Swapping two 32" displays for a single 38" UW or 43"?

iroc409

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 17, 2006
Messages
1,360
For the past couple years, I've been using a pair of HP Omen 32" QHD (2560 x 1440) monitors. I've been pretty happy with these displays, especially for what I paid for them. They've been fine and I really appreciate the space they give me. Back when all the work from home stuff started, I ended up getting rid of my big L-shaped Galant desk for a 36x72" Friant sit-stand ergo desk, and mounted the monitors on a Humanscale dual-monitor arm.

This has worked great, and I love the desk but I've noticed lately that I'm starting to get some neck strain, and my experience with ergonomic injuries is that it's only going to get a lot worse and is hard to undo. I think I've finally figured out that when I was using my Galant, it kind of forced me to sit right in front of one of the displays, and the second was off to the side. Now I sit in the middle of the desk with each monitor to the side, and because my desk is against the wall and the way the monitor arms are, the screens sit about 4-5" apart. This means I've got my head turned quite a bit for most of the day and it's starting to wear on me.

I'm seriously considering going back to a single monitor, such as the Dell 43" 4K display or the new 38" Dell ultrawide. I think having the single center display will help the ergonomics quite a bit. I also have a sort of a strang quirk that makes me think this might work. For most tasks, I rarely ever use a program full screen. Not sure why, but on external monitors I almost always do this. The only time I use full screen windows is for things like photo editing, where a lot of applications have gone to a single-window mode, AutoCAD, and really only occasionally for spreadsheets. Both of these monitors have more real estate by themselves than my dual 22" monitors at work, so I feel like I also can lay out my windows side by side without much trouble. I also tend to lay my windows out just slightly staggered so that I don't have to click the task bar or use hot keys to scroll through apps and just give a quick click on the screen. I hear a lot of complaints about managing window locations and not having the snap-to, but I'm not really sure that's an issue for me.

For reference, other than my work productivity, for home use I do all the regular BS that everyone does. However, I don't play games on the computer anymore. Nothing against it, I just have gotten out of it and use the living room for that. My hobby is photography, so that's the most work that I do from home. I think for the majority of time, the second display is used for things like Netflix and media, and I could use my laptop open instead of a second display.

Is my thinking crazy, and if not, are these good displays to look at? What else should I consider? My laptop is a new MacBook Pro, and my desktop is an AMD based OpenSuSE system, so I need to be conscious of that. My biggest concerns, other than leaving a dual display, is that whatever works with both of those systems. I could always consider running a smaller secondary display on the side, but I feel like the laptop would cover the majority of that use.
 

zandor

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 14, 2002
Messages
3,420
I've had a bunch of different setups over the years and the one thing I can't stand is not having a center screen. 2x 32" with one off to the side would probably be too big though. I had a 3x27" 1440p setup for a while and didn't make much use out of the outer edges of the side screens. All of them were in landscape mode. I originally built the setup for surround gaming. It works just fine, just wasted some space since I'd position windows on the inner half of the side screens and not really use the outer part.

My current setup is a Dell 43" 4k center screen with a 1920x1200 24" side screen in portrait mode. I use the side screen for stuff like keeping tabs on email, playing music, etc. and do my work on the center. I like this setup better than 3x27" for work (programming). I'd get a second side screen if my crappy work-issued laptop could support more screens.
 

kasakka

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 25, 2008
Messages
2,088
You could also consider the super ultrawide form factor as that lets you put more stuff in the center and less important stuff to the sides. They also have PbP modes so you could run both computers at the same time, each getting a 27" 1440p screen space. Samsungs at least also do 21:9 + 11:9 aspect ratio setups which worked great for me for a work/personal type split where my personal stuff was on the smaller portion and work on the rest, switching to the personal side when taking a small break from programming for example.

I had the Samsung CRG9 and liked it a lot for work but currently use the LG 48" 4K OLED. I prefer running it with 120% desktop scaling for comfortable text size at the longer viewing distance required and this means it has less desktop space than I had on the super ultrawide form factor which required no scaling.
 

Ors

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 30, 2016
Messages
224
I never could get my eyes used to multi monitor setups. Every time I moved my view from one to the next there was discomfort. Now that bigger monitors got somewhat more affordable I settled for 32" 4k (150% scale) and find it manageable screen space wise, just the right vertical size (wouldn't want bigger since I would need to move my neck up and down with my preferred 1.2m viewing distance) and PPI (I work all day with text, anything less than ~140PPI just looks too pixelated). A little bit more horizontal space would probably be preferable, but not much (38/40" ultrawide with at least 2160 pixels on the vertical and same height as a 32" 16:9). PbP I find limiting (had it) since you need to fiddle with the monitor's interface to get back to single monitor mode when you want, so I prefer GridMove to get windows where I want them fast with keyboard shortcuts instead, while having fullscreen mode available all the time. It might be useful if you connect more than 1 physical device though (2 PCs or 1 PC and a laptop, etc.).
 

iroc409

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 17, 2006
Messages
1,360
Thanks for the input, some good things to think about. I think for sure I need to center my main display whatever I end up doing.

The 43" looks good and gives me a lot of display. A little worried it's too tall, or that I'll miss a little bit of the width in the pixels, but it's probably a good option. I'm a little worried about the curved screen and whether I will like it, but the 38" & 49" look like good options. There is a ViewSonic I am looking at as well, and I think it's just a little cheaper than the Dell and is supposed to have good color. The 49" dell is 2" shorter I think than my current displays, which I'm not a huge fan of, but it has the equivalent resolution of my current combined displays and that would be perfect. It is also about 10" narrower than my dual 32's, so with that and the centered single display would probably help my neck a lot. Still pretty wide, though.

I guess I just need to figure out what I want to try and find a good return policy in case I hate it. Maybe see if I can find anything locally in store to just try first.
 

Spun Ducky

Gawd
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
669
I am a setup junkie and try as I might I have settled on a 43" 4k samsung tv. I have a 32" hp omen sitting on the workbench and a mobile desk with the old 35" 3440x1440 ultrawide. I sit roughly 36 inches away from the screen and its wall mounted. I use 125% scaling or 150% if my eyes are irritated from allergies. I haven't really found a way to add any more screen space without adding neck strain. I have tossed around the idea of a small like 15.6" highly angled screen in front of the keyboard since there is enough distance it wouldn't block the 43".

In the past I have had triple 27", 43" center 27" portraits, 2x3 22", projector, 32" PLP with flanking 22" 16:10, and dozens of other setups. It pains me to think of all the money spent with great monitors laying around when the one I settled on in the long run is the 43" 4k format. Really the only upgrade I can think of is when the prices and features match up to get a high refresh rate version of this screen with screen splitting and VRR. Maybe toss in QLED or OLED type panel as well.
 
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