Curved screens aren’t just for TV anymore; in recent years, they’ve been applying the same curved screen technology on computer monitors as well. Not only does this give your screen an uninterrupted, cinematic feel that’ll make even the most boring word document exciting, its crystal-clear images turns any videogame into a completely immersive experience.

Of course the most obvious downside of these products is its price: premium models can be upwards $1000 or more, while the ultra-budget ones might be cheap, but they’re unreliable AF. Seriously, some of those cheap knock-offs can set you back more than if you had just paid for a mid-range model.

Which is why we’re here: we went out and tested “mid-range” curved led monitors that were under $500 and put them through a series of tests involving opening word documents, playing the latest game releases on ultra HD, watching 4k movies, and so on. While it might sound like we were just playing around with monitors, trust us, we were very busy at work.

Out of the dozen or so monitors we tried, these products on the list were found to be the most cost-effective, not to mention technologically sound, and possible the best curved LED monitors under $500.

Samsung 24-Inch Curved Monitor

First on the list is from electronics giant Samsung. With a 1920 by 1080 resolution provides a beautiful view of whatever it is you’re working on, whether it’s an excel sheet or Skyrim (we tested both). Speaking of videogames, the 1800R screen curvature gives games an immersive gaming experience with bold, panoramic sights, all packed into a fairly decent 24” screen.

Samsung is also known for its sleek, modern aesthetic, and the Samsung 24” Curved Monitor doesn’t disappoint: glossy black and ultra-thin at 0.5” thickness, this monitor looks like it came straight out of a starship and onto your desk. The monitor features an EyeSaver mode which optimizes screen brightness and resolution in order to minimize eye strain so you can play videogames for hours (or, do important work stuff).

The monitor also features AMD FreeSync technology. Without getting too technical, the FreeSync tech allows the monitor to display super smooth images at 4ms response time, regardless of how fast a scene is moving.

All in all, the Samsung 24” Curved Monitor is a great choice for people looking to experience a curved monitor for the first time without breaking the bank or going too cheap.

Price: $149.99See it on Amazon

HP 27-inch FHD Curved Monitor

Much like the Samsung Curved Monitor, the HP 27” FHD also features a 1920 by 1080 resolution and 1800R curvature, albeit in a bigger 27” frame, and with the added bonus of having a micro edge display. This means sharper curves that show off photos and videos more smoothly, fully encompassing the 178 degrees of vision that the monitor offers. Not to mention it gives the monitor a really cool aesthetic.

With 99% color accuracy, the HP 27” monitor displays the full spectrum of color with a contrast ratio of 3000:1 for static images and 10000000:1 for dynamic scenes. This versatile contrast ratio means viewers can expect deep, void-like blacks and brilliant whites in glorious HD.

But what about Mac users? Don’t worry: HP designs its products to be plug-and-play for all operating systems, so no one gets left out. The HP 27” has a refresh rate and response time of 5ms which, coupled with AMD FreeSync tech and a 75Hz overdrive, provides extremely responsive gameplay and video watching.

Price: $199.99See it on Amazon

ASUS 31.5-Inch Curved LED-lit Monitor

By now you’ve noticed that the price goes up the bigger the screen gets, but trust us, the ASUS VA327H Eye Care Curved Monitor and its 31.5” FHD display monitor is well worth the price tag. At 1800R screen curvature, it also provides a 178 degree field of vision while ensuring that the curves are still equidistant to your eyeballs, making your viewing experience a very comfortable one (especially if you’re going to be gaming for hours on end).

Of course, if you can’t just help yourself from movie or game marathons, the ASUS VA327H also comes with a timer that shuts off after a pre-defined duration. It also has 6 display modes that optimize your viewing experience depending on your activity. The ASUS also has a Blue Light Filter which protects you from the harmful effect of blue light, especially at night. What’s more, the Flicker-Free tech allows your eyes to enjoy what it’s seeing without being burdened by flickers.

Price: $289.99See it on Amazon

LG 34-Inch Curved UltraWide QHD Monitor

Rounding up our list is what-we-feel is the best curved LED monitor under $500, despite it actually being $50 above the $500 budget. But hey, we gave it a pass because the excess isn’t so much when compared to the features you’ll get.

At 34” the LG Ultrawide QHD monitor is a beast. Powered by IPS panel, it has the smoothest, fastest, and clearest displays we’ve tested so far. The UltraWide Quad Definition is unlike anything we’ve seen before: crystal-clear, with not a single flicker in sight, the QHD brings a new definition to “high def”.

It is a little heavy at 18 pounds, but it’s not just water weight: the LG UltraWide QHD comes with a 21:9 aspect ratio which allows you to use its screen split 2.0 feature which lets you multi-task easily. Switching between screens is smooth, fast, and responsive, and it allowed us to both play our Street Fighter V in ultra high-def while displaying the article we were writing that was due last week (hey, we have to test the products, after all!). The monitor also has a USB 3.0 Quick Charge port in case you want to charge your devices.

With a weight of 18.3 pounds, it has a 34-inch screen with an aspect ratio of 21:9. It has a screen split 2.0 feature which makes viewing and working on multiple tasks easy. It has a USB 3.0 Quick charge which helps you connect your device right into the monitor for a quick charge.

All in all, the LG Ultrawide QHD monitor is one of the most cost-effective purchases you can make, whether you’ll use it for vanilla browsing and word processing, playing and streaming games in high def, or using its 99% color accuracy for graphic design. What’s an extra 50 bucks?

Price: $549.99See it on Amazon