External monitor for MBP


(Diane D) #1

I have a 10 year old 22” flat screen ViewSonic that I use with my 2015 MBP. It’s always given me some issues and I’d like something a little bigger.

I found a local ad for a 27” Cinema Display #A1316 for $100 and I’m not sure if this is a decent deal, seeing as I do see current IPS monitors for $179 or even lower.

I do believe with a current monitor, the bezel will be minimal compared to one as old as the Cinema Display dated 2011, meaning overall footprint would be a little smaller.

I’d love any thoughts on this - I’ve always thought iMac displays were nice but admittedly have not seen many current non-Apple displays in person.

Diane


(LETRA) #2

A hundred dollars is a really good offer. Maybe too good… as the price usually starts at 350 dollars or more. If it is true, is the option that more compatibility with the Macbook will offer you. I wouldn’t think twice in this case. This is still a top quality monitor.


(@lbutlr) #3

I bough a Dell something or other 27" for $139, but is is “fake” 27" as it is still just 1920x1080 instead of 25mumble by 1440. that said, it was good for my needs. It was a good sale, but it’s available on amazon now for $168. A real 27" display will run you closer to $400.

I would not buy a 27" Cinema display because that’s an old monitor and monitors are cheap enough that I do not want to buy someone else’s problems. Also, it is not compatible with a current Mac (except the MacBook (I suspect as it is not Thunderbolt 3)).


(frederico) #4

If you’re not interested in a 4K display for as low as $260 (even if you don’t run it at 4K or scaled double-pixel now, you can use a lower resolution until you get your next Mac), I can’t reccommend a better IPS panel with an affordable, quality chassis than an AOC Q2577PQW 1440p IPS, a crisp, lovely, minimal-bezel display that can be frequently found on sale for around $200.

I personally have three (sitting over three more LG 27UD68P-B 4K; six total displays), and I’m super pleased with them; we have a number more in our group for those that wanted 25”, instead of 27” footprints.

The Q27787QVE is the 27” version, and I saw it on Amazon over the weekend for $220, but it has a much bigger bezel than the 25”.

They are both equipped with DisplayPort and HDMI @60Hz; you would need a Thunderbolt 3 to DisplayPort cable if you don’t already have an adapter.

FWIW, most everyone over the age of 25 runs a 4K and even 5K display at 1440p (2560x1440 Hi-DPI), even if they don’t realize it; Apple ships all 5K iMacs set to 1440p Hi-DPI out of the box.

In my opinion, the AOC is far brighter and crisper than the Cinema Display, and doesn’t have the massive bezels, either.


(frederico) #5

Oops. Just saw this thread is eight months old after posting. I don’t know why Discourse keeps suggesting old threads are “recent”.


(Diane D) #6

LOL that’s ok! I always love to read monitor threads and didn’t even realize it was mine until I scrolled all the way down.

I got a Dell U2415 the end of October (24”). It was just over $200 and I love it. A 27” would have been great but I’m a little sketchy on “off” brands. I wish I had someplace to walk in and

I bought it from B&H but I read a lot of Amazon reviews too. There were a few with my specific MBP that said you needed to buy a specific cable as the included cables didn’t work. So I did. And it had an included cable that worked great. :-/ I would have had to pay return shipping and would have gotten less than $5 back, so now I have a random cable that I’ll forget about in my pile o’cables. But as my only complaint, it’s not bad.

I haven’t even sat down and calibrated it, just plugged it in and started working. I really miss computer stores where I could go in and actually look at a few before buying.

Diane


(Adam Engst) #7

No idea either. But I don’t much care—helpful information is welcome regardless of how much later it comes. :slight_smile:


(Simon) #8

I would imagine below $200 you’ll be looking at 1080p. If you’re willing to spend a bit more you can get substantially more resolution.

At $291 shipped (don’t get distracted by all the used offers) this is an awesome 27" IPS panel (matte) with 2560x1440 and LED backlight, slim bezels all around, and lots of inputs. I’ve been using it for about two years (after several ACDs and a couple years on a similar display form Samsung) and I have nothing but the highest praise for it. I find my self plugging it a lot these days (feels a bit weird since I can’t stand Dell as a company) but I really think this is a terrific display, especially for Mac users (note: TB3 not required).


(frederico) #9

I’ve exhausted my mental resources this morning on another thread, so I’m having difficulty fully sussing your statement above.

If you mean to say that AOC is a sketchy off-brand, I wish to politely push back; AOC is a trusted and favored vendor in the IT world for many years; and, like Dell, do not make most of their own panels, anyway; and, unlike Dell, have maintained a reputation for stellar warranty and customer service. AOC also, IMO, has vastly superior enclosures and stands (on certain models, like the one I touted above).

Dell sources panels from both LG and Samsung, for certain; and may also source from other suppliers; not to mention multiple sourcing for the boards and power supplies even within a given model number or series – it’s Dell, that’s what they do. That’s why, if you dive into the negative reviews on Amazon, NewEgg, Reddit and elsewhere, you will find horror stories of not only insanely terrible customer service when seeking a warranty from Dell, wildly opposing opinions on the quality of the display received compared to the rave reviews.

