rMBP + external monitor combo or 27" iMac

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bakatamaki, May 9, 2014.

  1. bakatamaki macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2013

    I been considering to get a base 15"rMBP then get a 24"/27" external monitor when i need the big screen to watch show.

    I read comment that most non apple made external monitor does not show the retina quality and everything got 'flattened' (Not sure the correct word for that)

    Has anyone go with this combo and what monitor they are using Or anyone regretted they should just get an iMac instead? I basically blew my budget by getting a 15"rMBP so no way i am gonna spend $1000 for a monitor.

  2. udflyer macrumors 6502

    Jan 3, 2011
    No problem with external monitors.

    I have mine hooked up to an HP 27xi I got @ Costco cheap.

    Resolution is only 1920x1080 at 27 inches, but it is glossy and great for my crappy eyes :)
  3. Hammie macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2009
    Wash, DC Metro
    I have a 13" rMBP paired with a Samsung 27" monitor (1920x1080). I think it looks fine. I don't need retina, IMO.
  4. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    I have an HP ZR2740w IPS panel at 2560x1440, which I use with my 15" rMBP in clamshell mode, and it works very well for me.

    This is after I sold off my 27 inch iMac because I found that it sucked not being able to bring my machine with me when I needed it.

    As a side note, I really love this display. Spec-wise, it's better than the Thunderbolt display, and I got it refurbished for $370.
  5. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    I got the MBPr 15 and the Thunderbolt display. It's a great combo. Best of both words: feels like an iMac (I have an apple keyboard and mouse too) but with the benefit of taking it with me (as a laptop).

    I would go with a 27" 2560x1440 display. I cant imagine using 27" 1080p display, those pixels must be mega huge!!!

    Yes, retina is sharper and better, but the Thunderbolt display ISN'T that bad since its a pretty decent resolution too.
  6. Hieveryone macrumors 68040

    Apr 11, 2014
    I would go with the 15" and external monitor no doubt.

    Because that way, you get a "free" laptop. With an iMac, you can't take it to work or the library or on vacation etc.
  7. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009

    Get one of these: http://www.amazon.com/HP-ZR2740w-LE...TF8&qid=1399691287&sr=8-1&keywords=HP+zr2740w

    It's better than the Thunderbolt display, and if you buy refurbed, it's only about $330 right now. I have one myself, and after using Apple displays, I can tell you that it's just as sharp, crisp, and bright, as the Thunderbolt display from Apple.
  8. Gregintosh, May 9, 2014
    Last edited: May 9, 2014

    Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    Before you buy one of those other displays, consider the fact that with the Thunderbolt display you also have good speakers, a webcam, and 2 cables - the thunderbolt and charger (really one cable with a breakout at the end).

    Where as with other monitors you may need an audio cable (if they have speakers at all), a USB for the hub, keep your own charger plugged in (versus keeping it in your bag for easy travel), and who knows what else.

    So you are paying a bit more but you are getting a really high quality and elegant solution.
  9. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    The one advantage that the Apple display has is that it's designed to integrate perfectly with Macs, and you won't get that with any other display.

    I chose another brand because I already have nice speakers and I never use the webcam, and I got a really high quality monitor for a considerably better price, more than is justifiable by the additional speakers and the webcam in my opinion.
  10. MikeVera macrumors regular

    May 5, 2014
    In my opinion, having the ability to have such a powerful workstation be mobile if necessary. is such a huge advantage for the rMBP.

    You can definitely find quality monitors under $1000
  11. christarp macrumors 6502


    Oct 29, 2013
    I have an external monitor with my 13" rMBP connected via HDMI (I also run speakers through HDMI and out the 3.5" headphone jack on the back of the monitor so I only have an HDMI connection to the macbook)

    There are some "issues" though.

    1. The display arrangement sometimes doesn't save, sometimes it does. This means when I reconnect or turn it off and back on I need to move the display arrangement back to where it was in the system settings

    2. The audio sometimes doesn't get restored when it wakes up from sleep. So I need to turn off the external monitor for it to "find" the audio again, which will then bring me to problem 1....

    3. Is more of a minor inconvenience than a problem. I like to use right angled connectors to HDMI so it goes straight back to the end of the desk, but if you do this is covers up one of the USB ports so you only have 1 USB port...

