Need advice on a nice external display for retina MacBook Pro

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I have a mid 2012 retina MBP, and looking to upgrade my external monitor. I sometimes like to use my old 24" BenQ monitor, but after looking at the retina screen on the MBP, the monitor, even at 1080P, looks really grainy. It's pretty bad.

I'd like something in the 27-32" range that will look really good when using my MacBook in clamshell mode. I have read some info about resolutions supported by this model of MacBook but am kind of confused as to what exactly I should look for, in order to get the best picture quality. 3840x2160 would be pretty much un-usable I'd imagine, but I believe this laptop will do that via mini display port (or maybe HDMI?).

So what external monitors are people using, and how do they look? Thank you.
 

pigoo3

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I have a mid 2012 retina MBP, and looking to upgrade my external monitor. I sometimes like to use my old 24" BenQ monitor, but after looking at the retina screen on the MBP, the monitor, even at 1080P, looks really grainy. It's pretty bad.

If I'm reading things correctly…what you're saying is…your MBP's retina display looks great…but your traditional external display doesn't in comparison. Sounds to me that you are not going to be pleased with almost any external display…unless it is a retina-like display. Since probably 95%+ of external displays currently available are not "retina-like". They will simply be the same technology as your current external display.

Newer technology for external displays is the "4k technology"…which means greater pixel density. Here are a couple documents that help explain things a bit:

Using 4K displays and Ultra HD TVs with Mac computers
4K resolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

4k displays are more expensive…so expect to pay more.

- Nick
 
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Maybe the whole problem is how crisp the retina display is then? Is every external monitor going to look grainy/blurry? I hope there's something out there that displays a lot nicer than this old BenQ that is probably 5-6 years old. Do you think it will be a matter of taking my laptop to an Apple Store or Best Buy and connecting it to some different monitors to see what they look like?

Of course it would be great to have an external monitor with the same quality of the MBP screen, but I know that is not possible. Just looking for something nice that won't cost $2000.
 
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So, just for the **** of it, I dug out my old white plastic MacBook that I purchased way back in 2006, and connected it to the BenQ monitor to see how it looks these days. I opened up the same website on the 2012 MacBook Pro, using HDMI to the monitor, and the old MacBook is using DVI through a mini DVI to DVI adapter. What I found is very disappointing. The picture quality displayed on the external monitor looks much better when viewing the old MacBook. What the **** is that all about? There is something definitely wrong with this situation. The retina MacBook pro should EASILY look as good as an 8 year old MacBook when outputting to an external display. Realistically, it should look better, but the limitation of the external monitor's resolution is probably the limiting factor there. I wish there was an Apple store here in my city, because I would be going there right now to show them this problem and get an answer.
 

pigoo3

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So, just for the **** of it, I dug out my old white plastic MacBook that I purchased way back in 2006, and connected it to the BenQ monitor to see how it looks these days. I opened up the same website on the 2012 MacBook Pro, using HDMI to the monitor, and the old MacBook is using DVI through a mini DVI to DVI adapter. What I found is very disappointing. The picture quality displayed on the external monitor looks much better when viewing the old MacBook.

When you're viewing your external monitor with the retina MBP and with the older MacBook…is the resolution on the external display the same? If not…this isn't an "apples to apples" comparison.

Remember…"stuff" on a flat panel display looks best when doing it at the displays "native" resolution. So try to use the external display's native resolution as much as possible.

- Nick
 

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