Why Curved Monitors Aren’t So Crazy

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In a revisionist purge of Stalinist, possibly even Balderickesque, proportions, I deny everything. I definitely did not say that curved LCD screens are an appalling gimmick conceived to exploit our most base consumerist tendencies. Or anything about delicious, plump-breasted pigeons. Not now that I’ve actually seen one, I didn’t. A curved screen, that is. Not a pigeon. I’ve seen those before. That’s not to say curved is the next big thing. But bent isn’t so bad after all. There’s something in this curved malarkey after all- here’s why.

I actually stand by my broader sentiment regards curved screens. They first appeared in the context of HDTVs and there the notion remains a nonsense.

Curved screens’s effectiveness depends on the viewer sitting precisely in the right spot. That means plonking yourself exactly in the centre of the circle which screen curve would describe if it continued beyond the panel edges, if you follow. Do that, and all parts of the screen surface present themselves perfectly perpendicular.

With a TV, that is unlikely. For starters, I suspect most will be sitting too far away. But even if you’re at the right distance, only one person can be seated in the optimal central position. At best, curved TVs work only for solo viewing. In practice, curved will only make the screen geometry problem worse.

The thing is, and I did point this out last time, PC usage is a much more solitary affair. Bottom line, you can get yourself set up in exactly the right spot. The question then becomes that of how big the subjective impact is.

I’ve had a go with Samsung’s new 34-inch curved effort recently, the S34E790C. And I can exclusively reveal that I’m not sure, but there might be something in it after all.

That’s quite a bit of curve…

If that sounds like damning with faint praise, stick with me. And remember I was coming into this tech with a fair bit of negative baggage.

The main problem with making a definitive judgement call on this is that any 34-inch super-wide monitor (the S34E790C is a 21:9 aspect panel with 3,440 by 1,400 pixels) looks absolutely mega in games. Curved or not, the Samsung was going to look spectacular.

Then there’s the fact that the screen looks pretty silly rendering the Windows desktop. The taskbar, for instance, looks thoroughly bent and broken, enough that when I first fired the thing up it had me checking the bottom bezel for curvature in more than one axis, even though I knew that wasn’t the case. It looked so wrong I just had to check.

But once you fire up pretty much any game and leave behind the rigid rectangle that is the Windows desktop, it all changes. It’s a subtle difference, to be sure. But I think – I sense – that the wrap-around effect does make you feel just that little bit more immersed, like the game world is enveloping you.

With flat 34-inch super-side screens, the far edges can feel awfully oblique and almost redundant. It’s a reminder that you’re viewing a rendered world on a 2D surface. The curved panel fixes that. In some games you may not really look at those far edges, but they certainly sit more naturally in your peripheral vision.

In other games, for instance those that plonk various menus, status displays and mini maps around the edges, curved really works. For pure gaming on a 34-inch panel, then, I would take curved, no question. Would I take curved for my main PC display that does much more than gaming? Nope.

Partly that’s because I doubt I’d ever get comfortable with the curvature for non-game apps. But it’s also because at this price point (£700 / $900+ and up, with this Sammy panel rocking in at around £800 / $1,100) I’d go with a 40-inch 4K panel. Actually, the 40 incher is cheaper. No contest.

The are plenty of alternatives to the slightly borky Samsung, including IPS efforts LG and Dell…

Finally, if you’re wondering about the specifics of the Samsung S34E790C, I would recommend avoiding it for one of the curved alternatives, many of which are cheaper and potentially better.

The Samsung S34E790C sports a VA rather than IPS panel (here’s my earlier breakdown of the various different panel types on the market, in case you missed it). I’m broadly a fan of good VA panels. Basically, I’m a sucker for their deep, inky black tones. But good VA panels are fairly rare and even then often not suitable for gaming due to poor response.

In this case, the response isn’t actually the problem with the Samsung screen. That’s just about tolerable. Instead, it’s a combination of wonky colour calibration and painful pricing, the former a common problem with VA panels. To get the colours to look remotely right, I had to put the thing into ‘game’ mode.

That sounds OK, but I’m never terribly comfortable with a panel that looks really off at default settings as this Samsung does. It’s almost comically cool and blue and subdued at defaults. If Samsung sorts the calibration and drops the price, the S34E790C could be worth a look. As it currently is, I’d pass.

