If you’d asked us five years ago what we thought about curved monitors, we’d have replied: "It’s a fad, buy a decent flat-panel monitor and be happy". We, like so many, would have been wrong. While the curved tech found on TVs disappeared into obscurity as quickly as it arrived, concave panels have found their place on the desktop.
Though there are many applications for curved monitors (especially ultrawide versions), there’s nowhere they feel more at home than with gaming, whether you’re on a gaming PC, gaming laptop or video game console. Gaming curved monitors can draw you further in the game, improve peripheral vision and reduce eye strain. Not to mention they look incredible and often feature large screens.
In this article, we break down some of the benefits of curved monitors and rank the best curved gaming monitors around. Read on to find out more.
The best curved gaming monitor shortlist:
What is a curved monitor?
A curved monitor is the same as a standard PC monitor, only it has a curved panel rather than a flat panel. This design helps to reduce the eye strain that can be encountered when using widescreen monitors and helps to improve the field of view by better matching the natural curve of the eye.
Why use a curved monitor for gaming?
When you’re playing a video game, you’re often looking at a 3D representation of a world. A curved monitor helps to reinforce the feeling that you’re looking at the 3D space by enhancing your sense of peripheral vision. Thus, your sense of immersion is deepened (this is especially true on larger monitor sizes of 27-inches plus). Add to this the fact that colours tend to look a lot more consistent across a curved screen, and the visual experience of gaming on a curved monitor soon shows its worth. Plus, the curve of the monitor is also easier on your eyes, so eye strain is reduced, which is good news for hardcore marathon gamers.
The best curved gaming monitors in 2022:
Best curved gaming monitor overall
The AOC CU34G2X is an excellent model that excels in delivering the curved gaming experience to your PC or console (especially Xbox, given the 1440p resolution). It pushes a 144Hz refresh rate for silky gameplay, and the 1500R VA panel kicks out nice vibrant colours with plenty of contrast (SRGB is 119%). There's a minimal bezel too, just in case you fancy building a wall of the things, plenty of inputs for multiple devices and a USB hub for charging peripherals.
|Connections:||HDMI 2.0 x2, DP 1.4 x1, USB Hub, Audio out|
ViewSonic ELITE XG270QC
Best 27-inch curved gaming monitor
The ViewSonic ELITE XG270QC is a precisely engineered bit of kit, sure to please any gamer. Its resolution of 1440p is a nice mid-point, giving a noticeable boost from HD but not requiring the power-crunching of 4K. This allows to GPU to focus on getting the most out of the ELITE's 165Hz refresh rate. Elsewhere, you'll find a good colour representation, deep contrast and HDR 400 support. To add in a little flash, there are also a few RGB LEDs on the underside.
|Connections:||HDMI 2.0 x1, DP x1, USB x4, Audio out|
|Other:||FreeSync, RGB LED|
Best budget curved gaming monitor
When we tested the AOC C27G2ZU, we found that it helped us feel more deeply immersed in the gameplay. We noted that "its impressive 1500R VA panel, displaying 120% sRGB with a 240Hz refresh rate and 0.5ms response time, the on-screen environment is crisp and vibrant." So long as you're happy to game at 1080p, you'll be more than happy with this monitor (and the budget-friendly price tag).
|Connections:||HDMI 2.0 x2, DP 1.2 x1, USB Hub, Audio out|
ASUS ROG Strix XG32VC Curved Gaming Monitor
Best curved gaming monitor
ASUS's highly-renowned gamer-specific brand, Republic of Gamers has smashed it out of the park with their cutting edge curved monitor. At 1440p, with a great-sized 32-inch screen, the XG32VC is simply perfection in a monitor, and is perfect for competitive, as well as single-player gaming. It's finest feature perhaps; its 170Hz refresh rate that'll leave any competition in the dust.
|Resolution:||2560 x 1440p|
|Connections:||HDMI 2.0 x1, DP 1.2 x1, USB-C x1,USB-3.0 x1, 3.5mm audio out|
|Other:||FreeSync Premium Pro, HDR, Shadow Boost|
Samsung Odyssey G5 LC34G55
Topping many wish lists is the Samsung Odyssey G5 LC34G55, an ultrawide curved monitor with a rapid 165Hz 1440p panel. The curved sits at 1000R, HDR10 is supported, and the contrast is rich and deep. While there are more refined and better-featured curved gaming monitors available, the price of this one is a great way o test the ultrawide waters.
|Resolution:||3440 x 1440|
|Connections:||HDMI 2.0 x1, DP 1.4 x1|
Gigabyte G34WQC A
Ultrawide, curved, 1440p and under £500 - that's a potent combination from Gigabyte. The screen has a 1500A panel and measures 34-inches - plenty to see what's happening in the heat of battle. Everything looks smooth, courtesy of the 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time. If we're picky, the only place that you can feel the affordability creep in is with the HDR performance.
|Resolution:||3440 x 1440|
|Connections:||HDMI 2.0 x1, DP 1.4 x1|
Curved gaming monitors: A buyer’s guide
Monitor curvature explained: 1000R, 1500R and 1800R
The curvature of a panel is reported as a radius, measured in millimetres. Common examples of this include 1500R (1500mm) and 1800R (1800mm). This number indicates how far away from the monitor the user should sit, as the user becomes the centre point of this radius. Exceeding and undercutting this distance can result in a compromised experience.
The larger the number, the gentler the curve, the further a user can sit from the screen. Here’s an infographic from ViewSonic that demonstrates further:
Aspect ratio sets the width and height of screens display. Obsolete monitors and televisions ran at a ratio of 4:3, which gave the square image which now looks very dated. Most modern widescreen monitors run at an aspect ratio of 16:9, with some ultra-wide models will run up to 32:9. Essentially, the higher the aspect ratio the more content is displayed on the screen.
HDMI and DisplayPorts: explained
Port interfaces have a direct effect on the resolution and refresh rate attainable by a monitor. More recent iterations of the HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces can transfer increased volumes of information, allowing them to achieve higher refresh rates and resolutions.
Linking your gaming PC, PS5 or Xbox Series X to the correct port and with the right cable will ensure that your monitor performs at the peak of its powers. Here’s a quick guide breaking down the maximum refresh rates and resolutions for HDMI and DisplayPort connections:
HDMI 1.4 - 120Hz at 1080p, 75Hz at 1440p, 30Hz at 4K
HDMI 2.0 - 240Hz at 1080p, 144Hz at 1440p, 60Hz at 4K
HDMI 2.1 - 120Hz at 4K, 60Hz at 8K UHD
Note: Some manufactures use software to artificially raise the 120Hz at 1080p of HDMI 1.4 to 144Hz.
DP 1.2 - 240Hz at 1080p, 165Hz at 1440p, 75Hz at 4K
DP 1.3 - 240Hz at 1440p, 120Hz at 4K, 60Hz at 5K, 30Hz at 8K
DP 1.4 - 144Hz at 4K, 120Hz at 5K, 60Hz at 8K
Note: Mini DisplayPorts match the performance of their iteration. For example, Mini DP 1.3 and DP 1.3 offer the same capacities.
The panel type used in a monitor will effectively dictate the display’s quality, clarity, and response time, amongst other things. The type of panel used affects the unit cost.
TN – Twisted nematic panels typically have narrow viewing angles and reduced colour depth.
IPS – In-plane switching panels have large colour depths and viewing angles.
VA – Vertical alignment panels have large colours depth and a viewing angle that typically sits between TN and IPS.