LG UltraFine Display 24MD4KL

"LG's UltraFine is only for hardcore Mac fans, but they'll love it."

  • Color-accurate panel, optimized for creative workflows

  • Many ports that are easily accessible

  • Versatile installation options

  • No old ports, no Windows support

  • Thick bezels are chunky

Using monitor buttons feels like traveling through time. In addition to a slim MacBook Pro, the chunky keys and menus seem outdated. What if you could just use the touch bar to quickly change the brightness or scroll through the settings? This is the suggestion of LG's latest UltraFine 24 monitor.

Windows users may not feel up to date, but LG is clearly geared towards Apple's creative user base given the high price and coveted position of the panel in the Apple stores.

For creatives who don't need the extra-large screen of Apple's 32-inch display XDR with 6K pixel resolution, the UltraFine 24 is certainly a cheaper alternative that offers some of the premium features. Given that Apple's premium display is already available at $ 5,000, LG's $ 700 UltraFine seems to be an affordable panel for creative people. Is it the ultimate monitor for your MacBook Pro?

Basic is the new black

If you don't need a color-accurate display that supports a large P3 color space, the design of LG's UltraFine 24 seems a bit overwhelming for the average person. For the most part, the subtle black basic design of the UltraFine 24 serves a useful purpose for the creative audience, which LG clearly appeals to, as the tint is a neutral color that helps your eyes distinguish the different tones that appear bright on the screen Screen. In an ironic twist, the all-black hue of the UltraFine looks more like a PC companion than something that complements Jony Ive's love affair with silver computers clad in metal. Creatives who need a larger display can also opt for the similarly designed 27-inch UltraFine 5K panel from LG, which costs a premium of $ 600 compared to our test device.

Despite its more practical aesthetics, the basic silhouette of the LG monitor developed for Mac is very similar to the now discontinued Apple Thunderbolt display. The focus of UltraFine is on the rectangular 24-inch 4K screen, which is pre-assembled on a solid cylindrical stand that is attached to a square metal base immediately after unpacking – no assembly is required here.

LG UltraFine Display 24MD4KLChuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

In contrast to Apple's branded products, this display is largely made of plastic. At 25 pounds, however, the UltraFine still looks solid and feels reassuringly durable. It will surely not slip on your desk. And unlike most all-in-one devices – like Apple's iMac and HP's Envy Curved All-In-One 34 – the stand can be raised and lowered for better ergonomics. This is a requirement for professionals who work on their creative projects for hours every day.

If you're used to more modern consumer panels, you'll immediately be drawn to the panel's symmetrical bezels. While I appreciated the steadiness of the bezels on all four sides – most displays have a larger lower bezel, which gives a chin-like effect – the fairly large symmetrical 5/8-inch bezels make this panel look less modern. However, don't be fooled by the somewhat outdated look of the UltraFine, as the larger frames serve a useful purpose. Although Dell has made the almost invisible frames known with its Infinity Edge display, most creatives generally prefer a frame to minimize distractions and draw their attention to the screen.

The all-black hue of the UltraFine makes it look more like a PC companion than something that complements Jony Ive's design.

Although most of the features of the UltraFine that don't appeal to consumers can be reconciled with the professional pedigree of the UltraFine, there is still a design element that will raise a few eyebrows even for creative users. The flat screen is just under an inch thick and measures 7/8 inches. In addition to the thickness of the screen, there is also a protruding trapezoidal structure in which the internal electronics of the display are located. The angular design on the back is not an unattractive design, but it brings back the atmosphere of large flat-screen TVs from the 90s.

Although the stand can be raised and lowered and the plate can be tilted up and down, the UltraFine on the stand cannot be swung from side to side. Depending on how you want to display your display, you may want to center the UltraFine on the desk for the best experience possible. Unlike the larger 32-inch BenQ PD3220U, encoders and twitch streamer cannot rotate the UltraFine 90 degrees to use the screen vertically.

The difference between concatenation

Compared to older video connections – HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA – Thunderbolt 3 makes a big difference in dealing with cable clutter when using the UltraFine 4K. Thunderbolt 3 can not only process your display feed, but also charge your laptop with a single-cable setup. This year, the Thunderbolt 3 connector gets a major upgrade from LG's previous UltraFine monitor versions, as it can power high-performance laptops like the Apple MacBook Pro with discrete graphics with 85 watts of power.

The LG UltraFine 4K has two rear-facing Thunderbolt 3 ports. Another advantage of this input protocol is that you can connect your accessories in series. With older video connections, you need two video output connections on your laptop to connect multiple displays. Two cables have to be laid from your laptops to your monitors. If you're looking for a multi-display setup, a single cable that runs from UltraFine to your laptop can handle both video and power. If you have two LG displays, you can connect the two monitors together via the second Thunderbolt connector. The result is that you get three displays – two external and the built-in screen of your laptop – with only one visible cable on your desk.

