Are Curved Monitors Just a Gimmick? 15 Pros and Cons


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You have been looking at the new curved monitors available on the market for a while. They are sleek, nice to look at, and you think they would make an excellent addition to your office space. But one thought has you a bit hesitant: are curved monitors just a gimmick? Sure, they look cool, but will they live up to the hype?

We have taken some of the guesswork out of the equation for you and made a comprehensive list of the benefits and drawbacks you can expect to experience when using a curved monitor. Keep reading to learn more about what makes a curved monitor different than the traditional flat monitor, how it functions, and the pros and cons of using one.

Curved Monitors vs. Flat Monitors

Understanding the pros and cons of a curved monitor requires understanding how exactly they differ from flat screens. Is it just the shape that sets them apart, or is there something intrinsically different about how the technology engages your senses? This section is all about demystifying the curved monitor compared to the flat monitors you may be weighing them against.

How a Curved Monitor Works

Modern curved monitors are more than just flat monitors bent into a curve. Their unique shape is the result of an LCD panel structure that does not distort the image on the screen, which detracts from the possible formation of a cloudy appearance on your screen, a phenomenon known as “oval mura.”

Moreover, whereas flat screens often host their color displays on top of the two-panel glass structure in their interior, curved monitors retain the colored layer for the screen on the bottom of the glass, allowing for greater color purity and vibrancy even when curved.

The employment of flexible glass to ensure the safety and preservation of the monitor’s curve only highlight the innovations that led to creating the curved monitors currently available on the market today.

Finally, the curve of the monitor allows the light it projects to be seen in greater totality, allowing those who use them to experience the heightened visual stimuli and effects attributed to the way curved monitors exploit the natural spherical shape of your eyes.

Do Curved Monitors Distort Images?

There is a concern among would-be curved monitor buyers that due to the shape of a curved monitor’s screen, images seen on the screen might be distorted or otherwise made less aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  

This concern, while understandable, is simply unfounded. The truth is that the screen’s curve is precisely what allows for less visible distortion than seen in flat screen monitors, primarily because of the peripheral vision we talked about earlier.  

The curve of these monitors utilizes all three visible dimensions as well as the peripheral vision to capitalize on the eye’s natural curvature.  This allows your eye to capture more of the projected light and see the actual proportions of the image as they are meant to appear.

How Different Are Curved Monitors from Flat Monitors?

Beyond the technology that allowed for the shape of the curved monitors to endure in a useful and efficient way, curved and flat monitors still retain quite a few common traits.

The resolution of the screen and images typically remain the same, as do many of the other specifications one typically looks for in a monitor, curved or flat.

The biggest difference between the two is that, unlike flat monitors, curved monitors also come with a “curvature” spec that gives the depth of the curve which a curved monitor has.

Learning about the construction of a curved monitor can help you understand the pros and cons of using one. First, let’s get into some of the pros that entice many to purchase their first curved monitor.

Pros of Using a Curved Monitor

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It turns out that what you’ve heard about curved monitors is not just hype. There are many documented health benefits that you will experience when using a curved monitor, making them the ergonomic choice when comparing them to their flat counterparts.

Monitor Curvature Works Better with Natural Eye Coordination

Your eyes are naturally spherical. This means that when they absorb light and send it to the brain to be processed, the spherical lens of your eye, and the curved retina that lies at the back of your eye, are all processing information that has itself been refracted, bent, and curved.

This facet of your physiology is one reason why curved monitors work so well in delivering a solid audio/visual experience. Simply put, it is because, unlike flat monitors, the construction of the monitors takes some of the work off of your eyes by producing curved images.

Curved Monitors Reduce Eye Strain

With flat-screen monitors, the eye will constantly move back and forth across the screen to take in as much light and incoming information as possible. Long-term use of these screens can prolong the stress your eyes are subjected to, potentially resulting in headaches and a need for corrective lenses.

