21″ iMac Dual Monitor with Dell u2211h — Ugghh.

October 14, 2011DavidOther0

So I REALLY wanted to use my 21″ iMac in a dual monitor setup.  Really. But my 21″ iMac + a Dell u2211 = NO GO (even vertically).

The Dell UltraSharp U2211h – as Close to iMac as you can get?
Now I have two u2211h’s living  harmoniously in a dual-monitor configuration – in no small thanks to DisplayFusion Pro which revolutionized the way I manage dual monitors –  (I run them horizontally and I should have gotten the 23″s, but I digress).   As you may or may not recall, these u2211h’s are the Ultrasharp Dell Monitors with IPS Panels that are supposed to be the “closest” you are going to get to an iMac IPS display — at a reasonable price — e.g without buying another Mac.  So I figured I’d set one of these u2211’s next to my 21″ iMac and see how it goes.

The Setup
The setup was really easy.  I plugged in the AC on the Dell monitor, attached the USB cable to the iMac, and popped the VGA connector to the DisplayPort to VGA adapter that I bought a long time ago (~$30).  The monitor was recognized instantly and a few moments later I was configured at an equal resolution on both monitors (I brought the Dell to match the iMac).

The Experiment
So after installing the monitor (which was pretty quick) — I started to use the two displays and that’s when the fun stopped. I lined everything up and I played with a few applications.   First let me say that it just didn’t look right.  I disconnected it so quickly that I didn’t even take a picture — which I should have.  And, ok,  so putting aside esthetics (because productivity is really what matters, right?) how did things work?  Well the answer is — not well.  Spaces was fine and it did a nice job of seeing both displays.  But there was something about having the iMac next to the Dell that just didn’t feel right.  I do have DisplayFusion Pro on my PCs, so window management across monitors is easy — but moving things from iMac to u2211h and back just didn’t “get it done”.  It felt forced and awkward, with no flow.

So I rotated the Dell vertically (love that you can do that) and figured that maybe it’d be great to have a vertical “browser-only” monitor to play with.  But once again it just didn’t “fit’.

The Verdict
I really, really wanted to have my 21″ iMac + Dell u2211h dual monitor combination experiment work out well.  I’m so used to dual monitor work on the PC that I’m not sure I could “live” full-time in the world of OS X with a single screen.  And to those of you who would suggest that I try the 27″ iMac, I personally just find it too big.  (My other complaint about super-large monitors is that I love that on my dual I can easily maximize an application to one screen — without having to tinker with settings as I would need to do on a 27″ so that applications share the screen).  So my verdict is no.  Don’t do it.

So that concludes my short-lived iMac-u221h hybrid computer.  I wanted to love it but it just wasn’t meant to be, Maybe someday Apple will come out with a 21″ cinema display that won’t cost more than a car — but until that time — I’m either going to have to stick with my PCs, or get used to being a one-screen guy in OSX.



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