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How an iPhone can monitor COVID-19 infections

iPhone-based remote medical diagnosis systems for fractures and diseases including COVID-19 may only be a few testing cycles away, as a solution from Butterfly Network is seeing use during the pandemic.

Remote diagnostics take a big step forward

U.S-based Butterfly Network has created an iPhone accessory that turns your smartphone into the equivalent of an ultrasound machine, making this essential life-saving analysis tech much easier to deploy in new environments.

The system was demonstrated at WWDC 2019.

It consists of a handheld ultrasound scanner that is connected to an iPhone via the Lightning port to collect ultrasound images using the accompanying TeleGuidance app.  (The app works on recent iPhones, iPads and Macs. The scanner itself also works with Android.)

Under FDA rules, a trained medical professional needed to be with the patient in order to make the scan, but these rules have been temporarily relaxed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now, it is possible for doctors to perform ultrasound scans using the device remotely, guiding the patient through the process. You can find a little more concerning how these solutions are being used in real-world medical situations during the pandemic here

In a statement revealing the news, Dr. John Martin, Butterfly’s Chief Medical Officer, explains:

“We will be able to bring the expertise of the physician to the patient instead of the other way around. This is critical in these times and extremely valuable for the future transformation of care.”

Atrium Health is already using these devices. Dr. Rasu Shrestha, executive vice president, and chief strategy and transformation officer at Atrium, sees the benefits of the system, “…going well beyond the current pandemic. Our teams are already using it to provide care for heart patients, and we anticipate this device ushering in a new era of frontline care.”

Better tools for frontline care

This introduction of more effective tools for frontline care is also a compelling illustration of how iPhones and other mobile devices are becoming integral components for healthcare provision.

We’re already accustomed to digital consultations and tools to track activity levels, but the Butterfly system also shows us how these devices will eventually drive collections of important diagnostic tools – just as your Apple Watch picks up extensive quantities of health and heart information.

Ultimately, this should democratize the diagnosis and provision of healthcare, enabling the kinds of tools you once needed to visit a hospital to access to become smaller and more portable. This should improve access in remote communities, for example.  

The company has improved its TeleGuidance software to enable remote monitoring, said Laurent Faracci, Butterfly’s CEO:

“To support the FDA’s new policies, we accelerated our efforts to build a breakthrough telemedicine solution for ultrasound at home under the prescription and supervision of a trained practitioner.”

TeleGuidance leverages an array of leading-edge and easy-to-use augmented reality guiding tools to allow trained practitioners to perform an ultrasound scan without being next to the patient.

Respecting social distancing guidelines, the scanning process can be handled by a trained assistant sent on-site with the equipment, or a close family member – all they need to do is follow the instructions. You’ll find out more here.

This isn’t the only illustration of how mobile devices may be of use. Apple and Google’s work to find a way to deliver actionable outbreak data while also protecting user privacy and Gauss Surgical’s solution that enables more effective and safer ways to improve the testing procedure are both good examples of this.

The future won’t entirely be defined by the pandemic, but it is showing us how the mobile tools and devices we use can be extended to provide solutions to this and other future problems. It seems likely that one day an iPhone will be as useful a tool in the doctor’s kit as a stethoscope.

Updated in line with guidance: The system is used to monitor the progress/condition of COVID-19. 

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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The Best Air Quality Monitor Just Got Better

Our verdict of the Plume Labs Flow 2:
The Flow 2 is a worthy successor to Plume Lab’s original air quality tracker. With upgraded sensors, data export options, and an attractive new finish, the Flow 2 is a must-buy.

Air pollution is a problem for us all. However, one of the challenges is that, in most cases, you can’t actually see the pollution around you. This means you can only use generic protection advice, or publicly available local data, where it exists.

The Plume Labs Flow 2 is a portable, palm-sized device that helps you visualize your current exposure. By syncing via Bluetooth to your smartphone, you can use the $160 device to track and analyze the data over time. It’s available to pre-order now with delivery expected by the end of November.