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71 Comments

  1. TechnicalBen says:

    Did see the Samsung version in a local PC store. I add a proper local pc store. As in, probably the only one in that area that is professional, at least in how it presents it’s self.

    Looked very nice, and a better setup than 2 screens. Though not getting a more hands on at the time (though it was all setup for customers to use), I cannot say what refresh/blur/usability really is like.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Thanks for your review. I’ll take note to wait this upgrade cycle, and to get the next one…

      … the flexible automated curved to flat switchable super widescreen. Then I can switch to flat screen when going back to windows/typing as the curve would turn my OCD on to 9000!

      (Though honestly, not noticed it on the TV sized screens, even with BBC News banners etc)

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Ironically if those screens were really designed to be always perfectly perpendicular to you provided you sit in the perfect spot, you wouldn’t notice any curvature anywhere, but sadly it seems they’re just a little random in that regard.

  2. Lacero says:

    This might be a dumb question, but what does this do to the edge distortion in games?

    I get irrationally annoyed about moons and stuff being all stretched when I’m not looking directly at them. Doesn’t this curve make that even worse? Does the fov not matching the curve feel weird or ignorable?

    • OmNomNom says:

      Most decent newer games allow fov adjustment anyway, if not i suppose you can just run at 16:9 for that game

    • Flopdong says:

      I doubt it will make much difference for most games, but it depends on how the graphics are programmed. If the developer specifically accounts for a curved screen, they can go a long way towards eliminating the stretching issue

    • Frye2k11 says:

      Or maybe it will reduce the warping. Makes more sense to me.

      • carewolf says:

        Adjusting FOV is not enough, you also need to be able to adjust the FOV function, or the curvature of the viewport. In theory if you do this any stretching on outside of the center of the field should deminish. But then, adjusting viewport curvature is not a standard feature.

  3. DanMan says:

    I can’t imagine using a monster sized monitor like that on my desk. Curved or not.

    • gwathdring says:

      I doubt I’d be comfortable outside of the 17-20 inch range.

      • Ejia says:

        I used to think that, but every time I get to play around with a new one I adjust. I’m currently using a 23-incher – two years ago I thought that would be too big, as I was used to 21, and years before that I was comfortable enough with 19.

        I don’t think I can handle 34 inches so close to my face quite yet, though. Baby steps.

        • Ejia says:

          Argh! My kingdom for an edit button!

          • mike2R says:

            Heh, I was trying to sell a monitor over the phone to some guy who was buying it for his girlfriend.

            Him: She’s a graphic designer, how big a monitor do you think she’ll need.

            Me: Well she’ll appreciate every inch you can give her.

            Him: ….

        • Jools says:

          I don’t know. I went from a pair of 22″ monitors to a 30″ monitor, but I went back after about six months. Ended up repurposing the 30″ monitor as a bedroom TV since I just couldn’t get comfortable using such a big screen. On a slightly more practical note, I also found that I missed the physical division between the two monitors when doing actual work. It’s nice being able to cleanly divide up e.g. documentation and code windows.

          • pandora says:

            That’s probably why most WMs including Windows shell have snap-to-half-a-screen functionality nowadays. That said, I haven’t yet worked with a screen big enough to replace two of my current setup.

  4. doodadnox says:

    Has anyone heard of, or seen someone using three of these setup vertically and edge-to-edge (along the long edge)? I’m imagining playing Elite Dangerous with this massive display stretching slightly over my head. I’m planning a massive computer build and I wonder what sort of hardware one would need to run it.

    • haze4peace says:

      Three of these would extend past your peripheral vision. I would recommend one 21:9 and two 16:9 monitors instead. That would cover your vision completely.

    • Flopdong says:

      You will need a beast of a PC. I have a 4790k, 8gb ddr3 ram, and a GTX 760 in my PC, and I cannot run most new games at 4K (which has roughly twice as many pixels as this monitor). To run three of these monitors, you will want two GTX 960’s at least.

      • citrusninja says:

        You’d need considerably more than a pair of 960s to drive 4k resolutions at any respectable framerate.

