(Pocket-lint) - Discovering the right gaming monitor for your needs can be tough. Specs often vary significantly, even in the same price bracket, and adding a curved screen into the equation means there's yet another thing to wrap your head around.
However, while the concept of a curved TV has a gimmicky feel to it, since you're often sitting too far away for it to matter, it's a very different proposition with a monitor.
You'll almost always be much closer to the screen and, therefore, the bow helps match the shape of your eye more accurately and effectively.
Curved monitors are measured between 1500R and 4000R, with lower numbers indicating a more pronounced bend. There are positives and minuses to leaning more to one side of the scale - and we'll offer more advice on this below our picks - but don't forget there's also the other main specs to consider, too, including resolution, response time and refresh rate.
Once you've got your checklist of the ideal specs for your curved gaming monitor, and also the price you're willing to stretch to, it's about finding the best available - and that's where we come in.
Below, we've outlined some of the top curved displays for gaming to help make your quest run a little smoother.
The Best Curved Gaming Monitors
Our Top Pick: Curved Gaming Monitors
ASUS TUF Gaming VG32VQ1B (32-inch)
- Superb performance
- Very reasonably priced
- Factory settings need a lot of tweaking
Asus' VG32VQ1B isn't just one of the best curved gaming monitors to consider, it's one of the best full-stop.
There's plenty of options within the range, but the 31.5-inch, 1500R curved option offers the perfect blend of specs. Put simply, there's just not many 2560 x 1440 resolution, 165Hz refresh rate, and 1ms response curved monitors at this price.
FreeSync Premium is also supported through the DisplayPort and the two HDMI 2.0 ports. HDR 10 makes an appearance, too, but, like most monitors at this price range, just be aware it doesn't necessarily excel.
On that note, make sure to fiddle around with the factory settings and modes, too. In our experience, these are generally fairly neutral, but the VG32VQ1B's presets can actually hamper the experience if you don't play around with them.
Curved gaming monitors we also recommend
Not every monitor we tested for this guide can be our top overall recommendation, but that doesn't mean they're not worth your consideration. Below, you'll find four curved monitors that are also excellent for gaming.
AOC C24G1A (24-inch)
- FreeSync Premium and excellent refresh rate
- Superb value for specs
- Average HDR performance
- OSD controls are fiddly
AOC's C24G1A is an ideal pick for those who want something a bit smaller side or affordable, and therefore don't necessarily mind gaming in 1920 x 1080.
It's certainly good enough to get by, with the 1500R curved design excelling due to its excellent refresh rate of up to 165Hz and a rapid 1ms response time.
FreeSync Premium is also supported inside the very neat design, which can also swivel and tilt to your heart's content. For the money, this is a very solid pickup.
Samsung Odyssey G7 (32-inch)
- Blazing fast 240Hz refresh rate
- Quantum-dot technology
- Only QHD instead of 4K
- Takes up a lot of desk space
If you're looking for a speedy, large monitor with great colours, then look no further than the Samsung Odyssey G7.
It's got quantum dot technology which covers 95 per cent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut and supports HDR 600.
Combine this with a super-fast 240Hz refresh rate and G-Sync / FreeSync Premium Pro compatibility and you've got a formidable gaming monitor on your hands.
Sceptre C248B (24-inch)
- Really excellent value
- High refresh rates
- A lot of colour setting tweaks required
- Only supports 144Hz through DisplayPort
The C248B is another great example of how bigger doesn't necessarily mean better, with its 24-inch, 1800R monitor offering a great mix of specs.
It's perhaps not quite as solid as other 24-inch monitors, but those who want a slightly less curved display - while still getting 1920 x 1080 resolution, 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time - have a top option to explore here.
Those who play a lot of FPS and RTS games can also tap into the custom display settings to really enhance the experience.
MSI Optix MEG381CQR Plus
- 175Hz refresh rate, 1ms response
- Novel features like the secondary display and front-facing RGB
- It's expensive
- HDR is limited with G-Sync Ultimate
The MSI Optix MEG381CQR Plus is a huge 38-inch ultra-wide monitor with an amazing amount of party tricks.
