The Perfect Desk Quest - 2012 Update - New Monitor

Last week I took delivery of probably the most game-changing piece of IT kit I think I've ever bought. No, not an iPad 3! A 27" monitor. I've been pondering buying one for a couple of years now and finally gave in to temptation.

Going with all the positive reviews I went with the consistently top-rated Dell U2711 and am not disappointed. Not at all. In fact I'm blown away.

The U2711 is running at a massive 2560 by 1440 pixels. Until last week I'd been using a 24" monitor at 1900 by 1200, which has done me well for the 4 years I've been in this office (four years!?). It's amazing what a difference the extra pixels make and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long.

Here's my new setup:

2012-04-02 16.07.59

From left to right there's a 22", 24" and a 27" monitor.

The program you see running on the main monitor is Domino Designer. Previously, on the 24" I'd always ran it maximized. Now I don't need to (and don't like to) and run it like you see in the photo. Even at that size it's more than enough room to code in. The bonus now is that I have direct access to the desktop icons. No more needing to minimize all apps to get to the desktop, which is now always on display.

Size aside, I've now also got a better picture. The Samsung 245B monitor it's replacing never did felt like a quality screen. I must have got used to its mediocrity as the quality of the Dell screen blows it away and is more than noticeable.

In short, if you're looking for a way to improve how you work then you really ought to consider a 27" monitor and I highly recommend this one. I'm already considering the 30" Dell U3011 as being next year's treat. I'm jut not sure if 30" is too wide...


    • avatar
    • ursus
    • Wed 4 Apr 2012 03:40 AM

    I had a 30" monitor (Apple) and must say I found it TOO large... 24" is perfect for me when I have 2 monitors, 27" if just one. YMMV :o)

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Wed 4 Apr 2012 04:16 AM

      Actually I just looked at the specs of the U3011 and it's no wider in terms of pixels. All I'd gain is an extra 100 or so pixels vertically, which I don't feel is worth it. Going to stick with the 27".

      Show the rest of this thread

  1. 30" strikes me as too large for a single monitor, but two 17" side by side is perfect for me - you can pitch the screens toward each other horizontally a bit so that the screen "wraps" your field of view.

    I set mine up about 60 cm from my face and angle them towards each other about 10 degrees. That way the far edges are roughly in the same focal plane as the middle of each screen and the inner edges aren't too far away. With a 30, as Ursus states, you start to have distance problems and if you're too close you'll experience a bit of barrel effect - bad when working with lots of code. That and constantly adjusting your eye focus as your gaze traverses the flat screen creates a bit of fatigue.

  2. I had a 27" mac display for a while but I am now back on a 24" + 2 x 22".

    I like the physical seperation you get with seperate monitors - designer in one, the client in the other and other stuff in the third.

    The other thing I found were "office vari-focals". Instead of 3 zones ( very close, close and distance ) they just have very close and close.

    Before that I always had a crick in my neck trying to look at the monitors through the lower part of the lenses.

    • avatar
    • Ferdy
    • Wed 4 Apr 2012 01:28 PM

    Funny, my home setup also has a 24" at 1920 which I've been using for 4 years now. Next to it I have an old 19" LCD.

    I'm going to wait a little to see what happens. Some analysts suggest that the iPad3 effect will now make its way to monitors, since I'm not in a hurry I'll see whether this becomes true.

    On your remark of minimizing windows to see the desktop, I was wondering if you knew the Win7 shortcut for that? It's the utmost right little square on your taskbar. Another way is to "shake" you main window.

    1. Windows key + M no longer works in 7?

      Hide the rest of this thread

        • avatar
        • Ferdy
        • Wed 4 Apr 2012 03:13 PM

        It does, I simply didn't know, so there's a 3rd way :)

        • avatar
        • Jake
        • Wed 4 Apr 2012 03:29 PM

        Thought it was Windows key + D?

          • avatar
          • Aaron Hardin
          • Wed 4 Apr 2012 11:04 PM

          Both work, one stands for Minimize All so it only minimizes where the other is Show Desktop like the old XP button it will toggle between show/hide the desktop.

          Nice addition to your desk! You make too much money, first the Bose speakers now the monitor :)

            • avatar
            • Jake Howlett
            • Thu 5 Apr 2012 01:03 AM

            Ah. So with Win+M there's no way back? With Win+D you can restore your windows back to how they were with the same keypress.

            I'm on my phone now so can't test. Either way, for me it was never a habit I could get in to. Old dogs n all that.

            Aaron, surely there is no such thing as earning too much money.

            1. Generally not until you find yourself browsing the gold-plated water closets.

            2. Win+Shift+M restores the minimized windows. M is for minimize - D is for desktop. That's how Microsoft describes these shortcuts.

              Here's the whole list of standard Windows 7 shortcuts: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Keyboard-shortcuts

              1. Oh, be sure to try Win+Tab. It's an alternative presentation to the Alt+Tab function.

        • avatar
        • Flaz
        • Thu 5 Apr 2012 03:14 AM

        WINDOWS KEY + M is for minimize/maximixe

        WINDOWS KEY + D means exactly "show me the desktop"!

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