To 4K or not to 4K? - Mixed-use monitor recommendation 25"-27"

Tigerman82

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jul 27, 2010
257
30
I'm about to pull the trigger on the new Mac Mini 2018. My intention was to pair it with a non-4K 25-inch monitor as I don't really need higher resolution or a bigger display size (coming from a Mid-2010 iMac with a 21.5" 1080p screen). Something like the Dell U2518D which is a 25" 1440p display. Moreover, I figured a non-4k monitor will stress the system less than a higher-res monitor.

However, I stumbled across a thread where the OP's issue was blurry text with the non-4K Dell. While there is a fix (OS X has some text smoothing options), it made me realise that Mojave is optimised for Retina displays. This would therefore mean that I'd get the best performance out of OS X by using a minimum 4K monitor.

I would now like to ask you to recommend me a monitor for mixed use (word processing, browsing, Youtube, light photo and video editing). The monitor should have a display size of 25"-27". The monitor should have height adjustment and I'd like for it to not be heavy-looking. A plus would be if the it matched that Apple's space gray colour theme. The budget is up to 600 dollars (some of the displays cost more but can fit into my budget when in sale). Here's some of the monitors I've thought of....
I know in many publications Apple people favour BenQ monitors but for my taste they just seem so bulky.
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
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Yep, I like BenQ displays for production and they do offer a few thin bezel displays but they're all a bit stiff in cost.

That written, a few of the PAs and coders that work for me use either the P2715Q (older but still available for purchase), U2718Q, or Z27 - the each have the same 0.155 mm (so likely all the same AOC panel). They're loved in the office - easy to read at HD (which is what they're generally used at) and about as close in resolution as the 5k iMacs we use. If I were buying from your list - and I have vendors sniffing about every. single. day. with demos to try out I'd likely go with the U2718Q for a few reasons - the tight pixel pitch, the 3-year warranty plus the Premium Panel Guarantee, and Dell's support on their 3-year displays (I've RMA'ed Dell displays in the past and had replacement panels on my door the next day). The HP's USB-C port is a plus, but the stand doesn't offer the same options to snake cables as the Dell stands do - the cabling out of the Z27 looks like a hydra unless they're hidden in a cable collector, but the stand is really, really sturdy.

One note on the U2718Q - it just popped up as a Costco member-only option yesterday on their web portal at $120 less than Dell's portal. I only buy Dell products from Dell directly so I don't have to worry about the "3rd party shuffle" Dell puts buyers through or from Costco (as an Exec Member with their VISA I get 4 more years of coverage), but if it shows up at Costco.com it's likely getting closed out.

Besides, Black Friday is just around the corner. FWIW, if you go with a DP connection on a display get an Accell Cables USB-C to DP or USB-C to mDP cable - I use one with my iMP...

Good luck with the Mini. My 2012 Mini Server is looking to get replaced and I'll be in line right behind you...

Oh, crap, almost forgot - if you buy a U2718Q, make sure you're running the latest firmware. You'll likely need access to a Windows machine as Dell doesn't do Macs if an update is needed - not an issue if you buy from Dell, but likely needing to be addressed if you buy from a big box or internet reseller that isn't Costco.
 

colodane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
789
254
Colorado
While I don't own one, I've been following the user feedback on the Dell P2715Q (and equivalent smaller model) since their introduction. It has been overwhelmingly positive. And they are reasonably priced way to get a 4K display. If I were buying a mini now, that is the display I would purchase. Since I bought a new iMac last year instead, it is a moot point for me but perhaps useful for others.
 
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campyguy

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Mar 21, 2014
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I'd normally agree what @colodane wrote, respectfully put, but I'd be careful with buying from anyone other than Dell with that display - there's several firmware revisions, at least 6 that I'm aware of, and two hardware revisions (some with HDMI 1.4, some with HDMI 2.0a). Buying new from Dell will get the latest version to you, these P2715Q units are not FW upgradable by the user. I bought a couple dozen of the A00 and A01 units and all of them had to be RMA'ed, and the RMA replacements were "like for like" with HDMI 1.4 even though Dell had been selling HDMI 2.0a panels for over a year (yep, still a sore point with me as a longtime business customer) but the newer panels were much more responsive than the original units; we still are using the RMA'ed replacements and they work perfectly...

FWIW and in my long experience with Dell (around 20 years), if Dell is providing more than 3 FW versions of anything they're selling, stay far away... :eek:

On a related note, I'd offer that the Ultrafine displays ("U" models) have several OSM options that are not allowed in the "P" models. The U models are IMHO infinitely more "tweakable" than P models. That bit, combined with being able to buy a U2718Q display from Costco for less than I can buy a P2715Q from Dell makes the U2718Q display a no-brainer option over the P2715Q. This, coming from a home office owner of two P2715Q displays (plus around a dozen more in my offices!) who is seriously considering pulling the trigger on two U2718Q displays at the price Costco is currently offering. My 2¢...
 
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colodane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
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Colorado
Thanks, campyguy, for the post. My advice seems to be dated, and you certainly have significantly more experience with the Dell products than I did.
 

campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
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No worries, I'd still consider the P2715Q if the price is right and I needed additional displays, it's about $200 too high for what it is on Dell's site. With Costco's pricing on the U2718Q ($349) which includes Dell's 3-year warranty plus the Premium Panel guarantee plus the additional 4 years of Costco warranty on top of that (I'd use my Costco VISA with my Executive membership), the P2715Q pricing doesn't cut it.

I've got vendors dropping by with just about all of the toys you can think of and leaving demos that get picked up after several weeks or never - I still have some Samsung T5 SSDs and displays that just seem to get left behind, which leads to the added exposure... :D Cheers!
 

HenryAZ

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2010
605
97
South Congress AZ
4k for pixel doubling only scales well to 1080p. For a 27" monitor to pixel double QHD (2560x1440) you need a 5k monitor (thus the 5k iMac). For a smaller monitor to pixel double 4k, I would choose a good 24" IPS panel that has 1080p as its native resolution.