My husband and I work in a private school in the Chicago area; home to many hundreds of Macs, Windows PCs, some Chromebooks, and iPads. We also have a growing number of external displays for classrooms.
What good is an external display? It means students, faculty, and staff can hook up a device to a big display for a presentation. Only a few have an Apple logo on it. Is Apple missing the boat with branded devices?
The Cheap Retina
Our classrooms are littered with Dell, HP, Samsung, and other external displays of mostly nondescript brands, and those from Apple are so old they are seldom used. The trend these days is toward Retina displays and we have plenty of Retina 5K iMacs which teachers and students love for their incredible clarity.
What if all you want is an external Retina 5K display and not an iMac? Apple now sells the LG UltraFine 5K Display for a nickel less than $1,300.
Not bad, right?
We have one of the older models but it has been somewhat problematic and only works on specific notebooks as an external display. This new one has everything you want except a decent price tag. It has Thunderbolt 3 and supports 5K video, audio, and data at the same time via a USB-C cable.
What’s not to like? $1,300.
The same money gets you a Retina 4K display in the form of a 21.5-inch iMac. Yep. That’s right. An iMac with a Retina display for the same money.
Alright, I get it.
This isn’t exactly the second external display you were expecting for $1,300 but you can’t beat the price tag. To be fair, a Retina 4K display is not a 5K display. Ask anyone who uses the 5K display on an iMac who has to bounce back to a Mac notebook and you’ll hear some grumbling.
Yet, a Retina 5K iMac is a mere $500 more and has far more capability than a mere display.
Even better, the iMac can be used as an external display for recent Mac notebooks by using the built-in Thunderbolt port. Juan Camacho has the details in a nifty video.
Why Apple does not get into the external Apple-branded display market is beyond my pay grade, but the Retina 5K iMac has been around for years and there are very few 5K displays that compete at the Mac’s level.