Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

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NYCaviator
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Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by NYCaviator »

I need a computer monitor to hook up to a MacBook. I love my iMacs, but rather than having 3 iMacs for my offices, I'd prefer to just tote my MacBook around and hook it to a monitor.

Questions

1. What is the best resolution? I want something that will scale up the text size on screen without looking weird. iMac does this perfectly, but I've had issues with aftermarket 4k monitors playing well with Apple.

2. I need something bright. The iMac has 500 nits, so that's what I need at a minimum. I find it too hard to read on dim screens.

3. 30" + would be ideal. I don't care if it's curved or not.

4. Built in speakers and webcam would be fantastic.

5. Power delivery would be great. I'd like to just plug one cord In and be done.

I was interested in the LG ultra fine because it is "compatible" with MacOS, but I've read mixed reviews and it's $1300. I'd just buy a third iMac at that point.
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PottedPlant
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by PottedPlant »

Apple makes 2 displays. One affordable and one larger.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09V3GZD32/

Samsung makes one 5k monitor. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-27 ... Id=6548579
Last edited by PottedPlant on Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:30 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Syner01
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by Syner01 »

can't help u with 4k monitors as i only have 1080p but if u want dual i use this for mac and it works great.

https://visiontek.com/products/vt4500-d ... r-delivery
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NYCaviator
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by NYCaviator »

PottedPlant wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:34 am Apple makes 2 displays. One affordable and one larger.
I don't know if I'd call $1,599 for the base model affordable :D
ThankYouJack
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by ThankYouJack »

I love this monitor - https://www.amazon.com/LG-UltraWide-Com ... 374b3&th=1

Love the USB-C PD, wide curved screen, plenty bright for me.

It doesn't check all your boxes, but you're asking for a lot at a lower price point.

I use it mostly with my PC but resolution is fine with my MacBooks. Colors can look off a little initially when I switch to a Mac, but you can adjust the settings. May want to read some reviews about it with Macs if you're considering it.
Turnspit Dog
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by Turnspit Dog »

On a related note, is there a good docking station to hook a Mac up to an external monitor? I'd like one where the monitor stays on when I close the MacBook lid, but my current hub doesn't seem to be able to do that.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by KlangFool »

NYCaviator wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am I need a computer monitor to hook up to a MacBook. I love my iMacs, but rather than having 3 iMacs for my offices, I'd prefer to just tote my MacBook around and hook it to a monitor.

Questions

1. What is the best resolution? I want something that will scale up the text size on screen without looking weird. iMac does this perfectly, but I've had issues with aftermarket 4k monitors playing well with Apple.

2. I need something bright. The iMac has 500 nits, so that's what I need at a minimum. I find it too hard to read on dim screens.

3. 30" + would be ideal. I don't care if it's curved or not.

4. Built in speakers and webcam would be fantastic.

5. Power delivery would be great. I'd like to just plug one cord In and be done.

I was interested in the LG ultra fine because it is "compatible" with MacOS, but I've read mixed reviews and it's $1300. I'd just buy a third iMac at that point.
OP,

https://www.costco.com/lg-32%22-class-u ... 82248.html

It is only $480 at Costco.com and I have one.

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jj45
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by jj45 »

Turnspit Dog wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 8:48 am On a related note, is there a good docking station to hook a Mac up to an external monitor? I'd like one where the monitor stays on when I close the MacBook lid, but my current hub doesn't seem to be able to do that.
I thought this was a function of the Mac not the hub. Do you have the external monitor set to mirror your laptop? Maybe that's needed.

I use the Caldigit Element Hub and closing the laptop works fine. I also like that the Caldigit app lets you dismount all external hard drives with one click making it easy to disconnect the laptop before leaving.
bombcar
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by bombcar »

Turnspit Dog wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 8:48 am On a related note, is there a good docking station to hook a Mac up to an external monitor? I'd like one where the monitor stays on when I close the MacBook lid, but my current hub doesn't seem to be able to do that.
Any of the docks from OWC should be fine, depending on what you want to do with it https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/thunder ... bolt-docks

It is, in my opinion, worth it to pay a bit more for the actual thunderbolt docks and a good cable.

I have this https://www.akitio.com/adapters/thunder3-dock-pro but it's end of life - needed it for the 10 gig ethernet. I'm pretty certain that https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/owc-thu ... t-pro-dock is the same hardware.

