To get ultrawide curved monitors onto the desks of ordinary people, manufacturers have made some curious decisions. Because paying $1500+ for a monitor is no longer considered normal, technological compromises are used to keep costs down.
Maybe it’s by only giving us a 1080p panel, or using TN or VA LCD tech. Sure, there are a couple of $2000 uber-gaming monitors with G-sync and all that, but what about a solid, IPS, high-resolution curved display for the rest of us?
Here it is. LG’s 34UC88-B has the IPS panel we want, the 3440 x 1440 resolution we crave, and the amazing colour reproduction and near-zero backlight bleed we demand. Sit in front of this thing and you will disappear into whatever content you show on it: games, video (at 21:9 of course), whatever.
Yes it’s a bit more expensive that some other curved monitors but the boost in resolution and the panel tech justify the price easily. It has FreeSync too, so anyone running AMD cards can get a bit more smoothness with a 75Hz refresh rate boost over the standard 60Hz.
Because this isn’t a wide-4K display, your PC will have a chance at running games in native resolution on it, but on the other hand, the 1440 pixels of vertical res means everything is super-crisp and super-clean. It’s like having the horizontal benefits of 4K without the performance pain the full 2160 pixels of vertical res brings...
At 34 inches (86cm) on the diagonal, the curve brings actual benefits to the user sitting a metre or so from the display. We’ve tested the non-curved version of this monitor, and it looks oddly bulgy in the middle due to parallax (the extreme edges look further away). The curve corrects this, and when you sit right in front of it, the dimensions just look... right.
There can be no doubt: once you go curved, you won’t ever go back. We can expect to see more and more of these displays reach the market in the year ahead, and manufacturers get more aggressive in their attempts to sell them to gamers and productivity users alike.
But for now, in the curved-monitor arms race, LG is definitely winning.