LG UltraFine Display 24MD4KLChuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

In addition to the Thunderbolt ports, you will find three adjacent USB-C ports for quickly connecting other accessories such as external drives and a connector for connecting a cable to power the display. Fortunately, the power supply for the monitor is built in, and you will no longer have an unsightly power supply module. The UltraFine comes with three cables – a power cord, a Thunderbolt 3 cable, and a USB-C cable. If you have an older Mac, you may need an adapter.

Despite the position of the connectors on the back, the manageable size of the panel makes it easier to reach for these connectors than the cumbersome downward connectors of the larger, curved 34-inch panel from Alienware. Compared to the rear ports of the HP Envy Curved AIO 34, swiveling the UltraFine screen on the display stand makes it easier to connect accessories to the LG panel. If you prefer to mount the UltraFine on your own stand or on a wall, a VESA bracket is also included.

Confusing controls

Although most gaming and office monitors come with a variety of unlabeled buttons on the bottom of the bottom edge that give users the ability to fine-tune the brightness, contrast, and preset modes, the UltraFine lets all buttons take over freely from the touch bar . On this control panel, you won't even find a power switch that keeps the design clean.

The UltraFine removes all keys and lets the touch bar take over.

If you connect USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 to your device instead, the control panel will turn on automatically. I connected an HP EliteBook laptop with Windows 10 and a 13-inch MacBook Pro via the Thunderbolt 3 port and switched the display on with both settings. However, Windows users cannot make adjustments to the screen because most controls, usually managed by buttons and an on-screen display, are now managed by the software. In this case, LG does not provide the software or drivers that work with the Windows system, so only Mac users can make these display settings.

This means that I couldn't even decrease the screen brightness on the HP EliteBook. Even though the UltraFine could display content, I would have preferred to dim the insanely bright display down. With the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the touch bar provides controls for the brightness control when the display is connected, with which you can adjust the brightness of the integrated display and the UltraFine. Once you're on the MacOS desktop screen, options for audio settings, brightness controls, and a Siri shortcut appear on the right side of the touch bar. When you tap the brightness button, a slider appears to adjust the display settings. When the UltraFine is connected to the MacBook Pro, you will find two sliders – one for the native display of the MacBook and a second slider for the external display.

LG UltraFine Display 24MD4KLChuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

The USB-C connection means that you should also be able to use UltraFine with Apple's latest iPad Pro. This is useful for creatives dealing with sketches and hand-drawn graphics, but I couldn't see which display the iPad controls OS offers with such a setup.

Because of LG's lack of Windows support, if you're looking for a studio display for your PC, you might want to look elsewhere. If you are a Mac user and find that you spend a lot of time in Boot Camp as part of your workflow, UltraFine may not be suitable. This monitor is primarily aimed at users who are in the Apple software ecosystem.

Shades

Similar to Apple's high-end computer products with an integrated display – such as the iMac, iPad Pro and MacBook Pro – the LG UltraFine supports a large DCI-P3 color space, making it a great tool for creatives who need a display supports a larger color space than the typical sRGB.

When testing with Datacolor's Spyder5 Elite tool and associated display analysis software, we found that UltraFine supports 100 percent of the sRGB color space and 87 percent of the wider Adobe RGB color space, and is within range of the built-in panels that on Apple’s iMac, Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2, and the portable 15-inch MacBook Pro. The Apple panels cover the same sRGB color space as a reference and are only slightly higher at 90 percent in the Adobe RGB spectrum.

For example, if you switch between a mobile and a desktop workflow, you can be sure that the colors between the smaller, more portable display of the 15-inch MacBook Pro 2019 and the larger screen of the UltraFine will translate properly. If you're working with an iMac and need a multi-monitor workflow, adding the LG monitor to your setup can give you consistent color reproduction on your screens.

The contrast of the UltraFine is similar to the integrated displays from Apple and supports a ratio of 930: 1 at 100 percent brightness. This is in line with the 2019: 900 contrast ratio of the iMac and the 990: 1 supported by Apple's latest 15-inch MacBook Pro. The Datacolor tool rated the UltraFine as excellent for color gamut, sound reproduction, contrast and color uniformity and achieved at least 4.5 out of five points in each of the categories listed. With an average delta value of 2.49 and color accuracy, Datacolor rated the color accuracy as good. This is not terrible, but it should do the job.

The assessment of the color accuracy seems appropriate, since the delta value for the MacBook Pro is only 0.8 – lower values ​​are better here – and the delta of the iMac is also less than 1, while the delta of the Microsoft Surface Studio is 1.12. This places the UltraFine ahead of the somewhat older Ultrasharp UP3218K from Dell with a delta score of 3.22 and behind the 1.36 delta of the newer Dell Ultrasharp U4919DW.