As for a monitor I use way too many and very large, but macOS display scaling works quite well - my "side" 4K monitors (native resolution) are actually running as if they were 1440x2560 (native: 2880x5120).

I like ultrawides and use LG 34.5in for my primary displays. You need a Pro or Max Apple M* processor to drive more than one without tricks.
ThankYouJack
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by ThankYouJack »

jj45 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:13 am
Turnspit Dog wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 8:48 am On a related note, is there a good docking station to hook a Mac up to an external monitor? I'd like one where the monitor stays on when I close the MacBook lid, but my current hub doesn't seem to be able to do that.
I thought this was a function of the Mac not the hub. Do you have the external monitor set to mirror your laptop? Maybe that's needed.

I use the Caldigit Element Hub and closing the laptop works fine. I also like that the Caldigit app lets you dismount all external hard drives with one click making it easy to disconnect the laptop before leaving.
With USB-C Power Delivery what's the purpose of a separate docking station? I much prefer the single cable over a hub.
jj45
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by jj45 »

ThankYouJack wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:25 am
jj45 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:13 am
Turnspit Dog wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 8:48 am On a related note, is there a good docking station to hook a Mac up to an external monitor? I'd like one where the monitor stays on when I close the MacBook lid, but my current hub doesn't seem to be able to do that.
I thought this was a function of the Mac not the hub. Do you have the external monitor set to mirror your laptop? Maybe that's needed.

I use the Caldigit Element Hub and closing the laptop works fine. I also like that the Caldigit app lets you dismount all external hard drives with one click making it easy to disconnect the laptop before leaving.
With USB-C Power Delivery what's the purpose of a separate docking station? I much prefer the single cable over a hub.
I attach my laptop to the hub with a single USB-C cable. The monitor, webcam, and drives are attached to the hub and stay at work. The single cable connects the monitor, webcam, and drives and provides power. When I leave, I dismount all the drives with one click in the Caldigit app (in the menubar), unplug the single cable, and go.
ThankYouJack
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by ThankYouJack »

jj45 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:46 am
ThankYouJack wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:25 am
jj45 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:13 am
Turnspit Dog wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 8:48 am On a related note, is there a good docking station to hook a Mac up to an external monitor? I'd like one where the monitor stays on when I close the MacBook lid, but my current hub doesn't seem to be able to do that.
I thought this was a function of the Mac not the hub. Do you have the external monitor set to mirror your laptop? Maybe that's needed.

I use the Caldigit Element Hub and closing the laptop works fine. I also like that the Caldigit app lets you dismount all external hard drives with one click making it easy to disconnect the laptop before leaving.
With USB-C Power Delivery what's the purpose of a separate docking station? I much prefer the single cable over a hub.
I attach my laptop to the hub with a single USB-C cable. The monitor, webcam, and drives are attached to the hub and stay at work. The single cable connects the monitor, webcam, and drives and provides power. When I leave, I dismount all the drives with one click in the Caldigit app (in the menubar), unplug the single cable, and go.
I've connected a web cam, headset, external drive, USB keyboard and mouse to my LG monitor. If one needs a bunch of peripherals all at once, I could see a hub being useful, but I think many (most?) newer USB-C monitors have a hub built in.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by hunoraut »

ThankYouJack wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:25 am
With USB-C Power Delivery what's the purpose of a separate docking station? I much prefer the single cable over a hub.
1. Junky monitors don’t provide sufficient power over PD. Docks have their own power supply. My Samsung Viewfinity (the upmarket business line) monitor has a 90W PD function but even with the OEM cable fails to reliably deliver that power to various Windows and Mac laptops - they either charge slow or even dont detect power at all.

This isnt the first monitor ive encountered this issue, and why ill buy Apple for my next one.

2. I think docking station may provide additional hardware for driving additional monitors and resolutions, where the laptop itself has native limitation. Im not certain on this, and it isnt relevant for most user doing atleast 1x or 2x external displays.

As far as resolution, for me ~180 pixel per inch is a good reference density.