I’ve heard anecdotal, “insider info” from third party repair contractors who do warranty service for Dell, who not only back up the empirical experiences of reviewers, but who also claim that Dell sells their own 4K displays cheaper than LG, who suppllies most of the 4K panels to begin with, because Dell accepts “seconds” from LG; i.e., panels with dead pixels or do not meet other strict quality measures for LG-branded or top-tier customers like Apple, are sold at a discount to Dell; and Dell, through the fine print, passes those defects along to you.

When is the last time you heard (with any frequency) anyone complain they received or within a few months had a bad iMac display with a dead pixel? Now dive onto Amazon for comparable panel reviews for Dell. Lots of unhappy campers there.

It sounds like you were amongst the fortunate, and I’m glad you’re so pleased with your panel. It’s absolutely true that the Dell displays can be topflight quality (especially if they get a good LG panel inside); here’s hoping you got one of the majority. I simply prefer the first-tier quality and warranty service reputations of LG direct, and of AOC (I used to also love ViewSonic in terms of warranty and reliability, but they went to heck, too.)


(frederico) #10

I agree, at ~$300, I also love that LG panel-based Dell display (but see my comments above re: warranty issues).

You can also get the identical panel from LG (27UD58 series) for the same or less money, and without the potential warranty headaches, but the bezel and stand do suck compared to the Dell at that price (but if you don’t care about wide bezels as a single display and use a VESA mount, it’s a fine choice); if you upgrade to the UD2768 and 69 series, you get, IMO, a superior enclosure to even that Dell, and even smaller bezels for multiple display installations.

We try to use VESA mounts wherever we can, which avoids the crapshoot of decent stands between models using identical panels; I get Hulk-angry when I’m on a desk whose display starts to wobble because I’m hammering on the keyboard.

Every one of those Dells I’ve sat in front of has been as pleasant an experience to use as my LGs; but, I, too, just can’t stand Dell as a company (and admit further bias as a longtime Apple adherent).


(Diane D) #11

Hi Frederico - no offense meant with AOC being an off brand. I’ve been out of IT for awhile so obviously I’ve lost touch as to who’s who these days. I’ve never heard of them, and when browsing google or amazon for “24” or 27" monitors”, I ended up with a huge list of ones I’ve never heard of, and discarded most as off brands in my head - especially if the price seemed too good to be true. Nice to know that’s not always the case. I see this a lot with other electronic products too, you see a huge list with different names, but the same pictures so it’s obvious it’s the same product being sold under different names.

And to be honest I just didn’t have the brain power to do all that research, so I looked at names I recognized, and while I hate to admit it, Dell has come up as a good monitor more than once even on this list. They would not normally be my first choice either!

I read a ton of reviews and it’s why I bought from B&H vs Amazon - return policy. Every once in awhile I’ve had return issues with Amazon and really didn’t want to risk that with a more expensive purchase.

Your comments on internals does not surprise me at all! I wish I could have afforded an Apple display. I spent most of the year looking for a used one and finally gave up.

The monitor I replaced was a ViewSonic. It had a dancing pixel issue, but when they weren’t dancing it was wonderful.

Diane


(frederico) #12

Since warranty and reliability has become the focus of this thread, I will also add that in our many years of being in this industry, as a rule, we find that those monitors that are going to be trouble will arrive DOA or exhibit issues within the first 30 days (assuming you are a daily user, and not a casual, occasional user), which is ample for Amazon Prime’s better-than-B&H return policy for that period; but, for the next group of defectives, which generally expose themselves in the first 6-12 months, I absolutely agree with you, B&H after 30 days is a bit of a nice insurance policy, though you may end up paying substantially more for the display itself, or shipping at time of purchase.

I love B&H as a company, but the shipping costs usually make me go with Prime, especially when I already have faith in the brand/model/product.

And, no, I did not take any offense at all RE: AOC as a brand; I just wanted to be sure others reading this thread don’t think of it as such. Their consumer marketing sucks (so they don’t show up well in search results), and their consumer-targeted bargain-hunter non-IPS (TFT) displays are definitely not indicative of what they are capable of. I wish they would abandon that market, because their mid-tier products are fantastic.

And, yes, display shopping is utterly exhausting; with few brick and mortar destinations already only displaying a tiny sliver of what is available (and mostly displaying bargain hunter or top tier only), you have no choice but to go with published reviews, which are also suspect because they are so often based solely on what that author chose to purchase; and the revenue-generating affiliate links they provide with every “comprehensive” review and “comparison” or “shootout”.

My most hated are those at 9to5 Mac and iMore; they don’t have the budgets to buy and test every 4K display available in order to form an opinion not driven by manufacturer-provided or author-selected purchases. Their articles aren’t anything remotely helpful, providing no technical information or comparisons, no color-correct assessments, etc.; just vague opinions on perceived quality and even references to other reviews as a basis for choosing one, as if they haven’t even seen one in person! Crazy! Nothing but clickbait for affiliate revenue.

