Recently, I went a little crazy buying a bunch of second-hand monitors.
I observe how come one of my friends is using this small display when there seems to be a bigger display out there. I find that if you use spreadsheets often, having another display while working on another can severely reduce the frustration you feel at work. The job of some primarily involves churning out reports from spreadsheets at a high clip. Many felt it is ok to be consistently “Alt-tabbing” between different applications.
Those frustrations will eventually add up to a very bad day. Then a bad week.
I used to prowl the second-hand market to look for other stuff, so I thought bigger, second-hand screen is not too expensive.
There is a sweet spot somewhere between:
- A size that can provide significant productivity improvement.
- Not overly expensive. Even if you get a dud, it reduces your level of regret.
Some monitors have lasted for a while and may continue to last for a few more years. The Grab driver who transported the biggest monitor I got told me the evolution of display panel because he used to be in the electronics industry and used to sell Samsung monitors until he bought a BMW at 26 years old. He basically told me it is not worth it to consider repairing a faulty monitor.
With VGA, DVI or Display Port to HDMI adapters, old monitors are compatible to be connected to the latest laptops or desktops.
With certain adapters, you can setup dual monitor setup with laptops as well. On some desktops, you can even set up two or three monitor setup by default.
I decided to see what kind of monitors I could find, started to bid and bought one, collected it and set them up.
Then it became another monitor.
Before I knew it, I managed to set up a daily monitoring system for displays of certain configurations at Carousell. The more good deals I see, the more I cannot resist them.
Now I really understand how some ladies ended up with so many shoes and clothes. The more you browse, the more “deals” you will come across, and the more you cannot resist.
But I also got some good tales through my buying experiences.
Here are some of my monitor display tales.
I gave Isaac this 24-inch Dell UltraSharp U2412Mb.
I collected it from an older gentleman in Hougang.
This was one of the earlier monitors I bought. I thought paying $60 is a good deal. Today, I realize that is not the best deal.
But this 2011 Dell is interesting because it is full HD 1920 x 1200. Most full HD monitors are 1920 x 1080 nowadays. They are wider but in terms of height, the 1920 x 1200 may be more productive. This makes it one of my favourites.
There are other great reasons:
- The stand is really good because it can swivel the monitor between landscape and portrait.
- The stand can just come off at a button so it makes transportation much easier.
- Has VESA mount holes (very common but as you will see, some of what I gotten do not have)
I like this series so much that sometimes I would casually search to see if there is a cheap U2412M around.
Choong Hwee’s Dell is a newer Dell model but I have no idea what is the model of this display. Sometimes when I just see 24-inch, HDMI, working and it is below a price ceiling, I just go with it.
This monitor does not have any VESA mount holes.
I bought this for $55.
Seth’s Lenovo L24E is one of the newer ones because it was released in 2018.
This happens to be the monitor purchase that left a deep impression on me.
I bought this from a lady staying in Rivervale in Sengkang. One of the criteria for my purchase is that the location of the transaction either has to be close to Tanjong Pagar/Outram/Chinatown or near SengKang.
I looked up what the lady was selling other than this because since it is so close, there might be some other goodies that I want to take from her. I realize she is trying to rent out a room.
She told me this is a working monitor but not being used by her son. Then we got into a conversation where at some point, she asked if I am good at “IT stuff” and whether there is value in an old laptop. I thought since I am not rushing for time why not take a look for her.
She brought the laptop down and I take some time to inspect it. Fxxk that laptop is a 2018 i5 Lenovo T-series with 16GB of ram. It is not as old in the realm of old stuff and could fetch a decent $300. The downside for that Lenovo is the display resolution is 1366×768 and not Full HD.
She told me it used to be a company laptop but since they are going to give it away, she ask why not give it to her. She wanted to pass to her son to play his games but nowadays, his adult son plays most of his games on mobile phones.
Her son is slow at learning and she tells me he used to chalk up large bills when he is playing those games. We would often talk about how games are designed for you to spend more on micro-transactions. it is tough for kids to practice self-control but for some kids like her son, that is even more challenging.
When she tells me she is retiring and now that she is retired she has to find more income. This explains why she is trying to rent out a room.
I sort of detect that it may not be a planned retirement.
It hit me that this $50 is a good deal for me because I bargain it down from $70 but to her, perhaps every dollar counts.
I told her if she wishes to, I can help her list and sell the laptop.
Zhihan’s monitor looks kinda similar to the others but essentially it is smaller at 23-inch. It is a 2016 Dell P2314HT and I paid $50 bucks for it.
Looking back, I had mix feelings about it because I wasn’t looking for a 23 inch which means I was mis-sold it. There were a few listings where the sellers posted 24-inch but when I look at the model, they are closer to 22-inch.
In any case, $50 may be tad high, knowing what I know now.
But the experience of 23 inch is important because had I not have one, I might not know that 23-inch at the right price point is good enough.
I went down to Bidadari to collect two Philips 243v7Q from a seller for $90.
So this works out to be $45 each. The Philip monitor comes with a HDMI port so that means I don’t have to look for so many adapters.
But fxxk, one of them has a problem and cannot work. I thought its a cable or port issue but it is deeper than that. $45 down the drain.
I keep this 30-inch Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP for myself.
Normally, I won’t consider a monitor that is $100 or more, but I decided that day to vary the filter a bit and saw this. It is a 30-inch monitor with 2k resolution selling at $100.
I asked if I can have it at $90 and the seller accepted.
The seller tells me it is heavy. Be prepared.
The location: Reflections at Keppel Bay.