So, should you buy the Flow 2? Let’s take a closer look.

Flow 2 Design

Flow 2 hanging

As the name suggests, the Flow 2 is the successor to the original Flow

Plume Labs Flow: A Portable Air Quality Monitor That’ll Keep You Informed

Plume Labs Flow: A Portable Air Quality Monitor That’ll Keep You Informed

With pollution all around us, the Flow may be one of the most essential and vital devices you can buy.
Read More

device, which was released in 2018. The form factor remains largely unchanged this time around, although there are two immediately noticeable differences. First, the device is now a dark graphite grey rather than silver. You can attach the Flow 2 to your bag or belt using the strap. The original Flow device used a brown pleather strap, which has now been replaced with a silicone black strap.

Flow 2 underside

These two changes make the device less conspicuous, and it now fits in aesthetically with most of your other tech products. Switching the strap to silicon rather than pleather should improve durability too. The Flow 2 is almost rectangular, sloping in slightly towards the top where the strap connects. The base of the device is coated in a durable plastic, which shelters the USB-C port and charging pins on the underside.

Flow 2 upper air holes

If you haven’t seen it before, the front of the device is rather unusual. The top half is covered in small holes that allow air to flow through to the sensors underneath. The lower half is dedicated to a capacitive button. When pressed, the current pollution level is displayed using colored LEDs that surround the button. The LEDs operate on a traffic light system, ranging from green for low pollution, to red for severe levels.

Flow 2 Battery Life

Flow 2 charging ports

One of the first questions people usually ask about wearable technology like this is whether you’ll have to charge it each night. The short answer is, most likely, yes. The battery lasts about a day, but may vary depending on how often you activate the display and if you choose to enable the always-on Bluetooth connection for GPS tracking. That said, I found myself charging the Flow 2 each night regardless of whether it had run out of battery.

Flow 2 on wall

This is because the Flow 2, like the Flow before it, comes with a convenient charging dock. All you have to do is place the Flow 2 into the dock, and it begins charging through the charging pins underneath. For those who already purchased a Flow device, the Flow 2 is compatible with the original dock as well. If you run out of juice on-the-go, you can give the Flow 2 a top-up using the USB-C port.

It’s possible to extend the monitor’s battery life through the use of Idle mode, which can be enabled in the Flow app. This effectively puts the sensors to sleep for a while. You can choose between 20 minutes, two hours, eight hours, or 24 hours. This isn’t a fixed setting; just tap the Flow 2’s button, and the device will exit Idle mode. Using this new mode could see the Flow 2 last up to three days between charges.

The Flow Mobile App

The Flow mobile app, available for Android and iOS devices, is where you can dig down into the data the Flow 2 records. While the device itself only shows a traffic light system of warnings for quick reference, it is actually collecting a wide range of air quality data. The device connects to your phone via Bluetooth. There are two connection options; in-app and always-on.

The always-on connection is used to record GPS location data alongside your Flow 2’s measurements. This is done using your phone’s sensors as the Flow 2 itself doesn’t have a built-in GPS sensor. This connection does have an impact on battery life but allows you to capture more useful data. The Flow 2’s measurements alone are interesting, but their potential is unlocked when viewed alongside location.

The app’s main page is a chronological feed of your Flow 2’s recordings, broken down by day. The daily overview contains a color-coded line graph of your exposure by time, with a high, medium, or low rating underneath. Because the device tracks a handful of air quality measures, Plume Labs developed its own Air Quality Index (AQI) to summarize the data. The daily AQI is also listed in the feed.

Tapping into a specific day displays any recorded GPS data, in addition to a more detailed graph, which can be split between the different tracked particles. This line graph is overlayed against the combined average exposure, allowing you to see each particle’s contribution. Sliding your finger from left to right along the chart shows a minute-by-minute snapshot of recorded data.

