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Best USB-C and Thunderbolt displays for Mac [October]

USB-C/Thunderbolt display options have really grown over the last couple of years. While Apple is making its own monitor again with the Pro Display XDR, it’s not the best fit for the majority of Mac users with a starting price of $5,000 (without a stand). Let’s take a look at some of the best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays available in the $400-$1,500 range.

Update October 11: We haven’t seen anything notable in the 4K+ resolution space with USB-C recently. But LG’s high-end UltraFine OLED Pro display launched in August. We also saw some affordable new options from LG and Samsung earlier this year. Check out all the details below.

Another thing to keep in mind, Apple is expected to launch its new 14- and 16-inch Apple Silicon MacBook Pro updates this month which will hopefully come with native dual-display support. Meanwhile, Apple is also testing a new external monitor that will feature a dedicated A13 chip.

All the displays below work great for a single-cable setup with your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and PCs. The iPad Pro and 2020 iPad Air can also be used with any of these USB-C/Thunderbolt displays but with limitations.

Related:Best portable USB-C displays for MacBooks: iPad, ASUS, AOC, more

Even though Apple’s 6K Pro Display XDR is a fantastic product (full review), the reality is that at $5,000+, it’s overkill for many MacBook owners’ needs, budgets, or both.

Notably, one trend we’re seeing — that Apple adopted with the Pro Display XDR — is a 32-inch screen size. Fortunately, there are some solid 32-inch options from other companies in the $1,000 ballpark that offer a compelling experience. And we’ll also look at some 27-32-inch 4K USB-C displays in the $400-$600 range.

Best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays for Mac: 32-inch and larger

LG 32UL950-W

LG 32UL950 UltraFine 4K Display Review 01

This is LG’s UltraFine 32-inch display that includes a solid feature set like two Thunderbolt 3 ports plus two USB-A ports, slim bezels, support for use in portrait orientation, and more.

In his full review, my colleague Jeff Benjamin found he liked the design better than LG’s other UltraFine models with many of the same features.


  • 31.5-inch UHD 4K display (3840 x 2160)
  • Refresh rate 60Hz
  • Nano IPS with DCI-P3 98%
  • VESA DisplayHDR™ 600
  • Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports (in x 1 (PD 60W) / out x 1)
  • 4K Daisy Chain with Thunderbolt™ 3
  • 2 x USB-A
  • DisplayPort 1.4
  • HDMI 2.0
  • 3.5mm headphone output
  • MSRP: $1,300

The LG 32UL950-W can be found on Amazon as well as other retailers like B&H Photo.

LG 34BK95U-W

Moving up a couple of inches, LG’s 34-inch widescreen Thunderbolt 3/USB-C display offers a 5120 x 2160 resolution (in-between 4K and 5K). Jeff reviewed this display and found it to be a compelling option for creative pros.

But if you’re a creative professional who knows what you’re getting yourself into, this display is a significant real estate upgrade from 4K. Just make sure you understand that this is really a 4.5K display, and it doesn’t offer any resolution advantages over a true 5K display like the one found in the 5K iMac or iMac Pro.


  • Nano IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panel
  • Thunderbolt 3 Interface
  • Power output: 85W
  • 5120 x 2160 Resolution
  • 21:9 Aspect Ratio
  • 60Hz Refresh Rate
  • Brightness: 450 (Typ), 360 (min) cd/m2
  • Support for VESA HDR 600
  • DCI-P3 98%
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 3.5mm headphone input
  • Speakers: 5W x 2
  • Slim bezel design on all four sides
  • MSRP: $1,649, but often available for less

The LG 34WK95U-W is usually in stock at Amazon and B&H Photo.

BenQ PD3220U

BenQ PD3220U 4K Thunderbolt Display

This is a nice alternative to the LG options above. The 32-inch BenQ PD3220U features Thunderbolt 3, 4K resolution, 95% DCI-P3 color, 85W power delivery for MacBooks, a variety of professional modes, hotkey puck, solid metal stand, and lots of I/O.


  • 3840 x 2160 Resolution
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio
  • 60Hz Refresh Rate
  • Brightness: 250 typical, 300 nits HDR peak
  • DCI-P3 98%
  • HDR10
  • 1 x Thunderbolt 3 – 85W power delivery
  • 1 x Thunderbolt 3 – 15W power delivery
  • 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • 1 x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 3 x USB 3.1
  • 1 x USB C
  • 1 x USB B
  • Headphone jack
  • Slim bezels
  • MSRP: $1,199 but often available for less

You can usually find the BenQ PD3220U at Amazon and BH Photo.

Dell UltraSharp U4021QW – New for 2021

This is Dell’s latest 4K USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 display and it features a 40-inch curved screen. This is technically a 5K2K resolution but for those looking for a large screen size, it may be a good fit. 


  • 39.7-inch curved 4K (5K2K) display (5120 x 2160 @ 60Hz)
  • 140 PPI
  • 21:9 aspect ratio (mislabeled as 16:9 on Dell website)
  • 90W pass-thru power
  • DCI-P3 at 98%
  • Suggested retail price: $2,099 – often available for less

Dell also makes the UltraSharp in 32-inch and 27-inch versions.

LG UltraFine OLED Pro – New for August

LG UltraFine OLED Pro display launch date

The new LG UltraFine OLED Pro Monitor is a 32-inch USB-C display with a 27-inch version coming later this fall.

The move to OLED is interesting. While there are some benefits like blacker blacks, and more, there may be concerns about display burn-in.

BH Photo was the first retailer to sell the UltraFine OLED Pro with a $3,999 price tag starting on August 12. The initial stock sold out fast and at the time of writing will, it will be available again from early October.


  • 27 and 31.5-inch OLED screen options (27-inch coming this fall, 32-inch now available)
  • 3840 x 2160 4K resolution
  • USB-C with 90W pass-thru power
  • up to 500 nits brightness
  • Dolby HDR 400 True Black
  • 1 ms response time
  • 10-bit color depth
  • 2 x DisplayPort
  • 3 x USB
  • 1 x HDMI
  • DCI P3 at 99%
  • Adobe RGB 99%

For a closer look, check out the first full review:

Apple-endorsed LG UltraFine displays

LG UltraFine 24- & 27-inch Displays

While the 27-inch UltraFine display (reviewed) is really the only option on the market to support USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 at a full 5K resolution, the $1,300 price may make this a tough sell for some, especially since it hasn’t changed since 2016.

Another trade-off here is chunkier bezels for a built-in webcam, although these displays do offer a solid I/O setup. Another aspect that sets these displays apart is P3 wide color gamut and 85W power delivery.

The current models are the 5K 27-inch and the 4K 24-inch UltraFine displays.

At almost half the price, the 24-inch 4K UltraFine is a compelling option for an Apple-endorsed display. The 24-inch version replaced the 21.5-inch 4K model last May and retails around $700. Check out our full review here.

If you’re tempted by these displays, you can also keep an eye out on 9to5Toys, where we’ve seen certified refurbished models of the $1,300 5K display go for as low as $550.

Best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays on a budget

While there are some solid displays on the market that include USB-C with less than 4K resolutions, spending several hundred dollars on a new display with a lower picture quality than what you’re used to on your MacBook won’t be a good fit for many.

Here are some of the best USB-C displays that offer a 4K resolution at $600 or less.

LG 32-inch 32UP550-W – New for June

This new budget release from LG is a more compelling option than its older 27-inch 4K 27UK850. The 32UP550-W features a 32-inch screen, 4K resolution, USB-C, 96W power delivery, and more.


  • 1 x USB-C with 96W power delivery
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x headphone jack
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • Up to 350 nits brightness
  • 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • DCI-P3 at 90%
  • HDR10
  • Anti-glare finish
  • MSRP at $450

This 32-inch affordable 4K USB-C display from LG is available to order on Amazon now with deliveries shipping out starting in July.

