Home Tech More PC monitors now come with built-in KVM switches, and I love it

More PC monitors now come with built-in KVM switches, and I love it

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Desk at home with a computer monitor, two laptops, a keyboard and a computer mouse in front of a white wall with artwork and...

“You need a KVM switch.”

That’s what my friend told me three years ago after seeing a photo of my dual laptop setup. I told him that all I have to do is change a couple of cables at the end of my work day and I can enjoy my new gaming laptop in the same space as my work laptop. She’s a fellow hardware reviewer, so she had an easy answer: buy a keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) switch to do that exact step for me, without needing to change any more cables. It sounded too good to be true.

I didn’t buy one; I didn’t want to add another item to my small desk, so I kept manually switching my HDMI and USB cables between my different computers for a few years. I got other items to make this process easier (a small HDMI switch that I can hide behind my monitor along with Bluetooth devices without a receiver), but the real answer was always a KVM switch. Until now. I changed my monitor to one with a built-in KVM switch, so it’s a win-win. Less clutter on your desk and no more plugging and unplugging cables!

A desk to rescue

Photography: Nena Farrell

This is my desktop circa April 2021. I became a big co-op player during the pandemic since playing games like galactic deep rock and stardew valley It was an easy way to be close to my friends. Originally, I was exclusively a Nintendo Switch girl, but once my addiction to Animal Crossing: New Horizons When I was done, I moved on to PC gaming.

That’s when I bought my first gaming laptop, but I needed space on my desk for it. and my work computer. The bulky body of a gaming laptop is decidedly less comfortable away from my desk (and has worse battery life, too), so I suddenly needed a permanent solution for my after-work gaming lifestyle.

A KVM switch was the clear answer. These allow you to connect two computers or laptops, even if they run different operating systems, and connect peripherals such as a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Once everything is connected, simply press the switch and you can use the same peripherals with either PC, without needing to unplug and plug them back in. There are tons of options for buy one onlineand they are usually not too expensive.

But you can see my desktop above. The last thing I wanted was another item that fit on the desk; I’d rather have room for an extra candle or my cup of tea. KVM switches aren’t big enough for this to be a big deal, but I let that stop me for years.

One monitor to rule them all

Why get something extra if you don’t have to? The good news is that more and more PC monitors have a built-in KVM switch, so you can connect two computers and your accessories to the monitor and switch as you see fit. Is so easy! There’s nothing else on my desk! It’s the best of both worlds. I need a monitor anyway, so why not get one that has the power of a KVM switch inside?

However, it is only useful if your keyboard and mouse have a 2.4GHz USB receiver for connectivity. (These receivers typically offer better stability and lower response times than Bluetooth.) Philips Creator Series Monitor (read more about it in our Best PC Monitors guide) has a KVM switch and an input switching option. When I used it with Bluetooth accessories without a receiver, I only needed to switch the monitor input instead of using the full KVM switch feature.

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