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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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