There are two schools of thought when it comes to the best computer monitor for data visualization and business intelligence applications like Power BI and Tableau. Developers can either opt for maximizing their own productivity or they can replicate the view that their report viewers will see.
Both approaches have their merits, and the best dashboard developers are always thinking about the experience of their report viewers. We’ll explore the pros and cons of each and highlight our top picks for best computer monitor.
The best monitors for Power BI Developers interested in maximizing productivity are 34” ultra-wide high resolution WQHD monitors. It’s the sweet spot for being able to view a dashboard under development and having multiple Panels in Power BI expanded without having to zoom out on the canvas or shrink visuals.
We’ll also explain the key features and specifications of modern computer monitors that you should be aware of prior to making a purchase.
But first, let’s look at some of our top choices and explain all of the facts and details you should educate yourself with before making a purchasing decision.
Best 34inch Curved Monitor for Power BI
Dell makes some of the best computer monitors for business and they have for years. This 34 inch curved monitor has a high resolution and extra wide screen format that lets Power BI developers see a full reporting page while having all of the necessary panels expanded. The additional screen space keeps you from having to shrink the view of your report and you can work on it in full size without collapsing and expanding options menus.
Curved monitors are great for Power BI and business intelligence applications, but it does take a few hours or so for your eyes to adjust to the curvature of the screen. After some use your eyes will adjust to it and you will barely notice it.
Why we like it:
- WQHD Resolution means more space to fit items on the screen.
- 34” monitor size and curved means lots of space without lots of head tilting
- Adjustable height, tilt, and viewing angles for comfortable ergonomics.
Best 34inch Flat Screen Monitor for Power BI
This 34 in LG monitor has many of the same great features as other models such as WQHD resolution, the ability to adjust height tilt for comfort, but comes in a flat screen format. There really is no wrong choice between flat and curved monitors and mostly comes down to personal preference.
This particular model still has many of the key features you should watch out for. Ultra-wide format for working with a large canvas without having to collapse menus, and an adjustable stand for improved ergonomics.
Why we like it:
- LG Makes some of the best TVs and Monitors in the business.
- WQHD resolution allows you to fit more content on the screen vs lower resolution models.
- Height and tilt adjustment for maximum comfort.
- Wide range of ports for more flexibility and multi-tasking across devices
Best 27inch Flat Screen Monitor for Power BI
The 27in ASUS ProArt display is a great choice for people that work from home or don’t have the space on their desk for a larger monitor. The higher resolution of this model makes it almost equivalent to dual 24in monitors while taking up less desk space.
This specific model has amazing color reproduction, height, and tilt adjustment along with the ability to swivel the screen for people that work in Power BI but also find themselves doing a decent amount of programming work such as writing Python code.
It’s a great choice for people that work from home and have limited desk space available.
Why we like it:
- Space efficient, high resolution means you can fit a lot of content on a single screen.
- Ability to swivel the monitor for writing and debugging computer code and Python scripts.
- Mac Compatible
Best Large Format Display to Collaborate and Share Power BI Dashboards
The ability to easily collaborate and share dashboards under development is widely under-utilized at most businesses and should be given a second look as more and more people return to the office. TV screens should be an essential part of your workplace office and meeting rooms.
TV screens offer better color reproduction, better visibility in bright environments and are becoming increasingly easier to collaborate with multiple people using laptops with advanced video conferencing solutions that enable wireless screen mirroring.
In addition to being able to work together while developing a dashboard, TV screens can be placed around the office to present Power BI dashboards or Power Point slides with embedded dashboards that update with real-time metrics. Placing screens in strategic locations can keep a department aware of important KPIs at all times.
Why we like it:
- Reasonable size for small to medium sized conference rooms.
- LED backlighting has superior viewing angle and visibility in brightly lit offices
- 4k Resolution keeps screens looking sharp at a distance
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Multiple Monitors vs a Single Ultrawide Monitor for Power BI
A lot of Power BI developers lean towards using a dual monitor setup, that’s more traditional within the workplace. While it gives them the ability to multi-task and place a completed dashboard on a single screen to visualize how a report viewer might see things, it ultimately reduces their productivity.
