Displays: To stack or not to stack? [Setups]

When you see a computer setup with two monitors stacked on top of each other, what do you think? Maybe something like … doesn’t the person have to crane their neck to look at the top one? Isn’t it uncomfortable? Where does the webcam go? What’s wrong with side-by-side, maybe with one in portrait (vertical) mode instead of landscape?

The person behind today’s featured setup is confronting those very questions on the way to deciding a common multi-display conundrum: to stack or not to stack? That is the question.

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Is stacking displays worth it?

Redditor shogoc showed off their new setup in a post titled, “Switched to single 35” ultrawide from dual 28” 4k monitors. Thinking about putting one of the 28 “on top.”

The post’s title seems to ask, should I stack a large display on top of an even bigger one?

When asked why they made the switch from two 28-inch 4K monitors to one 35-inch ultra-wide display, shogoc had a sensible answer.

“The dual 28-inch monitors were too wide — the sides were really far out on my peripheral vision,” they said. “I also didn’t like having a bezel centered on me either, so I was either angled to face one monitor or the other.”

The replacement display, by the way, is a douzy. It’s a 35-inch LG 35WN65C-B Curved UltraWide QHD Monitor mounted on a flexible Ergotron arm. The display features 3440 x 1440 pixel resolution and HDR10 and AMD FreeSync technologies. It pairs with a vertically mounted 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Opinions range from maybe to don’t do it

While the original side-by-side orientation may’ve been too wide for shogoc, commenters didn’t show a lot of enthusiasm for stacking.

Their responses didn’t take long to take shape. Suggestions ranged from “try it and let’s see how it looks” to, basically, skip it and put one or two screens in portrait mode on either side of the big one.

“Put up one of the 28’s on top and let’s see the result,” said one.

“Vertical 28s on each side. Go all in,” urged another. “Also, get a better camera. That one is only marginally better than a potato.”

“I did a single 27-inch portrait mode to the side,” said a third, who had actually tried stacking screens. Turned out better. I wear a ball cap most of the time, and found having one above meant being too out of sight, out of mind.”

If you do it, angle that thing downward

Even so, there are folks out there who like the high screens, often for watching videos. Just check out the setup in “Mantra behind orgy of screens: ‘Nothing exceeds like excess,’” a recent Setups feature. You can see the workstation in the photograph below. It includes the whole shebang, really — two portrait-mode monitors and an ultra-wide screen with another display stacked on top.

Can you ever really have too many monitors?
Photo: KipKang@Reddit

Its owner stressed the need to angle the upper screen downward for more comfortable viewing. (And maybe a lot of what’s shown is more like “background viewing,” like that baseball game, not necessarily demanding long-term, rapt attention.)

Another Setups subject with stacked displays tended to agree about limiting the screen to certain uses and tilting it, along with leaning back in your chair as you gaze upward. You gotta have the screens, after all, but you gotta save that neck, too.

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If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Macsend some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.

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