You could use your mini-monitor as a dedicated Twitter screen. Photo courtesy of Flickr user rmlowe and licensed under CC BY 2.0Anybody who’s ever used a dual-monitor workstation (and if you’re reading this blog you’re probably one of them) will tell you that reverting to your sole laptop screen can be a traumatic experience.  Nobody wants to go back to stacking their windows when they’re used to arranging them across two screens.  There’s no substitute for having the paper you’re writing on one screen, and your research materials and websites on the other, or you work on one screen and media controls on the other.  You get the idea, and if not, here’s a New York Times article on the subject.

Okay, so now that we’ve established that two monitors > one monitor, so what’s the problem?  Monitors are big.  They have to be plugged in.  They don’t really travel well (though I’m sure this guy could figure it out). For the college student, especially one who likes to work outside of the dorm room, a second screen just isn’t worth it.

Lucky for us, a number of companies (notably Nanovision with its Mimo line) have been quietly releasing lines of small (7″ or so) monitors requiring nothing but a USB port.  No power cord, no VGA adapters, no problem; these things were practically made to take to the library.  Sure, the 800×480 screens won’t add a ton of real estate to your workspace, but it’s certainly enough to compartmentalize at least one of your programs, which can really be a huge productivity-booster.  It’s definitely a big enough space for a chat program, or a Twitter client, or even a PDF document you’re referencing in the Word document on your primary display.

Notably, some of these monitors even offer touchscreen functionality.  This isn’t exactly a game-changer, but it does offer some degree of functionality other than extra screen space that your laptop didn’t offer before. Though I can’t say I’ve tested it out, I imagine it would be neat to use a quick finger tap to skip to a new song in iTunes.

What’s your monitor setup like?  Have any hands-on experience with a mini monitor?  Let us know in the comments.