The Best Curved Monitors for 2021 | Digital Trends

If you’ve never used a curved monitor before, you might not understand the hype. Much like a curved flat-screen, a curved monitor is a popular choice for gamers or anyone who enjoys watching videos on their computer. The unique design can step up your gameplay or make your favorite movie feel all that much more immersive. 

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With so many different brands on the market and a variety of features, pricing, and specs to compare, choosing the right curved monitor might be overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t need to wade through all the information — we’ve already reviewed these top picks for you.

Best Curved Monitors

The best curved monitor overall: BenQ EX3501R

Why should you buy this: It’s an excellent monitor for color and brightness, perfect for viewing images and video.

Who’s it for: Everyone, but with a special focus on gamers and those who use their computer for entertainment

Why we picked the BenQ EX3501R:

The BenQ EX3501R combines a large, 35-inch monitor with a very affordable price for such a high-end ultrawide. It comes with HDR support, BenQ’s EyeCare settings for reducing eye strain, 100Hz refresh rate, and FreeSync. We were especially impressed with the brightness and color accuracy of this screen (100% of sRGB and 82% of AdobeRGB), which offers vivid images for gaming and videos — and any work you might be doing on the monitor. Ports include USB-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, and two USB-A ports, enough for all your connection needs. It’s a great ultrawide that’s made for everyone, and an easy recommendation if you’re not sure where to turn.

The best professional curved monitor: Dell Ultrasharp U3818DW

Why should you buy this: It’s a durable, versatile monitor with an extrawide screen and great color.

Who’s it for: People looking for one of the biggest monitors available, or who like strong monitor controls.

Why we picked the Dell Ultrasharp U3818DW:

Dell’s hefty monitor comes with some extra size, a particularly large, 38-inch WQHD+ ultrawide that won’t wobble on your desk, assuming you’ve made enough room for it (VESA mount options also are included). Dell Ultrasharp U3818DW offers a 3,840 x 1,600 resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and easy, on-model buttons/joystick on the underside that make it simple to switch between modes. Ports include two HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C. We also noted that the model comes with a wide color gamut, albeit with a just so-so contrast ratio. There is no FreeSync, making this giant better suited for work tasks than gaming.

The monitor with best color accuracy: Samsung CJ791

Why should you buy this: This Samsung monitor easily is one of the best ultrawides we’ve ever seen.

Who’s it for: People who like big curves and lots of color accuracy.

Why we picked the Samsung CJ791:

Samsung’s excellent 34-inch model brings an incredible contrast ratio, 100Hz refresh rate, 4ms response time, and 3,440 x 1,440 resolution. Samsung’s quantum dot technology adds extra sharpness to the display, and color accuracy meets 100% of sRGB and 85% of AdobeRGB — in other words, the color looks great.

We also were fans of the elegant design, easy-access ports, and the clear, detailed menu controls for adjusting color and switching between different modes. Ports include two HDMI 2.0 ports, a DisplayPort 1.4, and two USB connections: Recent updates to this model also added Thunderbolt 3 support for one of the USB connections, giving you options for ultrafast data transfer or powering accessories.

If you want one of the best pictures that a curved ultrawide can provide, the Samsung CJ791 is worth saving up for. However, note that it’s a bit more friendly with games than with streaming services, which can struggle to fit properly to the outsized screen and its somewhat unusual resolution. To help with this, Samsung includes picture-by-picture and picture-in-picture modes that make the display more versatile.

The best curved ultrawide monitor: Samsung Odyssey G9 Series

Why should you buy this: The extra-large curved screen is perfect for a complete field-of-view experience.

Who’s it for: Professionals and gamers with lots of desk space.

Why we picked the Samsung Odyssey G9 Series:

Screens don’t come much larger than the 49-inch Odyssey G9! The QHD (5120 x 1440) screen offers a native up to a 240Hz refresh rate, plus both G-sync and AMD FreeSync2 compatibility for HDR content, in addition to HDR 1000 support for a peak brightness rating of 1,000 nits. There’s only so much you can do with that much screen real estate thanks to aspect ratios (not many games or movies will be able to fill the entire screen), but it’s an excellent pick for multitasking thanks to how many windows and references you can fit across the screen — consulting multiple tables at once, or playing a game with a guide open on the same display.

So far, so great for people who want the largest screens: Ports include HDMI 2.0, two DisplayPort 1.4, and two USB ports (3.0 but sadly no USB-C). There’s also support for light filters, picture-in-picture modes, and other options that are useful when dealing with a screen of this size.

