In March 2020 when lockdown was announced, those who could shifted their workstations from the office to their homes. While many have embraced the work/ life balance in their daily schedules, there was one surprising thing we missed from office life - double computer monitors.
We know - as far as first world problems go, it’s up there. But aside from temperamental WiFi connections, the adjustment to single-screen working has been tough.
No longer are we able to see email, word docs, spreadsheets, files, images and our playlist all laid out on one gloriously extended screen. No longer could we survey our digital kingdom, like Mufasa on Pride Rock.
Instead our computer or laptop screens were forced to do the heavy lifting, cramping everything on machines that were only really designed for light working, streaming and online browsing.
Even the biggest laptop screen size currently out there, a whopping 17-inches, can’t compete with having a second monitor at your disposal.
Following the PM’s latest announcements of new Covid curbs (which advocates working from home where possible), it's time to settle in and make yourself - and your workspace - comfortable for the long-term. They're also pretty useful after hours too, for gaming and watching movies through your device.
What to look for in a second monitor
Ed Connolly, Chief Commercial Officer at Dixons Carphone, has some tips for those shopping for a second monitor: "it’s important to keep an eye out for a variety of components which will vary depending on what you’re looking for and impact your working set-up.
If you’re looking for a screen for design, editing or general work that requires an eye for detail, you need to look out for the resolution – a better resolution means better picture quality. It goes from 1080p for perfectly passable quality to 4K and 8K. With 8K you’d be able to see tiny details like the texture of clothing in a photo.
If you give lots of presentations, spend lots of time on conference calls, or edit and design a lot at work, then Quad HD or above will mean you’ve got a good enough picture quality with colour accuracy, like the HP 27FW Full HD 27” LCD Monitor.
Similarly, for design work or work in gaming or video, make sure you have the right refresh rate on your monitor. This is a measure (in Hz) of how often the screen refreshes and updates the picture – a low refresh time will mean a choppier picture. For everyday use 60 Hz will do you just fine, like the Samsung Full HD 24” Curved LED Monitorbut for gamers, video editors or designers, between 120 Hz – 144 Hz would be much more suitable, like the ACER Nitro Quad HD 27” LCD Gaming Monitor.
Screen size and type is also an essential consideration when picking the correct monitor – space is obviously an important factor so you’ll want to keep that it mind and measure up before you buy. If you’re doing general office work, 22” will give you plenty of room to look at your docs without squinting, like the ACER Nitro Full HD 23.8" VA LCD Gaming Monitor.
However, if you’re dialling in to a lot of video calls, editing or working with video and imaging, 27” or above might be more apt for your type of work, like the DELL S2719H Full HD 27” IPS Monitor. Other features like a borderless monitor or curved screen can also create a more immersive experience and detailed view without needing the extra space.”
Without further ado, we've rounded up some of the best screens below.
Whether you’re working with a desktop computer, a laptop or a Chromebook, here are the best computer additions to make WFH more productive.
See our favourites below
Best Second Monitors for a Desktop Computer
If you have a PC, you probably have enough space to set up a second screen alongside your primary one.
HP 32f, Full HD Monitor, 31.5", Silver/Black
Go big at home with this huge 31.5-inch monitor that will allow you to set out all your spreadsheets, docs and apps on one ultra wide screen. As well as 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles, it can be tilted from -5 degrees to 25 degrees so that it’s comfortable to look at from every angle.
With HDMI or VGA cable ports, it’s simple to connect with the right wires, and is ideal for work as well as extracurricular activities such as watching movies and playing the latest video games. It's also fitted with a Low Blue Light mode to save your peepers from unnecessary strain.
SAMSUNG LS22F350FHUXEN Full HD 22” LED Monitor - Black
This 22-inch screen is perfect for anyone spending long hours at their computer. It features flicker-free technology to keep video from doing that distracting flickering thing when you’re working. The Eye Saver mode reduces blue light exposure, caring for your eyes during extended stints of work. The super slim LED monitor comes with a circular stand to take up less space on your workstation.