LG UltraFine Display 24MD4KLChuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

Another monitor designed specifically for MacOS users is BenQ's PD3220U, a panel with a 32-inch 4K screen. The BenQ monitor behaves similarly to the UltraFine in terms of contrast and color gamut, but has a lower delta of 1.43 for color accuracy, making it a more accurate control panel for creative work.

The uniformity of brightness is rated by Datacolor in the UltraFine as above average, since the top and left edges of the display shine a little brighter than the bottom and right edges. LG rates the panel at 500 nits and gives the screen a brightness similar to that of the iMac 5K and the latest MacBook Pro. For comparison: Apple's Pro Display XDR promises to deliver twice the brightness of these listed panels with the stated rating of 1,000 nits.

After unpacking, the LG display appears on the cooler side, with skin tones missing from images that lack the warmth shown on the MacBook Pro's display. After running the Datacolor screen calibration utility on my MacBook Pro 13-inch, the images got warmer.

Players should look elsewhere

The UltraFine 4K is primarily a production display, and its features won't appeal to gamers. Without features like fast response and shipping without support for Nvidia's G-Sync or AMD's FreeSync technology, the UltraFine was not designed for fast action games. And although the panel's refresh rate is better optimized for video editing, more modern gaming panels offer 120 Hz or 240 Hz refresh rates, making them a better value if you are looking for them.

However, given the Mac-centered design of the UltraFine, this shouldn't be too much of a problem since games for MacOS have never really been a good choice.

guarantee

Due to the focus on a professional audience, LG's limited one-year warranty on UltraFine for parts and labor seems to be more limited than that of the competition. Competitors such as HP, Dell and Lenovo offer optional warranty extensions that allow you to extend your insurance coverage up to four or five years, depending on the company. Some even offer next business day repairs or on-site insurance coverage. For example, Dell offers a standard three-year limited warranty on its premium panels, including monitors sold under the Ultrasharp, Professional, and Alienware brands, making them more suitable for business and business use.

Extended protection plans can help reduce downtime or costly repairs and replacements for creatives who need a display for work. We hope that LG offers this for UltraFine. Although the UltraFine is sold through Apple's retail stores, AppleCare's extended coverage does not apply when purchasing a third-party LG display.

Our opinion

If you are a Mac user and you need a color-accurate display designed specifically for MacOS, the UltraFine 4K from LG offers affordable value for expanding your display area. With options for a 24-inch 4K or 27-inch 5K panel, LG's UltraFine series is cheaper than the Apple Thunderbolt display, which is being replaced in the Apple product range, and a far cheaper option than the one that will soon be available Per display XDR.

If you're working in a multi-platform environment and switching between PCs, Macs, and Chromebooks, you'll want to look elsewhere because the UltraFine doesn't include hardware buttons for detailed controls and there is no software support outside of Apple's software ecosystem itself, simple brightness adjustments.

Is there a better alternative?

If you're looking for a Mac-specific display, LG's UltraFine feels like a first-party panel from Apple. Because of its outstanding placement in Apple retail stores, Apple's product was subtly recommended when the Thunderbolt display was discontinued. And for $ 700, it may be affordable hardware for Apple users who are used to paying premium prices, but PC users can find better deals by looking elsewhere.

An alternative to the UltraFine for Mac motifs is the Ben32 PD3220U, a display that supports many functions of the LG model, e.g. B. the integrated USB-C port, the support of a large P3 color space and the 4K resolution. If you have a more expansive desk, the BenQ may be the better option, as its 32-inch dwarfs use the UltraFine 4K's 24-inch panel. At $ 1,200, the BenQ is a substantial premium over the 24-inch UItraFine, but still costs $ 100 less than LG's larger 27-inch UltraFine 5K.

When you're ready to spend a little more than the UltraFine 24 for $ 839, the 43-inch 4K multi-client P4317Q monitor from Dell can give you a much larger screen. Graphic designers and photographers more used to pixel peeping may find Dell's UltraSharp 32 UP3218K, with its vibrant 32-inch display that supports Dell's PremierColor technology and 8K pixel resolution, an attractive option. At $ 3.2899, the 8K panel costs significantly more than the UltraFine 4K, but is very competitive with Apple's Pro Display XDR.

How long it will take?

With a 4K resolution screen and a color-accurate display, the UltraFine is a tool in your creative arsenal that will give you years of pleasure. With its modern USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports, the panel will almost certainly work with any new or future Mac, MacBook series or iPad Pro in the foreseeable future. The only thing that holds LG's UltraFine back is the short warranty and nonexistent support for non-Mac users.

Should you buy it

If you're a Mac creative professional, the LG UltraFine is an excellent and affordable companion for your MacBook. It offers a lower entry price than the Apple brand Thunderbolt display it replaces. Modern ports and a reserved design help you to concentrate on your projects.

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