Over the course of my computing life I’ve had a multitude of screen setups, from 17 and 21 inch CRT’s to my first LCD (ViewSonic, great monitor!) and on up through double, triple and quad display setups. Most recently I had been using a pair of Acer B233HU’s, one for my home desktop and one for my work laptop with Synergy for sharing one keyboard/mouse. I chose these 23 inch units for their “higher than 1080p” resolution (2048 x 1152) and range of adjustments (up/down was the seller) way back in 2009. Now that much higher resolution displays are becoming the norm this setup seemed a little long in the tooth and it was a great time to upgrade.
Define the need: how much space do I need?
The biggest issue I kept running into while looking to replace the Acer’s was that every monitor I looked at and compared resulted in a price times at least two computation. I was weary of having 3-4 monitors spanning across my desk, especially now that my work life revolved around meetings email and IM. Having two monitors for work was a plus mainly to keep email up on one, but I no longer needed visual studio and 5 web browsers up to shuffle through. Similarly on the home side I mostly browsed the web, used streaming services and played a few games (LoL, Sim City, Starcraft 2)- I had no need for more than one monitor. Ideally I’d be able to have a web browser up on my home machine and email up on my work machine with a flex spot for IM/other tasks so basically 3-4 views/monitors.
4k, pixel density and productivity
Throughout my search I had been against a 27-28 inch 4k monitor, sighting what I called “Pixel Overload”. Having 4k resolution at 28 inches is beautiful, but I can’t leave scaling at 100% in windows and tile in 4 1080p browser screens and have them be readable. For those reasons, I thought 4k was out of the question and I was back to 4 higher than 1080p lower than 4k screens, likely opting to keep the acers for home and grab a new set for work.
Then I read the tale of people using 40 inch 4k screens at 30hz to program
They raved about what I was looking for: Desktop real estate, tons of it! Four usable 1080p screens in one! I started researching 40 inch 60hz screens and came across the 44k and finally the updated 404k version. This seemed to be what I was looking for and had a feature that I never even considered: Split screen.
With Split screen I could split the monitor in half, or 4ths and have 1/2/3/4 “Monitors” according to windows. This meant no need for multiple screens!
I quickly justified the $700 price tag, ordered and waited anxiously for the box to arrive, and quickly set it up to launch the required game of LoL at 4k (OMG!):
After some fiddling I ended up with the monitor setup in the “A | B/C” configuration shown above for office hours. My windows 10 home machine is on the left occupying a 1920×2160 screen (display port) and my work laptop is powering two “monitors” on the right, each 1920×1080 (HDMI/DVI):
At night I press a few buttons and windows 10 takes over the whole thing, for a 4k home screen that is usable at 100% scaling.
- No scaling required, I get 4 20 inch 1080p monitors in front of my face without having multiple screens on the desk.
- 4k gaming/movie watching from the home machine
- Easy management of multi-screen setup and painless switching from 1/2 4k to full 4k in Win10
- DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 for 4k @ 60hz goodness
- DVI/HDMI/DP/VGA inputs: would rather see 4 DP’s or 2 DP’s and 2 DVI’s
- Monitor reported itself as a TV via HDMI so color was slightly off vs DVI until I used a DVI to HDMI cable and two DVI outs on the laptop, now the two screens are identical colors
- No adjustments from cheap stand (I’ll be hanging mine on the wall, too low to the desk to use forever this way)
- When setup for 3 screens you can’t have one screen be “Extra wide” and then two screens side by side, you’re stuck with an “Extra Tall” screen. This isn’t as annoying as I thought it would be but it could be more flexible.
- Mine didn’t come with a remote, though most out there now do.
Overall: I am thrilled with the purchase and won’t go back to multiple monitors until I’ve got two of these things flanking me!