Flat vs curved monitors and displays: which is best?

Gone are the days when the only thing to consider when buying a TV is whether you want it in black and white or color.

Only in 2023, Samsung debuted what it billed as the world’s first dual 4K gaming monitor, the Odyssey Neo G9, which comes with a stunning 7680 x 2160 resolution. There are graphics boosting gaming monitors with a 240Hz refresh rate, and with Corsair’s Xeneon Flex OLED, you can literally bend the screen to your heart’s content.

It’s a veritable smorgasbord of panel options. But when it comes to immersive, graphically superior gaming, there are really only two screen options to consider. Do you need a flat screen, or curved way to go? Both have advantages and disadvantages and what is best for you depends on what you need.

Flat Screen vs Curved: What’s the Difference?

Flat screen: Sony InZone M3

In news that will surprise no one, the main difference between a flat screen and a curved monitor is that one is flat and the other is curved. But the devil is in the details.

TVs were originally curved to appeal to home cinema fans, but the technology failed to gain traction – just as 3D TVs did a few years earlier. On a smaller scale, however, curved displays have found success with desk-bound gamers and creatives. The way they fill your peripheral vision gives you a more immersive experience than you would with a flat screen.

Curved screens are usually wider than their flat counterparts, making them great for navigating multiple programs and apps.

Flat Screen vs Curved: Pros and Cons

Sony InZone M9 monitor displaying Destiny 2

A curved screen fills your vision with glorious HD bursts for greater immersion and enhanced action. And, now that curved screens have found a suitable home for gamers, they’re being optimized with more gamer-friendly tech, like HDMI 2.1 connectivity or pre-loaded smart TV functions like Twitch and YouTube to boot quickly.

However, curved monitors generally suffer more from glare than flat screens. This isn’t so much a technical flaw, but rather that it’s able to capture light from more angles under a curved screen. That said, models like the LG UltraGear OLED come with an anti-glare coating.

A curved screen is designed for a single person only. This isn’t a problem for hardcore gamers, streamers, graphic designers, or those who make a living hoarding a thousand tabs at a time. If your PC’s screen doubles as Netflix ships, a flat screen is probably the way to go. The extra depth of a curved monitor takes up more space than a flat screen, which is something to keep in mind for home setups. But if you have enough space, perfect lighting conditions and to ensure the job, a curved screen can’t be beat.

Flat Screen vs. Curved: What to Do

Best All-rounder: Alienware AW3423DW (Curved)

Curved alienware

When the Alienware AW3423DW arrived in early 2022 as the first QD-OLED gaming monitor, skeptics wondered if it would deliver on this next step in gaming technology. They shouldn’t worry, though, as the AW3423DW has proven to be one of the best gaming monitors out there. With a 21:9 aspect ratio, 3440 x 1440 resolution and an 1800R curvature, the monitor also offers a 175Hz refresh rate and a response time of 0.1ms. One key element to note, though, is that the AW3423DW doesn’t come with an HDMI 2.1 port. It has Nvidia G-Sync on-board, but AMD owners can save around £200 by opting for the AW3423DWF instead.

Plain Options: Corsair XENEON 32UHD144

Best for Budget: BenQ Mobiuz EX240N (Flat)

BenQ Mobius EX240N front

For a nifty gaming monitor at a wallet price, you can’t go far wrong with the BenQ Mobiuz EX240N. The 24in EX240N offers HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 and a 3.5mm headphone port as well as a 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. The Mobiuz EX240N is on sale now, direct from BenQ and Amazon, with prices starting at £169.

Curved options: MSI Optix MPG341CQR

Best for Big Spenders: Samsung Odyssey Arc (Curved)

Samsung odyssey Ark hands-on review Vertical face on

The Samsung Odyssey Arc is one of the most versatile gaming monitors ever made. Think we’re exaggerating? Just look at the specs: it’s a 55-inch curved beast with eye-popping HDR and a pivoting stand that turns from portrait to landscape with a push. It’s a screen that can make every game look incredible, but you’ll need deep pockets to invest in one.

Plain options: Asus ROG Swift OLED PG48UQ

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