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samotivad

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 24, 2021
58
24
Hello

I need to buy an external display and would like it to work with my Macbook M1. I already tried a Dell P series and noticed that the text rendering wasn't very clear on it when using it with the Macbook. I heard that I need a 4k monitor to get the rendering clear and crisp, but I was wondering if any 4k monitor will do or if only specific ones or ones with specific characteristics work well?

The monitor I'm currently considering most is the Dell S2721QS (a 4k monitor with HDMI ports). Another I'm considering is the Dell S2722QC (another 4k monitor but this time with a USB C port as well as HDMI) - more expensive though.

Does anyone know if either or both will work well with Mac for text rendering etc? I already have a HDMI dongle so unless USB C would make a difference quality wise I don't mind not having it. Ideally I'd like things to look as crisp on an external monitor as they do on the Macbook... or at least close.

Thank you for any advice
 
Last edited:

sierrablue

macrumors regular
Sep 21, 2021
106
50
I have an LG 4K monitor hooked to a M1 Air. I have used both HDMI cable and USB C to DP. Both worked fine with no noticeable difference. The text is sharp. I originally bought a 32" QHD LG. The text was horrible like I could see the pixels more than the letters. I returned that and bought a 27" 4K LG. The difference is amazing.
 
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OLDCODGER

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2011
962
400
Lucky Country
Hello

I need to buy an external display and would like it to work with my Macbook M1. I already tried a Dell P series and noticed that the text rendering wasn't very clear on it when using it with the Macbook. I heard that I need a 4k monitor to get the rendering clear and crisp, but I was wondering if any 4k monitor will do or if only specific ones or ones with specific characteristics work well?

The monitor I'm currently considering most is the Dell S2721QS (a 4k monitor with HDMI ports). Another I'm considering is the Dell S2722QC (another 4k monitor but this time with a USB C port as well as HDMI) - more expensive though.

Does anyone know if either or both will work well with Mac for text rendering etc? I already have a HDMI dongle so unless USB C would make a difference quality wise I don't mind not having it. Ideally I'd like things to look as crisp on an external monitor as they do on the Macbook... or at least close.

Thank you for any advice

I have the S2721QS, attached to a 2018 Mini with Mojave, and it displays crisply, although I have lowered the resolution to suit my ancient eyes.
 

TechRunner

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2016
1,315
2,250
SW Florida, US
I'm shopping 27" 4K monitors now myself (I currently have a 2K 24" Lenovo), and I'm leaning towards a couple of LG options, or a Dell UltraSharp series at this point. Interested to see what Apple comes out with today, though the price of the expected 27" Studio Display will probably be more than I can justify for my typical use.
 
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samotivad

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 24, 2021
58
24
I have the S2721QS, attached to a 2018 Mini with Mojave, and it displays crisply, although I have lowered the resolution to suit my ancient eyes.
That's good to know thanks! I ordered the S2722QC in the end, so hopefully that'll do the trick too. I'll report back here after trying it.
 
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thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
9,203
3,404
Pennsylvania
I have an LG 4K monitor hooked to a M1 Air. I have used both HDMI cable and USB C to DP. Both worked fine with no noticeable difference. The text is sharp. I originally bought a 32" QHD LG. The text was horrible like I could see the pixels more than the letters. I returned that and bought a 27" 4K LG. The difference is amazing.
Isn't QHD at 32" not even "retina" level DPI?
 
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openclue

macrumors newbie
Jun 15, 2022
1
0
Quick update, I got the S2722QC Dell monitor today and it works perfectly with my MacBook M1. Really happy with the image!
Hey @samotivad,
I'm thinking about the same model for mac studio. Whether you are using native or scaled display mode?
If scaled then which one? Could You please check the "legibility" of the fonts in scaled for full resolution mode (more space). Is it possible to work like this or 27 inches is not enough?
I'm looking for a good monitor as a developer and future mac user :)
I've heard of problems with 27" 4k scalling with readability or performace.

I would be grateful for any information.
 

samotivad

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 24, 2021
58
24
Hey @samotivad,
I'm thinking about the same model for mac studio. Whether you are using native or scaled display mode?
If scaled then which one? Could You please check the "legibility" of the fonts in scaled for full resolution mode (more space). Is it possible to work like this or 27 inches is not enough?
I'm looking for a good monitor as a developer and future mac user :)
I've heard of problems with 27" 4k scalling with readability or performace.

I would be grateful for any information.
Hey, the monitor works in both default/native and scaled modes really well. I tested it in both default mode and with larger scaled text. In each mode the text is crisp and looks as good as it does on my Macbook's screen.
 