    Everything else works as intended though and it looks quite good.
  12. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've been using a non retina monitor with my rMBP since I bought the laptop. I've not had any problems with it. I'd say if you have mobile needs get the rMBP/monitor combination.
  13. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    This is what I had in mind in terms of stuff I would rather pay a couple hundred bucks extra and not deal with. I turn my display on and off several times a day, and it would absolutely drive me crazy if I had to do these tricks to get things working properly every time or even once a day everyday.

    Since the Display will probably outlive the Macbook, I see the Apple Cinema Display as a great investment as when the time comes to upgrade my Macbook (maybe next year when AppleCare is expired), I can keep my display as I get a new one too and use it for a few more years. Probably when it's sold it will still have some resale value too that offsets the cost further.

    That extra few hundred bucks, when spread out over many years (5+) won't even be that much, and you'll enjoy using your equipment much more. And when you think of all the money we all waste on other things, it's silly to think we wouldn't put money toward something we use daily and are passionate about (thats why we're on this forum!).

    I know that people compartmentalize purchases to think a dollar amount in one category is okay but in another category is "too expensive" or something. Kind of like how people will drop $100 on concert tickets for one night and $50 for dinner, and $20 for parking (all for one day) but won't spend $170 extra to get the upgraded model of something they will use heavily daily for the next 3 or maybe even 5 years because "that's too much".

    BTW I would assume that anyone buying in the United States would opt for the $799 refurbished deal from Apple versus dropping the $1,000 for a brand new one, which makes the price disparity between the Cinema Display and most leading competitors much smaller.
  14. 12dylan34, May 11, 2014
    Last edited: May 11, 2014

    12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    As if the Apple display is the only high-end, reliable display on the market that works consistently, and every other is plagued by having to do tricks to get them to work right.

    You can buy the Thunderbolt Display if you want, and it has a lot of great features, but don't attempt to justify it by assuming every other monitor won't work right with your Mac based on an anecdote, because it's simply not true.

    Some legitimate justifications are:
    • It adjusts brightness automatically based on ambient light, and the brightness keys on your keyboard work with it. For third party manufacturers, keys can be mapped via third party utilities to adjust brightness, but bleh.
    • It has built-in audio. Many other displays have this, and DisplayPort carries an audio signal (so no extra cables for other manufacturers either), but many other monitors don't.
    • You don't have to consume a USB port on your machine for the ports that it includes. Like I said above, DisplayPort carries audio, so you wouldn't have to plug in the audio jack for another manufacturer, but it will take a USB port up.
    • It looks better than most.
    • It's got a camera


    • The color depth is subpar to other displays in its class. 16.7 million vs. 1.07 billion for most others.
    • The price, obviously.
    • It's not very articulate. The most you can adjust it is a small swivel up and down, while most other monitors support rotation and vertical adjustment. You've gotta stack it on books, or buy one of those expensive purpose-made stands if you want it higher. Also, some people value the ability to rotate the monitor.
    • It uses more power on standby than most. 2W vs. 0.5W for the Dell u2713HM.

    So that's that. Depending on your needs, there are a lot of reasons to buy one, and a lot of reasons not to.
  15. Gregintosh macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2008
    You just made my point exactly in your "legitimate justifications" area. The Apple display has a lot of good pluses for people who are going to be using them with Apple laptops that you simply cant get anywhere else.

    I didn't say all monitors didn't work correctly, but the experience of that user who mentions the problems (even if minor) he has had getting it all to work right are not uncommon.

    I think the colors look just fine, and I would bet that if you saw two monitors side by side you couldn't tell me which one was 16.7 million or 1 billion colors.

    Power consumption is a non-issue. 2 watts on standby is nothing, we're probably talking about a $1 yearly difference in your electric bill -- if that.

    The price is higher, but as I explained, it shouldn't be a deciding factor for most people who are heavy users and live in 1st world countries (where a couple hundred bucks isn't really a big deal if something is important to you).
  16. bakatamaki thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2013
    Hi everyone, just ordered the rMBP 15" last night and really looking forward to it. I would be bringing it to Shanghai where i gonna be working there for a month.

    Someone has advice to get a LED TV instead of a monitor. What everyone reckon about this?

Share This Page