Starting with the basics you get a lovely 21:9 WQHD IPS panel with a speedy 175Hz refresh rate, HDR 600 and G-Sync ultimate.
Then, you get a bunch of nifty additions like a secondary display that can show you key system specs like CPU or GPU temperatures. There's also a built-in mouse bungee and front-facing RGB lighting effects. It's a really impressive option, but it comes with a big price tag to match.
Other products we considered
The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.
These are the products we considered that ultimately didn’t make our top five picks:
How to choose a curved gaming monitor
As we alluded to up top, there's plenty to consider when buying a monitor for your gaming - and that's especially true if you're entering the relatively new pasture of curved monitors.
To help you narrow down your decision and pick the right monitor for your needs, we've pulled together some key considerations.
What is the right monitor curvature for you?
Deciphering what level of monitor curvature is best for you is all about knowing what you'll use the display for. If you're solely gaming on it, then you can afford to dip into the ultra-immersive world of 1500R monitors.
If you'll also be doing some bits of work on the curved monitor, something a bit less curved, such as a 1800R, is probably the better fit. This is also true of those who are new to the displays - though you'd likely adjust to a more extreme curvature, it never hurts to also start with a less curved display.
What are the benefits of a curved monitor for gaming?
Immersion is the most obvious and important benefit to note. Due to curved screens offering a greater field of view than flat screens - and matching the shape of your eye more, as we've already talked about - you're able to 'feel' the peripheral edges and suffer less distortion.
This naturally isn't as big a consideration, say, if you're also planning to work or browse the internet on your display.
Are budget and mid-level curved gaming monitors good?
As you'll notice, the majority of our tried and tested picks are in the entry- and mid-level region. There's no doubt, obviously, that more expensive monitors exist and are very good at eking out the best possible specs. For most gamers, though, a solid mid-level pick is more than enough to take your experience to a whole new level.
Like with most things, spending more will definitely provide a better experience - but that doesn't necessarily equate to better value, which is how we grade our picks.
What are refresh rate and response time?
It's not all about how curved your screen is - and specs like refresh rate and response time are still very important to consider.
Again, you have to start by considering what kind of things you'll be using your monitor to game with. Refresh rate relates to how many times per second the monitor is able to produce a new image, and, as you might imagine, a slow refresh rate is very noticeable when playing fast-paced games like FPS and racing titles.
However, just because something has a high refresh rate doesn't necessarily mean it can negate motion blur, either. That's where response time comes in, and lower numbers are naturally more preferable.
How many ports do you need?
If you're using your curved monitor to game on, you obviously need to think quite hard about how many ports you'll be using.
Don't go thinking that dedicated gaming monitors pack them in, either. We've tested several monitors that didn't make our final picks because of a lack of ports, such is the competitive nature of devices in the mid-range.
Generally speaking, two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort should tide you over, with VGA, USB, a 3.5mm jack and DVI also handy to have included, too.
More about this story
Every product in this list has been tested in real-life situations, just as you would use it in your day-to-day life.
In the case of curved gaming monitors, we are continuously testing the latest and greatest options. We don't do anything out of the ordinary, we just try and mimic exactly how a normal buyer would use them.
Primarily, we do this by using the monitors when compiling our extensive games reviews on the latest consoles - PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series S | Series X - and PC. As everyday users would, we also try and push each monitor to its limits and find the optimal settings during use.
From here, we're able to make a judgement based on the overall gaming experience with the curved monitor, while also factoring in the price and overall value.
In all of our buyer's guides, including this one, we aren’t interested in the extraneous details - we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it's actually going to be like to use.
And don’t for a second think that the products aren't tested fully because the reviews are concise. We’ve been covering tech since 2003, and, in many cases, have not only reviewed the product in question, but the previous generations, too - right back to the first model on the market.
There are also plenty of models we've considered that didn't make the cut in each of our buyer's guides.