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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This very high-level 4K display, which may compete with Apple's unreleased and much more expensive "XDR" display, finally became available, but supplies may be very limited:

  • 32-Inch 4K HDR (3840 x 2160) Professional display with Thunderbolt 3 x2, DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 x2, HDMI 2.0B x3 inputs and 3W stereo speakers
  • True 10-bit color depth and quantum-dot technology provides 99% DCI-P3, 99.5% Adobe RGB, and 100% sRGB, 89% rec. 2020 color space for exceptional Color fidelity
  • Asus SMART HDR technology supports multiple HDR formats including HDR-10, Dolby Vision, and HLG
  • Asus Eye Care technology with certified low Blue light and flicker-free technology paired with ergonomic tilt, swivel, pivot and height adjustment stand
  • Thunderbolt 3 USB-C supports data transfers at up to 40 Gaps, and Power delivery provides up to 60W of power to external devices
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Meanwhile, Dell announced another high-end monitor, at a third the price of Apple's XDR display, but it won't ship until January 2020:
Dell blog said:
Dell Brings the Ultimate Screen Performance to AdobeMax
Dell is excited to introduce the Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor Monitor (UP2720Q) – the world’s first 27-inch 4K monitor with a built-in colorimeter and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity for content creators who require color-critical performance.

... The Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor Monitor offers 100% Adobe RGB, 98% DCI-P3 and 80% BT2020, providing a wide range of color reproduction across different color space standards.

... The built-in colorimeter helps users stay productive and get work done faster with quick and easy calibration – on-demand or scheduled after hours for consistent and optimized color performance every time. Users will also experience a more efficient workflow with a responsive built-in colorimeter that maintains consistency from production to delivery. The UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor is a CalMAN® Ready monitor and works seamlessly with CalMAN® color calibration software (sold separately) to perform a variety of tasks, including calibration with a built-in or external colorimeter.

... The high contrast ratio and low dark luminance offer impressive contrasts and deep blacks. Any unwanted glare and reflection on the monitor from sunlight or overhead lights can be reduced using the easy-to-attach shading hood.

... This performance-packed monitor offers Thunderbolt 3 with speed up to 40Gbps – the fastest and most versatile connectivity with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and can charge up to 90W to a connected notebook while simultaneously transferring video and data signals.

... The Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor Monitor will be available Jan. 15, 2020 worldwide starting at $1,999.99.
 


Meanwhile, Dell announced another high-end monitor, at a third the price of Apple's XDR display, but it won't ship until January 2020:
Unless the spec sheet (along with other reports I've read) has an error, keep in mind it's nothing close to HDR on the Dell. "Brightness 250 cd/m2 (typical)"

The Asus ProArt PA32UCX you mentioned above, however, has tremendous potential. I hope to be playing with one next week.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Here's some useful information (with test images) for anyone considering using a TV as a computer display:
Rtings.com said:
Chroma Subsampling
4:4:4 vs 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0
...
When does it matter?
Subsampling Visual Impact
PC4:4:4Major
Movies4:2:0None
Video Games4:4:4Minor
Sports4:2:0None
TV Shows4:2:0None

Artifacts from chroma subsampling are at their most noticeable with text atop a flat color. The impact is far less visible in videos and photos. This matters when connecting your TV to a computer, as you don't want your text to be blurry to the point of being unreadable.
 


Apple promised the new Mac Pro would be available in the fall of 2019. Fall technically runs from September 23 to December 22 this calendar year. Buried in today's MacBook Pro announcement was the following tidbit at the very end, almost as an afterthought.
For what it's worth, noticed yesterday that the Apple Pro Display XDR is mentioned in a Photos > Preferences help page.
Apple Support said:
Change preferences in Photos on Mac
HDR
If an Apple Pro Display XDR is connected to your Mac, the HDR checkbox appears and is selected to show the full dynamic range of your photos (when the Photos window appears on the display).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
For what it's worth, noticed yesterday that the Apple Pro Display XDR is mentioned in a Photos > Preferences help page.
Apple Support said:
Change preferences in Photos on Mac
HDR
If an Apple Pro Display XDR is connected to your Mac, the HDR checkbox appears and is selected to show the full dynamic range of your photos (when the Photos window appears on the display).
They probably got that from iOS (e.g. for iPhone X):
iPhone Settings > Photos said:
View Full HDR [Off/On]
Automatically adjust the display to show the complete dynamic range of photos.
 


