4k or QHD monitor for text clarity with MacBook Air M1and general gaming

D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
Hi All,

Recently bought two monitors and it looks like both will be going back for different reasons.
First was the BenQ EL2870U 4k Monitor.
Amazon product

This was crisp and sharp with great detail and my gaming was fine. Issues were the awful ghosting and you could literally see image retention show on subjects when scrolling around the screen. Add to that the screen would pulse every so often. This one is waiting to be collected.
Second is another BenQ EX278Q QHD monitor,
Amazon product

Higher refresh rate. Text not as crisp and a little blurry. Overall games are excellent. It has lots of great features, great speakers. Its a better overall monitor to the other model.

I would like to keep the BenQ EX2780Q if I can sharpen up the text on it more. I have done a bit of research on the MacBook Air M1to see what can be done. It seems little to nothing which is a surprise.

I am sure you can use a Mac with a second screen and get crisp clear text without having to go 4k.

Any advice would be really appreciated and recommendations of a monitor that would fit both needs would be great.

Items used are a 2021 MacBook Air M1 and a PS4 Pro.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
be careful with 1440. 99% of the time no problem but it doesn't scale nicely from 1080 and I've occasionally seen issues sometimes when an game is expecting 1080 output you get blurry display
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
What scaling factor are you using on these? I think Apple still refers to it as 'resolution' in their settings.
 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
What scaling factor are you using on these? I think Apple still refers to it as 'resolution' in their settings.
So I have tried a few resolutions and I can still see blurry text compared to when I had the 4k monitor.
I have tried at the top three highest resolution but its all too tiny to read. I don't remember the actual reading, but can reply with that later.
 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
Could it be that one is a TN panel and the other is IPS?
 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
Screenshot 2022-01-25 at 18.18.59.png

This is at native 2560 x 1440 resolution and you can see the lack of sharpness on the text. I have HDR on and additional sharpness to get it looking like this. Its also too small when in that resolution.
I'm returning the screen
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Could it be that one is a TN panel and the other is IPS?
Unlikely, the assorted variations of LCD you can get do have slightly different subpixel shapes but that's a very small difference physically.

View attachment 1643067
This is at native 2560 x 1440 resolution and you can see the lack of sharpness on the text. I have HDR on and additional sharpness to get it looking like this. Its also too small when in that resolution.
I'm returning the screen
Do you still see it if you view that screenshot (at a similar apparent size) on another device?

If it is the effect that's showing up in the screenshot then it's unlikely to be on the display side of the monitor but instead something influencing the way Mac OS is rendering.

Fonts are generally blurry by default at lower resolutions due to the evils of font smoothing (content designers want their typefaces to look like they do on paper, even if the edges have to be softer to achieve that).

However, in this instance there's clearly inconsistencies between the renderings of the same letter so it's not purely font smoothing - I suspect you're running into the effects of Mac OS's scaling.


I'm a few years out of date but when Apple went to HiDPI (Retina as they branded it) they were for a fairly simple implementation where they'd render the output at the first whole number multiple of the desired sizing at or above native res and then just scale the resulting image if it wasn't at native resolution.

The scaling step does result in some softness/blur but it made sense for Apple since they spec most displays their software runs on and it's easier to support for program developers.

If they're still doing it that way then it'd explain why 1920x1080 sizing running on a 3840x2160 screen (exactly 2x each way) works better than [email protected] (1.25x). The inconsistencies between letters in your screenshot could also be caused by this.


If that is the issue then to get 1920x1080 sizing on Mac OS without the inconsistent rendering you either want a 1920x1080 or 3840x2160 monitor of your desired size.
 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
If I view the same image on my MacBook Air 2021 it shows blurry text. I have done a quick screenshot of this thread but on my Mac and its a lot cleaner. When I had a 27 inch 4k screen the text was crisp and clear. I can't explain it myself really, but it is very distracting when working excel or word docs. MacBook screenshot below. Ive also added a side by side. Hope it shows ok. Thanks for your help.
Screenshot 2022-01-25 at 19.21.22.png

Screenshot 2022-01-25 at 19.26.53.png
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Having had a look around it appears there's another issue in that the HiDPI scaling isn't even activating on some monitors (some posts say everything below UHD resolution) so the system is actually outputting at 2048x1152 and then the monitor is scaling up to 2560x1440 which will be even worse quality than 4096 x 2304 scaled down to 2560x1440.

e.g.
Force HiDPI Resolutions for Dell U2515H Monitor
or
Guide: Fixing External Monitor Scaling and 'Fuzziness' Issues with MBP and OSX

I don't have the hardware to test stuff myself though, so I don't know how much of this still applies to the latest version.
 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
Having had a look around it appears there's another issue in that the HiDPI scaling isn't even activating on some monitors (some posts say everything below UHD resolution) so the system is actually outputting at 2048x1152 and then the monitor is scaling up to 2560x1440 which will be even worse quality than 4096 x 2304 scaled down to 2560x1440.

e.g.
Force HiDPI Resolutions for Dell U2515H Monitor
or
Guide: Fixing External Monitor Scaling and 'Fuzziness' Issues with MBP and OSX

I don't have the hardware to test stuff myself though, so I don't know how much of this still applies to the latest version.
Cheers for this. It explains it very well. Just had a quick scan read through.
LOL Think its easier with Windows to be honest. LOL. One member just went and bought a Mac compatible display. Its such a brain freeze when something so simple is made so difficult.

In latest Big Sur a few features have been removed like font smoothing. I have even tried a Terminal command to enable better font smoothing.
You really don't expect an expensive piece of hardware to have such incompatibility.

