How to get a true 4k monitor

Jan 6, 2015
Gigabyte GA-z97x-UD3H
RX 580
  1. iMac
  2. MacBook Pro
Classic Mac
  1. LC
  2. PowerBook
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
I'm looking to upgrade my monitor, and ideally want something that can at least get close to the retina screens used in an iMac, 27 inches or bigger, but without spending an arm and a leg. I've been looking at lots of models, and came across a comment on Amazon which made sit back and rethink the whole thing. I'd really like some views from the community on whether the comments below are right, or hogwash. And if they are right, are there any 27inch + monitors out there at all which would deliver a 4k retina experience on a mac?

This comment was placed on 17AUg2018, concerning the LG 27UD88 27-Inch 4K UHD IPS:

"The main problem with this monitor is its resolution. 4K on a 27" screen size is a very unfriendly resolution for Mac users. This is because Mac OS is designed to work well in the 100 dpi range or, as a "retina", in the 200 dpi range. This monitor falls right in between those values, as indeed do all the 4K 27" monitors out there. It seems that manufacturers have found it convenient to make 4K 27" panels and are trying to shove them to consumers, even though it is not what works best for consumers.

This monitor is UHD, which means that it can be used as a native 4K monitor (the "more space" option in the Mac settings) and in that case everything on the screen is so small that you cannot read it unless your face is 10 inches from the screen. Or you can use it natively as a 1080p "retina" option, that is as 4xFHD resolution - the "default for this display" in the Mac settings. That gives you lovely crisp text, but it is also way too big: you have to sit much further away from the display than most people would want to.

Most users will instead choose an in-between resolution: 2560x1440, or 1440p, because at that resolution, with the Mac OS interface, a 27" canvas looks just right. The problem is, if you set your resolution to "looks like 2560x1440" you lose all the advantage of having purchased a 4k monitor, force your graphics card to do nasty scaling, and may see some artifacts or blurry fonts. I cannot stress this enough: if you are running a 4k monitor as a 2560x1440, you are wasting your money. You should have bought a (good quality) 2560x1440 monitor instead.

Let's say it plainly: for a Mac, the "correct" resolution for a 27"-32" monitor is 2560x1440, or 4x that for 'retina', which is a 5K display: 5120x2880.

This is a serious usability problem for Mac users that not many people talk about (and the industry is trying to 'hush'). I suspect many of the users of this monitor set the 'wrong' 2560x1440 resolution and then are unimpressed with the display's quality. But the display is excellent when used at its native resolution! It's just a Mac unfriendly model. Do you think it is a coincidence that now that LG released two monitors in partnership with Apple, they went for a 21.5" 4K and a 27" 5K? Those are the same sizes and resolutions as the iMac. That is what works best on a Mac.

Like many others, I decided to ignore this problem, even though I knew about it, because I wanted to see if it was all an exaggeration made up by some pedantic resolution freaks. It's not. This is the reason I will ultimately be returning this monitor and I will buy a 24" 4K monitor with USB-C...when someone makes it!"

The page where it appeared is here:

Anyone got any views, comments or recommendations?