Tag Archives: Displays

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

A substantial PC upgrade, or even a better workspace, doesn’t have to be a huge project that drains your time and energy. If you can order the parts, there are several worthwhile improvements you can make that’ll pay off big when it’s time to work (or play). Here are some of them.

10. Switch to a New, Better Case

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

This one’s for the PC builders out there. Even if you keep all of the same components, there’s nothing like a brand new case to give your computer—and your desk—a new lease on life. Maybe you’d like some more easily accessible USB ports, or maybe you bought a huge case back in the day and now you’d rather have a space-saving model.

http://lifehacker.com/5994570/five-b…

As long as you buy smart and don’t let a new case spiral into building a new PC, you can have your cake and eat it too. If you need some suggestions, we have our favorite PC cases here, and our favorite small form-factor PC cases here to get you started. You can (and should) also check out what the folks at Logical Increments suggests based on your budget, and what’s popular over on PCPartPicker.

http://lifehacker.com/5951431/five-b…

9. Upgrade Your Display

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

A new display, bigger display, or additional display can make all the difference in your productivity (or not, but it’ll definitely make your desk cooler.) Whether you’re rocking an old 22" display you’ve had forever, don’t even have an external display, or could use the screen real estate that a 4K display could offer, now’s a good time to upgrade.

http://lifehacker.com/ultrawide-vs-d…

Even if you don’t want to go full 4K, there are plenty of affordable, large panels that could give you more room to work. You could always go with an ultrawide display instead of multiple panels, or you can pick up a large, solid budget LED display to give your desk a facelift and a utility boost.

http://lifehacker.com/five-best-budg…

8. Get a New Keyboard and Mouse

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

You use your keyboard and mouse every day, and there’s no easier way to give yourself that “new computer” feeling than to upgrade them both. Sure, your PC’s innards will be the same as they’ve always been, but new peripherals, especially ones you’ve had your eyes on, can make a huge difference.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-choose-…

If you’ve been using the keyboard and mouse that came with your computer, now’s a good time to upgrade to a new one. Maybe give a mechanical keyboard a try (we love them around here), or pick up a sleek new gaming keyboard (and mouse). They’re fun for play, sure, but they can also help you get real work done. If you need some mouse suggestions, we’ve always been big fans of Logitech’s Performance MX, but the new MX Master is a fitting successor to it. It’s not your only option, though!

http://lifehacker.com/logitech-mouse…

7. Upgrade your Graphics Card

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

Again, this is for the desktop PC owners (and builders) here, but a graphics card upgrade can be a big improvement for a PC that’s starting to show its age (or slow down when you try to unwind and play some video games!) Of course, it’s not always a smart investment, so you should make sure you think hard before rushing out to buy whatever card everyone’s shouting about these days. Still, if yours is due for an upgrade and you’ll actually benefit from the upgrade, it’s easy to find even budget-friendly cards that will make the most of that new display we mentioned earlier, and speed up your system’s performance in your favorite games.

http://lifehacker.com/5883376/what-h…

6. Give Yourself the Gift of Better Audio

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

Whether you like to listen to music, or you record audio for podcasts, streams, or just do the occasional Skype call or Hangout with coworkers, a new pair of speakers or headphones (and we have some suggestions in the headphone department,) and a microphone can go a long long way toward making sure your audio is crystal clear. Best of all, they don’t cost a fortune, and installation is easy enough to do in a couple of minutes.

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-make-su…

We’re big fans of the Blue Yeti, but if that’s not your style, here are some of our other picks. If you’re still not sure, check out our guide to choosing the best microphone for you, or check out some of our favorite headsets with attached microphones if that’s more your speed.

When it comes to speakers, you have plenty of options, from simple bookshelf speakers you can connect to anything, great desktop speaker systems designed for PCs, to full 5.1 surround systems. Choose what works for you and your space, but anything will be an upgrade over the speakers that came with your PC, or whatever’s built into your laptop.

