If you’ve been wanting to buy one of the new iMacs in a screen size larger than 24”, you’re currently out of luck. Apple has just announced newer 24” iMac with an updated M2 chip.
But if you’re still pining for a new Mac with a larger screen, Apple’s solution is the Mac mini with the M2 chip or the Mac Studio.
These devices are complete computers, but they need a monitor, mouse and keyboard to make them functional. Selecting a monitor could be the most important decision to add to your system.
There are plenty 1080p monitors available under $200. However, if you require one with better resolution, check out the variety of 4K or 5K monitors. These range from $300 up to $1600 for Apple’s 5K Studio Display. But for most serious users, plan spending $450 to $600. One monitor to consider is the Dell UltraSharp U2723QE, a 27” 4K display.
Dell UltraSharp U2723QE monitor is aimed at professionals or those with a demanding need for better resolution. It comes with a calibration factory report to assure optimal color rendition.
Buying a monitor in the “old days” was a simple matter, find the size screen you require and match a good price to it. Those days are gone!
Currently, things are a lot more complicated. Now you have more options: screen size, curved or straight, bezel size and resolution just to name a few.
For die-hard Apple fans, the best monitor out there is their Apple Studio Display, a 5K unit that sells for $1599. For someone on a budget, they need to look at other quality displays at a lower price.
There are many good 4K resolution displays in the $400-600 range.
One competitor, Samsung has introduced their M8, a 32” monitor that combines your Mac/PC display with a true 4K Smart TV with streaming capabilities for just $700.
For someone in a small apartment, this M8 would be ideal in that it doesn’t take up the space of a separate monitor plus a TV. It comes with a remote and if you are done with your computer work and want to watch a show on Netflix, just press the button on the remote and you’re there!
After working with the Samsung M8 for a few days, I returned it for a number of reasons.
Most of the better TVs use IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology. This produces better viewing angles and more accurate colors. The M8 instead uses VA (Vertical Alignment) technology for a more narrow viewing angle.
Although the colors on the TV looked good, the computer produced a more overly-sharpened image. I noticed that the text was not pure black, but instead looked like light grey. If you are concerned about good color images with photography, the M8 would disappoint. You need an IPS display!
With most monitors, the installation is quite simple: plug in your cable between the TV and monitor and the power cable. It was the same with Samsung M8. But setting up the Smart TV functions took too much time. The setup required you to indicate your modem/router and the model number, for example.
The Samsung M8 is a unique product that would work for some, but since I have dedicated Smart TVs at home, the Samsung M8 proved to be overkill.If you can use a combo monitor/Smart TV, the Samsung would be a workable option. But be aware of its shortcomings.
For most of us buying a mouse is pretty straight-forward: Buy the Apple computer and the mouse comes with it for free. However, if you want a better mouse you need to look outside of Apple.
For many years, Logitech is one of those companies that offers mice that are totally compatible with the Apple universe. If you’re looking for a mouse that can serve many devices (iMac, Macbook, iPad, etc.) Logitech has one for you. If you want a mouse with a better and more accurate scroll wheel, Logitech has one for you. If your desktop is made of glass, Logitech has a mouse that will work on it! If you want a mouse to be able to program multiple functions without hitting your keyboard, Logitech has one as well. Just don’t expect Apple to offer a wide mouse selection.
I recently purchased one of Logitech’s newer mice, the MX Anywhere 3 mouse that can do it all. It offers 4 programmable buttons, works on glass surfaces, uses hyper-speed to track web pages. While all those features may look attractive, the $79.99 price tag does not, especially when your Apple mouse is included with your Mac.
Logitech Purchase Options
The MX Anywhere 3 mouse offers two purchase options: (1) MX Anywhere 3 Mouse for Windows and (2) MX Anywhere 3 Mouse for Mac. So for most Mac users, the second option would seem to be the best choice. Not so!
Both of these mice use the exact same hardware, the PC version is available in either black or light grey. However, the Mac version comes only in light grey. All versions of this mouse offer Bluetooth connectivity.
If you’re looking for a simple easy-to-install black & white laser printer, check out the HP LaserJet M209dw. This printer limits its features to duplex (double-sided) and wireless. This printer has no scanning, copying or faxing functions.
This printer comes in several variations. Each one has its own model number.