I’m in the market for a new display for my 2018 MacBook Pro 15”, and would like to purchase through Ric’s Amazon link to help the site during this 2019 Black Friday sales week. Even after chasing many of the links in this thread, I’m still overwhelmed with the options, and listings on Amazon aren’t always clear on ports, etc.

I’d love suggestions, preferably from those who own whatever model they recommend, for a 27-32” 4K or better display (prefer a taller ratio over super-widescreen). I’d like to do away with the mess of adapters I currently have - so something that will plug directly into my MacBook Pro’s USB-C port, with at least one USB-C and one USB-A port on the display. Don’t want built in speakers or microphone. Ability to power the laptop isn’t critical. Would like to spend under $700 or so. A design language that complements the laptop is important, too - this display with replace an Apple Cinema 30” that I love, but that has to go back to my employer when I retire at the end of the year.

Thanks for sharing your suggestions and experiences.
 


I’m in the market for a new display for my 2018 MacBook Pro 15”, and would like to purchase through Ric’s Amazon link to help the site during this 2019 Black Friday sales week...
As noted above, I've found this to be very acceptable:

ViewSonic VP3268-4K PRO 32" 4K Monitor with 100% sRGB Rec 709, HDR10, 14-bit 3D LUT, Color Calibration for Photography and Graphic Design

It's a bit over your $700 desired limit, but I still like it. Styling is simple black. The Amazon link given here shows it well enough, and includes Ric's Amazon link.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
As noted above, I've found this to be very acceptable:
It's a bit over your $700 desired limit, but I still like it. Styling is simple black. The Amazon link given here shows it well enough, and includes Ric's Amazon link.
There’s a 27-inch 4K version there currently at $504. I’m also very pleased with my 2K version.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Can anyone comment on how the ViewSonics stack up against a wide-gamut monitor that covers 98–100% Adobe RGB?
Color on my old 2K Viewsonic VP2770 has been excellent (including comparisons with the wide-gamut 2017 iMac 5K), and newer ones should be even better. Here's a new 4K model with 99% Adobe RGB, if that's what you need:


A little higher up the price ladder, BenQ looks tempting:

 


The Viewsonic doesn't have USB-C, and I'm not too crazy about the design of the base/stand.

I had looked at a few BenQ displays before, but price turned me away. Following your link and poking around some more turned up the BenQ EW3270U at a reasonable $439.99. It doesn't check all my boxes, but the items that are missing aren't critical - it supports USB-C (video-only), the size and price are good, and I like the base/stand design, even if it has somewhat horsey-sized borders on the display. Anyone using one?

Another one that turned up is the Dell U3219Q. It's a little over my budget at $776 but has USB-C (with 90W power) plus additional USB ports. I have an older, similarly-styled Dell at my main office desk that I like.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The Viewsonic doesn't have USB-C ...
While I understand the appeal of USB-C display connection, my sense is that it really limits your choices, so you may be giving up other useful attributes to get it. A single-connection alternative is a Thunderbolt 3 dock, such as the CalDigit TS3 Plus (which includes DisplayPort output among its many ports), although that does add to the bottom line.

For USB-C, you probably need to consider LG's displays, such as the LG 27UK850-W and LG 27UL850-W or Thunderbolt 3 models, such as the LG 27MD5KA-B and the LG UltraFine series.
 


A single-connection alternative is a Thunderbolt 3 dock, such as the CalDigit TS3 Plus (which includes DisplayPort output among its many ports), although that does add to the bottom line.
I actually already have a TS3, but most of the ports are already in use for external storage. I wish the LG displays didn’t use that curved base/stand, as I liked to store my keyboard on the flat base of the Cinema 30 when not in use.
 




Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Correct, it's the BenQ EW3270U 32 Inch 4K HDR monitor [Amazon link]. I'll update the Displays topic after I get some seat time with it.
Excellent! Thanks!

(By the way, the standard Mac resolution for that 4K display would be "retina'd" 1080p, but you might want to go with a different "scaled" resolution to get more content on screen – e.g. 1440p. I've found SwitchResX very useful (although Apple also provides more limited options). It'll be interesting to see everything works out, and I'll look forward to your report in the Displays topic.
 


You can buy actually buy a professional Mini LED display right now:
To me, this technology looks similar to Apple's $6K "Pro Display XDR", but I don't know if it's the same.
It is not. Apple's Pro Display XDR, while it appears to be very advanced, is still a liquid crystal display where the output of the backlight through color filters is controlled by altering the polarization of the liquid crystals.

With Mini LED displays, each pixel is an really tiny LED (dunno if it's a single RGB LED or not) that emits light directly. The display is technically much simpler – no backlight, no diffuser, no polarization filters – and can be brighter, since you don't lose half the light output by polarizing it.

This is similar to existing OLED displays that used Organic LEDs. While popular with televisions, there are almost no OLED computer monitors. I do have the ultra-rare Dell UP3017Q OLED 32" monitor, and it's wonderful, with the only downside being that OLEDs do age and become dimmer over time. Mini LEDs apparently do not have this problem.
 


There's a distinct difference between mini and micro LEDs. Mini LEDs are used in LCD backlights, while micro LEDs are used to create the display itself.
 


There's a distinct difference between mini and micro LEDs. Mini LEDs are used in LCD backlights, while micro LEDs are used to create the display itself.
That is my understanding too. So the ASUS monitor is an LCD monitor, not micro LED, and the "quantum dot" refers to the size of the LCD crystals?
 


With Mini LED displays, each pixel is an really tiny LED (dunno if it's a single RGB LED or not) that emits light directly. The display is technically much simpler – no backlight, no diffuser, no polarization filters – and can be brighter, since you don't lose half the light output by polarizing it.
There's a distinct difference between mini and micro LEDs. Mini LEDs are used in LCD backlights, while micro LEDs are used to create the display itself.
Bill's comment to David is correct. David actually described micro LEDs, not mini LEDs. And David's explanation about the way micro LED sets work compared to current LCD/LED and OLED sets is correct, he just called them 'mini' by mistake.
That is my understanding too. So the ASUS monitor is an LCD monitor, not micro LED, and the "quantum dot" refers to the size of the LCD crystals?
Charles is also correct; the Asus ProArt PA32UCX is an LCD/LED set, using a mini LED backlight array. What makes the difference is Asus's use of so many more LEDs in the backlight array (giving over 1,100 local dimming zones). All other local dimming backlights have at best a few hundred (most have far less), making local dimming much less effective. While local dimming is not as effective as per-pixel illumination, it's a lot better than anything using side or single rear backlighting and provides much better HDR.

The "quantum dot" illumination part gives the panel a much larger color space than previous technologies (including OLED) can provide, as well as brighter output for a given amount of power. The PA32UCX's quantum dot backlighting gives (essentially) full Adobe RGB, sRGB, and P3 color gamuts and has a wider 2020 gamut (~90%) than any other common technology. Combining the two makes for a really outstanding picture.

David's Dell OLED monitor is indeed a very nice monitor, and was almost impossible to find. (I vaguely remember David told me there was one left at B&H, but I didn't buy it....) Really good OLED monitors under 55" are rare and expensive, and are disappearing. Sony Broadcast's top-of-the-line 30" 4K X-300 OLED HDR monitor, a $25K wonder, is no longer being produced; Sony's now selling a quantum dot LED screen in its place for 4K HDR production.

