Curved monitors seem to be taking over the market. With different screen sizes, curves, and viewing distances available, it can be hard to decide what options are right for you. Luckily, there is a standardized system of measurement which should make things easier.
Most monitor manufacturers measure the curve as a radius. This is usually expressed as “0000R”, where relevant numbers replace the zeroes. So, for example, a 1000R curved monitor means that the monitor has a radius of 1000 millimeters, or one meter.
The larger the number, the bigger the curve on the monitor. This translates to softer curves – to help, imagine the monitor wrapped around a large ball. The radius is half of the imaginary ball.
For consumers, this means that different measurements are better for different things. Let’s explore what the radius of the curve means, go over some of the more common sizes, and then decide what style is best for you.
The Radius of the Curve
As explained, curved monitors are measured as a radius. Most monitors range between 1500R and 4000R in curvature. As you might expect from the previous explanation, the higher the number, the more curved the screen. Generally speaking, larger screens will have a more drastic curve, although this does not have to be the case.
The point of any curved monitor is to provide an experience similar to our peripheral vision. By extending the monitor from a flat view into one with an arc, manufacturers reduce eye strain and make the monitor “match” our eyes. Different curves are better at this than others, depending on monitor size and viewing distance.
Knowing the monitor’s curve lets us figure out how “aggressive” the curve is and what our viewing experience can look like. If you have ever seen a monitor that seemed too curved, it likely had a low radius, like 1500R, on a screen that was too small to support it.
Maximum viewing distance is intrinsically tied to the curve of the monitor. Whatever the radius of the curve is, you should view the screen from no more than that distance away. Let’s use a real-world example – a 1800R monitor has a radius of 1800 millimeters, or 1.8 meters. That’s roughly six feet. This means that you want to stay within six feet of the monitor whenever you use it. Otherwise, viewing the screen can become difficult due to the curve.
1000R – Matching the Human Eye
1000R screens are rare to find because of how aggressive this curve is. The most popular monitor with this curve is likely Samsung’s Odyssey Neo G9, a massive 49” ultrawide screen. Because the size is so large, getting a reasonable curve requires it to be more aggressive than normal.
Rather than trying to find monitors with a 1000R curve, use this number for reference. The field of view of the human eye is said to have a curvature rating close to 1000R (or an optimal viewing distance of about one meter). This is what our peripheral vision is, and is one of the key reasons why curved monitors can help with immersion while playing games and watching movies.
Usually, to support such a drastic curve in a monitor, you can expect these chasses to be thick and heavy. Especially if the monitor is small – for this curve, likely anything under 40” – it will extend far out onto your desk or look awkward while wall-mounted.
1800R – A Sharp Curve in The Monitor
1800R tends to be the sharpest curve you can find for most monitors on the market. While some 1500R models are available, they tend to be so dramatic that they become unusable at most available sizes. At a 1800R curve, you open up a significant number of possibilities.
Slight differences in curvature are difficult to notice; a 1800R curve compared to a 1900R to a 2000R curve will be incredibly difficult to spot. Instead, consider whether you want your curve to fall into the “sharp” category or the “subtle” category.
Sharp curves like a 1800R tend to be perfect for gaming, watching movies, and other activities where you want immersion. This is because the curve hits more of our peripheral vision, allowing us to see more of the screen and less… everything else.
Most monitors with a sharp curve will be quite large – 27” is the average minimum, but plenty of them start above 30”. This is common across the board for curved monitors, as they can quickly get unwieldy and uncomfortable for small screens.
If you do more productive work or are searching for a monitor for your home office, consider a more subtle curve. How much of an effect they will have depends on your work, but severe curves can alter the appearance of straight lines or video and photo effects. Unless you are looking to get immersed in a fantasy world or racetrack, choosing a radius larger than 1800R is a good idea.
3800R – A Subtle Curve
3800R curves are a subtle step up from flat monitors. They can help with focus and immersion without creating a dramatically different experience than what you’re used to. Notably, they are available at almost all monitor sizes, although they are still most popular above 30”. One example is this monitor from Samsung, a 34” 3800R monitor focused on providing a nice business experience.
Softer curves like a 3800R allow for multiple monitors, a slimmer profile, and easy wall-mounting. The more subtle look and general stability of a longer curve is the biggest difference between this and other curves. They are also more useful for people who need longer viewing distances; with a 1800R curve, it is hard to show others what you are working on and get feedback. A 3800R curve makes it easy.
Of course, this does not mean that a subtle curve makes the monitor worse for gaming. They are still available with all the bells and whistles like low response time, high refresh rate, and great color accuracy. While competitive players will probably want a more aggressive curve, casual gamers will find a 3800R to be more than enough.
What Style Is Best for You
There is no one style that works best for everyone, regardless of what they do at their computer. You may enjoy a dramatic curve even while working on spreadsheets, while others may find that it is too different an experience to continue with.
In general, however, those looking for a monitor for gaming will benefit from a more aggressive radius. Look for something between 1500R and 2400R and remember that the higher the number, the more subtle the curve.
Those looking for a monitor for work may want a less drastic option that allows them to view things without distortion or still use multiple screens.
Regardless of your choice, it is always a better idea to focus on other monitor aspects first. Things like refresh rate, color accuracy, and resolution have a larger impact on your experience. And, of course, monitor size – different curves perform well at different monitor sizes. While not always true, larger monitors can have more aggressive curves without causing issues.
Interested in checking out more curved monitors? Take a look at some of our articles comparing different options to see which one is best for you: