So many numbers for curved gaming monitors: 1500R, 1800R, 3800R. We quickly explain what those mean for 16:9 and also 21:9 ultrawide displays so you can make a more informed choice.
Explaining monitor curvature presents a slight challenge because the concept has a counter-intuitive aspect to it. You’ll see figures like 1800R and 3800R, and perhaps assume that 3800R somehow means a more curved monitor because it’s a bigger number. The opposite is actually true.
So when shopping for a curved monitor for gaming, entertainment, and productivity, what should you keep in mind?
Standing for radius, the R in curved monitor specs means the total distance from the edges of the curved screen to its center. The radius plays a vital role because the human field of view has a natural curvature to it, which is why curved displays are easier on us with regards to eye strain. As people by default have two eyes, we see things in “stereo”, or with depth of field. We do not perceive the world like a flat surface, and so a curved monitor technically comes closer to replicating the human viewing experience. Think of it like a regular movie theater being a flat screen, while a curved monitor is more like IMAX.
From 1500 through 1800 to 3800 and even 4000, that’s quantification of the R, or radius. So, 1800R means 1800mm of curvature, and 3800R refers to 3800mm of total curved distance. As you may now surmise, the bigger the number, the wider the monitor in general, and the less pronounced the curve. However, the differences aren’t night and day. The EX3501R is a relatively large 35” monitor with an 1800R curve. How is this possible if we can find 34” monitors rated at 3800R? We just told you that the bigger the number, the wider the monitor.
Don’t forget ultrawide! 3800R monitors are almost always ultrawide 21:9 or more, while 1800R displays are regular 16:9. With ultrawide monitors, the distance from the edges of the curve to the center is bigger because the monitor’s a stretched-out rectangle.
Monitor manufacturers are quite smart, if you don’t mind us saying so. Long, extensive research established that because of the closer fit with the natural way humans see the world, it’s easier to calculate optimal viewing distances for curved monitors.
The number is all you need to know about the farthest you should sit from the monitor. Brilliant! Got a 3800R ultrawide? Plonk yourself no more than 3800mm, or 3.8 meters away. Chose an aggressively-curved, panoramic 35” display? Then 1800mm or 1.8m is your maximum seating distance.
Sit any further and the curve won’t cover your field of view, defeating the purpose of getting a curved monitor. Also, you’ll probably be too far to benefit from the monitor’s resolution and pixel density.
This is very subjective and there’s no single answer. If you want an aggressive, more accentuated display curve, then get an 1800R or a 1500R, even a 1000R if you can find one. That kind of curvature is more likely to give you the much talked about “immersion factor”, especially in gaming.
As for 3800R and ultrawide, those are awesome for a combination of massively wide screen real estate and a slight curve that better accommodates natural human viewing.
In summation, if you want a curved, non-ultrawide display then 1800R is ideal. If you do want ultrawide, then 3800R is by far the most popular choice, and for good reason – it’s a comfortable and impressive middle ground between size and curvature.