    • Blaaaaaaag says:

      Even though they’re a fad that’s sure to flop and lead to your demise via baseball bat to the back of the head, I’d just get a Rift or Vive instead. It’d be cheaper, and even more awesome.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      If you want to go for that size, why not just scale the whole monitor up? At 4K, you might get away with something larger, instead of using 3.

      As it’s extra wide, you still get the benefit of a wide screen, and no need to overdo the graphics cards.

      If they do OLED as well, Elite: Dangerous would look beautiful!

    • Nice Save says:

      Those super-wide screens would just be too narrow to really work in portrait mode. I found 16:9 was bad enough that way, and had to go for 16:10 instead for my portrait screen.

      Having all of your screens in portrait can make non-gaming stuff a bit of a headache, too – you’ll find each screen is narrower than the minimum some websites or programs support, and watching videos would be an adventure in full-screen settings even if you can put up with the bezels.

      • Nice Save says:

        Also, the curves would be vertical with that setup, which is a problem.

        If you have a triple monitor setup, you really need your outside ones facing in a bit. To do that with curves from top to bottom, you’d need to open a gap that would be biggest near the middle, or overlap the corners.

  5. Synesthesia says:

    I’m definitely getting one of these as soon as I get the go ahead from my importer. (Apparently in argentina we aren’t allowed to have anything bigger then 27′, go retarded protectionism!)
    They’re exactly what I need. I work in after effects, and grown very big on sims lately. It kills the need for multimonitor setups, and look super cool

    The VA samsung jeremy recommends is too steep for my pockets, but i’ve seen a few on the 600-800 dollar range that I could possibly afford. Anyone here owns anything like this? What are your experiences?

  6. waltC says:

    I had a Samsung 1600×1200 LCD monitor once–still have it somewhere–and that wonky Samsung color mode software will drive you nuts…;) (It drove me nuts 8 years ago…;)) Yep, “Game mode”…how well I remember…!

    On the 21:9 as a desktop monitor, from what I’ve gathered the idea is to put up 2-3 pages of whatever you’re working on side-by-side…or 2-3 separate pages from 2-3 separate Apps, etc. I really think this is the best use for this kind of monitor, actually, and I’ve read that Samsung includes some desktop software to facilitate that. With narrower pages, of course, the curved look is greatly minimized.

    But I happen to think for games that 21:9 isn’t so hot, really–I mean, it’s hard for me to believe the W3 supports an accurate 21:9 aspect ratio because I’ve got a 16:10/8:5 monitor at home and the game seems like it was created for 16:9. But anyway…I think at first you might be enamored of the sort of slight “fish-eye” effect the monitor produces, because its new to you, but I think you’d grow tired of it. Or maybe not…;)

    • waltC says:

      Couldn’t edit to add this in…a dead giveaway about the aspect ratio is pictured in your W3 screenshot above…with a 16:9 aspect ratio both the status bar & minimap are up near the top left & right corners of the screen (higher up positionally than they are in your screenshot.) In other aspect ratios (other than 16:9) they’re farther down towards the middle of the screen, as pictured in the screenshot above, but you can adjust the positional settings for these elements in-game so that these HUD elements hug the top corners of the screen (like they do in 16:9)–as I did to move them further up and out of the way on my 16:10 display.

  7. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    I’d rather we’d let this fad die alongside 3D and VR.

    All the budget in the world should be devoted exclusively to bringing proper OLED screens to the masses and abandon the ridiculous backlit plague that is an LCD.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      And yes, sorry if i tend to sound like a dictator. Still, I AM ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

    • fish99 says:

      I’ve played hundreds of hours of gaming in stereo 3D and continue to do so. 3D movies may be a fad, but 3D in games is a much better experience and adds a great deal of immersion IMO. I know that because I’ve gamed for hundreds of hours in stereo 3D, which all the people about to reply to me haven’t :p

      • Premium User Badge

        Andy_Panthro says:

        I might not have played for hundreds of hours, but I have played for a few hours in stereo-3D and I found it a nice gimmick at first, then a bit underwhelming, then a bit frustrating in certain games, then headache and nausea inducing. Now I don’t bother, and would recommend others not to bother either.