However, a 49-inch curved monitor like the Samsung Odyssey G9 Series takes up a lot of room on a desk: It may be a good idea to break out the tape measure before jumping on that buy button.

The best gaming curved monitor: Samsung CHG70 Series

Why should you buy this: It’s a reasonably priced gaming monitor that will fit on any desk.

Who’s it for: Gamers that want a well-rated monitor that can stand up to lengthy sessions.

Why we picked the Samsung CHG70 Series:

Gamers looking for immersion that won’t cost too much or take up too much room should check this well-rounded 27-inch Samsung model, an excellent choice for handling gaming and anything else on your favorite PC. The screen offers a 2560 x 1440 resolution, 1-millisecond response time, and 144HZ refresh rate with Samsung’s QLED quantum dot technology for high-powered color accuracy.

HDR and AMD’s FreeSync2 also are supported on this monitor, promising better image quality for compatible games, while the eye-saver mode is great for mitigating your eyes stress during long gaming sessions. It’s also compatible with both HDMI and DisplayPort plus USB 3.0. That’s a pretty strong combination at this price, as long as you are willing to settle for a smaller screen compared to some of the other picks on our list.

The best affordable curved monitor: Dell Gaming Monitor S2721HGF

Why should you buy this: This very competent curved monitor is available for a fraction of some of our other picks.

Who’s it for: Those on a stricter budget who want a curved monitor.

Why we picked the Dell Gaming Monitor S2721HGF:

Maybe you want to save as much money as possible when upgrading PC hardware, or maybe your budget makes more expensive models unreasonable. Dell’s got the right answer for you: This curved 27-inch gaming monitor is well below $300 but still has what you need, including 1080p resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, and a 1ms response time. It also sports compatibility with both Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync technology for screen-rate optimization, ideal if you don’t want to be tied down to one particular brand of GPU.

Ports include HDMI 1.4 and DisplayPort 1.2 — that’s a bit behind current standards and not advisable if you are set on hooking this monitor up to something like the PS5, which is designed for newer protocols. But it’s a good choice for a more traditional setup that could be improved by the curved monitor experience … without busting your budget.

The best combination of size and price: LG 38UC99

LG 38UC99
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Why should you buy this: This enormous monitor lets you wrap yourself in a display that has lots of connectivity options.

Who’s it for: People with plenty of desk room and big ambitions.

Why we picked the LG 38UC99:

As if LG’s super-large monitor and the 38-inch display aren’t enough, this model also delivers extensive features such as the 75Hz refresh rate and the 3,840 x 1,600 resolution. Tack on FreeSync technology, 100% sRGB color accuracy, 332 lux brightness, and 78% AdobeRGB, and you’ve got some great numbers to work with. 

Connectivity, however, is impressive with ports that include two USB-A, a USB-C, DisplayPort 1.2, and two HDMI 2.0. You’ll get a lot from the LG 38UC99, but the most important thing is to make sure you’ve got the space to store it—otherwise, all those features will just be going to waste.

Research and buying tips

Are curved monitors better?

That depends. Curved monitors are a different experience that could be more useful for a single user. They take up more desk space, but also are more immersive and have plenty of display space for multitasking or managing especially complex software. However, they also have very poor viewing angles and shouldn’t be used in situations where more than one person needs to look at the monitor.

Are curved monitors good for gaming?

Gamers looking for an immersive viewing experience should take a look at curved monitors. That curve makes it easier to feel enveloped in a game and can improve field of view. It’s a frequent recommendation for fans of racing games and similar genres. Since it’s uncommon for more than one gamer to be using the screen at a time, curved monitors don’t have many disadvantages here — as long as you have the room!

What resolution should I look for in a curved monitor?

Look for QHD (quad high definition) or WQHD (wide quad high definition) for these monitors. Some curved monitors do offer higher UHD numbers, but it isn’t quite as important for most uses. If you want to save money, there’s nothing wrong with looking for a 1080p model, either.

What kind of ports should I look for in a curved monitor?

Look for DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0. Those ports should be enough to get pretty much any video connection that you would want. A few USB ports are also important for accessories, but USB-C ports still aren’t quite common in this field, although they are starting to show up on newer models. If you have accessories that need USB-C or Thunderbolt 3, always double-check to make sure they are included.

Do curved monitors have speakers?

It can vary. Some have built-in speakers. Others don’t have speakers but do support pass-through audio with an aux port, which means if you hook up headphones or speakers to the monitor it will pass audio through so you can use them easily. If you need built-in speakers, our Dell and Samsung picks on our list have them!

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