Oh, and Charles, I think the "size" of the quantum dots refers to the what color the "dots" translate the incoming light to. Multiple sizes of quantum dots allow the maker to choose more than one color. I don't remember all the gory details about how quantum dot illumination works though....
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This seems timely for our discussion:
Business Insider said:
Apple may be considering a new type of screen technology for its next MacBook Pro that would be immune to the biggest risk of using OLED displays
  • Apple is rumored to use a new type of screen called "mini LED"for its next 16-inch MacBook Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
  • Mini LED screens are basically updated versions of the traditional LCD screens that we've been using for over a decade in TVs, monitors, smartphones, and anything else with a screen.
  • Mini LED screens are said to offer nearly the same performance as premium OLED screens, but without the risk of OLED "burn-in," where on-screen items can permanently burned into the screen if they're displayed for too long.
  • While the prospect of mini LED screens in Apple devices is exciting, it's not a guarantee, as it's still in the rumor stage.
 


Some additional data:
Cnet said:
A quick summary is:
  • A traditional LCD panel has a few hundred backlight LEDs, arranged either on the edges of the screen or behind the screen.
  • In order to get high [dynamic range], manufacturers implement "local dimming", where some of the backlight LEDs are dimmed independently from others, based on the brightness of the image data.
  • Local dimming can be coarse (e.g. vertical stripes when used with edge-lit panels) or finer (e.g. rectangular regions when LEDs are behind the LCD)
  • For several reasons (including space, power consumption, temperature, cost), it's not practical to put an LED behind every pixel. Instead, there are regions where the brightness can be adjusted
  • Using mini LEDs (generally meaning LEDs smaller than 1mm), it is possible to pack many more LEDs behind the screen, allowing for smaller regions. So there is less "blooming" when a bright object is next to a dark object.
  • Ultimately, the goal is "micro LED" (meaning LEDs smaller than 0.01mm) where it actually is possible to have one LED per pixel. Or replacing the LCD itself with three micro LEDs (red, green and blue) per pixel. But this is extremely expensive and probably won't be mainstream for a while.
The article also links to an article about quantum dots from January 2018:
Cnet said:
Key takeaways from this article:
  • Quantum dots are extremely tiny molecules that, among other things, emit light in frequencies that are a function of their physical size.
  • Today, they are used in "QLED" displays (like those from Samsung) where the backlight consists of blue LEDs. Some of the blue light passes through unchanged, and some powers quantum dots that glow green and red. This is instead of "white" LEDs, where a blue LED has a yellow phosphor coating, causing it to generate a broad spectrum of wavelengths.
  • When used in QLED screens, an LCD panel is still used to generate the actual image. The quantum dots produce a backlight consisting entirely of red, green and blue light, tuned to match the filters in the LCD panel. This produces deeper colors with less wasted energy (since it's not generating light in other wavelengths that would always be blocked by the LCD's filters).
  • The ultimate goal here is to use pixel-scale quantum dots that can be individually controlled, eliminating the need for the LCD.
The use of quantum dots for individual pixels is probably how micro LED screens are being designed. But that's just speculation on my part.

And now I know what ASUS means by "quantum dot" technology in their LCD monitor. :-)
 


Quantum dots are extremely tiny molecules that, among other things, emit light in frequencies that are a function of their physical size.
Molecules themselves are indeed very small, but quantum dots are nanometer-sized crystallites consisting of a semiconductor material, often a metal-nonmetal alloy. The dots are not composed of individual molecules.

The band structure, hence the emission color, is highly dependent on the size of the dot, due to quantum effects, so the emission wavelength can be tuned by changing the diameter. This phenomenon has been known and studied for decades, but it is really cool to see it beginning to appear in consumer products.

We have had a string of "quantum dot" christmas lights for many years. I have no idea of the material or the size of the dots, or even if it is just marketing hype, but they look nice.
 


Molecules themselves are indeed very small, but quantum dots are nanometer-sized crystallites consisting of a semiconductor material, often a metal-nonmetal alloy. The dots are not composed of individual molecules.
That will teach me to quote CNet without further research. :-)
 



In the "can't get enough of this" vein, there's a fascinating and informative YouTube video by Vincent Teoh of HDTV Test. He is reviewing the current Sony Broadcast 4K HDR Mastering Monitor (BVM-HX310) and comparing it to the previous model (BVM-X300). The X300 used an OLED panel, and the HX310 uses an LCD panel. But not just any LCD panel.

