So this is something that I have had the pleasure of experiencing this past year, and I know some might think that I have been way behind the curve on this but that detail is irrelevant. Since working at Lampros Labs I was given a second monitor to use for work. This monitor stayed in the office and I love the added benefits of having one that I bought another monitor for my own personal use when I work from home. Now some people usually get to this point in their computer lives when they start feeling their “17 in” monitor shrinking and they wonder “Should I buy a bigger monitor or do the dual monitor setup?” While either option is valid, I think you will eventually agree with me that having another monitor will not only increase your productivity but it will also provide you with some other tangible benefits. So without further ado lets jump right into what you can expect if you take the dual monitor route and while you’ll love it!
Sizable boost to Productivity
The reason we have the dual monitor setup here at Lampros Labs is because studies have shown that using two monitors can increase productivity by 20-50%! That is a huge gain for not only the company but for our developers as well. Our developers benefit from this setup because they can view source code on one side and have the program on the other side, giving them the ability to see real time reactions to whatever they are working on. The same thing applies to someone who might just be using it to have a website open on one monitor and have Word open on the other. Whatever you want to use it for is usually possible. At the same time, with a little tweaking in the settings, you can have the monitors either be extended, one big screen, or duplicate each other.
So when you have a few programs going on your screens it typically helps to have some of them running at full screen. Well with dual monitors you can actually accomplish this feat. At a minimum you have 2 full screen apps going and with whatever OS you’re running you can potentially have 4 different applications running at half screen each. This is especially useful when you need to use applications that need a certain screen dimension to be running at peak efficiency. Once again, web designers reap the benefits of this the most but so do customer service reps or people you like watching a YouTube video full screen and having Wikipedia open on the other, ha-ha guilty as charged.
Simplicity at its Core
When you are using a dual monitor, you might think it confusing at first. However the key to wrap your head around, especially if you are using the extend display setting, is to think of the two separate monitors as one big monitor. You can click and drag programs from one side to the other and set it up how you like. You don’t like having your email open on your left side, then move it to the right side. Its so easy and useful that most people who use two monitors wonder how they ever got by without it and always want to go back when they are stuck with only one. Occasionally I found myself in that situation when I was at school working on a project or paper and wanted to drag my application over to another screen to test it and have code on the other screen.
Cheaper in the Long Run
So when you have the decision to either by a bigger monitor or by another monitor of the one you have, the cost will obviously different. As with most things in life, bigger cost a lot more. This is unfortunately true with monitors. To put in perspective a 24″ monitor will cost about $99-$200 depending on the brand and refresh rate which still leaves you with a decent size minus the above benefits. Or you could get another smaller monitor for like $50-$80 and almost if not double your overall screen area. With many things you have to think of it as an investment and just bite the bullet one way or the other. If you want to look at it just based on intrinsic benefits alone then I would recommend getting the dual monitor setup.
After going over this list I would hope that many of you would consider the dual monitor setup to be preferable to just buying a bigger monitor. Whether you notice it or not your work load potential will grow and productivity will rise with it along with making multitasking easier to accomplish. Finally I would encourage anyone with questions to consult a coworker or someone who can personally attest to the benefits that having a dual monitor set up can bring.