Flow 2 Data Analysis

Flow 2 amber LEDs

The original Flow device recorded some of the most critical air quality readings, like PM2.5, PM10, NO2, and VOC. The Flow 2 maintains those sensors but adds a new one for PM1. This is an incredible achievement. PM1 particles are ultra-fine and are often directly implicated in many of the health issues caused by air pollution.

These minuscule particles can pass through the majority of air filters and enter our lungs. That the Flow 2 can detect them at all is a testament to the work Plume Labs has undertaken in little over a year since the original Flow device.

Flow 2 green LEDs

One of the problems we identified during our review of the Plume Labs Flow

Plume Labs Flow: A Portable Air Quality Monitor That’ll Keep You Informed

Plume Labs Flow: A Portable Air Quality Monitor That’ll Keep You Informed

With pollution all around us, the Flow may be one of the most essential and vital devices you can buy.
Read More

in 2018 was that, despite an attractive interface, it was hard to analyze your data within the Flow app. With the release of the Flow 2, Plume Labs have enabled an export option in the app, which collates your data and emails you a download link. The data is broken into three parts; GPS images, GPS location data, and air quality recordings.

The GPS images are the same as those shown on the in-app daily summaries. Helpfully, the GPS data then comes in the form of a KML file. Probably the most important, though, are the air quality recordings. These are presented as CSV files, which should allow you plenty of opportunities to filter and play with the data. Although this seems like a small feature, it dramatically improves the usefulness of carrying the Flow 2 around with you each day.

Should You Buy the Flow 2?

The Flow 2 represents a significant step forward in tracking air quality thanks to the new PM1 sensor. It builds upon the foundations laid by the original Flow device. The Flow 2 is portable, easy to use, and tracks some of the most critical data. Crucially, that data is now yours to examine thanks to the new export feature.

If you don’t want to deep dive into the recordings, though, the Plume Labs have perfected the way they communicate air quality data. The colored LEDs make it easy to understand your current exposure, and don’t require you to unlock your phone to do so.

Coupled with these features, the portability of the Flow 2 makes it an indispensable companion, keeping you informed and able to make useful changes to reduce your exposure.

Enter the Competition!

Plume Labs Flow 2 Giveaway

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5 Chromebook Parental Control Apps to Monitor Your Child’s Activity

A Chromebook is a great option for your kids. They’re cheap, portable, lightweight, and the software doesn’t cost anything, either. When your kids start using technology, you want to keep tabs on what they’re up to.

Because of their focus on kids, students, and education, Chromebooks and Chrome OS have a decent range of parental controls. Some are integrated with Chrome OS, while others come from the Chrome Web Store or Google Play.

Here are the best parental controls for your child’s Chromebook.

One of the best-integrated Chromebook parental control tools available is Google Family Link. The Google-designed app lets parents monitor their child’s Chromebook session from their Android smartphone. Family Link is the replacement for Chrome Supervised Profiles. Existing Chrome Supervised Accounts still work, but you can no longer edit their settings, or create a new profile.

Google Family Link allows parents to:

  • Set Chromebook use time limits
  • Control daily time limits manually
  • Set individual app time limits
  • View app usage and make time activity reports for the kids
  • Approve app downloads and other online activities
  • Add education and exploration focused apps remotely
  • Lock the Chromebook remotely, with a specific unlock time
  • Locate your child via Family Link on their Chromebook

You can also control your kid’s Chromebook from another Chromebook, so long as you can install Android apps. (Some Chromebook models can only install Chrome Web Store apps, rather than Android operating system apps.)

Google Family Link has the same functionality as a Chrome Supervised Profile, with some handy extras.

Christian Cawley has explained precisely how to install Google Family Link on Android devices

Protect Your Child’s Android Phone Using Google Family Link

Protect Your Child’s Android Phone Using Google Family Link

Google Family Link provides a simple and sensible solution for parental control on Android devices. Here’s how to use it.
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and the process is the same on a Chromebook.

