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Updated Oct 21, 2022 6:14 PM

Whether you’re gaming or taking on a big project at work, upgrading to a curved monitor can elevate your computing experience. While using one feels a bit different, and may not be for everyone, an increasing number of people swear by them. The graceful arc of a curved display draws you further into the experience, increasing your immersion and blocking out distractions. The best curved monitors feature all the impressive specs and features of any other display while bringing a few unique tricks all their own.

How we selected the best curved monitors

I’ve worked in gaming and tech journalism since 2013. During that time, I’ve evaluated a wide range of monitors, from affordable flat panels to luxurious curved ultrawides. Covering displays and computers for sites like IGN, Reviewed, and Tom’s Hardware, I’ve built a deep understanding of what makes a monitor great.

Our selections for the best curved monitors are the product of extensive testing and research. Beyond testing and reviewing many of these monitors, I took a deep look at the most important specs: screen size, resolution, refresh rate, response time, and the core features that separate a great display from a basic one. I also turned to reviews from experts and impressions from real customers to see how they stacked up in dedicated performance tests and real-world scenarios.

The best curved monitors: Reviews & Recommendations

Now that you have a good handle on the monitor-buying basics, let’s talk about the best curved monitors you can buy. Even with all the knowledge we’ve shared, finding the best curved monitor may still feel like a daunting task. Our picks, selected through testing and extensive research, are a great place to start (and end) your search.

Best overall: Samsung Odyssey G7

SAMSUNG

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Why it made the cut: The Samsung Odyssey G7 delivers a great picture and outstanding value.

Specs

  • Screen size: 27-inch
  • Curve: 1000R
  • Resolution: 2560×1440 
  • Panel type: QLED
  • Brightness/HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 600
  • Refresh rate: 240Hz
  • Response time: 1ms

Pros

  • Deep, immersive curve
  • Crisp 1440p resolution
  • An esports-grade 240Hz refresh rate
  • QLED panel ensures high brightness and contrast

Cons

  • 1000R curve may be too deep for some people
  • Expensive

The Samsung Odyssey G7 is a performance powerhouse that provides surprisingly incredible value. It isn’t cheap, but you’d be hard-pressed to find another curved monitor that brings so much value to the table. Its vivid, Quantum Dot-enhanced picture enables exceptional brightness and contrast, winning it a DisplayHDR 600 rating. Colors pop on this display, and you’ll be able to make out more detail in both dark and bright areas of the screen.

The G7 is definitely a gaming-first display. Its deep 1000R curve covers more of your peripheral vision, enhancing your immersion. Pushing 1440p resolution at up to 240Hz, you’ll get a perfect pairing of crisp visuals and high frame rates. Motion blur will be less of an issue on the Odyssey, giving you the edge you need to one-up the competition.

There are bigger, brighter monitors on the market, including two recently released updates from Samsung: the 32-inch Odyssey G7 Neo, which offers an incredible 2000-nits of peak brightness, and the 4K-enabled Samsung Odyssey G8. Those are notable upgrades but they come with much steeper price tags. For many players, the Odyssey G7 gives their systems the capacity to hit their peak performance without overspending.

Best for gaming: Dell Alienware AW3423DW

Dell

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Alienware AW3423DW’s fast, color-rich OLED screen makes games look better than ever. It’s expensive but very impressive.

Specs

  • Screen size: 34.18-inch (Ultrawide)
  • Curve: 1800R
  • Resolution: 3440×1440 (21:9)
  • Panel type: QD-OLED
  • Brightness/HDR: 1000-nit peak brightness (DisplayHDR 400 True Black)
  • Refresh rate: 175Hz
  • Response time: 0.1ms

Pros

  • QD-OLED panel enables incredible contrast and sharpness
  • 1000-nits peak brightness
  • Quantum dots for rich, accurate colors
  • G-Sync Ultimate

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Doesn’t work well with PS5
  • No HDMI 2.1 ports

The Alienware AW3423DW is unlike any curved display we’ve ever seen. It features a Quantum Dot-enhanced OLED panel, a first for PC monitors. Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) displays features “self-emitting” backlighting, where each pixel is individually backlit and independently controlled. This allows for incredible contrast, including “true” blacks. Standard OLED screens are known for lacking the brightness of conventional displays, but Quantum Dot technology enhances the screen’s inherent brightness, allowing the AW3423DW to hit an HDR-bright 1000 nits. It only achieves that maximum brightness in small spots on the monitor but is still more than capable of generating quality HDR gameplay.

