I am a big fan of novelty. I like owning the newest of anything, be it software or hardware; and while many would assume that comes as result of a snobbish desire to be flashy, it is actually quite the opposite: I have a self-flagellating fondness for problems.
All brands of new technology come with a set of problems, and I actually enjoy finding them and being the first to put a device or “thing” through its paces. But, with all of that “I-love-new-shiny-things” practice comes a cost factor, more specifically, whether the newest and shiniest thing is worth the premium of early adoption.
So that brings me to today’s topic: curved monitors.
The first time I saw a curved monitor in person was at a MicroCenter, at a booth dedicated to showcasing gaming PC setups. The monitor that they had at that time was an Acer 34” “Predator” which commanded a hefty $1,000+ price tag. I thought it looked nice, but wasn’t worth the price. After all, I have a 65” curved TV, and haven’t experienced any Earth-shattering viewing experience.
Then, as time went on, I started seeing more and more of these curved monitors in the wild, and then a couple of friends got them. And then I actually used one. Verdict? Meh. I didn’t see any benefit over a normal flat panel, except for gaming use.
I can tell you right now – before the lecture on why and how a monitor of this type would be useful – that if the majority of your time is not spent gaming, then spending $600+ on a monitor is a waste of money. It’s akin to buying an exotic sports car and only using it to drive down your driveway to collect the mail; your usage is painfully inadequate for the design. There are plenty of monitors out there for less than $500 that will give you what you need.
If you’re thinking of jumping into curved monitors, know that getting anything smaller than 27” is a waste of money; you won’t notice a benefit. Especially if your normal usage is browsing online, watching a few videos, or reading email. So who would actually see the value of a curved monitor?
- If you are a hardcore workaholic multi-tasker, then you may see the value of the extra real estate with a larger, curved monitor; you’ll appreciate the ability to put multiple windows side by side more seamlessly than with a dual-monitor setup.
- If you’re a gamer, and want a more immersive experience, then you’ll love a curved monitor. Ideally, anything 34” or larger is where you’ll see notice the most immersive experience and get the most usage value for your money.
The effect that most people will experience with curved monitors is not an “enlightened” experience. Don’t prepare to be wowed with anything but gaming. What you will notice the most is when you switch from a curved monitor to a flat panel monitor; it will seem so… bland. While this may be enough of a draw for people who just want that “new hotness” experience, the average consumer will have to weigh whether that experience is worth the extra $100-$400 for a curved panel of similar (or smaller) size.
My vote is to wait until the average cost lowers and more consumers adopt them, but I certainly won’t blame you for splurging now 😉