- Why You Need a Curved Monitor for Photo Editing
- What Is Color Gamut and Why Is It Important?
- How To Choose a Monitor for Video Editing
- Monitor Buying Guide: Monitor Panel Types
- How To Position Your Computer Screen for Good Ergonomics
- Advantages of Widescreen Monitors
There are a number of reasons why you need an external monitor for your laptop. What are those reasons and what are the best external monitors for laptops?
Let’s look at the reasons first and then talk about a couple of recommendations to use as a second screen for laptops in our editing work desks and workflows.
Laptop Screens are Small
photo by damircudic via iStock
My latest laptop has a super powerful high speed processor, lots of RAM and ROM memory, great battery life when unplugged, and one of the largest screens available for a laptop.
All things considered, I really like using a laptop as my primary photography and videography computer. When I compare the specs of my latest laptop to the tower computer I used for my photo/video business a few years ago, I’m amazed by how far computer power and speed has improved in that relatively short time.
Even though the screen size of my laptop (16”) is one of the largest around, it’s still small compared to the external monitors that are available from makers like ViewSonic and others. External monitors can be anywhere from a 21 inch screen to a giant 60 inch screen.
While 60 inches or more may be a little big for a desktop setup, screens in the 30 to 40 inch size are pretty useful for photo and video editing. Especially when the screen is in a wide aspect ratio.
You Can Mount External Monitors Near Eye Level
Besides their small size compared to what we could be viewing with an external monitor, a big reason to supplement our laptop’s built-in screen is because the laptop screen is attached to the computer.
Which is fine when we’re out in the field, it’s a huge benefit actually, in an editing studio it can introduce a few issues such as eye strain and neck strain. The eye strain is easy to figure out why, we’re looking at details of our work on the small strain.
The neck strain comes from our posture while using a laptop on top of a desk or table. We’re leaning in, shoulders hunched, and doing this for hours at a time. The posture of leaning over to peer into a small screen at a low level can really create a sore neck, sore shoulders, back pain, and eye strain.
Since the external monitor is not attached to the computer, we can put it anywhere we want. Many of the large size wide aspect ratio external monitors come with a stand that attaches to the bottom which raises it up a bit from the top of the table.
We have so many more options for external monitor placement than the feet that come with it. There are wall brackets and pole mount brackets that we can use to put the external right at our eye level, thus alleviating the back, neck, and shoulder pain common with a 2, 3, or more hour editing session, along with the larger size helping combat eye strain.
You Can Tile Programs
With a smaller sized external monitor, you can tell your computer to either duplicate or extend your display. Extending the display often lets you put different programs on the laptop and external monitor screens,or different parts of the same program.
If you had two or more external monitors, you could tile everything to them, giving you the ability to clearly and easily see exactly what you’re doing. All of this without causing eye strain or neck and back pain.
You Can See Exactly What You’re Editing
The screen is bigger and raised up closer to eye level for more comfort and for tiling multiple programs or aspects of a program. All of this adds up to a better editing session.
Now, combine those benefits with extremely high resolution, excellent contrast control, and the ability to see 4.39 trillion colors and you have a wonderful editing session ahead of you. So, you will want to have an external monitor (or two) that has good resolution, sharpness, and color detail.
You Should Consider ViewSonic Curved Screen Monitors
Since we’re looking at monitors, I’m going to brag a bit on the ViewSonic external monitors I chose to populate my latest editing studio upgrade.
I set up a dual monitor configuration using ViewSonic VP3881 and VP3481 38 and 34 inch curved screen monitors. As for the curved screen aspect of these ViewSonic monitors, click through on the Learn More links to see a more detailed discussion of what makes curved screens so good for videography and photography editing.
ViewSonic monitors are a great value for professional level external monitors, offering high resolution, excellent contrast control, tiling of programs, and that color gamut mentioned earlier, 4.39 trillion colors.
You might want a single monitor such as the ViewSonic VP3881 monitor or it’s smaller sibling, the 34 inch VP3481. You can get a lot of benefit out of any one of these external monitors or a combination of them.
The benefits of using an external monitor for your laptop are better video and photo editing sessions because of being able to see and manipulate your work better as well as the added benefits of reducing eye strain and back pain while working.