Tips for Choosing Monitors for Multi-Display

One of the first things you need to consider when deciding for a dual monitor or a multiple monitor setup is the display you already have. How do you feel about your single display? Is it cluttered with icons of applications and Windows programs you use everyday? If you had a few more inches on your desk, would want a bigger screen or second or even third display?

(NEC EA244wmi, source: Amazon)

If you think your present screen is still good enough, getting a second display is a more practical choice than entirely replacing your current monitor with a bigger one. Dual or multi-monitor setup lets you extend your desktop across two or more screens for a bigger display conducive for any computing tasks. Both Windows and Mac OS support this upgrade. But how do you really decide for a dual or multiple display?

About Screen Resolution

One important note you need to know about screen resolution is that, the larger your monitor size is, the better the native resolution you get. This means the taskbar and program icons will look conveniently smaller on your desktop screen, as you get more display real estate. However, bigger monitors set in wrong resolution can make captions and labels hard to read, and a monitor that is so big is not always suitable for all types of computing use, as it can cause eye strain, neck pain and even back aches.

 

This is why it is important to set monitors in their native resolutions. A wide-screen 19-inch LCD monitor for example, should be set at 1440x900, 22-inch monitors at around 1680x1050, and 24-inch screens at 1920x1200. Make sure to check the manual that comes with your computer monitor for details. If you can’t find information about screen resolution, then feel free to fix your monitor through its Display Properties in Windows or through Finder “View” Options in Mac OS and make fonts and icons on your screen readable and eye-friendly.

(image from Amazon)

If you want to future-proof your workstation and get the biggest resolution available, then the Asus PB287Q is perfect for you. It’s an Ultra HD display that will not hurt your pockets, as it is by far, one of the most affordable choices out there today. It comes with impressive 4K performance (at 3840 x 2160 resolution), with excellent highlights and shadows and great out-of-the-box color accuracy. It’s also a great choice for gamers, as it comes with ultra-fast 1ms response time.

 

Monitor Extra Features

Most new monitors available in the market today come with additional video inputs, allowing you to connect them to your DVD players, video game consoles, etc. and make an entertainment system out of them. If you’re planning to connect your PlayStation 4 to a new and shiny 24-inch display, then you may need to look for models with HDMI or component output ports to accommodate video inputs. There are also displays with built-in speakers, which can be convenient for your entertainment system. Some monitors even come with USB ports.

(image from Amazon)

The BenQ EW2740L for example, is reasonably priced 27-inch display with unique features functions and would look great on your desk for all-around use. The brand claims this product to beat this so-called ‘unwritten general consensus’ among panel types, as it is said to be as good as the IPS in terms of viewing angle and better than many IPS monitors in native contrast ratio.

(image from Amazon)

For photographers, there is the NEC MultiSync PA242W-BK, a display that takes pride on its color accuracy and grayscale performance. Its superior display quality performance makes it a perfect choice for artists, graphic designers, graphics pros, photographers, videographers, etc.

Also a display with a built-in card reader may come in handy for transferring photos from camera to the PC.

(image from Amazon)

For CAD/CAM professionals, there is the BenQ BL2710PT, a display that is fully capable of handling all the important tasks. It performs at four (4) times the number of pixels compared in Standard HD resolution monitors, which makes sure you get more crisp images than your usual 1080p resolution display. Made with CAD/CAM users, this monitor delivers important tools for computer professionals working with AutoCAD, Maya, PTC, SolidWorks or other CAD/CAM software programs.

(image from Amazon)

If you’re an avid gamer, then you should definitely consider displays with gaming-centric features, such as the BenQ XL2720Z. It is packed with new features that will any hardcore gamer happy and play more of their favorite games. Working at 144Hz and 1-millisecond pixel response rate, along with Motion Blur Reduction and Low Blue Light function, this 27-inch Full HD display is considered as an excellent gaming monitor, with gaming-specific features.

 

Your Workspace

Next in line to consider is your workspace or workstation. If your desk is wide enough to hold two widescreen monitors, that doesn’t mean you should go for the biggest monitors you can fit to your desk, unless you love to turn your head often from left to right side of your display and don’t mind eye strain. Having two massive displays on a small desk, or small displays on a large desk will cause problems, if not health issues such as neck pain and eye strain. Thus, it is important to get just the right size for your desk for ergonomic and function.

(image from Amazon)

If you want a big screen with professional display quality, then you have tons of choices out there, ranging from 27-inch and bigger. The Acer B276HUL is one of the brand’s three latest additions intended for professionals looking for improved computing experience. It’s a great display for multi-tasking, watching videos, or even games. It’s cleverly designed and comes with nice set of connectivity options, perfect for users who require a lot of I/O ports in their workstation.

