Embrace the bend with some of favorite curved monitors for gaming. If you're considering ditching your flat screen lifestyle then there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. Curved displays provide ideal viewing angles and all-encompassing visuals, most especially on an ultrawide screen. But aside from curvature, you should pay attention to the three Rs: resolution, refresh rate, and response time, all the things you should look out for when hunting for a decent display.
Check out our guide to the best gaming monitors for those who want some non-curved awesomeness.
A panel's curvature, or curve radius, is key to your viewing experience. Most curved panels are rated across a range: roughly 4000R to 1500R. The lower the number, the higher the curvature of the panel.
The distance you sit from your monitor will also play a part in choosing which curvature is ideal for you. You'll generally find gaming monitors around the 1800R mark, right in the sweet spot for desktop gaming. A more pronounced curve, viewed at a greater distance, could negatively impact viewing angles and your overall experience.
In either case, to take full advantage of your fancy new display, you should make sure you have the hardware that's up to snuff. If you're planning on picking up a massive ultrawide display like the AOC Agon AG493UCX, make sure you have the best graphics card that can easily support gaming on the demanding 5120x1440 resolution at 120Hz.
Gamers on a budget or those who don't have the 49 inches of desk real estate could look at something like the Pixio PXC273 for a fraction of the cost (when it's in stock). You'll get the speed for the competitive games you usually play, if you don't mind going smaller and losing out on some features.
Below you'll find a list of some of the best curved monitors for gaming that we have managed to get our hands-on.
Best Curved Monitors for gaming
You might think that a 49-inch 32:9 aspect ratio curved monitor might be a bit of overkill. And you know what? It is, and we are okay with that. The Samsung CRG9 is may be the best premium curved monitor for gaming you can buy.
While you'll notice that the 2019 model of the CRG9 is 120Hz, which is lower than last year's 144Hz model (a trade-off we'll happily take for a higher resolution, HDR 1000, and FreeSync 2). As much as all these fun features make for a killer gaming session, it does jack up the price to where some folks can't reasonably afford.
As far as gaming is concerned, the Samsung CRG9 is a beast, and seeing games like Apex Legends or Street Fighter are a sight to behold. The colors pop. For productivity, picture-in-picture works excellent even if it does knock the refresh rate to 100Hz and disables FreeSync. If you're a streamer, this is a superb way of having a multiple display set-up without multiple displays.
Acer makes good monitors. So, it's no surprise that the Acer Predator X34 made it to the list. The Predator X34 provides high brightness (for a curved monitor) and great colors on a 34-inch IPS panel with 3340x1440 resolution.
What can't be understated is the X34's killer design with its built-in LED lights, speakers, and thin aluminum legs. The under-glow of the monitor's bottom facing LEDs provide a nice ambiance to whatever you're playing.
The 3440x1440 resolution gives you a nice wide field of view, especially in shooters where expanding the battlefield could give you a strategic edge. We've also seen the X34 drop in price (retails for $1,000 normally) more than a few times, so this should be one curved monitor to keep your eye on.
The Pixio PXC273 is about as barebones as they come in regards to gaming monitors. This 27-inch curved 1080p panel provides frames at a solid 144Hz and is also FreeSync certified. The screen itself is advertised as being anti-glare and holds up in most brightly lit environments—and the thin bezel is always a plus in our book.
The biggest draw to the PXC273 is its low price point. It's a great entry-level option for those looking for a larger screen with a high refresh rate and don't want to left completely broke. As this is a budget display, you'll lose out on a lot of the extra features you'd find in higher-end curved monitors. You might have noticed that the PXC273 nearly sells out every time stock is available. You can always check back on our handy price widget will let you know when it's in stock again.
The impressive yet pricey Alienware 34 curved monitor is a gorgeous and speedy ultrawide display. While it doesn't have the same LED light show as the Acer Predator X34, you might argue that the Alienware AW3418DW's stylish design doesn't need it. Following the space-ship aesthetic that they are known for, it's a good looking curved monitor.
What we like the most is the game-type specific display mode that'll crank up the brightness in FPS mode, over saturate colors in RTS mode, and an RPG mode that'll show deeper, richer blacks without too much of a fuss. This curved monitor reproduces a deep 127.2 color on the sRGB color gamut, which is one of the highest we've seen come into the office.
The AW3418DW is one of the best premium ultrawide displays you can buy, and its overall performance slightly edges past the Acer Predator X34. Finally, that is essentially the same as the 3418DW, except it has a 2ms response time instead of 4ms, which is stupid fast for a screen of this size and resolution.
If your mantra for displays is to go big or go home, Acer hears you, and its XR382CQK is a massive 38-inch curved screen that looks absolutely stunning. It features a QHD ultrawide panel with a 3840x1600 resolution, with an aspect ratio of 24:10 that's slightly wider than the 'standard' 21:9 AR on other UW displays. The IPS panel looks great, and the size means gaming from the comfort of your couch is a viable option.
Not content to end there, the display also features FreeSync technology with up to 75Hz variable refresh rates. It's a big, bold, and beautiful looking display, and the zero-frame bezel-less approach is another welcome addition. If you're looking for something to really turn heads, this is the best widescreen gaming monitor. And boy, is it wide.
The cost for the best ultrawide display is steep, but at least you won't need to upgrade again for many years. Over $1,000 for the XR382CQK may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the beauty of this screen will wash away the nasty taste in your mouth the instant you boot up your favorite games in 21:9 glory. And barring hardware failure, this display should keep you gaming happily until 2025.
The 32-inch Dell S3220DGF is one of our favorite curved monitors for work and play. For less than $500, you can pick this 165Hz Freesync 2 HDR gaming monitor which makes for ultra-smooth gameplay. For professionals, the high contrast and color accuracy is what you need for editing photo and video. We also love the fact that it has five USB 3.0 ports where you can plug in a ton of devices, making this Dell out to be a hell of a versatile monitor without costing an arm and a leg even if it doesn't have the greatest viewing angles.
Testing gaming monitors
There are two main ways to test out our screens to determine the best gaming monitor. The first is by playing games on it, obviously. Subjectively testing the gaming performance of each panel isn’t necessarily going to give you the lowdown on the specifics of a particular screen, but it will let you test the functioning aspect ratio, native resolution, and any particular gamer-centric technologies they’re sporting.
Side-by-side comparative testing in this manner is also incredibly valuable for keying into the sometimes subtle differences between each panel. When you use a screen in isolation it’s easy to become blind to its comparative faults as you simply get used to them. Testing screens back-to-back allows us to discover and highlight specific issues between them.
Objective testing can be great, but it's also far more difficult. To do it properly, you need hardware for testing the true latency, color accuracy, and other metrics. Most gamers don't have access to any of this, but you can do a semblance of objective testing using the LCD calibration pages here. This site offers several test screens you can bring up on any web connected panel to make some qualitative assessments. The days of actual retail space for such things are dwindling, but if you can get a look at a screen before purchasing it, plugging a notebook or such into it and checking out the Lagom pages is very handy.