My dual monitor setup stole my focus

Thoughts on the LG DualUP Monitor
My dual monitor setup stole my focus

Back in August 2023, I bought the LG DualUp display, transforming my current setup to a multi monitor setup.

Prior to getting the LG DualUp, my setup was:

  • Studio Display in front of me (Prior to this, I had the LG 5K Ultrafine which now my wife uses)
  • 16inch 2021 M1 MacBook Pro on the right, sitting on a VESA tray attached to an old monitor arm.

This setup worked well and basically did the job. There was no need to get a second monitor. However, the unique form factor of the LG DualUp was intriguing and, with the combination of a pretty decent sale at my local retailer, resulted in me acquiring one.

Since getting the DualUp, the setup was:

  • Studio Display in front of me
  • LG DualUp on the right-hand side
  • 16inch 2021 MacBook Pro on the left-hand side, just sitting on the desk, often closed.

The dual monitor experience with the LG DualUp display

A small part of me regretted it as soon as I saw how huge it is, but I powered through and set it up next to my Studio Display. The setup wasn’t as straightforward because I still wanted to have only one cable to my MacBook. Studio Display has a lot of features under its belt. Unfortunately, versatility isn’t one of them. I bought an OWC thunderbolt Hub which has one cable connected to my MacBook. Impressively, this one cable also charges the MacBook 😁.

Owc Thunderbolt Hub Hero Left

The Studio Display and DualUp are connected to the OWC via thunderbolt and USB C, respectively. There was an obvious delay in waking up the displays, but it wasn’t a deal breaker. I usually take this opportunity to take a deep breath 😮‍💨 or two 😜. During this time, I also upgraded my home network to 10 Gigabit networking, so I bought the OWC 10g Ethernet adapter on eBay (at a bargain price of USD60, currently sold for AUD385) also plugged into the OWC Dock. This is pretty big, and it gets pretty hot, but thankfully it's powered by Thunderbolt. Boy oh boy, a 10g connection to my NAS is simply glorious.

The weird display size of the DualUp introduced challenges with the resolutions on MacOS, which I thankfully rectified using the BetterDisplay app. My first use case was for WebEx meeting and that worked wonderfully. It’s so spacious to have the WebEx meeting content on the Studio Display and all the participants on the DualUp. However, when presenting, this does not work as well because my camera is on the Studio Display.

I created another space for my task manager and my calendar. Just swiping to that space gave me a feeling of being productive. As time went by, I added widgets and subsequently created another space, allowing me to control my many devices around the house, including cameras, lights, SONOS, etc. So far, despite adding more things, it still felt like I was using the DualUp productively.

The turning point was when I setup a little Arc window that always had YouTube open. Initially, the plan was to have LOFI Girl running on it (Really dig the animations on that YouTube Channel and the LOFI music is exceptional. That didn’t work out so well because, as time went, I found I always had a YouTube video running on the side.

Ever so slowly, my focus was being DIVERTED without me noticing. I wouldn’t say my work was materially affected, but reflecting on it today, I feel the quality of my work was most certainly affected.

As more time went by, I developed neck pains on the right side. This is the side that has the DualUp display. At first, I thought it was because my son, as he enjoys climbing on me (from his perspective, I am a giant mango tree 🥭) and I figured that may have triggered something. At some point, it occurred to me that my neck pains were because of my poor ergonomics focusing more on the LG DualUp on the right-hand side.

Probably other smaller monitors would have been less attractive. The size of the DualUp certainly is a metaphorical magnet 🧲 that pulls me its way.

My chiropractor also agreed that it is not good ergonomically to have your neck to the side. The neck should be straight looking in front of you. Anyway, after much consideration, I decided that even though I prefer having the DualUp display, its existence is not good for my wellbeing and my focus. I have since sold the LG DualUp display and am out of pocket less than AUD200. Not bad at all.

The grass on the other side isn't always greener. I should have stayed with my trusted setup that has served me well for many years.

Current setup (March 2024):

  • Studio Display in front of me
  • 16inch 2021 MacBook Pro open allowing me to use Touch ID.
  • iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) side car only when needed (I prefer to place participants on the iPad during WebEx meetings)
Setup as at 1 April 2024, Pardon the mess but it is in this mess that I feel most comfortable

This setup is essentially the same as what it was prior to getting the DualUp.

Technically, counting the MacBook display, I still have a multi display setup. Despite the 16 inch MacBook display being super crisp and beautiful, it is just not as effective as a giant monitor in diverting my attention. It can comfortably sit on the side doing its thing and I only use it when the need arises.

This post is to remind me to keep my setup this way. I wouldn’t mind a slightly bigger Studio Display replacing my current one 😜 though.

Hold on... there’s more