Widescreen Dell Monitor
Originally uploaded by jzawodn.

In the New York Times story "Meet the Life Hackers", we read of the results from some testing done at Microsoft:

The results? On the bigger screen, people completed the tasks at least 10 percent more quickly - and some as much as 44 percent more quickly. They were also more likely to remember the seven-digit number, which showed that the multitasking was clearly less taxing on their brains. Some of the volunteers were so enthralled with the huge screen that they begged to take it home. In two decades of research, Czerwinski had never seen a single tweak to a computer system so significantly improve a user's productivity. The clearer your screen, she found, the calmer your mind.

Hmm. Just when I'd convinced myself not to buy one of those nice Dell 24" LCD monitors. Now I've got scientific justification!

So very tempting...

Posted by jzawodn at October 17, 2005 08:17 PM

Reader Comments
# Tom Becker said:

Interesting post. I started a new job today and was given a 17" LCD on my desk. For the last 5 months, I worked a contract from home on my Dell 20" Cinema LCD.

I think it's going to come down to me providing my own large LCD at my work place.

I hope fellow staffers don't get mad.

on October 17, 2005 08:55 PM
# Mike said:

I just got a Dell 2005FPW 20.1" for $396 shipped (keep an eye out for coupons!) - to quote one of your favorite characters, it's Kick Ass!

on October 17, 2005 08:56 PM
# Tom Becker said:


Scroll down to displays and you'll see the Dell 20" and 24" links. Just make sure you enter both coupons.

on October 17, 2005 09:07 PM
# Mike said:

Save even more by buying via FatWallet (3%) and having a Dell Preferred account (2%).

on October 17, 2005 09:57 PM
# [rux] said:

I purchased this monitor when it was on 25% discount from Dell website. Worth every penny. And it works with my PB 15" too. Highly Recommended.

on October 17, 2005 10:09 PM
# clockwise90 said:

hot tip: those 24" dells can be rotated into portrait mode.

a triptych of 3 of these rotated suckers is a sight to behold,
and an immense productivity boost ...

on October 17, 2005 10:42 PM
# Justin Mason said:

oooh. You don't know how hard it is to resist this with an impending transatlantic move in the offing!

on October 18, 2005 12:10 AM
# Valis said:

it's not the size of the monitor that matters, it's the available screen area that matters. you can be more productive if you can have more things up on the screen at a time without having to flip between pages for relevant information, you can get the same or better effect with multiple monitors on the same system

*two 21" 1600x1200 crt's, looking to add a third for a grand total of 4800x1200 screen resolution goodness*

on October 18, 2005 02:31 AM
# Mike said:

THREE CRT's?!? Wow, that's a lot of space, weight, heat, and radiation.

on October 18, 2005 03:25 AM
# Adrian Lee said:

I've always thought a good monitor was one of the most important aspects of a computer setup. And not just the size and resolution, but the quality of a screen.
A decent quality screen with low glare and good viewing etc I'm sure can boost productivity as well, and reduce eye strain etc...

I now have 2 monitors at work and home (though changing job soon, so will see what I end up with!) and never really thoguht I'd have much use for dual screens, but since using them they've become a godsend :D

on October 18, 2005 04:22 AM
# Preston Wily said:


I just got one of these at work and I love it - if you throw a dual-port video card in your computer and put another monitor right next to it you have just about the equivalent of 3 monitors worth of desk space.

FYI for anybody interested - you will need a video card with at least 128MB onboard RAM to get the highest resolution.


on October 18, 2005 07:04 AM
# Jeffrey J. Hoover said:

Apple has a 30" that is even more productivity inducing!

on October 18, 2005 07:21 AM
# Vitaliy said:

Two words: two monitors (is that an intended pun?)

Most decent/recent video cards support more than one monitor and 2*1600x1200 beats any 24" both in screen real estate and probably even price.