Mobicip Parental Control with Screen Time (the app’s full title) is a remote parental control app. It is one of the most popular and comprehensive parental control apps that work for Android, iOS, and Chromebooks, as well as macOS and Windows.

The Mobicip Parental Control Standard Plan includes the following features:

  • Schedule and limit Chromebook screen time
  • Lock Chromebook remotely
  • Review recent browsing history
  • Block and control social media, video, and gaming apps
  • Manage internet content filtering
  • Send messages to the Chromebook; reminders, homework checks, and so on
  • Track the location of the Chromebook when switched on

Mobicip Parental Control is easy to use and feature-packed. It is a premium parental control app. A year’s subscription to Mobicip’s Standard Plan will set you back $49.99 per year, offering protection for five devices. Mobicip also offers a free seven-day trial to figure out if the parental controls suit you and your kids.

Download: Mobicip for Chromebook | Windows | macOS | Android | iOS

WebWatcher is a long-standing player in the parental control market. The WebWatcher Chromebook offering isn’t as comprehensive as Google Family Link or Mobicip Parental Control. But it does allow decent remote Chromebook management and some handy content alerts. With WebWatcher Chromebook monitoring, you can:

  • Monitor website and search history
  • Keep tabs on social media URLs
  • Create word alerts with automatic screenshotting
  • Use continuous screenshot mode for constant updating

WebWatcher’s Alert Log tool is highly recommended. The Alert Log continually scans data on the Chromebook, using advanced filtering to catch any dangerous behavior or content. If your child engages in any nefarious behaviour on their Chromebook, you receive an email update complete with a screenshot of the issue.

The WebWatcher Chromebook monitoring model respects the privacy of the Chromebook user while keeping parents informed about any dangerous activity.

WebWatcher for Chromebook is a premium parental control app. You can opt for a monthly payment of $3.32 or pay $39.99 for a 12-month subscription. WebWatcher also offers a free trial to test the parental control system before buying.

Blocksi Manager Home is a comprehensive Chromebook parental control option, with a wide range of monitoring and management features. There are several Blocksi versions. The free Blocksi option offers a handy but standard array of URL and content filtering, whitelisting, and website ratings.

The best option is Blocksi Manager Home Premium, which gives you:

  • Internet, social media, video, gaming access time controls
  • Additional YouTube keyword and channel filtering
  • Customizable filtering policies
  • Near real-time analytics, search, and web history
  • Notifications on attempts to access dangerous or illicit content
  • Screen time enforcement

Blocksi Manager Home Premium costs $59.50 per user per year. Comparatively, Blocksi Manager Home is one of the pricier Chromebook parental control products. However, it is also one of the most comprehensive. Like the other Chromebook parental control options on this list, Blocksi offers a free trial.

Apps like Blocksi stop kids turning them off using a password. Check out the other ways your children will attempt to skirt your parental controls

7 Ways Your Children Might Bypass Parental Control Software

7 Ways Your Children Might Bypass Parental Control Software

Just because you’ve installed a safety net in parental control software doesn’t mean your children won’t find a way to navigate through it. Here’s how they’ll do it!
Read More


Download: Blocksi (Free Trial)

mSpy is a parental control app with a focus on constant tracking. In that, mSpy gives you a constant view into your kid’s Chromebook world, so long as the Chromebook is switchd on or in use. mSpy provides an extensive range of parental controls, including:

  • Social media monitoring, including WhatsApp and Snapchat
  • Web browsing and search monitoring and reporting
  • Email tracking and analysis
  • Location tracking when the Chromebook is in use
  • Geo-fencing alerts; if your child accesses the Chromebook outside the fence, you receive an alert
  • Installed application control, monitoring, and blocking

mSpy is extremely comprehensive, but it is also the most expensive parental control app on this list. Geo-fencing, website blocking, and other features fall under the Premium subscription, which costs $53.99 per month. You can reduce the monthly cost with a 12-month subscription, dropping the price to $12.49 per month.