        • Cinek says:

          I would recommend not to make any recommendations of that kind for others. It’s a very personal matter – eg. I can watch 3D for hours and never have any problems, really love 3D gameplay, but my friend gets sick after 5 minutes. It very, very much depends on a personal tolerance. If anything – I can recommend trying before buying. It didn’t work for you, but it doesn’t mean it won’t work for others.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        I can agree that 3D is naturally better suited for games, especially since everything happens natively in an actual ( virtual ) 3D plane from the get go, while a movie has to try really hard with camera tricks and what not to bring the tridimensionality of the real world to your screen.

        And yes, surely i’m being overly harsh, but i’m sure we can agree 3D is absolutely not for everyone and that it has many drawbacks, not least the quality ( and the tech ) of the various glasses/monitors, with the end result being halos and other things due to how the the whole idea is to trick your eyes into thinking a 2D plane ( the panel ) is suddenly 3D, rather than actually having mastered holographic technology ( 2060 maybe? ) with no needs for glasses or anything else.

    • Asurmen says:

      OLED seems DOA to me, especially when you compare it to quantum dot and further improvements on that technology.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        It is used right now in the uber professional market, where even an Eizo ColorEdge is considered “not enough”, but for now the tech is too expensive and that’s why you only find it there.

        But this is not entirely the point though, i don’t necessarily want OLED as is currently conceived now, just give me something that is not backlit and that can reach an astounding level of contrast and i’ll be happy. OLED or not, my point was that the market currently seems far too happy to sit on the same old LCD and to invest in the weirdest ideas instead of trying to actually increase the quality.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        As above. Nothing about OLED is dead. It’s expensive. That’s all that holds it back in the market, where rush to the lowest price beats all.

        Seen up close, OLED is nice (and in a lot of phones), but lifespan short and costs more than LCD.

        If and when those two problems are overcome or not a worry then it will gain traction.

  8. Zenicetus says:

    It would be fun to try one of these for the flight sims I run, but I can’t see it working for the other stuff I need to do. I occasionally produce graphics for the web and some video work, and I need to know that what I’m doing will translate to “normal” monitors people use.

    Might work if I had a dedicated “sim pit” for flying, but I’m just not that hardcore about it. I fly on my normal gaming/production rig.

  9. LTK says:

    I don’t doubt that curved ultrawide screens are noticably better for immersion, but when I see them I can’t help but think about all the information that’s being pushed further and further into your peripheral vision. That health bar and that minimap are so far enough apart that looking at one makes the other virtually imperceptible.

    HUDs can be customized, yes, but I’m still not sure if all that extra screen space (and associated graphical horsepower requirement) is worth it when the majority of the time your peripheral vision is unable to process more than a wash of colours and the occasional flash of movement.

    Then again, I can’t fault anyone for enjoying playing games with them, I’m sure it feels great to be surrounded by all those visuals. One can’t help but think it’s veering into the absurd, though.

    • Edlennion says:

      Given the lack of detail in peripheral vision, it’d be cool if someone made a huge screen that displayed something like a standard 1920×1080 image in the centre and then used some clever image processing to add some low-res images/colours around the periphery, to trick you into thinking you’re looking at a much more detailed image.

      No idea if it’d work though

      • LTK says:

        They’re doing that with eye-tracking VR technology called Fove. For obvious reasons it’s much more suited to VR than it is to a monitor.

      • Lacero says:

        You could render at normal res, but with a view projection that uses more pixels for the middle. Then transform it afterwards so the edges were stretched slightly and the middle bit has anti aliasing / super sampling.

        Like a fish eye effect but then you correct for it and the loss of detail at the edges is ok cos you can hardly see them.

  10. haze4peace says:

    I just picked up a Dell U3415W monitor a few weeks ago. It is a 34″ 21:9 3440×1440 monitor with a slight curve on it. It is absolutely amazing to game on due to the aspect ratio. The game basically covers your entire vision and makes it that much more immersive. I currently have an r9 290 and at that resolution it just isn’t cutting it anymore… time for a gpu upgrade…

    • Psykhe says:

      Got that one myself too a couple of months back. Really like it as well – for gaming as well as productivity. Soooo much room in Visual Studio :)
      Got myself a 21:9 29″ screen a few years back but sold it after a few months. I always felt like I was missing something above and below the screen. The 34″ however feels just right from the height.

