When buying a gaming monitor, one of the first things you have to do is decide whether flat or curved suits your needs. The two have pros and cons. Curved screens offer more immersion in games, and can reduce eye strain, but they’re prone to glare and aren’t ideal if you’re a designer that works with straight lines.
But the Korean display specialists at LG have another way. At CES 2021, LG Display will be demoing a 48-inch OLED gaming monitor that can switch from flat to curved at the press of a button: the Bendable CSO (Cinematic Sound OLED) display.
Given LG makes several of the best TVs around, this is quite an exciting development, and the company promises that the screen will offer “a uniform viewing distance from the middle of the screen to its edge.”
As well as unfolding to a curvature radius of up to 1,000R, the screen has some other tricks up its sleeve, including the ‘cinematic sound’ mentioned in its working title. Underneath the panel is a 0.6mm film exciter, which turns the screen into a speaker. LG suggests that sound coming at you directly from the screen will make your gaming sessions all the more immersive.
OLED technology is taking off in the TV and phone market, but isn’t as widely adopted for PC gaming. It does offer certain advantages though, with each pixel emitting its own light for an infinite contrast ratio leading to superb picture quality (albeit at the cost of a lower overall brightness). Here, LG promises a response time of 0.1 milliseconds which should be enough for even the twitchiest of shooters.
However, there is a weak spot for the most demanding of gamers, and that’s refresh rates. LG Display's Bendable CSO supports a variable refresh rate from 40Hz to 120Hz, and while that’s up there with the top TVs (where 120Hz has only just become available via HDMI 2.1), the best gaming monitors tend to hit a minimum of 144Hz, and go all the way up to 360Hz. Refresh rate directly impacts the frames per second that can be displayed (i.e: a 120Hz screen will cap at 120fps), so it’s quite a big deal for performance gamers.
Still, 120fps isn’t exactly slow, and many gamers might accept that drawback for the ability to switch between curved and flatscreen gaming at the touch of a button. For now, though, this is just a concept with no price or release date in sight. But if it captures imaginations at CES 2021, LG Display's bendable OLED could become commercially available soon enough.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.