How to Set Up Two Monitors to Boost Your Productivity
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If you’re working on a big project that requires using multiple apps at the same time, relying on one screen may be hampering your productivity. The time you spend moving windows around, or opening and closing documents would be better spent getting things done.
One way to fix this problem is upgrading your workspace with two external monitors. This is better solution than using one external monitor and your computer’s screen because both displays will be the same size, and can be set to the same height.
Connecting two high resolution displays to a computer — especially a laptop — used to require a high-end machine and lots of cables. The process has become streamlined as technology has improved over the past few years. We’ve broken down everything you’ll need to put together a multi-monitor work setup below.
Using A Multi-Monitor Stand
Every external monitor comes with its own stand (with one notable exception), but we recommend attaching both displays in your setup to Mount-It!’s Dual Monitor Mount instead.
This accessory clamps onto your desk, and allows you to move each monitor into the perfect position. You can turn either monitor 180 degrees (great for programming, or viewing the page layout of a book or magazine), or position them in a way that reduces neck strain.
As a bonus, using this mount will free up space on your desk because you won’t have to worry about each monitor’s feet. Mount It’s Dual Monitor Mount works with screens between 17 and 27 inches, up to 22 pounds each.
We’re recommending this stand above all others because we’ve had the opportunity to test the company’s single monitor stands and were impressed by their quality. We have complete confidence in Mount-It!’s gear, and this should be the first component of your two-monitor setup.
Buy Mount-It! Dual Monitor Mount $34.99
Note: If your desk won’t work with a clamp-on monitor stand Mount-It! has a version that can sit on top of it. This version of the stand has all the same features, and is available on Amazon for $33.99.
How To Pick The Right Monitor For Your Needs
Picking the right display for your two monitor setup can be tough. We have guides to the best 4K monitors, the best curved monitors, the best monitors overall, and even the best portable monitors. The biggest limiting factor is going to be space; everyone loves the idea of having a couple of huge monitors on their desk, but not if they take up all the room.
If your desk isn’t very deep, having huge monitors can also strain your eyes, or make it hard to see the information on both screens, which defeats the purpose of this whole setup. You’ll also want a high resolution monitor (aka 4K), so everything on your screen looks as clear and crisp as possible.
Given these parameters, we have two monitor recommendations, one mid-sized and one large, that are best suited for this job. Either one will do a fine job, and each can be used with the Mount It! monitor stand above.
1. LG 24UD58-B 24-Inch 4K UHD IPS Monitor
LG’s 24UD58-B is the best external monitor we’ve tried so far, and the perfect choice for a two-display setup.
The 24-inch 4K display is large enough that you’ll be able to use two apps side by side without feeling cramped. If you use image or video editing software, you’ll have enough room to keep all of your tools and palates open without interfering with the project you’re working on.
During our testing we were consistently impressed by this monitor’s color accuracy, and overall clarity. Text looked crisp, pictures and videos popped, and games ran smoothly. This is a good all-around monitor. If you are planning on gaming using this setup, know that the display runs at a maximum of 60Hz (hertz), which means you won’t be able to play some PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series S/X games at their fastest speeds.
The LG 24UD58-B has three inputs: A DisplayPort and two HDMI ports; all of these ports can accept video at 4K. We’ve used the DisplayPort and HDMI port during our testing and didn’t notice any performance difference between the two. We recommend using the DisplayPort if possible because it leaves the HDMI ports open for game consoles, media streamers, or other devices.
You can switch between inputs, or adjust other settings like brightness, and contrast, by using a switch just below the display. It took a couple of tries for us to get the hang of it, but we’ve had no trouble ever since. This monitor’s only downside is its flimsy stand, but we’ve already recommended a solution to fix that issue.
If you’re putting together a two-monitor setup, LG’s 24UD58-B is the right display for the job.
Buy LG 24UD58-B 24-Inch 4K UHD IPS Monitor $269.99
2. BenQ EL2870U
If you have the space, and want a two-monitor setup with two giant screens, we recommend going with BenQ’s EL2870U.
The 28-inch 4K monitor has a lot of quality of life features that help it stay a cut above the competition. That starts with Eye Care, a custom technology that changes the color temperature of the display to show less blue light as the day goes on. This subtle adjustment can help reduce eye strain, and may even make it easier to sleep.
The display runs at 60Hz and supports AMD’s FreeSync, a technology that ensures games will run with just 1ms (millisecond) of lag. This is an essential feature if you want to play fast-paced games like first person shooters, which require that level of fidelity.
BenQ’s monitor supports HDR (high dynamic range), a feature that means colors will look a lot more accurate. This is a welcome feature for professional photo or video editors who need their work to look as life-like as possible. The EL2870U has three inputs: two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort, all of which can accept a 4K signal.
The primary reason to get this display for a two-monitor setup is its size. You’ll have enough room to keep multiple apps open at the same time. If you’re producing 4K video, you could dedicate a single display to editing, and the other to viewing your footage at its full, native resolution. Seeing your content on a big screen with no loss of quality is a huge improvement over seeing a truncated version on a laptop.
If you need two big screens for your multi-monitor setup, BenQ’s EL2870U is the right choice.
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