Monitor Upgrade ... From 23" to ?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Aushiker, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. My current desktop office monitor which is connected to my MacBook Pro (Retina, 13", Mid 2014) is a Dell U2312HM.

    I am now finding the screen size frustrating small for me particularly when editing and viewing photos and working with Microsoft Office and the like.

    A blog post at Wirecutter on 4K monitors has got me thinking about updating my monitor. I am not sure I can or would benefit from a 4K monitor or more specifically what 4K really offers over a decent non-4K monitor and hence would appreciate one's thoughts on that as well as alternatives, I guess in the 27" monitor size.

    Dell, as a price guide sell the P2715Q (the one recommended by Wirecutter) for AU$999 which is probably pushing my budget here. The Dell UltraSharp 27 InfinityEdge Monitor - U2717D is $AU849 which I could live with for example.

    Oh I really don't want to change my laptop at this point in time.

  2. riverr02

    riverr02 Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2011
    New York
    I've got a Dell 34" curved ultra wide monitor. Absolutely love it. Came from dual monitor setups, but would never go back. In fact liked it so much that when it came time for a new computer at work, I elected to get the same monitor there. It's that good- for me at least.
  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    "frustratingly small" in what way? As in a photo at full screen is not large and detailed enough or frustrating because you can't fit enough windows or a full page of text on screen?
  4. CyVan

    CyVan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 9, 2016
    Try this:
    Samsung 32" WQHD LED Monitor (S32D850T)

    its 2560x1440 @32" that gives an effective DotPitch of ~91dpi which I've found to be very usable at a normal desktop sitting distance and is roughly the same DPI as your 23" Dell @1920x1080. Text and everything will be the same physical size and sharpness as you're used to but you'll have a lot more usable desktop space (9 extra inches) to play with.

    4K at anything less than 39" gives a much higher DPI (99+) which makes the text much smaller and harder to read. To compensate you'll have to scale fonts bigger (in Windows at least) to make them readable which sorta negates the advantage of the higher resolution in the first place. Pics will look nice though.

    PX CALC: DPI Calculator with Dot Pitch, Size, Aspect Ratio, Pixels, and Megapixels
    Used for DPI calculations
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  5. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    I use one of these monitors and love it. No downside at all, except it put me on the PC upgrade path. :dash2:
  6. Lack of screen space ... as my eyesight declines I find I prefer to have more screen space. Also more space really helps with the spreadsheet work etc.
  7. Unfortunately a 34" I suspect will be out of my price range and more importantly might be a bit too noticeable and require explaining to Whom Must Be Obeyed.
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  8. These are reasonably priced here around the A$750 mark so added to my very short, short list thanks.

    Thanks for the explanation ... that is most helpful.
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Again, to fit more on the screen, or to have things larger?

    It sounds like you want higher resolution, but that will make things smaller on the screen, but fit more of them.
  10. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    How far do you sit from the screen. As @tkbslc@tkbslc said, 4K at native resolution is going to be pretty damn small on a 27" monitor. Although your MBP can drive a 4K monitor at 60hz, I would advise against it personally based on your statement about eyesight getting worse.

    I would recommend going with a widescreen WQHD monitor. I have a 25" Dell WQHD monitor, and for regular use I typically scale it to 1080p. However for video and photo editing, I use the native 1440p resolution, and from a working distance of about 3-4 feet, I find it to be very, very good.

    Don't waste your money on 4K. Spend it on a widescreen 1440p monitor. You'll be happy you did.
  11. I thought my comment on my eyesight made it pretty clear but I need to fit more on the screen and larger is also important. All that said I am not sure what your point is? I am well aware of the limitations with my 13" screen which is only good for minimal use [this is my experience, yours may be different of course], I am well aware of the limitations of my 23" screen hence the seeking advice on a suitable larger screen [this is my experience, yours may be different of course].