I dont think NIT is super critical on a monitor where it’s likely to be used in a place with ambient control. Unlike laptops where you’re likely to use it in brighter and more reflective environments.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by ThankYouJack »

hunoraut wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 10:50 am
ThankYouJack wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:25 am
With USB-C Power Delivery what's the purpose of a separate docking station? I much prefer the single cable over a hub.
1. Junky monitors don’t provide sufficient power over PD. Docks have their own power supply. My Samsung Viewfinity (the upmarket business line) monitor has a 90W PD function but even with the OEM cable fails to reliably deliver that power to various Windows and Mac laptops - they either charge slow or even dont detect power at all.

This isnt the first monitor ive encountered this issue, and why ill buy Apple for my next one.

I guess I wouldn't recommend the Viewfinity based on your experience and a quick Amazon search where (at least this model) gets just 2.8 stars - https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-ViewFini ... op?ie=UTF8

My spouse and I have never had problems with our LGs connecting and powering MacBook Pros (dual booting), MacBook Air, and ThinkPads. Maybe we're both lucky but it gets much better reviews and it's worked seamlessly and as expected for us.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by 02nz »

NYCaviator wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am 2. I need something bright. The iMac has 500 nits, so that's what I need at a minimum. I find it too hard to read on dim screens.
500 nits is eye-searingly bright in normal indoor conditions. Very few monitors are over 400 nits.

I have a display that does a max of 300 nits - usually I set it to about 40% brightness during the day.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by id0ntkn0wjack »

Both my LG and BenQ play well with my Macs. Not that they are particularly old, but with the constant model refreshing I doubt that my specific models are still available.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by supalong52 »

I like to use my laptop as a secondary monitor so going too big with the external is off-putting for me. I use a 24" monitor with my 14" MBP with a dual-arm gas-spring stand that clamps to the edge of my desk. Saves a lot of space. The other big thing that was important to me was USB-C PD. So I can plug my computer into the monitor with a USB-C cable to get power and video.

ETA: On the brightness, I just make sure it's comparable to the MBP so they look the same when I use them together.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by cbs2002 »

Something I wish I knew when I bought my 27" 4K monitor - google "macbook match external display pixel density" and you'll get a trove of information about how to match your macbook's native resolution to an external monitor. In my experience this makes a much bigger difference to the appearance of text than anything else. My second monitor was a 27" but 2560x1440, which is close to matching for non-4K performance. Works great. If you want true ultraHD performance from a macbook external display you'll have to pay a lot for it - macs don't play the best with 27" 4K monitors - scaling is passable but not ideal.
MathWizard
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by MathWizard »

I bought these

https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-ul ... lsrc=aw.ds


and 32 GB / 1TB SSD MacBook pros for my staff just before I retired.
I also bought a USB hub/brick to simulate this with the older displays that they already had. For hybrid workers, they could have the better display where they worked the most, and just move the laptop back and forth and just connect a single cable .

A single USB connect supplies power, display and Ethernet connection.

They worked great, and my idea was that the gain in efficiency for my staff more than made up for the extra cost .
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by muffins14 »

NYCaviator wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am I need a computer monitor to hook up to a MacBook. I love my iMacs, but rather than having 3 iMacs for my offices, I'd prefer to just tote my MacBook around and hook it to a monitor.

Questions

1. What is the best resolution? I want something that will scale up the text size on screen without looking weird. iMac does this perfectly, but I've had issues with aftermarket 4k monitors playing well with Apple.

2. I need something bright. The iMac has 500 nits, so that's what I need at a minimum. I find it too hard to read on dim screens.

3. 30" + would be ideal. I don't care if it's curved or not.

4. Built in speakers and webcam would be fantastic.

5. Power delivery would be great. I'd like to just plug one cord In and be done.

I was interested in the LG ultra fine because it is "compatible" with MacOS, but I've read mixed reviews and it's $1300. I'd just buy a third iMac at that point.
I don't see any reason to get an Apple or Mac monitor. Just get something with good resolution for a good price. Mac is typically expensive.

I use a samsung, it delivers power via USB-C to my macbook
https://a.co/d/4jLxjCL
$539

Previously had these Dell 27"
https://a.co/d/cOudUrG
$359
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by NYCaviator »

02nz wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 12:40 pm
NYCaviator wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am 2. I need something bright. The iMac has 500 nits, so that's what I need at a minimum. I find it too hard to read on dim screens.
500 nits is eye-searingly bright in normal indoor conditions. Very few monitors are over 400 nits.

