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Good monitor for Design 2018

over 2 years ago from , Product Designer

I've been struggling recently to find a good monitor for my 15' macbook pro 2017.

Probably I will get the LG Ultrafine 5k, but I definitely hate that it only has USB-C / Thunderbolt connections. I don't know if you can connect a console for casual gaming with some #donglelife. Also heard it has a lot of problems..

I was looking at a 4k LG 27UD88-W (https://www.amazon.com/LG-Electronics-27UD88-W-LED-Lit-Monitor/dp/B01CDYB0QS)

Also has terrible reviews but better connectivity.

I'm looking for something that has:

  • Good color accuracy (colors similar to mbpr)
  • HDMI Ports
  • USB-C / Thunderbolt 3
  • UBS 3
  • Large: 27' or more
  • Slim bezels
  • Vesa mount support (I rock a dual monitor stand)

Any recommendations?

42 comments

  • John PJohn P, over 2 years ago

    Just gonna say if you get a decent quality Dell you wont regret it.

    15 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 2 years ago

    The LG 27UD88-W is 3840×2160 pixels and 27-inches, so that’s 163.18 PPI (pixels per inch).

    160PPI is a pretty bad density. It’s not enough to be Retina (~220PPI), and it’s not non-Retina either (~110PPI). I’d avoid that display, because you’ll likely have to run it scaled, and that means you’re not seeing 1:1 pixels (blurry, worse performance, other issues).

    I think there’s a few good options:

    • Wait for Apple’s new 2018 display (which means no HDMI).
    • Get a non-Retina (~110PPI) display.
    • Wait for other displays to be Retina res at 27-inches (5120×2880 pixels).

    More thoughts here: https://bjango.com/articles/macexternaldisplays/

    8 points
    • Chris MartinChris Martin, over 2 years ago

      I was is the same boat, needed something to connect to my MBP 2017 but also wanted to ability to use it for casual gaming. I ended up going with the Dell P2715Q and bought a USB-C to Display Port cable from Ebay.

      As Marc's article points out, it's in the "bad zone" for PPI (163.2) but if you stick with the non-scaled settings in OSX it's pretty hard to tell. I find the highest resolution is a a bit small, but when designing I'm mostly zoomed in anyway so it's not a big deal. On the flip side, the lower non-scaled resolution is a bit big.

      I wasn't able to find a perfect monitor for both design and gaming, but the Dell comes close enough.

      1 point
    • Lucian .es, over 2 years ago

      Thanks so much for your comment and link ;) Super helpful

      0 points
  • josh burtonjosh burton, over 2 years ago

    I'll still only use the old Mac cinema displays

    8 points
  • Mark Lamb, over 2 years ago

    Here's some options: The Wirecutter — Best 4K Monitors

    3 points
  • Alexander HaaseAlexander Haase, over 2 years ago

    The LG Ultrafine 5k is an extremely satisfying display, which checks off everything on your list. Only issue I had so far is that for designing, the display tends to slow down Sketch by a bit whenever you work on a rather big file. And this happened on a maxed out MBP 15 from 2016. You should definitely try to open some files in the store before you buy it so see if your machine can handle it. Other than that, this is by far the best monitor to buy right now.

    3 points
  • Jonas LindebergJonas Lindeberg, over 2 years ago

    Since you mention 2018 in the title, rumor has it that Apple is launching new Mac Pro's together with Pro Displays in June-July 2018... But maybe way too late for you :)

    I can't say anything about the LG monitor in question, but I've always been happy with Eizo for color accuracy in the past. Maybe worth a chance.

    https://daringfireball.net/2017/04/the_mac_pro_lives

    3 points
    • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, over 2 years ago

      Hopefully they're compatible with older macbook pros. I'm using thunderbolt displays both at home and at work and I still haven't found a monitor that I like better.

      1 point
  • Ola Drachal, over 2 years ago

    Recently got Dell 27'' U2717D. Still fighting with colors :/ would not buy again.

    1 point
  • Lucian .es, over 2 years ago

    I've read all the comments and mostly everyone is pointing to Dell 4k / 5k. Going to have another try but I have a really bad history with Dell monitors.

    Amazon even fully refunded one and said I can keep it ;)

    Also, gonna go to the apple store and test the 5k Ultrafine and might order the LG 4k for a comparison.

    Thanks so much for the feedback and links.

    1 point
  • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, over 2 years ago

    I had that same LG monitor and it was pretty awesome, but I have a 2013 retina macbook pro so I couldn't run 4k at 60hz. I returned it and bought a 2015 model thunderbolt display off eBay for $400 and love it. It's my favorite 2k monitor of all time and I saved some money.

