LG 5K UltraFine vs. 27" 4K + speakers + camera?

I need to buy a monitor to go with my M1 mini (not arriving for a month or so) and I’m trying to decide between:

  1. the LG 5K UltraFine or
  2. a 27" 4K monitor with an external webcam, speaker, and microphone.

Anybody have experience with one path or the other?

I work mostly with text all day, but do have regular Zoom meetings, and very much enjoy my iMac’s 5K monitor.

The LG’s all-in-one solution is appealing, especially given that it’s about the only 5K Retina display out there. But going modular with a 27" 4K/camera/speaker/mic would seem to be more cost efficient and possibly a better overall experience. If folks have gone with the 4K, what camera/speaker/mic setup have you used?


I don’t have any experience with either monitor, so I only have a general comment concerning built-in devices: certainly very practical, but, as you mention, not necessarily the best experience.

Especially in these days of increased Zoom (& co.) meetings I would definitely go for separate, decent headphones and a good microphone, your interlocutors will thank you! If all participants have separate microphones (or a decent headset) and do not connect from a noisy room make sure you all enable “original sound” (no echo cancellation etc., you will find it in the advanced settings), you’ll find you are a lot less strained at the end of the day. Frequency suppression algorithms are proving extremely dangerous to hearing and neurological health, home office setting are seeing an increase in tinnitus and related disorders, as well as headaches and even vestibular disorders.

I moved from the LG 5K to a LG 4K (not the one on the Apple store but another USB-C version). I moved primarily because of the glossy screen of the 5K.

The 5K was very nice and the webcam and speakers are very good, but I’m happy I made the move.

The 4k display is very nice and I do’t have a issue with the lower resolution. If I open my MacBook and put the screen side by side you can tell that the Apple display is better - when I had the 5K they both looked the same. Frankly this isn’t an issue day to day and I prefer the matte screen.

For a camera for video meetings I use a Canon M50 with a 35mm lens and a regular microphone connected to a cheap XLR interface. Not sure about the costs in total but I’d guess the mic, boom arm, interface, camera and monitor are about the same as the 5K.

I consistently get comments about the quality of the audio and video - with people curious how I get a “professional” look. In my view going separate is much better if you are okay with the lower resolution of the 27" 4k monitor.

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Webcam built into the monitor is infinitely desirable

You will definitely want a separate USB speaker for Zoom however

Do not forget do wear headphones though, otherwise the separate speaker’s sound is going to feed back into the microphone, creating ear-piercing echo.

I’ve just re-read my comment and realized it makes little sense. Basically I think I’m saying you shouldn’t have a separate speaker. The dreaded echo-cancelling algorithms take care of a built-in microphone+speaker, but aren’t so good at dealing with a separate speaker.

I understand you may not want to wear headphones if everybody else’s sound is horrible. It really is a question of reciprocity: if everyone uses a decent microphone and headphones life improves for all involved.

May I ask you about your “regular” microphone? I’m looking to improve my own setup.

@fytduthrgdc do you have any links or resources about this? I’d like to read more about it.

Here’s a link on the topic. It’s a long, technical article, but very enlightening. It concerns specifically conference interpreters, but what applies to RSI (Remote Conference Interpreting) applies to the other virtual conferencing platforms too, they all use suppression algorithms (Zoom hi-fi is the only option to avoid them so far, to my knowledge).

Another one on Canadian interpreters and Zoom:

My personal experience has been very similar and has been reinforced by friends, colleagues, fellow students (I’ve been taking online classes alongside work) and teachers. If you google Zoom+tinnitus+headaches you will find people with similar complaints. It’s a relatively new phenomenon, given the sudden spike in platform use caused by COVID and the link may not always be recognised (you may think you’re just tired or that you’ve had a bad day), but the first article scientifically explains why unfortunately it makes perfect sense. Try reading blurred text or text with bad contrast for a while and your eyes will notice; that’s what frequency deprivation does to your ears. I had to suspend my classes for the moment because my ears started hurting and ringing within minutes.

I know this is slightly off-topic and I apologise, but since I’m personally acquainted with the problem I would very much welcome greater awareness which would benefit everyone in the end.


Interesting but pure theory - no proof, no experimental model, no peer reviewed reference for the theory, and (at least yet) not widely accepted in the field.

Evidence is anecdotal, platform use has only recently boomed. The science behind it is solid. No intention to insist though, just reporting my own experience and warning others.

Same here. DSLR (but longer focal-length) and a good microphone. For the team meetings, “webcam”
is good enough, but when I present/speak at a conference, it looks so much better. One of the reasons I absolutely don’t care about the camera in the M1. If I want quality…I go all the way.

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Sure. I got the Shure SM48. It was about $40. I’ve been happy with it. It does require a XLR interface though.