LG 27UK850

  • best 4K USB-C displays
  • best 4K USB-C displays

This 4K USB-C display is the successor to LG’s older 27UD88 model that we reviewed a few years back. The 27UK850 27-inch model features an LED-backlit IPS panel with HDR10 support, AMD Freesync, and single-cable USB-C connectivity.

The 27UK850 offers two USB 3.1 ports, but like the previous model, when running 4K at 60Hz, you’re limited to USB 2.0 speeds. It would have been nice to see 87W power delivery for full-speed 15-inch MacBook Pro charging, but that shouldn’t be an issue for most users.

  • 1 x USB-C v. 3.1 with 60W PD
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 1 x Display Port
  • 2 x USB v. 3.1 gen1
  • 3.5 mm audio port
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • sRGB 99%
  • AMD Freesync
  • Anti-glare finish
  • Usually available around $500-$600

For a more in-depth look at this display, check out our review here.

The LG 27UK850 is available on Amazon.

Samsung 32- and 43-inch Smart Monitor M7 – New for May

  • Samsung Smart M7 USB-C display

New for May 2021, Samsung has launched a 43-inch version of the Smart Monitor M7 with the same overall specs as its smaller 32-inch brother that will come in at $600.

You’re getting some great features at a budget price point like 4K resolution, USB-C, AirPlay 2, and more. However, it sounds like picture quality is not its strongest point.

You’re also not getting things like a 3.5mm audio jack, DisplayPort, and brightness is just 300 nits.

  • 1 x USB-C with 65W PD
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 300 nits brightness
  • 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • sRGB 99%
  • HDR10
  • Anti-glare finish
  • Smart TV features including AirPlay 2
  • MSRP at $400 for 32-inch, $600 for 43-inch

You can learn more about the 32- and 43-inch Samsung M7 on the company’s website and find it for sale at Best Buy (43-inch not showing up just yet).

ASUS Designo

  • best 4K USB-C displays
  • best 4K USB-C displays


This display offers almost all of the same features as LG’s UK850 with a little different aesthetic. The LED-backlit IPS panel doesn’t feature HDR10 support and AMD FreeSync, but otherwise, its specs stack up almost identically.

  • 1 x USB-C v. 3.1 with 60W PD
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 3.5 mm audio port
  • 2 x USB v. 3.1 gen1
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • 100% sRGB
  • Eye Care blue light filter
  • Anti-glare finish
  • Usually available around $500

ASUS Designo is available on Amazon.

Holding Out?

Thinking of waiting a while longer to see what other manufacturers offer over the coming months? If you feel like you can’t compromise on a 4K resolution but are open to saving some cash by skipping the USB-C/Thunderbolt connectivity, Philips has a 27-inch 4K display for quite a bit less than the price of the other displays on this list. AOC also makes a comparable 27-inch 4K option.

Also, Apple is reportedly working on a more affordable self-branded display more akin to its retired $999 Thunderbolt Display. And there’s also a new external monitor Apple is testing that comes with an A13 chip.


Another option if you want to wait a bit longer on picking up a new external display, make use of the great macOS Sidecar feature that lets you use an iPad as a secondary display.

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The best monitors for MacBook Pro aren't dramatically different from any of the other great display options out there, but some screens offer features that just give you a better experience when paired with a MacBook. We want something that goes the extra pixel. 

The best monitors for MacBook Pro or MacBook Air should include USB-C as a connection option, for example, so that you can connect power and data over a single cable – this makes it easy to unplug and go when you need to, and is just cleaner. We're also aiming for picture quality that comes close to the MacBook Pro itself, so that it doesn't feel weird to move from one to the other. 

But beyond those there's a huge range of variation that we'll cover. Do you need the best 4K MacBook Pro monitor for ultimate pixel-level detail, the best MacBook Pro monitor for home working; the best ultrawide MacBook Pro monitor for extra tool space?

We've got monitors to tick all these boxes, and some screens that actually have specific features design for MacBooks. We also prioritise these monitors having good ergonomic adjustment options, because everybody needs to make sure that they have a work environment that isn't going to lead to painful problems later.

If you want to get into more specific display categories, be sure to check out our guides to the best 4K monitors, and the best gaming monitors. And, of course, all these monitors will work with more of the best laptops too – we've just made our picks with MacBook Pros in mind. We'd also encourage you to check out our best external hard drives for Mac guide if you need some additional storage.

If you're considering the MacBook Pros themselves, don't forget to check out our MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) review, and our MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review. We've also got our guide to the best MacBook Pro deals.

Which is the best monitor for MacBook Pro?

Overall, our pick is the Dell U2720Q, which offers detailed 4K resolution, great colour accuracy (including support for the P3 colour gamut, just like the MacBook Pros), full ergonomic adjustments, and a 27-inch size that's manageable on just about any desk, from home office to business premises. It has a USB hub built in, and offers 90W power delivery over USB-C, which means it can charge even the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It checks basically every box that MacBook Pro users have, and though it's by no means cheap, it's still a very reasonable price for its features.

For a budget option, check out the ViewSonic VP2458, which doesn't include USB-C (no surprise for its price), but does deliver accurate colours on its 1920x1080 screen, is a compact 24-inch size, and offers full ergonomic adjustments so you can be totally comfortable and set up properly.

Best monitors for MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Dell)

1. Dell U2720Q

The best monitor for MacBook Pro overall, and the best USB-C display


Size: 27 inches

Resolution: 3840x2160

Connectivity: USB Type-C x2, USB Type-A x3, HDMI, DisplayPort

Reasons to buy

+Detailed 4K display with wide colour gamut+90W USB-C charging+Good USB connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-No Thunderbolt 3 hub-Boring design is a shame

This monitor is a perfect pairing with your MacBook Pro. Its detailed 4K 27-inch display is beautifully sharp and offers P3 wide colour support, just like the MacBook's Retina display. 27 inches is a great size – it gives you a lot of space to have windows side by side, but will still fit on a small desk without looking ridiculous.

This excels in practical details as well as visual ones. It has height, tilt, pivot and swivel ergonomic adjustments, for example, so it's easy to make sure that you're working in a healthy way. You can connect to it over USB-C, providing all power, video and data needs – and it delivers up to 90W of power, which not all USB-C screens do. That's enough to keep a 16-inch MacBook Pro charged even while running at full pelt.

There are three more USB 3 ports on board, along with a second USB-C port, so it's great as a dock for accessories, as well as a display. The connectors we'd like it to have that it doesn't are ethernet and Thunderbolt, but there's a 27-inch Philips 4K monitor also in our list that offers ethernet – see our Dell U2720Q vs Philips 279P1 guide for how these screens compare.

(Image credit: Viewsonic)

2. ViewSonic VP2458

The best budget MacBook Pro monitor, with great ergonomics


Size: 23.8 inches

Resolution: 1920x1080

Connections: DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, USB-A x2, USB-B

Reasons to buy

+Great ergonomic adjustments for working comfortably+Good colour accuracy for the price

Reasons to avoid

-Not very bright-Needs the right cables

If you just need a bigger working space than your MacBook Pro provides, and aren't worried about fancy features, then have we got the monitor for you. This ViewSonic has it where it matters: you can adjust height and angle to get the perfect comfort level for working; it has good colour accuracy, and 1080p is a perfectly serviceable resolution at this size.

You will need some kind of adapter cable for a newer MacBook Pro, because it has HDMI and DisplayPort connections, rather than USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. And it's the same for if you want to use it as a USB hub – it has two USB-A (the regular kind) inputs, which is handy, but you'll need the right cable to connect it to your Pro and get data flowing. It's also much less bright than higher-end monitors, but it's just fine for working. None of these things are dealbreakers – this remains the best MacBook Pro monitor for a less premium price.

