Review: 3 curved displays provide a new view

Juggling two or more monitors on your desktop? A curved screen can give you a wider view while taking up less room

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If your desktop is dominated by two or three monitors, it might be time to consolidate them into a single curved screen. This will not only make your desk look a lot less cluttered (and do away with the black stripe where the displays meet), but the display's curve can bring the image a little closer to your eyes.

That's right -- monitors no longer need to be flat. In this roundup, I review three 34-in. monitors that work on a curve: the HP Envy 34c, the LG 34UC97 and the Samsung S34E790C.

I decided to take a look at them for one very selfish reason: For my day-to-day use, I have a pair of 22-in. monitors that dominate my workspace -- and there's no denying that the interruption of the image where the monitors meet can be very annoying. In contrast, each of these curved displays provides an uninterrupted wide expanse with a 21:9 aspect ratio and 3440 x 1440 (WQHD) resolution. At nearly 5 million pixels, that's 2.4 times the pixel count of a conventional high-definition screen. (It doesn't quite measure up, however, to the newest 4K and 8K displays, which can marshal 8.8- and 35.5-million pixels to create an ultra-sharp image.)

In addition, the curved 34-in. screens are actually more space efficient than my pair of 22-in. displays. The latter take up a total width of 41 in., and provide 392 square inches of viewing space. By contrast, each of the curved screens delivers 415 square inches of viewable display to work with while taking up less space. (The HP, the largest of the three, needs 37.5 in. of desktop width.)

To gauge the curve of each display I measured the radius of each (the radius being a line from any point on the display to the center of its imaginary circle). While the HP and Samsung screens have a 9.8-ft. radius, the LG has a wider 11.5-ft. radius and looks slightly flatter by comparison.

However, the real test of any display is what it's like to use them -- and in this case, working with them was a delight. Each screen's slight curve enveloped me, surrounding me with images; I found that my eyes needed to refocus less when I scanned from one corner to another. In addition, because each pixel is aimed more directly at my eyes rather than off at an angle, a curved display requires less side-to-side head movement. In fact, after a short while I hardly noticed the curvature.

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