You won’t have to worry about artifacts dragging down your gaming experience with the AW3423DW. With a ridiculously fast 0.1ms response time, ghosting just isn’t an issue for this display. A 175Hz refresh rate and Nvidia’s G-Sync Ultimate certification ensures excellent picture quality without screen tearing.

It isn’t perfect, though. The AW3423DW has a small number of flaws, particularly for console players who’d pair it with a PlayStation 5. It lacks HDMI 2.1, for example, so it can’t play games in 4K at 120Hz over HDMI. It also can’t downscale 4K content, so the PS5 can only run in 1080p on the monitor.

The Alienware AW3423DW is the first of a very small number of OLED gaming monitors coming out in 2023. As a result, the distinctive, high-performance panel comes with a very steep price tag. If you’re a PC player who wants to see the sharpest possible picture on a monitor, though, it is worth it.

Best for work: Dell UltraSharp U3421WE

Dell

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Dell Ultrasharp U3421WE can replace multiple monitors, and comes with productivity-enhancing features

Specs

  • Screen size: 34.1-inch (Ultrawide)
  • Curve: 1900R
  • Resolution: 3440×1440 (21:9)
  • Panel type: IPS
  • Brightness/HDR: 300 nits
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Response time: 8ms

Pros

  • Connects via USB-C
  • Built-in KVM lets you switch between two PCs with one mouse and keyboard
  • Useful software quickly divides screen space
  • Remembers window positions between uses

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Low brightness

Looking to replace your multi-monitor setup for work with a single ultrawide monitor? The 34-inch Dell Ultrasharp U3421WE is as tall as a standard 27-inch monitor and provides roughly eight inches of extra width on either side, so you have plenty of space to work. It also features some productivity-enhancing software that can partition that space into 38 different configurations for up to five windows. You’ll be able to see everything you need to work quickly and efficiently. When you’re done for the day, the software can re-open those windows, allowing you to pick up right where you left off. 

It isn’t uncommon for monitors to feature a couple extra USB ports for your peripherals, but the U3421WE not only connects via USB-C but it also doubles as a bona fide USB-C hub. It features two USB-C ports, one of which empowers you to connect and charge a laptop. There are also a whopping five USB 3.0 ports (one upstream and four downstream), to connect all of your peripherals and transfer large files. There’s even an Ethernet port to connect to your office’s network. 

It may not be quite as wide as two 27-inch monitors, but the Dell Ultrasharp U3421WE makes a strong case for optimizing your home office with a curved ultrawide display.

Best 4K: Gigabyte M32UC

Gigabyte

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Why it made the cut: The Gigabyte M32UC is a big screen with a crisp 4K picture and features to spare.

Specs

  • Screen size: 31.5-inch 
  • Curve: 1500R
  • Resolution: 3840×2160 (4K)
  • Panel type: SuperSpeed VA
  • Brightness/HDR: DisplayHDR 400
  • Refresh rate: 160Hz
  • Response time: 1ms 

Pros

  • Crisp 4K visuals in a large viewing area
  • Fast refresh rate
  • Great color coverage
  • Built-in KVM

Cons

  • Limited HDR performance
  • Minor ghosting without overdrive

Curved 4K monitors usually get expensive quickly, and the Gigabyte M32UC balances performance, features, and price better than most displays out there. It isn’t cheap, by any stretch, but you get a color-rich gaming display with a ton of great features in return. You may have to adjust a couple of settings to make the most of it, but once you do, you’ll see that it’s a hidden gem among ultrawide gaming monitors.

SuperSpeed VA panel. Unlike traditional VA panels, the M32UC’s SuperSpeed VA panel gives it an unexpectedly low 1ms response time. It’s also fast, with a 160Hz refresh rate, which is high for a 4K display. With 93% DCI-P3 wide color gamut and 123% sRGB, it offers incredible color depth and accuracy, which is great for creatives. If you’d like to connect to a second PC for streaming or home office use, it also features a built-in KVM to quickly swap your peripherals between devices. To top things off, the monitor also features a full suite of competitive gaming features, like a “Black Equalizer” that helps you peek into shadows, and an FPS monitor that can overlay on any game.

There are some important trade-offs with the M32UC that you should know before you buy in. First, with 8-bit color and only 400 nits of brightness, it can’t really handle HDR gameplay. Some users have also reported minor ghosting with Overdrive disabled, but that’s a quick fix within its settings menu. Even with these shortcomings, the M32UC is an outstanding choice if you’re shopping for a 4K monitor with an immersive curve.