(Image credit: MSI)

3. MSI Prestige PS341WU

The best ultrawide MacBook Pro monitor (and top for creatives)


Size: 34 inches

Resolution: 5120x2160

Connections: 1x USB-C, 3x USB Type A, 2x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort

Reasons to buy

+Excellent brightness and colours+So much space and detail for work+Good connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-Too big for some

If you want a monitor with the same dazzle and ambition as an Apple screen, this is our pick. Its average brightness is close to the MacBook Pro's (450 nits to the MacBook's 500), and it can actually handle HDR video from compatible sources, peaking at 600 nits, which is better than most pro monitors. On top of that, it supports 98% of the P3 colour gamut, so is an ideal match for the MacBook Pro in that regard too.

Oh, and it's ultrawide – can't forget that. That means it offers better-than-4K resolution, and for productivity, this can't be beaten. It's almost like a two-monitor setup in a single screen, but with just the one stand taking up space on your desktop. 34 inches might sound imposing, but it's not quite as hefty as a 32-inch TV – it's more like a 27-inch screen that's been stretched sideways. However, it might still be a lot more screen than you really want (or can fit, in some compact home offices!).

You've got full ergonomic control with tilt, pivot, height and swivel, and USB-C connectivity makes it easy to dock and undock with – and further USB connectivity is great for using it as a hub. It's fairly expensive, though, and doesn't offer Thunderbolt hub connections, which would be welcome for this kind of money. But that's a very small flaw to be picking… If you're wondering exactly how this compares the Benq ultrawide monitor further down this list, here's our MSI Prestige PS341WU vs BenQ EX3501R guide.

(Image credit: BenQ)

4. BenQ PD2705Q

A killer balance of ergonomics, colour accuracy and productivity


Size: 27 inches

Resolution: 2560x1440

Connections: USB-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-A x4

Reasons to buy

+MacBook-specific colour mode+Excellent connectivity+Good ergonomics

Reasons to avoid

-Some may want higher resolution

This monitor really wants to be the centre of your working setup, and is seriously kitted out for it: USB-C means a single-cable connection to your MacBook Pro, and four USB ports mean you can use it a comprehensive hub for accessories. But it also has a KVM built in, meaning you could connect two different computers to it, and control them both from a single keyboard and mouse, switching which is displayed and controlled with a button press.

The colour quality is seriously impressive here, too: it comes calibrated (with a certificate and everything!), boasts 100% coverage for sRGB and Rec.709, and also offers 95% P3 coverage, which matches the what MacBook Pros give you – combine that with 'M-Book' mode which is a special configuration profile to make it look as close to a MacBook Pro's built-in display as possible, so work you do on the monitor looks just the same as on the Pro's screen.

It's also rated for HDR video playback, has 'Pantone Validated' certification, offers every kind of adjustment you could want for good ergonomics, and it even has a DisplayPort out connection, so you can chain it to another monitor easily. The lack of higher resolution at this size might disappoint some, but when it comes to a) accuracy and b) MacBook Pro friendliness, this is a serious well-specced screen, as our full Benq PD2705Q review attests.

(Image credit: BenQ)

5. BenQ EX3501R

A great ultrawide monitor for MacBook Pro productivity fans


Size: 35 inches

Resolution: 3440x1440

Connections: USB-C, HDMI x2, DisplayPort, USB-A x2

Reasons to buy

+Extra-wide display is ideal for multitasking+Great connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-Some may find the wideness too much

We love ultrawide monitors for productivity, because they're like have a dual-monitor setup, but with the footprint of just one screen on your desk. The 35 inches of this display sounds giant, but because of its 21:9 aspect ratio (compared to the 16:9 of those we've mentioned so far), it's no taller than a regular monitor. It just stretches out further at the sides.

It's the perfect shape to have two windows side-by-side, so you can work on a document on one half, and keep Slack/Teams/email/Zoom whatever else you need open on the other half. USB-C connectivity makes it an ideal fit with MacBook Pros too.

(Image credit: Philips)

6. Philips 243B1JH

A great compact monitor with webcam built in, and great connectivity


Size: 24 inches

Resolution: 1920x1080

Connections: 2x USB-C, 4X USB A, ethernet, HDMI, DisplayPort

Reasons to buy

+Excellent hub features+Good quality screen

Reasons to avoid

-Not very high resolution

This might be the best screen for those looking for a simple and compact solution for a home office. At 24 inches, it's not too big, but obviously gives a lot more space than a laptop screen. It connects over a single USB-C cable, with 100W power delivery for even the beefiest laptops, and has a great connection hub on board for connecting other accessories seamlessly. And it even has a built-in webcam, so it can be truly a simple experience to be taking video calls.

The only downsides are that it's not especially high resolution – 1080p is fine, but won't wow anyone – and that at 250 nits, it's not especially bright. Neither is a dealbreaker – if you need something for non-creative work and want your monitor to handle all those awkward connections for you – including a cabled internet connection – this is just perfect. Here's our full Philips 243B1JH review.

(Image credit: Philips)

7. Philips 499P9H

The best MacBook Pro monitor for HUGE working area


Size: 49 inches

Resolution: 5120x1440

Connections: DisplayPort, HDMI x2, USB-C, USB-A x3, USB-B

Reasons to buy

+Two screens in one+Excellent connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-49 inches is… large

A 49-inch display might sound ridiculous, but it might even save you space! This is effectively two 2560x1440 monitors merged into one double-width screen – it's for people who want a dual-screen setup, but who also want to streamline: one stand, one power cable, one connection to your MacBook (USB-C, conveniently). It's curved, so it's easy to see everything despite it being being very wide indeed.

This monitor also acts as a great connectivity hub – it not only does USB, but Ethernet too, and has a pop-up webcam built in. Plus, it can act as a KVM, so you can use one mouse and keyboard with two different computers connected to it. The screen can also show inputs from two different sources on the left and the right.

On top of that, it's great for colour reproduction, and the brightness of 450 nits is among the highest here, so it's nice and visible even in daylight. It does it all!

(Image credit: Philips)

8. Philips 279P1

The best monitor for image editing on MacBook Pro


Size: 27 inches

Resolution: 3840x2160

Connections: 1x USB-C, 4x USB-A, 2x HDMI, ethernet, 1x DisplayPort

Reasons to buy

+Great price for 4K+Good hub connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-Not especially bright-USB power only 65W

This is an excellent lower-price 4K monitor option. At 27 inches, you really make the most of the resolution, with the size of the monitor becoming unwieldy. The size and resolution between them give you a lot of space to work with, and everything looks beautifully sharp and clear.

Even better is that it's an excellent connectivity hub, with plenty of USB ports for accessories, and a single USB-C cable to your laptop. It's a shame the USB-C cable only delivers 65W of power – more than enough for most laptops, but it means that if you have a high-end machine running at full speed, it might struggle to keep it charged. That said, it will only be a problem for a handful of people – we just wish it was something we never had to worry about.

Image quality is really strong, though it doesn't mirror the wide P3 colour range of the MacBook Pro – it means that creators might need to consider how badly they'd like the two to match. Everyone else can trust they're getting a great screen anyway, and for a really good price considering its mix of features.

(Image credit: Asus)

9. Asus MB169C+

The best portable MacBook Pro monitor


Size: 15.6 inches

Resolution: 1920x1080

Connections: USB-C/DisplayPort

Reasons to buy

+Very portable and light+Single USB-C cable for connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-15 inches a bit small if you're not travelling much

Portable monitors are great for road warriors: this folds down into a thin package weighing just 800g (and it has a nice protective sleeve), and when you settle to work somewhere, just set it up next to your MacBook Pro for a double-screen workspace. It connects to the MacBook Pro over USB-C for both its power and video, so it's really simple to work with.

It's a 15.6-inch 1080p screen, which makes it perfectly well detailed, and it's a great match overall with the 16-inch MacBook Pro due to its size, but obviously anything else will pair nicely too.

It's an IPS panel, so has great colour reproduction. The USB-C port also uses DisplayPort, so you can connect to computers without USB-C ports using the right cable, too.