And don’t even get me started on their propensity for advising people to purchase overpriced USB-C (Thunderbolt) versions of displays, which have the exact same panels (or even of lesser NIT or color gamuts) of the more affordable DisplayPort / HDMI models, purely because Macs now come with USB-C / Thunderbolt connectors.

They end up spending as much as an additional $200-$300 or more for an otherwise identical display, purely to get a “convenient” USB-C connector – which, incidentally, is merely pulling a DisplayPort signal along with possibly USB – which might have a crappy, unreliable USB 3.0 (5Gbps) hub on the back, and, if it’s trying to pose as a Thunderbolt display, might deliver 67 watts of power (if you have a MacBook that needs it).

But, have fun unplugging/replugging that display when the builtin hub goes wonky and your attached peripherals won’t stay connected and your data backups are corrupted as a result; and have fun when your newer MacBook needs 85 watts (or perhaps more in the future), but your external display can’t charge it.

Oh, and did we mention you now have the privilege of buying vastly more expensive, confusing, and wildly unreliable Thunderbolt / USB-C cables? Have fun sorting out which cables will actually work with your display at the length and power delivery you require.

Almost no one needs a USB-C display; especially If you don’t even need a hub, all you have to get is a USB-C / to DisplayPort or HDMI cable/adapter, all under $25 or even $15 or less, for shorter lengths.

Most everyone in need of a hub and single-cable connection can do far better with a DisplayPort or HDMI display, and purchase a separate USB-C/Thunderbolt dock/hub that provides faster USB 3.1 gen 2 (20Gbps) or gen 1 (10Gbps) ports, as well as DisplayPort and/or HDMI, as well as possibly other things like ethernet and audio I/O.

Those external docks/hubs are not only more reliable, but can be swapped out if future needs change; whereas if you went with a USB-C (ostensibly Thunderbolt) display, you will be forced into a more expensive tier of hubs/docks that also provide Thunderbolt display passthrough capabilities – even though all the display is really drawing is the DisplayPort signal!! Maddening.

If you’re thinking of buying USB-C displays for (perceived) simplicity or convenience, you can even just attach the damn hub/dock to the back of the DP/HDMI display if you only want to see one cable attached to your MacBook.

Cheers


(Diane D) #13

As always, thank you for your detailed responses!!

I don’t have Prime and for the couple of “big” purchases I’ve made on B&H this year, shipping was free and next day. I am close to a warehouse and sometimes Amazon takes forever to ship (for that matter, I’m still waiting for stuff from Newegg from Thanksgiving weekend!). I was a little bummed that returning that cable would have been on my dime but my fault for not reading the fine print - I’ve been caught by that on Amazon a couple of times too.

I think I’ve saved every monitor thread here on Tidbits in the past couple of years, as I’ve really wanted to upgrade for quite awhile. I value these real day comments more than anything.

Your mention of the dock and cables reminded me of something I still need to look into and I suspect most of it is my own inexperience with the issue: my new monitor has USB ports, which I thought would be great to eliminate the little Anker hubs that’s plugged into my desk. Except when the monitor goes to sleep, the ports lose power too. I vaguely remember a coworker having an issue on a work machine where his monitor USB ports only worked if he had a cable running from the monitor to the computer for power, so maybe this is the same. First time I’ve owned one with USB ports so I’m not sure on them. But they are hard to reach for day to day use.

Diane


(frederico) #14

Yup. This is exactly what I hate about integral hubs in displays. They absolutely suck, because the vendors put zero thought or expense into how they need to be used.

Fine for a keyboard and mouse; totally sucks for people who want Time Machine and clones and such to work when the display is off.

So, guess what? Your only solution is to place a powered-hub in between the display and the MacBook, to keep the power active to the display hub. But, of course, then you probably don’t need that display’s hub anymore.

Why didn’t they just design the hub to just use the display’s power supply, and be active at all times? You tell me. I have never once found any display with an integral hub that, even if it worked properly and as expected out of the box, didn’t fail within a year, anyway. And then you get to choose between the possibility of terrible warranty service (wherein you might have to pay for shipping one way at least) to get what is just going to be a refurbished display, that might have its own issues or reduced lifespan or burn-in problems, just for a dead hub worth under $12 (in practical terms) or just live with the dead hub and pretend it was never there and keep using standalone hubs.

Fun, ain’t it?


(Diane D) #15

Good, I guess, to know it’s a common issue. Also good that it was just in the “bonus” column for me. I wanted to charge my devices from it, but they charged so slowly it wasn’t worth it. I think one of the ports has a bit more power. I’ll dig into it at some point. My little Anker hub works great. At my old job, we used them for speakers, but I like having a small speaker across the room for background music.

Keyboard and mouse are BT.

Diane


(David Ross) #16

What you don’t miss is paying 2 to 3 times as much. Storefronts cost money. And the money has to appear from somewhere.

And yes I do support my local authorized 3rd party Apple vendor.


(Diane D) #17

I used to only shop at local computer stores when we had them, both small and “box” (ComputerLand which was independently owned in my area, CompuUSA, and Computer City once all the locals disappeared). The last independent Apple shop I knew of around here had just been doing repairs and small supplies for years. They didn’t have a showroom anymore and now they’re gone too.

Diane