Monitor decision

I want to replace my ancient 24" HP monitor with a new one. It’s a secondary monitor to a large extent, my primary mac is a 27" iMac. The new monitor will be for the 2018 mini running catalina with capture one, final cut and other photo software, though I’m not as serious about them as I’d like to be (too many hobbies). I need a stand with full adjustability (height, tilt, swivel), though I could live without pivot. I’d also really like 4K and adobe RGB, but I can’t justify having it all (Seems to be $990 up.).

I’ve become addicted to the 27" size, but I could go smaller. I haven’t found anything great in 24" either, though. So far I’ve narrowed it down to two, both on sale or clearance. Both are 27", have two hdmi ports and have fully adjustable stands.

LG 27UK670 27" 16:9 4K FreeSync IPS Monitor

$400. 4K, but only sRGB, It’s glossy with a coating of unknown goodness.

Dell UltraSharp 27 UP2716D 27" 16:9 IPS Monitor

$600. 2K, but adobe RGB. Matte surface, which I’ve seen on older ultrasharps and liked, assuming they’re doing the same here.

I feel kind of like the starving donkey equidistant between two hay stacks.

Many thanks for any suggestions.

I think the 2k would be hard to go back to and would have a wider impact over a range of use.

The AdobeRGB really only applies to an advanced use of Capture One. And it sounds like you’re questioning your needs there.

You always have the P3 color space of the iMac, wider than sRGB, as well as the 5k there of course. The iMac’s monitor is great.

I think the 4K would be beneficial across all your apps and uses. And it’s cheaper.

I’d go for the Ultrasharp from Dell… I have 2 of their 24" models hooked up to my mini and they have been awesome.

Be careful to review which ports they have and forum comments on compatibility with the Mac. I’ve seen issues with some Mac models. It required buying a different cable. I don’t recall the details, I think it was something related to Thunderbolt vs. Displayport over USB-C. Either way, check the forums to ensure you’ve got the right bits!

Thanks for the input–I’m pretty sure you’re both exactly right.

I spent some time at bhphoto with their nice compare feature, and I think I’ve found one that hits more sweet spots (at least on spec lists), LG 27UP850-W 27" 16:9 FreeSync UHD HDR IPS Monitor. It’s a new model and I haven’t found any legit reviews. It supports 10-bit 95% DCI-P3, which is a good compromise gamut. Also a better contrast ratio than the other two and has bonus speakers which might be handy since the mini speakers are, to be kind, anemic. Also HDR, though I have no current use for that even if it’s a good implementation rather than a buzzword. $550 list, $500 on sale now, but availability is low. Unless a better option appears, I’ll probably have to wait until it’s been out awhile, which is a little bit painful since the secondary system mostly gets used in the summer (I rarely heat that room).

My main reservation is that I’ve never seen an LG monitor in the flesh, and know nothing about their quality control or robustness. I have used ultrasharps and some lower end dells and assuming (which I probably shouldn’t) that they’re basically the same quality now as a few years ago, I’ve liked them. But it looks like the closest matching Dell is $700, Dell U2720Q UltraSharp 27" 16:9 HDR 4K IPS Monitor. It only has one hdmi port and Dell listed specs are minimal–they don’t even disclose 10 bit vs 8+FRC which is annoying.

The hobbies wax and wane; for now the microscopes are ascendent, though that’s finally starting to include photography because as of 4 days ago I have a dedicated camera with software that works nicely on ios and probably mac. That’s also leading into more regular macro again since it’s bug season and I’ve been gathering the bits and bobs to handle up to 5x (bench mounted).

Teensy pixels do seem to work better for my bad eyes. Unfortunately I can’t count on the iMac display, even I were willing to upgrade it beyond Sierra. ( C1 needs mojave to support my current cameras.) Two weeks after the applecare expired in May, the imac started getting extra-bright semicircles at the bottom of the display. It’s on and off again (doesn’t seem to be temperature related), and just now it’s working properly, but it’s a bad sign for future longevity.

The Wirecutter review of 27" 4K monitors likes a Dell U2720 monitor and the HP27Z. They also like a monitor in the LG 85 series but not the ones in the 67 and 55 series. (image retention).

I’m being somewhat vague in giving the model numbers because the ones that the Wirecutter reviewed don’t exactly match the ones you quote. I believe that almost every distributor gets a slightly different model with perhaps different trim and ports. However, I believe that models in the same numeric series for LG and initial letter and numbers for Dell share the same screen. However, you should carefully check the rest of the specs to make sure you get what you need.

To the small extent that I’ve looked, the model numbers seem stable from maker through at least several sellers (b&h, adorama, amazon). The descriptive text after the model does vary somewhat. [I’d expect walmart to have special model numbers just like they have special ‘quality control’ lines at the factories though…]

The Wirecutter pick is the Dell roughly comparable to the LG 27UP850-W but more expensive (~700). It’s cheaper direct from Dell, but we’ve had too many problems in our department ordering directly from dell to want to do that for myself.

I’ll probably have to wait for some reviews of the new LG.

My colleague (a graphic designer like me with over 20+ years digital experience) has one of these and recommends it: LG 27” UHD 4K Monitor | 27UN83A-W | LG UK

It is hard to work out the difference between the one you have seen and the one my colleague highly recommends.

It seems to come down to his one does not rotate from landscape to portrait, it has sRGB99% and not DCI-P3 95% (CIE1976), and the brightness is 350cd/m2 rather than 400cd/m2. So the specs of the monitor you have found seem slightly better than the one he recommended.

Shopping for monitors is even worse than shopping for printers–far too many models that are infuriatingly almost but not quite exactly the same.

I bought an LG monitor. Not the model I thought earlier (LG 27UP850-W), but a very similar one, the 27UL850-W. The only difference in the model number is an L instead of a P, and the only differences in specs as far as I could tell are that the L model does better on the color gamuts (99% vs 95% of srgb and dp3–I doubt I could tell the difference); the L has a matte display instead of a non-reflective coating; the L model only supplies 60 watts to a laptop via usb-c while the P model delivers 100 watts. Normal price is about the same, ~$550 but I stumbled on the L model while it was $100 off which was a nice bonus.

I’ve had it about three weeks now, and it’s been very nice. Color is good and appears even across the display (I don’t have a fancy enough spectrometer to measure it though). The matte surface is much better than my old HP’s matte surface and far better than Apple’s coating on the 2017 iMac.

I like the controls compared to the old HP, and they’re convenient enough that I haven’t bothered to install the software that makes many of them accessible via mouse. The little joystick on the bottom took a bit of getting used to but works nicely.

The speakers are better than I expected though I didn’t expect much. Not up to classical music, but fine for videos. And worlds better than the mac mini speaker. It’s easy to change the volume with the joystick.

The cables plug into the back of the beast, unlike Dell which plugs into the bottom, so it’s easy to get them in and out. There’s a widget on the back of the stand to tidy the cables into a bunch.

The only niggles I have so far are that it doesn’t swivel side to side, and that the anti scratch pads on the bottom of stand are really small and don’t give me confidence that they work all that well. Solved both at once by putting it on a towel so I can just slide it around easily on the table if I need to. Kluges R Us.

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