The Complete Guide to Multi-Input Switchable Monitors

Living in the digital age means juggling multiple devices. Our computers, phones, tablets, and TVs bombard us with information from different sources. Wouldn’t it be nice to consolidate some of those screens?

Enter the multi-input monitor. These innovative displays allow you to toggle between various devices using a single monitor. Keep reading as we explore the ins and outs of these ultra-convenient modern marvels.

What Are Multi-Input Monitors?

A multi-input monitor equips a standard display with multiple video and audio inputs. Using a button, remote, or menu, you can seamlessly switch between connected devices.

Common inputs include:

  • HDMI
  • DisplayPort
  • DVI
  • VGA
  • USB-C
  • Component
  • Composite

Many models also allow picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture modes. This lets you view multiple inputs side-by-side or one inside the other.

Key benefits of multi-input monitors include:

  • Convenience. Toggle between gadgets easily using one display.
  • Versatility. Use for both work and personal applications.
  • Cost savings. Cheaper than buying multiple displays.
  • Space savings. Declutter your workstation.

Now let’s explore what to consider when choosing a multi-input monitor.

Choosing the Right Multi-Input Monitor

With so many options on the market, selecting the best multi-input monitor for your needs takes some consideration:

Screen Size

Common sizes range from 24″ to 43″. Remember your viewing distance. A 32″ or 34″ monitor works well for an arm’s length. Larger displays like 43″ are better for sitting farther away.

Resolution

Look for a monitor with at least a 1080p (Full HD) resolution. For sharper images, choose a higher 4K (UHD) resolution. This matches the output of newer laptops and media boxes.

Number of Inputs

More inputs mean more device connectivity. Aim for at least two HDMI and one DisplayPort. Additional ports like DVI, VGA and component add legacy support.

Switching Method

Monitors use buttons, menus, or auto-switching. Auto-switching is convenient but buttons give you manual control.

Integrated KVM Switch

A KVM switch allows you to use one keyboard and mouse across connected computers. Having this built into the monitor is convenient.

Ergonomics

Adjustability in height, tilt, swivel, and pivot alignment lessens fatigue. Look for a sturdy, ergonomic stand.

Extra Features

Nice bonuses include built-in speakers for audio, USB hubs for peripherals, and Blue Light filters for eye comfort.

Brand Reliability

Stick with reputable brands known for quality and support like Dell, LG, ViewSonic, BenQ, and Philips. Check warranties.

Now let’s recommend some monitors based on different usage scenarios:

Office Use

For productivity, a 32″ 4K USB-C model like the Dell Ultrasharp U3219Q works beautifully. The large screen, detailed resolution, and USB-C connectivity make it easy to multitask using a laptop with peripherals.

Gaming

Gamers will appreciate the sub 1ms response time of the BenQ EW3270U. The 32″ screen size provides immersive visuals while AMD FreeSync eliminates tearing and lag.

Creative Work

For color-sensitive work, the LG 32UL950-W fits the bill. The 32″ 4K screen renders 98% of the DCI-P3 color gamut with HDR10 support.

Video Production

The accurate color reproduction of the Philips Brilliance 328P6VUBREB shines for video editing. This 31.5″ 4K display covers 134% of sRGB and 90% of Adobe RGB.

Live Streaming

Dual picture-in-picture makes the ViewSonic VP3268-4K great for streaming. You can display a game feed and webcam simultaneously. The 4K resolution keeps footage crisp.

Now let’s look at some top models currently available on the market.

Top 5 Multi-Input Monitors

Here are 5 of the best multi-input monitors across various sizes, resolutions, and price points:

Dell Ultrasharp U3219Q

This 32″ IPS monitor from Dell is geared for office use. The 3-sided ultrathin bezel design minimizes distractions. Resolution maxes out at 3840×2160 (4K) plus you get USB-C connectivity. The stand offers tilt, swivel, pivot, and height adjustment up to 4.7 inches. Inputs include two HDMI, one DisplayPort, one USB upstream, and five USB downstream ports. The price usually sits around $700.

Pros:

  • Superb 4K resolution
  • Excellent adjustability
  • USB-C connectivity

Cons:

  • Only 60Hz refresh rate
  • No speakers

Overall, the Ultrasharp U3219Q is a sturdy premium office monitor with stellar 4K visuals.

BenQ EW3270U

Gamers will find a lot to like in this BenQ model. The 32″ VA panel serves up vibrant 2560×1440 (1440p) resolution powered by HDR and AMD FreeSync. You get ultra-fast 1ms response time along with Black eQualizer technology to boost visibility in dark scenes. Inputs include two HDMI 2.0 and one DisplayPort 1.4. Built-in 2.1 channel speakers provide decent audio. Expect to pay around $600.

Pros:

  • Very fast 1ms response
  • AMD FreeSync supported
  • Great blacks with VA panel

Cons:

  • Limited port selection
  • No height adjustment

With superb gaming performance and immersive HDR visuals, the EW3270U hits the mark for gamers.

LG 32UL950-W

Creative professionals will benefit from the color accuracy of this 4K LG monitor. It renders 98% of the DCI-P3 color space backed by VESA DisplayHDR 600 compliance. The IPS Nano Cell display technology filters out color impurities. Expect excellent tilt, height, and pivot adjustments from the stand. Connectivity includes Thunderbolt 3 plus two HDMI ports. At around $1000, this monitor commands a premium price.

