We’re well into the age of big monitors. You can’t walk far into an office building these days without seeing at least one 30 inch monitor or one multi-monitor setup with huge displays.
But is a big monitor really better for productivity? Does it really provide a better gaming experience? Does it have a greater effect on your eyes? Today, we’re highlighting the pros and cons of going with one large monitor instead of one (or more) smaller monitors.
A large monitor, by the way, is defined (by us) as anything over 24 inches. That’s where you’ll start to see some of the benefits listed below.
1) They Make You More Productive
There are all sorts of studies on how much more productive you can be with a big monitor. One study from the University of Utah says you save 2.5 hours a day using a big monitor, which works out to being able to complete tasks 52% faster, while other studies generally indicate at least some sort of time savings.
I’ll tell you this much: I haven’t seen any studies that say larger monitors make you less productive. If you’ve grown accustomed to using a larger monitor, it’s hard to go back to a smaller monitor.
How does it make you more productive? Well consider someone who works with spreadsheets all day. Instead of being able to just see 100 cells at a time, a larger monitor might let you see 200 or 300 cells, reducing your need to scroll.
2) It’s Easier on your Eyes
Larger monitors tend to be brighter, sharper, and higher resolution. This can create less strain on your eyes when you’re viewing the screen.
There’s also the fact that larger monitors may be more level with your eyes. Instead of bending over your tiny laptop screen or squinting to see a smaller monitor, your larger monitor might display information closer to the center of your vision.
3) They’re Not as Expensive as You Think
If you don’t need a high-end monitor, you can get a good 24” monitor for $150 to $300.
Once you go into the 30 inch range with higher resolutions, 4K, and UHD setups, you’ll need to pay a little more. You can certainly spend thousands on a high-end monitor – but you don’t need to.
If high prices turned you away from big monitors in the past, then take a look again. You may be surprised by how low prices have fallen.
1) It Makes It Difficult to Make a Multi-Monitor Setup
Having one large monitor makes it hard to add a second monitor in the future. Unless you have a huge desk, you probably don’t have the physical real estate for two 30 inch monitors on your desktop – not to mention the graphic processing power if you have a high-resolution large monitor (which you should).
If you like the feel of dual or triple monitors, then buying one good 30 inch monitor makes an array like that difficult (although some people don’t mind using one big monitor and one smaller one).
Of course, running two 24 inch monitors is an option on most medium to large-sized desks. So you can compromise with slightly smaller monitors and still run a dual monitor setup.
2) They’re More Expensive
This con is easy. Larger monitors are almost always going to be more expensive, with some higher-resolution 30 inch monitors costing over $1,000.
Of course, you could justify this cost by saying that one thirty inch monitor is cheaper than 2 or 3 smaller monitors.
3) They Don’t Look Great Unless You Have Higher Resolution
Unless you’re going with 4K or UHD, I wouldn’t bother with a monitor over 24 inches. When you have a 1080p resolution stretched out over a larger screen, it degrades the quality the larger you go, making it easier to see individual pixels.
Of course, higher resolution displays also give you more virtual real estate on your screen, which is the whole reason you wanted a bigger monitor in the first place, right?
Ultimately, I’ve been running 2 x 24 inch monitors for the past few years and I like it. The larger screen is ideal for movies and gaming. Meanwhile, at 24 inches, I can still comfortably fit two monitors on my desk.
What kind of setup do you have?