Affordable 4K displays
The latest Macs (and older ones too) support Ultra HD displays – and they’re not wildly expensive
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