Given the size of the monitor, I made ample prep by bringing my Ikea bag. I have every wish to take the bus or train with this monitor back. But as I approached Reflections I know this is going to be very very challenging because Reflections is so far from Harbourfront MRT, despite being listed close to it.
The unit is deeeeeeep within Reflections but the seller was actually waiting for me downstairs and brought me up to his home. This Dell takes like 30 seconds to standardize the colour. The seller works in some graphics stuff and if you can afford $8700 a month rent, you should be doing OK.
He would have kept this monitor, released in 2008 had he not the need to work with HDR. His plan is to get the latest of this series.
I wonder why is such a deal on Carousell after it was listed for a while.
The seller told me that many wanted him to just send this monitor to them, but the seller felt that if you are unwilling to listen to him explain the features of the monitor, there is no point in selling to them.
I was beginning to wonder how am I suppose to bring this monitor back. I made a mistake thinking the stand can be detached (like most Dell) and this monster is so much bigger than my Ikea bag.
The seller offered to accept $80 just so I can take a cab back.
That was when I remember of the existence of taxi.
The seller helped me bring the monitor down to the loading area. He rented that 1600 sqft Reflections place during Covid period for $5,100 a month. in 2018, the rent was $8,700.
You can see the rent fluctuation.
Imagine planning your retirement income on $8,700 a month rental and then only getting $5,100 a month. Was that in your plan?
But imagine that the rent right now if he renews might be closer to $10,000 a month.
It just means rental income can be volatile!
This bad boy can only do 2k with the DisplayPort so as much as I want to give to Helen, who crafts our video and images, perhaps it is best I keep it.
$93.80 after using a MoneyOwl Grab Coupon looks like a good deal. But the monitor consumes the most electricity (138W) and can get hot as fxxk after prolong use.
Alvin graciously helped me collect this HP LA2405WG from Ang Mo Kio. This 2010 model cost me $32 and I wanted to give to him but he prefers his current monitor so I gave it to Ray.
This monitor is also a 1920×1200 resolution.
Old but given the price and resolution, I think it is a good deal if it lasts.
This company at 50 Collyer Quay is shifting office and they were eager to clear this last 24-inch monitor. I bargain it down to $20 but I wish I would just try $15.
I passed this to Eleanor.
I went to MapleWoods at King Albert Park to collect two Dell UltraSharp U2412Mc for $95. So that is like $48 each.
This is really out of the norm but for 2 1920×1200 Dells at $95, it might be worth it.
I nearly died rushing down because the seller was rushing to go to some Hermes event.
Like many sellers, they were shocked I am not driving or taking a taxi to bring two monitors back. I think after bringing monitors to and fro different places, I had developed a good gauge what can be done or not done.
But 2 24-inch Dell from King Albert back to Duxton is still challenging.
This is what I took after taking a breather.
When the seller saw me disassemble the monitors, he thinks I am buying to re-sell or that I am some sort of pro. He didn’t even know the monitors can disassemble like that!
I passed these two to Lilian and Bee Yen, whom I felt are the people who needed the widest the most.
I went to Zico Trust’s office to collect two HP P240VA for $20 each.
Zico Trust office is in Raffles and when the seller’s name is Zico Trust, it is always interesting for me to check out how they are. I passed one to Annette and one to Eddy.
I went down to this condo near Istana to collect this Samsung S23C350H from a US guy. He is probably shifting back somewhere and letting this go for $12.
I took a look and he was selling a Cornell Electric Heater which I need. I took that for $10 as well.
I passed this to Choon Siong.
One of my earlier purchases was this Philips 243V7QDSB for $25.
Not too expensive but this is one of the two faulty monitors because after using it for some time, I realize it has ghosting effects.
This monitor looks small next to my big 30-inch.
Another Dell U2412Mb but this one is for $40. I pass this to Eddy.
During one of my friend Zhinan’s company sale, I got this HP LP2475W for maybe $20. This monitor is as old as mine (2008) but it has a 1920×1200 resolution and comes with a HDMI port.
I brought this to office after giving my brother a new second hand monitor. This one sits on Joyce table.
What is not on display here are two Dell UltraSharp U2415B that I bought for $60 each from a SengKang seller. These are the newer Dell with thinner bezels.
I passed one to my brother and one to Cindy.
In total, I probably spent $783, mostly in the month of April on these second-hand monitor purchases, on probably 17-18 24-inch monitors.
I think I am probably done with my monitor buying spree but you never know.
I suspect there are three more 1920×1200 monitors still to come.
Giving things like this is a weird thing. You don’t know if people will like it or not. Worse is what they will be thinking because these are old stuff. You don’t know if they will ever need and use it.
But sometimes the essence of giving is to put some thought into what to gift, reflect upon what you did wrong or can do better in the gift selection, and don’t think about reciprocation so much.
At some point, I wonder have I gone mad buying so many 24-inch monitors.
One thing that I learn from this is… You can develop some small competency in a particular area if you are very focus on that area for an extended period of time.
I will not profess to be an expert in all areas of buying and selling, but I think I know much more about this very, very niche area.
The underlying takeaway is… be it REIT investor, passive ETF investing, in personal finance… people complain it is hard or you don’t have the time.
But is it because you are not extremely focused on just one specific area?
You can focus on one area and when you figure that out, the knowledge sticks with you. Then move on to another area.
I cannot possibly continue to monopolize these 24-inch monitors but if I come across a good deal, most likely I will post in my Telegram Channel. You can subscribe to my channel here if you have not.
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