In regard to emulating the report viewer’s experience, we find that it’s becoming increasingly challenging to pick a monitor to replicate a common display. An increasing number of people are working from home or using a hybrid setup where screen sizes have more variation. People are using mobile devices more often and with recent feature additions to Power BI making it easier to create mobile views this trend is only likely to continue.
Key Considerations for Choosing a New Computer Monitor
It can be overwhelming trying to find the best monitor. The market has exploded recently to include more niche options from Gaming Monitors with ultra-high refresh rates to Stock Trading monitors with thin bezels and ability to mount 9 of them together to professional medical and video editing monitors that have especially high color accuracy.
These are the key features that you should consider:
- Screen Resolution
- Flat vs Curved Monitors
- Desk Size
- Adjustable Stand
- Built in Speakers
- Age of laptop and available ports
Multiple Monitors vs a Single Ultrawide Monitor
The Difference Between Screen Size and Screen Resolution
Screen size and resolution are two distinct factors that affect your viewing experience. When working with data-intensive applications like Power BI. Screen size determines the physical dimensions of the display. A larger screen will make everything appear bigger.
Resolution determines how much content can be displayed on the screen simultaneously. A higher resolution screen means you can see more reports, dashboards, supporting information, complimentary content, workflows, or code.
Additional resolution and a wider screen to spread it across increases productivity. Increased screen size with the same resolution makes the picture bigger and has no benefit to productivity. Screen size is measured in diagonal inches. Resolution is measured in pixels.
Be careful when selecting a monitor. There are many stores offering large monitors that are low resolution. It makes them seem like a good deal when they are really selling you an inferior product.
Comparison of Power BI on UWQHD vs FHD Monitors
We highly recommend high-definition widescreen monitors due to the ability to fit more onto a single screen. Programs like Microsoft Power BI do not work as well across multiple monitors because of the inability to separate out tools from the visualization canvas that you spend most of the day working in.
The following examples highlight the biggest advantages of ultra wide screen monitors. The first screenshot is a high resolution ultra wide monitor. Pay attention to the right side that has almost all of the visualization panels expanded with the primary report canvas is still zoomed in at 150%
The second screenshot is a more traditional monitor resolution with the same panels expanded. The visual canvas is barely visible.
High Resolution UWQHD (3440 x 1440) Monitor
Standard FHD (1920 x 1080) Monitor
We’ll admit that it’s not often where you would have 6 different options panels open at one time in Power BI, but it’s not uncommon to have 3 or 4 open that start to scale down your report view.
Ultra-Wide Monitors are Great at Multi-Tasking
Ultra-wide monitors enable you to multi-task by being able to place two fully expanded reports open at one time if you have to copy or make changes between them or keep the Power BI Service up while working in Power BI Desktop.
In the screenshot below there are two instances of Power BI Desktop open at one time. Both reports are scaled to 100% of their standard size.
You can snap a window to the left side of the screen or to the right side of the screen by pressing WINDOWS + LEFT or RIGHT using your keyboard’s arrow keys. Using Power Toys from Microsoft also lets you divide the screen into multiple sections if you want to customize where screens are split.
Are Curved Monitors Good for Power BI?
Curved monitors are just as good as flat monitors for building Power BI reports, computer programming and other common business intelligence tasks. The curvature of the screen does distort your view slightly which can be jarring at first, but most people will adjust to it after a day or two and it no longer becomes a concern.
If you’ve gone from using a single monitor to dual monitors in the past, the adjustment of moving from a flat monitor to a curved monitor is similar. It takes a couple of days to get used to, but once you adjust to it you don’t notice it or think about it. Your neck may even thank you for the extra ergonomic benefits of not having to continuously twist your neck to see side to side.
What is the Best Screen Size for Power BI and Data Analysits?