      Got no performance issues with a 970GTX, but then again I am no person who needs 60 fps minimum in games. Witcher3 ran fine for me in 3440 * 1440.

      • haze4peace says:

        I agree, the 34″ size is perfect any smaller and it just wouldn’t work. One other thing that people haven’t mentioned here is movies shot at 2.35:1 AR. It is fantastic!

  11. OmNomNom says:

    I’ll be buying one as soon as they manage to make them > 60hz

  12. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    Are you Private S Baldrick?

    NO!

  13. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    In thinking pedantically about the distortion argument this time around, I arrived at a fun conclusion: Huh, it really doesn’t matter!

    Displays cease to be undistorted windows into their worlds when you move out of their hot spot. The hot spot for flat screens is typically (to my knowledge) in the center of the screen, at some distance dependent on the fov of whatever’s on show. Basically, stick your face wherever the game/movie camera is/was. It’s pretty neat if you do so with a screen so large that you can set the fov to 120 or whatever and get appropriately close but still be far enough away to focus on it. (Sneak into a lecture hall with a laptop and stand on a chair!) Even at such a high fov, the image is being projected at your face “as it should be”, and the famous high-fov distortion is only present outside the hot spot. Major exceptions to this are if the game uses of some sort of shifted (move your head off-center), orthographic (move infinitely far away), or other atypical projections (see PanQuake for awesomeness). These new curved panels generally have no such hot spot since games generally don’t ray-trace or re-project their pixels through a cylindrical (or otherwise curved) surface, and the same goes for those fancy-pants dual-axis curved CRTs which were a fad some years ago. I think domes and caves and whatnot are usually re-projected “correctly” by various methods, though — especially if your head is tracked.

    Anyway, suppose you stick your head in the sweet spot of any display, whether or not the game rolls its eyes and sighs while creating it. Well, it’s already wrong if you use two eyes since you can’t have both in the sweet spot, so nyah! Oh, right, VR headsets have one viewport per eye and the software sets up the two sweet spots appropriately. But your eyeballs’ apertures move back and forth, so even then they’re often outside the perfect sweet spot, so nyah! Maybe eye tracking will solve that problem, ignoring the aforementioned minutiae like eyeball aperture size, aberrations, micromovements, and brain farts.

    Because of that line of thought you triggered, I’m now totally on board when you say curved screens aren’t all that crazy. Their distortion is probably highly tolerable! But there’s still that price premium, as you sai.. I think I’ll take that grand or two and put it toward some speakers, thanks! Or maybe rent… :)

    • Caerphoto says:

      The issue is down to rectilinear projection, aka projecting a 3D image onto a 2D plane. This is how monitors (and photos) work, but it’s not how our eyes work – the light-sensitive surface in an eyeball is, unsurprisingly, curved. That’s why (simplifying things significantly) you don’t see things as distorted when seen in your peripheral vision.

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        I’m pretty sure the eyeball curvature thing is irrelevant* here: A 2D photo or screen displaying some originally-3D scene represents the light passing through a corresponding 2D slice of 3D space. This 2D slice is recorded/produced by a camera/renderer and then displayed by a screen for the delight of its audience. A proper representation of the slice would contain per-pixel information about what light was passing through in which directions, and a proper display would then cast the appropriate light in the appropriate directions, per-pixel. These cameras, renderers, and displays exist, but they’re mostly not at the consumer level yet. (This article gives a decent idea of a practical application. There are also consumer “Lytro” cameras, but they are (were?) hobbled by proprietary nonsense.)

        Our run-of-the-mill displays, on the other hand, only deal with a small blob of color information at each pixel, and each pixel blasts its information in all directions (ignoring well-known viewing angle color-change problems, of course). This information that the screen displays is almost always based on the light converging on a single point through that theoretical 2D slice from before. In a game, this point is the game camera’s location/origin. In a real camera, this is often, ideally, some imaginary point.** If you obey this assumption by putting your eye at that point, and put the display at the 2D slice it’s supposed to represent, all is fine and dandy. But if you move the screen or your eye away from those positions, the screen you see no longer corresponds to the world it’s trying to represent. Bending the screen is another nice way to break the representation.