Best ultrawide: LG UltraGear 34GP950G-B

Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The LG UltraGear 34GP950G-B doesn’t come cheap, but its spacious Nano IPS screen is a joy to behold.

Specs

  • Screen size: 34-inch (Ultrawide)
  • Curve: 1900R
  • Resolution: 3440×1440 (21:9)
  • Panel type: Nano IPS
  • Brightness/HDR: DisplayHDR 600
  • Refresh rate: 180Hz 
  • Response time: 1ms

Pros

  • 10-bit color and DisplayHDR 600 certification
  • Rapid refresh rate adds smoothness to games
  • G-Sync Ultimate certified (FreeSync also supported)

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Low IPS contrast

Gamers who have taken the leap already know: A great ultrawide monitor can take your gaming experience to the next level. That’s certainly the case with the expansive LG UltraGear 34GP950G-B, which delivers a crisp 3440×1440 picture empowered by LG’s Nano IPS panel. A proprietary LG display technology, Nano IPS displays feature a coating of nanoparticles on the backlight that expand their color gamut all the way to an incredibly vibrant 98% of the DCI-P3 color space, or roughly 135% of sRGB. 

Somehow, professional-grade color accuracy and gaming-grade speed go hand-in-hand. LG quotes a 1ms response time on its “faster” preset, dramatically reducing the chance for visible ghosting. Meanwhile, its perfectly respectable 144Hz refresh rate can be overclocked to hit an impressive 180Hz for competitive play. It’s also Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate certified, so you can count on fluid gameplay without a hint of screen tearing.

The UltraGear 34GP950G-B is certified by VESA for DisplayHDR 600 high dynamic range. It has a higher peak brightness of 600-nits and true 10-bit color, so you can make out more detail in the shadows and highlights. Its HDR tech comes with a local dimming feature, but critics found it to be too distracting to actually use. Since it also uses an IPS panel, contrast levels are also low, which make blacks look dark gray in dark rooms. Even with local dimming turned off, there’s little room to argue with how good this monitor truly is.

Best budget: AOC G2 Series C27G2Z

AOC

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Why it made the cut: The AOC G2 Series C27G2Z offers a lot for little. It costs less than $250, but still delivers strong performance.

Specs

  • Screen size: 27-inch
  • Curve: 1500R
  • Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Panel type: VA
  • Brightness/HDR: 250 nits 
  • Refresh rate: 240Hz
  • Response time: 0.5ms

Pros

  • Large screen
  • 240Hz refresh rate 
  • Good VA contrast
  • Good color coverage

Cons

  • Low brightness
  • No HDR
  • Low pixel density

If you’re on a limited budget, the AOC G2 Series C27G2Z is easily one of best curved monitors for under $300. It offers a handful of key features that make it an incredible value at a price point where you rarely find any. Its 27-inch screen is large enough to make good use of its 1500R curve, taking up more of your field of view and drawing you further into your entertainment experiences.

Now, a 27-inch, 1080p screen stretches its pixels a bit thin, but not in a dramatic way. If you’d prefer to go smaller to maintain the screen’s sharpness, the 24-inch, 165Hz AOC C24G1A is our favorite curved gaming monitor under $200.

The C27G2Z is also quite the capable gaming monitor. It features a rapid 240Hz refresh rate, which is fast enough for competitive esports. Response time is also excellent at 0.5ms in its fastest mode, but you should plan on turning this down a touch for the best image quality—but with 0.5ms to start, there’s responsiveness to spare. Color coverage is also impressive at 90% of the DCI-P3 color space, so hues will look deeper and more saturated.

Unfortunately, the C27G2Z scrapes the bottom of the barrel with peak brightness and has a luminance of only 250 nits. That’s fine for most games but you’ll want to position it away from direct sunlight. HDR is also out of the question, but these are fair trade-offs considering its price.

Things to consider before buying a curved monitor

Once a niche offshoot of conventional PC displays, the curved monitor has become an increasingly popular option for gaming and office work. Going for a curved monitor adds a couple of extra specs to the long list of considerations you want to keep in mind when buying any monitor. We’ll walk you through the basics, so you can make your own decision when you’re ready to buy your next monitor.

Setting the curve

The big difference between picking a curved display and a standard flat panel is the curve itself. Just like the size of the monitor, the depth of the display’s arc varies from model to model.

