Buying a new computer display

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PhilSturgess468

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I'm upgrading my old 27inch Mac for a new Mac mini M2Pro and need to select a new display. Apple Studio is far too expensive. I was considering the Dell Ultrasharp U2723QE (27”). Any useful feedback on this display would be most welcome. Phil
 
I'm upgrading my old 27inch Mac for a new Mac mini M2Pro and need to select a new display. Apple Studio is far too expensive.
Apple is highly profitable because they still have some outrageous hardware pricing.

I was considering the Dell Ultrasharp U2723QE (27”). Any useful feedback on this display would be most welcome. Phil
Try this Google search. computer photo monitor reviews

You will get lots of hits. Good luck.

Phil Burton
 
The Dell display looks useful, but I could not see in the specs if the colour gamut for AdobeRGB is 100% or close to 100%, which I would expect for that price range.

Benq is another good range and have several 27 inch models with 99% AdobeRGB, with prices varying by resolution. Check under their Photography grouping.
 
I'm upgrading my old 27inch Mac for a new Mac mini M2Pro and need to select a new display. Apple Studio is far too expensive. I was considering the Dell Ultrasharp U2723QE (27”). Any useful feedback on this display would be most welcome. Phil
The specs. here do not even mention Adobe RGB for color gamut. As @Gnits mentioned, do you want a wide gamut monitor? If so, I woudl investigate further before buying.

Good luck,

--Ken
 
It's tough to sort through all the choices. One question that helps narrow it down is:

Which of these are goals for your Lightroom Classic work?
A. Get “good enough” color for personal and family work
B. Reliably preview personal work for your online gallery to attract buyers and clients
C. Consistently soft-proof for high quality printed enlargements for exhibition
D. Meet color requirements set by clients (such as contract proofing for press jobs)
E. Get accurate previews for more than one type of media that you have to deliver (e.g., print, web, online, video…)
F. Edit SDR video for clients
G. Edit HDR video and photos (Note: True HDR photo editing is already a Technology Preview in Adobe Camera Raw)
H. Enjoy playing fast-paced games (yeah, I know, why do I ask when it's a Mac)
I. Something else ________

How you answer will bring you different sets of options.

One site that helps is Rtings because they test a few things that other reviews don’t, like some of the things that would matter most to the people in this forum:
  • Color gamut support (sRGB, Adobe RGB, P3…)
  • Tone/color accuracy (Delta E)
  • Uniformity
The Rtings review of the Dell Ultrasharp U2723QE covers those. It sounds like a candidate (not the best, just an option), depending on your answer to the question above. However it is framed as an office/gaming display, which means a prime driver of the specs was refresh rate/response time, and for a photographer, other priorities like the ones above are typically where you want the money to be spent.

It's been 15 years since I bought an Apple display for my Mac. The ones Apple has are nice enough, but for that level of quality, there have usually been better value alternatives.
 
Most Apple devices (eg iPhone , iPad and their displays) conform to the P3 standard. So, if your images are mostly for display then a screen with P3 or close to P3 becomes a viable option. If you are a keen printer of images then striving for an AdobeRGB is attractive, but usually a more expensive option.

I am horrified by vendors who sell screens and do not make it easy to find the colour gamut of their displays. Displays that only quote 100% sRGB may appear as a decent spec, but sRGB is the smallest colour space. They should clearly state % for AdobeRGB, P3 and sRGB.

The P3 colour space is close to the AdobeRGB colour space, but differs in terms of certain colours in spec.
 
I am horrified by vendors who sell screens and do not make it easy to find the colour gamut of their displays. Displays that only quote 100% sRGB may appear as a decent spec, but sRGB is the smallest colour space. They should clearly state % for AdobeRGB, P3 and sRGB.

Yes, and when this question comes up, we also need to keep in mind that percentages are limited as a way to compare. Two things percentages don’t tell us are:
  • Color accuracy of the display. A display can be said to cover 95% of a certain gamut, but percentage can’t tell you that it will display a given color value accurately.
  • Which 95% of the gamut the displays covers. Two displays may claim 95%, but it might not be the same 95%. Most displays should be similar enough, but there are probably some where one display slightly favors skin tones and another favors purple.
These problems we’re bringing up have been around for a long time. Displays are critical for photographers and designers, but spec sheets usually don’t provide the information a buyer needs to make a good choice.
 
A few months ago I also moved from a 27” iMac to a Mac Mini M2Pro. (I’m very happy with choice BTW). I did not want to pay for the high Apple memory charges so added a OWC hub with a 4TB HD and 2TB SSD, plus a Satech Mac Mini hub with a 2TB SSD. I was considering an Apple Studio display but was dubious about the cost. I got talking to an Apple employee and asked his opinion. He wanted to know for what I was going to use the display. He said that they normally suggest buyers look at all the the other display manufacturers if they are doing general work, but for photography specifically he said the Studio Display was unbeatable. I’m not sure that I’d say unbeatable, but I did go for the Studio and am glad I did. It is a great display for photography and it has things like a great sound system and built in web cam with center stage, and a bunch of ports. I’m happy I went down that route and was able to afford it.
 
