Budget USB-C Monitors for M1 Macs

So I have one of the new 24 inch M1 iMacs, and I’ve been considering purchasing a second monitor for it. I was thinking of purchasing a 27 inch 4K USB-C monitor and noticed that there can be quite a difference in price between the low end and high end 4K monitors. How much of a difference is there between the low end and high end models if I’m not doing any professional work in photoshop?

I’m looking for something that will look good next to the iMac’s 24 inch 4.5K screen, as I’ve read that some 4K monitors have issues with blurry text on Macs. So I’m curious what 4K USB-C monitors is everyone here using with their MacBook, Mac mini, or iMac and how would you rate it?

Check out rtings and see if their advice feels good to you (there’d also be the WireCutter I suppose.)

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The problem is, you are starting from a high-end screen, with the built-in one on the iMac. A cheap screen will be usable for most non-graphics and non-video editing tasks and you wouldn’t notice the difference, if it isn’t standing next to a high end display…

Apart from the manufacturers name meaning some extra price, the quality of the panel used and the electronics behind it are the most important things.

There is also USB-C and USB-C, some just connect via USB-C, some also provide a USB hub (a couple of USB-A ports) and some also provide a full docking station experience (they can power the attached PC over USB-C, the provide Ethernet, card readers etc.

On the screen side, you have cheap TN panels at the low end, high quality TN panels and IPS in the mid range and IPS and OLED/AMOLED at the high end. The higher up the price scale, the more colour accurate the screens should be and the more options to calibrate (if they aren’t already calibrated before leaving the factory).

If colour accuracy isn’t a problem and it doesn’t bother you, that moving an image from the internal display to the external display changes it colours slightly, any monitor will do, if something like that bothers you, then you need to go a bit more upmarket.

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Personally, not matching the resolution and size would really bug me. I run a Mac Mini M1 and two 1080p monitors that are exactly the same, and the picture and colour quality are the same on both. They are both IPS panels and wouldn’t want to go with a TN panel these days. I’m not sure what a VA panel looks like though.

Also, you don’t need a USB-C monitor. HDMI or DisplayPort will work fine with the Thunderbolt ports on the iMac - you just need a USB-C to HDMI or DisplayPort cable. I have USB-C to HDMI for my second monitor.

I use a 43“ LG 4K monitor and a 34” ultra wide as well as the internal display with my Lenovo laptop, the different resolutions don’t bother me.

it would set off my OCD for sure

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I have a 32" 4k and a 24" 1080 monitor and it doesn’t bother me.

I’m using windows and you just set different scaling options for each monitor so you don’t really notice. I’d assume there’s a similar setting on Mac.


Convenient timing of this article:


Can you actually use a 32" 4K monitor at 100% scaling? I use a 43" and the text is a little too big, I’d guess 32" is a little too small and around 38" would be about the right size. I certainly wouldn’t want to use a 27" 4K monitor at 100% scaling.

On my 32" 16:9 I have it set to 125% at 4k, 150% is the windows recommendation.

I tried setting it to 100% and it’s useable but a bit small. If I needed to for more things on the screen than I usually do then it’s an option but probably not comfortable on the eyes for a long session.

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