Monitor advice - small for dual or big single?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Farrgazer, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. Farrgazer macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2017
    I’m getting to the point in my workflow where 13” is just not cutting it.

    My tasks are not very CPU-intensive; I use DEVONthink Pro to collect documents and website snippets, and then read them while taking notes elsewhere. Problems arise when I want to start comparing documents side by side; 13” just feels way too cramped, and this is highlighted when I read scanned PDFs that aren’t able to have its text re-flow.

    I’ve looked up multiple or external monitor solutions, and it seems like the jury is out regarding what’s better. So I would like to hear your experiences.
  2. Reality4711 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2009
    If you are not doing any/much image/video editing then two smallish non-4k displays would be an excellent choice. This assumes your MBP has the where with all to drive them.

    A 24" good display (Eivo suggested) plus your MBP display would make a very usable option. Multiple documents open on the display and typing/editing on the MBP. A small raiser for the laptop to align the screens more efficiently and you are off and running.

    My wife does a lot of this type of work and found the later scenario very much to her liking when the laptop was necessary bit of kit. Now the Mac mini is installed an LG 31" 4k does the job. Horses for courses.
  3. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Silly person: The answer is you need TWO HUGE SCREENS - if not three - of course :)*

    ...but seriously - it depends a lot on what you are doing and how you work

    For side-by-side comparisons of two documents, something like a 27"would be great.
    Also, large screens are good for software with its own 'window management' with multi-panes and docks.

    Dual (smaller) screens are great when (e.g.) you're working on one and viewing reference material, previewing output etc. on the other, or possibly using two screen-hogging applications - and can be easier to manage than fiddling around with split screen features etc.)

    Since you're (presumably) got a laptop, one possibility is to get a large-ish (say 27") screen and a "elevator stand" (something like: plus an external keyboard + mouse/trackpad so that your laptop can sit alongside the large screen - this gives you a large primary screen, plus the laptop screen alongside it for reference material etc. I worked like that for a long time when I was using a laptop.

    (* NB: I've currently got a 27" iMac with a second 27" screen and it puts the far side of the secondary screen rather too far away & at an awkward angle for my liking - so you may be right to consider two smaller screens - or one large and one small).
  4. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    There are academic studies showing that more screen space improves productivity - what took you so long!

    From what I understand of your post, if you can do this technically, then I think cost (price/performance) is your main consideration.

    There are pros and cons to both choices. For example, I have a Dell 24 1920x1280 on one system, and it's not really big enough for 2 documents. I have a Dell 27 set to 1440p on another system, and it's *barely* big enough for 2. I could set it to 4K, but then I couldn't read it (though you might be able to). But the Dell 27 coupled with the connected 15-MBP seems to work well, as the laptop screen offers space for "everything else." On the Dell 24 system, I've connected two other screens. For the FCPX work, these screens are angled differently. Seems to work.
  5. lizurd macrumors newbie


    Feb 5, 2013
    I find that I can comfortably put two browser windows, PDFs, etc. side by side on a 27" Dell 2560x1440 screen and am able to read/compare them (I'm doing it as I type this). However, it goes without saying that your mileage may vary.

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4 December 12, 2018