There is a limitation in macOS that means it only plays nicely with monitors with pixel densities of 218 DPI.

A not too technical explanation here: https://www.theregister.com/2021/12/03/apple_m1_drivers/

The app mentioned - BetterDisplay - works really well.

I can get nice crisp text on a BENQ 25” QHD and a DELL 24” QHD display with the app using M1 MacBook Pro, M2 MacBook Air and 2018 Mac Mini.
 
I got talking to an Apple employee and asked his opinion. He wanted to know for what I was going to use the display. He said that they normally suggest buyers look at all the the other display manufacturers if they are doing general work, but for photography specifically he said the Studio Display was unbeatable. I’m not sure that I’d say unbeatable, but I did go for the Studio and am glad I did. It is a great display for photography and it has things like a great sound system and built in web cam with center stage, and a bunch of ports. I’m happy I went down that route and was able to afford it.
Did he say why he thought their screens were unbeatable? Not that I have anything specifically against Apple screens, but I would think that a recommendation from a company employee without some kind of explanation is not especially helpful if one is in the midst of a decision making process, even if their intention is good.

--Ken
 
@Ken - iFixit did a teardown of the Studio Display not long after it was launched. They said: "This is exactly the same display as the 5K iMac, and while a 60 hertz LCD isn’t much to write home about these days, at least Apple has a native 5K display [made by LG] without the computer attached!" Link: https://www.ifixit.com/News/58242/studio-display-teardown-is-this-secretly-an-imac

LG 5K Ultrafine compared to Studio: https://www.macrumors.com/2022/03/23/apple-studio-display-vs-lg-ultrafine-5k/
 
@Ken - iFixit did a teardown of the Studio Display not long after it was launched. They said: "This is exactly the same display as the 5K iMac, and while a 60 hertz LCD isn’t much to write home about these days, at least Apple has a native 5K display [made by LG] without the computer attached!" Link: https://www.ifixit.com/News/58242/studio-display-teardown-is-this-secretly-an-imac

LG 5K Ultrafine compared to Studio: https://www.macrumors.com/2022/03/23/apple-studio-display-vs-lg-ultrafine-5k/
Its not the specific hardware quality I was referring to as much as the items that @Conrad Chavez mentioned in his posts above (e.g. color gamut, display accuracy, backlighting, etc.). To say a product is unbeatable, or whatever superlative one wants to use, without say why, IMHO, is not really bringing much to the discussion, especially if you are an employee of the the company. Had they mentioned the extremely low delta measurements on monitor accuracy, especially in the higher gamut color spaces, for example, that might be something that would help convince me as to their advantage for photography.

I know that Apple generally markets themselves on making good hardware, but if I was in the market for a new monitor like the OP, I would want a bit more information to help in my decision process. We all have different needs and different budgets, so it is generally a good idea to decide what features are or are not important in the selection process. As @Gnits mentioned, Apple has somewhat standardized on P3 as there wide gamut color space. If I shot video, I suspect this would have more appeal to me than Adobe RGB. But since much of the photo printing industry currently uses Adobe RGB as their largest supported color space (excepting CMYK), I do not find having a P3 wide gamut display as useful as an Adobe RGB display as a photographer. My concerns tend to center around gamut display, accuracy and backlight uniformity.

--Ken
 
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Like Ken said, even though I have been a Mac user since the beginning, my reaction to the Studio Display said to be “unbeatable” was “oh, that’s just an Apple Store employee moving units.” I wouldn’t call it “unbeatable” but on the other hand, the Studio Display is definitely not a “wrong” choice if you can afford it.

If someone handed me a Studio Display, I wouldn’t push it off the desk. From what I’ve read, it does perform well for general creative applications. That Rtings website I mentioned earlier called the Apple Studio Display “the best 5K monitor we’ve tested.” The Picture Quality section of their Studio Display review does praise its overall color accuracy, with only “OK” black uniformity” but “great” gray uniformity. So, Martin, if you’re super happy with the Studio Display, don’t let our comments make you think it needs to be returned or something, keep using it. It’s still better than a lot of alternatives.

Quote from the Rtings Studio Display review:
“The accuracy before calibration is simply exceptional. There are hardly any inaccuracies to the colors and white balance in the sRGB mode, and the color temperature is nearly spot-on with the 6500K target.…The accuracy after calibration is remarkable as you won't notice any issues, but it isn't that much better than before calibration.”
It also mentions “remarkable gradient handling” (no banding). They did say the white balance and gamma are not quite as good in the full P3 gamut mode. But it sounds more than acceptable overall. Tom’s Hardware also reported a nice low delta-E for this display.

But if someone is on a budget, or if 5K is not a requirement, many other displays become candidates. It’s a very individual choice because for example many of the Studio Display features don’t support its cost for me, because I already have a webcam, a Thunderbolt hub with lots of ports, and a good set of computer speakers. So I focus my budget on the color side of displays, and less on the non-color features.

