The PC is only one-third of your desktop experience. Sure, it’s at the heart of your day-to-day computing, but you need a great way to see what you’re actually doing too. A curved display is the best way to view your work, play PC games, and watch video content because the shape complements your eyeballs for an easier, more natural viewing experience.
Manufacturers typically market the curvature of a display using numbers like 1800R. That essentially means if the display were to create a complete circle, the radius would be 1,800 millimeters. Thus, the panel becomes flatter as the number grows higher because the resulting theoretical circle is larger and wider. An 1800R curvature seems to be the sweet spot although our list of the best curved monitors includes models with 1500R and 2300R curves.
Most of what you’ll find below include synchronization technology for games, wide viewing angles, and resolutions of 1,920 x 1,080 and above. As always, we provide our favorite along with solutions for professionals, customers on a budget, and two units chosen specifically for AMD and Nvidia gamers. If you’re looking for an ultra-wide display, we have a separate list here.
Samsung CF791 ($950)
Kicking off our list is Samsung’s 34-inch CF791 with a 1500R curvature. Based on VA technology, it supports 125 percent of the sRGB color space, 88 percent of the NTSC space, and supports up to 16.7 million colors. This rainbow is backed by a 3,440 x 1,440 resolution at 100Hz, a brightness of 300 nits, a decent static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, and a response time of four milliseconds.
According to the specifications, the display relies on quantum dot technology. These “dots” are little particles smaller than a strand of hair that capture and re-emit light. Their color depends on their size and shape: a 2nm dot produces blue whereas a 6nm dot produces pure red. And due to their size and shape, each quantum dot’s color is “pure” because the light doesn’t spill into the colored light of a neighboring quantum dot.
Other features provided with this display include two built-in speakers, two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort connector, one headphone jack, and two USB-A 3.1 Gen1 ports. It also includes AMD’s FreeSync technology, which will synchronize the panel’s refresh rate with the frames-per-second output of a Radeon-branded graphics card or discrete chip. Without this synchronization, you could see visual screen tearing and stuttering as the PC’s graphics output fluctuates while the panel’s refresh rate remains the same.
That said, Samsung’s display caters to gamers with a fast response time and the company’s Game Mode, which optimizes the display specifically for gaming to reduce input lag. Typically, displays process loads of information that can bog down their internal processors, which can result in frames that are rendered a little too late. Game Mode turns off processes/features to get the best performance possible.
You can read our review here.
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HP Z38c ($1200)
This is our largest display in the batch with a 37.5-inch screen, a 3,840 x 1,600 resolution at 60Hz, and a curvature of 2300R. That means it’s also the least curvy on the list, but that’s okay: There’s plenty of curve to comfortably get the job done. The big selling point here is the panel’s color aspect, as it provides 98 percent of the sRGB color space, and supports a hefty 1.07 billion colors. It’s backed by IPS panel technology, which already promises deep, rich colors and 178-degree viewing angles.
The HP Z38c sports a maximum brightness level of 300 nits, a static contrast ratio of 1,000:1, and a response time of five milliseconds. Port-wise, you’ll find one HDMI, one DisplayPort, and one USB-C 3.1 Gen1 connection mounted on the back. There are no built-in speakers, nor will you find any type of audio output on this display.
The benefit of having USB-C on the display is that it supports high-quality DisplayPort video output. That said, if your parent PC’s DisplayPort connector is already occupied by an existing display, you can tether this display to the PC’s USB-C port (if available) that supports the 4K resolution at 60Hz. Technically, you can use a USB-C to USB-C cable, or a USB-C to DisplayPort cable given this panel includes a DisplayPort connector.
You can read our review here.
For Nvidia Gamers
AOC AGON AG352UCG ($900)
We couldn’t have a list without a display supporting Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, even more so given that the other panels in our roundup feature AMD FreeSync. Nvidia’s version serves the same purpose: to synchronize the panel’s refresh rate with the frames-per-second output of a GeForce-branded graphics card or discrete chip. This feature reduces screen tearing and stuttering, and eliminates the annoying input lag associated with using Vsync.
The AOC AGON AG352UCG consists of a 35-inch screen based on MVA panel technology to support 178-degree viewing angles, 100 percent of the sRGB color space, 72 percent of the NTSC color space, and 16.7 million colors. It’s capable of a 3,440 x 1,440 resolution at 100Hz, a brightness of 300 nits, a static contrast ratio of 2,000:1, and a response time of four milliseconds. The curvature is 1800R, making it curvier than the HP Z38c mentioned above, but flatter than our top pick, the Samsung CF791.
Connectivity-wise, you’ll find one HDMI port, one DisplayPort connector, two USB-A 3.1 Gen1 ports (one charges), and an audio jack that complements the two built-in two-watt speakers. Also packed into this display are several AOC technologies such as LowBlue Monitor for reducing blue light emissions, FlickerFree to minimize the annoying flickering that cause eye fatigue, and SceneLight. This latter feature is the panel’s built-in illumination on the back that you can customize using the company’s software.
For AMD Gamers
BenQ EX3200R ($450)
Although technically we already have a FreeSync panel on our list, BenQ’s EX3200R provides a slightly flatter presentation (1800R), a smaller size of 31.5 inches, and a lower resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 at 144Hz. That’s the highest refresh rate of the batch, meaning the panel can render a Full HD frame 144 times per second to present a highly smooth visual experience. Backing this refresh rate is AMD’s FreeSync technology that will synchronize that rate with the output of a Radeon-branded graphics card or discrete chip.
The display is based on VA panel technology to produce 178 degree viewing angles, support for 72 percent of the NTSC color space, and support for up to 16.7 million colors. All this color is backed by a maximum brightness of 300 nits, a contrast ratio of 3,000:1, and a response time of four milliseconds. Port-wise, you’re provided with one DisplayPort connector, one Mini DisplayPort, one HDMI, and one headphone jack. Unfortunately, there are no built-in speakers.
Despite the FreeSync technology, BenQ’s display isn’t specifically targeting gamers. The company’s feature set is more about an overall viewing experience, such as Cinema Mode that fine-tunes colors for video. It also supports Full HD video playback at 24p, 25p, and 30p, which translates to a full 24/25/30 frames per second. Movies and TV shows are typically shot at 24 frames per second to support international TV standards, but many directors are now ignoring the industry standard by pushing higher frame rates, such as Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy shot in 48p.
You can read our review here.
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For Any Budget
Samsung C27F398 ($280)
This panel is the smallest model on our list with a 27-inch screen and a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution at 60Hz. It’s based on VA panel technology supporting 178-degree viewing angles, 16.7 million colors, and 72 percent of the NTSC color space. The display has a curvature of 1800R, thus it resides between our top pick, and HP’s display built for professionals. Honestly, 1800R is rather standard in curved displays given the shape does a fine job complementing the roundness of your eyeballs.
Other technical features packed into Samsung’s budget display include a maximum brightness of 250 nits — the lowest in our batch — a static contrast ratio of 3,000:1, a response time of four milliseconds, and AMD FreeSync. There are no built-in speakers, but you’ll find a headphone jack along with one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort connector. All of this hardware is packed into a stylish, “ultra-slim” form factor measuring less than 0.5 inches thick.
Outside the base hardware aspects, Samsung’s C27F398 includes Eye Save Mode to reduce blue light emissions and eye-fatiguing flicker, and what the company calls Active Crystal Color technology that promises deep blacks and bright whites. It’s “eco-friendly” too given the display doesn’t have any polyvinyl chloride (a synthetic plastic polymer), and includes an automatic brightness adjustment component to save power.