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Best Non-Apple external monitor for Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by onthecouchagain, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. macrumors 604


    Hi folks, I'm looking to connect my Air to an external monitor for use at home, but can't afford the Thunderbolt Display.

    I'm doing a little of my own research, but wanted to get an opinion from people who have hooked up their Airs to other monitor brands and can recommend me a good one.

    I'd like to keep my budget below $200, if possible. Looking at 22-27" range. EDIT: I also wouldn't mind if anyone pointed me to the right cables to get too.

    My Air is a 2011 13" base model, if that makes any difference.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    IPS Ultrasharp Dell monitors are really nice compared to Apple's displays. And they come without the gloss.

    The cheaper models ($200ish) only have 1920x1080 resolutions. For $400+ you can get monitors with 1920x1200 resolutions. You can even go cheaper with Dell, but I believe they have TN panels and aren't as nice as IPS panels.

    Also, the Ultrasharp monitors offer Displayport connectivity (aka thunderbolt). The cable is somewhat expensive, but it will future proof your purchase when you move from VGA/DVI to display port when the cables are cheaper.
  3. macrumors member

    Dell U2412M

    I recommend the Dell 2412M. It's still IPS, but it's very reasonably priced at $329. It has an excellent resolution at 1920x1200, which means you can buy the cheaper Apple adapter and it won't stress out your MacBook Air's GPU too much. You can also check the review at Anandtech, they rate it very highly.




    It's the $29 MiniDisplayPort to DVI. Not the $99 MiniDisplayPort to Dual link dvi which is only needed for monitors with resolution greater than 1920x1200.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    (Note- I'm literally copy/pasting an email I recently sent to a friend looking for a cheap, decent monitor for under $200. This was the best match I found after some light digging)

    The Asus VH236H is well under $200, averages 5/5 stars from 1000 Newegg users and 4.5 stars from 100 Amazon reviews, performs well in its price range, and also has an HDMI port if needed for Xbox/etc. I wouldn't recommend it for professional color work, but I'll just quote CNET's "bottom line" about the monitor (I've linked the review below).

    "The bottom line: The Asus VH236H is a great-performing 23-incher with a
    welcome low price."

    The CNET review:

    Newegg Link:
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Depends on your location and budget.

    In the UK it looks like its around £120-130 for a 23" LG IPS LED display which is 1080p. Usually you can get the 3D variant also for about £30 extra.
  6. Fleet would mac, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012

    macrumors member

    I've got a Dell Ultrasharp monitor (U2211H) and am very pleased with it. The build and panel quality is amazing for the price! I'm using the display port input on it for my Mac Mini, because the DVI input is being used by my Windows PC and the monitor doesn't have a third digital input such as HDMI. I bought a mini display port to display port adapter plus a standard display port cable, both of which were inexpensive (it's the thunderbolt cables that are expensive, Mark ;)). Whilst this arrangement works just fine, I'm thinking about getting a mini display port to display port cable, because the adapter I'm using is rigid and makes the cable stick out perpendicular to the machine for five inches or so. For a laptop, this could potentially be an important consideration.
  7. macrumors 604


    Wow thanks. Some great replies and suggestions. I'll definitely look into them. Feel free to keep them coming if others have more ideas. Thanks all.
  8. macrumors member


    x2 on the Dell 2412M - Last time I checked, it was $299. I got one at Christmas and it's a wonderful monitor.. also calibrates well for photography.
    For cables, go to Monoprice.. MDP to DP for about $15.

  9. macrumors 603


  10. macrumors 65816


    For adapters, buy from monoprice instead. Same functions, great warrantee and customer support, but much much cheaper. The MiniDisplayPort to DVI is $6.65. Or about 4x less than from the apple store.

  11. macrumors 604


  12. macrumors 603


    agreed i got my mini display to hdmi with audio support from monoprice for $5.99


    the way i read that is it has 1 usb upstream and 4 downstream, most likely acts like a usb hub so you would still have 1 usb cable going from the MBA to the monitor than yes you most likey should be able to use the other 4 for things like keyboard, mouse etc.
  13. macrumors 604


    That makes sense. Hopefully this means there's no input delay.
  14. macrumors 604


    Is there anything else I should know about before pulling the trigger on the Dell?
  15. macrumors 65816



    Dude you're gettin' a Dell!!
  16. macrumors 6502

    Dude you should have said:

    one more thing ..... :)
  17. onthecouchagain, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012

    macrumors 604


    Another question:

    Is there a significant difference connecting it via DVI versus DisplayPort (aka Thunderbolt)? Like, will it really matter for every day use (web, email, etc)?

    And if I do go that route, is this what I'd need to connect to connect from the Air's minidisplay to the Dell's displayport? http://www.amazon.com/DisplayPort-32AWG-Cable-Plated-Connectors/dp/B0034X6SCY/ref=pd_sim_pc_3 Looking at the pics of the Dell monitor, it doesn't look like there's a port that matches the end of that cable.
  18. macrumors 65816


    For the uses you listed, there is absolutely no downside to using DVI instead of Displayport.

    Again, I urge you to get a monoprice adapter/cable for either DVI, Displayport, they have a combo one with HDMI, DVI, and Displayport all-in-one. Don't go with some gray-brand and questionable seller (Deals International??) on Amazon. http://www.monoprice.com/products/search.asp?keyword=mini+displayport&x=0&y=0

    Not only is the same type of cable on there for less money, but they will replace it if you have any issues. Also, gold-plating on purely digital cables is pretty useless. Don't fall for that gimmick.
  19. macrumors 604


    Excellent. Thank you.
  20. macrumors 604


  21. macrumors regular


    You can't use the mdp to dvi adapter on higher res screens like the dell 27" that high res needs dual link DVI. You need a mini display port to displayport lead if the monitor has displayport.
  22. macrumors 6502a


    Yes, this monitor is great and I love mine. I just noticed that the Dell site says they are no longer available. Could be replacing with 2412um (lower price?). Also, you might be able to pick up a refurb for less.
  23. calvol, Mar 29, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012

    macrumors 6502a

    I'm using a 2010 13" MBA with Dell 24 and 21" IPS monitors with a mini-DP to DP cable (not sure why one would use mini-DP to HDMI?). They are beautiful screens and happy with them. One thing I notice using the MBA vs a PC with the 24" the MAC renders larger size font, images, and window than the PC, not sure if this is a MAC vs PC thing or not. I think there are some threads on this, mentioning that the 13" Air doesn't render well to 16:10 (i.e, from 1400x900 to 1920x1200). Not sure if this correct or not.
  24. macrumors 68020


    Can anyone recommend a monitor suited for the 11" Air?

    I saw a few Acer 21.5-24in range monitors I've been looking into. :confused:
  25. macrumors 6502a

    I'd like some feedback on this idea that the 13" MBA doesn't render well on 16x10 screens. I'm looking to buy a 1920x1200 monitor and will be using my MBA in clamshell.

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