Download: mSpy (Free Trial)

What Is the Best Chromebook Parental Control App?

If you want something free and relatively easy to use, look no further than Google Family Link. It works straight out of the box. You can install it on almost any Chromebook, so long as it is compatible. It uses your existing Gmail account to monitor your kid’s Chromebook usage, and the app itself is intuitive.

The other options are all handy, with different strengths for parental control. However, as they all come with a price tag, the free option wins.

Want to understand more about parental controls? Check out our guide to parental controls of every kind

The Complete Guide to Parental Controls

The Complete Guide to Parental Controls

The world of internet-connected devices can be terrifying for parents. If you have young children, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about setting up and using parental controls.
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to decide what type of parental control suits your situation.

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BenQ PD3220U DesignVue Designer Monitor Review & Rating

Designed for video editors, photographers, and graphic designers, the $1,199.99 BenQ PD3220U DesignVue Designer Monitor provides a 32-inch-class screen with a UHD (4K, or 3,840-by-2,160-pixel) native panel resolution, good color accuracy, a wide selection of ports, and a host of convenience features. Examples of the latter include an ergonomic stand, as well as a BenQ-specific accessory, the HotKey Puck, for manipulating the monitor’s brightness, contrast, color-mode, and other settings on its onscreen display (OSD). It performed well in our testing for color accuracy, and it earns an Editors’ Choice as a large-screen professional monitor.

Good Ergonomics

The PD3220U has a two-tone (gray-and-black) design. The panel is housed in a matte-black cabinet, and the monitor includes an ergonomically friendly stand that allows for height, tilt, swivel, and pivot adjustment. With the stand fully extended, it measures 24.7 by 28.1 by 7.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 22.9 pounds. The base has a large (8.5-by-11-inch) footprint, and a sturdy shaft extends from it to connect to the cabinet.

All four bezels are so thin as to be barely visible. This, combined with the monitor’s built-in KVM switch, makes the PD3220U a good choice for multi-monitor (and multi-computer) arrays.

BenQ PD3220U DesignVue Designer Monitor

The PD3220U’s 31.5-inch, 10-bit IPS panel has a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, a BenQ-rated 300-nit (candelas per meter squared) luminance, and a 1,000:1 rated contrast ratio. The pixel density works out to 140 pixels per inch (ppi), a good figure though not as high as 4K monitors with smaller screens. Of the monitors we have reviewed, the 24-inch LG UltraFine 4K Display (24MD4KL-B) takes the cake at 186ppi. Generally, the higher the pixel density, the sharper the image.

Return of the HotKey Puck

Although BenQ touts the PD3220U’s Mac-friendliness, it also works well with Windows machines, unlike the squarely Mac-centric LG UltraFine 4K Display (24MD4KL-B). That panel has no external controls and integrates directly with macOS, so you control the monitor through the operating system’s menus. Although the 24MD4KL-B can connect to most USB Type-C-equipped Windows computers, without a bit of modding you have almost no control over its settings.

BenQ PD3220U DesignVue (Back)

In contrast, you can control the PD3220U’s OSD through the monitor’s mini joystick or through its HotKey Puck G2 included accessory, so you can change color mode and other settings regardless of your computer’s operating system. With a Mac, you do get the benefit of being able to control both the OSD settings and macOS’s display settings (the latter’s range of color modes, for example). For my testing and experimenting with this panel, I used an Apple MacBook Pro 15-Inch laptop, as well as our standard Windows testbed, plus my Dell XPS 13.