5. Add a New, HD Camera

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

If you’re thinking about doing video streams, or just want your visuals to match the crystal clear audio you got from that last upgrade, a new camera is in order. Odds are whatever camera is built into your laptop may not be the best, and certainly isn’t adjustable. A new, HD-capable camera will make sure everyone can see you clearly and you’re not a fuzzy blob on-screen when you fire up a Skype call, or try to do a Google Hangout with friends or coworkers when you work from home. Worst case, if you don’t have a camera at all, you probably have a good one on your phone. We have guides to turn your iOS device or Android phone into a PC-connected webcam.

http://lifehacker.com/5961369/five-b…

4. Add More Convenient Power (Strips)

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

When you set up your desk the first time, odds are you didn’t include all the power you’d need to connect everything you have now. Maybe you added some power strips later, or worse, you’re daisy-chaining power strips together for some reason. Stop that and get yourself a good surge protector, or better yet, a good UPS to protect your gear. Then tack on a long, server-style power strip to connect to it and give you all the power you need for all your gear. It’s a better solution than big, bulky power strips hanging off the walls, and your cables will be easier to manage.

http://lifehacker.com/long-server-ro…

3. Upgrade Your Power Supply

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

Now we’re getting serious. Upgrading your power supply may take a little time (no more than transplanting all of your gear to a new case, however!) but if you’re rocking the one that came with your case when you built your PC, one that’s way too underpowered for the gear you’ve crammed into your build, or you’re experiencing strange and quirky problems with your system, it might be time for an upgrade. Don’t expect to save money on energy though, that’s not what this is about—it’s about stability and giving you enough juice to run everything you want to run. Get thee to a power supply calculator and make sure the one you buy can support your system.

http://lifehacker.com/5970985/why-hi…

2. Add more RAM

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

We’ve said before that most modern systems probably won’t benefit from more than around 4GB of RAM, but that doesn’t mean that yours won’t be an outlier. If you don’t have that much, or you do memory intensive tasks, high-end gaming, or use virtualization software to test software or experiment, you’ll need more—a lot more. For everyday use though, 16GB is the new ceiling. Plus, while RAM isn’t as cheap as it used to be, it’s still cheap enough that in some cases it makes more sense to just max out your motherboard and call it a day.

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However, just make sure you’re not spending more on RAM than you would on other, better and more valuable upgrades to your system. More RAM isn’t a silver bullet to better performance, but if your system is hurting for memory, you probably know it already, so full speed ahead.

1. Install an (or Upgrade Your) SSD

Top 10 PC and Workspace Upgrades You Can Do in an Afternoon

If you have a computer built at all in the past few years, your boot drive is probably already an SSD. That’s great! You may want another one—bigger SSDs are cheaper now than they’ve ever been, and even if you already have one, if it’s super old and slow, there’s nothing wrong with upgrading to a newer, faster one. Even if you have a laptop, your drive is probably easy to swap out and replace, and the benefits will show themselves the first time you reboot your machine.

http://co-op.kinja.com/five-best-soli…

If you need some help picking a good one, here are some suggestions, and of course, you can always find some good picks at Logical Increments and make sure they’re compatible with your gear at PCPartPicker. When it comes time to actually do the installation, make sure you take your files and settings with you, and optimize it for performance.

http://lifehacker.com/5837543/how-to…


Lifehacker’s Weekend Roundup gathers our best guides, explainers, and other posts on a certain subject so you can tackle big projects with ease. For more, check out our Weekend Roundup and Top 10 tags.

Illustration by Fruzsina Kuhári. Photos by TJStamp, Brett Morrison, Kevin Pham, Matthew Keefe, yoppy, Murat Tanyel, danrock, Yutaka Tsutano, and Intel Free Press.

This Interactive Guide Finds the Best Matte Screen Laptop for You

This Interactive Guide Finds the Best Matte Screen Laptop for You

Matte screens on laptops are harder and harder to find these days, but over on Product Chart, a user created a collection of laptops with matte screens so you can find one that’ll suit your needs.

Glossy displays are pretty standard these days, but if you work outdoors or just plain hate the reflection, you can still track down matte displays if you look hard enough. Case in point, out of 400 laptops, they only found 100 with matte screen options. Still, if that’s what you’re looking for, this guides a solid starting point. If you’re just looking for any old laptop, that’s easy enough to find as well.

http://lifehacker.com/find-the-right…

Laptops with Matte Screens | Product Chart via Hacker News

The Official Raspberry Pi Touchscreen Launches for $60

The Official Raspberry Pi Touchscreen Launches for $60

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released an official touchscreen to compliment its tiny computer. The 7-inch display has a 800×480 resolution and supports 10-finger touch.

