Af­ford­able 4K dis­plays

The lat­est Macs (and older ones too) sup­port Ul­tra HD dis­plays – and they’re not wildly ex­pen­sive

Mac Format - - RATED -

Ten years ago, Ap­ple in­tro­duced the 30-inch Cinema Dis­play. It was a beast of a mon­i­tor, sin­gle-hand­edly dom­i­nat­ing most rea­son­ably sized desks, and of­fer­ing a lu­di­crous amount of desk­top space thanks to its as­ton­ish­ing 2560×1600 res­o­lu­tion. Even by to­day’s stan­dards, that’s still an im­pres­sive num­ber of pix­els (it’s slightly more than the 27-inch iMac or Thun­der­bolt Dis­play of­fer), but not at the very high end – the 15-inch MacBook Pro ac­tu­ally has a higher res­o­lu­tion. If you’re look­ing for the most de­tail a screen has to of­fer in 2014, the equiv­a­lent to the good old 30-inch Cinema is a 4K screen.

Though they’ve been avail­able for a lit­tle while, the price of 4K dis­plays has come crash­ing down re­cently, mak­ing them a sur­pris­ingly rea­son­able choice if you’re look­ing for more work­ing space. 4K dis­plays have a res­o­lu­tion roughly 4,000 pix­els wide (those we’re look­ing at to­day are all 3840×2160, which is known as UHD, and is four times the num­ber of pix­els in a 1080p screen), and of­fer an un­par­al­leled amount of de­tail and (po­ten­tially) dis­play space. Us­ing a 4K dis­play en­ables you to view 4K video footage na­tively, if you have a

4K dis­plays boast pre­pos­ter­ous pix­els for spec­tac­u­lar de­tail – if your Mac sup­ports them

cam­era that can record it, or you can use Fi­nal Cut Pro in such a way that the Viewer can dis­play 1080p Full HD footage at full res­o­lu­tion at all times. You can view pho­tos up to 8MP at full size on the screen, so you can judge and edit ev­ery pixel with pre­ci­sion, or you could view six or eight doc­u­ments side by side – al­though you might find the text be­comes too small to read.

In fact, Ap­ple now treats 4K dis­plays like Retina screens when they’re con­nected to com­pat­i­ble Macs (see the next page for more on which Macs are 4K-ready), mean­ing in­ter­face el­e­ments and text ap­pear at the same size as they would if it were a 1080p screen, while images make full use of the ex­tra pix­els.

We’ve cho­sen six of the most af­ford­able Ul­tra HD dis­plays, to see if it’s 4K’s time to shine on the Mac. Christo­pher Phin & Matt Bolton

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