The HotKey Puck G2 is an improvement over its predecessor, which we saw with the BenQ SW320 and a few other BenQ monitors. The original HotKey Puck let you switch among Adobe RGB, sRGB, and Black and White color modes. The buttons could be mapped to other settings or color modes, as well. The HotKey Puck G2, like the original, sits on the desk in front of the monitor, to which it’s connected by a USB cable, and has three programmable buttons plus a return button. It adds a knob on top that, by default, lets you adjust brightness. Rotating the knob lets you cycle through all of the OSD’s settings. Picture modes are abundant, among them DCI-P3, Display P3, HDR, sRGB, Adobe RGB, Rec. 709, CAD/CAM, Animation, Low Blue Light, Darkroom, M-book, DICOM, and User.

BenQ HotKey Puck G2

Using the HotKey Puck G2 to control the PD3220U’s settings is more convenient than doing the same by reaching behind the monitor to manipulate the joystick controller. With the knob now sticking up, this accessory doesn’t really resemble a hockey puck anymore, but it works better than the original.

Ports Galore

Emerging from the HotKey Puck G2’s side is a USB cable, whose plug fits into a Mini USB Type-B port on the bottom of the monitor. (Mini-B is seldom seen these days, but you needn’t worry about misplacing the cable, as it’s affixed to the HotKey Puck G2.) Other ports on the PD3220U include two HDMI 2.0 inputs, one DisplayPort 1.4 input, one USB 3.0 upstream and three USB 3.0 downstream ports, one USB Type-C port, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. The Thunderbolt 3 ports support both data and power delivery (one up to 85 watts, the other up to 15 watts), so you can charge your laptop even as you’re displaying content on the monitor from it over the interface. You can use the Thunderbolt ports to daisy-chain the PD3220U to a computer and a second monitor.

BenQ PD3220U DesignVue (Ports)

Last, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack, for headphones or powered external speakers should you find the built-in speakers too faint. The jack is placed conveniently on the monitor’s side, as are one of the USB 3.0 ports and the USB-C port. The rest of the ports are face-down in back of the monitor, near the bottom. This is an often unwieldy arrangement, but thanks to the PD3220’s pivot mode, you can rotate the monitor into portrait orientation for easy access to those ports.

BenQ PD3220U DesignVue (Side Ports)

BenQ covers the PD3220U with an industry-typical three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. The monitor ships with HDMI, mini DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3, and USB Type-B-to-A cables, and it bundles the HotKey Puck G2.

Brightness & Color Fidelity

I did our color, brightness, and black-level testing for the PD3220U using our usual Klein K10-A colorimeter, Murideo Six-G signal generator, and Portrait Displays’ CalMAN 5 software. I measured the PD3220U’s luminance at 320 lumens in its DCI-P3 mode mode, topping its 300-nit rating, and 327 nits when I switched to HDR. I calculated its contrast ratio at 711:1, a bit short of the 1,000:1 ratio claimed by BenQ.

BenQ PD3220U DesignVue Designer Monitor

According to BenQ, the PD3220U covers 95 percent of the DCI-P3 and Display P3 color spaces, and 100 percent of sRGB. In our testing, it covered 94.9 percent of DCI-P3 (see the chart above) and 99.2 percent of sRGB. (We also tested it at 86.7 percent of the Adobe RGB space, for which BenQ doesn’t supply a rating.)

Related Story See How We Test Monitors

DCI-P3 is a color standard developed primarily for cinema video by Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), a joint venture among the leading movie studios. Starting in 2015, Apple has phased in DCI-P3 as its primary color space for its iMacs and MacBooks—just one of the reasons that BenQ considers this monitor as Mac-friendly.

Video & Photos

I viewed selections from our test video suite on the PD3220U. The monitor rendered video well, with colors looking bright and true, and detail showing well in both bright and dark scenes. HDR video showed a modest improvement in brightness and contrast over standard-definition (SDR) content. The monitor handled a series of photos that I viewed (and in some cases, edited) well. Audio from the embedded pair of 2-watt speakers was of reasonable quality for in-monitor speakers, though a little on the soft side.

