Large External Display/Docking station recommendations

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Traverse, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. Traverse macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #1
    I'm graduating summa cum laude this term so as a graduation gift I want to upgrade my monitor since I have a few more years of grad school coming, but am not sure what to get. I am currently using a 23.6" 1080p display with no bells and whistles. I was hoping for an updated thunderbolt display, but I fear that if they do update it it will be 5K, which my Mac can't run.

    I'm getting my Masters (and then PhD) in Accounting, so I work with a lot of spreadsheets and statistical software that would benefit from expansive space.

    I was looking for a 27"-ish monitor at 2560 x 1440 (or possibly 4K) with built in speakers and a camera (but that's not a hard requirement), but really don't know what's best so I thought I'd ask people who have them. :)
    ------

    2560 x 1440 vs 4K: I really don't want a monitor larger than 27" so 4K would be somewhat small. Also, fluid graphics are important to me and I have a 2013 15" rMBP with the 750M that can drive a 4K display at 60Hz, but I don't know how smooth it is. Feedback?
    Also, I considered a 24" 4k display at 1080p HiDPI, but I really want more real estate than 1080p.

    Speakers: I use my MBP in clamshell most of the time, I have a really cheap pair of computer speakers ($10) just so I'll hear notifications. I use headphones for music/movies. I want to free up space on my cluttered desk by having them integrated into the display.

    Camera: not a requirement, but I would like to have on for the off chance (once a month?) that I use it, but I can live without it.

    Docking Station: I realize that only the TBD can power my MBP, but I want a display that has USB 3.0 ports and possibly the ability to daisy chain another display or an external HDD, but I can make it work without those if I must as long as it has USB.


    Thunderbolt Display?: Sadly, what I'm looking for is really a better value for the TBD. I would be willing to wait if I knew they'd update it. I hate paying top price for USB 2. Do you think that's a big deal? Also the display is so thick compared to all the competition AND it doesn't have the reduced reflection that the iMacs got in the last date. My biggest gripe is waiting for a refresh only to have Apple discontinue it or release only a 5K one for new Macs. What do you think of the TBD?

    My budget is under $1000. The TBD is the most expensive I'd go, but I see several Samsung, Dell, and LG 2560x1440 displays for around $400 to $600, but I don't know if they have Speakers and USB. Before I did more heavy research I wanted to get some advice here.

    Thank you!
     
  2. CausticSoda macrumors 6502

    CausticSoda

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    #2
    I was waiting for the TBD (see footnote). Bored of waiting, I got a Dell Ultrasharp 30" monitor. No speakers / docking station etc, but it is a very fine monitor and, I suspect, rather better than aged, lower resolution and more expensive 27" TBD.
     
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #3
    Think about buying two pieces, its a grad present after all. A Thunderbolt dock, these are like $200, and provide several USB ports, audio out to a speaker/stereo system (or headphones) ethernet and others. Connect a decent Display Port monitor of your choice (there are a lot of good ones) to the dock.

    Thats what I have done as I couldn't find anything that suited my needs.

    If you must have an integrated solution, thing about duct taping the dock to the back of the monitor :)
     
  4. Traverse thread starter macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #4
    I can get a refurbished TBD for $799, but that still just seems overpriced.
     
  5. nudoru macrumors regular

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    Feb 27, 2012
    #5
    I just got a new Dell 27" 4k - the P2715q. There was a sale and then 10% from my company brought it down to $495 (before tax, shipping). Off sale, I think they around $600. Only used it for a few hours with a rMBP late 2013 and loved it! Much better deal than Apple's display.

    I has a USB 3 hub built in, but I'm having issues getting it to work. Others have said the included cable is bad but I haven't tried another yet. Dell has a Sound Bar that works with the monitor for about $30.

    There's a 24+ page thread on here about it.

    I don't have any input on the dock - I just plug and unplug cables. I carry it around 50% of the time anyway so it works for me. I've tried all kinds of desk arrangements: Ikea napkin holders, laptop stands, etc. Settled on a Monoprice glass media shelf. Was like $20, attractive and my laptop slides under it with the monitor on top.
     
  6. Traverse thread starter macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #6
    Do you run it at native 4K? How small are interface elements?
     
  7. nudoru macrumors regular

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    #7
    no, my eyes are not good enough for native 4k. but osx shows 5 scaled retina modes and they look great to me. i go between looks like 2560x1440 and 3008x1692
     
  8. Hrhnick macrumors member

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    Jan 4, 2013
    #8
    LG 34UM95. Thunderbolt 2. Integrated USB 3.0 hub. Built in Speakers. No Webcam.

