Dedicated monitors are a great productivity tool that also tend to have screen sizes and technology that make them easier to look at for longer durations.

It’s easy to see why more and more people are moving to external monitors: it makes things easier to see and multitasking is even easier to juggle, especially across multiple screens. For study, multiple screens means you can have research on one screen and a draft on the other, or any combination of scenarios that let students be more productive through multitasking.

Screening differences
Monitors use HDMI input as standard, which means great versatility with a range of computing devices, but they also tend to have DisplayPort connectivity these days. For a laptop, you may need to invest in a dock to connect to an external screen if an HDMI-out port isn’t available. But desktop computers tend to have multiple DisplayPort and/or HDMI ports for connecting two, three, or even more monitors.

While 60Hz tends to be the default refresh rate, higher refresh rates tend to look better because they make things look smoother, particularly for videos and games. With ports sorted, the main limiting factor for monitors is the desk space required for two or more screens, but certain models have bracket support for mounting options that don’t take up desk space. Super low response time isn’t essential, as it’s mainly a gaming-centric feature, but a 5ms response time is a great starting point, and anything lower is even better for boosting the versatility of the monitor.

Main monitors
You needn’t spend a whole lot to add an extra monitor into the mix. At entry-level, you can score a 23.8-inch Asus VA24EHE Full HD monitor for around $250. This screen is LED backlit for great brightness and boasts the improved colour accuracy and better viewing angles that come from IPS displays.

To make it even easier on the eye, it’s flicker-free and uses low blue light technology (controllable by a hotkey) for reduced eye strain. The 75Hz refresh rate also helps make things look smoother.

If 23.8 inches is too small for your screen-size needs, step up to the 27 inches on offer from the LG 27ML600M for under $300. Those extra inches make on-screen Full HD items easier to see.

This LG screen also boasts the same 75Hz refresh rate, while IPS makes colours pop. It’s built with gaming in mind, which is great for study breaks, but this LG monitor also has a Reader Mode that reduces blue lights to help make longer viewing sessions less straining.

For a 27-inch alternative, have a look at the Asus VZ279HEG1R. This bigger screen also has the same IPS display and 75Hz refresh rate, but also includes 1ms response time for low-latency responsiveness. The small screen bezel and compact circular base combine to maximise screen real estate while minimising the required desk space.

For under $500, you can invest in a Full HD screen that pairs plenty of screen real estate with great easy-on-the-eye features. The LG 27GL63T is a 27-inch IPS screen that boasts a 1ms response time and 144Hz G-Sync refresh rate. With this monitor connected to a computer with a compatible Nvidia graphics card, students can take advantage of a silky-smooth 144Hz refresh rate, which is as pleasant for everyday use as it is for high-speed games. The V-shaped desk stand is designed to easily raise, pivot and tilt to get the right angle, too.