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Best Macbook for text on external display Air or Pro


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 25, 2020
I have one of the first Retina MacBook Pro's that the display died on. I have been using it hooked up to my tv with an HDMI cable, but the resolution doesn't match the TV well and text is not easy to read.

I want to buy a new MacBook, and continue using it mostly with an external display at my desk. Probably an LG with a Thunderbold input just to hopefully have the best match for good text display.

I would like to use an actual computer display or smaller TV for desk ergonomics, instead of a large TV set across the room.

Will there be any difference in text sharpness, resolution, or whatever makes text more readable between the Air or Pro when hooked up to an external Monitor?

I would be buying the least expensive build of either.

Which would be best?

And does anyone have suggestions on which Display if not an LG?

Have to do all my university work online this year and trying to get prepared for it.

Thank you anyone for some advice


macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
I've only owned one LG product (a tv that failed within 2 years and couldn't be repaired).
I wouldn't buy another.

A list I keep that may be of use to you:
IPS Monitor List: Best AHVA, PLS & IPS LCD Displays

You might look into a 24" 4k display -- very sharp text.
If you're older (with older eyes, like me), a 27" 4k display might be better (text that will be sharp and slightly larger).


macrumors member
Jul 12, 2020
I don’t know if you are aware of it but you can change the scaling that macOS uses for the display. As example if you have a 4K TV or monitor everything will be quite small with the native resolution but you can let macOS scale the display at a „lower” resolution like 1080p - you still use all the pixel but your user interface will be much bigger (but with fewer usable space). I say this, because if you want to use scaled resolution with a 4k Monitor (and the chances are high) the performance of your MacBook will take a hit. To finish this: I do think - just like Fishrrman - that you will appreciate a 4K Monitor but even in 32” the native resolution will be really small and maybe not that easy on your eyes. This will be even harder with a 27” or even a 24” monitor and while the solution to this would be to use a scaled resolution you should be aware that your machine will take a performance hit.

To sum this up: You should not notice a difference between a MacBook Air and a pro regarding “readability” (they both have the same resolution with their built in display) but you MAY notice a difference in performance. So maybe it would be good to search the MacBook Air forum for user experience regarding scaled 4K performance. I could imagine that it would not be that great of experience if you really want to tax the machine (With the air).
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macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2010
When I'm buying an external monitor, I do my best to match the resolution of my MacBook Pro (I have a mid-2014, 2560x1600). At the moment I have two monitors hooked up to it:

Dell 25" (2560x1440):
Dell 27" (4K, 3840x2160):

With the 4K monitor, I was looking to future-proof myself a bit, though it does have light bleed at the edges. I did buy this used, so that's likely on me. Outside of that it's a great monitor, and I run it at a scaled resolution so the typeface size matches my MacBook Pro display. You can see a slight slowdown in terms of mouse pointer speed, but overall I think the computer is doing just fine performance wise (I'm doing mostly programming and running simulations, graphics visualization on occasion, but nothing heavy like video editing). I do imagine however I'm pushing the limits of what this machine can do with driving two large external monitors.

Another monitor I'm seriously considering for the future is this one:
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