Widescreen Monitors Increase Productivity
There are three really important parts to a computer: the keyboard, mouse and monitor. Those are the parts you actually interact with and allow you to be comfortable and happy with it... or not. For me, a split keyboard is essential, and I've found the Kensington Expert Mouse (a trackball) to be the best way to move around the screen. The last piece is the monitor: wider is better.
Like everybody else, I've used the "normal" monitors for years. That 4:3 aspect ratio is something I've become accustomed to and comfortable with. After a while I went from a 15- to 17-inch monitor and found it was easier to work: I could have more windows on screen or a larger window to show more; it meant less scrolling. After several years I moved up to a 19-inch display and saw the same benefit increase further. Of course, the opportunity to use 20-22 inch displays at work was fantastic! You wouldn't think that scrolling the window up-and-down or side-to-side would take much time or require much effort, but after moving to a larger screen you notice these things.
But here's the rub: you get accustomed to the way you work. Scroll side-to-side in an Excel spreadsheet? Always moving a palette out of the way in Photoshop? We do those things all the time and don't give any thought to it. That often means we don't even recognize just how repetitive of a motion that is.
So anyway, widescreen monitors increase productivity. Think about your monitor and extend the width of the screen by about 35%. That extra space could be really useful! I've been using a widescreen display at work with Adobe InDesign: I fill that extra space with several palettes. Not having to open and close them constantly makes a difference. Another place where widescreen obviously makes a difference is with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom: the large palettes on the side of the Lightroom window really make it obvious that a widescreen display will increase your productivity with the app. Some examples:
So, a few weeks back we upgraded our old 19 inch CRT monitor (with a normal aspect ratio) to a widescreen 24 inch LCD: the LG 246WP. Vertically, it's a little bigger than the 19-incher, though it takes up much less desk space. The other big benefit of the LCD: text is sharper. It's definitely already proven a worthwhile change!