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The Best Curved Monitor Options for 2021 | Digital Trends

If you’ve never used a curved monitor before, you might not understand the hype. Much like a curved flatscreen, a curved monitor is a popular choice for gamers or anyone who enjoys watching videos on their computer. The unique design can step up your gameplay or make your favorite movie feel that much more immersive.

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With so many different brands on the market and a variety of features, pricing, and specs to compare, choosing the right curved monitor might be overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t need to wade through all the information — we’ve already reviewed these top picks for you.

Best curved monitors

The best curved monitor overall: BenQ EX3501R


Why should you buy this: It’s an excellent monitor for color and brightness, perfect for viewing images and video.

Who’s it for: Everyone, but with a special focus on gamers and those who use their computer monitor for entertainment

Why we picked the BenQ EX3501R:

The BenQ EX3501R combines a large, 35-inch monitor with a very affordable price for such a high-end ultrawide. It comes with HDR support, BenQ’s EyeCare settings for reducing eye strain, a 100Hz refresh rate, and FreeSync. We were especially impressed with the brightness and color accuracy of this screen (100% of sRGB and 82% of AdobeRGB), which offers vivid images for gaming and videos — and any work you might be doing on the monitor. Ports include USB-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, and two USB-A ports, enough for all your connection needs. It’s a great ultrawide that’s made for everyone and an easy recommendation if you’re not sure where to turn.

The best professional curved monitor: Dell Ultrasharp U3818DW

The Dell Ultrasharp U3818DW monitor on an office desk.

Why should you buy this: It’s a durable, versatile monitor with an extra-wide screen and great color.

Who’s it for: People looking for one of the biggest monitors available, or who like strong monitor controls.

Why we picked the Dell Ultrasharp U3818DW:

Dell’s hefty monitor comes with some extra size, a particularly large, 38-inch WQHD+ ultrawide that won’t wobble on your desk, assuming you’ve made enough room for it (VESA mount options also are included). ell Ultrasharp U3818DW offers a 3840 x 1600 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and easy on-model buttons/joystick on the underside that make it simple to switch between modes. Ports include two HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C. We also noted that the model comes with a wide color gamut, albeit with a just so-so contrast ratio. There is no FreeSync, making this giant better suited for work tasks than gaming.

The monitor with best color accuracy: Samsung CJ791

The Samsung CJ791 monitor.

Why should you buy this: This Samsung monitor easily is one of the best ultrawides we’ve ever seen.

Who’s it for: People who like big curves and lots of color accuracy.

Why we picked the Samsung CJ791:

Samsung’s excellent 34-inch model brings an incredible contrast ratio, 100Hz refresh rate, 4ms response time, and 3440 x 1440 resolution. Samsung’s quantum dot technology adds extra sharpness to the display, and color accuracy meets 100% of sRGB and 85% of AdobeRGB — in other words, the color looks great.

We also were fans of the elegant design, easy-access ports, and the clear, detailed menu controls for adjusting color and switching between different modes. Ports include two HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort 1.4, and two USB connections: Recent updates to this model also added Thunderbolt 3 support for one of the USB connections, giving you options for ultrafast data transfer or powering accessories.

If you want one of the best pictures that a curved ultrawide can provide, the Samsung CJ791 is worth saving up for. However, note that it’s a bit more friendly with games than with streaming services, which can struggle to fit properly to this Samsung’s outsized screen and its somewhat unusual resolution. To help with this, Samsung includes picture-by-picture and picture-in-picture modes that make the display more versatile.

The best curved ultrawide monitor: Samsung Odyssey G9 Series

The Samsung Odyssey G9 Series monitor on a studio desk.

Why should you buy this: The extra-large curved screen is perfect for a complete field-of-view experience.

Who’s it for: Professionals and gamers with lots of desk space who want an ultrawide curved monitor.

Why we picked the Samsung Odyssey G9 Series:

Screens don’t come much larger than the 49-inch Odyssey G9! The QHD (5120 x 1440) screen offers a native up to a 240Hz refresh rate, plus both G-sync and AMD FreeSync2 compatibility for HDR content, in addition to HDR 1000 support for a peak brightness rating of 1,000 nits. There’s only so much you can do with that much screen real estate thanks to aspect ratios (not many games or movies will be able to fill the entire screen), but it’s an excellent pick for multitasking thanks to how many windows and references you can fit across the screen — consulting multiple tables at once, or playing a game with a guide open on the same display.

So far, so great for people who want the largest screens: Ports include HDMI 2.0, two DisplayPort 1.4, and two USB ports (3.0 but sadly no USB-C). There’s also support for light filters, picture-in-picture modes, and other options that are useful when dealing with a screen of this size.

However, a 49-inch curved monitor like the Samsung Odyssey G9 Series takes up a lot of room on a desk: It may be a good idea to break out the tape measure before jumping on that buy button.

The best gaming curved monitor: Samsung CHG70 Series

The Samsung CHG70 Series monitor.

Why should you buy this: It’s a reasonably priced gaming monitor that will fit on any desk.