BenQ PD3220U DesignVue Designer Monitor

With no notable gaming-centric features, this monitor is not a prime choice for gamers. For one thing, at a time when we are seeing some professional monitors with high refresh rates for the benefit of game designers, the PD3220U sticks to a standard 60Hz refresh rate. That said, it had no trouble handling the Final Fantasy XV benchmark at full 4K resolution with a minimum of artifacts, using our Windows 10 testbed equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition card. If you have a rig with a powerful graphics card (see our roundup of the best cards for 4K gaming), there’s no reason you can’t get in a few rounds of your favorite AAA game while on a break from your design work.

A Feature-Rich Professional Monitor

With its sprawling screen real estate, ergonomically friendly stand, generous port loadout, good color accuracy, and host of convenience features, the BenQ PD3220U should thrill most creative professionals, whether videographers, photographers, or graphic artists.

BenQ PD3220U DesignVue (Rear Angle)

Our Editors’ Choice large-screen professional monitor is the Asus ProArt PA34VC Professional Curved Monitor, which has a slightly larger (34-inch) curved screen at an ultra-wide (21:9) aspect ratio. It adds gaming features such as a 100Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync adaptive-sync technology. For its part, the PD3220U has a slightly wider range of ports (adding a USB-C port and having a more robust Thunderbolt power transfer rating of 85 watts, versus the PA34VC’s 40 watts). It also has the HotKey Puck G2, while the PA34VC is limited to a mini joystick for OSD control, and adds a built-in KVM switch. The BenQ PD3220U adds enough in the creature-comforts column to earn an Editors’ Choice in its own right.

Neither model covers the full Adobe RGB color space, which not all professionals need. For instance, many photographers, particularly if they specialize in shooting for the web, are better off sticking to viewing their wares in sRGB. But for those who need a monitor to cover the Adobe RGB color spectrum, you should consider the BenQ SW320 and the Editors’ Choice ViewSonic VP2785-4K, which each cover 99 percent of that space.

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How to Set a Different Wallpaper On Each Monitor In Windows 10

Setting a unique background on each of your multiple monitors was a simple trick in Windows 8, but the menu is buried to the point of being invisible in Windows 10. But it’s still there if you know where to look.

New: Set a Wallpaper in the Settings App

Since we originally published this article, Microsoft added a better solution to Windows 10.

To change desktop backgrounds individually for each monitor, head to Settings > Personalization > Background. Under Choose Your Picture, right-click a background image and select “Set for monitor 1,” “Set for monitor 2,” or whichever other monitor you want to use it on.

To add additional images to this list, click “Browse” and select a wallpaper you want to use. Windows will set it as your default on all desktops. Right-click the wallpaper icons and choose which monitor you want to use each on.

Setting different wallpapers for different monitors on Windows 10.

When to Use This Trick (and When to Use Third Party Tools)

First and foremost, we want to make the best use of your time–both in reading this tutorial and down the road when you’re using our advice to mix up your wallpapers. With that in mind, consider the following two scenarios.

Scenario one: You infrequently change your desktop wallpaper, but you would really like to have a different background on each monitor. In this scenario, the solution in this article (which is quick and uses Windows’ built-in setting) is a perfect one as it’s light on system resources.

Scenario two: if you want to use multiple and different wallpapers on each of your monitors, and you want a high degree of control over that, then the standard wallpaper options in Windows 10 probably won’t cut it. If you’re a wallpaper junkie or really need fine-tooth control over the backgrounds, then we strongly recommend the venerable (and still quite useful) John’s Background Switcher (free) or the Swiss Army Knife of multimonitor management, DisplayFusion (the features relevant to wallpaper management are available in the free version).

If you find yourself in scenario one, though, let’s take a look at how to set a custom wallpaper on each monitor in Windows 10. (And if you’re in a customize-all-the-things mood, be sure to check out how to customize your Windows 10 login and lock screen, too.)