As you’d likely expect, the display isn’t extremely fancy, but that’s kind of the point. It’s cheap, compatible with the Pi, and easy to set up. It’s an RGB 800×480 display with just 24-bit color and a 70 degree viewing angle. Even then though, it also comes with a mounting area for the Raspberry Pi so you can easily integrate it into a mini all-in-one computer.

Raspberry Pi Display ($60) | Element14 via Raspberry Pi Foundation

Most Popular 4K Computer Monitor: Dell 27-Inch Ultra HD 4K Monitor

Most Popular 4K Computer Monitor: Dell 27-Inch Ultra HD 4K Monitor

Great 4K monitors used to be hard to find, and very expensive. That’s not the case anymore, with plenty of solid 60Hz panels at all prices and sizes. Earlier in the week we asked you for your favorites, then looked at the five best 4K computer monitors. Now we’re back to highlight your top pick.

Most Popular 4K Computer Monitor: Dell 27-Inch Ultra HD 4K Monitor

Voting was pretty tight across all five displays, and there were definitely champions and detractors for each. At the end of the day, the price, features, and screen size of the Dell 27-Inch Ultra HD 4K Monitor (P2715Q) won most of your hearts (and many of your dollars) with over 31% of the votes cast. You praised it for being a 60Hz IPS display with a solid screen size to desk footprint ratio, and for bringing Dell’s known-quality to the table.

Second place and 24% of the vote went to the slightly larger Samsung 28-Inch Ultra High Definition LED Monitor (U28D590D), a popular favorite among Kinja Deals shoppers and budget-friendly buyers who love the fact that it’s often on sale at incredible prices. It’s not perfect, but tons of you came out to express your love of—and purchase of—this panel. In third place, the Seiki Pro SM40UNP 40-Inch 4K Monitor brought in over 18% of the votes cast, thanks to its legacy as the successor of one of the first affordable 4K displays, and its massive screen size that makes all those packed pixels easier to work with. Fourth place went to the Monoprice CrystalPro 28-Inch LED 4K 60Hz Monitor, which earned 14% of the overall vote, and your praises for being a budget friendly option. Bringing up the rear was the smaller sibling of our winner, the Dell 24-Inch Ultra HD 4K Monitor (P2415Q), which offers the same features and a lower price, but of course a smaller panel in the process. It earned 12% of the votes cast.

For more on each of these and the honorable mentions not listed here, head back to our full Hive Five feature to read more.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email attips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Five Best 4K Computer Monitors

Five Best 4K Computer Monitors

Whether you’re building a super-high end gaming PC or you just enjoy the extra screen real estate that a 4K display offers, you have tons of options on the market that are big or small, affordable or top of the line. This week we’re looking at five of the best, based on your nominations.

Earlier in the week we asked you to tell us which 4K computer monitors you thought were the best—the best at delivering bang for the buck, working space, and the ones most easily available and well supported. You responded with a great array displays, affordable budget-friendly panels and high-end models, and more. We only have room for your five favorites though, and here they are in no particular order:

Seiki Pro SM40UNP 40-Inch 4K Monitor

Five Best 4K Computer Monitors

Seiki’s newest model, the SM40UNP 40” Pro monitor, is brand new, and will set you back a full grand at Amazon, but it’s well regarded and well reviewed. It’s one of the largest 4K monitors you can buy that’s designed mostly to be a monitor and not a TV (although it can certainly function as both). It’s a full 60Hz panel with a native resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, packs two HDMI ports, two Displayport ports, a DVI-D port if you need to scale down, and even a VGA port. There’s a USB 3.0 hub on this panel as well, along with a VESA compatible swivel/tilt stand that’s also height adjustable. The panel isn’t technically an IPS display, but PCPer notes that its colors and blacks are much better than you might expect, and that you get a bit of the best of both worlds when you’re comparing IPS and TN panels. However, the display doesn’t come calibrated (despite its “Pro” name) so you’ll have to handle that yourself using the on-screen menus.

