this thing's incredible

My WFH Computer Monitor Is Also the Perfect Quarantine TV

The author’s WFH setup, complete with refreshments. Photo: James Lynch

When I moved from Rochester to Los Angeles earlier this year, I decided to leave my old TV behind. When am I going to have the time to sit in my room and watch TV? I thought. I should be doing more productive things with my time. But then, well — then we were all quarantined. With my time suddenly feeling like more of a burden than an opportunity, I started looking for a new TV.

I decided, though, that if I was going to use this new TV to waste time after work, I might as well also use it to make myself more productive during working hours. That meant I needed a computer monitor that could serve both purposes. This decision had the additional benefit of helping me keep the size in check: It’s hard enough to find and close the one tab that suddenly starts playing a commercial on a 13-inch laptop. On a 32-inch screen? No thanks.

Twenty-four inches was my ideal size — small enough not to overwhelm me during the work day, but big enough that I wouldn’t have to squint while watching The Office from my bed at night. I knew I wanted HD, no less than 1080p, and a strong refresh rate so that the images would move smoothly. Most everything I saw online was 60 Hz, but since I tend to watch a bit of football (assuming we’ll ever have football again), I wanted more. Nearly every option that fit these criteria was well out of my price range — until I stumbled on the AOC C24G1 Gaming Monitor.

$219

The model I have is 24 inches, but it’s currently sold out everywhere except Amazon, where the price has more than doubled, thanks to third-party sellers taking advantage of the shortage. This 27-inch version is only $40 more than what I paid, and although it’s back-ordered, you can buy it now and get it in a little over a month.

The screen has a 1080p resolution, and since it’s designed for gaming, it has a whopping 144 Hz refresh rate. If it could handle Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, I knew it could keep up with the Buffalo Bills. And it’s 24 inches corner to corner — all for less than $200. I went for it.

Man, oh, man, did it pay off. Having room for two documents side-by-side on my screen rather than having to flip back and forth between them made me work so much faster. Plus, it freed up my laptop screen to be dedicated to Spotify and Slack. It’s not perfect, of course. The resolution can’t compete with a high-end TV, and I do notice a slight pixelation at the edge of the screen. (I also learned that the PS4 I use to watch TV has an output capped at 60 Hz, which isn’t the monitor’s fault, so I’ll have to get an Apple TV or Roku in time for football season to take advantage of the 144 Hz.) But for my purposes (and my price range), I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Like most monitors, it enters sleep mode after a period of inactivity, so I never have to turn it on or off. When I do turn on my computer or PS4, the monitor knows and boots up automatically. More impressive, if I stop typing on my keyboard and power up my PS4, it seamlessly switches inputs. But really, it’s all about the stand. With this stand, the AOC is no ordinary computer monitor. It’s no ordinary TV either. The stand lets you raise, lower, and tilt the screen in four different planes, so I can set the screen at the perfect height to keep my neck straight when I work, raise it up above old coffee cups that line my desk when I watch TV from bed, or twist it to the side and tilt it toward the floor when I’m trying to follow a yoga video. I may go back to not watching so much TV after the quarantine is over, but I’ll never go back to a single screen.

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My WFH Computer Monitor Is Also the Perfect Quarantine TV