A second monitor has been recommended for over 15 years as a means to boosting productivity and more recently third and even fourth monitors have been suggested.
Can you get the same benefits from a single wide-screen display as you would from two side-by-side monitors though?
There are potential issues with adding extra monitors – does the hardware support it – does it have enough display ports? There might be two different video ports, and these may support different resolutions on two identical monitors. Add another monitor and another video port is required. The monitors may also have different recommended resolutions themselves, so some configuration is often necessary.
There have been various devices available over the years to make it easier to add monitors – so for a while we used a USB to VGA cable with some software. This was often temperamental though. There were also HDMI to VGA cables available.
Another problem with dual monitors when one was added on at a later stage was the dimensions of the new monitor, which was not always matched to the original monitor size. Room on the desk was often another issue. Monitor stands can be bought which attach to the back of a desk to suspend the monitors in the air rather than be freestanding but this adds further to the implementation costs.
A television can be used as a display, and this is often seen in meeting rooms. A large screen TV e.g. 50”, has been considerably cheaper than a monitor of a similar size.
The big debate currently revolves around dual monitors or an ultra-wide monitor where the screen can be split, effectively giving two displays on the large screen. One big advantage is there is no “gap” between the displays – when using multiple monitors, the mouse often has to travel some distance to move it to the other screen(s).
The Windows Snap feature in Windows 10 effectively allows you to split the display on a monitor. Using this feature, you can quickly snap windows to the sides or corners perfectly using the mouse, keyboard, and touch without the need to resize and position them manually. 2, 3 or 4 separate windows can be displayed on the one screen. Whilst you can do this on any PC running Windows 10, they may be too small on smaller monitors which is where the ultrawide screens come into their own.
What is your current monitor setup? And are you going to be moving to ultra-wide monitors in the future?
Sorry to be late to the party! I have little desk space, so use a 32" 4k Samsung monitor for about £400 which is excellent. You can show 4 HD-sized windows at once. The only problem is Windows' deficiencies in handling windows and multiple desktops - it's OK after a restart, but you lose all the windows if the PC powers off and you can't save multiple desktops (grrrr! - oh for some Linux stuff!))
I always try to use two monitors and thankfully have a dual monitor setup on arms to avoid the desk clutter. I find it massively helps with my productivity especially when I go back to one monitor. The next question I am asking is whether to up the resolution or add a 3rd screen. I find that 1440p has a great advantage to 1080p when working in spreadsheets especially. They are just a bit pricey still especially when compared to 1080p monitors.
I've used dual screens rarely and it can be useful, but if you have a financial and space budget the one screen is fine. A wide 24" screen is sufficient for me - I use snap (also works in Win8) but mainly use ALT+TAB to easily switch between running applications. Many users are unaware of shortcuts like this which would solve their problem and instead throw money at it.
How about multiple ultrawide displays?
So the cost is small to add a third screen. You can then add a new screen or screens and still use your old screen. The benefit of 2 or 3 screens is if one goes faulty you still have another. We use 3 screens as we are paperless. 1 screen to work on 2 for our Virtual Cabinet screen ie our paperless files 3 Outlook for all emails etc. Works well and staff like it which is important and increases productivity. When you turn on your computer and open programmes it automatically knows which screen to use after you have moved a programme to a screen when first used. One big screen messy and not as adaptable. Would have to be very big for 3 screens which I think most people should aim for.