Seiki was one of the first companies to bring affordable 4K displays to the masses, including the 39” 4K display that won the hearts of productivity enthusiasts not too long ago. That legacy came through in the nominations thread, where many of you said that their new 40”—even though it’s still very new and only barely available—was the panel to beat now, offering tons of real estate at a screen size that actually makes it all usable. You even said that 24” and 27” were too small for 4K, and preferred this screen size by far. Those of you who supported its nomination also rallied behind the fact that the panel works great in OS X and Windows, and that the panel supports picture-in-picture and multiple inputs on-screen at the same time. Read more in its nomination thread here.


Dell 24-Inch Ultra HD 4K Monitor – P2415Q

Five Best 4K Computer Monitors

Almost all of Dell’s 4K displays were nominated, but the 24” represented one of the more popular nominees, largely because of its sweet spot in size and price. This 24” LED backlit panel will set you back just under $440 at Amazon, and for your money you get a 4K panel capable of 60Hz and supports HDMI, Displayport, and miniDisplayport, daisy-chaining via DisplayPort, and packs in a USB 3.0 hub. The base is swivel, tilt, and height-adjustable, and can be VESA mounted if you prefer. Native resolution, like most 4K displays, is at 3840 x 2160 pixels, with an 8ms response time. This Dell panel, like most Dell UltraSharp displays, is well regarded for its color accuracy, wide viewing angles, and matte anti-glare screen coating, which makes it easy to use even in bright environments. Oh, did we mention this is an IPS display?

Those of you who nominated the P2415Q praised it for its color accuracy, and its compatibility with Retina-based laptops, so you can connect your laptop without losing all of those precious pixels just by using a larger screen. Others of you liked this display because it was the right sweet spot of size to pixel density, and you mentioned that it’s small enough to not take up a ton of space on your desk, but large enough that you actually feel like you can use the additional real estate to work. The price, considering it’s less than $500, is nice, too. You can read more in its nomination thread here.


Samsung 28-Inch Ultra High Definition LED Monitor (U28D590D)

Five Best 4K Computer Monitors

If this Samsung 28” 4K display seems familiar, it should: It’s the display we used in our 4K-capable gaming build, and it’s the 4K display that we generally let you know about whenever it goes on sale over at Kinja Deals. It’ll set you back about $500, but for your money you get a full 60Hz-capable panel that’s well designed, packs the standard 3840 x 2160 pixel native resolution, boasts 1ms response times, and includes two HDMI ports and one Displayport port. The display supports picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture from multiple inputs, which is a nice touch. It’s a TN panel, not an IPS, so keep that in mind, and the display’s base isn’t VESA-compatible, and it’s tilt-adjustable only. That means no height adjustability, and no swivel or pivot. The cabinet is a glossy black, which some people will love but others will hate.

Those of you who nominated it though love it’s speedy response times and great gaming performance, and it’s well known for great color reproduction even though it’s not an IPS display. Still, it’s relatively affordable for the amount of screen real estate to on-desk footprint you get, and many of you praised it for supporting output from your Retina Macs as well as your Windows gaming PCs. The joystick on the back to control the on-screen menus and options is a nice touch as well, and it doesn’t hurt that Samsung and Amazon regularly put this on sale for remarkably low prices. Just shop around. You can check out more in its nomination thread here.


Dell 27-Inch Ultra HD 4K Monitor – P2715Q

Five Best 4K Computer Monitors

The Dell P2715Q is the larger sibling of the 2415Q, and is ideal for people who prefer panels just a bit larger, or who want a 4K display that’s still plenty of on-screen real estate, but is a bit bigger on your desk and those pixels are a little bigger and easier to work with. It’ll set you back just over $550 at Amazon, and it comes with all of the features you would expect from a Dell Ultra display. It supports 60Hz, HDMI, Displayport, and miniDisplayport, connecting other devices via Displayport (daisy-chaining), and has a USB 3.0 hub embedded in the display. The monitor is VESA mount compatible, if you take it off of its fully swivel/tilt and height adjustable display. Like its smaller cousin, its native resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels at 60 Hz, with 9ms response times and LED backlighting on an IPS panel.

Those of you who preferred this model largely said that it has the same general feature set as the 24” Dell 4K panel, but you thought 27” was a better size for a 4K display since it’s a little easier to use without a ton of scaling. Many of you said it’s not the cheapest monitor around (although I remember when 24” Ultrasharps were about this much, so that’s saying something about the price of 4K panels) but the size, real estate, and port selection you get—not to mention the fact that you get full resolution at 60Hz—makes this a great choice. You can read more in its nomination thread here.