 

If you have the luxury of space in your workstation, but you don’t want to replace your existing mid-size display just yet, then you can just pair it with a display of the same size and make a dual monitor or triple monitor setup in your work desk.

(image from Amazon)

The Asus PA249Q is a great example for this kind of setup. It’s not your typical run-of-the-mill display, as it comes with the truest and most consistent color performance you can expect from a professional monitor. It’s a well-designed display for graphics professionals, photographers, etc. And it’s the latest rofessional grade monitor in Asus’ Pro Art line. This mid-sized display is great for dual monitor or even triple monitor setup. It is loaded with features and display excellent color accuracy, with wide viewing angles, thanks to the IPS panel technology. Of course, you have to pair it with a good LCD arm or dual monitor desk arm or dual monitor desk mount to get the best out of side-by-side display.

 If you want to go all out big, then you can opt for the HP Envy 32-inch monitor. It’s a super-sized media display that sports the best audio system for display monitor today – BeatsAudio – making it a great option for workstations that doubles as entertainment system.


Once you decide for a third or even fourth display, then make sure your computer’s graphics card is capable of handling such upgrade. You may need to shop around for a video card that supports that many displays.

(image from Amazon) 

If you use a laptop as your primary computer, then you can use your laptop’s screen as your secondary display and purchase a single and larger display for your primary screen. Some laptop users opt to turn off their laptop screens when connecting an extra monitor. But you can definitely take advantage of the real estate for your email, social media, IM, widgets, calendar, To Do List, and other programs you can leave open on the side.

(image from Amazon)

If you’re looking for a small computer monitor to simply pair with your touchscreen laptop, then your best bet is to find something that pairs with the touchscreen capability as well.  The Acer FT200HQL is an affordable 20-inch monitor with the 10-point capacitive touchscreen designed to better your Windows 8 experience.

 

Should you decide to run an external monitor with your laptop, keep in mind that you may be running your laptop’s display at a different screen resolution that your external LCD monitor. Thus, you may have to do some tweaking on the display settings to make sure the LCD works hand in hand with your laptop’s display. The same applies with using two monitors of different sizes, you may have to constantly resize the size windows to fit them nicely to different sides of your screen.  For most people, this is not an issue, and it just takes getting used to. But if you’re obsessive compulsive about this, then you can always make the changes needed.

 Shopping For Monitor Brands and Deals

Searching for affordable monitors is as simple as searching and visiting deal sites and browsing seller sites’ posted deals. There are lots of deal sites out there for almost everything you can imagine. But we all know now all these sites are legit. Thus, it is always better to do business with trusted names, such as AmazonTiger Direct, etc. 

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend for your computer display, a 22-inch, 24-inch, or even 27-inch and 30-inch may set you back a couple hundred to a thousand dollars. Both Amazon and Tiger Direct have thousands of computer display solutions for shoppers from all budget ranges. Good quality monitors of decent sizes usually starts at $400 to a thousand, but there are special deals that let you enjoy huge discounts for a limited period of time. If you’re opting for medium-sized monitors, then a $300 can be enough to make a huge difference in your workplace.

Like choosing an online store to do business with, it is also wise to purchase monitors from reputable brands. Popular monitor brands established their name in the industry through high quality and dependable products. Some of the good brands for monitors today (in alphabetical order) are Acer, Asus, AOC, BenQ, Dell, HP, Samsung, and ViewSonic.

Of course, when choosing a monitor, you should do your homework by reading customer and experts’ reviews of your prospective choice, and more importantly, understand what type you need and how you will use your computer display. Dual Monitors Guide offers free comprehensive and in-depth review  of the latest models from the most tested-and-proven brands in the world of computer display.

If you’re an avid gamer, then you might want to invest a little more for monitors with faster refresh rates such as Dell UltraSharp U3014Philips Brilliance 298X4QJAB and AOC i2367fh.

If you view documents and always use your computer for typing, then a monitor that rotates from landscape to portrait and vice versa will be a cool addition to your workstation. It is also a great feature for programmers using codes, etc.

Acer, BenQ and Samsung are three of the few brands that offer both gloss and matte display. Glossy screen may look lovely and show more vivid colors and images, but if your workstation is near a window or in a room with heavy lighting, then reflection is your biggest enemy, as it will cause viewing troubles on your screen. Matte on the other hand, may not have the most vivid colors to offer, but it significantly lessens the reflection from heavy lighting, allowing you to enjoy viewing stuff from your monitor in whatever lighting condition.

Bottom Line

The days of expensive computer LCD monitors are long gone. Now, you can choose from hundreds of different models from tens of brands. If you’re looking to make the jump to dual monitor setup, then do your homework. Do your research online to find the right size of display that fits your workstation and intended purpose, consider your budget, and read reviews of your prospective products.

Check out Dual Monitors Guide to find out more different choices there is to fit your workstation.



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