Welcome to our guide to the best curved monitors for photo or video editing. Not so long ago a curved monitor was the stuff of science fiction, but these days they're everywhere, and needn't cost you much more than a boring old flat panel display. The big benefit with a curved screen is that it wraps around you, making it easier to view the left and right edges of the screen. This really comes into its own when gaming, as the wrap-around view makes virtual environments even more immersive, however it's also good news for image and video editing, as it makes it easier to view toolbars and pallets on the periphery of screen. Now, it is possible to get curved monitors as small as 24-inches, but curvature on a screen of this size is little more than a gimmick. Given such screens also tend to be low-end, budget displays not best suited to color-critical image or video editing, we reckon they're best avoided.
Best curved monitor: what to look for
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If you're serious about getting a curved monitor, you're much better off going for a larger, ultrawide display with an aspect ratio of 21:9 or wider. That way the curvature radius will really delivery a noticeable benefit versus a smaller screen, or a conventional 16:9 widescreen monitor. You'll get a lot more horizontal space to work on without having to set up multiple monitors on the same desk. There are also an increasing number of monitors that have even wider aspect ratios of 32:9, which can be useful if you want to display two 16:9 videos side by side without having to resort to dual screens.
The extent to which a curved display 'wraps around' you is determined by the curvature radius. This will usually be advertised as '1800R' or '2300R', for example. An 1800R curve means that the radius of the curvature is equivalent to 1800 millimetres, or 1.8 metres. So if you were to continue the curvature of the screen from the left edge of the screen, all the way around to the right, the point in the middle of the resulting circle would be 1.8 metres from the screen. Therefore, the lower the curvature rating, the tighter the curvature, and the closer you can sit to the monitor and still get an optimal viewing angle across the entire display.
With 4K becoming the standard in both video recording and monitor resolution, you may be surprised to hear that curved monitors rarely even come close, let alone exceed, 4K. By far the most common resolution for a large curved 21:9 monitor is 3440 x 1440, which isn't far off 4K along the horizontal, but is quite a way short of the 2160 vertical resolution of 4K. In order to solve this, you'd need a rare, and very expensive, monitor with a '5K2K' screen res, equating to 5120 x 2160. Realistically then, if you must go curved and don't have bottomless pockets, screen resolution may have to be compromised.
Another potential compromise with curved monitors is the type of LCD panel technology used. Even entry-level flat monitors are now based around IPS (in-plane switching) LCD displays, as IPS screen technology delivers noticeably more accurate color and contrast, especially when viewing from slightly off-centre. however, the majority of curved monitors still use VA (vertical alignment) LCD technology, which though capable of displaying high color fidelity, color and contrast soon becomes muted if you view the screen from slightly off-centre. This is less of an issue with a curved display, but unless you're sitting at the perfect centre point in the curvature radius, color and contrast accuracy can vary across the width of the screen, which is bad news for image or video editing. For this reason, the majority of monitors on this list are curved IPS displays. They're not as common as VA panels, but if you're serious about your image and video editing, a curved IPS monitor is well worth the price premium.
The best curved monitors
The 34-inch Dell Ultrasharp U3421WE has all the right ingredients for a great curved photo and video editing monitor. Unusual among curved monitors, it uses IPS LCD panel technology, which makes for better color and contrast accuracy when compared to the more common VA-type curved displays. Not only that, but the wide-gamut panel enables excellent color reproduction - specifically, 99% sRGB, 99% Rec. 709 and a very impressive 95% of the DCI-P3 color space. Factory color calibration also ensures a color accuracy of Delta-E less than 2, right out of the box. The 3440 x 1440 resolution is less than 4K, and it results in a 109ppi pixel density, which isn't crisp enough to produce a Retina-like effect at closer viewing distances, but this is all fairly typical for a 34-inch curved display.
