What to replace a 24" side/portrait monitor with...

Surly

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 26, 2003
Messages
343
So I've been using a 10 yr old Dell 24" 1920x1200 in portrait mode for the last few years and its finally dying. I am a huge fan of the side portrait monitor setup so i need to replace it. I dont want to fall back to 1080p and lose that little bit of resolution, in fact I'd rather add more screen space. The natural choice would be a 27" 1440p which will probably be the way I go. However I'm a little curious as to how suitable a 27" or 28" 4K monitor would work in that scenario. I'd think that 4K at that size is so small that by default id have to blow it up to, what, 125 to 150%? At which point am I really even gaining anything over a 27" 1440p? My main monitor is around 109ppi (currently 34" UW, soon to be 42" 4K). And yes I am aware of that new LG model but I am not spending that much on the auxiliary monitor. :) The 27-28" monitors can be had for 2 or 3 hundred.

Any thoughts or recommendations? Anyone running a similarly sized monitor in portrait?
 

kasakka

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 25, 2008
Messages
2,802
With a 4K display you are gaining sharper UI and text by scaling it, at the expense of desktop space and being more taxing for your computer to run. At 27-28" you most likely want to use 150% scaling for 2560x1440 desktop space so it's still an improvement over your 1920x1200 screen and massively sharper visually.

IMO 27-28" is too tall as a portrait side monitor unless you plan to set it at a much longer viewing distance similar to how you need to run that 42" 4K screen. If that's your plan, get a 4K side monitor because you will want that scaling for comfortable text/UI size.

Unfortunately the market for side monitors is not very good:
  • LG at the moment makes exactly one 4K 24" model and no 1440p options in that size or anything smaller.
  • Samsung make a couple of 24" 1440p models.
  • Dell makes a couple of 24" 1440p models.
  • Eizo makes a 26.5" 1920x1920 square aspect ratio but it's Eizo so it's going to be very expensive.
  • The 28" 2560x2880 LG DualUp is expensive, few reviews available said it had a lot of input lag and not very good pixel response time so all that it has going for it is the unique form factor, while still being large.
  • To get a combination of "smaller, but also high res" you have to go for things like 14-17" portable monitors instead. No experience with these.
I recently bought a Twelve South Hoverbar Duo stand for my 12.9" iPad Pro and the setup I am planning is to have my 16" Macbook Pro as my side display and above that the iPad Pro on a stand as a 3rd monitor running in Sidecar on the Mac (so it acts like an external display) over USB. This will hopefully work well enough for what I need my side displays to do: mostly show things like terminals, Teams/Slack/email, play the occasional video and so on.

It's an odd solution but the most cost effective for me as I had the hardware already and both the MBP and iPad have very high res IPS displays for their size. I haven't tried how it works in practice yet but I regularly use the iPad in Sidecar as a "mobile dual screen setup" and it works well for that. Of course this does not work for Windows but I'm fine with that.
 
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