Monoprice CrystalPro 28-Inch LED 4K 60Hz Monitor

Five Best 4K Computer Monitors

Monoprice knows how to make a budget-friendly panel, and this 28” 4K panel comes in at $400 direct from Monoprice. It’s a 60Hz screen at 3840 x 2160 pixels, has two HDMI, two Displayport, and one DVI-D port input options, and 1ms response times. This is a TN panel, not an IPS, but it (like the Samsung above) boasts a 170 degree viewing angle, and performs well in an array of uses. The base is VESA-compatible, and fully tilt, height, and pivot adjustable (it’s round, so technically it’s swivel as well.) If you’re the type who wants just a little more space than a 24” panel can offer but you don’t have a ton of room on your desk just for monitors, this might be a good pick for you—assuming you’re on a budget, or just don’t need to spend the money on upgrades like an IPS panel or USB hub built-in.

Those of you who nominated this one pointed out that this is a pretty no-frills panel that has the important features without adding a bunch of other ones you may not need, which also helps keep the price down. You noted that the price just can’t be beat, but you do have to keep in mind that it’s a budget panel and can come with some quirks. You noted that it has a remote control, and can even do quad split screen using all four inputs if you want, which is a nice perk. Read more in its nomination thread here.


Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to an all-out vote to determine the winner.


Honorable Mentions

This week’s honorable mentions go out to the Samsung 32-Inch Ultra High Definition Professional LED Monitor (U32D970Q), which earned some great support for its color reproduction, 32” footprint, tons of calibration options, and beautiful design, but its $1300 price tag combined with its single HDMI and two Displayport ports along with its non-VESA compatible stand put it out of reach for many of you. Still, a few of you supported its nomination, and you can read some specs here.

We should also mention the biggest competition to that 40” Seiki display that made the roundup—the Philips BDM4065UC 40” 4K 60Hz Monitor, which is about $900 at Amazon, but some of you reported seeing it for closer to $600, which would make it a better deal. You praised it for being a huge panel, bringing 4K resolutions up size-wise where they’re really useful both for gaming and for productivity, assuming you have a system that can power it. You can read more thoughts in its nomination thread here.

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn’t included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Don’t just complain about the top five, let us know what your preferred alternative is—and make your case for it—in the discussions below.

The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Title photo by Dave Dugdale.

What’s The Best 4K Computer Monitor?

What's The Best 4K Computer Monitor?

You don’t have to have a high-powered PC to make the most of a high-resolution 4K monitor, but it certainly helps. If you’ve picked up a 4K display, either for some seriously beautiful gaming or just for the real estate, we want to hear about the one you chose, and why.

Whether it’s a 4K display made for computers or a 4K TV you had imported or bought on discount and plugged in to your PC, this week we want to hear which one you chose, why you love it, and why it’s the one you would recommend to others. Sound off in the discussions below!

Let’s hear your vote in the discussions below! To cast your vote, follow these guidelines:

  1. Follow this format for your vote, including the bold print. If you don’t, it won’t be counted:
    A PHOTO OF THE BEST 4K COMPUTER MONITOR
    Vote: [BEST 4K COMPUTER MONITOR]
    Why: Explain why this 4K display is the one you think is the best! Maybe you own it, and you know it’s a solid performer. Maybe it’s a solid, cheap option that gives you tons of room to work. Maybe it’s a 60Hz 4K display and looks fabulous whether you’re working or gaming on it. Maybe it’s just affordable. What makes it the one you’d recommend to others, and why? Make your case!

  2. Don’t duplicate nominations! Instead, if someone’s nominated your pick, star (recommend) it to give it a boost, and reply with your story instead.
  3. Please don’t leave non-entry, direct comments on this post. They’ll just get pushed down. Save your stories for others’ submissions!

If you’re not sure what we mean, just check out the nominations by our writers below. We’ll give you a head start, and they should all be in the proper format, so you can just follow our lead.

The Hive Five is our weekly series where you vote on your favorite apps and tools for any given job. Have a suggestion for a topic? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Photo by John Bristowe.

