What Class of Monitors is Comparable to iMac Retinas

I’ve run a 27" (2015) for the last six years and have fallen in love with the monitor.

I just purchased an m1 mini but can’t seem to find a good monitor solution. I’m willing to spend the money (not 5k money or apple pro display money). So I suppose I’m willing to spend $700. I don’t game, I just want extremely crisp text and lots of real estate.

What are some monitors I should consider? I’d prefer a 32" but also open to two 24/27"s.

Unfortunately, the 27” iMac is 5K. So you won’t find a crisp enough monitor without going to the 5K range.
I believe Apple was recommending LG Ultrafine display. It has 4K (24 inch) and 5K (27inch) editions. Both have similar pixel density to the iMac display I believe.

If you want 32inch, then you are up to the 6K, and the only monitor that is good enough in the market is Pro XDR.

I hope that helps.


LG Ultrafine is the same display but then non reflective.

I have one, its a nice diaplay.

The UltraFine looks great (as long as you’re not Marco Arment, who whines about it every chance he gets), but it’s also closer to $1000 than $700.

I’ve seen it around $900 but nothing lower, at least lately.

I have a 27" monitor that is 4K, but if you’ve been using 5K, I doubt you’d be happy with that.

No need for the affiliate link there, bud. We’re all just here to help each other out.


Pixels per inch (ppi) might be helpful here. Your iMac is about 218ppi, and the XDR is about 216ppi. So two smaller 4ks might fit the bill.

I have LG 4K displays next to my iMac Pro (5K), and the difference isn’t dramatic.

Another strategy might be remoting into your Mac mini from your iMac. No display needed.

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I just had to return my 2019 27’ iMac that I had been using for the last 9 months and I really miss the 5K display. Monoprice.com was offering their 32" 4K display refurbished for $199 + free shipping. The brand is IIIP and the specs were decent for my needs. Best part was that the screen can be rotated for portrait mode. Might be an option for you???

its what comes up when I share a link. Not putting more effort into it.
And what do you care, it doesn’t cost you anything.

You can always search the item yourself.

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For what it’s worth, I was also perturbed. It’s a disingenuous way to participate in this community. It creates an incentive for you to convince other people that this product is the one that they should buy.

Think about it this way: if everyone here used affiliate links, no one could be trusted, and it would quickly become a bad place to look for advice.

Alternative problem: if I posted one and said “use mine instead of MacExpert’s,” it would create a weird situation.


It has the potential to cost people’s trust in the recommendations and advice this community provides.


The affiliate link has been removed.


I am out, done giving free advice.
Podcast has become inside baseball as well.

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This helps a lot. I was afraid of this, but perhaps this means the big iMac is really the machine for me. This really says a lot about the value of the big iMac. I assumed that I’d be able to combine a mac mini and UHD monitor to recreate a similar machine for about the same price. I was wrong. Thanks for your help.

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A good 4K scaled to 1440p might be acceptable for you. I have two that I’m doing that with and one (Dell) looks really good while the other (Asus) is a little less sharp. Apple’s display scaling is really good.

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I’m using the Samsung UJ590. It’s 32 inches, but it’s only 4K. It’s going into my 15-inch MacBook Pro via DisplayPort on the CalDigit T3. Overall, I like it. I recommend getting a monitor stand though.

I went a similar route and couldn’t be happier. 2x Dell P2415q. Both scaled to 1440p.


I went down this rabbit hole last year when I gave my beloved iMac to my wife and needed an external monitor for my MacBook Pro.
I tried several displays on several occasions and long story short, I went with the LG Ultrafine 4K and still love it.
Things that annoyed me with the other displays from LG, Samsung and others were that sometimes the image appeared blurry even even with 4K on a 27“ and half resolution in display settings (don’t remember which resolution macOS chose), I learned I definitely want a USB-C monitor and no dongle life, and the most important part were the colors … I love the Apple displays for their colors and wasn’t able to get any other display to appear similar to my 16“ MacBook Pro, let alone it’s brightness. The LG Ultrafine scored in all those areas though and I’m really happy with it (it’s usb hub also works perfectly for me to attach Streamdeck, Webcam, mic :blush:.

After some moving things around I now wish I had gone for the 27” :blush:. Or I am having an eye on the BenQ PD3220U - it’s not cheap but I am willing to invest into my gear (“don’t look at that XDR, don’t look at that XDR :blush:”)


I recently got the BenQ PD2720U 27" 4K and can’t recommend it enough. It has Thunderbolt 3, KVM Switch and USB Hub, and plays well with Mac.

I’ve got a couple of Dell P2415Qs and the old (21.5”) LG Ultrafine 4K. Both of them are better than non-retina PC monitors, but neither is up to the same standard as the iMac 5K display. I’m holding out for a new (Apple Silicon powered) big iMac or an Apple display.

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I can’t say how comparable it is to the 5K iMac’s image quality, but we just picked up an Acer 4K monitor (as per Wirecutter’s budget recommendation) and it’s been quite good for the $350 price.