Second Monitor Needed, Ignorance Abounds

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by Carbo, May 20, 2020.

  1. Carbo

    Carbo Notebook Consultant

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    My daughter needs a second monitor for work and office related projects. Never having gone down this road before I don't know where to start. She has a 3 year old Dell XPS 13, model 9360, running Windows 10. I'm open to suggestions and recommendations for monitors that you love, hate, are great bargains, etc. Also, is a second monitor a simple plug and play procedure? Thank you.
     
  2. Zeratul

    Zeratul Notebook Guru

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    Why she needs a monitor? What prompted this change of habits?

    That said, since it is just for office and what I presume is a light kind of work, your options will be vast because a smaller (up to 24") will fit. I say smaller because it has been my personal experience that larger monitors (27"+) with less than UHD res will have a distracting grid pattern, so I'd try to spend a little more and get the UHD resolution if going for a larger one.

    Another thing to notice: color reproduction. There are monitors out there that are very bland (to put it mildly) and need a gamma tweak to become acceptable (in my opinion), but for work and office your daughter may not care. Besides, I'm very sensitive regarding color reproduction (once you see you can't unsee it). Many TN panels behave like that, and I've seen many Samsung TNs that are really really bad. I personally prefer good IPS panels, or VAs. I think it is worth. If you are looking for that you need good gamma (2.2) and decent color coverage (99% srgb, for example), and the rabbit hole comes with deltas and so on.

    I had two LG IPS 4k panels in the last 3 years. They are very nice, but as you can guess they don't seem to last long, as the second bit the dust a few weeks ago, so I'm cautious about recommending LG again.

    Make sure that the connectivity options are right. FHD will be OK, but if going UHD (I guess you don't need that), make sure the computer output is at least HDMI 2.0, or DisplayPort, that can drive the monitor resolution at 60Hz (at least). If I'm right that XPS 9360 has DisplayPort, so you'll be fine, but double check that information please.

    Yes, it is just plug and play.

    Leaving the general advice aside, recommendations: anything from Dell will work, I have had nothing but good experiences with them. The P2319 can be had for ~200. ViewSonic has good models, and I only hear good things about them, but I can't personally vouch for them. Asus has cheap models (VS239H that everyone is buying), but look at the reviews before buying. I've seen online that latest units have had quality issues.

    I've had a bunch of monitors during the years, and have seen many others on corporate IT departments. My personal experience favors Dell, so I'd be willing to spend a bit more to decrease my chances of losing my time dealing with warranties and returns (I hate that).

    Ah, and don't forget to check Rtings for quality. They can tell you more than I can ever do.

    And I forgot: I'm in the middle of the process of buying one for me too. I'll get one of the Dell 4k monitors, but I guess the price range is not what you need.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
  3. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

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    Yeah, just plug and play.

    Buy her a 4K TV in the 43" to 50" range. LG is good for sharp text. Cheap too at those small sizes.

    Effectively 4x 25" 1080p monitors in one for less than a third of the cost and complexity of 4 separate monitors.

    What GPU or iGPU does that specific model have? If just doing productivity work, even the Intel iGPU should be enough to drive a 4K screen.

    With that kind of real estate, especially on a single screen, the productivity shoots way up. Much more than any two-monitor setup I've seen which includes using the too small notebook's screen too.

    See:
    https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/best/by-usage/pc-monitor

    (Don't forget to search the site above for older models at even better prices).
     
  4. Carbo

    Carbo Notebook Consultant

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    Thank you for the detailed reply. Her needs are, as you said, light office work. She was hoping for a smaller screen, maybe 20" or so, but from I see a much greater selection and apparently, quality, are in the 24" range and larger. But I think 24" is the max for the desk space she has.
     
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  5. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

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    TV's give you even more desk space. Wall-mounted. ;)

    The BenQ GL2480 24" may be the lowest priced 1080p monitor for a good enough quality if you can still find one.

    The AOC AGON AG241QX 24" with a resolution of 2560x1440 and fast refresh rates will be a better productivity upgrade.

    But a TV maybe even cheaper than the AOC model above. ;)
     
  6. Carbo

    Carbo Notebook Consultant

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    OK. So we've settled on a 24" model. I'm looking at two Dell's: the 4K model, Dell 24 Ultra HD 4K Monitor | P2415Q, and the Dell 24 UltraSharp Monitor: U2415. The price difference is about $175. I can probably find a Dell coupon somewhere, or haggle with the phone rep. :cool: I've purchased numerous Dell PCs over the years.
     
  7. senso

    senso Notebook Deity

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    If a ultra wide can be considered, the LG 29UM family is great and can be had for around 200€ and has great colour reproduction.
     
  8. Carbo

    Carbo Notebook Consultant

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    29" is too big for the desk, unfortunately.
     
  9. tilleroftheearth

    tilleroftheearth Wisdom listens quietly...

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    There is no doubt the small hi-rez monitors will look sharper, but they will be effectively 1080p or slightly larger in usable resolution.

    At the price of the options you're looking at, a wall-mounted TV is looking better and more versatile all the time. :)
     
  10. Carbo

    Carbo Notebook Consultant

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    The layout of the home office this will be used in doesn't allow for a wall mounted option. This will be a second monitor on a desk, adjacent to a 13" laptop.
     
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