Upgrading my work computer from a 2010 iMac (21.5") to an m2 mini. In search of a new monitor. Not looking for much bigger than what I have. I thought 24" might be good, 27" I think would be too big. I thought I found a couple with nicer specs (1440p/HDR) at a price that makes sense for what I need. Placed the Amazon 3rd party order. Upon further review, I find out macOS doesn’t play nice at 1440p. I canceled the order, since I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to return. I did find there is 3rd party software like BetterDisplay, and others, that helps with the issue. Most of what I read on the subject discusses 27" displays, since those are more popular at these resolutions. I was hoping that maybe the slightly higher dpi at the smaller 24" might make a difference.
Any one using 1440p and/or any of the software that helps correct macOS issues?
Just for comparison, I like 4K on 24" monitors and 5K on 27" (those were the specs of Apple’s versions of their LG UltraFine monitors.) I think Apple’s new Studio Display monitor is also 5K at 27". Their high-end Pro Display XDR monitor, sold with the Mac Pro, is 6K at 32".
But we all used lower-res monitors back in the day and got by just fine, as we didn’t know what we were missing. But now we’re spoiled. If you find a monitor that is low-res by today’s standards and you like how it looks, go for it.
The thing is though: Even using the same displays as we did “back in the day” does not mean that we’re getting the same image quality with current OS version as we used to. Modern macOS version are optimised for HiDPI or “Retina” displays - and Apple isn’t afraid to make changes in line with that goal.
I recently inherited an old 2013 MacBook Air that had been replaced by the user with a newer model a few years ago. Since then it had been left unused in a drawer for a few years stuck on its old OS. When I got it, I backed up its contents, wiped the disk and reinstalled the most recent supported macOS (think that’s Big Sur).
Having had a direct comparison on the same machine and non-retina display, I found the legibility of text very noticeably worse on Big Sur. Apple definitely tweaked their font rendering/smoothing/anti-aliasing for newer OS, and not to the benefit of such older low-res displays.
Well, I’m handicapped by not having the hardware availability that you have. Is your claim that the MBA on its old OS (you don’t say what version that was or what any of its display settings were) had a sharper, better, display before you wiped it as compared to the same hardware upgraded to macOS Big Sur?
The scenario you appear to be describing would not have allowed for an actual side-by-side comparison. As Big Sur is listed as officially supporting that year of MBA, I have a hard time believing that its display would be worse under a newer supported OS.
If it were me, I would continue to play with available settings until it was back to the quality I remembered under the old OS. I’m sorry to doubt you but without screen shots or a side-by-side comparison and having to rely on your memory, I’m not sure what my take away is from this little exercise.
Not side-by-side - but literally immediately after a reboot (to reinstall).
It has been well-reported that Apple has removed the font-smoothing toggle from system preferences and, probably even more notable, disabled sub-pixel rendering in Mojave.
It’s really not just lonely me and my personal opinion. Apple did change the rendering behaviour. And it’s not just the easily user-accessible settings either - since Apple removed some.
Could you improve the rendering by using third-party tools and/or only unofficially documented Terminal commands? Yes, as has also been documented. Then again, these unofficial fixes may not last forever with Apple’s System updates.
So did you re-enable the subpixel anti-aliasing? And adjust the level of font smoothing?
I keep remembering that we are being sad about a piece of ten-year-old display hardware that was made before the seismic shift to so-called retina displays!
I didn’t fiddle with hidden settings and Terminal commands (yet), to be honest. But default setting is noticeably worse, and the user-accessible settings in System preferences don’t change that.
Since these unofficial fixes often rely on deprecated functionality, they may become unavailable at any time, with a new OS release - and I firmly believe one should install them on a production machine that’s one’s main computer to access the internet.
Now in my particular case, I may still do it, if I decide to keep this notebook on macOS at all. The machine won’t run anything after Big Sur anyway (unless I also install a third-party bootloader and kext Hacks). I am still awaiting a new battery for that machine and will upgrade the machine new 2TB SSD, to make that into a portable music player and TV recorder. Maybe I’ll even downgrade the OS again (for 32bit EyeTV 3) or install Linux on it.
I will simply remind you again that this a ten-year-old laptop computer with a battery in it. A lot has changed in those ten years. I would have expected you to be happy it still gives you any service at all. I use defaults write all the time for odd commands that don’t have a place in the GUI settings app. These are supported commands, just not prominently supported, as they don’t apply to most people.
It was all of those reports, plus the lack of options and opinions at the 24" size that spooked me.
But I do have a 28" 4k/HDR display that I use from time to time on my M1 MBP, but I never dug into the settings much, outside of ALWAYS needing to turn HDR on. I didn’t even realize I had it in a 1440p scaling mode. And it looks great. I don’t notice any issues. So I imagine the 24" 1440p will also be good enough for basic usage.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy about it. I mean, where else can I get a 2TB SSD MacBook (free MacBook Air, 2TB SSD, SSD adapter to adapt to Apple’s proprietary SSD connector, and a new battery) for less than 200 USD? I’m all for reusing and repurposing old, otherwise obsolete hardware where it makes sense (and as I intend to do).
That said, I would not recommend to purchase a new non-HiDPI display. Because such resolutions clearly have been “deprecated” by Apple and support is merely an afterthought for them.
Somewhat ironically though, I had to dust-off my 15-year old Cinema Display to use with my Windows work laptop at home, since our in-house application doesn’t seem to properly support Windows’ 10 display scaling and zoom (that’s otherwise seems more flexible than macOS) on 4K displays. My employer’s IT department only supports 1920x1080 Full HD resolutions on external displays.
I did not recommend a non-HiDPI display. But I would never argue with someone who says they like the way their monitor looks, whatever its specs.
Please. Don’t talk to me about the cluster-@#$% that was Microsoft’s move to HiDPI monitors.