It's been two weeks since I purchased my first curved monitor. Switching away from a flat panel proved to be a novel and unusual experience — so much, in fact, that within the first five minutes, I already wanted to return it. Nevertheless, I gave it a try, and I'm glad I did, because not only did I eventually get over the initially perceived issues, I'm now extremely satisfied with it.
My sole motivation for the switch was that I had become irritated (to a probably irrational degree) by reading and writing text in whatever window tile was on the left side of my desktop. Even though my previous monitor wasn't a particularly large one with 24", the shift in perspective on the far side of that window always made me feel as if I were reading something to the side of me, rather than in front of me — even if I turned to face it directly.
It was time to try out a curved monitor.
Purchasing something like a monitor is always a pain; there's just so much choice. I would have preferred something with an IPS panel, 4K resolution, and either a 27" or 32" size, and would compromise for a VA panel and WQHD resolution. On geizhals.at, an Austrian price comparison site, ~50 monitors satisfied those criteria. Further limiting the list to reputable brands and reasonable prices still left me with more than two dozen options.
Without going into the details why (I was just glad to be done with it), I eventually settled for an MSI Optix MAG271CQR, a 27" WQHD monitor with a VA panel.
Once the new monitor arrived, I removed the old monitor from my VESA desk mount, installed the new one, booted, and gave it a try.
Within the first five minutes of use, I made three key observations:
My shifted perspective issue on the sides was solved (great!), and
I had gained quite a bit of screen real estate (great!), but …
Because of the curvature, the bottom task bar now looked bent (Oh Noes).
Now, point (3) might not sound like that big of an issue, but when you're willing to change your monitor just because vim looks kind of weird to you when it's window is on the left side of the desktop, then a bent-looking task bar is a deal-breaker. I decided that I had to return it.
However, that meant: removing it, re-boxing it, shipping it back, etc. Tedious work. As it was already mounted and connected, a friend encouraged me to give it a day or two anyway, just in case.
That turned out to be great advice. I would never have expected this, but I got over the bent-looking task bar issue pretty fast. The pleasure of a corrected perspective on either side (everything just looks "right" now) more than makes up for the bent-looking tar bar at the bottom; I don't even notice it anymore. And the added screen real estate is a bonus I hadn't planned for.
The MAG271CQR targets the gaming demographic, and thus comes loaded with various features. My new favorite is "Reader Mode", which has an effect quite similar to "Night Mode" on mobile devices (reduced brightness, blue light filter). My eyes barely tire anymore, even after a long day's use. It also has a Picture-in-Picture mode for a second input which I haven't tried yet, but should come in handy for SBCs and the like.