There are four different screen sizes that we recommend. Large widescreen monitors with HD resolution are our top picks. 32in is a sweet spot in desk space, extra screen real estate, and not so large that you will be constantly moving your head from left to right.
34 inch curved or flat ultra-wide HD monitor
27 inch HDmonitor (flat display)
There are some people on YouTube that recommend using a “small” 4k OLED TV but we found it to be impractical. The aspect ratio makes it difficult to multi-task and you risk burning out your eyeballs when placing a tv on a desk with a standard distance between you and the monitor.
What Ports should I look for in a New Monitor?
Computer ports are not an exciting topic for most people, but please read the following to save yourself a lot of potential headaches.
Gone are the days of the big blue VGA port being the universal plug for all monitors. They’re rarely seen in businesses today except for the staunchest IT holdouts for outdated technology.
As technology has improved, so have the options available. Even if the two ports fit together, there’s no guarantee that you will get to take advantage of the latest features. We know that there’s nothing worse than getting an exciting new piece of computer hardware and not being able to use it right away.
Research the Limitations of Laptops or Desktop Computer
First, check your laptop’s port types and HDMI version to ensure they match your monitor’s requirements. Verify your laptop’s maximum display resolution—some models may not support ultra-high resolutions. If your laptop uses one USB-C port for charging and you have only one such port, you’ll likely need a USB Hub or Docking Station. USB-C or Thunderbolt monitors can offer better picture and higher refresh rates than HDMI or Display Port options.
If your computer was built in the last couple of years this should not be an issue, but it’s worth checking out prior to purchasing a new monitor if you’re in doubt.
Measuring Your Desk if Working from Home
Choose your work-from-home monitor based on available space.
We recommend 34-inch ultra-high-resolution widescreens for expansive data display. If space is limited, 27-32 inch models are also effective.
Ultra-high-resolution monitors offer the advantage of displaying more content while using less desk space compared to a dual-monitor setup. For instance, a 27-inch high-res screen can show almost as much on a single screen as two 24-inch monitors while occupying 2/3 of the desk space.
Why an Adjustable Monitor Stand is Important
Poor ergonomics can lead to a variety of health issues over time, including chronic neck and back pain, eye strain, and even repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. These conditions not only affect your comfort but can also hinder productivity and result in long-term medical complications. By properly positioning your monitor and adhering to ergonomic guidelines, you mitigate these risks, contributing to both your immediate comfort and long-term health.
For optimal comfort and reduced neck strain, ensure your monitor is ergonomically positioned. Check out the University of Michigan’s guide on computer ergonomics for detailed advice. If you use an external webcam for video calls, opt for an adjustable monitor that can slide or tilt for easy camera positioning, improving your video conferencing experience.
Should you be Concerned about Harmful Blue Light?
Long hours in front of a computer screen can take a toll on your eyes, leading to discomfort and strain. The blue light emitted from digital screens is particularly concerning; it has been linked to eye fatigue, blurred vision, and even sleep disruptions. Blue light penetrates deep into the eye, potentially causing long-term damage.
To safeguard your eye health while maintaining productivity, a more effective solution is needed. Blue light blocking Gunnar glasses provide a comprehensive approach to eye comfort, filtering out harmful blue light more efficiently than typical laptop or monitor settings. By opting for these glasses, you’re investing not just in immediate relief but also in long-term eye health.
Power BI Developers looking to boost their productivity should seriously consider an ultra-wide high-definition 34 inch computer monitor. They’re become the new standard for business and for good reason. They give you the same flexibility to multi-task as you would have with a dual monitor setup but with the added option of being able to expand a single screen into an ultra-wide format.
Being able to expand tool bars and menu panels while still being able to see a full report view seems simple but it does save you a few seconds here and there that really add up across a day full of development. Ultra-wide monitors also fit well into other business intelligence use cases for people doing data preparation with tools like Alteryx, spending a considerable amount of time in Excel, or even switching between Power BI and Tableau.
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