        That said, one of the handy things about the gnomonic/rectilinear projection is that, if the display is a uniformly scaled version of the slice it represents, you can move it closer to or further from your eye to fake a proper representation. (Or move your eye appropriately.) Since a curved screen is not a uniformly scaled version of the slice, this trick doesn’t work. But! If you know what the screen’s shape is, what the slice’s shape was, what the intended eye position was, and what the actual eye position is, you can re-project the original captured/fabricated slice representation onto your weirdo display in such a fashion that it looks correct again.

        *Irrelevant but interesting! I’m not an eyeball expert, so the following is conjecture, just for fun: I think the curvature matters more for the eye’s ability to swivel, and perhaps for the ability to form and stay easily inflated and be nicely squishy and all sorts of other yummy biological things. You could have many different shapes for the eye’s photon collector, including flat, and as long as the lens is in the right place and shape, you could get a well-focused image, within certain limits. I have no idea how well the image is focused on the periphery of real eyeballs, but I’ll venture to say a pinhole would do a perfect job (minus dispersion and stuff), whereas a normal camera-style lens (which ideally focuses onto a plane) would be pretty terrible. As for large-scale distortion within a single eye (not focus-related), the brain does a magnificent job of working around that sort of thing, though I would guess there are, again, limits there.

        **This convergence point can become a line or 2D membrane if you use weird lenses. Fisheye lenses, for example, typically have a line of convergence along the camera axis, though it doesn’t necessarily map linearly to the viewing angle or recorded pixels. And it can vary with zoom and the type of fisheye, yadda, yadda… And, of course, no lens is absolutely perfect. (Note: I would think it’s possible to produce a “fisheye” lens which has a convergence point, but I don’t know at the moment what its shape is.) And this convergence point/line/membrane is not to be confused with a focal point/plane, which is another “convergence” related thing, but I’ve tried to separate those two concepts here using those two words.

        [GIANT ASTERISK] I’ve tried to be correct here, but if anyone reading this sees anything wrong, please correct me!

        Phew, time to go make some tacos for dinner.

  14. aircool says:

    No G-Sync?

    I don’t think I could use a bent monitor. I presume I’m like everyone else and use a PC for more than just gaming. However, nothing wrong with a bigger monitor… that has G-Sync (or however it’s spelled).

  15. Universal Quitter says:

    Well, glad you came around, I guess.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I tend to ignore the negative comments you guys make in reviews anyway, unless it’s something objective like performance issues or something.

    Your job is to get me excited about things. Personal consumer protection is my job.

  16. Osi says:

    I have the LG 34″ curved ultrawide.
    LOVE IT.
    Best monitor I’ve ever had, cant imagine playing games without it.
    I replaced a 3 x 1980×1080 setup.
    What I find is it gives me all of the useable range of the 3xhead setup- none of the useless part (the 25% of each of the far left and far right screens).
    I wish it was a bit cheaper, and I wish more games supported 21:9 (especially indie games and some AAA’s that just didnt do their homework).
    There are work arounds for most though- and I’ve only found a handful of games I’ve given up on.

    • mf says:

      Im in the same boat. I’ve had UC97 from the day it came out and I’ve been loving every minute of gaming on it. Witcher 3 looks so damn good. Problem being the same with the guy upstairs – you really need a proper GPU to run things close to max settings. GTX 970 is good but not that good. Going to replace it with 980 ti when it finally becomes available in my parts of the world.

      • UncleLou says:

        Envious of you guys, I’ve seen the LG you have in a shop and can’t quite forget it.

        The thing is, I’d buy it today if it weren’t for the follow-up costs. Like you, I have a 970 GTX, but I can’t justify upgrading that (I’ve only just bought it, actually) and to stay on the ball at that resolution in the future. And I hate lowering settings. :)

        • mf says:

          If its any consolation then given the chance to NOT buy the screen I wouldn’t. The bang for buck ratio is not quite there yet. I do love it, but I could have spent that 800ish euros way way better (I had Dell 27″ before LG and it was gooooood). I think in one year the mainstream GPU will be able to push 34×14 and the screens themselves will be cheaper and better. So dont fret, its not all roses :)
          Still…Fallout 4 will be glorious. My body is ready.

