I have been wanting to get a new monitor for a wile now. I waited for a few months to see if the new professional monitor that Apple were planning to release was going to be any good. They finally put flesh on the bones of the rumours this week and, I have to say, the monitor looks like it will be great. Great but at a very high price, great but not for a few months yet and great but it will be too big for my desk at home. I have had lots of monitors over the years and I have tried many more whilst installing them for friends and colleagues and so my decision to go with the LG Ultrafine 5K will probably surprise quite a few people.
The days when everything we did was aimed at print are gone. We have to produce images for a very wide range of uses these days and so I decided to go with a monitor that has excellent colour, brilliant flexibility and a simple (very Mac friendly) interface. This LG fits all of those requirements with ease. When these monitors first appeared in the Apple Store there were a lot of negative comments and I was pretty dismissive of them myself when I saw one. Over time I have grown to like them and now that Apple’s own professional monitor cannot tick my boxes I decided to place my order for the LG.
Moving from a 25″ 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution Dell Ultrasharp to a 27″ 5120 a 2880 pixel LG has been a pleasant experience. It feels a lot more restful on the eyes and the amount of screen real estate has grown too. Having a single Thunderbolt 3 cable running power and data to my 15″ MacBook Pro makes it very easy to pick up my laptop and disappear to other parts of the house or off on a job without having to think about disconnecting anything apart from ejecting two USB3 hard drives which are themselves connected to a USB hub running from a USB Type C port on the rear of the monitor. I also have a USB Type C to Ethernet adapter plugged into the screen and so I can dispose of lots of bits of cable and the powered Henge Dock that I used to use.
Getting this piece of kit set up hasn’t all been plain sailing. When I turned the monitor on it had quite a strong colour shift – everything was magenta! After running for an hour or two the monitor appeared to have settled down and so I calibrated it using a Colormunki Display device (when are they going to bring out the 64 bit software for that thing?) The native colour settings and the calibrated setting are so close that I cannot tell which is which. The other tiny issue is that it is having to sit on its stand for now as it uses a different size wall mount racket to the old Dell but that’s fine as the height adjuster on the LG is very easy to use and very smooth too.
Once I’ve done a few hundred hours say in front of my new monitor I’ll know more about it but I like having the (rather good) built-in microphone and speakers and the web cam. Being able to use the function keys to control volume and brightness on an Apple keyboard instead of having to use touch buttons is a plus too. All-in-all I like this monitor and all I need Apple to do now is to make and release a keyboard with a Touch Bar on it so that when my MacBook Pro is in clamshell mode I can still get access to fingerprint ID and the added functionality of the Touch Bar. Once again I’m holding off from making a purchase despite the A and return keys on my old Magic Keyboard being almost worn out. I am tempted by the Space Grey keyboard on offer but I’m going to play ‘wait and see’ because I am sue that Apple will deliver a Touch Bar keyboard at the same time as their awesome looking Mac Pro and Pro Monitors in the Autumn.