The reason I posted the reply earlier with all of the questions is that there isn’t a single display that’s best for everyone. Depending on the use, some would be better served with a display less expensive than a Studio Display (like an accurate Dell or BenQ sRGB display), while others doing very color-critical work should consider even more expensive pro-level displays with tight QC and hardware calibration, such as the upper-end models from Eizo and BenQ.

(I use an NEC PA-series SpectraView with my Macs, but I’ve heard that NEC, who is now Sharp NEC, has discontinued the PA line after many years. BenQ appears to have taken their place as the less expensive alternative to what some consider the gold standard, the Eizo ColorEdge line.)
 
Of course an Apple employee is going to try and shift his own company’s products. Goes without saying and I take that into consideration.
I’m also aware that reviews in general can be biased. Not always, but regularly.
I’m certain that there are other monitors that are as good or better than the Apple Studio. I was also considering a BenQ and others.
Any purchase is a compromise of personal needs and funds. In my case, I also wanted a built in web cam with the ability to use Center Stage and a good sound system. I’ll be honest and say that I like Apple products generally, so that influences my choice.
Like any purchase, there is no universally ‘best’ product. If there were, we would all drive the same car, use the same camera, etc., etc.
I just found it interesting that in this situation (where he wasn’t selling me anything as the conversation started on separate issues not connected to the monitor, and mentally I’d already made up my mind) this Apple employee was happy to recommend a raft of competitor’s products. It was only when we discussed that we were both photographers, that his opinion on the Studio came out.
 
Well this topic is now relevant to me. Just got home from a trip and my primary picture monitor is dead. Only half of the screen turns on.
It is a six year old BenQ Photo Monitor (SW320C). Since my secondary monitor also died a few months ago and I had not bothered to replace it I no have no working monitors on my primary desktop.

I now need either a one of the super wide monitors (I had two 30in 4K monitors with standard 3:4 ratios, one for picture work, one for work/web/email/chat...). It was actually overkill as I did not need that much space.

So any suggestions?

Tim
 
Well this topic is now relevant to me. Just got home from a trip and my primary picture monitor is dead. Only half of the screen turns on.
It is a six year old BenQ Photo Monitor (SW320C). Since my secondary monitor also died a few months ago and I had not bothered to replace it I no have no working monitors on my primary desktop.

I now need either a one of the super wide monitors (I had two 30in 4K monitors with standard 3:4 ratios, one for picture work, one for work/web/email/chat...). It was actually overkill as I did not need that much space.

So any suggestions?

Tim
What is your budget?
 
Total: 2k, maybe 3K; prefer a lot less obviously.

So far I have not found a wide gamut photo editing monitor that is an ultra wide display. Which means I believe I will end up back in a two monitor solution. In my limited searching this evening, I am looking at three monitors from cheap to high end:
Asus: PA279CRV
ViewSonic: VP2786-4K
BenQ: either the SW271C or the SW321C

For the second monitor in this solution, which is NOT for any photography items I will just pick up a cheap monitor.

Tim
 
I recommend you ensure both screens have the same pixel density. Some time back I decided to put a second screen on my desk, for email, browser, office apps, etc. I found it unbearable, when dragging windows from one screen to another, to see the window resize to accommodate the different pixel density. My eyes also had difficulty trying to compare text on one screen with text on the second.


Approx one year ago my screen just ceased to work. My ideal setup would have been 2 x 24 inch screens, but I could not find a suitable 24 inch screen at the time and opted for a single 32 inch 4k screen.
 
@Gnits

I follow, but I had split resolution for years and that specific issue did not affect me. It might have been because I so rarely had applications move windows between screens.

Tim
 
I was really surprised that I had such a strong reaction to this resizing behaviour. It was never an issue when say I had images (Lr or Ps) on say my image editing screen and text (say email and Word) on the second screen. However, occasionally, I would need to take advantage of the full scree real estate, say to compare 2 documents and then comparing one document with one pixel resolution to another document on a different screen with a different resolution made it difficult for me to work.

There are probably a million variables at work here, including eyesight, workflow and how the different screens are used. I mention here because I had such a strong reaction.
 
@Gnits

Definitely something to keep in mind. It did not occur to me; likely because I went with split resolutions on dual monitors back in the mid 90s And this likely subconsciously controlled how/what I use the separate screens since the original split monitors were very limited in capabilities.

Tim
 
While I wear glasses, I have really good peripheral vision… This may be a factor in my cases as my eyes will detect small changes just outside my zone of focus (my eyes this time, not dof of a lens).

Also, for me 2x27 would be too big …. so at the time my only real option was 1 x 32. I vaguely recall…. I could source 24inch 2k screens but not 24inch 4k screens that had close to 100% AdobeRGB gamut. Hopefully there might be more options now. Also, I live in Dublin, Ireland so have limited supply options.
 
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