Curved monitors have been shown to reduce stress levels on your eyes by refracting light in a way that aligns more closely to the natural way your eye absorbs and understands visual stimuli.

Less Head and Neck Movements Mean Greater Comfort

When your computer activities require you to sit for long periods, doing the same movements over and over again can lead to soreness and muscle strain. The curved monitor can eliminate some of these movements because they are better equipped to work with your natural eye coordination.

That means that less of your body’s movements need to be dedicated to swiveling your head from horizontally and vertically to capture as much of the image before you as possible. This leads to greater comfort while using your computer and the lessened possibility of muscle strain or injury.

Diversity of Monitor Curvature to Suit Your Unique Needs

The beauty of the curved monitor lies not only in its signature shape but in its versatility. The curved monitor is not a one-size-fits-all kind of device. Instead, the curved monitor can come in various sizes, and there are different curvatures you can choose from to suit your uses for the monitor.

Monitor curvature is measured according to an assigned number, which lets you know how tight or how open the monitor’s curve is. Monitor curvature can range from 1800R to 4000R, where the more curved the screen is (and the smaller the number), the better your experience can be for things like gaming.

The diversity of the monitor curvatures available means that you can select which curve best suits your particular eyesight and aesthetics, which in turn means a more comfortable and engaging experience for you.

You Can See the Whole Screen at Once

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Curved monitors rely on their use of your peripheral vision to make for a more immersive overall experience. With traditional flat screens, the edges of the screen often appear out of focus to our peripheral vision because the screen’s shape does not mirror how our eyes naturally curve to absorb incoming light.

This makes for a viewing experience that requires greater eye movement and more focus on the part of the viewer, which means that less energy is left to simply relax and enjoy the use of the monitor.

With curved monitors, you naturally use both your direct line of sight and your often less engaged peripheral vision to view the screen in its entirety without having to move your line of focus from one part of the screen to another. 

This not only puts less strain on your eyes, as we have mentioned before, but it also gives your mind greater freedom to deepen the immersion of your gaming or your focus on your work.

Higher Quality of Image and Video Experience

As we’ve mentioned a couple of times before, curved monitors are made with the visual experience in mind. 

This means that the curvature is formed with the placement of the viewer as its focal point, the light is projected in such a way that all viewable imagery is captured within the natural range of eyesight for the viewer, and most importantly, the distortion of the images is significantly less than that seen in flat monitors.

This is one of the most attractive facets of the curved monitor, not only making for a more immersive experience while watching your favorite movie or playing your favorite game but also making for a more aesthetically pleasing experience as well.

Made With Gaming in Mind

Though not all curved monitors are built with gaming in mind, the fact that all curved monitors are made with the natural curvature and sensitivity of the eye in mind means that curved monitors are better suited to gaming than flat ones.

Because the monitor’s curve works better with your eyes, using one can allow for increased reaction time and better use of hand-eye coordination due to less distortion in the images viewed.

Most importantly, the fact that curved monitors can create a wrap-around feel in the user’s workspace means that more of your focus will be dedicated to the game itself.

For those whose livelihood is gaming, this pro of curved monitors might be the defining feature of their workspace as well.

Keeps You Focused on Work

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The curved monitor is not only for entertainment, despite all the incredible immersive features that make entertainment such an enjoyable experience with them. Curved monitors are also becoming an essential part of the modern workspace because of that same immersive capacity.

The screen’s curve allows for a wrap-around feel, making your workspace more closed off to external stimuli and other distractors. Some have found that this facet of curved monitors, plus the better experience achieved from the way the curved monitor interacts with your eyes, allows you to focus more on your work.

Graphic Design/Video Editing

Because curved monitors portray images with substantially less distortion than flat monitors, they can be a valuable tool for graphic design and video editing; the lack of distortion allows for a better understanding of the images being created and edited. 