I haven't used a single-monitor desktop this century and can't imagine how I ever could.

on October 18, 2005 07:27 AM
# Michael Trausch said:

Interesting -- and mostly true. I use a dual-headed setup at work with the "primary" being a 21" ViewSonic and the secondary being my laptop screen. The dual-headed setup makes life a ton easier. I work with UNIX and MVS boxes on a daily basis, so I keep several full-screen PuTTY sessions on the laptop screen, and everything else on the "primary" -- which helps out a lot. I could probably do the same thing with a widescreen monitor like the one you have pictured up there if I just confined the terminal screens to one side of it. If I only 1280x1024 of real estate, though, my life gets a lot harder. :)

on October 18, 2005 07:54 AM
# Joe Grossberg said:

I think the guys at the 44% end of that distribution must be compensating for something ...

on October 18, 2005 08:47 AM
# Charles said:

I'm surprised this productivity boost isn't common knowledge. I recall using a similar research report back in the mid 1980s, when I was selling computers and trying to get people to upgrade from 13 inch screens to 17 inch.

on October 18, 2005 11:16 AM
# Dutch Rapley said:

I've always felt that about larger monitors. More real estate, easy to work. I didn't read the story, but I'm assuming that they are saying bigger monitor, more efficient work habits. Do they consider that the results are correlational? Let's say, bigger screen = morale booster = more efficient work. When you sit in a dark room on a dialy basis, you need something to boosh morale.

Last year, I even took the notion to add a 2nd 20" monitor to expand my workspace to help me work more efficiently. What I actually found was the contrary. It was a constant distraction. I've found myself more productive by scaling back to one monitor. Call it BS if you like, but I'm just speaking from experience.

As for the LCD, I still prefer the CRT for the crispness. I just turn the contrast and the brightness way down so I don't burn my eyes.

on October 18, 2005 01:28 PM
# Stanford Ng said:

One caveat though, and it may just be my particular monitors, but I added one of the 20" Dells to my 24" recently and noticed that the 24" is dimmer. You may want to go with the dual 20" route - the $396 2005FPWs are pretty nice. Fewer inputs than the 24", though - it's missing the composite inputs for one.

Oh, and you should check out Multiplicity if you're running multiple desktops. (http://www.stardock.com/products/multiplicity/) I'm eagerly awaiting an OSX client. :)

on October 18, 2005 01:59 PM
# Parand Tony Darugar said:

Does this also work if you put two monitors next to each other? I have a 21" and a 14" (laptop) with desktop spanning both.

on October 18, 2005 02:30 PM
# James said:

I bought the Dell 24-incher on sale in July and am loving it. Works great with FS2002, PIP, amazing number of features
and capabilities compared to the Apple 23-incher.

Here's my review:

2 x 20-inchers would be great too.


on October 18, 2005 03:51 PM
# [rux] said:

I get motion sickness from playing Doom 3 on my 24" Dell.

on October 18, 2005 06:38 PM
# Wilson said:

"I get motion sickness from playing Doom 3 on my 24" Dell."
Motion sick, but happy I bet :D

on October 18, 2005 09:34 PM
# 3xMon said:

I use 3x 19" LCDs at work, at 3840x1024 resolution. They're Dell 1905FPs, so their "thin" (relatively) frames help with the widescreen effect. I'm doing less and less work at home on my single 17" LCD because of this, it's just much more spacious with 3 monitors.

on October 18, 2005 09:45 PM
# Dismissedasdrone said:

Keep in mind that if you're planning on viewing HD content on your computer after next year you'll need one that supports HDCP, which is probably why there are so many good deals right now to dump stock...



on October 18, 2005 10:10 PM
# Null said:

Who really benefits from enhancing productivity? Productivity means me finishing my work in the usual 8 hours. Not being productive means I stay back after work and work a total of 10-12 hours but get the work done. So who really benefits? :-)

on October 18, 2005 10:49 PM
# ReadyCompanies said:

well i just bought a 32 inch screen

really helps in organising things

good on the eyes

on October 19, 2005 01:54 AM
# Jeff Barr said:

Not just more pixels, but more monitors. Here's what I have: http://www.syndic8.com/~jeff/blog/?p=309 .