The arc of a curved display is measured using the distance from the outer edge of the screen to its center. That number, measured in millimeters, is expressed as the monitor’s Radius (R) and also indicates the recommended viewing distance to fully experience the benefits of that curve. The lower the radius, the deeper the curve will be. The deeper the curve, the more immersive your viewing experience will feel.

As with other specs, there is a range of possible curvatures ranging from 3000R to 1800R, all the way down to 1000R. Most curved monitors tend to fall between 1800R and 1500R, as large shallow curves typically require larger screen sizes than is typical for computer monitors. These curvatures range from a gentle bend to minimize how often you twist your neck to a noticeable curve that can enhance the immersive qualities of first-person games. Some gaming monitors drop down to 1000R. As this excellent explainer from Viewsonic describes, 1000R is the same curve as the human eye and should theoretically feel most “correct,” though such a deep curve can also be the hardest to adapt to.

Curved monitors are an acquired taste. It’s hard to know whether you’ll like a curved monitor, or what curve arc you’ll prefer without seeing them in person. Pictures just can’t replace the experience of sitting before one and seeing what each curve feels like for yourself. We recommend stopping by the electronics section of your retailer to see for yourself. If that’s not possible, be sure to buy from a retailer with a friendly return and exchange process.

Resolution

Beyond the arc of the curve, there’s no major difference between picking a curved monitor and any other. There are three core specs that we look at first when picking any PC display—resolution, screen size, and refresh rate.

Resolution refers to how many pixels your display uses to generate an image. All other things being equal, a higher resolution enables a sharper, more detailed image. Manufacturers currently stick to three primary resolutions for all widescreen (16:9) monitors: The baseline is 1920 x 1080 pixels, more commonly known as 1080p. The middle option, which we frequently recommend for gaming, is 2560 x 1440 pixels (you may see manufacturers call this 1440p, or QHD). Lastly, you have 3840 x 2160 pixels, also known as 4K. Unlike with TVs, where 4K has become the standard, 4K monitors are still a luxury and usually expensive.

If you plan on using your monitor for gaming, remember that higher resolutions require more powerful hardware to run well. If you’re a gamer but aren’t sure what resolution will work best for you, download and run a selection of the best benchmarks to get a better grasp of your system’s performance.

Screen size

Curved displays aim to take up more of your peripheral vision so, unlike conventional widescreen monitors, we recommend going with the largest display that feels comfortable for you.

That recommendation comes with a caveat: There is a correlation between screen size and resolution. Larger displays need more pixels to achieve the same level of sharpness as their smaller counterparts. So, while a larger screen will enhance the benefits of using a curved display,  we only recommend you do so if you can also afford to scale up to 1440p or 4K for a screen above 27 inches.

With curved displays in particular, it also makes sense to think about whether you’d be interested in the standard, 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, or a 21:9 ultrawide monitor. Ultrawide monitors extend the horizontal viewing area without making the display taller than a traditional display, which pushes the edges of the screen closer to your peripheral vision. Since curved displays work best when they extend to the outer edges of your field of view, the ultrawide form factor enhances the benefits of a curved panel. Pairing the two unconventional form factors often leads to a more expensive display, but a large curved ultrawide creates enough screen space to replace two monitors in most setups. It’s expensive, but a unique pleasure.

Refresh rate

For gaming, refresh rate often feels just as important as screen size and resolution. Refresh rate, measured in hertz (Hz), refers to how many times the screen updates the image on screen each second. Productivity monitors usually stick to basic 60Hz-75Hz, since smooth animation isn’t considered a priority. For gaming, however, a higher refresh rate allows games to run at a higher frame rate, making them look smoother and reducing motion blur. 

In general, we look for gaming monitors with a 144Hz refresh rate or higher. For office work, a little bump to refresh rate is a nice luxury, but not a crucial feature.

Panel type

The physical screen panel at the heart of your monitor can impact the color accuracy, contrast, and responsiveness of a monitor. Aside from a few exceptions—some of which you’ll see on this list—monitors rely on one of three panel types:

In-Plane Switching, or IPS, panels have the best colors and widest viewing angles of the three types. Because of this, they have become a staple in the creative industries and are a popular choice for digital artists. At the same time, IPS panels typically have slower response times and low contrast.

