The best of CES for the Mac? More Retina displays.


Left to right: The Samsung ViewFinity S9, Apple Studio Display and Dell UltraSharp 32.
Left to right: The Samsung ViewFinity S9, Apple Studio Display and Dell UltraSharp 32.
Image: Samsung/Apple/Dell

The Mac is hardly ever the focus of events like CES. But at this year’s massive tech conference in Las Vegas, two promising displays were announced by Samsung and Dell.

Any new Retina display options for the Mac are a welcome treat. Let’s see how these new monitors stack up.

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A rough market for great Mac displays

While the Mac has pushed toward Retina displays like the one you have on your iPhone, the same transition never caught on in the PC market. For Mac users, this meant most of the options we’ve had for Retina displays on the desktop were Apple’s own products:

  • The Retina iMacs and later iMac Pro (2014, 2015, 2017) were all great machines. But not everyone wants an iMac form factor, and you can’t use a Retina iMac as a display for your MacBook like you used to.
  • The LG UltraFine 4K and 5K displays (2016) were sanctioned by Apple to be manufactured by LG, but were critically panned for poor build quality and reliability.
  • The LG 24UD58-B (2016) was another very cheap offering few people sprung for.
  • Apple’s Pro Display XDR (2019) shot for the moon with incredible features, demanding an even more incredulous price.
  • The Studio Display (2022) is maybe the most reasonable, taking the spot of the UltraFine 5K at only a few hundred dollars more, but it’s still out reach for many.

It’s hardly a healthy, competitive landscape when it takes nine years to make five monitors, only one of which is affordably priced, most of which aren’t very good, and several of which have been discontinued.

The new kids on the block

As mentioned the latest Retina displays for Mac are made by Samsung and Dell. They borrow some features from Apple’s own displays, and bring some new tricks of their own.

Samsung ViewFinity S9

Samsung ViewFinity S9
The ViewFinity S9 is aimed squarely at Apple’s Studio Display.
Image: Samsung

The Samsung ViewFinity S9 takes aim at the Studio Display. It matches its size, resolution, colors and brightness. It also comes with a matte finish and rotating stand, which are paid upgrades on the Studio Display and Pro Display XDR, respectively. The 4K camera far exceeds the fuzzy and washed-out 1080p sensor in Apple’s offerings.

Not only are the specs comparable, but the design is also definitely … inspired by Apple’s model. But the bezels aren’t even all the way around, the camera sticks up above the top and a sensor of some sort juts out from the bottom.

Dell UltraSharp 32

The Dell UltraSharp 32
The Dell UltraSharp 32 balances size and specs for a more reasonable consumer.
Image: Dell

Dell’s UltraSharp 32 6K display is even more intriguing. The display panel has comparable quality to the Studio Display — 600 nits brightness, P3 color without full HDR — except it’s at the expansive 32-inch size of the Pro Display XDR. In fact, it’s a slightly higher resolution, too.

It also raises, tilts and rotates at no extra cost. Plus, it’ll charge your MacBook at a whopping 140W, and it adds three USB-C ports, five USB-A ports and an HDMI 2.1 port to your computer.

Dell’s display isn’t a looker either; the bigger top bezel and chunky round camera are a weird look. That big camera is put to good use, though. The larger sensor will collect more light, leading to a cleaner, less-grainy image.

A fuller market with more choices

More options for the Mac from other manufacturers will only make the Mac stronger. Desktop monitors aren’t just for old-fashioned people like me who want to buy desktop computers. Take a look at our Setups series, and you’ll see that people want good displays for their laptops, too.

Both displays are coming later this spring and summer. Pricing has yet to be announced but is expected to undercut Apple’s offerings.


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