Display choice fatigue, help!

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by leanda, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. leanda macrumors newbie


    Jul 16, 2018
    I'm going through display choice hell right now and very confused about display options for my 2018 15" MBP. Scaling, connectivity, size, refresh rates, UltraWide, IPS, arrgghhhhh!

    I'm a designer and coder coming from a non-retina 27" iMac. The obvious choice is the 27" 5K UltraFine but I think its pretty expensive for a monitor that's been out for a while.

    As of today I think I've narrowed it down to the LG 32ud59 or 27UK850, I'm thinking that one of these might be a good stop gap until I see if Apple announces something next year that might suit me. I've even considered using the old iMac as a display, but I'd have to spend £70 on cables and I think it isn't sustainable.

    Are there any thoughts to the pros and cons of these two screens? both pretty much the same price at the moment. Does how they connect to the Mac make any difference? One being USBC and the other display port/HDMI. Is there anything else I really should be considering?

  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    A good list to browse:
    IPS Monitor List: Best AHVA, PLS & IPS LCD Displays

    I'd skip the "ultrawides" -- I don't believe any of them are 4k.
    I'd also ignore whether or not a display is "USB-c charging capable".

    You need to decide whether or not you want a 4k-capable display.
    Then, go on from there.

    4k/27" offers a lot of good choices right now.
  3. leanda thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 16, 2018
    Definitely 4K and definitely 27" or up and colour is very important, other than that I'm lost, just open to recommendations.
  4. MacGizmo macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2003
    If you think the LG Ultrafine is expensive, wait until you see the Apple Pro Display. I use the Ultrafine for design work, and find it to be an excellent display, visually anyway. The speakers on it absolutely suck.

    To be honest, though I'm happy with my purchase of the Ultrafine, I wouldn't waste my money on a 5K display again until the price comes WAY down. For less than $500 you can have an excellent 4K display.

    The thing is, that high-resolution 5K sounds great on paper... but the reality is that because Adobe's CC apps have such a tiny GUI, you can't actually use your Mac at that high a resolution–everything on the screen is just too small. The highest resolution I can possibly use is 3200x1800 anyway, so spending money for 5120x2880 is a complete waste.

    Color accuracy is pretty darn good on most higher-end IPS 4K displays nowadays, so that's not really an issue.

    I disagree with Fishrrman's assessment that USB-C charging doesn't matter. I have the 2018 15" MBPro and I wouldn't consider a display that didn't have the pass-through charging of 85w (anything less will absolutely NOT keep your MBP charged while you're working). That, and USB-C is what Apple is going with. Buying anything that doesn't use it by default is committing yourself to years of dongle purchasing.

    Ultimately, to get everything you as a designer and a Mac user expect, you don't really have any option other than to get the LG Ultrafine (or wait for the Apple display). Everything else will come with compromises. The question is what compromises are you willing to make.
  5. leanda thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 16, 2018
    I'm actually now looking at the possibility of picking up a CalDigit TS3 Dock so that will provide the charging of the MBP and that will open up what I can look at in terms of screen options. The LG 32ud59 would give me 4K 32" at a reasonable price.

    Still not decided so open to more suggestions.
  6. TheralSadurns, Oct 23, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2018

    TheralSadurns macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2010

    I've said this time and again in other threads... I cannot (!) recommend 4k displays that are 27" or even bigger.
    If you still have your iMac... turn it on. And change the resolution to 1920x1080p. THIS is how big all elements will be on screen if you use a native resolution! 4k is just a hidpi version of 1080p. Unless you want to run everything @1x aka NON retina... but for this you'd need siginificantly larger than 27" or even 32".

    Using scaled resolutions is a nightmare for designers... and it drives me... personally... insane.
    For more in-depth please have a look at:

    TL: DR

    Aim for 4k @ around 24"
    or 5k @ 27".
    Target DPI should be around 110 for non-retina, and 220 for retina.

    Sadly that drastically limited choices...
    But there are a few options such as
    Iiyama XB2779QQS-S1 - 5k @ 27"
    LG 24UD58 - 4k @ 24"
    Dell P2415Q - 4k @24" which seems to be the best color and calibration-wise.
  7. leanda thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 16, 2018
    I don't actually have the option of 1920x1080p on this iMac. It's running at the highest it will go 2560x1440p.

