Curved vs flat monitors: What's the difference?

LG 38WK95C-W Curved UltraWide
LG 38WK95C-W Curved UltraWide (Image credit: iMore)

Curved vs flat monitors: What's the difference?

Best Answer: Both have upsides and downsides, depending on how you plan to use it. Curved monitors have fewer reflections and are more immersive. On the other hand, flat monitors are less expensive and are better for people who want multiple screens.Throw a curve: Samsung UR59C Curved 4K UHD Monitor ($500 at Amazon)Solid flat: LG 32UK50T-W ($350 at Amazon)

The one you want depends on how you intend to use it

Whether you're a gamer, a digital artist, an engineer, or simply a tech enthusiast, both flat screens and curved screens have a place for you either at the office or at your work from home space. You'll have to consider what your personal preferences are when deciding which is the best monitor for you.

If you're like me and prefer to have multiple screens to work on, you'll probably want to go with the flat screen. However, if you mainly use your computer to work on art or play video games, you might bet more satisfaction from a curved monitor's immersive display. To compare the two, we're looking at what each monitor does best.

Curved vs. flat monitors: full view

When comparing curved and flat monitors, the differences are stark. Depending on how you plan to use them, either could be a good fit for your set up. When positioned right, curved monitors will typically offer little to no reflections on their screens. However, if positioned towards a window or bright light, the screens can be overrun with reflections. Flat monitors, on the other hand, are notorious for catching glare. But once again, if you position them properly, this won't be an issue.

Since curved screens tend to be pretty wide, they wrap around your field of view, giving you a more intense viewing experience. This is something gaming enthusiasts especially appreciate as it helps them get more immersed. What's more, this curve gives viewers a sense of depth without resorting to the headache-inducing effects of 3D. Flat monitors, however, are unable to replicate this effect.

Saving space

Curved monitor

Curved monitor (Image credit: iMore)

When it comes to working, the type of monitor can make a difference. Curved monitors tend to provide a lot of screen space, so you can pull up multiple documents at once. However, due to their curve, users get the best effect by sitting directly in the middle of the screen. This makes it so you can really only have one monitor on your desk. If you're the kind of person who prefers to have a multiple monitor setup, this won't be a good fit for you.

Flat screens, on the other hand, are perfect for anyone who wants a multiple monitor setup. Additionally, flat screens are the preferred monitor for wall mounting, since the flat screen can be viewed better at different angles than curved screens. And finally, curved monitors tend to be relatively expensive, whereas flat monitors of the same size and resolution tend to cost a lot less.

And when it comes to saving space, there are other considerations than just desk area. Cable managment is a big deal for a clean workspace, and great USB-C monitor can be easier to manage than an HDMI or DisplayPort monitor, both of which usually require a second cable so that you can make of any built-in USB ports. While plenty of flat panel montiors connect via USB-C, or even Thunderbolt 3, many curved monitors still don't have that option, so you'll want to be aware of that when you're shopping.

Regardless of how you plan to use it, either monitor is a great choice depending on how you plan to use it.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.