          • UncleLou says:

            Yeah, thanks for trying. ;-)

            May I ask if you also considered or tried the 29 inch version? Not only does it cost only 60% of the 34 inch one, I am actually wondering if I wouldn’t find 34 a little too big for my desk.

          • Psykhe says:

            I myself had the (uncurved) 29″ version 2-3 years ago. Sold it after a few months, I felt like I did not have enough vertical room. Got a 27″ 16:9 one which I used till I bought the 34″ 21:9 screen. That one is perfect. It has exactly the same height and vertial resolution as my previous 27″ and is just wider.

            For me my 970GTX is enough for it, had no issues with Witcher 3. But if a game has 25 fps it looks for me just as nice as if it has 60 fps, so I am not particularly demanding there.

  17. LetSam says:

    Speaking of, it would be cool if your monitor reviews generally included a paragraph or two on calibration with a colimeter, to get an idea if these offerings can be improved by them or if there are problems. Factory presets usually don’t help at all. I have a 3-monitor setup including two Benq BL2411 which are surprisingly well calibrated by default. However, uncalibrated and side by side you can still see a slight difference in the colors. The third monitor is an old Samsung SyncMaster which is hard to even calibrate at all (it’s reserved for Explorer and Word and such, so not really an issue for me).

    Anyway, enjoyed the article and the bit about how Windows looks confirmed my suspicion why I shouldn’t get a curved monitor for (graphic design) work.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      If you check TFT central, any monitor can more or less be made almost perfect with proper calibration tools, but then that’s a software thing with “low” bitrate, can introduce serious banding and might not work on games which override the LUT constantly. Actually, a lot of software does that.

      But you’re right, at least you could know how far a monitor does stray out of the box from proper settings, and how much you can fix with the monitor’s controls. Thing is, a colorimeter is already expensive and it’s inaccurate for LED backlighting ( any kind, both standard and wide gamut ), you need a spectrophotometer for that and that’s 5 times as expensive, so we’ll probably still need to stick to specialized sources for that kind of stuff.

      But really, if you’re interested in calibration and you don’t mind buying/renting the equipment, do yourself a huge favor and only buy monitors with hardware calibration.

  18. MrTallShaw says:

    Let’s be honest, 34 inches of anything would feel pretty immersive up close.

    • Sakkura says:

      34 inches of a certain body part would look fake and break immersion.

  19. Perjoss says:

    For larger screens when you look to the corners you’re actually looking at a skewed image, so a curved screen makes perfect sense, but imo you do have to sit at the correct distance for the curvature to have maximum effect and show you an image that looks perfectly undistorted.

  20. twaitsfan says:

    Stellar opening, Jeremy.

  21. lzaffuto says:

    The problem with your suggestion of a 4K monitor instead is that while this monitor only requires a little more power than playing at standard 2560×1440 resolution, 3840×2160 4K requires *tremendously* more power *and* lower graphics settings to run at decent framerates, and lets not even talk about full 4096×2160. That’s also putting aside that many people would consider the 21:9 ratio more immersive than the more traditional ratio of the 4K display. There is no doubt that 4K (and beyond!) is the future of PC gaming, but right now we are still quite a bit behind being able to run the newest games at the highest settings and decent framerates even with over $1200 worth of graphics cards.

    As an aside, if you can’t bring yourself to buy a display primarily for PC gaming and movie watching you can get many 34″ 3440×1440 monitors without the curve as well…

  22. therighttoarmbears says:

    Sooo, ummm, any hypothetical recommendations for 40-inch 4k monitors? My PC died in a lightning storm, it has been several years, and I’m considering trying to talk my wife into a full upgrade. Might as well have something really nice to display it on, though I doubt I could actually talk her into it. But, just in case – what would one get if one were to look for a nice 4K monitor for gaming?

  23. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    Well, games calculate image projection onto a flat plane, so curving the display would distort the image.

  24. daw8190 says:

    still way too expensive for what they are though, people want to spend the budget on the PC spec not the monitor, which i guess since its the part you start at it makes little sense…

  25. Speckled Jim says:

    I’m not plump, just big-boned.