Samsung LC27T550FDUXEN Full HD Curved Monitor, 27", Matte Black
This curved screen from Samsung boasts a full HD display, offering a beautifully richer experience - ideal if you’re someone who uses image-editing programmes like Photoshop.
It has a tilt range of -2 degrees all the way up to 20 degrees, giving you a wider field of view and being easier to look at than a flat screen.
There’s also a set of built-in 10W speakers (good news for Zoom calls as well as listening to your favourite Spotify playlist) plus DisplayPort 1.2, VGA and HDMI ports so you can connect your PC, laptop or games console to the monitor for a dual screen experience.
Comes with a two year guarantee.
Lenovo L24e-20 Full HD Monitor, 23.8", Black
Bag yourself a bigger screen for less with this Lenovo model, which not only has £10 off at the moment but comes with a two year guarantee too. It has rich colour thanks to the full HD display, as well as the ability to tilt so you can adjust it to a comfortable angle.
If your laptop’s screen is getting a little too squeezed for space, use the compatible VGA and HDMI ports to hook up your desktop computer, laptop or games console.
Samsung Smart Monitor - 32" M70A Smart USB-C Monitor with Speakers and Remote
The latest screen from the tech giants takes its cues from Samsung’s built-in Smart TV platform by incorporating powerful mobile and PC connectivity, which mans you can use it for more than work - movies and gaming for instance, through the Smart Hub.
The 32-inch display offers pin-sharp images, along with built=in speakers and even a remote, handy for pausing Netflix for a snack break. Financing available.
What’s the difference between VGA and HDMI ports?
VGA: Video Graphics Array, buy one here.
HDMI: High-Definition Multimedia Interface, buy one here.
HDMI is better at transferring more data, higher resolutions, higher frame rates and audio. Meanwhile VGA can only transfer visuals, and much lower resolutions which makes it an inferior option. If you have a HDMI port, it’s the best option to use, for secondary monitors as well as TVs.
Best Portable Monitors for a Laptop or Chromebook
Your device has performed admirably up until now, but it’s time to take things up a notch. You may want to invest in a laptop stand, wireless keyboard and mouse to ensure your laptop and second screen are level - and save yourself the neck ache in the process.
That said, the beauty of a laptop is that you can take it anywhere, so why not get a portable second screen to match? That way you can work productively wherever you go.
Asus MB168B Portable USB Monitor
Upgrade your screen space with this portable USB monitor from tech brand Asus. The auto-rotate function can automatically detect its orientation and switch between landscape and portrait. Meanwhile the backlight brightness auto adjusts based on external settings - perfect for shorter winter days.
It’s a compact addition, with a depth of just 8mm, a 15.6-inch screen and weighing a lightweight 800g, which makes it easy to pack into your bag and take just about anywhere.
All you need to connect your laptop with the screen is a USB cable, then say hello to video signal and power delivery of up to a 1366 x 768 HD resolution. It also boasts flicker-free technology to ensure a comfortable viewing experience with less strain on your eyes.
£129 | Very *On sale from £134.99
electriQ 15.6" IPS Full HD HDR USB-C Portable Monitor
Multi-task with ease with this extra screen which gives you an additional 15.6 inch area of digital real estate. It’s USB-C compatible which means you only need one cable to link your laptop to the screen, it comes with speakers built-in and there’s even a protective cover that doubles up as a monitor stand. Best of all, it’s super light at just 800g and with the thickness of a HB pencil. We’re sold.
Aztine 15.6 inch Portable Monitor
Need a second screen fast? Get this portable monitor on free same day delivery if you’re a Prime member. With a 15.6-inch LCD screen, the monitor delivers a rich colour, vivid images and sharp sound thanks to the twin built-in speakers.
It’s compatible with not only laptops but PCs, consoles and even smartphones thanks to the Type-C or HDMI cable, which both come with every purchase of the portable monitor.
Comes with a one-year warranty and 30 day refund policy.