I have been considering an upgrade from my old 1080p IPS 75Hz FreeSync monitor to a higher resolution monitor. This monitor will be used for a little bit of everything. It will be an external monitor for my MacBook Pro on which I do most of my work (software development, spreadsheets, etc.). It will also be the monitor connected to my Windows rig, which I use mostly for gaming. For gaming I generally like strategy (e.g. Civ franchise, playing Civ VI now), puzzles (e.g. the Talos Principle) and the occasional FPS (Tomb Raider series, Battlefield series).
One limiting factor is that my old MBP (mid-2012 13") can only handle a maximum external monitor resolution of 2560 by 1600 from its Thunderbolt port. I will upgrade my laptop eventually when it no longer meets my needs, but I have no desire to upgrade to a ludicrously expensive, non-user-upgradable MBP at the moment if I can help it. If I buy a monitor that my MBP can't support, I can always run it at non-native resolution.
I've heard great things about 144Hz at 1440p, so I've been looking at offerings there for the most part. I have also kept an eye on 1440 ultrawides and 4K panels - both of which my current laptop will not run at full resolution - but have almost ruled both out for other reasons. At 4K I think I would need to tilt my head regularly which could cause neck strain, plus the selection of high refresh monitors at 4K is still quite limited. I really like the idea of an ultrawide, but the marginal price for the additional ~34% pixels over a 1440p display doesn't seem worth it to me. I figure I can always add my old 1080p IPS monitor to the side in portrait mode if I ever need more screen real estate than a 1440p display offers.
I have an opportunity to pick up a Dell S2719DGF 27" 1440p 155Hz TN FreeSync display for only ~$400 CAD after tax (that's around $300 USD). PC Monitors has a friendly review of this unit here
), and it's on the site's recommendations list. This seems like a really well-reviewed unit, and it ticks a lot of my boxes, which include:
- no or limited gamer bling (I'm not about dat RGB lyfe)
- 1440p or higher resolution
- 100Hz or higher refresh rate
- 2 or more ports capable of running 100Hz or higher at native resolution (I ruled out the G-Sync version of this monitor for that reason)
- FreeSync or G-Sync support
- 100 PPI pitch or greater
- matte or light gloss (not a fan of glossy monitors)
- decent quality control (I would like to avoid the panel lottery and possibly being stuck with a bad panel)
- good value for money
Nice to haves would be proper HDR support, FreeSync 2 support, and local dimming, but realistically I'm probably not willing to spend the kind of money this would take at the moment.
So I think I'm just about sold on the S2719DGF at this price, but my one remaining concern is whether I'll be happy with a TN panel. Now this monitor supposedly has a "good" TN panel, but it will still of course have worse viewing angles than an IPS or VA panel. Will I regret this when I'm coding on this thing for unhealthy amounts of time? At this panel size some text distortion may occur which could lead to eye-strain.
I've read some user reviews that claim to be happy with it for coding, but many coders swear by IPS panels only (note I will be coding only - no colour sensitive work). The problem is I have been planning to move away from IPS with this upgrade if possible because the IPS glow of my current panel is just awful. The colours are vibrant, but watching any movie or playing any game with a dark setting (e.g. in space, and go figure my favourite genre is sci-fi) is just terrible. Who knows, maybe I just got a really bad monitor and/or struck out with the panel lottery, and I'd be happy with a different IPS offering. I think a VA panel may be a nice middle ground, but the selection here is more limited. Samsung has a curved 1440p 144Hz VA monitor, but quality control looks iffy and ghosting is apparently really bad at high frequencies. Plus it's roughly twice the price of the Dell.
Well it looks like I've written a small novel here, so I'd better stop. I suppose my main questions are:
1. Is a 27" 1440p TN
monitor like the Dell S2719DGF likely to cause eye strain for software development, spreadsheet, and general productivity tasks? Or would I be wise to limit my search to IPS and possibly VA panels? If the latter, suggestions would be most welcome.
2. Should I consider an ultrawide or 4K panel now, with an eye to upgrading my work laptop at a later date to support the full resolution?