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Flat display vs curved screens and shows: which is greatest?

CES 2023 promises to showcase the next evolutionary phase of consumer tech. All the big names will be flaunting their newest wares in Las Vegas, with everything from VR headsets to exosuits amongst the products expected to be shown off.

We’re also expecting a plethora of new gaming monitors to be unveiled. Samsung is set to debut what it bills as the world’s first dual 4K gaming monitor, the Odyssey Neo G9, which comes with a stunning 7680 x 2160 resolution, spread across a curved 57in mini LED screen, with a 32:9 ultra-wide aspect ratio. Sony will be showing off its considerably more affordable 27in InZone M3, which will retail for $529/£699. Asus will be showcasing new models too, while Corsair’s unique Xeneon Flex OLED (the world’s first bendable OLED monitor) will be on display.

That’s a real smorgasbord of panel options. But when it comes to immersive, graphically superior gaming, does a flat screen reign supreme – or is curved the way to go?

Flat screen vs curved: what’s the difference?

In news that will surprise nobody, the key difference between a flat screen and a curved monitor is that one is flat, and the other is curved. But the devil is in the detail.

TVs were first to go curved, in order to appeal to home cinema fans, but the tech failed to gain traction – just like 3D TVs did a few years prior. On a smaller scale, though, curved displays found success with desk-bound gamers and creatives. The way they fill more of your peripheral vision offers a more enthralling experience than you’ll get with a flat screen.

Curved screens are also generally wider than their flat counterparts, making them great for navigating multiple programs and apps.

Flat screen vs curved: pros and cons

A curved screen offers greater immersion and ups the action by filling your vision with glorious HD explosions. And, now that curved screens have found a suitable home with gamers, they’re coming optimized with greater gamer-friendly tech, like HDMI 2.1 connectivity or pre-loaded smart TV functions for quickly booting up Twitch and YouTube.

Curved monitors generally suffer more from glare than flat screens, though. That’s not a technical flaw as such, but is rather down to a curved screen being able to catch light from more angles. That said, models like the LG UltraGear OLED, which will be available soon, comes with an anti-glare coating.

A curved screen is only really designed for a single person, too. For hardcore gamers, streamers, graphic designers or those who live their lives hoarding a thousand tabs at once, that’s not a problem. If your PC screen doubles as a Netflix vessel, though, a flat screen is probably the way to go. The extra depth of a curved monitor also takes up more space than a flat screen, which is something to keep in mind for home setups. But if you have enough space, the perfect lighting conditions and the work to warrant it, a curved screen can’t be beat.

Flat screen vs curved: what to opt for

Best all-rounder: Alienware AW3423DW (curved)

When the Alienware AW3423DW arrived in early 2022 as the first ever QD-OLED gaming monitor, skeptics wondered whether this next step in gaming tech would deliver. They shouldn’t have worried, though, as the AW3423DW proved to be one of the best gaming monitors out there. With a 21:9 aspect ratio, 3440 x 1440 resolution and a 1800R curvature, the monitor also delivers with a 175Hz refresh rate and a response time of 0.1ms. A key element to note, though, is that the AW3423DW does not come with a HDMI 2.1 port. It does have Nvidia G-Sync on-board, but AMD owners could save almost £200 by opting for the AW3423DWF instead.

Flat alternative: Corsair XENEON 32UHD144, £950

Best for budgets: BenQ Mobiuz EX240N (flat)

For a nifty gaming monitor at a wallet kind price, you can’t go far wrong with the BenQ Mobiuz EX240N. The 24in EX240N delivers a 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms response times, alongside HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 and a 3.5mm headphone ports. The Mobiuz EX240N is on sale now, directly from BenQ and from Amazon, with prices starting from £169.

Curved alternatives: MSI Optix MPG341CQR, £500

Best for big spenders: Samsung Odyssey Ark (curved)

The Samsung Odyssey Ark is one of the most outlandish gaming monitors ever made. Think we’re exaggerating? Just look at the specs: it’s a 55in curved beast with eye-searing HDR and a pivoting stand that’ll turn from portrait to landscape with a push. It’s the kind of screen that can make every game look incredible, but at £2599, you’ll need deep pockets to invest in one.

Flat alternative: Asus ROG Swift OLED PG48UQ, £1500

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