I remember getting my first computer with its 13-inch green-phosphor monitor. Then I went to a 15-inch screen, then a 17-inch. When I got my 19-inch screen, I thought I would never need anything bigger.
Today I own a 30-inch, flat panel, LCD computer monitor that can display HDTV images. Along the way, I owned a screen that had the ability to pivot but the company that made it faded from view. Still it was really very different, and I was wondering when I would see something like it again.
Hewlett-Packard Co. is now making one available, so if you're looking to upgrade your computer's monitor, you may want to give it some consideration.
A monitor that rotates used to have limited value, in that it was primarily used by those who wanted to view large spreadsheets at a single glance or with a minimal amount of scrolling. But with the advent of desktop publishing and page layout software, the ability to rotate the screen to display entire pages at a single glance proved to be a valuable commodity.
Unfortunately, the makers of those screens and the special software drivers that would automatically adjust the desktop to fit either position went away. Now HP offers its pivoting screens in two sizes and provides the rotational driver software along with them.
Being able to rotate the screen from a landscape aspect to portrait comes in handy if you do lots of Internet browsing. A 24-inch screen in a portrait position so that it's taller than it is wide makes viewing a typical Web site more natural. Chances are that you will see the entire Web page without having to scroll up and down.
Also, looking at pages next to each other in a word processor makes things a lot easier to follow when it comes to the flow of your thoughts in an editing session.
The HP w2408h Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor ($500) is a wide-screen, 24-inch-diagonal flat panel monitor that has a nice, contemporary look. It sits on a small, integrated stand that incorporates two joints. One lets you raise and lower the screen while the other lets you tilt the screen to a comfortable viewing angle to reduce any glare coming from behind you. The native resolution is 1,920 x 1,200 pixels with a sharp 1000:1 contrast ratio. In fact, you'll find most of the screen's technical specifications to be up to par with a contemporary monitor. It has for example, an HDMI and a USB port.
The pivoting ability is pretty straightforward. Just install the special driver and when you rotate the screen 90 degrees, everything being displayed will momentarily go dark and then reappear in the proper orientation. An open window that was too tall for the landscape position will now be properly displayed. Open windows will remember their last open size, so if you open one that fit perfectly in the other position, you'll have to rotate the screen to accommodate it or you'll just have to resize it again.
If a 24-inch screen is too big for you, HP also makes its HP w2207h 22-inch 1,680 x 1,050 pixel, Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor ($330).
Both screens are only for computers running Microsoft Windows.