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15 January, 2009

Alienware Curved Monitors-The Next Technology?


A resolution of 2880×900. Dimensions equivalent to two 24″ widescreen monitors standing end-to-end. DLP rear projection on a curved screen, with OLED illumination. An insignificant .02ms response time.

Alienware’s new curved monitor caused quite a stir when it was revealed here at CES. It seemed like the natural evolution of monitor technology had finally arrived. After all, the human eye is curved, so why shouldn’t our monitors curve too? What a great idea.

So is it that great? Well, it’s as quick as curved. Not that any of that means much right now, because this monitor has major problems.

One of the more intriguing technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) being held this week is a 42-inch-long, curved monitor. Made by Alienware, the monitor is supposed to simulate peripheral vision. The sci-fi-like screen is aimed at gamers for a more immersive experience, although it might not be as suitable for design or text work.

If 42 inches is still not big enough for you, it’s possible to put two of these monitors side-by-side for a dual monitor configuration.

Another issue is the image quality. While the picture seemed sharp, it lacked color depth, appearing altogether faded. And ultimately, I care far more about image quality than the shape of the box.

CES was dominated by another display technology–3D glasses. Yes, the technology that has moved from gimmick to money-maker in the movie industry is still being pushed on the PC. And though it has progressed since the 90s, 3D gaming monitors and glasses still haven’t gotten to the point of usefulness. Every pair I tried left me disappointed and cross-eyed.

In the same way, I’m not sure this monitor is ready. It will surely be too expensive to even contemplate, requiring an even costlier PC to run a game at such a massive resolution. Beyond the obvious flaws that need to be addressed, it’s just plain bulky–and while I wouldn’t place the curving monitor into the realm of pure gimmick, in person, it only really qualifies as “neat.”

If you want one anyway, I can’t blame you. My shelves are full of neat, expensive, and obsolete technology too. Keep your eyes open late into this year.

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