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A Vertical Computer Monitor Just Might Help You See the Big Picture

If you're reading on your computer or programming all day, a vertical monitor might actually make more sense for your workflow.

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This story appears in the October 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jason Alvarez-Cohen spends hours a day coding, and this summer was his crunch time. He was redesigning his app Popl, which helps people share their contact information digitally with others. As he sat at his desk working, he wanted to see as much of his code in front of him at once.

Courtesy of LG

That’s why he loves using a monitor that, to some, might look like it’s been accidentally tilted 90 degrees — which is no accident. “Having the vertical monitor to manage the code on Visual Studio Pro is key,” Alvarez-Cohen says.

Related: Could Using a Bluetooth Tracking Device on Yourself Help Decrease Your Anxiety and Improve Productivity?

Vertical monitors are not new, but many entrepreneurs are still discovering their benefits. “They lay out a document better than a horizontal monitor does,” says Rob Enderle, principal analyst and owner of the Enderle Grouppro. 

Top monitor manufacturers are increasingly catering to this need. Dell, Lenovo, and LG all offer monitors that can turn vertically. Prices range anywhere from $325 (for the Dell UltraSharp 24 Monitor) to $700 (for the LG UltraFine 32UN880/LG 32-Inch UltraFine Ergo Display). The Dell UltraSharp has a borderless edge around the screen, ideal for dual monitor setups. The Lenovo ThinkVision uses a portrait setting, which converts everything on your display to the vertical view.

The extra screen real estate means you can view more emails in Apple Mail or scan Slack messages without scrolling. If you normally use a dual monitor, turning your second screen to “portrait” frees up desk space. 

But experts offer a word of caution. “As soon as you have to look slightly upward at your screen, your neck and shoulders go into what’s called neck extension,” says Kevin Butler, ergonomist at Steelcase. “This leads to all kinds of problems down the road.” 

Related: Why Silicon Valley Uses Multiple Computer Displays (and Why You Should, Too)

To avoid that, your screen should always be an arm’s length away, with the top of the computer below eye level. “These [ergonomic issues] are addressed through having a monitor with an adjustable stand,” says Jay Chou, analyst at IDC. “You can change the height or tilt the viewing angle of the monitor.” 

In other words, a good monitor setup is much like entrepreneurship itself: Success requires shifting perspective.

Dell UltraSharp 24 Monitor

Cost: $325

Best feature: It includes ComfortView Plus, which automatically limits the amount of blue light coming across the screen. 

LG UltraFine 32UN880/LG 32-Inch UltraFine Ergo Display

Cost: $700

Best feature: The 4K UHD resolution makes for high-quality pictures that look lifelike. 

Lenovo ThinkVision T32p-20 Monitor

Cost: $611

Best feature: The swivel and tilting capabilities of the stand allow you to place the screen at almost any angle.