Getting an external monitor to MBA -> are VGA and HDMI connections enough?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Brandon123, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Brandon123 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2016
    #1
    Hi there!

    I am getting an external 24" monitor to a Macbook Air (relatively new), and I have noticed that VGA and HDMI seem to be the connections standards in most (at least cheaper) monitors.

    I now wonder if I can just buy a monitor with the above connections and a Mini Display Port - VGA or HDMI adapter? And is it then enough to just buy a MDP-VGA adapter? Because I have also noticed that Apple doesn't even sell MDP-HDMI adapters...is there any particular reason for this?

    Or will the text/image/video quality be much better with a monitor with Display port or DVI ports like the more expensive monitors usually have (and then MDP-DP, or MDP-DP adapter)?

    Thankful for some help to get some clarity in this mess of ports, connections and adapters!
     
  2. bartvk macrumors 6502

    bartvk

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #2
    I've always used mDP-to-DP, i.e. mini-DisplayPort for the MacBook Air, and DisplayPort for the monitor. That cable carries audio and every resolution you want.

    You just mention you're getting a 24" monitor, but at least as important as the size: what resolution are you getting? Because the standard FullHD looks very blocky at 24".
     
  3. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2016
    #3
    Thanks for the info!

    Well, most of the monitors I have been checking out have FullHD 1920x1080 resolution (I guess that is what you mean by standard FullHD). I assumed this screen size and resolution wasn't too pixelated, but maybe I am wrong? I have never had larger screens than 21,5" with 1920x1080. I have read though that most people think 1920x1080 at 27" is way too blocky, that is why I was thinking of going 24", also I don't need a bigger display that that.

    bartv, can I ask what monitor(s) you use with your MBA?
     
  4. bartvk macrumors 6502

    bartvk

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
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    #4
    Reading back, I guess I was stating "FullHD blocky at 24 inch" as fact, when it's really a matter of opinion. So let's rephrase;

    I've always preferred QHD (which is 2560x1440) and I've used the Dell P2416D with my 2013 MBA. However, it is more expensive than a FullHD monitor. I guess it depends a bit on what you do with it. I use Xcode quite a lot: you have two editors next to each other, plus a left navigation and at the right a properties bar. On FullHD, that's simply too much.

    If you don't use it like that, FullHD might be fine.
     
  5. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2016
    #5
    Ok, I understand. I mainly do web browsing and office work. I have actually looked at the Dell U2414H, but I became a little wary of Dell monitors after reading all these stories of people who have issues with Dell monitors and Macs (sleep/wake issues, RGB mode etc.). But maybe not a Dell problem? Everything just works for you when you plug the MBA to P2416D using m-DP to DP?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  6. bartvk macrumors 6502

    bartvk

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #6
    I used the P2416D almost always with the MBA in clamshell mode, i.e. arriving at the office, I hooked up power, monitor and hub (with keyboard) and hit the external keyboard to wake it up from sleep. Never had an issue with it.

    Now that we talk about it, I do want to mention one particular disadvantage; the QHD resolution requires that you sit somewhat closer to the monitor. A colleague preferred a 27" model for that resolution. Just mentioning it.

    As for office work/webbrowsing; with FullHD you can have just about one browser window and one MS Office document next to each other, but not two spreadsheets. With QHD, it fits much more easily. Two larger spreadsheets is no problem.

    If that's not your workflow, stick to FullHD and save money :)
     
  7. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2016
    #7
    Thanks a ton for the info! I think I will just aim for a 24" 1920x1080 then. Just have to do some more research on which monitor to choose :)
     
  8. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #9
    24 inch 1920x1200 is good too (16:10 rather than 16:9). I ran that resolution for years on an Apple LCD monitor and it was great for text based work and the occasional image. I don't do much with video on that machine. At 24 inches you might want the extra vertical pixels, depending on what you're doing.

    I eventually changed out the 24 inch for a 32 inch at 2560x1440, very nearly the same pixel size with more screen space to work with. With the larger monitor I didn't mind the 16:9 vertical shrink.

    Stay away from VGA, it's analog and unlikely to have the same resolution support as DVI, HDMI, or DP. At 1920x1200 or 1080, I think you'd be fine with HDMI and a mDP-to-HDMI adapter if necessary.
     
  9. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2016
    #10
    Thanks for the list, Fishrrman. Great place to start searching for a monitor!

    kschendel, I have actually heard also someone else recommend 16:10 rather than 16:9 for text based work. As I mainly work in MS Word and MS PowerPoint, and reading and compiling a lot of articles and text material, maybe I should consider 24" 1920x1200. Yeah, probably a good idea to try to stay away from VGA! I must admit, however, that I am rather surprised that Apple does not sells any mDP-to-HDMI adapter.
     
  10. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #11
    I think I bought our mDP to HDMI adapter cable from monoprice.com (recommended). My wife has an el cheapo second monitor that she used for webinars, hooked to the old iMac via mDP-to-HDMI.

    By the way, the list that Fishrrman is great for IPS displays, but doesn't cover everything. I rather like TFT Central (http://www.tftcentral.co.uk) for reviews of other technology monitors.
     
  11. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2016
    #12
    Thanks for the additional list, kschendel! I will also check out monoprice.com :)
     
  12. Brandon123 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 4, 2016

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