hz.
Ideally, you want both. But that will also set you back quite a bit, so it’s often a case of choosing a good middle ground. Most PC gamers are fine with 1080p resolution while 1440p is often touted as the best, and you’d do well with a 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rate.
Ultra-wide: Size matters. To get the most out of a curved monitor, you’ll want a large size. But why not increase that immersion further with an ultra-wide monitor for full panoramic views? These tend to come in the ‘standard’ 21:9 aspect ratio compared to the usual 16:9 widescreen format.
Ports: You shouldn’t neglect the number of ports at the back of the monitor, which you’ll need to connect all your fancy gaming hardware and equipment. Naturally, there should be a display port and at least one HDMI port but also a few USB ports as well as an audio jack.
The best curved monitors for gaming in 2021
Samsung CRG9 Ultrawide Monitor
A gargantuan 49-inch ultra-wide display with a 32:9 aspect ratio, this is a beast of a curved monitor. The Samsung CRG9 is arguably too big and expensive for many, but if you’re after the absolute premium of curved gaming monitors with a tight 1800R curvature, this is it.
This model has a slightly lower refresh rate of 120Hz than its predecessor (144Hz), but that still offers up to 120fps gaming. We also think it’s a fair trade-off when you have improved pixel count with a 1440p display as well as HDR support to provide better colour depth.
You can also easily use that wide space for streaming or for productivity. Try setting up a picture-in-picture display with two PCs or even connecting a console via the monitor’s HDMI port. Additionally, four USB slots should be enough for your other peripherals.
If you’re looking for an ultra-wide curved monitor that’s smaller and more affordable than the Samsung, then this 34-inch Dell U3419W is right up your street.
Although it has an impressive 21:9 aspect ratio, tight 1900R and ultra-sharp 1440p resolution, the Dell is slower than its competitors – it only has a 60Hz refresh rate. Which might explain its lower price.
Nonetheless, we especially like the U3419W’s connectivity. Alongside its four USB 3.0 downstream ports, there’s also a USB-C port so you can connect a range of other devices for quick charging. And with two HDMI ports, this Dell monitor also supports picture-in-picture, allowing you to display two different sources at the same time.
This 37.5-inch curved monitor from Acer is a little more special than the others thanks to a few unique specs.
Its 24:10 aspect ratio makes it slightly wider than 21:9, which is pretty much the standard on ultra-wide monitors. It has a curvature of 1900R, and it boasts a 3840×1600 resolution that will tax your GPU’s capabilities. But while it’s not the fastest display, it still goes up to 75Hz with FreeSync to eliminate screen-tearing.
The drawback to such quality is that this curved monitor will cost you a grand. Yet for a truly immersive widescreen gaming experience, it’s worth the investment.
MSI Optix MAG341CQ
One of the cheapest monitors on this list, the MSI Optix MAG341CQ represents seriously good value for money for an ultra-wide curved monitor with a tight curvature of 1800R.
With a decent 34-inch display and a 21:9 aspect ratio, it’s capable of 1440p resolution as well as refresh rates of up to 100Hz – smooth enough for most types of gaming.
It may come with fewer ports than other monitors, but with support for picture-by-picture, picture-in-picture and split modes, you can nonetheless make use of the screen’s real estate for work as well as play.
Can’t afford an ultra-wide display? Then this 31.5-inch Dell S3220DGF curved monitor is your second best option.
It has a 16:9 display and 1800R curvature, while its capable of displaying images up to 1440p resolution with HDR capability. Interestingly, this Dell also has the fastest refresh rate of all the monitors on this list: 165Hz, with FreeSync 2.
We also like that you can connect a ton of devices to this monitor as it has two HDMI ports and a whopping five USB ports.