The only real downside here is that if you'll do lots of work at home, we'd recommend something bigger, with better ergonomics. But if the way you work matches what this is designed for – being able to set up a bigger working space when staying hotels or visiting other offices – then there's no major flaws here at all.

How to choose the best MacBook Pro monitor for you

The first thing to consider is budget, because this will decide a lot of other factors for you. If you need to keep prices low, you'll need to consider a lower screen resolution than you might if money is no object.

If you simply must have a high-resolution screen for very detailed image work, for example, then you'll have to spend a bit more. But again, budget comes into play about which monitor you'll choose: some 4K displays have high-end additional features and stronger brightness, but you can get a monitor that focuses more on resolution and colour accuracy to give you just what you need for less.

If you'll spend a lot of time connecting and disconnecting your MacBook Pro to take elsewhere, you should look at USB-C monitors, because these can connect to the laptop over a single cable carrying power and the video stream, making it extra easy to plug and unplug for hitting the road.

In all cases, we recommend looking for monitors with adjustable height at least, so that you can make sure it's good to work at ergonomically. In a world where more and more people are working from home, this is one area you don't want to skimp on when you buy, because if you start getting back problems you'll just need to end up buying a better monitor anyway.

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Best monitor for MacBook Pro in 2021

The USB-C monitor market is expanding rapidly, and with that growth comes a massive benefit for MacBook Pro and even MacBook Air users as it gives them more options to pick and choose the monitor that best suits their needs. In the past, the lack of an HDMI port on the MacBook Pro limited options and added the expense of an external docking station with an HDMI port so users could use their old monitors. Now with Thunderbolt 3 ports on the MacBook Pro (along with the MacBook Air), Mac users can simply connect to any monitor with a USB-C input and ditch the hub or dongle life.

Another advantage of using a USB-C monitor is that most come with additional ports and acts as a defacto docking station, saving you from purchasing another device. In theory, this lets you set up multiple monitors, although there have been some issues reported with doing so, specifically on the MacBook Pro with M1. 

That’s why we’ve done your homework for you and have put together a list of the monitors that work best with the Mac ecosystem. If you aren't sold on buying a MacBook, take a gander at our best monitors page, where you'll find the top panels for all laptops. And if you're on a budget, our best cheap monitors rankings will help you save some money. Haven't bought your laptop yet? See our best MacBooks page to help you determine whether you should get a Pro or Air. 

We here at Laptop are always working diligently to keep you updated, and in the next two weeks, we will be adding a couple of new USB-C monitors to our Best Monitors for MacBook Pro. One we recently got hands-on with is the Dell 34 C3422WE. 

The Dell 34 is a curved 34-inch WQHD monitor (3440 x 1440) with a 60Hz refresh rate; the monitor is also a port hub and comes with a pop-up FHD IR camera and built-in speakers and microphone. 

We will be adding a new monitor shortly to the Best Monitors for MacBook Pro lineup. We're so excited to soon share with you what we feel is one of the better USB-C monitors for the work you do on your MacBook. We're talking, bright, accurate, saturated colors, and much more. 

Why buy a USB-C monitor?

You may be wondering why I would need a USB-C monitor for my MacBook Pro. Yes, the display is fantastic but bigger is usually better when dealing with graphics, video, images, and definitely when gaming. The MacBook Pro’s native resolution is 3072 x 1920 and when you’re working on video edits or images, that 4K capability makes a huge difference in clarity especially when color grading. Another advantage to using a USB-C monitor with your MacBook Pro is higher refresh rates. The MacBook Pro’s refresh rate is 60Hz and you can find monitors that connect to your MacBook with refresh rates as high as 144Hz which comes in handy when you’re gaming or editing high frame rate video. 

I’m sure you’re still thinking, who are you to tell me what to buy? We are the crack staff at Laptop, along with our mad scientist in the lab who do all the due diligence in advance to help you select what best suits your needs. So let me break it down to you. 

Besides the advantage of a larger screen or 4K, one of the main advantages most USB-C monitors have is the ability to use one connection for video, data, and charging, which is a game-changer as it frees up space in your work area and ports on your MacBook Pro. The other advantage is that most USB-C monitors also act as docking hubs and tend to have multiple USB, HDMI, Display Port, and audio ports. Some even come with built-in cameras and speakers.

Sometimes, users have more peripherals than their laptops have ports to support. A good USB-C monitor will allow you to use one cable from your Mac to connect to your monitor, which will enable you to easily connect multiple devices through the monitor, freeing up desk space and extending the capabilities of your computer. Plus, the ability to charge your MacBook Pro once you're connected is a huge bonus and means there's no need to carry the laptop's charger with you, which can often be bulky and cumbersome.

1. HP E27d G4 monitor

Best monitor for MacBook Pro


Display: 21 inches

Resolution: 2560 x 1440

Max Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Response Time: 5ms

Reasons to buy

+Bright, vivid matte screen+100W power delivery via USB-C+Plenty of ports

Reasons to avoid

-Pricey-Poor webcam quality

The HP E27d G4 is a great monitor for mobile professionals looking to upgrade their home offices. What it lacks in top-tier specs is offset with enterprise features, like an anti-glare panel, IR camera for facial recognition and 100W power delivery. 

Those additions make the E27d a practical option. Just plug in your laptop with the included USB-C cable then use the IR webcam to instantly log in. From there, enjoy the bright and vivid reflection-free 27-inch screen all while your laptop is being charged. On top of that ease of use, the E27d has a built-in Ethernet port and the arm is extremely adjustable, allowing you to orient the display in portrait mode.

See our full HP E27d G4 monitor review.

2. Dell Ultrasharp 27 4K U2720Q


Display: 27 Inches

Resolution: 3840 x 2160

Max Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Response Time : 5ms

Reasons to buy

+Native 4K Resolution+Wide Color Gamut coverage+Good port Selection+Flexible design

Reasons to avoid

-Could be brighter

With a beautiful 4K panel focused on color accuracy, a very user-friendly amount of adjustability, and an ergonomically pleasing design, the fact that the Dell UltraSharp 27 4K USB-C Monitor (U2720Q) only costs $539 is shocking. Targeting creative professionals and people that place a high value on productivity, the monitor has a healthy amount of ports, which create a productivity-enhancing atmosphere for those working with high-end color graphics, photos, and video.

The Dell Ultrasharp 27 4K U2720Q is a business workflow beast. The monitor offers many connection options with its wide array of ports. It even has the ability to charge your laptops and devices as you move around the office. Its accurate color reproduction is a thing of beauty and makes the monitor a great option for any office, small business, or content creators seeking a leg up. 

See our full Dell Ultrasharp 27 U2720Q review.

3. Razer Raptor 27

The best overall gaming monitor you can buy


Display: 27-inch (2560 x 1440)

Max Refresh Rate: 144 Hz

Response Time: 1ms

Adaptive Sync: G-Sync, FreeSync

Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Panel Type: IPS

Inputs: DisplayPort, HDMI

Reasons to buy

+Vivid, bright 144-Hz display+HDR400 support+Sleek design+Clever cable management and port access

Reasons to avoid

-No VESA mount

The Razer Raptor 27 sports a 27-inch, 2560 x 1400 panel that covers 162.1% of the sRGB color gamut and emits 295 nits of brightness, which was vibrant and vivid in person. In terms of performance, it has a refresh rate of 144 Hz and a 1-millisecond response time. 

The IPS panel supports HDR400, and it comes with a few display presets, such as FPS Game, Racing Game, MMO Game, streaming and default. Razer packs bright green flat cables with the monitor, and those line up with grooves in the back that help with wire management. Top that off with its modern, sleek and glowing design with some subtle RGB flair, this is easily one of the best-looking monitors and among the best gaming monitors you can buy.

See our full Razer Raptor 27 review.