Upgrade Your Monitor to 4K for $330

Upgrade Your Monitor to 4K for $330

If your computer can handle driving a 4K monitor, I can now tell you from experience that it’s truly awesome. Samsung’s 28" panel is one of the most popular on the market, and you can get a refurb on eBay today for $330, which is the best price I’ve ever seen for a 60Hz 4K display. Plus, you’ll get free shipping, and probably won’t have to pay sales tax either. [Refurb Samsung 28" 4K Monitor, $330]

More Deals



Commerce covers the best products on Kinja Gear, finds you deals on those products on Kinja Deals, and asks you about your favorites on Kinja Co-Op, click here to learn more. We operate independently of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. We want your feedback.

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Ultrawide vs Dual Monitors: Which Are Better for Productivity?

Ultrawide vs Dual Monitors: Which Are Better for Productivity?

We love multiple monitor workstations, but “Ultrawide” displays, packing resolutions that rival two or three panels side-by-side, are looking better and better these days. After all, having more than one monitor doesn’t automatically make you more productive. Here’s how these new ultrawide monitors differ from a dual-screen setup, and when you might consider buying one.

What Are “Ultrawide” Monitors?

Ultrawide monitors are traditionally any display that’s about 21:9 aspect ratio, designed to have a similar aspect ratio to traditional movie theater screens. Depending on the size of the display you get, you’re looking at screen resolutions of around 2560-pixels or 3440-pixels wide by 1080-pixels or 1440-pixels high, in display sizes from 29” to 34” diagonally. That’s a ton of horizontal working space, sometimes more than you might get by jamming two or three displays together. Plus, a single, ultrawide monitor gives you a seamless working (and gaming) experience without bezels in between windows or documents, and without multiple connectors to your computer’s video card to drive all of those displays together.

Essentially, the dream is to have one display on your desk (or maybe two) with more working space than three or four smaller displays combined, all using a single (or two) connectors on your video card. Ultrawide displays also allow you to run native resolutions on current-generation video cards (and for gamers, even run games on your current graphics card) without having to upgrade to cards with more power, more ports, or in some cases, two or three cards just to make everything work smoothly.

Of course, that’s the promise. The reality is a little more complicated, but that doesn’t mean ultrawide monitors don’t live up to it in some cases.

Who Makes Ultrawide Monitors?

Ultrawide vs Dual Monitors: Which Are Better for Productivity?

Dell, LG, AoC, and ASUS all make ultrawide monitor options, but there are usually one or two specific models per company to choose from. While there are a lot of players, there aren’t always a lot of models to choose from. Here are a few leaders in the field:

These are just some current popular models, and there are likely a few we’ve missed (and others that have came on the market, sold for a while, and vanished in favor of an updated version.) One thing though, all of the 29” displays are aggressively priced along with other budget monitors around the same size (usually in the 27” range), but the 34” displays can get pretty expensive. We expect that for flagship models, but it can be a bit of a sticking point if you’re looking to upgrade your workspace for less than it might cost to buy or build a new PC.

Can Ultrawide Monitors Make You More Productive?

Ultrawide vs Dual Monitors: Which Are Better for Productivity?

The question we set out to answer is whether or not ultrawide displays are better than dual-monitor setups for productivity (or just about anything else.) Well, the first thing to remember is that the number of monitors you have doesn’t matter when it comes to productivity. It’s the actual real estate those monitors offer that matters, and how you use it. If you have two or three tiny displays and you still scroll and struggle to work with the documents, spreadsheets, and web pages you need to read, they’re not helping you. Instead, one, really large display that can accommodate all of that information cleanly (or rotating it so it’s vertical) would be a bigger boon for you.

29” ultrawides almost universally come in 2560 x 1080 varieties. That’s great, but that screen resolution isn’t anything you can’t get with a standard 30” 16:9 display (or better yet, a 16:10 display). Plus, we’ve established that great, huge monitors don’t have to cost a ton of money. Unless you’re just a huge fan of the 21:9 aspect ratio at 29”, it doesn’t seem to make that much sense. When you can spend the same (or save a little) and get one or two larger displays for the same (or more) real estate. Plus, in order to keep costs down, many of the 29” ultrawide panels we checked out ditch useful features like a tilt/swivel stand, VESA mount, or extra video inputs in order to keep things affordable.

