Best Monitor for Mac Mini

by Sam

Which monitors are compatible with a Mac Mini? Pretty much all, but which is the best? Follow me on my journey and discover which was the best monitor for my Mac Mini.

I knew since weeks that the day would come, but it still was a shock as I turned my trusty Mac Mini on yesterday morning and discovered that the monitor was about to die. Strange lines and a sluggishness to wake up had been a problem since weeks, but now it was so dim and dark that I could barely do any writing, let alone doing some work in Photoshop! So it was time for some urgent monitor hunting!

The good message is that despite what some might think, a Mac Mini will work with pretty much every monitor out there, not only an Apple model. Which is great, as Apple's monitors are bit on the expensive side for me ;-)

Before I tell you now for which model I have settled, here what I found on the way ;-) And for those of you that are not sure what a Mac Mini actually is, below a great article by fellow writer pkmcr that explains it nicely:

My Shiny New Monitor - And for a really good price also! Click image to see how much (little!) I paid!

... nearly, read explanation below ;-)
Acer G205HV bd 20" Class Widescreen LCD Monitor

The model I chose after spending hours on Amazon reading reviews and tech-specs is the above. But as I needed a new monitor 'today' I had to go to a real store and couldn't wait for an Amazon delivery ;-(

Thankfully our local store had a 'near twin' in stock, which was not only slightly bigger but also on special, promotional offer! So, in the end I bought an Acer 21.5in wide screen monitor for my Mac Mini that listens to the futuristic name of 'G225HQV', sounds a little bit like something out of Star Wars to me ;-) So far I am happy with it, the set-up was easy and the color and brightness calibration pretty painless. As soon as I have it for a few weeks, I will write up a detailed review of it!

My Mac Mini and my (old) Monitor

... my trusty work set-up until yesterday ;-(
Apple Mac mini MB138LL/A (1.83 GHz In...Viewsonic Vx700 17" LCD Monitor (Silv...
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Mac Mini Monitor Requirements

First let me say that my old Viewsonic monitor died at the ripe age of 10+ years, so no bad feelings towards that company! And whilst I had it, it did the job perfectly. But over the years my monitor requirements have changed a fair bit and therefore I was looking beyond what Viewsonic has to offer. Here the list of things that were important to me when I was choosing my new Mac Mini monitor:

Which Monitor for a Mac Mini?
Which Monitor for a Mac Mini?
  • Easy on the eyes: I am working at the computer normally for 10+ hours each day, heck, I am basically living in the computer! Plus I am not 20 30 40 anymore and whilst my eyesight is still pretty good, I want to keep it that way. Therefore I was looking for a non-glossy monitor with a good resolution and reasonable size.
  • Size, Resolution and Format: I am doing quite a bit of custom graphic work and my old monitor had only 17in and I tell you, Photoshop was pretty cramped at that size! I was not so sure about getting a wide-screen or not. Read on to see what I decided regarding this.
  • Prize: Always an important factor, I don't buy on credit, so what I can afford to buy is directly influenced by the state of my saving account! Which is still relatively healthy, even after the purchase, because I found a great deal ;-) Cheap is not always bad, especially when it comes to monitors, as the market is very competitive, which keeps prices low.
  • Features: I don't do any gaming, nor anything else that requires any out of this world specs, so my feature list was pretty short and basic: lots of colors that display realistically. Nothing worse for a photographer, that also dabbles in other visual arts, when the images look better on the screen than in print! Another reason not to go for a high-gloss display.

Cute but too small

... but great when you travel a lot!
MIMO UM-710S USB Powered 7 Inch Swivel LCD Screen Mini Display
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Mac Mini - Portable Monitor (USB)

I must say, as I saw this little gem on the right for the first time, there was a voice in my mind that started to yell 'Must have, must, must, must!'  ;-) And for sure, it is on my wishlist for the future! The reason being, that one of the best things about my Mac Mini is, that I can take it anywhere in my handbag small backpack. As long as there is some sort of monitor at the end of my journey, my little work horse accompanies me everywhere. Most of my friends are geeky enough to have a spare monitor somewhere, but I also have 'normal' friends that don't. But as I was during this shopping trip after a main-work monitor, I really needed something a bit bigger!

Too expensive

... also not sure about the compability
Apple LED Cinema Display 24-Inch MB382LL/A
Apple Computer
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Apple Monitors for Mac Mini

I obviously had also a look at what Apple has to offer when it comes to Mac Mini compatible monitors. Let me say just this, the prices are too high and to add insult to injury, the newest model they offer is not compatible with most of Apple's computers and laptops! Also I am not sure what my poor little desktop computer would have said when connected to something that has >Thunderbolt< technology ;-) So, as much as I am an Apple fan girl, I was definitively looking for a PC monitor for my Mac Mini!

Summary

Choosing a new monitor for a Mac Mini is easy when you know the specs you need and, perhaps more importantly, the ones you don't need. Whilst online monitor shopping is fun and can result in a good deal, seeing the display with your own eyes is also very important. If you are in the same situation, but have a bit more time than I did, I suggest you do some initial research online to see what is on offer, go to your nearest electronic shop and see how the displays look in real life and than order your chosen one online to get the best deal!

It will still take me some time to get used to my new widescreen PC monitor that is now connected to my Mac Mini, but so far I am happy with what I got!

What is a Mac Mini and does it really make a good entry level option if you are looking to move from the pc to a Mac? Let's take a look at what the Mac Mini is and what it does

What Would You Have Done?

which monitor would you have bought?
Updated: 05/08/2013, Sam
 
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