How a Bigger Screen Can Boost Your Productivity

A large monitor could change the way you do your work

  • Samsung’s new 55-inch curved 5K monitor is a beast and costs $3,500.
  • The Odyssey Ark is aimed at gamers, but everyone can benefit from its huge display.
  • Creatives, developers, and other professionals can make great use of the extra desktop space afforded by a large display.
Someone sitting at a desk in a office with nine monitors connected to their computer.

Tom Werner / Getty Images

Huge monitors are normally reserved for gamers, but professionals also need a ton of screen space and are willing to go big to get it. 

Samsung's new $3,500 Odyssey Ark, a 55-inch curved monster, is so focused on gaming that the company even mentions it in the display's name. With a fast refresh rate, support for HDR, and a 4K resolution, it's the perfect companion for a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. But gamers aren't the only people that could benefit from extra display real estate—if you work with a lot of windows open or need to have as many controls on-screen at once as possible, you need a big display.

"I think I'll be more productive if I'm not constantly swiping to switch screens," app developer Cristian Baluta told Lifewire via Twitter. Baluta builds Mac apps, a task requiring them to have multiple tools and windows open at all times and switching between different monitors or opening and closing apps isn't something they want to deal with.

Productivity Pros

The business world is full of people that can see real gains when using larger displays. App developers are a prime example of a group of professionals that can work on small displays, but they're more productive when they're given more breathing room. 

"I'm able to keep every app I use on-screen at the same time, in static locations," developer Cesare Forelli told Lifewire via Twitter. "Avoiding overlapping windows and knowing in advance where everything is helps me a lot."

Samsung's Odyssey Ark Curved monitor.


Creative Crew

Developers aren’t alone in liking to have as much space to play with as possible. Creatives need large canvases with which to work, but for different reasons.

If you work in apps like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, or Apple Final Cut Pro, you know that they have a lot of controls. Those controls take up valuable space, and that’s before the video timelines and 3D artwork that you’re working on is added to the mix. A big display can make all the difference, and while it’s absolutely possible to work on a small one, creativity often comes easier when those constraints are removed.

Apple is one company that knows how important display size is to professionals. It’s no surprise that its two largest portable Macs carry the MacBook Pro moniker—14 inches and 16 inches diagonally—and it’s a similar story with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The Pro Display XDR is a display marketed at professionals and comes in at 32 inches, compared to the more middle-of-the-road Studio Display’s 28-inch size. Importantly for Apple, professionals know what they want, and they’re usually prepared to pay for it.

Form Factors for Everyone

It isn’t just about raw display square footage, though. If it was, using multiple displays would trump using a single one. But counterintuitively, that isn’t always the case, and it can depend on a number of factors. From an ergonomic standpoint, moving your head from side to side to see different monitors isn’t ideal. And in terms of workflows, sometimes fewer displays is beneficial.

Two people working in front of a bank of various sized computer monitors.

Greg Pease / Getty Images

"The largest productivity boost for software development for me was going from [two displays] down to [a single display], says developer Brad Moore. “[It has] way more usable space if that makes any sense.” And it does. Moore swapped from two displays with a 16:9 aspect ratio to one with a 21:9 aspect ratio, unlocking considerably more horizontal space for apps.

Sometimes, it all comes down to simplicity and finding a setup that gets out of the way so you can get on with the work while still having the space you want. "A single ultrawide monitor is a plug-and-play experience that requires zero configuration. This is useful if you don’t want to spend time messing with settings or frequently switch computers,” says Matt Smith a journalist with PC World.

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