What Does Monitor Pivot Mean?

By Shea Laverty

Monitor pivot is a feature on many monitor models which increases the number of viewing options at your disposal. Monitor pivot refers to a monitor's ability to rotate the display, changing the aspect ratio from a widescreen format to a vertically inclined long format. Depending on your needs, monitor pivot could be a useful feature to look for in your next monitor purchase.

Landscape vs. Portrait

The standard widescreen display uses what's known as a landscape or horizontal orientation, where the width of the screen surface is greater than its length. Using monitor pivoting, you can turn this on its head by rotating the display 90-degrees into what's known as a portrait or vertical orientation. Most most monitors that pivot can also be tilted and adjusted on the vertical and horizontal axes to optimize viewing angle and comfort from your position.

TN vs. IPS

Pivoting monitors are invariably liquid-crystal panels, which means that one of two display technologies is in use: twisted nematic or in-plane switching. In terms of performance, IPS is generally considered the superior technology as it provides better color fidelity and a much wider viewing angle. It is, however, more expensive and less energy-efficient than TN. Ultimately, the decision will hinge on how much you're willing to spend for your monitor -- if you can afford a little more for better performance, IPS is the way to go.

Useful Applications

Having a monitor that pivots opens up some interesting possible uses. While it won't make your gaming or movie experience more enjoyable, it can make scrolling through long websites or reading lengthy documents much easier. It can also be useful for any programs or websites that make extensive use of vertically-oriented information or graphics. If you make extensive use of spreadsheets, you may find that vertical orientation can improve the way the information is presented for some documents.

Potential Drawbacks

Pivoting monitors are not without their perils. The mechanical pivot joint provides a potential point of failure for the monitor, as extensive use may wear out and eventually break the joint, separating the monitor panel from the stand. Also, depending on the monitor technology in use, the display's viewing angle or performance could be quite poor if you're not positioned precisely -- making sharing the display or viewing it with a audience a considerable hassle.