    I know it's bigger than 27", but it is ultra wide, so Its not at tall and doesn't look as big as a 34" screen typically would look. Also has Apple-like aesthetics.

    Expensive, but still not as expensive as the dated ATD.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Traverse thread starter macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #9
    Hmm, that's actually very close to what I want. It's a little big, but like you said it's width.
     
  10. Traverse thread starter macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #10
    I'm think of going with the new Dell UltraSharp U2715H Monitor after a few months of reviews.

    It has USB 3.0, an optional sound bar, and other goodies. It's cheaper than the TBD and I always hear good things about Dells displays.
     
  11. aviduser2 macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2015
    #11
    Go for the P2715q instead. I have the u2713hm (which is the previous model) and it feels blurry compared to my 15 mbp. Thus i'm looking to sell it and buy a 4k with the intention to run at 1440p scaled.
     
  12. alFR macrumors 68020

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    #12
    Thing is, I think it depends on where you live and whether you really need/can support 4K. In the UK for roughly equivalent functionality the prices stack up as:

    TBD: £746 education price, £899 full price
    Dell U2715H: £626, soundbar £33, thunderbolt dock £180-190, total around £839-849.

    So if you don't want 4K there's really not much in it except that the Dell has USB3. I guess in the USA you're getting a better deal from Dell!
     
  13. Traverse thread starter macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #13
    But that will result in decreased performance. What do you mean by blurry? Compared to your rMBP it will be less sharp because it has 220 PPI while a 27" 1440p monitor is around 110 PPI.

    Do you mean blurry for a 27" 1440p display, or just blurry compared to a retina MacBook Pro?

    My current monitor is 93 PPI so even a jump to 110 would be an improvement.
     
  14. aviduser2 macrumors newbie

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    #14
    I've had the monitor for quite some time, and when i used it with a cMBP side-by-side it was just fine. I've been very happy with it and it's a good 1440p monitor.

    However, when i've used it with rMBP it looks blurry compared to the retina which i've been used to now.
     
  15. Traverse thread starter macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #15
    I went to an Apple store today to kill time while waiting for someone and took another long look at the Thunderbolt display.

    I really like it, but the issues for me are:
    • Hot. This monitor generates large amounts of heat
    • Thick, it will take up a lot of room compared to the Dell U2715H
    • Reflection, it has excessive reflection when compared to a current iMac or MBP
    • USB 2.0


    I love the docking station aspect and the ability to adjust brightness with the keyboard (Is it possible to adjust a third party monitor brightness with an Apple keyboard if the monitor has a USB connection with my MBP in clamshell mode?).

    But the Dell U2715H has much narrower bezels, adjustable hight, 4 USB 3.0 ports AND you can purchase an optional $35 dollar sound bar from Dell that snaps onto the bottom of the display. It appears to have everything except the camera (which I don't need.) I would hold out one more october, but that is a long ways away and I would think Apple would have introduced a new one by now unless they were going to do something 4K or more with new tech that my MacBook can't utilize.

    QUESTION: has anyone used a 4K monitor with a late 2013 15" rMBP with 750M? Is it smooth?
     
  16. larrysing1963 macrumors regular

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    #16
    I own the P2715Q and it runs fine at 4K from my late 2013 rMBP without the discrete GPU. I also own the 34UM95 and I love them both. They both have a place on my desk. I have the LG in front of me, where I normally keep two browsers open, and then for video and spreadsheets and all 4K content, I have the P2715Q on an arm on the left side of the desk. Best of both worlds, albeit more money than most people want to spend at about $1500.

    I have narrowed my video jitters down to a slow internet pipe. I am upgrading on Feb 6th from an 18 MB connection to a 30 MB connection, so I will have better performance at that point, when the machine can receive the feed a little bit faster.
     
  17. Traverse thread starter macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #17
    Thank you.

    My issue is, to run 4K natively I'll need a monitor much bigger than 27" (maybe 32") which is bigger than I want/have space for. As some have suggested in this thread, I could get a 27"/28" 4K monitor and run it scaled at 1440p, but then you'd have the performance issues and lack of quality like when you run a rMBP at a scaled resolution. It may not be bad, but it will be there.
     
  18. larrysing1963, Jan 30, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015

    larrysing1963 macrumors regular

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    #18
    After re-reading this, I see that you probably want a 27" 2560x1440 monitor, since you want performance and have a limit to desk space.

    The best ones I know about for general purpose work are BENQ model GW2765HT and the Asus PB278Q. Tons of reviews out for the Asus and a few for the BENQ.
     
  19. Traverse thread starter macrumors 604

    Traverse

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    #19
    Thank you, I'll look into those.
     

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