Pros:

  • Stunning color reproduction
  • Thunderbolt 3 equipped
  • First-rate adjustability

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No speakers

For color-critical work, the LG 32UL950-W delivers professional-grade performance.

Philips Brilliance 328P6VUBREB

This 31.5″ Philips display caters to video editors needing pristine color reproduction. The 10-bit IPS panel reproduces 1.07 billion colors and covers 134% of sRGB along with 90% of Adobe RGB. Resolution maxes out at 3840×2160 (4K) with HDR10 support. The metal rear hood houses two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2, and four USB 3.0 hubs. Expect to pay just under $1000.

Pros:

  • Superb color gamut coverage
  • Great feature set
  • Sturdy metal design

Cons:

  • Costly
  • Mediocre speakers

With amazing color reproduction and accuracy, the 328P6VUBREB excels for edits requiring color precision.

ViewSonic VP3268-4K

Our final pick, the ViewSonic VP3268-4K, works well for live streaming. The 32″ IPS screen delivers 3840×2160 4K resolution. What makes it great for streaming is the super PIP and PBP mode allowing simultaneous display from two inputs. It also packs in USB-C, HDMI, and DisplayPort connectivity. The sleek frameless bezel design looks modern. Price lands around $650.

Pros:

  • Superb Super PIP/PBP
  • Great connectivity options
  • Frameless bezel design

Cons:

  • Limited ergonomic adjustability
  • No speakers

With flexible split-screen modes and sharp 4K imaging, the VP3268-4K is a streaming standout.

Hopefully these monitor breakdowns help showcase quality options available in the multi-input monitor marketplace. To recap, key aspects to evaluate include resolution, panel technology, ergonomics, connectivity, and price. Let your primary usage guide you to the right display.

Setup and Usage Tips

You have your exciting new multi-input monitor. Time to get it up and running! Follow these tips:

Position it properly– Keep the screen 20-30 inches from your eyes with the top just below eye level. This prevents neck and eye strain.

Mind the cables– Use the shortest connections possible and bundle slack out of the way. This streamlines cable management.

Configure settings– Dive into the monitor menus and toggle options like input labels, auto-switching timeout delays, and sleep timers.

Try the hotkeys– Most multi-input displays have keyboard shortcuts to change inputs rather than buttons.

Enable PIP/PBP– Enjoy using Picture-in-Picture or Picture-by-Picture modes to monitor two inputs simultaneously.

Adjust for usage– For daily computer use, enable Blue Light filters for comfort. For gaming and video, ratchet up the response time and refresh rate.

Troubleshoot issues– If a device fails to display, check input connections and toggle through source options. Try swapping cables if needed.

A small setup investment pays off with an optimized station and seamless switching between gadgets.

Multi-Input Monitor FAQs

Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about these versatile displays:

What devices can I connect?

You can use most laptops, desktops, game consoles, streaming boxes, Blu-ray players, and other video sources. The monitor inputs just need to match your device outputs.

Is switching seamless?

Switching is usually under 5 seconds. Auto-sensing inputs change over automatically once detected. Manual buttons allow control too.

What cables and adapters are needed?

Supplied cables include HDMI and power. You may need a DisplayPort, DVI, or USB-C cable for your PC. Adapters can convert inputs between DVI, VGA, and HDMI.

Can I play audio from one source and video from another?

Yes, through picture-in-picture you can have audio from the main input and video from the secondary input.

What resolutions are supported?

Look for a monitor that supports 1920×1080 (FHD), 2560×1440 (QHD), and 3840×2160 (UHD). Refresh rates around 60Hz are common.

Are internal speakers sufficient?

Basic built-in speakers work in a pinch but external speakers or headphones deliver much better sound.

Will switching inputs cause eye or headache strain?

Eye and head pain are unlikely from occasional input toggling. But those sensitive to flickering may fare better with a single input signal.

What warranty options exist?

Most monitors come with a 3-year warranty. Check for “zero bright dot” guarantees preventing stuck pixels. Accidental damage coverage is rarer but available.

What alternatives exist besides a multi-input monitor?

You can instead use a separate KVM switch with multiple monitors. Some laptops offer multi-stream transport to secondary displays. Desktop PC video cards allow multi-display output too.

We’ve covered a ton of ground on these innovative displays. Let’s recap the key takeaways.

Conclusion

Multi-input monitors consolidate your displays into one. This reduces clutter and saves you from constantly toggling between individual screens.

When selecting a multi-input display, pay attention to sizing, resolution, ergonomics, connectivity, and overall quality. Consider your primary usage whether that’s office work, gaming, creative projects, or streaming.

Top-rated models from Dell, BenQ, LG, Philips, and ViewSonic provide superb options with the latest specs and features. Setup is quick with most monitors automatically detecting connected devices. Picture-in-picture modes let you monitor multiple sources simultaneously.

With their versatility and convenience, multi-input displays provide an easy way to streamline your desktop, reduce cord clutter, and work seamlessly across computers, consoles, and media devices. The ability to toggle seamlessly between inputs saves you precious time and hassle.

After reading this guide, you now have all the essential knowledge to choose and setup the perfect multi-input monitor setup for your needs and workspace. Time to start shopping to simplify and consolidate your display situation!

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