Here come the bendable TVs and monitors that no one asked for

Here come the bendable TVs and monitors that no one asked for

Enlarge / LG’s Flex LX3 OLED TV won’t pick a side.

If you’ve been looking at display technology lately, you may have noticed an interesting feature: flexible displays. Yes, monitors and TVs that can be bent to be flat or curved are supposed to be coming out soon. The feature is meant to appease those who can’t settle for flat or curved, and most upcoming products feel similarly indecisive, exhibiting identity crises that make it hard to see where they fit in…literally. Does something like this belong in a living room, an office, or a game room?

In the case of the LG OLED Flex LX3 4K TV announced on Wednesday (no price or release date), the most obvious answer is the living room. It’s a 42-inch TV with a tuner, LG’s webOS, and even LG Display’s OLED Evo technology used in the LG C2 TV. The main difference from any other TV is that this one has buttons (including remote control buttons) to change the screen from flat curvature to 900R in 20 steps. That provides the potential for a extremely curved tv.

The thing is, you probably don’t want to watch curved TV. Vendors tried to make this a thing years ago, but as we wrote back then, curved TVs mostly accommodate people sitting fairly close and directly in front of the TV. This is not how most people gather around the heart of the living room. The TVs in the living room are frequently shared, with people sitting at various distances from the screen and at different angles. But up close and centered it sounds awfully similar to how most people use monitors.

Based on this image, LG sees that its TV is also used as a PC monitor.
Enlarge / Based on this image, LG sees that its TV is also used as a PC monitor.

A switching hub is supposed to make it easier to use the TV’s microphone and USB-connected peripherals with an HDMI-connected PC. A dedicated button on the stand toggles between TV and HDMI input. HDMI is backwards compatible with version 2.1, which means PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S can connect and use the TV’s 4K 120Hz refresh rate. There’s also plenty of Adaptive-Sync support, and you can even adjust the viewable screen size up to 27 inches.

These days, gaming is the most popular use for curved screens, as gamers sit close to the screen and feel the virtual world surround them. But many living room setups won’t suit that type of setup. Someone with a lot of flexibility can pull a gaming chair closer to the TV for an intense gaming session, but we wouldn’t bet that will lead to massive sales of flexible TVs that are sure to command a premium price.

A flexible monitor, too

the Corsair Xeneon Flex 45WQHD240 Monitor announced last week (price and availability should be announced this year), meanwhile, appears to be targeting PC arcades based on specs. It is a 45-inch monitor with a resolution of 3440 x 1440, 21:9, up to a curve of 800R and a W-OLED panel from LG Display. The gray-to-gray response time is reportedly 0.03 milliseconds. Clearly, this is for serious gamers for whom a curved ultrawide monitor with supremely limited motion blur is the ultimate screen.

800R is an extreme curve, even for a high-performance ultrawide gaming monitor.
Enlarge / 800R is an extreme curve, even for a high-performance ultrawide gaming monitor.

So why put sticky handles on your monitor that allow you to bend it into a curved or flat shape? Surely it can’t be just the nauseous feeling that I must come physically handling a 45-inch OLED panel that you paid for with your own money. No, it must be for versatility. Many people prefer productivity and other types of computing on a flat screen (although I’ve met some bloodhounds obsessively dedicated to using curved ultrawide screens to wrap themselves in work too), and the 45WQHD240 should do it so you don’t need multiple monitors for work. and the games.

However, the 45WQHD240’s gaming specs and high price tag will likely make it more suitable for extreme gamers who also like ultrawide curved monitors. Users will need a powerful PC with a robust graphics card to push 4,953,600 pixels at 240 frames per second. Extremely fast video motion processing is made for hardcore gamers who take the battlefield seriously. And for such gamers, gaming is a top priority, increasing the chances that the 45WQHD240 will be used primarily as an ultrawide curved monitor for gaming.

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