LG Ultrafine 5K
Want an ultra-high-resolution Mac desktop display but don’t want to spend $6,000 on Apple’s new Pro Display XDR?
The designed-for-Mac LG UltraFine 5K display will get you 14.7 million pixels (5120-by-2880 resolution) packed into a 27-inch diagonal for a reasonable $1,299 (and there are plenty of deals on refurbished Ultrafine 5Ks).
OK, so it’s not the Pro Display XDR’s 20.4 million pixels and not a 32-inch diagonal but it’s a whopping $4,700 less than the XDR with its $999 stand. And it still gets you a big 27-inch display and a ton pixels — and it’s sold by Apple like the XDR.
Note: the LG UltraFine 5K includes the stand at no extra cost!
And here’s the dirty little secret Apple doesn’t seem to want to advertise*: the PPI (pixels per inch) is the same for both displays: 218.
That’s a critical spec for me. Your eyes are seeing the same ultra-high resolution on the LG but for $4,700 less.
Yes, the XDR gives you a classic Apple industrial design, up to 1,600 nits of brightness (vs 500 nits for LG 5K). And other high-end specs like a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, very wide viewing angles, and a billion-plus of very accurate colors.
But I don’t need all of that.
Here’s what I do get with the LG 5K: P3 wide color gamut, built-in stereo speakers (with decent bass output), camera, microphone, and three USB-C ports (5 Gbps), and power over a single Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable (included) or USB-C Cable (included).
And LG is updating other Ultra monitors for 2020.
I’ve been using the LG UltraFine 5K almost every day for the last two years hooked up to various MacBooks and Windows laptops.
The first day I plugged it in, it was an epiphany. It’s like jumping from a grainy old CRT picture tube to an 8K TV.
There’s no going back for me — and I didn’t need to spend $6,000.
*The 218 number is not published on Apple’s LG Ultrafine 5K spec page (linked to above) though Apple publishes the number on its Pro Display XDR page (LG does publish it).
LG Ultrafine 5K. Note the ‘Mac’ symbol in lower left.
Credit: Brooke CrothersSource