I have it setup so that:

1 - PuTTY window with source code on the left
2 - Web browser and email client in the middle
3 - PuTTY window with top, mytop, and debug logs on the right

I have found that the new Dell monitor is significantly better than the old ViewSonics that I have on the sides. What used to look like "white" on the ViewSonics now looks like a dingy yellow in comparison to the sharp, intense white that I see on the Dell.

on October 19, 2005 09:31 AM
# David Johns said:

Yeah, I have to have atleast a 1600x1200 display to function. The 2405's are awesome... just awesome. I work in the Radiology industry with workstations that display X-Ray, MR, CT, US images etc. The 2405's are the first color LCD that can display CR/X-RAY images with good enough gray-scale contrast to please the docs. A gray-scale only LCD costs about $7000. That is a huge savings.

Oh, and as far as productivity goes... this program rocks.

Hope its OK if I link it, it's free.


on October 21, 2005 08:16 AM
# wyyruyan said:

Seens very great Monitor, I love larget Monitor like this. But I can't see this in china.

on October 25, 2005 03:00 AM
# Anthony said:

I am currently running two 19" TFTs, 1280x1024 on both for a total of 2560x1024.

I recently upgraded to two, from a TFT and a CRT. Not having two screens in unimaginable, when writing essays (I'm a student) I have pdfs and internet on one window, with my essay on the other, the possibilities go on, but goign back to one screen? no way.

My program of choice to help with this is Ultramon, you have to pay but it's worth every penny. Buttons to maximise over both windows and another two switch a window form one screen to another, they make it worth it themselves, especially for a conveniant way to disable one monitor.

The 2nd TFT I bought is a Samsung Syncmaster 913N, highly recommended, 8ms means its good enough for CSS, as well as anything else you can throw at it, much easier for LAN Parties too. In short, totally agreed, more screen real estate helps.

on October 28, 2005 09:03 AM
# Joel said:

Try out the Viewsonic VP2290b ... does 3840 x 2400 in a 22" package. Now THAT is some screen real estate.

It's also $6k.

on August 14, 2006 01:19 PM
# said:

How bout 4.... 4 17" monitors on my desk. It is awesmoe, I have my email up on the right, a word document on the left, this webpage on the middle and up top is empty for now. We try and be as paperless as possible (hard when you are a bank) so they give us pleantly of monitor space to spread it out.

on December 5, 2006 04:21 PM
# StanQbricK said:

I can only speak for myself, but personally I think the issue is a no-brainer - having one huge display is one huge mess. I use a trio 21x from cinemassive displays ( http://www.cinemassivedisplays.com ) I was considering just ponying up for a huge 30" dell setup but then I realized that amount of space would just create a new set of congestion window management bottlenecks my old 17" was causing. My multi-screen array has 3 screens - a 21.3" panel flanked beautifully by 2 17" panels in portrait mode. Together with the cinemastery multi-monitor management software I can make the most efficient use of my very capable range of workspaces - for programming and web proofing I throw dreamweaver and firefox on the 2 17" portrait wings and I usually keep photoshop or flash in the center 21.3" big boy so there's room for the palettes and zooming and what not. Its a supremely versatile arrangement and a very coherent package. Setup was a breeze with their tech rep guiding me to a smooth landing in about 20 minutes over the phone. Can't recommend them enough IMHO ;)

on February 28, 2007 01:20 PM
# monitor said:

the captiva is a great monitor and cheap

on October 18, 2008 12:00 PM
# Cheap computers said:

That's pretty insane alright, but then Dell are known for this kind of thing. If you want the 24in for a reasonable amount, PCBuyIt's price is still the same. Otherwise, £440 (the current price) is not half bad for a 27in PVA!

on June 8, 2009 04:24 AM
# jd- said:

I have to disagree here... I prefer a laptop, b/c I can work anywhere and hate being stuck in the house all day, I live in a big city with lots to do and travel quite a bit, and meet clients in coffee shops etc. I couldn't do any of that with a desktop. So yeah it is more efficient if you want to sit in one place all day or if you are working for the man...

on May 4, 2010 04:13 PM
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