    If you have any suggestions on a suitable 27" or larger screen in my price range then I am all eyes ...
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I was just trying to understand your expectations. Seems you aren't sure what you want.
  13. Just measured it at a minimum working distance of approximately 600 mm (2 feet) but can be leaning back further (say 150mm) and could push the screen away from me about 300 mm.

    I have pretty much decided that a 4K is not for me (price alone makes it hard to justify).

    Will look into this option thanks. My monitor is currently set at 1920x1080 which I find gives me a reasonable font size etc but more importantly for my eyes a level of sharpness that I can work with. I just tried the other two settings, 1600 x 900 and 1280 x 720 and was quickly reminded why I find the sharpness of 1920 x 1080 preferable.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016
  14. That is why I have asked ...
  15. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I have the P2715Q that you mentioned. I just got it for use on Windows 10.

    Here are my thoughts so far.

    Text is small and I have older eyes so I have adjusted fonts / used bold options, etc. to make it suitable for me. Right now that is working out.

    Photos look nice on this thing and I like the ability to view fairly large chunks of the photo at 1:1 resolution.

    THe look is nice and you can get a $15 dell add on speaker bar option for videos.

    It rotates and goes up and down.

    Colors look good to me but I have not tested them. Compared to other monitors nearby, I like the colors on this monitor.

    Make sure your computer will drive it. I had to do a modest video card upgrade to get 60Hz at 4K.
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  16. Taking a quick look at the Dell options available here, is this the sort of monitor you are suggesting, the Dell U Series UltraSharp 27" U2715H WLED? For what it is worth Wirecutter rated it as the best 27" monitor a couple of days ago.
  17. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Just a thought, but have you considered a 2nd monitor instead of replacing with a single larger monitor? If your desk has the room, a low cost second monitor can go a long way into freeing up space on your main monitor when you can have things like menus, graphs, file browsers, etc. showing on the second monitor freeing up the main monitor to only show the photo, spreadsheet, word document, etc. at full size. This is especially useful for photo editing when now you can "Show" all the tool bars from an application large and in the middle of your 2nd monitor so always accessible, but the photo on your main monitor doesn't need to be shrunk down out of the way or have things on top of it.

    I believe there are applications available if you have an iPad to use that as a second monitor for your Mac.
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  18. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    No, I meant something like this: Dell U3415W - 21:9 1440p monitor

    However if you find 1080p resolution to be good enough for you, then you can look at something like this: Dell U2913 WM - 21:9 1080p monitor

    Either of these would be great options for working with side-by-side spreadsheets, windows, etc. Although the 34" monitor is more expensive, it is 5" bigger and has a 1440p native resolution which can be scaled to 1080p for times when you want larger font. If you can swing the price, and deal with the larger size, I'd recommend going with the 34".
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  19. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    If cost is important, then you can pick used HP ZR30w for like $400 shipped from ebay.
  20. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Okay, so you are looking for something that gives a similar level of detail and sharpness as your 23" 1920x1080, but with more real estate?

    That's kind of what I was trying to ascertain with my previous questions. Your monitor right now is 96 DPI. So moving to a larger monitor and preserving that DPI setting, you'd be looking at a 29" UW 21:9 or a 30" 16:9 with a 1440p vertical resolution. Everything would look exactly as it does now, only you would be able to fit more windows or excel cells (or see more of your image at same magnification)

    If you move to a 27" 1080p monitor, which are quite affordable, you will be reducing DPI to 82. Text and elements will be a little larger and less sharp. You won't be able to fit more on the screen, it will just be larger. The sharpness would be similar to running your current monitor at 1600x900. It's just on the border of being too pixelated, though, IMO.

    If you go with a 27" 1440p, like the DELL U2715, you will have higher DPI of about 108. Text and elements will get smaller than they are now, but you will be able to fit more on the screen.

    If you want things to be larger AND fit more on the screen, then you probably want two 27" 1080p monitors.
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