This would give those working on such tasks peace of mind knowing that each portion of the tasks being completed has been viewed in their entirety and that the final product of graphic design work would be truly top-notch.

Larger Digital Workspace

The curved monitor offers more workspace across the monitor than flat monitors, which take up the same amount of desk space. This allows for more efficient use of the screen, simply because there is more room on the screen available for open windows and programs.

Cons of Curved Monitors

Of course, with every list of pros the curved monitor can populate, there are corresponding cons that detract from the appeal of the innovative technology. Fortunately, those cons are few, but it is worth it to go through them to understand the full scope of what a curved monitor can and cannot offer.

Curved Monitors Are More Expensive Compared to Flat Monitors

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Because curved monitors require a unique construction that sets them apart from their flat counterparts, they can be more expensive than a flat monitor comparable in size and other specifications.

The good news is that prices are falling due to increased popularity and the widespread use of curved monitors in general, but their prices are still elevated compared to flat monitors.

Curved Monitors Are More Expensive to Fix

Just as the curved monitor itself is, on average, more expensive than flat monitors, so too are the prices to fix them.

That means if you need a new part for your curved monitor, or a crack in your curved monitor appears such that you need to replace the screen, then you can expect to pay prices for your parts and for the service that may outpace those you might have seen for flat screens.

Curved Monitors Can Have Visual Issues Too

It’s true, the curve of the monitor—for all its excellent benefits in terms of eye strain and muscle soreness—comes with its unique visual drawback.

One well-documented issue often seen with curved monitors is the tendency for excess glare to come about due to the screen’s curve. Because of the way that the light refracts and potentially amplifies itself as it travels from your curved monitor to your eye, the amount of light your eye receives from it can be a lot to take in at first if you are used to using more visually distorted flat screens.

Curved Monitors Have Less Placement Versatility

Unlike flat monitors, curved monitors are built specifically for use while mounted on desk space. They are more difficult to mount onto walls or other nontraditional positions simply because the shape of curved monitors is ill-suited to use as a vertically mounted decoration or monitor.

Because the typical curved monitor comes in a 21:9 aspect ratio, it is often considerably wider than flat monitors of comparable dimensions. This means that there will be less desk space available when using curved monitors. 

This may be due to the wrap-around feel they create, which tends to block space so that less open space may be used for storage or other items necessary for the workspace.  It also results from the curve of the screen in general, which removes the negative space available to move within.

Are Curved Monitors Worth It? 

The pros vastly outweigh the cons when it comes to the curved monitor. The question of whether curved monitors are just a gimmick is settled: from the health benefits one can easily see from their use to the increases in workplace efficiency noted by those who use them, the curved monitor is not only not a gimmick, but it may be the better option for many looking for to purchase their next monitor.

The few cons presented should remain factors in your ultimate decision; if you are limited to the amount of space you can allocate for your curved monitor or if excess glare from the screen is something that may disrupt your comfort and level of immersion, a traditional monitor may be the way to go. 

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you decide that a curved monitor is a good fit for you now, you are now armed with knowledge on how they are made, the benefits they provide, and the drawbacks common to all curved monitors. So, the next time you are faced with the question of whether curved monitors are a sound investment to make, you can answer with a resounding, “Yes!”

Curved monitors are ergonomically sound, have been shown to increase productivity at work, and are built for high-quality immersive experiences in gaming and entertainment.  When searching for a new monitor now or in the future, you can rest assured that curved monitors are the real deal.

Sources:

How to Choose a Curved vs. Flat Monitor and Which One’s Best for You. BenQ.

How to Create an Ergonomic Workspace. LG.

Factors Associated with Visual Fatigue from Curved Monitor Use. National Institute of Health.

Are Curved Displays Ergonomically Advantageous Over Flat Displays? ResearchGate.

How to Decide Between a Flat and Curved External Computer Monitor. Rolling Stone.

Monitor Curvature: All the Info You Need About Curved Monitors! ViewSonic.

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