Help me choose a new monitor

tl;dr - I’m in the market for a monitor that looks as good as a Mac Studio Display, and I don’t want to pay for a Mac Studio Display.

I have an M1 MBP that operates 75% of the time in clamshell mode. My current monitor (a 27" Lenovo) does not do this machine justice, so I’m looking for something (a) bigger, (b) worthy of a Mac, and (c) less costly than a studio display.

My use case:

  • General office type stuff mostly - writing, research, email
  • Live streaming (which requires me to have multiple apps open and visible on a single monitor)
  • Some very light video editing
  • Some very light graphic design
  • No gaming
  • FWIW - I do not enjoy/can’t quite get the hang of a multiple monitor setup

My preferred specs:

  • 32 inch (or possibly an ultra-wide if the resolution is good enough)
  • 4k or above
  • Ports onboard for peripherals (I never seem to have enough)
  • Priced under $1,000

And this is where I get stuck. There are approximately 7,342 monitors that fit those specs, but then we get into nits and display type and refresh rates and color profiles and I don’t honestly know if any of those things matter or if they are, in fact, the most important thing in the world.

So - who has a monitor they love?

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I love this model:

I like the 32” 4k Dells. They are usb-c and have an ethernet jack which makes them an ideal single-cable solution for plugging in a laptop.

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LG have a great 32" Thunderbolt display: LG 32UL950-W

Model is last generation; they might therefore be on offer now for around $1000

Features: 4K, Thunderbolt 3 (up and down), DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-hub, HDR, very thin bezels and a non-glossy screen.

It ticked all the boxes for me, even compared to the Studio Display.

I’m not trying to sound like a jerk, but if an important part of the Studio Display is the 5k resolution (which I would argue is its defining feature), then you won’t find a competitor for less — except maybe a used Ultrafine, which you should consider.

I would suggest you go check out the Studio Display, then head to your nearest electronics store and check out the competition. My father in law sent me an email that is almost word for word like your post, and after he saw my Studio Display, he ordered and returned five different monitors before giving up and ordering his own.

It’s a high price, but you get what you pay for is what I’m saying.

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Thanks! I am really leaning towards an ultra wide for streaming. Do you find that you use most of the real estate in day-to-day operations though? I’m imagining I’d have one app open in the middle of the screen and the rest of it just wasted.

I’ve heard good things about Dell. The husband is skeptical, based on his experience with their computers, but the monitors seem to get rave reviews.

LG is another brand that gets great reviews. I’ll check this one out, thanks!

You’re not wrong @snelly (and you don’t sound like a jerk, either). If the Studio Display was 32", I’d probably go for it (and if I weren’t married, I’d just buy the Pro Display, LOL!).

I will take your advice to do an in-person comparison though. Sacrificing a bit of screen real estate might be worth it for a better user experience.

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I’m going through this exercise right now. The biggest difference here is that I’m replacing a 5k iMac. Because of that I decide to just save up a bit more for the Studio Display.

I still have an Apple Thunderbolt Display in daily use at the office. I’m hopeful I’ll get same 10+ years out of the Studio Display which makes the cost a tiny bit less painful.

I do end up using it when I use apps like Moom to move windows and align them to different parts of the screen. I have Todoist open in one quadrant, Mail open in another corner, and Safari open on the other half. It’s great to have the room to keep apps open and usable.

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The thing with the Studio display, that I have missed from years of iMac use, is the adjustable height. That ability adds a ridiculous amount to the price though. That said, it is a nice monitor.

Not only this, but the defining feature of the Studio Display, and the two (well known in tech podcast circles) LG Ultrafine monitors, is pixel density.

I lived with a 27" 4K monitor even though I prefer the extra space of 5K, but 4K at 27" is about the loosest density I would accept in any monitor these days. Many of these giant monitors, like many of the 32" behemoths, are still only 4K which means the pixel density is lower.

Apple’s lowest density Retina displays (ever, I think) are its current two external monitors along with the 4.5K iMac and original 5K iMac, which weigh in at 218ppi. At 32" that means 6K, i.e. the Pro Display XDR.

As far as I know from my own research, and from Casey Liss’s research over several recent years, there is nothing that comes close to the Apple/LG Ultrafine displays on this score.

If density doesn’t matter to you, then you have a LOT more choices.

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Great discussion. I’ve been researching monitors as well for the same reason.

A key thing I need is video capabilities for Zoom meetings, etc. That is why I love my old iMac - video camera is built right in and was so bummed out Apple did not update the 27" all in one iMac. Combo of Mac Studio and new Studio display is super expensive as already widely discussed.

The Apple Studio Display has a camera (although it has been widely criticized for less than optimal quality) but few of the others listed here have cameras built in.

What are good external cameras for those monitors that don’t have cameras built in?

The one I hear a LOT of people recommend is the Logitech C920. I think there are newer models based on it, but that one is burned into my brain from so many mentions.

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I have this one, and I love it. I thought I heard that Ventura includes the ability to use your iPhone as a webcam though. That’s something I’m interested in testing.

This :point_up_2: or this :point_down:

Both options can charge and pass data through a single USB-C cable, which is awesome.
These monitors act as hubs were you can plug a bunch of stuff and they’ll be readily available when you plug in your Mac.
I have a 27 inch 4K Dell (U2720Q). I use a 7-port powered USB hub, with a bunch of peripherals attached: scanner, keyboard, mouse, charger.
Works like a charm.
The new Dell models even include a Ethernet port, have very thin bezels and no ugly logo on the monitor.
27 Inch: U2723QE

32 Inch: U3223QE

I have Logitech’s C930s, which I got five years ago. It’s great.

Logitech still makes it, and we just picked one up for my parents late last week. They’re very pleased with it.

Yes, this is a good point, and one I only started hearing about a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for the reminder!

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