    1 point
    • Lucian .es, over 2 years ago

      Too bad the ports don't work anymore with the 2017 macbook pro.

      donglelife

      1 point
      • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, over 2 years ago

        I had a 2017 macbook as a temporary machine and man, the dongle life is real. Still recommend the trusty thunderbolt display though! For anyone else reading this, dont be afraid to buy one off eBay or Craigslist, but I would make sure that you run the serial number and make sure its a newer produced model. Most of the ones that I saw were from 2011, but I lucked out with a newerish one which (I hope) will still last a few good years.

        0 points
  • Naim SheriffNaim Sheriff, over 2 years ago

    I have that 4k LG 27UD88 one and works great with the new MacBookPro. Apple's ones feel cheap for the price they are at.

    1 point
  • Alex ChanAlex Chan, over 2 years ago

    Dell has some really reasonably priced IPS panels. Not sure about their offerings in 4K/5K, but I've been happy with every Dell Ultrasharp purchase I've made in the past.

    1 point
    • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, over 2 years ago

      I had both the U2711 and the U2713HM and strongly disliked both. It might be personal preference, but I could never get into the matte coating on them. Just bought a used thunderbolt display and am obsessed with it, even though it's a couple years old.

      1 point
      • Lucian .esLucian .es, over 2 years ago

        I own a 2715h and I'm not really impressed with the colors. I might have to calibrate it and see if it makes sense. (I'm keeping it mainly for coding, vertical layout)

        0 points
  • Craig P, over 2 years ago

    I'm running a 13" MacBook Pro on the LG Ultrafine 5k. Haven't had any connection issues and it's super crisp. I have played PS4 over wifi using their app, PS4 Remote Play. Although it's not running in 5k. Haven't found a way to dongle it up.

    Kinda wish I spent a little more and bought a low-end iMac and had two computers.

    1 point
    • Lucian .esLucian .es, over 2 years ago

      Why do you think a low-end iMac and 2 computers are better?

      0 points
      • Craig P, over 2 years ago

        For my design needs, an iMac can handle the processing. I like the design of the iMac more than the LG monitor, it's also a 27" 5k screen. I wouldn't need to take out my laptop and plug-in if it's packed away. Two computers would be better if I have guests too.

        1 point
  • Mick NMick N, over 2 years ago

    What about the Dell UltraSharp 27 4K Monitor: U2718Q?

    It seems to closely match what you're after. Tiny bezel, lots of ports (although no USB-C/Thunderbolt), VESA compliant

    1 point
    • Hamish TaplinHamish Taplin, over 2 years ago

      This is a tempting screen—I have pretty much the same requirements as OP and thinking of getting this.

      2 points
      • Eric BlattbergEric Blattberg, over 2 years ago

        I literally just ordered one, because I'm tired of working from only my laptop screen when I don't want to head into the office, so happy to come back and convey my impressions when I come back to NYC and it set up in about ~2 weeks.

        1 point
        • Hamish TaplinHamish Taplin, over 2 years ago

          Yeah I'd be very interested! Hard to find any reviews.

          1 point
          • Eric BlattbergEric Blattberg, over 2 years ago

            The short version, after using it for a week or so: I'm happy. Sharp resolution, great color, sleek industrial design. The pixel density is high enough that I scale up the display to make text & UI elements large enough that I don't need to squint.

            It works great with my work computer (a 15", late-2015 MacBook Pro) though my old MBP (13", late 2013) only pipes over 30hz, which is doesn't really cut it for design work — but that's an issue with the computer being old, not the monitor. But just a callout in case you have an older machine.

            0 points
      • Mick NMick N, over 2 years ago

        It is rather drool-worthy.

        I'm currently running one of those re-packaged ‘defect’ 27" CrossOver panels that Dell & Apple rejected. I can't find a single fault with it and the screen is gorgeous—but it is DVI only. So one of these Dell UltraSharps would be perfect as a primary driver.

        0 points
  • Aubrey JohnsonAubrey Johnson, over 2 years ago

    I've been using the LG Ultrafine 5k since May and it has had zero issues. It is an excellent monitor with razor sharp quality and excellent colors.

    I was skeptical to ditch my 5k iMac and get the Ultrafine + MBP but I've had no regrets.

    I'm pretty sure that you cannot run a console on it though. That'd be awesome if you could.

    1 point
  • Antek GrzankaAntek Grzanka, over 2 years ago

    I have Dell UP3216Q + MBP and it's awesome. Plenty of screen estate to have my sketch, webstorm and browser open at the same time. Connected through thunderbolt 3 and using USB 3.1 (faster than 3.0).

    0 points
  • Jenia StratilaJenia Stratila, over 2 years ago

    DELL UltraSharp U2717DA, has an amazing image quality + borderless + floating over the desk.

    0 points
    • Lucian .es, over 2 years ago

      I might try a new Dell but the last one was not impressive (2715H). I use mainly for coding so no biggie. Might try to calibrate it though.

      Thanks for the comment. Gonna give it a try

      0 points