One well-documented but under-utilized way to increase computing productivity is to use a multiple-monitor setup. The idea is simple: instead of buying bigger (and wider) monitors, expand the user’s screen real-estate buy using separate displays, driven by separate video cards (or, more recently, dual-headed cards). For users who routinely multitask between a set of applications—say, a word processor and a Web browser, or email and a database—a lot of time can be saved (and frustration avoided) by setting up each application on separate screens. The user’s work area is always accessible, as well as the information they need to reference. There’s no task-switching required to get that customer ID number, price, or email address: just glance to the left or right. Although monolithic always-maximized applications under Windows (and, increasingly, on the Macintosh) can interfere with usability, research has consistently shown multiple monitor setups are more productive for a wide variety of computer users. And some applications—like video and audio production systems—practically scream for multiple-monitor setups.I
Now the Soyo Grup is aiming to appeal to the multiple monitor crowd, offering inexpensive 17- and 19-inch dual LCD displays which mount on the same display stand. The 17-inch GVLM1728 and 19-inch GVLM1928 offer paired LCD monitors with a total of 2,560 by 1,024 native resolution, 700:1 contrast ratio, 8 ms response times, 300 cd/m2 brightness, and integrated stereo speakers. The units feature DVI and analog RGB inputs, and viewing angles of 160° horizontal and 140° vertical. The displays won’t be winning any best-picture or fastest-gaming awards —and you probably don’t want to watch a movie spanning both displays, and the double-thick bezel border in the middle would probably be a little distracting—but for everyday computing needs, they may be just the thing. The displays can even be pointed in different directions and connected to different computers for signage or intriguing gaming setups.
The dual 17-inch edition should carry a retail price around $1,000; the dual $19-inch edition is priced around $1,200.