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Curved vs Flat Monitor – What’s the Difference (Simple Answer!)

by Lisa Hayden
Curved vs Flat Monitor

In today's post we explain the key differences between a curved vs flat monitor...

Undecided between a flat and curved computer monitor? Do you even know the difference between these two? One thing you should keep in mind is that curved monitors aren’t built just because we now have the technology to make it happen. Curved monitors have their good points – in the same way that flat screens have their pluses. That being said, here’s what you need to know before making the choice:

Balancing Sizing with Budget

The most obvious factor we want to look at is the cost of the product. Since flat screens have been in the market for a fairly long time, you can already find ones in the more affordable range with the cheapest options costing around $300. Curved monitors on the other hand are slowly becoming normal in the market with the cheapest prices starting around the same price as the former. Here’s the kicker though – if you want the full experience a curve monitor can provide, you have to purchase one that’s at least 30 inches diagonally. Anything lower than that and you might as well buy a flat screen monitor because there’s really no difference when it comes to viewing experience.

So how does a 30-inch curved monitor fare compared to a 30-inch flat monitor in terms of price? Curved is a bit more costly with a difference of around $150 to $200 depending on the brand.

Impact of the Curvature 

Curved vs Flat Monitor curvature

When checking out curved monitors, you’ll find specs like: 4000R, 1800R, or 1500R and so on. This is not something you’d find with a flat monitor. This is because the numbers refer to the extent of the curve, specifically the radius of the screen. A small radius means that the curve is more pronounced. Today, the gold standard is set at 1800R so if you’re buying one, stick to this particular specification. The distinction with a flat screen monitor becomes important when you consider the distance you will be having between you and the PC screen. If it’s flat – the monitor can be a tad farther away. With a curved one however, you’d want it a little closer to take full advantage of the benefits.

Impact on Eye Comfort

If you use the PC for long periods of time, the curved setup will be less taxing on the eyes. This is because the curvature is done to take advantage of the field of view of a person. After all, we don’t have a straight and flat view of the world – humans have a peripheral vision which naturally prompts a curved way of looking at things. This isn’t just some theory however. Studies have been done and the conclusion is that a curved monitor is much more relaxing to the eyes as opposed to monitors that are set up side by side with each other.

Immersive Viewing

Curved vs Flat Monitor viewing

This is the main draw of curved monitors. Their position is such that it even engages your peripheral vision. It’s like being closed in a half moon – therefore giving you a 180-degree view of everything that’s happening. Gamers who use curved monitors often find themselves forgetting that they’re actually playing on the PC. It’s that realistic – especially when coupled with excellent graphics.

What about Specifications?

The good news is that both flat screen monitors and curved monitors come with the modern bells and whistles. By that, we’re talking about all the typical connections that come with a PC monitor. One big change between the two would be the aspect ratio. Your typical flat screen monitor has a 16:9 aspect ratio. The curved however is a 21:9 which falls under the ultra-wide category. This is the kind of image you see when movies are filmed using a CinemaScope.

Angle and Positioning

The curvature of a monitor can be tough to place in an office desk. Unless you’ve got lots of space in there, you might find yourself having a hard time with the proper positioning. This is especially true if you’re using multiple monitors in the same area. It’s going to be tough to set them up side by side. Of course, there’s also the obvious issue that a curved monitor would be harder to mount.

Note that because a curved monitor puts large emphasis on mimicking the human eye line, you also need to be particular with how it is placed. You need to be dead center of the monitor so that the curvature is effectively spanning equal sides of your face. 

Glares and Reflections

Curved vs Flat Monitor glares

Flat screen are more prone to glare, which is why it’s important to find the perfect position for them in your room or work office. Curved types on the other hand are more resistant. Any glare coming from the sides is effectively shielded by the curvature of the monitor. Here’s the problem though – if the light does hit the monitor, it’s going to be incredibly obvious. 

Gaming Setup or Work Setup?

Ultimately, the question of whether you should get a flat or a curved monitor is answered by your major use for it. You can compromise on the price if the monitor is going to be used primarily for work. If all you need it to do is properly showcase documents and web pages, then a flat screen would work perfectly – regardless of its size. Some people like curved monitors for work because it makes the process of multitasking easier – and you might find it has the same benefits for you.

Now, things are different if you’re going to use the monitor for gaming. Since they mimic the natural eye view of the individual, a curved screen will give you a better gaming experience. But what if you intend to do both using the monitor? If that’s the case, then go for the curved model which should offer you the best of both worlds. It’s going to be a bit pricier but you’ll be able to enjoy every dollar.

Conclusion

All in all, there’s not much difference between a curved and a flat monitor. The decision really depends on what you’re going to use it for and once you’ve determined your priorities, you’re ready to make that purchase.

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