This panel is a "dual layer" panel, more formally referred to as light-modulating cell layer (LMCL) technology.* Vincent goes into great detail, both technical and emotional, about the two different technologies, and why this is the first LCD technology that he feels rivals (and in a number of ways surpasses) OLED technology. Remember that he is comparing the best there is to the best there was: 30" $30,000+ 1000 nit HDR mastering monitors.

If you're interested in current screen technology I recommend his HX310 YouTube Review highly.
HDTV Test said:

*I'm told the soon-to-be-released Apple Pro Display XDR monitor uses dual layer light-modulating cell layer (LMCL) technology, too. If Apple doesn't mess something up, it should be something to see, and $5,000 $6,000 suddenly may seem a bargain to many.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's pricy new Pro Display XDR isn't compatible with pre-Catalina macOS, nor with many Mac models (unless you add an eGPU):
Apple said:
Set up and use Apple Pro Display XDR
Pro Display XDR requires a Mac with a Thunderbolt 3 port and macOS Catalina 10.15.2.

... Pro Display XDR doesn't have any buttons and automatically turns on when you plug it into power and connect it to your Mac.
...
Compatible Mac models
Pro Display XDR supports a resolution of 6016 x 3384 with 10bpc on these Mac models:
The $1000 "nano-texture" matte treatment is really special...
Apple said:
How to clean your Apple Pro Display XDR
Your Pro Display XDR has either standard or nano-texture glass. To prevent damage to your display, follow these important guidelines for cleaning the display panel and enclosure.

Use only the dry polishing cloth that comes with your display to wipe dust or smudges off the screen. Don't add water or use other liquids to clean the nano-texture glass.
Never use any other cloths to clean the nano-texture glass.
You can switch refresh rates on the new display (as well as the 16-inch MacBook Pro)... but only to selected rates of 60 Hz and lower:
Apple said:
Change the refresh rate on your 16-inch MacBook Pro or Apple Pro Display XDR
You can switch between refresh rates on your MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) or Pro Display XDR.

For professional workflows such as video editing, you can set the refresh rate of your display to match the frame rate of the video you're editing or viewing.

You can switch between these refresh rates on your Retina display:
  • 60 Hertz
  • 59.94 Hertz
  • 50 Hertz
  • 48 Hertz
  • 47.95 Hertz
You can also switch Pro Display XDR reference modes:
Apple said:
Use reference modes with your Apple Pro Display XDR
... You can use the reference modes included with Pro Display XDR to match the requirements for HDR, HD, SD video, digital cinema, and many other production environments. Each reference mode sets the color space, white point, gamma, and brightness on your display.
Additional technical specs:
Apple said:
Pro Display XDR - Technical Specifications
  • 2D backlighting system using 576 full array local dimming zones
  • Apple-designed timing controller (TCON) chip engineered to precisely control high-speed modulation of both 20.4 million LCD pixels and 576 LEDs in backlight for seamless synchronization
  • True Tone technology with dual ambient light sensor (ALS) design to ensure an accurate viewing experience in any ambient lighting condition
 


Apple's pricy new Pro Display XDR isn't compatible with pre-Catalina macOS, nor with many Mac models (unless you add an eGPU):
Wow. I wonder what will happen if you violate this rule (I'm waiting for some enterprising YouTuber to find out).

Assuming the display properly implements DisplayPort, it should still work, but perhaps without its more advanced features, making it just a very expensive IPS 6K display. If it doesn't work at all, well... I'll reserve those comments until they become necessary.

The $1000 "nano-texture" matte treatment is really special...
Should we start a pool about how soon after this display ships that people start returning them for display surfaces ruined by the use of the wrong cloth or Windex (or whiteboard cleaner, which I frequently use on glass surfaces)? And how soon after that before the class action lawsuits are filed?

