Setting up a home office - monitors & screen resolution
December 11, 2019 7:11 AM   Subscribe

I want to set-up my home office to maximize productivity when working from home. What set-ups and products (especially monitors and docking stations) do you recommend?

At work, I currently have two side-by-side Dell UltraSharp 24" monitors, which are plugged into a Lenovo laptop docking station. This works well for me -- I do a lot of document and spreadsheet comparison for my job.

At home, I tried configuring an older HDMI TV to my laptop, but this caused eyestrain and headaches. I want to have about as much screen space as I do at work, with minimal eye strain. Ideally, I'd like a single monitor in the sub-$250 range.

Beyond monitors, what other products have enhanced your home office set-up?
posted by Anonymouse1618 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When I work from home, I use my laptop as my primary monitor and have this portable monitor as the second. I like that it doesn't require a docking station or any additional software/ installation, it doesn't take up a lot of room when stored, and it has really helped my productivity at home when working on multiple documents.
posted by wicked_sassy at 7:31 AM on December 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I recently bought this monitor (based on the Wirecutter's recommendation for a "smaller, cheaper monitor") and I've been pleasantly surprised. I'm not a tech person at all but the resolution is good and the picture is crisp. It's more pleasant to look at than my work monitors.

I do a fair bit of document comparison (less with spreadsheets, but still some) and while two monitors may still be better, I can work from home with very little compromise. When I really need extra space, I put my laptop up on a box or something and use that as a second monitor.

I also have a bluetooth keyboard and a wireless mouse. I don't love my bluetooth keyboard mainly because it's smaller than my full-size keyboard and feels cramped (though as a portable keyboard it's quite good). So I do recommend getting a full-size keyboard for your use. External mouse is key too.
posted by CiaoMela at 8:37 AM on December 11, 2019

You will never, ever find a single monitor that will perform as well as two side-by-side Dell Ultrasharps. Those things are good and the fact that they're also quite reasonably priced is not the main reason you'll find so many IT workplaces kitted out with them. They're just a nice easy screen to look at.

In your shoes I'd be looking around on eBay to pick up two pre-owned units of the same model that serve you so well at work. They pop up pretty regularly because 24" is a little infra dig these days; the cool kids have at least a pair of 34". Which is good for you and bad for them, because they'll all be suffering from chronic whiplash a month after they upgrade.
posted by flabdablet at 9:09 AM on December 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm a fan of a single ultrawide 1440p monitor instead of two monitors side by side. 3440x1440 pixels. The nice ones tend to be $600+, but I see Amazon has a few just at $300 now that might be worth checking the reviews on.
posted by Nelson at 9:59 AM on December 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Monoprice has nice monitor mounts, often has some open box. Great for freeing up desk space, and you can turn the monitors vertical.
Along with craigslist, and facebook marketplace, check out thrift stores for monitors. I've seen 24" 1080P for around $30.
posted by Sophont at 10:56 AM on December 11, 2019

I have at one point worked with a huge curved 40-odd inch 4K monitor and, with my Mac switched to keep the font at its tiniest setting, this is almost like working with two monitors side by side. The top section is less useful, but I can put status things up there (the more rarely used of my many many chat clients) and mostly ignore them; that part is above my eyeline, so it has to be rarely used stuff or I would get neck pain. The bottom part is the 'like two monitors' bit. The curve is somewhat unnecessary, that's just how it was built.

The monitor in question is something like an AOC c4008vu8. I think it's a little above your price point when new (I got it via woot, though, and as a refurb, so it was closer to the mark) and its availability is spotty, but I'm trying more to give you ideas you might not have considered. The 'watch' part is not bad advice by itself.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 9:41 PM on December 11, 2019

Nelson: I'm a fan of a single ultrawide 1440p monitor instead of two monitors side by side. 3440x1440 pixels. The nice ones tend to be $600+, but I see Amazon has a few just at $300 now that might be worth checking the reviews on.

I came to this thread to write pretty much the exact same thing. I've tried my share of ridiculous multi-monitor setups, and have settled on just one 34" 1440p curved monitor. It's great.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:29 PM on December 11, 2019

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