Show and tell - M1 MacBook Air + Dell 4K 24" monitor set up

It’s neither the prettiest nor the most exciting set up but I thought I would share on the off chance that it gives someone some ideas!

Yes, that is Tangela sitting off to the side.


Edit: excuse the weird perspective—thought I’d give my ultrawide lens a try!


Left to right

  • Philips Hue Go
    • Dim, warm lighting after the sun goes down
  • Seagate 2TB external HDD
    • Time Machine backup
    • The only thing in the set up that makes noise
      • I dream of replacing it with an external SSD
  • Anker USB 3.0 hub (7 data + 3 charging only ports)
  • Cable Matters USB-C Multiport Adapter with 8K DisplayPort, 2x USB 2.0, Fast Ethernet, and Power Delivery
  • Dell P2415Q 4K monitor
    • High DPI goodness
    • For me and my desk, the sweet spot for size
    • At the correct viewing height, there is enough space for my laptop to sit in front of it with the screen tilted all the way back, acting as a secondary display, as well as allowing me to use the laptop’s keyboard and, more importantly, the trackpad
    • I wish all displays had adaptive brightness :slightly_frowning_face:
      • Lunar served me well for a time in this regard
        • Don’t think it works on Big Sur / M1 Macs?
  • MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
    • Great machine
    • Positioned where it is so I can use the trackpad when I want to
  • Logitech MX Anywhere 2S
    • Additional mouse buttons bound to actions (Mission Control, Desktop, etc.) were very flaky when the mouse was connected by Bluetooth. Haven’t had any problems when using the USB receiver. Though you will have to install Logi Options :expressionless:
  • Mophie wireless charging pad.
    • There are much better and cheaper wireless charging pads out there.
  • Libratone ZIPP 2
    • Went for this rather than a HomePod because it supports AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, 3.5mm, and USB audio in. No Siri, but I’ll survive. The computer outputs to it over 3.5mm for minimal latency (I find there is too much latency over AirPlay and even Bluetooth).

Very nice.

I use a P2415Q with my mini and have been very happy with it. And a Seagate 2TB drive for TM. FWIW, IMO, there is little to be gained backing up to an SSD. Keep us posted on your experience with the M1.


Drinking glass too close to the M1, @caseyliss

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Here’s mine with my 4K / 27" Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q.

Note to self: Next time, don’t get a black desktop, it’s hard to photograph. Also, every speck of dust is super easy to see.

Tucked under the monitor riser (also black) is an old Time Capsule (back when it looked like the Mac mini) which is white, my CalDigit hub (grey/silver), and my eero (white).

Also black: AirPods Pro case.

Also black: Speakers.

Also black: Stream Deck.

Also black: Qi stand for iPhone

Also black: clock directly below screen (display/numbers are red).

Also black: other stand for iPhone that I’m not sure it is on my desk when I only have 1 iPhone.

Not black: Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Trackpad. And my Dexter Coasters/Blood Slide.


What resolution setting do you use for the 27" 4K display?

“Default for Display” which is 3840x2160 because I’m 47 and my eyesight isn’t getting better with age :slight_smile:

Also remember that I used a 12" MacBook as my primary computer for several years with no external display, so even though this display can go much higher, even the default seems huge by comparison.

I tried it at the higher settings and this one allows me to work with the least amount of eye strain / “squintiness”.


I run mine at 2560 × 1440, which matches what the 5K displays present. I’m on the other side of 50 from you and find that this is much more readable :slight_smile:

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What stand light are you using (next to the monitor) for vidcons?

Looks like an Elgato Key Light Air.

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Yup. Key Light Air. Can be controlled by buttons on the Stream Deck. Took awhile to find the right settings so I don’t get an orange glow, but once I found the right setting I just made a Stream Deck button for it so I can get back to that “temperature” and then have other buttons to adjust brightness.

In addition, I have a desk light (also black) that I put on the front-left corner of the desk to help even-out shadows, etc.


I have a high spec 2020 MacBook Pro 16 inch (2.4ghz, 8-core i9, 32gb 2TB SSD, AMD 5500M 8GB) and I use it with a 49 inch LG Monitor. I bought a 13 inch MacBook Pro M1 but unfortunately it will not drive the monitor. I can get the resolution required using Switchres but the quality is terrible so at the moment, I have went back to the 16 inch and I am using the 13 inch MBP M1 as a portable option.
Has anyone else had problems using an M1 with a monitor?

I have a very similar 16" MBP and 2x4K monitors. I also recently broke down and ordered an M1 Air that should be arriving in early January. I’ll try the Air with one of the monitors and (assuming that I can remember it) report back :slight_smile:

Thanks for sharing, it’s a sweet setup.

Did you have any issues connecting the Dell to your M1?

I assume you simply use the DP cable that came with your Dell (mDP to DP) to plug it into the Cable Matters adapter.

While my Dell P2415Q (2015 model) works well with my old 2015 MBP, many have found connecting it to their M1 Macs problematic. If your setup works well, I might follow in your steps.


I used a Mac-Mini 2018 and Dell P2415Q, they both work well.
Today I bought a Mac-Mini M1, after connecting the monitor to Mini M1, I found that the colour display is not good, very high color saturation, I didn’t find good solution yet.

nice setting!
I’m using the same monitor, after connecting to my Mac mini M1, the color display ist not good, very high color saturation, it happened also on your monitor? How could you calibrate the display?

@separate_word Do you find the colours on your Dell P2415Q to be quite different to your M1 Mac?

I purchased a USB-C to DP cable to connect my M1 MBP, and while I get the identical resolution and frame rate (60Hz) that I did with my 2015 Intel MBP, the colours are very different — everything is generally darker and redder than they were.

I just spoke with an Apple Senior Advisor, and we came to the conclusion that the quickest way to isolate the problem is to bring my Mac AND the Dell to an Apple store and perform the following:

“Is it all M1 MBPs, or just mine?”
Connect an Apple Store M1 MBP to my Dell (using my Choetech USB-C to DP cable)

“Is it my cable?”
Connect an Apple Store M1 MBP to my Dell (with their USB-C to DP cable if available)

“Is HDMI an improvement, at least colour-wise?”
Connect an Apple Store M1 MBP to my Dell (with their USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter + HDMI cable)

HDMI is not ideal because my Dell is likely to go from 60Hz to 30Hz based on my reading of my 2015 model Dell.

Happy to hear from you and others of any other suggestions or, better yet, solutions!