4. Asus Designo MX27UC 27-Inch Monitor


Display: 27 Inches

Resolution: 3840 x 2160

Max Refresh Rate: 75Hz

Response Time: 5ms

Reasons to buy

+ASUS Eye Care technology minimizes eye fatigue+Rich speaker system

Reasons to avoid

-Poor customer service-Pricey

You can stare at this screen all day — literally. Thanks to Asus Eye Care technology, which reduces eye strain, you can work for hours in relative comfort. Now, you can use those sweet peepers of yours to admire your uncluttered, single-cable setup. The USB Type-C port gives you power delivery, 4K video and data transmission. Dual 3-watt speakers paired with optimized sound will impress the average user and deliver the rich, spacious sound audiophiles crave. 

An elegant, icicle-gold finish encompasses the whole package and complements premium laptops such as a gold MacBook Pro. If you're looking for a monitor with USB-C functionality, impressive external speakers and a slick aesthetic, look no further than Asus' Designo. 

5. BenQ EW3270U monitor


Display: 31.5 Inches

Resolution: 3840 x 2160

Max Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Response Time: 4ms

Reasons to buy

+Gaming-optimized monitor+Low price for the specs

Reasons to avoid

-No power provided from USB-C

Offering the ability to adjust brightness and color temperature based on the content on screen and ambient light conditions, the BenQ EW3270U will ensure that your games will always be optimized. FreeSync guarantees the smoothest graphics at all times. For games in which every detail is important and stutter must be avoided, BenQ provides a solid display that would be ranked even higher with the addition of power delivery.

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming. 

Best Monitors For Mac [Top 5 External Monitors For Macbook, iMac \u0026 iPad]

The 8 Best Monitors for MacBook Pros in 2021

Final Verdict

The 32-inch BenQ PD3200U monitor (view on Amazon) is our top pick for MacBook Pros based on its brilliant 4K IPS display and its versatility in both work and entertainment applications. If you’re looking for something more affordable, our favorite budget option is the 24-inch ViewSonic VP2458 (view on Amazon).

About Our Trusted Experts

Emmeline Kaser is a former editor of Lifewire’s product round-ups and reviews. She specializes in consumer technology, such as the best monitors to pair with your MacBook Pro for the perfect work-from-home setup.

Zach Sweat is an experienced editor, writer, and photographer who's been writing for Lifewire since 2019. He specializes in computing, monitors, gaming, and TVs. He's previously been published by IGN, Void Media, and Whalebone Magazine.

Gannon Burgett has contributed to Lifewire since 2018, specializing in photography, computers and their peripherals, and gaming equipment. He's previously been published in Gizmodo, Digital Trends, Yahoo News, PetaPixel, and many others.

Bill Loguidice has more than two decades of experience covering technology for publications like TechRadar, PC Gamer, and Ars Technica. He's been writing for Lifewire since 2019, specializing in computers, tablets, and peripherals.


  • Chances are you will need to buy the appropriate adapter cable to connect your monitor to your MacBook. MacBooks have had their port options pared down in recent years and many of the newer models only have USB-C and Thunderbolt ports. If you have an older model, it may have a Mini DisplayPort connection instead. Many of the monitors on this list support Thunderbolt connections while nearly all of them support HDMI or VGA connections. You’ll need to get a cable that matches both the port(s) on your laptop and a connection on your monitor.

  • If you want to adjust device-specific settings (color adjustments, switching between specialized modes, etc.) you will need to access that through the monitor’s settings menu. But if you want to adjust how your MacBook Pro interacts with the monitor—to change the desktop image, or adjust the orientation of the displays—you can change this through the System Preferences menu. With the monitor attached and turned on, go to System Preferences > Displays on your MacBook to see your options.

  • The number of monitors your laptop can support depends on the resolution of those monitors. It can support up to four 4K monitors, two 6K displays, or a combination of 4K and 5K displays.

What to Look for in a Monitor

Screen Size

Your decision to add a monitor to your MacBook Pro is likely driven by a need for a larger screen. Most models come in a variety of sizes, often ranging from 23 inches to 34 inches and up (measured diagonally). A standard monitor has a 16:9 aspect ration, while ultrawide models have 21:9, giving you more horizontal space to work with.

Picture Quality

A standard monitor will have a resolution of around 1920x1080 pixels. For an even more vivid viewing experience, look for a monitor with 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840x2160 pixels). Another factor that will contribute to stellar picture quality is color accuracy, which is especially important for designers. The standard color space for ideal color reproduction is sRGB, and the best monitors will have coverage over 99 percent. Refresh rate covers how smooth a screen looks. Standard refresh rates are 60Hz, but if you're doing gaming or video editing you can get panels with a refresh rate upward of 100Hz.


The design of a monitor takes into account material, color, ergonomics, and build, among other things. Some have a wider footprint, while some are designed specifically to save space on your desk. Some designs are fixed, while others can tilt for a better viewing experience. Some even incorporate a curved screen. The best design is entirely based on your personal preference.


Retina monitors best display

The best monitors for MacBook Pro in 2021

Upgrading to one of the best monitors for MacBook Pro takes some careful thought. Although pretty much any modern display available will work with a MacBook Pro, choosing one that’s made or even optimized for these Apple notebooks – not to mention, ideal for your needs – is the secret to a better viewing experience.

There are two main things to look out for before hitting that buy button. The first is superb image quality with wide colour gamuts and high colour accuracy, preferably one that rivals your laptop’s display. This is even more important if you plan on using that display for media consumption or content creation. The second is USB-C connectivity, which is essential because all MacBook Pros that hit the shelves in the last few years only come with USB-C ports.

Naturally, the best monitors for MacBook Pro should also offer the same advantages as the laptops themselves. They should be easy to use, versatile, and reliable, with a build to match that of these laptops and excellent ergonomics to keep you working comfortably for hours. A nifty USB or Thunderbolt hub would be a nice little touch as well, but only if it doesn’t force you to blow your budget.

Fortunately, with so many monitors out there, satisfying all these metrics isn’t an impossible task. You just have to be a little more discerning, and you’ve got us to help you there. From some of the best 4k monitors or dazzling displays designed specifically for video and photo editors, we found the best monitors for MacBook Pro in 2021. 

The best monitors for MacBook Pro available now

01. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q

The best monitor for MacBook Pro overall, with 4K resolution and great colours


Size: 27 inches

Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160

Connections: DisplayPort, HDMI, 3x USB-A, 1x USB-C downstream, 1x USB-C upstream

Brightness (typical): 350 cd/m2

Reasons to buy

+Crisp 4K images+Excellent connectivity+Strong colours

Reasons to avoid

-Contrast could be better

Dell’s displays are geared towards the practical, in the best possible way. This isn't much of a looker unless you're really into dark generic office chic, but gives you 99.9% sRGB coverage, 95% DCI-P3 and 99% REC 709, and a 3,840 x 2,160 4K screen with excellent levels of detail. It's also generous in size – at 27 inches, there's lots of space to work in. Height, tilt, pivot and swivel adjustment options make it easy to work ergonomically, too.

Having USB-C connectivity means that it's ideal for connecting to a MacBook Pro, and 100W of power means you can charge a 16-inch MacBook Pro that's running flat out – it really is a single-cable connection. There's a second USB-C port for other accessories, plus three USB A ports, making it a great connection hub.

If you need something packed with detail that can be made to suit any physical working environment, this is a great buy. You get excellent image quality, versatile screen modes and loads of features plus top connectivity. The flaw for some will be the average brightness levels, which are lower than the Pro's own screen manages.

02. MSI Prestige PS341WU

The best ultrawide monitor for MacBook Pro


Size: 34 inches

Resolution: 5,120 x 2,160

Connections: DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, 1x USB-C, 3x USB Type A

Brightness (typical): 450 cd/m2

Reasons to buy

+Excellent colour accuracy and good brightness+Big canvas, and high resolution

Reasons to avoid

-Too large for some-No Thunderbolt connectivity

This screen checks more boxes than an Amazon warehouse. 98% DCI P3 gamut support and a 450-nit typical brightness are both very close to the screen of the MacBook Pro itself, making them a perfect pairing. As an added bonus, there's HDR support, with peak brightness hitting 600 nits, which is enough to really make using HDR on it worthwhile.

