Steve Ridout
Indie software creator

Portable and Ergonomic Dual Display Setup

August 3, 2015

Laptops have two big usability problems:

With the release of decent USB powered monitors there’s now a simple solution to both these problems. Place a second display above the built in one:

Portable dual screen setup
Portable dual screen setup 2

Since this isn’t a common use case, I had to improvise… The stand is a clumsy combination of laptop stand and tablet stand, with a little bit of rubber wedged in to tilt the monitor.

This setup has the following advantages:

There’s still room for improvement however…

  1. The ideal stand should hold the monitor closer to the laptop. A lightweight stand designed for this purpose would be awesome.
  2. The colors on the monitor are horrible compared to the MacBook. It’s OK for text, but not for color sensitive work.
  3. There’s a slight lag and jerkiness when large changes happen on screen, probably due to the bandwidth limitation of USB 3. Again, this isn’t a problem for manipulating text but could be annoying for graphically intensive tasks.

I’ve been using this only a short while, but so far it’s a huge improvement over the laptop on its own, and allows me to work away from home without affecting productivity too much.

UPDATE: After forgetting to pack my laptop stand one day, I decided to scour the flat for something that could permanently live in my backpack. I found this which works surprisingly well, it’s lighter, keeps the monitor closer to the laptop, and doubles as a container for cables :-)

Plastic IKEA tupperware / laptop stand

Disclaimer - the amazon links in this article contain an affiliate code. I didn’t write the article to make money from these links, but since I was linking to these products anyway I thought it was worth experimenting.