Twisted Nematic, or TN, panels are traditionally regarded as the “fastest” monitor panels because they generally introduce less input lag. Their high performance comes at the expense of color accuracy and viewing angles, so images may not look as vivid as they would on a VA or IPS panel. Manufacturers have closed the gap in response time between TN panels and the others, so you really only see them in very cheap displays, or esports monitors with extremely high refresh rates.

Vertical Alignment, or VA, panels are the middle ground between IPS and TN, offering a balance between deep color and high speed. VA panels also benefit from superior contrast. While a great IPS panel may have a 1000:1 contrast ratio, many VA panels triple that and come in at 3000:1. Blacks are typically much darker on VA panels and are a better fit for use in low-light environments. 

While panel type impacts your monitor’s picture, the impact of using one panel type vs another is usually quite small. They are a general indication of how a monitor may perform but the nuances of a monitor’s color depth are usually best judged with the naked eye. (Or, if you’re a creative pro, using a colorimeter.)

HDR and brightness

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is one of the most popular display standards available today. In a nutshell, HDR content leverages new display technologies to display a much wider range of colors and brightness levels, capturing more vivid colors and enabling your monitor to depict a wider range of light and shadow in a single image. 

Judging whether a monitor supports HDR content or not is a surprisingly contentious issue. To really see HDR as intended, your monitor needs to be capable of getting very bright, so it can show both high- and low-light situations. Many PC monitors technically have the ability to serve HDR content, but can’t get bright enough to properly display it. For most PC monitors—32 inches or smaller—we look for a maximum brightness of 600 or higher. On larger screens, including TVs, you really want 1000 nits or more. Monitors that support HDR, but fail to reach those marks will appear brighter in HDR mode, but will not change how an image is lit. HDR also requires advanced color depth, so be sure the display you’re looking at also supports 10-bit color or higher. 

HDR-enabled monitors make it easy to check their maximum brightness, as they feature a DisplayHDR certification from the Video Electronics Standards Association, commonly known as VESA. The DisplayHDR rating system includes the monitor’s maximum brightness as part of its rating—which ranges from HDR400 (400 nits) to HDR1400 (1400 nits).

FAQs

Q: Are curved monitors actually better?

Many users believe they can be, but it really comes down to personal taste. There are two reasons for using a curved monitor. First, when sitting the proper distance from the screen, a curved display can minimize the number of times you turn your head, thus reducing neck strain.

Second, gamers may appreciate that the screen takes up more of your field of view, immersing you into the on-screen action. It feels especially impactful in first-person experiences, where a curved ultrawide screen may allow you to use your peripheral vision.

In both cases, the impact will feel substantial to some, and insignificant to others. For the right person, though, it makes for a substantial upgrade.

Q: What are the pros and cons of a curved monitor?

The biggest benefit that curved monitors offer is their immersive viewing experience. The arc of the screen takes up more of your field of view and adds depth that flat monitors can’t provide. When properly positioned, you can see and do more than is possible with a single normal monitor.

There are some important cons that you should consider before buying one for yourself. Curved monitors tend to be larger and take up more space on your desk, so your desk area will likely feel more cramped than if you were using a normal flat panel. This is especially true if you opt for an ultrawide curved display. A curved screen also naturally reduces viewing angles, so they’re not great for when you need to share your screen. Gauging whether you’ll like a certain curve can also be difficult without actually experiencing it for yourself, so if you can’t try before you buy, you’ll need to be prepared to return it, which can be a bigger chore due to the often large, unwieldy box.

Q: Can you have two curved monitors?

Technically you can use two curved monitors side-by-side, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Using two curved monitors effectively undoes the ergonomic benefits of the curved panel: When sitting at the proper distance, centered, in front of a curved monitor, you shouldn’t have to twist your neck to take in the full screen. 

With two curved monitors, you’ll need to turn and re-center every time you switch. On top of that, lining up the arc of two curved displays puts a bezel to be in the center of your viewing area. It’s possible to use a second curved monitor at an angle, or positioned above your first (if you don’t mind craning your neck), but in general it is more difficult and less immersive to use two curved displays.

Instead of using two curved displays, we’d recommend using a second flat panel monitor off to the side, or upgrading to a curved ultrawide display, which should give you a similar amount of screen real estate. If space isn’t a concern, it’s also possible to use three curved monitors to create a “u” for an immensely immersive viewing experience.

Final thoughts on curved monitors

Curved monitors are more popular than ever before. They provide a comfortable, immersive experience that enhances games and productivity. With the market for curved monitors expanding, there are options at any price point now, so if you’ve tried one and want to make the jump, there’s an option for every budget.