The resolution of 5120x2160 means you could have a Cinema 4K resolution or Ultra HD resolution video at full size, and still have some space for panels, to make live tweaks to the look. You might have noticed that we're not talking the usual 16:9 or 16:10 screen here – this is 21:9, which means you get more space for documents, tool panes or anything else you need to fit on the screen. It does mean it's a hefty 34 inches – not an unreasonable size (especially if you're replacing a double-monitor setup!), but not for everyone either. Tilt, swivel and height adjustments mean it's easy to get it working just right for you, anyway.

Throw in strong connectivity (including that important USB-C connection), and you've got a screen we recommend highly. The only slight disappointment is that it lacks Thunderbolt 3/4 connectivity. Most people will be able to live without one, but on an expensive monitor, it's a glaring miss.

03. ASUS ProArt PA278CV

The best affordable, accurate monitor for MacBook Pro


Size: 27 inches

Resolution: 2560 x 1440

Connections: 1x USB-C, 2x DisplayPort 1.2, 1x HDMI, USB hub, earphone jack

Brightness (maximum): 350 cd/m2

Reasons to buy

+Excellent accuracy+Lots of features+100% sRGB

Reasons to avoid

-Average contrast ratio

The ASUS ProArt PA278CV is a fantastic monitor that works well with the unique demands of pairing it with a MacBook Pro, and is the up-to-date, bigger version of the really good budget 24-inch ASUS ProArt PA24AC.

It offers 100% sRGB support, a 14-bit internal look-up table, uniformity tech for accurate images, and easy switching between calibration profiles. Its well-built stand has great ergonomic adjustments, so you can move it with ease to work with your MacBook Pro, whatever your set up. It also offers fantastic viewing angles, so sharing the screen is super easy, and details aren't lost in well-lit places.

Its simple connectivity means you can dock and charge your laptop and access the USB 3.0 hub with one USB-C cable, simplifying your setup. And, when you're at work, you'll make the most of the 75Hz refresh rate and solid response times, meaning a really smooth experience regardless of the task at hand.

If you want something that delivers strong image quality in a home office setting where space is at a premium, and don’t need Ultra HD resolutions, pick this.

04. ViewSonic VP2458

The best budget MacBook Pro screen with great ergonomics and accuracy


Size: 23.8 inches

Resolution: 1920x1080

Connections: DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, 2x USB-A, USB-B

Brightness (typical): 250 cd/m2

Reasons to buy

+Good colour accuracy+Ergonomic features

Reasons to avoid

-Not very bright or high-res-No USB-C

If the top-end screens here break your budget limits, this ViewSonic is the no-nonsense, great-quality cheaper choice to go with. Despite the low price, it's still aiming to be professional-grade, delivering 100% sRGB colour gamut coverage and Delta E of less than 2 (so its colour accuracy should be indistinguishable from perfect to the human eye – this is what basically all the monitors we feature offer).

Being a smaller 24-inch model with 1920x1080 resolution, it’s made for photographers or designers to focus on getting the looks perfect rather than seeing every inch of detail, and that's just fine for this price – 1080p is still plenty. It also has ergonomic features to adjust height, tilt, pivot and swivel, so you can get it set up perfectly. 

It's a shame there's no USB-C (meaning you'll need to add an adapter to the budget), but it's a sacrifice we can make especially for that price. Anyway, that's what USB-C hubs are for. Overall, it's an excellent package for creative pros.

05. Dell UltraSharp U4021QW

The best big screen monitor for multitasking MacBook Pro users


Size: 39.7 inches

Resolution: 4K (5K2K)

Connections: 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x Thunderbolt 3 PD 90W, 1x USB Type-B Upstream, 1x USB-C Downstream, 1x 4x USB-A ports, 1x USB-A with 2A charging

Brightness (max): 300 nits

Reasons to buy

+Picture quality is stunning+More ports than you’ll ever need+Tons of features for multi-taskers

Reasons to avoid


Sometimes, the best workflows are those in which you can spread out, and that’s what this almost 40-inch 4K monitor offers: space. Regardless of whether you simply like to stream Netflix while working or you need all that screen real estate for a more seamless creative process when video editing, the Dell UltraSharp U4021QW delivers it for you. In 4K no less. 

If you are a content creator, you’ll also be glad to know that it boasts 100% sRGB, 100% Rec. 709, and 98% DCI-P3 colour coverage. This display not only comes with gorgeous picture quality, but it does so with accurate and outstanding colours, which makes it even more ideal for photo editing, cinematic colour grading, and graphics design.

Of course, it’s a boon to multi-taskers as well, especially those dealing with massive spreadsheets or several different apps on a daily basis. And, its picture-in-picture, picture-by-picture, and KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) features will let such users connect two separate laptops or computers and view them on a single screen without switching peripherals.  After work entertainment? Its 9W speakers should work nicely in a pinch. 

06. BenQ SW321C PhotoVue

The best MacBook monitor for photographers


Screen size: 32-inch

Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160

Connections: SD card reader, 2x HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.4, USB-C PD 60W, USB Type-B Upstream, 2x USB 3.1 downstream

Brightness: 250 cd/m2

Reasons to buy

+Improved brightness and colour uniformity+USB-C connectivity+Hardware calibration with 16-bit LUT precision

Reasons to avoid

-Main connection bay is hard to reach-‘Paper Color Sync’ needs refining to be truly useful

Apple's laptops are perennially popular with photographers, and if you're looking for the best monitor to edit photos on, the BenQ SW321C PhotoVue is it. The huge 32-inch screen and 4K resolution let you really get deep into detail – this thing really shows off any kind of creative work in all its glory.

It features a wide colour gamut of 99% Adobe RGB and 95% DCI-P3, essential for photographers. You can also easily tweak its calibration to mimic the kind of paper you're planning to print on, so you can specifically target that as your end result when editing. And, it is compatible with HDR10 and HLG formats for your HDR work. The included Hotkey Puck G2 and Shaded Hood are just nifty extras to help keep the focus on your creative process.

It's expensive, but if you're a photographer who works on a MacBook Pro, this is the best monitor you can buy right now.

07. BenQ EX3501R

The best cheaper ultrawide monitor for MacBook Pro


Size: 35 inches

Resolution: 3440x1440

Connections: USB-C, 2x HDMI, DisplayPort, 2x USB-A

Brightness (typical): 300 cd/m2

Reasons to buy

+Great for multitasking+Good range of connections

Reasons to avoid

-Not the brightest-May just be too wide for some

Ultrawide monitors are becoming more and more popular for work because they can basically be dual-monitor setups, but take up less space – great in this growing era of home offices. 

This display is 35 inches diagonally, but don't be afraid that it's the size of a TV – it's a pretty standard monitor height, it’s just wider. The resolution of 3440x1400 gives you much more space for keeping more tool palettes visible (or reference material, or email, or video conferencing, or anything else you need) right alongside your creative apps. 

100% sRGB coverage means you can see colours just how you need them, and there’s even HDR support (though, again, the brightness is too low for meaningful use of it for video work). It also supports up to 100Hz refresh rates, so digital artists looking for minimal lag will find a friend here (or it doubles nicely as a gaming display).

08. Eizo ColorEdge CG319X

The best MacBook Pro monitor for immaculate accuracy and reproduction


Size: 31.1 inches

Resolution: 4096x2160

Connections: 2x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, 3x USB-A, USB-B

Brightness (typical): 350 cd/m2

Reasons to buy

+Fantastic colour accuracy+Huge cinema 4K resolution

Reasons to avoid

-Eye-watering price

It turns out that if you want the best of the best screens, you'll need a big ol' budget – who knew? Ah, but it's so worth it – in some ways, this could be top of our list, but the price and specific features are overkill for a lot of people. 