34” is where things get interesting though. At 34”, you start to have more than enough room to work, and resolutions like 3440 x 1440 give you enough space to open up three or four browser windows, documents, or applications side-by-side or tiled without text getting too small to read and menus impossible to navigate. Plus, since the 34” ultrawides are usually flagship models, they include all the ports and connectors you’d ever need, VESA-compatible mounting, auto-rotating and fully adjustable stands (again, on Dell’s, LG inexplicably decided against it), and more. Here’s Linus from Linus Tech Tips explaining how this LG 34” became his daily driver. Using a 34” ultrawide is a lot like that feeling you had the first time you put two monitors on your desk and marveled at how much room you had to work.

A note for gamers: We’ve talked about setting up triple-monitor gaming setups before. Ultrawides still come with the same in-game challenges that an AMD Eyefinity or NVIDIA Surround gaming setup would have, but you don’t necessarily need a new or more powerful graphics card to drive an ultrawide setup. With two or three standard monitors, your graphics card (or cards) have to drive each monitor with decent refresh rates. With an ultrawide, you only have to worry about powering one (and connecting one.) Of course, 3440 x 1440 is a lot of pixels, so low-end cards will still strain, but a decent band-for-the-buck graphics card should do, and you probably won’t need two cards or multiple connectors (which also means less cable clutter!) Of course, not every game supports widescreen resolutions. Many will break (or add huge black bars on the sides), but the Widescreen Gaming Forum is a great place to dig into those issues, and they have a database of widescreen-friendly games.

The Bottom Line: If You Have the Cash, They’re a Great Alternative to Multiple Monitors

Ultrawide vs Dual Monitors: Which Are Better for Productivity?

At the end of the day, ultrawide monitors can be great. They may even be the future of traditional workspaces. However, the benefits of an ultrawide monitor only really appear once you get over 30”, or bigger and wider than most people already work with one or two displays. The difference is pretty stark—gamers and movie fans will love the full surround experience without bezels in the way, and productivity hawks will love being able to keep multiple applications up side by side or tiled without actually having to resize anything to make them all usable at once.

Plus, if you like having your displays angled a little on either side of your desk (like I do), those curved displays are especially nice. Don’t take my word for it though, here’s a review from Linus Tech Tips of that LG 34” curved ultrawide we mentioned above. Every direction you glance your eyes are more center-on than if you had a flat display that wasn’t angled towards you, so everything feels a little more wrap-around and natural-looking. Of course, that brings us to the biggest drawback, at least for now: price.

Ultrawide monitors are still a significant price premium, especially for those great 34” models that feel so great to use. The 34” LG above is $900, and the curved model is $1200. Both get you 3440 x 1440 pixels of working space. A pair of these great 27” Monoprice displays will cost you $920 ($460 each) and give you 5120 x 1440 pixels of working space (2560 x 1440 each.) That’s still a near-$300 premium for an ultrawide, and those aren’t even the cheapest 27” available at Monoprice, either.

Even so, if you have the money to get an ultrawide—especially one of the curved models—it can make work and play a whole new experience. If you’re on a budget though, or don’t like the idea of spending as much on a monitor as you would on a whole new computer, you may want to just grab a pair of 27” displays, call it a day, and keep the change in your pocket. For now, that is. After all, prices come down and competition heats up (not to mention haven’t even talked about 4K/5Knd what it might mean for ultrawide monitors,) and that means big savings for you and I.

Acer XB280HK 4K G-SYNC Monitor Review

When it comes to gaming, 4K displays present a conundrum (beyond 4K being used incorrectly, but I’ll still use it). On the one hand, all the extra pixels allow for far more detail. On the other, that is a lot of pixels to push for a GPU. Even with the best GPUs out there, you might [Ed: will] have to disable certain features and start to introduce aliasing and other artifacts. A solution to this might be G-SYNC to enable gaming that looks smooth even when running below 60 FPS. Read on for our review of Acer's XB280HK.

Acer XB280HK 4K G-SYNC Monitor Review

When it comes to gaming, 4K displays present a conundrum (beyond 4K being used incorrectly, but I’ll still use it). On the one hand, all the extra pixels allow for far more detail. On the other, that is a lot of pixels to push for a GPU. Even with the best GPUs out there, you might [Ed: will] have to disable certain features and start to introduce aliasing and other artifacts. A solution to this might be G-SYNC to enable gaming that looks smooth even when running below 60 FPS. Read on for our review of Acer's XB280HK.