Who’s it for: Gamers that want a well-rated monitor that can stand up to lengthy sessions.

Why we picked the Samsung CHG70 Series:

Gamers looking for immersion that won’t cost too much or take up too much room should check this well-rounded 27-inch Samsung model, an excellent choice for handling gaming and anything else on your favorite PC. The screen offers a 2560 x 1440 resolution, 1-millisecond response time, and 144HZ refresh rate with Samsung’s QLED quantum dot technology for high-powered color accuracy.

HDR and AMD’s FreeSync2 also are supported on this monitor, promising better image quality for compatible games, while the eye-saver mode is great for mitigating your eyes’ stress during long gaming sessions. The Samsung C27HG70 also compatible with both HDMI and DisplayPort plus USB 3.0. That’s a pretty strong combination at this price, as long as you are willing to settle for a smaller screen compared to some of the other picks on our list.

The best budget curved monitor: AOC C24G1

The AOC C24G1 monitor.

Why should you buy this: It’s an impressive yet affordable curved monitor.

Who’s it for: Gamers who don’t need UHD resolution and would like to save some money.

Why we picked the AOC C24G1:

This 24-inch monitor offers a budget alternative that’s an excellent pick for gamers and others who would rather save on their monitor — and leave more cash free to spend on important upgrades and accessories. The resolution is capped at 1080p, but the monitor is still more than capable, with a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and FreeSync compatibility.

In addition to the curve, we also appreciate the three-side frameless design, which also helps improve immersion. While curved monitors aren’t famous for their ability to be adjusted, you can pick your preferred height for this model, which is a nice benefit. Blue-light and flicker-free modes also add to the possibilities, while connections include DisplayPort 1.2, two HDMI 1.4, and VGA.

Finally, the AOC C24G1 comes with a “dead pixel” warranty, so if any pixels fail in the first three years, you can get a replacement without worrying about spending more.

The best combination of size and price: LG 38UC99

The LG 38UC99 monitor on a desk.
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: This enormous monitor lets you wrap yourself in a display that has lots of connectivity options.

Who’s it for: People with plenty of desk room and big ambitions.

Why we picked the LG 38UC99:

As if LG’s super-large monitor and the 38-inch display aren’t enough, this model also delivers extensive features such as the 75Hz refresh rate and the 3840 x 1600 resolution. Tack on FreeSync technology, 100% sRGB color accuracy, 332 lux brightness, and 78% AdobeRGB, and you’ve got some great numbers to work with.

Connectivity, however, is impressive with ports that include two USB-A, a USB-C, DisplayPort 1.2, and two HDMI 2.0. You’ll get a lot from the LG 38UC99, but the most important thing is to make sure you’ve got the space to store it — otherwise, all those features will just be going to waste.

Research and buying tips

Are curved monitors better?

That depends. Curved monitors are a different experience that could be more useful for a single user. They take up more desk space but also are more immersive and have plenty of display space for multitasking or managing especially complex software. However, they also have a very poor viewing angle and shouldn’t be used in situations where more than one person needs to look at the monitor.

Are curved monitors good for gaming?

Gamers looking for an immersive viewing experience should take a look at curved monitors. That curve makes it easier to feel enveloped in a game and can improve the field of view. It’s a frequent recommendation for fans of racing games and similar genres. Since it’s uncommon for more than one gamer to be using the screen at a time, curved monitors don’t have many disadvantages here — as long as you have the room!

What resolution should I look for in a curved monitor?

Look for QHD (quad high definition) or WQHD (wide quad high definition) for these monitors. Some curved monitors do offer higher UHD numbers, but it isn’t quite as important for most uses. If you want to save money, there’s nothing wrong with looking for a 1080p model, either.

What kind of ports should I look for in a curved monitor?

Look for DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0. Those ports should be enough to get pretty much any video connection that you would want. A few USB ports are also important for accessories, but USB-C ports still aren’t quite common in this field, although they are starting to show up on newer models. If you have accessories that need USB-C or Thunderbolt 3, always double-check to make sure they are included.

Do curved monitors have speakers?

It can vary. Some have built-in speakers. Others don’t have speakers but do support pass-through audio with an aux port, which means if you hook up headphones or speakers to the monitor, it will pass audio through so you can use them easily. If you need built-in speakers, our Dell and Samsung picks on our list have them!

Are curved monitors better for work?

Most of the immersive benefits from curved monitors are made for gamers … but that doesn’t mean they can’t help in the professional world. Curved ultrawides, in particular, may be beneficial for making the most of a whole lot of screen space for the most complex, single-person projects. However, note that curved monitors won’t save any space, and in some cases, may actually need more room, so you may want to measure your office if you’re thinking about getting one.

Which is better, curved monitors or flat-screen monitors?

If only one person is going to be using the monitor, there isn’t a huge amount of difference. Curved monitors can be better for immersion and help enhance some games, but they don’t innately improve image quality, refresh rate, or any other display specs. If more than one person is using the monitor, like while watching a show or sharing a screen, then flat monitors are a better pick.

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