The main draw of the Eizo ColorEdge CG319X is its self-calibrating nature of the screen. A built-in sensor will run regular checks to ensure what you’re seeing is what you should be seeing, with no extra effort required from you. Who doesn't love essential equipment that self-calibrates?

Eizo’s specialist software helps you choose the colour profile you want to work to, as well. The resolution is DCI Cinema 4K (4096x2160), in a 31.1-inch screen – you’re getting a lot of real estate to work in here. It also has HLG HDR support for video compositing and grading (though the brightness isn't HDR rated), with 10-bit colour support and 98% DCI-P3 and 99% Adobe RBG coverage.

09. Asus ProArt PA32UC-K

The best MacBook Pro monitor for HDR video work


Size: 32 inches

Resolution: 3840x2160

Connections: 2x Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, 4x HDMI, DisplayPort, 2x USB-A, USB-B

Brightness (max): 1000 cd/m2

Reasons to buy

+HDR1000 rating+Excellent connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-Costly and may be overkill

When we say this is the best monitor for MacBook Pro video work, we're not claiming that it's the equivalent of a true reference monitor – but if you want to work in HDR and need something more reasonable in price and more desk-friendly, this is exactly what you need. 

This is all about 4K HDR video – 32 inches of 3840x2160 Ultra HD resolution lets you see your work at full quality, and its HDR1000 rating means you can test HDR at a level that matches or exceeds the vast, vast majority of TVs, backed up by 95% DCI-P3 colour support (and 99.5% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB). The really key thing here is its mini-LED full-array backlight – this enables highly localised dimming of the backlight in areas where your footage needs to show dark areas, but should also be good for even colour reproduction for still images.

There are 384 dimming zones, which will still mean a small amount of blooming when light and dark areas are next to each other, but in general enables true high contrast viewing far beyond what anything else in this list can dream of. If you need even more precision, the ASUS ProArt PA32UCX-K is the souped-up version of this, hitting 99% P3 coverage and featuring an astounding 1,152 local dimming zones in the mini-LED backlight.

10. HP E14 G4

Best portable monitor for MacBook Pro


Size: 14 inches

Resolution: 1920x1080

Connections: 2x USB-C with AltMode DisplayPort 1.2

Brightness (typical): 400 nits

Reasons to buy

+Thin, sleek and lightweight+Beautiful picture quality

Reasons to avoid

-Not the cheapest portable monitor

These days, portable monitors are becoming an inevitable part of a MacBook Pro user’s arsenal. They’re small and travel-friendly, keeping you mobile while giving you that extra screen real estate wherever you go. And, for that, the HP E14 G4 has our vote.

This 14-inch wonder might cost a bit more than you’d be willing to pay for a portable monitor, but trust us when we say that it’s worth the price and more. It looks incredible, first of all. Its thin and light form factor and sleek design don’t just make it the best portable monitor to carry with you everywhere. They make it look like the perfect companion to any MacBook Pro. And, despite its thin and ultra-lightweight nature, it also feels robust and made of premium materials.

No expense has been spared in terms of its panel as well, which is incredibly bright at 400 nits and comes with an anti-glare coating so you can work in full sunlight without issues. Of course, it isn’t going to be the most colour-accurate or have the best contrast for many creative tasks, but for productivity, writing, and media consumption while on the go, it’s hard to beat.

Related articles: 

Top 10 Best Monitors for Office \u0026 Productivity

The 5 Best Monitors For MacBook Pro - Fall 2021 Reviews

The Gigabyte M27Q is the best monitor for MacBook Pro in the budget category that we've tested. Although it's primarily a gaming monitor, it's packed with features that make it a great choice for productivity. It has a large, high-resolution screen, wide viewing angles, and it gets impressively bright, more than enough to overcome glare in well-lit settings. The stand only allows for height and tilt adjustments, but it supports a 100 x 100 VESA mount.

It has full sRGB and Adobe RGB coverage, making it a fantastic choice for content creators. It also supports a wide color gamut, with decent peak brightness in HDR. However, it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks appear gray in the dark and no local dimming to improve the black level. Its gaming performance is excellent, and it supports VRR, which means it can double as your gaming monitor.

There are two USB 3.0 and a USB-C port on the back. The latter supports DisplayPort Alt Mode, but unfortunately, the power delivery is limited to 10W. It has a Picture-in-Picture mode that lets you display two input signals simultaneously, and its built-in KVM lets you control both source devices with one set of peripherals. It also has a blue light filter and a flicker-free backlight to help reduce eye strain. All in all, this is a feature-rich and versatile monitor that's easy on the wallet.

See our review


You will also be interested:

Who needs a 4K monitor?

Why you should trust us

I’ve been testing, reviewing, and otherwise writing about PCs and other gadgets for AnandTech, Ars Technica, and Wirecutter since 2012. I’ve been building, upgrading, and fixing PCs for two decades, and five of those years were spent in IT departments buying and repairing business laptops and desktops, as well as helping people buy the best tech for their needs.

Our monitor guides benefit from the expert advice of Wirecutter senior staff writer Chris Heinonen—AnandTech’s former monitor guru and the guy a number of other reviewers go to for display-testing advice. He helped us figure out the best hardware and software to use for our testing, and he designed the evaluation process.

Who should get this

If you use your computer only for browsing and video calls, or if you’re looking at your screen for just a couple of hours a day, you don’t need to spend extra money on a 4K monitor. But if you’re doing professional video or photo editing and want to view 4K photos and videos at their native resolution, if you want to be able to fit more stuff on your screen at once, or if you want to see sharper text and more-detailed images on your screen, a 4K monitor is worth the investment.

“4K” is a loose term that refers to the number of pixels present horizontally across the screen; the most common 4K resolution is 3840×2160 pixels (yes, they are rounding up, but 3.84K is not as catchy). That’s four times the pixels in a 1080p display and 2.25 times the pixels in a 2560×1440-pixel display. The increased pixel density allows for sharper text and more-detailed images and videos, as well as an increase in usable desktop space—you can view a bunch of information on a 4K screen at once, depending on your operating system’s scaling settings.1

If you’re doing professional video or photo editing, a 4K monitor is worth the investment.

To push all of those pixels, you will need a newer and faster computer; most laptops and desktops released in or after 2015 should be good enough to handle your web browser and other basic apps. Your computer needs to support DisplayPort 1.2 or later or HDMI 2.0 or later to run a 4K display at the typical 60 frames per second (or 60 Hz). Settings like 30 Hz or 24 Hz will look slower and more stuttery than you’re used to, since most phones, laptop screens, and other monitors refresh at 60 Hz. If you’re playing high-end games, you’ll also need a powerful graphics card like an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, 3080, or 3090, or an AMD Radeon RX 6800 or 6900. Streaming 4K video also requires a relatively fast internet connection; Netflix recommends at least 25 Mbps speeds for 4K streaming, and if you have other people using your network at the same time, you’ll want more than that.

If a 4K monitor isn’t right for you, we have guides for lower-resolution budget monitors and 27-inch monitors, which are still great for browsing the web, multitasking, and gaming. A good budget monitor will run you between $100 and $150; a good 2560×1440 27-inch monitor will cost between $250 and $400.

  • The Best Budget Monitors

    The Best Budget Monitors

    We researched and tested cheap monitors and found options for less than $200 that are good enough for most people.

  • The Best 27-Inch Monitor

    The Best 27-Inch Monitor

    For those who have the desk space, 27-inch monitors hit the sweet spot of screen size and resolution, and we have recommendations for almost every scenario.