    Option-clicking Scaled in this preference pane gives me more options but all lower resolutions.
  8. TheralSadurns macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2010
    Well... let's say it differently. If you think that this iMac displays everything in a nice size... not too big, not too small... then you will NEED 5k @27". 4k@27" would make everything look a lot bigger. Or running a scaled resolution... make it somewhat fuzzy.

    If your iMac doesn't let you simulate this resolution... you could run this menubar application that lets you set any random resolution:

    If after testing things on your iMac you believe that 1080p @27" is fine... and you actually PREFER that things look bigger... you can go for 4k@27".
  9. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    I concur with this as a long time user of both 24" and 27" displays.

    @TheralSadurns -- thoughts on QHD/1440p 27" displays such as the Dell U2719D?
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    theral wrote in reply 6 above:
    "I've said this time and again in other threads... I cannot (!) recommend 4k displays that are 27" or even bigger.
    If you still have your iMac... turn it on. And change the resolution to 1920x1080p. THIS is how big all elements will be on screen if you use a native resolution!"

    I am older and have less-than-perfect vision.

    Personally, I prefer a 27" display running at 1080p (or at 4k in HiDPI mode).

    Anything smaller, and I won't be able to discern the text displayed onscreen at "normal" font sizes.

    Clarity of text has no meaning to me.
    The SIZE of the text is what's important.

    Whenever I see a post like yours, my first inclination is to ask "how old are you"?
    If you're under 40, just wait 30 more years, and you'll understand what I'm talking about.

    I have a friend with monocular vision (lost sight in one eye) as old as I am, and he needs even LARGER font sizes for day-to-day usage. So I know I'm not alone in my opinions. I helped him set up a brand new 5k iMac a few months' back, and one of the things he noticed first was that text "was too small" at the 5k native resolution (again, HiDPI mode). We set it to "a step lower" (it now looks like a 1080p 27" "regular" display), and he's much more satisfied with it.
  11. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    No, the apparent size is what's important -- which depends both on display size and viewing distance.

    Anyway, we could bog ourselves down in every little variable regarding the users eyesight, ability to correct that eyesight, the degree to which the user has presbyopia, astigmatism, desk setup governing viewing distance, yada yada yada...

    Or we can discuss the general case -- on the assumption that the portion of the user community needing something different possesses the capability of figuring out that their needs are different than the norm.

    before you ask -- I passed forty long ago.
  12. Porkchop Sandwich macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2017
    Mark me down for an endorsement of the 5K display - it's a really nice display and the initial cost is quickly forgotten. That's not to say you shouldn't heed the threads about its quirks but, I guess I've just been lucky w/mine b/c it's been mostly trouble free for me. I also got it when it was at a reduced price so..there is that.

    I've also been considering the CalDigit TS3 so if you get it, please share some user feedback. Good luck w/your decision.
  13. TheralSadurns, Oct 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018

    TheralSadurns macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2010

    I clarified this in a later post. That's why I said you should try it out. Ofc YMMV... if you think 1080p/4k is the perfect size for you at 27" I'm not gonna argue!!!

    The point is... that most people just don't think about these things and just see 4k which is better than say 1440p... so I can pick any screen size I like. Forgetting about how macOS scaling actually works.
  14. leanda thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 16, 2018
    Update: I picked up an LG 27UK850 as they've dropped under the £500 mark and less the VAT it makes this monitor a really good stop gap until I see what Apple does next year. Arrived home, opened it up and it had dust under the surface of screen right in the centre. Switched it for another display and this one is really nice! A massive improvement on my old 2013 iMac display. I'm running it scaled and have worked on it for two hours this morning with a code editor open on one side and a browser on the other and that extra resolution makes a major difference to what I can have on screen.

    Glad I went for something with USB-C one cable plugin is amazing and I've got a set of Bowers & Wilkins MM1 speakers and my printer plugged into the USB 2.0 ports on back of the monitor so I don't have to worry about plugging those into the MBP. So far so good.

    And BTW I'm two years past the 40 mark so my eyes are not perfect!

    Thanks for the comments on this though, really did help.

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13 October 19, 2018