Moonjumper

macrumors 68030
Jun 20, 2009
2,741
2,909
Lincoln, UK
Hey @samotivad,
I'm thinking about the same model for mac studio. Whether you are using native or scaled display mode?
If scaled then which one? Could You please check the "legibility" of the fonts in scaled for full resolution mode (more space). Is it possible to work like this or 27 inches is not enough?
I'm looking for a good monitor as a developer and future mac user :)
I've heard of problems with 27" 4k scalling with readability or performace.

I would be grateful for any information.
samotivad has already answered your question, and I agree with what he said, but have some additional data points.

I have a 27" 4K monitor (HP Z27k G3) that replaced a good 27" QHD monitor as a second screen to my 27" 5K iMac. The 4K monitor is set to "Looks like 2560 x 1440" so that the screen space and everything else matches the 5K iMac that is at the default setting. The 4K monitor is a massive improvement over QHD. The quality is nearer 5K than QHD, although it is still noticeably not 5K. I am very happy with it.

The only reasonably priced monitor I would prefer over 27" 4K is the Huawei 28" 3:2 ratio monitor, which is effectively a 4K monitor with extra vertical pixels, which would come in useful for coding, document writing, etc.
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
7,688
7,884
The only reasonably priced monitor I would prefer over 27" 4K is the Huawei 28" 3:2 ratio monitor, which is effectively a 4K monitor with extra vertical pixels, which would come in useful for coding, document writing, etc.
I'm using 2 of those on a Mac Studio and they work very nicely. Insane screen estate in "looks like 1440p" mode (actually "looks like 2560x1707" on these) - I'm actually mainly using them in "looks like 1920x1280" mode - the extra screen area partly compensates for the larger UI (and of course most apps let you re-size the content to taste anyway).

Only "hitch" is that they don't automatically detect the Mac if you start it up immediately after first powering on the displays at the mains. Need to wait until they've cycled through their welcome screens before starting up - or manually setting them to USB-C inputs (only takes a few seconds).
 

joshuakrey

macrumors member
Jul 2, 2010
48
7
Hey @samotivad I’m thinking of getting the same monitor. Have you experienced any flickering due to variable refresh rate with your M1? It seemed that was an issue at some point with this line and wasn’t sure if it still was.
 

samotivad

macrumors member
Original poster
Mar 24, 2021
58
24
Hey @samotivad I’m thinking of getting the same monitor. Have you experienced any flickering due to variable refresh rate with your M1? It seemed that was an issue at some point with this line and wasn’t sure if it still was.
Hey no I haven't gotten any issues at all with mine, I'm happy with it.
 

RonMan

macrumors newbie
Oct 24, 2008
8
13
Alaskan doing time in Texas
Resolutions for Retina Display.png
Hello

I need to buy an external display and would like it to work with my Macbook M1. I already tried a Dell P series and noticed that the text rendering wasn't very clear on it when using it with the Macbook. I heard that I need a 4k monitor to get the rendering clear and crisp, but I was wondering if any 4k monitor will do or if only specific ones or ones with specific characteristics work well?

The monitor I'm currently considering most is the Dell S2721QS (a 4k monitor with HDMI ports). Another I'm considering is the Dell S2722QC (another 4k monitor but this time with a USB C port as well as HDMI) - more expensive though.

Does anyone know if either or both will work well with Mac for text rendering etc? I already have a HDMI dongle so unless USB C would make a difference quality wise I don't mind not having it. Ideally I'd like things to look as crisp on an external monitor as they do on the Macbook... or at least close.

Thank you for any advice
Without addressing the exact model above, I suggest you read this article: https://bjango.com/articles/macexternaldisplays/

The attached file (from the article) should help as well. The PPI calculator is here: https://www.sven.de/dpi/
 
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theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
7,688
7,884
Without addressing the exact model above, I suggest you read this article: https://bjango.com/articles/macexternaldisplays/

I think that article over-states the "problem" and will come as news to the many people quite happily using 4k displays on their Macs... and some of those 1440p/1600p 31-37" screens on the chart that are "good for non-Retina" are going to have pixels the size of housebricks unless you sit in the next county.

It also kinda skips over the elephant in the room: you can get a half-decent 4k screen for a fraction of the price of a Studio Display....

There's a thread I started on the issue here - https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/psa-4k-display-resolutions.2345906/

TL:DNR - if you don't mind ponying up for 5k, why are you still here? There are compromises with 4k, scaled modes etc. but they're highly dependent on your specific uses and for a lot of tasks they are simply not an issue - and, in general (certainly text rendering), scaled 4k is clearer and more detailed than anything you'll get on a 1440p. It might be worth sticking with 1440p and putting up with blocky text if pixel-accurate image tweaking is a big part of your work.
 
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