You can switch refresh rates on the new display (as well as the 16-inch MacBook Pro)... but only to selected rates of 60 Hz and lower:
Makes sense if the display is meant for content creation. Note that these are all standard TV/video frequencies: 60 Hz (US), 59.94 Hz (US broadcast) 50 Hz (Europe), 48 Hz (double the 24 fps rate of standard film projectors) and 47.95 (film, reduced for broadcast).

Definitely not a gaming monitor. :-)
 


My BenQ EW3270U 32" 4K monitor [Amazon] arrived yesterday and was fairly easy to set up. They made some effort toward a nice "out of the box" experience, but it's still not on par with an Apple product. I used the USB-C cable to connect to the laptop. The color of the (tilt-only) stand and bezel matches my Space Grey MacBook Pro nicely.

My first impression is that this thing is huge, even compared to the Apple Cinema 30" it replaced - in retrospect, I could have gotten by just fine with a 27". I'm used to running with my laptop screen open to house a couple Finder windows, but at 3840x2160 resolution, there's really no need. I'll probably run it at 3360x1890 just to be a little easier on my eyes.

The number of preset brightness/contrast settings is a bit overwhelming. I'm still trying out different options to see what feels best. Happy with it so far, though.
 





Apple's pricy new Pro Display XDR isn't compatible with pre-Catalina macOS, nor with many Mac models (unless you add an eGPU)
That is... absurd. No PCs need apply, huh? Or 2013 Mac Pros? Or any computer except the very small list of Thunderbolt 3-equipped Macs running the very latest version of Catalina? Was Apple afraid they'd sell too many Pro Displays?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
That is... absurd. No PCs need apply, huh? Or 2013 Mac Pros? Or any computer except the very small list of Thunderbolt 3-equipped Macs running the very latest version of Catalina? Was Apple afraid they'd sell too many Pro Displays?
I wonder how much of the issue is software dependencies vs. Apple-proprietary, anti-standard hardware design?

I also wonder if production capacity might be constrained, considering long delays for the similarly impressive Asus ProArt Display PA32UCX, which only recently started shipping (via Amazon and others).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I thought this commentary on Apple's Pro Display XDR vs. dual-panel (LMCL) technology was interesting...
AVSForum said:
Apple Pro Display XDR
I just don't see this thing being a dual layer. That would have headlined the announcement if it were the case. They went through the trouble of acting like a blue backlight/QD combo was something new and revolutionary, there's simply no way they glossed over this being the first dual layer display that didn't cost as much as a new car. Also, the backlight cooling is in-line with the other FALD monitors out there.

Also, LG is making this panel, not Apple. So I don't imagine Apples patents would even be coming into play here. Even the picture with the breakdown of the panel layers didn't make it look like the light shaping layer was anything close to per-pixel accuracy. I mean what about this image indicates a dual layer design?

The 1,000,000:1 contrast claim can easily be explained by the bogus VESA HDR standard of contrast measurement, which would be a tiny white window in the center for peak brightness while measuring black at the edge of the display.

I will eat my hat if it turns out to be dual-layer tech.
 



Apple's pricy new Pro Display XDR isn't compatible with pre-Catalina macOS, nor with many Mac models (unless you add an eGPU):
I thought this commentary on Apple's Pro Display XDR vs. dual-panel (LMCL) technology was interesting...
AVForum said:
Apple doesn't list its high-priced iMac Pro as capable of running its new Pro Display XDR at full resolution:
But it apparently works at a reduced 5K resolution, at least:
If you want to spend $5200 - $7000 for the privilige...
It doesn't sound encouraging, does it. If one's willing to pair the Pro Display XDR with a new Mac Pro, then maybe, but otherwise I'm initially discouraged. If the Pro Display XDR doesn't have dual-panel (LMCL) technology, then it seems to me the Asus ProArt PA32UCX is a much smarter choice. It has (exactly) twice as many LEDs used for local dimming, it works with almost any computer, it lets you set all the different color and HDR standards manually using monitor controls, and the list goes on. It includes the stand... You don't have to update to Catalina.

I do wonder why the Asus ProArt PA32UCX is $650 less in Europe (and includes a hardware X-Rite i1 Display Pro accessory). Or $1,167 less in Japan.
 


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