WSJ: Larger Monitors Make You More Productive


huge monitorAccording to the Wall Street Journal, workers who have larger monitors complete tasks much faster.  We’ve debated this in the past, and now researchers at the University of Utah tested how quickly computer users completed tasks and found that for users on 24-inch monitors vs. those on 18-inch monitors; those using the larger monitors completed their tasks 52% faster.

The study went on to say that someone using a larger monitor could save in upwards of 2.5 hours a day.  However, it should be pointed out that the sponsor of the study was NEC, a computer monitor company.

(photo credit: flickr user Abron)


Bruce Kirkpatrick, Daytona Beach, Florida Web Designer

Having a big screen monitor is great on apps that have many tool palettes (design/video/animation software) or offer a widescreen layout(Microsoft outlook and audio mixing/sequencers). If you are just browsing the web, most sites are designed for 1024 x 768 or less so you’d probably do better with 2 monitors or virtual desktop like others said. I notice lots of people don’t run their big monitors at the native resolution. For me, the great thing about a 24″ LCD monitor running at native resolution (1920 x 1024) is how sharp they are and how flicker free the LCD technology is. It’s also more energy efficient. The cheapest display may have a slight tint problem like too much green or poor contrast, you’ll probably spend $400 to $500 for a quality 24″ monitor, which is half what I paid for mine and the new ones have faster pixel response 1ms or 2ms, which means the first person games won’t have bad blurring/ghosting! You’ll want to turn down the brightness as the factory setting is often blinding.


I completely agree — I work remotely on my laptop at least one day a week, and within just a couple hours almost start to feel claustrophobic because of my small monitor. Having more room to “breathe” on screen makes me work faster and more efficiently.


I agree with Sam as well. One thing to note is that the Mac does support virtual desktops for free. It’s built into Leopard and is called Spaces. I use it all the time on my MacBook Pro.

Mark Goodson

I think this is going to be very task dependent. If you are doing a complex task requiring multiple programs and windows I can see the benefit of large screen area. But if you doing something simple, then surely the less distractions the better?
I have started using DarkRoom which is turns your PC into simple green on black test editor.


I have to agree with Sam – I would much rather have dual 19″ monitors than a larger monitor. I find I’m much more productive with two monitors because I can have two browsers or a browser and an app open at the same time.

Sam Hiser

Dual 17’s or 19’s is way better than, say, a 24.

Over 30% more real estate, and you can keep two whole browsers open at all times.

Also with GNU/Linux you get practically unlimited space through Virtual Desktops (not free on Windows or Mac) which you can toggle through. Add the keyboard functions of the Opera browser to Linux’s Virtual Desktops to dual monitors and the 500-hour-week resolves into focus.

Matthew Lang

I think it could have some kind of truth behind it. The larger the screen the less distracted your eyes are from things around you. This is simply due to the fact that you can’t see anything because of the massive screen you have!

Kevin Foster

If you don’t have one then you don’t realize how much better it is. My desk has a 22″ and 21″ monitor and I would say that it helps me work faster. I can watch several log files while performing tests as well as edit several documents without the Alt-Tab jumping of the old days. I know NEC supported it but I would have to agree with them.

Jason Green

I could see that kind of benefit when going from a 15″ or maybe 17″ monitor, but not an 18″. 24 inches just seems like it would be TOO big to sit in front of all day.

Also, 52% faster!?! Something has to be up.

I agree with Grey. The conflict of interest makes this information totally unreliable.


>>However, it should be pointed out that the sponsor of the study was NEC, a computer monitor company.<<

Well, that’s all we really need to know then, isn’t it?

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