It has been roughly over a year now since I permanently setup a dual-display workstation at home. The experience has been undeniably liberating. There is no hesitation on my part to recommend to anybody serious about getting some windowing productivity during their computing work to go with two, or even three, monitors. It is not an extravagance, really. For the price of roughly a single 30" or 24" model, one acquire two 19" or 20" displays, and get to maximise two windows. And they are not blocking each other. Unless, of course, you like maximising Notepad to a full stretch of 30 inches and get to read behind the lines and recognise the hidden meanings behind all those text.
Having said that, the past year has also been a period of tolerance for me. Why? Because the Philips 190CW7CB which I originally bought for my twin-display setup, is manufactured for a resolution of 1440x900. What's wrong with that, you ask? That is typical the resolution specified for monitors that size! And that, is exactly wrong in my eyes.
Still don't get it? Let me then lay out in the clear what I've always suspected of myself - despite being short sighted, I probably possess more cones in my foveas than a regular person. And what does that mean? I can perceive, without strain, small dot sizes. Take for example, I regularly print four A4 pages into one physical page of A4 (high printer resolutions FTW). People claim me to be insane. They cannot make out details that tiny. Even two pages into a single physical A4 can be a challenge to their eyes. Optimally its a one-to-one A4, or even better, an A4 to A3 resizing. That is just plain wastage of paper in my opinion. Eight pages on a single sheet of A4 (double side) is my way of saving the trees.
Translated to monitor terms, that means dot pitch of contemporary LCD monitors are ridiculously large. How large? My 19" Philips 190CWs have a whopping 0.285mm size. If you look closely, you cannot miss the RGB sub pixels. It had baffled me throughout the years why vendors kept dishing out such monstrous dot pitches, making me stick to CRTs (with their sweet super-fine dot pitch ratings) for a fairly long while. I was only "forced" to LCDs when I started mobile computing with laptops. I could only conclude my eyes are not normal. Now if only I had Superman's eyes to perceive X-rays too and see through clothing.... oh wait, then all I would see are just bones.
And so the tolerance broke into despair when I recently purchased the Dell XPS M1530. This sexy machine emits pixels at 1680x1050 in an entire diagonal space of, 15.4 inches - I can fit one of my 19" monitor's desktop area inside my laptop display with room to spare. I tell you, desktop LCD manufacturers, it is a total disgrace. That was clearly the last straw for me. It was time to look around for a 1680x1050 model for my desktop, to relief myself of this year-long pain. My search initially dug out the Samsung 206BW, while at 20", is larger than my current setup. But not by much. With a dot pitch of 0.258mm it certainly is much more acceptable for my eyes. The problem? It came out roughly two months after I bought this workstation last year, making it a listed but phased-out model in stores. And guess what, 20" is a past fad and a largely abandoned manufacturing process; the trend is 22" models now. Had I delayed my purchase of the workstation by two months... Swell.
Just when I was about to give up, one shop assistant recommended me to consider ViewSonic's VX1940w. A no-frills products, at a great bargain price, only that it is currently the only 19" model in the market featuring 1680x1050. A sizzling dot pitch of 0.243mm.
But I did not buy immediately though. The dot pitch and resolution are irresistable, but having been bitten recently I took some precautionary checks. Reviews and opinions are mixed - while practically everybody praised the high resolution (guess I am not alone after all), image and colour quality aren't meeting the expectations of some. Decision point - when you cannot have the best of both worlds, you have to pick the factor more important/useful to you.
Working, not playing, in a higher resolution and finer pitch, has more practical value here. After all, I have another complete computer just for entertainment use, so why should I complain.
Another $584 down this month on top of other costly expenses. Am I happy now? Somewhat. Am I suffering? Not anymore.