How to Select Unique Wallpapers for Different Monitors in Windows 10

There are two ways two go about selecting multiple monitor wallpapers in Windows 10–neither particularly intuitive. For each method, we’ll use a handful of Game of Thrones wallpapers to demonstrate. For frame of reference, here’s what our current desktop looks like, with the default Windows 10 wallpaper repeated on each of our three monitors.

It’s nice wallpaper, as far as stock wallpaper goes, but a tad boring. Let’s mix it up.

The Easy, but Imperfect Method: Change Your Wallpaper With the Windows File Explorer

The first method isn’t intuitive, because it relies on you selecting the images in Windows’ File Explorer and knowing how Windows will handle your multiple image selection. Select your images in the File Explorer, using Ctrl or Shift to select multiple images. Right click on the image you wish to assign to your primary monitor while the images you want to use are still selected. (Note, this is primary as in the monitor Windows thinks of as the primary monitor per the Settings > System > Display menu in the Control Panel, not necessarily the monitor you consider the primary/important one.) In the right-click context menu, select “Set as desktop background”.

Windows will set those images as your desktop wallpapers. Below, you can see that the image we clicked on (the red wallpaper with the House Lannister crest) is on the center monitor. The two other wallpapers, for House Stark and House Baratheon, are more or less randomly placed on the secondary and tertiary monitor.

This is a particularly inelegant solution because you have no control over where the images on the non-primary monitors will be placed. It also has two other irritating shortcomings: if the images are not the exact resolution of your monitor, they won’t work, and they will randomly rotate positions every 30 minutes.

With those shortcomings in mind, know that we’ve shown you this method entirely in the name of thoroughness and education and not because we think you’ll prefer it. Let’s look at a much better method.

The Complicated, but Powerful Method: Change Your Wallpaper With the Personalization Menu

Update: The command here no longer brings up the traditional Control Panel interface, but you can now use the Settings > Personalization > Background window to accomplish the same thing.

When Windows 8 came out, one of the first things multi-monitor users noticed is that there were a bunch of new menu options, including a very easy to use multi-monitor wallpaper selection tool built right into the Personalizations menu in the Control Panel. Inexplicably, that option vanished in Windows 10.

You won’t find it in Settings > Personalization > Backgrounds where it used to be–there you can only set a single image as your background regardless of how many monitors you have. Further, you won’t find it where it used to reside in Windows 8, in Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Personalization where there used to be a direct link to it. Strangely, even though no menus directly link to it anymore, the menu itself is just hanging out there waiting for you.

To access it, press Windows+R on your keyboard to call up the Run dialog box and enter the following text:

control /name Microsoft.Personalization /page pageWallpaper

Press Enter and, by the power of command-line tricks, you’ll see the old wallpaper selection menu.

If we click on the “Browse” button, we can browse to the folder with our Game of Thrones wallpapers (or we can use the dropdown menu to navigate to existing wallpaper locations like the Windows Pictures library).

Once you’ve loaded the directory you wish to work with, here’s where you’ll finally get the per-monitor control you’ve been looking for. Deselect the images (Windows automatically checks all of them when you load the directory) and then select a single image. Right-click on it and select the monitor you wish to assign it to (again, visit Settings > System > Display if you don’t know which monitor is which number).

Repeat the process for whatever wallpaper you wish to use for each monitor. The end result? Exactly the wallpaper we want on each monitor:

If you want to further mix things up, you can always select multiple images and then use the “Picture position” drop-down menu to make adjustments to how the image is displayed and the “Change picture every” menu to tweak how often the selection of photos you have are changed up.

It’s not the most sophisticated system in the world (see some of the third party options we highlighted in the introduction for more advanced features) but it gets the job done.

Despite the menu vanishing from the Control Panel, a little command line-fu returns it, and you can easily customize your wallpapers across multiple monitors to your heart’s content.

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