It may not be the cheapest curved monitor you can buy, but we reckon the LG 34WL75C represents superb value for money. For starters, it's an IPS display, so color and contrast accuracy should be more reliable than a cheaper curved monitor using VA LCD screen technology. Not only is this critical for accurate image editing, so too is the 99% sRGB color space coverage, plus there's HDR10 certification for viewing high dynamic range content. You don't get factory color calibration like you would with a more premium display, but a separate monitor calibrator can solve that. The 3440 x 1440 aspect ratio is to be expected for this screen size, and matches equivalently-sized curved monitors at higher price points. All things considered, this LG panel is a bit of a bargain!
Here's proof that it is possible to get a huge 34-inch curved, ultrawide 21:9 monitor for a very fair price. The G34WQC doesn't even compromise on screen resolution, as it boasts the same 3440 x 1440 pixel density as displays costing two or three times the price. Sure, color space coverage isn't quite up there with the best, but 90% DCI-P3 coverage is still respectable. The screen's relatively tight 1500R curvature ensures an immersive viewing experience, while a 1ms response time and 144Hz refresh rate, along with AMD FreeSync support, ensures super-smooth gaming. The only drawback here - for photographers at least - is the monitor's VA panel technology, which can't quite match the color and contrast consistency of an IPS display.
The Dell UltraSharp 40 Curved WUHD Monitor (U4021QW) is a gargantuan 40-inch 21:9 curved ultrawide display with an equally huge 5120 x 2160 resolution. The 2500R screen curvature radius (2,500mm) means that even though the U4021QW has an immense 929mm viewable screen width, the corners of the display will still be comfortably visible.
The trouble with many 21:9 ultrawide screens is resolution is often compromised compared to a conventional 16:9, 4K (3840 x 2160) screen - 3840 x 1600 and 3440 x 1440 resolutions are the norm. Not so here. The U4021QW's 5120 x 2160 (WUHD) resolution equates to a genuine 4K/UHD vertical resolution with additional pixels on the horizontal axis over and above 4K to fill the 21:9 aspect ratio.
Dell has also paid particular attention to color accuracy, as the U4021QW can display 100% sRGB, 100% Rec.709 and a very respectable 98% of the DC-P3 color space. What's more, Dell claims a Delta-E <2 color accuracy right out of the box thanks to factory color calibration.
If you're after the best money-no-object curved monitor, this is it.
ASUS's ProArt monitors are designed specifically for color-critical photo and video, so it's no surprise that this curved entry in the range has all the hallmarks of top image quality. The 34-inch, 3440 x 1440 display can display 100% of the sRGB color space, and it's factory color calibrated to an accuracy of Delta-E less than 2. The screen also features uniformity compensation to ensure even back-lighting, and there's other useful extras like Thunderbolt 3 USB-C connectivity with up to 60w Power Delivery for powering a connected laptop.
Big curved monitors always exude wow factor, but Samsung's CL791 is particularly impressive for its size thanks to being slightly more curved than many rivals. Its 1500R curvature radius is tighter than the norm, resulting in a more immersive viewing experience, especially at closer viewing distances. Samsung's Quantum Dot LCD technology makes for excellent color space coverage - Samsung claims 125% of the sRGB color space - though this is not a wide-gamut display, so don't expect the same sky-high coverage of tougher standards like Adobe RGB or DCI-P3. What's more, this screen uses VA panel technology, not IPS, so while color and contrast fidelity may be high from an optimal viewing position, move slightly off centre and you can expect colors to become noticeably less saturated, and contrast more muted. But that said, this is less of an issue with a curved screen that wraps around you.
If you're looking for the widest curved monitor on the market today, the huge Samsung CHG90 QLED is the one to get. At 49.5 inches it'll take up your entire desk, but the amount of workspace it offers is unbeatable. It has a staggering 3,840 x 1080 resolution and HDR support, so you'll be able to work on multiple photos or videos at once, with jaw-dropping visual impact. This is an inevitably expensive beast of a monitor, but worth the money if you want a huge canvas to work on.
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