I have a display that does a max of 300 nits - usually I set it to about 40% brightness during the day.
I use my MacBook Air at full brightness, which is 500 nits and I find it perfectly fine. Same for my iMac. I don't find them too bright at all. In fact, modern MacBooks get even brighter. Maybe it's because they have glossy screens, but I can't stand the "standard" dell monitors. Too dim for me to comfortably use and it makes everything look washed out.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by NYCaviator »

cbs2002 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 3:24 pm Something I wish I knew when I bought my 27" 4K monitor - google "macbook match external display pixel density" and you'll get a trove of information about how to match your macbook's native resolution to an external monitor. In my experience this makes a much bigger difference to the appearance of text than anything else. My second monitor was a 27" but 2560x1440, which is close to matching for non-4K performance. Works great. If you want true ultraHD performance from a macbook external display you'll have to pay a lot for it - macs don't play the best with 27" 4K monitors - scaling is passable but not ideal.
This is what's so frustrating! The Macs just don't scale well with certain resolutions/sizes so it's hard to find a good monitor. Everything is either really small or too big, or doesn't look crisp. The native scaling on iMacs are great. I can make everything bigger without looking too pixelated. That's why I'd love to find an external monitor that works as well.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by hunoraut »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 7:12 am
cbs2002 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 3:24 pm Something I wish I knew when I bought my 27" 4K monitor - google "macbook match external display pixel density" and you'll get a trove of information about how to match your macbook's native resolution to an external monitor. In my experience this makes a much bigger difference to the appearance of text than anything else. My second monitor was a 27" but 2560x1440, which is close to matching for non-4K performance. Works great. If you want true ultraHD performance from a macbook external display you'll have to pay a lot for it - macs don't play the best with 27" 4K monitors - scaling is passable but not ideal.
This is what's so frustrating! The Macs just don't scale well with certain resolutions/sizes so it's hard to find a good monitor. Everything is either really small or too big, or doesn't look crisp. The native scaling on iMacs are great. I can make everything bigger without looking too pixelated. That's why I'd love to find an external monitor that works as well.
My Macs scales perfectly at 2560x1440 to a 27" 4K (3840x2160) monitor. It scales well at other resolutions too, but this one is a good working size. To correct myself above, this resolves to 108ppi in each dimension (not 180ppi).

My windows laptop looks best driving the same monitor at full resolution, but using the OS's "150% scaling" feature to enlarge icons and etc. Some stuff still appear wonky though.

Happy in the past with different Dell monitors using higher end IPS panels instead of the standard TNs.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by Time for Coffee »

27" is the sweet spot for my desk. I was happy with a 4K Dell monitor, but recently splurged on the Apple Studio Display (5K), and feel that it's worth it. Absolutely the best monitor I've ever used.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by student »

This is what I have.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078H ... =UTF8&th=1

It may not be a household name but they are quite good.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by KarenC »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 7:12 am
cbs2002 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 3:24 pm Something I wish I knew when I bought my 27" 4K monitor - google "macbook match external display pixel density" and you'll get a trove of information about how to match your macbook's native resolution to an external monitor. In my experience this makes a much bigger difference to the appearance of text than anything else. My second monitor was a 27" but 2560x1440, which is close to matching for non-4K performance. Works great. If you want true ultraHD performance from a macbook external display you'll have to pay a lot for it - macs don't play the best with 27" 4K monitors - scaling is passable but not ideal.
This is what's so frustrating! The Macs just don't scale well with certain resolutions/sizes so it's hard to find a good monitor. Everything is either really small or too big, or doesn't look crisp. The native scaling on iMacs are great. I can make everything bigger without looking too pixelated. That's why I'd love to find an external monitor that works as well.
FWIW, outside of the monitors offered by Apple, I've seen two frequently recommended that address this issue:

LG 27 inch Ultrafine 5K https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XV9NQSJ/
Samsung ViewFinity S9 Series 5K https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-Thunderb ... 0CB71BY87/

Unfortunately, I'm a bit hazy on exactly why these two are recommended.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by mrb09 »

I think acceptable resolution is different for different people. The following is just my personal preference for someone who owns distance, reading and computer glasses, so my eyes are not the youngest and best any more.

