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A Single Monitor or Multiple Monitors?

Posted by Amer Mounts on

Amer Mounts makes an impressive array of monitor mount configurations, including desktop mounts, articulating mounts and wall mounts. And within these mount categories Amer offers mounts for a single monitor, two monitors and even three or more monitors.

Whether you choose a desktop mount, an articulating mount or a wall mount is primarily a function of the physical features of your workspace. But what about the number of monitors you use? One? Two? Three or more? Multiple-monitor arrays are now common in offices and homes the world over. Would they be effective for you? Would they enhance your efficiency/productivity?

No easy answer

As you might have guessed, there are no simple equations you can plug in to that will generate definitive answers. What’s best for you might not be best for your colleague in the workspace next to you as his or her tasks may be slightly different from yours, and he or she may think, visualize and execute tasks differently from you.

Advantages of multiple monitors

Let’s tackle the issue by looking at the basic premises behind the concept of multiple monitors. Many multi-monitor devotees will tell you that having additional screens allows you to see more at any given moment—that they offer more real estate over which you can move your mouse to click on new sources of information or open additional programs to do whatever it is you are trying to do. In a nutshell, the argument is that multiple monitors facilitate multitasking, which is so essential in today’s work environment. There are studies that back up these claims, including this one by Fujitsu SiemensComputers. Alexandros Datov, director of operations at Kaylana Ltd, a logistics services provider, cites many otherstudies that back up the claims of Fujitsu Siemens and others.

On Chris Hoffman presents examples of use cases for multiple monitors:

  • Coders who want to view their code on one display with the other display reserved for documentation. They can just glance over at the documentation and look back at their primary workspace.
  • Anyone who needs to view something while working. Viewing a web page while writing an email, viewing another document while writing something, or working with two large spreadsheets and having both visible at once.
  • People who need to keep an eye on information, whether it’s email or up-to-date statistics, while working.
  • Gamers who want to see more of the game world, extending the game across multiple displays.
  • Geeks who just want to watch a video on one screen while doing something else on the other screen.

Are you one of those people? If so, you may well benefit from using multiple monitors.

Disadvantages of multiple monitors

On the other hand, there are people who feel strongly that the advantages of multiple monitors are overstated, negligible or non-existent. Some of the key arguments for a single monitor—and against multiple monitors—are as follows:

  • Multiple monitors are distracting and excessively compromise people’s ability to focus on the primary task at hand; humans have a limited capacity to effectively perform more than one task at a time.
  • Moving your eyes from one screen to another—across the seams between monitors—is disturbing and thus interrupts thought processes.
  • Monitor real estate isn’t a function of the number of screens, but of the number of pixels; a single monitor with the optimal number of pixels (2560 x 1440, perhaps) is the sweet spot for productivity.
  • Two articles that articulate in detail the above points are Why I Stopped Using Multiple Monitors and Why You Don’t Need Multiple Monitors in Your Home Office. These articles are both authored by computing experts who make compelling arguments to support their views.

    Making a decision on whether a single monitor or a multiple-monitor array is best for you is an important one because it may well directly impact your productivity. Perhaps you will never know until you have tried both approaches. Whichever path you follow, however, Amer Mounts has a mount designed to aesthetically meet your specific requirement. 

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