Can a monitor really improve productivity?
We’ve been testing many monitors in the office recently. They’ve come in all shapes and sizes and we’ve been using them in a multitude of workloads. Arguably the most memorable has been the Lenovo ThinkVision T34w-20.
In a rare move for a review, we’ll start with the extended marketing claim from Lenovo:
“The ThinkVision T34w is ergonomic, space-saving, and easy to use. With a large lift range and stable design you can adjust the display to your liking. The compact base maximizes your valuable desktop space. Its built-in phone holder and flexible cable management system further organize your space, while a convenient carrying handle makes it easy to move.”
It also describes the curvature thusly, “The panoramic panel allows for more open apps, and more efficient multitasking. Its industry-leading 1500R curvature follows the natural curvature of the human field of view, less blurring at the edges, helping to reduce eye strain. Improved comfort helps to increase productivity.”
Why do we reprint this unedited? Because we can’t really improve on it. It sums up the experience of using the ThinkVision T34w-20 perfectly.
The curvature does indeed make it more comfortable to look at – your eyes don’t have to refocus when looking from one end of the screen to the other. It’s comfortable to have three windows open at once or comfortably interact with a very large spreadsheet without scrolling across it. This significantly improves productivity by eliminating the fatigue of scrolling and flicking through different windows.
The 34-inch screen uses a VA panel, has an ultra-wide, 21:9 aspect ratio that has a UHD, 3,440 x 1,440 resolution. This keeps everything looking very sharp on Windows Desktop. The 350-nit brightness is perfectly adequate for an office-designated monitor and the matte-finish, with anti-glare coating, does well at eliminating reflections and is better than many at reducing glare. For multimedia work it’s actually rather impressive. Colours are more vibrant than we were expecting and object motion exhibited minimal ghosting and blur despite the standard, 60Hz refresh rate. Even contrast performance is impressive with many details being retained in highlights and shadows.
The OSD is basic but we didn’t feel the need to adjust much in the office. It’s intuitively operated by front-mounted buttons.
Connectivity is impressive thanks to a USB-C, four USB 3.1 ports, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 and a 3.5mm audio jack. USB charging up to 75W is possible. Lenovo points out that, “The USB-C port provides a one cable solution, offering power-charging up to 75W, video and data all in one.”
Aesthetically and ergonomically it will fit into any home or office thanks to its classy, simple lines manifested in the black chassis with red detailing. There’s a slot in the base that enables you to mount your phone. The base is relatively small (but sturdy) with a useful, flexible cable tidy. There’s a thin bezel around the top and sides although the 1cm of in-screen dead space within these borders will impact upon tiling… that's if if you completely wanted to practically encircle yourself with monitors.
There’s also a generous degree of adjustments available including -5⁰ / 35⁰ tilt, -45⁰ / 45⁰ swivel and impressive 13.5cm height adjustment. Unsurprisingly, it won't rotate.
At around $950 it’s expensive for an office monitor. However, it’s well worth factoring the productivity gains and happy-worker factor as users will certainly be able to work better, more efficiently, more comfortably and this will translate into real cost savings down the line. Right now it’s our favourite office monitor.