The two Benq monitors I have tried are being returned and looking at a couple of 4k monitors. I'm looking at 4k as that gave me no blurry text. That was only noticed when I had a FHD and QHD monitor.
Fingers crossed one of these do the trick.
Amazon product
Amazon product
Amazon product
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
You really don't expect an expensive piece of hardware to have such incompatibility.

Would this happen to be your first Apple computer?

Apple are quite capable of taking a dislike to a certain thing and refusing to support it if they're not using it on their own hardware - even when it makes up a good chunk of the third party market. This isn't the only example.

The two Benq monitors I have tried are being returned and looking at a couple of 4k monitors. I'm looking at 4k as that gave me no blurry text. That was only noticed when I had a FHD and QHD monitor.
Fingers crossed one of these do the trick.
Amazon product
Amazon product
Amazon product


I'm surprised you saw it on FHD as that should have been running at native resolution. Perhaps it was the font smoothing which is a similar effect and much more obvious outside of HiDPI mode.

A different UHD screen should work though. The motion blurring is not resolution related and typically down to the specific model of LCD panel the screen uses.
 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
Would this happen to be your first Apple computer?

Apple are quite capable of taking a dislike to a certain thing and refusing to support it if they're not using it on their own hardware - even when it makes up a good chunk of the third party market. This isn't the only example.



I'm surprised you saw it on FHD as that should have been running at native resolution. Perhaps it was the font smoothing which is a similar effect and much more obvious outside of HiDPI mode.

A different UHD screen should work though. The motion blurring is not resolution related and typically down to the specific model of LCD panel the screen uses.
Na, had a few MacBooks and Mac mini over time.

The FHD screen was an MSI Mag272C and it was blurry text for sure. That was a big reason for changing and trying a bigger and better screen.

Really quite keen on the LG or the Dell. The Dell is OOS at the minute at Amazon. I'm sure LG make the Apple Pro XDR screens, although that don't mean every LG will work. As you said above, if Apple don't want to do something they won't. LOL

Cheers for your advice,:smashin:
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Na, had a few MacBooks and Mac mini over time.

The FHD screen was an MSI Mag272C and it was blurry text for sure. That was a big reason for changing and trying a bigger and better screen.

Really quite keen on the LG or the Dell. The Dell is OOS at the minute at Amazon. I'm sure LG make the Apple Pro XDR screens, although that don't mean every LG will work. As you said above, if Apple don't want to do something they won't. LOL

Cheers for your advice,:smashin:
ITC sales have some 27" 4K Dell models in stock. They are refurbs but I've never had anything from them that doesn't look new.



There is a interesting blurb on their ad,

Compatibility. Please ensure compatibility with your system. We have a high number of returns from Apple users, compatibility with Non-Dell products cannot be assumed.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
And saw this thread on Dell forum suggesting to get 1440 or 5K display if going for 27" on a Mac,

 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
ITC sales have some 27" 4K Dell models in stock. They are refurbs but I've never had anything from them that doesn't look new.



There is a interesting blurb on their ad,

Compatibility. Please ensure compatibility with your system. We have a high number of returns from Apple users, compatibility with Non-Dell products cannot be assumed.
I would look elsewhere but I got all Amazon Voucher over Xmas so I'm a bit stuck.

Very interesting note they put on the website.

Clearly an issue.
 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
This lot is a huge minefield, and makes me wonder it its all worth the fuss.

Windows is starting to look tempting more.

Ive had a 1440p display and text was blurry and poor, even after tweaking it a lot.

Now I'm really stumped.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
This lot is a huge minefield, and makes me wonder it its all worth the fuss.

Windows is starting to look tempting more.

Ive had a 1440p display and text was blurry and poor, even after tweaking it a lot.

Now I'm really stumped.
Endless seems to have some hands on experience. We have a lot of Macs at work but its all 5k retina Apple monitors and I am beginning to understand why.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Endless seems to have some hands on experience.
I'm afraid I have no more personal experience of different systems than most people, I just have an interest in technology.

The FHD screen was an MSI Mag272C and it was blurry text for sure. That was a big reason for changing and trying a bigger and better screen.

Even if you've got the behaviour where it's just changing the output resolution and not rendering at higher res and scaling down, I do wonder if [email protected] scaling is going to be appropriate for you if you find FHD at native res to be too blurry. There are more pixels to add detail, but you're going to get some extra softness in a lot of stuff from the lack of whole number scaling.

Have you ever tried such a display through windows in the context of your current setup?

Are you going for such sizing because the screen is fairly far away (~1m-1.2m) or do you just want stuff big? If you're sat closer (~50cm) and want stuff larger then another crack at 3840x2160 does seem like the right road to go down.
 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
@EndlessWaves I do think none of this would be an issue with a Windows machine. Sadly I don’t have one to try and to confirm. It might have forced me to look at a Windows machine that was as capable as my MacBook Air.
I’m quite sure all this is an Apple Mac issue. What I can confirm was while I had the UHD/4k BenQ monitor I had crystal sharp text, but other issues weee it’s problem. Simple scrolling would result in image retention and ghosting of what was onscreen. Very distracting.
I intend on going back to a 4k screen and touch wood works how I hope it should.

Carl
 
D

Deleted member 45086

Guest
Just a quick update. Managed to get an LG 27UP850 and its stunning in quality. Colours, brightness, speakers and even text is super sharp and crisp.

Very pleased.

Thanks for all the input everyone.
 

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