There are two standard resolutions, 1080 (1920x1080) and 1440 (2560x1440), and you can get a monitor that uses its available pixels to map to that resolution, either 1:1 or some 1:N combination. The sweet spot for monitors (IMO) is exactly 4x pixels for the desired resolution, so 3840x2160 (4k) monitor for a 1080 resolution, or 5120x2880 monitor (5k) for a 1440 resolution.

For my eyes, I also need around 90 pixels per inch or less. I get diminishing returns less than 90, and more than 90 is getting too small for me to resolve at my preferred distance. For a 1080 resolution, I can use a 24” monitor, but for 1440 resolution I need a 32” monitor.

I’ve tried 1440 on a 28” 4k monitor, and it was just a bit small and not crisp for me. I also tried 1440 on a 28” 1440 monitor, and it a bit small, and I wouldn’t say not crisp, but I’m really spoiled by the 4x pixels for resolution.

So at this point, I’m on a 28” 4k monitor at 1080 resolution, and I’ll probably drop back to a 24-26” 4k monitor for 1080 resolution when I need to replace it. If I was still working and on the computer 10 hours a day, I might consider a 32” 5k monitor if the price drops.

Related, I’ve had a little better luck with DisplayPort cables rather than HDMI, although I don’t have solid evidence that’s required. My likely I have a bunch of older HDMI cables that keep getting mixed in with the newer 4k HDMI cables. I have a USB-C hub with a DisplayPort port (now on my iPad, but was on my MacBook)
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by the_wiki »

02nz wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 12:40 pm
NYCaviator wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am 2. I need something bright. The iMac has 500 nits, so that's what I need at a minimum. I find it too hard to read on dim screens.
500 nits is eye-searingly bright in normal indoor conditions. Very few monitors are over 400 nits.

I have a display that does a max of 300 nits - usually I set it to about 40% brightness during the day.
Agreed. The laptops and iPads offer 500-600+ so you can use them outdoors.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by Sandtrap »

NYCaviator wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am I need a computer monitor to hook up to a MacBook. I love my iMacs, but rather than having 3 iMacs for my offices, I'd prefer to just tote my MacBook around and hook it to a monitor.

Questions

1. What is the best resolution? I want something that will scale up the text size on screen without looking weird. iMac does this perfectly, but I've had issues with aftermarket 4k monitors playing well with Apple.

2. I need something bright. The iMac has 500 nits, so that's what I need at a minimum. I find it too hard to read on dim screens.

3. 30" + would be ideal. I don't care if it's curved or not.

4. Built in speakers and webcam would be fantastic.

5. Power delivery would be great. I'd like to just plug one cord In and be done.

I was interested in the LG ultra fine because it is "compatible" with MacOS, but I've read mixed reviews and it's $1300. I'd just buy a third iMac at that point.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by PottedPlant »

KarenC wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 10:32 am FWIW, outside of the monitors offered by Apple, I've seen two frequently recommended that address this issue:

LG 27 inch Ultrafine 5K https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XV9NQSJ/
Samsung ViewFinity S9 Series 5K https://www.amazon.com/SAMSUNG-Thunderb ... 0CB71BY87/

Unfortunately, I'm a bit hazy on exactly why these two are recommended.
Because they are 5K and not 4K.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by TheHiker »

I have a Lenovo 3840x2160 32" hooked up to my MacBook which works perfectly. I scale the fonts up a notch to make them bigger and they look fine.
Using a single USB-C cable which powers the laptop.
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Re: Computer monitor for MacBook? (resolution and brightness)

Post by fogalog »

Time for Coffee wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 10:06 am 27" is the sweet spot for my desk. I was happy with a 4K Dell monitor, but recently splurged on the Apple Studio Display (5K), and feel that it's worth it. Absolutely the best monitor I've ever used.
I had a 5k iMac for years. It's hard to go back to a non-5k monitor.

I bought 2x of the Apple Studio Displays and I love them. Even the speakers are excellent. I got one on Mecari for $1k and one Apple refurb.

I was also considering the LG 5k display - it's the same panel and also has the same single thunderbolt / power port, and is a lot cheaper. The new version (27MD5KL-B) is $1300 but you can get the older generation (LG27MD5KL-B) refurb on Amazon for $800.
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