Standalone (M209dw)– This model prints only. ($229)
HP + Standalone (M209dwe) – This one comes with a subscription service that automatically ships toner when your toner level is low. ($189)
Multifunction(M234dw) – Also does scanning, and copying. ($269)
HP+ Multifunction (M234dwe) – This one comes with a subscription service that automatically ships toner when your toner level is low. It also does scanning and copying ($219)
For purposes of this review, comments will refer to the Standard version only (LaserJet M209dw). Please note that although the HP+ printer sells for $40-50 less, you are required to sign up for HP’s subscription service that could be more costly in the long run. HP charges a monthly fee starting at $9.99 for this service.
If you are looking for a way to transform your 10.9” iPad Air into a laptop, consider the Logitech Combo Touch. This is a detachable case complete with keyboard and trackpad.
This Combo Touch has just two parts (1) Case and (2) Keyboard with trackpad. Installation could not be easier. Just insert your iPad into the case and then attach the keyboard into case via the magnetic Smart Connector and you’re done. This device bypasses Bluetooth and is powered through Apple’s proprietary Smart Connector™.
The keyboard features backlit keys so working in a low-light environment should not be a problem. The illumination can be controlled with 2 keys on the top row of the keyboard. The top row also features all the media keys you may ever need including volume, screen brightness, onscreen keyboard, etc.
The trackpad on the Combo Touch is slightly larger than those found on similar devices or PC laptops. It has a solid feel.
There is also a space on the top of the screen for your Apple Pencil, magnetically held in place. My only criticism is that this device should have a closed elastic loop found on earlier devices instead to insure a more solid grip on the Pencil.
One of the best features of this device is its weight. It weighs just over 22 ounces with slightly less weight than Logitech’s Folio version. I compared it to my generic plastic case and the Combo Touch weighs only 4 ounces more. Total weight of the Combo Touch and the iPad Air is only 2 lbs. and 2 oz. To add a keyboard and trackpad with such a low weight differential is just amazing if weight is a paramount consideration for purchasing this item.
The magnetic Smart Connector makes it very simple to remove the keyboard if you want to use the iPad for gaming. Just separate the keyboard with a slight tug and you’ve got a standalone iPad!
Some may be put off with the $200 price for this Combo Touch. But Apple wants $100 more for their Magic Keyboard for the iPad Air, a 50% premium. That’s a lot of price difference to consider!
This Logitech Combo Touch is not for everyone. But if you’re wanting to add more functionality to your iPad Air, this is the device to buy!
Most Mac users view the Mac mini as a poor step child compared to the iMac or MacBook models. The mini has always had a small footprint (8” x 8”) but only comes with the basic guts of a more expensive Mac but without a monitor, keyboard or mouse. One needs to just add these peripherals to get a complete Mac system.
Traditionally, the mini series has had a slower processor, less RAM, and hard drive space to account for its lower pricing. But in November of last year, Apple introduced the mini with Apple’s own M1 chip at the same price point. Most retailers offer the mini at $699 with 256GB storage or $899 with 512GB of storage. Both models come with 8GB RAM. However, if you want larger RAM or storage, you need to order your mini from Apple. A 16GB RAM is an extra $200—non-user serviceable.
In the past, I owned an iMac and was considered upgrading to the new 2021 iMacs with Apple’s M1 chip. Checking the pricing of the newly released 24-inch models, I expected to upgrade to a newer 27” or larger iMac closer to $2000. I considered this as a financial decision to upgrade to a mini and transferring the same peripherals to the new Mac to give me a similar performance level. I never expected betterperformance!
To make this system complete, I also needed a new computer monitor with similar specs to iMac’s Retina 5K display. I could easily find a monitor in the $150-200 price range that would do the job, but I preferred one that would approximate the resolution and brightness I obtained with my iMac. My research led me to the LG 27UN850, a 27” 4K display. This monitor offered 2 USB-C inputs as well as 2 HDMI inputs.
Although this monitor originally sold for $600, discounts can be found around $400 or less. An alternative would have been the LG 27MD5KL-B monitor, a 27” 5K model designed for Macs. The only problem with this monitor is the price – $1100 or more at most vendors! I’m just not sure how much of a difference that resolution would make to the naked eye.