How we picked and tested

These are the features you should look for in a 4K monitor:

  • Size: A 27-inch monitor is large enough to take advantage of some of 4K’s extra screen resolution without being too large to use on a desk. We didn’t look at any 4K monitors bigger than 32 inches because they take up too much desk space.
  • Display technology: Your 4K monitor’s display should be IPS, not TN (or VA), because IPS panels provide far better viewing angles and color reproduction.
  • Price: A great 27-inch 4K monitor should cost less than $600, and decent budget models should cost less than $400. You’ll pay between $700 and $900 for a great 32-inch model.
  • Ports: HDMI and DisplayPort connections are both requirements for any decent 4K monitor, and the best ones will also include a USB-C port that can send a display signal and charge a connected laptop at the same time. Great monitors should also include a USB 3.0 hub so you can connect peripherals like keyboards, mice, and webcams, since modern laptops come with fewer and fewer ports of their own.
  • Contrast ratio: A good contrast ratio makes the dark areas of a screen easier to see when you’re watching a movie or playing a game. We measured each monitor’s contrast ratio during our testing, instead of relying on the manufacturer’s listing. A contrast ratio of 1000:1 or higher (note that higher is better) is typical of IPS panels. Having a good contrast ratio is a little more important than having accurate color—you can often fix inaccurate color after the fact by calibrating the monitor yourself, but a poor contrast ratio is harder to address.
  • Color accuracy and color gamut: For any kind of photo, video, or graphics work, a monitor’s color accuracy ensures that your images look the way you intend them to when they appear on another screen or in print. The best 4K monitors, which come calibrated from their manufacturers, have better color accuracy than ones that don’t. For the best image quality, your monitor should also cover as much of the sRGB color gamut as possible; the more gamut coverage a monitor provides, the wider the range of colors it can accurately represent. Coverage of the wider DCI-P3 color gamut is also a plus. If you’re doing professional image work on the monitor, we recommend either calibrating it yourself or hiring a professional to do it. Though the accuracy of factory-calibrated monitors is generally great, professional calibration can usually improve it.
  • Stands and VESA mount support: If your monitor doesn’t allow you to properly align it for correct posture, your body can pay the price. The most ergonomic option, and a requirement for our picks, is a monitor’s ability to attach to a monitor arm via a VESA mount. But because good monitor arms can cost an additional $100 to $200, we prioritized 4K monitors with stands that can tilt front to back, swivel side to side, slide up and down, and pivot into portrait mode.
  • Warranty: 4K monitors are bigger investments than budget monitors, so a good warranty is important—we looked only at monitors that came with warranties lasting three years or longer. A good dead-pixel policy that protects your purchase from bright- and dark-pixel defects is also important.
  • Refresh rate: A 60-hertz (Hz) refresh rate over either HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 keeps things smooth and prevents laggy animations and mouse movements. Older versions of HDMI and DisplayPort topped out at 30 Hz for 4K monitors or relied on multiple cables to achieve 60 Hz. You can now buy 4K monitors with up to 144 Hz refresh rates, but they’re more expensive than 60-Hz monitors, most laptops’ integrated graphics processors don’t support them, and most people don’t need them.
  • Design: A monitor’s bezel, or the border around the screen, doesn’t affect its functionality. But a slim border looks more modern and reduces the amount of space between screens if you’re using a multi-monitor setup.
  • Easy-to-use controls: Your 4K monitor’s onscreen display should make it easy to change settings such as text size or brightness. Its buttons—whether capacitive or physical—should also be easy to use.
  • Variable refresh rates: If you don’t play PC games, you don’t need to worry about this. A monitor with a variable refresh rate, also called adaptive sync, matches the screen’s refresh rate to the frame rate of the game you’re playing as it goes up and down, eliminating screen tearing and stuttering, and reducing input latency without impacting the game’s performance. A few of the monitors we looked at support FreeSync, which works with both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.2

We looked through the websites of 4K monitor manufacturers, including Acer, Asus, BenQ, Dell, HP, LG, and ViewSonic. And we eliminated models that didn’t meet our criteria, weren’t readily available through established retailers, or were too expensive relative to other models with similar features.

To test those monitors, we used each model for typical desktop work for a few hours, noting the sturdiness and quality of the stand and how easy the monitor was to adjust using the on-screen controls. We tested for some common issues that can afflict LCD monitors, like low-light flicker (also called PWM flicker) and image retention.

We then tested the accuracy of each monitor’s color and contrast—a screen with too-bright, oversaturated color might look good to the naked eye, but photos, videos, and web pages won’t look the way their creators intended. We tested each monitor using an X-Rite i1Basic Pro and an X-Rite OEM i1Display colorimeter, as well as custom tests in the Calman software calibration suite designed by Wirecutter senior staff writer Chris Heinonen. The Calman tests produce DeltaE 2000 numbers, which show how much the displayed color deviates from what it’s supposed to be: the lower the number, the better the result. A DeltaE value lower than 1.0 is perfect. Under 2.0 is good enough for print-production work, and you wouldn’t notice a difference even if you had a perfect reference to compare against. Ratings above 3.0 mean you’d probably see a difference with your naked eye.

Color gamut, or the range of colors that a device can accurately represent, is also important (color accuracy doesn’t mean much if your screen shows only a portion of the colors meant to be displayed), so we used our Calman tests to determine how much of the sRGB color gamut each monitor’s screen could reproduce. The ideal score is 100%. Our numbers don’t go past that because reporting numbers larger than 100% can give the impression of full gamut coverage even in cases where that isn’t true—for example, if the monitor displays many colors outside the gamut without displaying all the ones inside it.

4K monitors often include support for a wider color gamut called DCI-P3, which is primarily used in film production but is also supported by most of Apple’s recent phones and computers and a number of high-end Windows laptops. It’s rare to come across 100% DCI-P3 coverage, at least in our price range, but anything higher than 80% is better than average.

For each round of tests, we adjusted the monitor’s brightness to 140 cd/m2 (candelas per square meter), a good value for everyday use, and set its contrast as high as it could go without losing white details. We tested different built-in color presets for the monitors that had them, noting the ones that produced the most accurate colors.

The best 4K monitor: Dell P2721Q

Our pick for best 4k monitor, the Dell P2721Q, on a desk with a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Our pick

Dell P2721Q

Dell P2721Q

The best 4K monitor

The P2721Q has a sleek design, plenty of ports, and excellent contrast and color accuracy. And Dell’s monitor warranty is one of the best you can get.

Buying Options

$510* from Dell

*At the time of publishing, the price was $570.

The Dell P2721Q is the best 27-inch 4K monitor for most people because it combines great color accuracy and contrast, a useful array of ports, a sleek design, a flexible stand, an excellent three-year warranty, and a reasonable price. You can spend many hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars more on professional 4K monitors, but the P2721Q is good enough that most people don’t need to.

The monitor has enough ports to connect to a wide array of devices: one HDMI 2.0 port, one DisplayPort 1.2 port, a USB-C port, two USB-A 2.0 ports on the back, and one USB-A port and two USB-A 3.0 ports on the bottom edge. The USB-C port can provide up to 65 W of power, enough to charge most 13-inch laptops (and most other laptops that don’t include dedicated graphics processors). The USB 2.0 ports on the back are best used for devices that don’t benefit from extra data transfer speed, like keyboards, mice, and webcams; the USB 3.0 ports on the bottom of the monitor are the ones you should use for USB drives and other forms of external storage.

The back side of our pick for best 4k monitor, the Dell P2721Q.

The P2721Q’s back looks and feels nice and understated. And this monitor takes up a bit less space than other 27-inch monitors (especially older ones). Photo: Andrew Cunningham

A close-up of the two USB 3.0 ports on the bottom edge of the Dell P2721Q 4k monitor.

Two USB Type-A 3.0 ports on the monitor’s bottom edge. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

A close-up of the port dock in the back side of the Dell P2721Q 4k monitor.

On the back of the monitor, you’ll find an HDMI port, a DisplayPort, a USB-C port, and two USB Type-A 2.0 ports. These are slower than the ports on the bottom of the monitor, but they’re fine for accessories like keyboards, mice, and webcams. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Using the standard color preset (the most accurate of its options), the monitor’s color accuracy scores are all somewhere between “good” and “fine.” Calman DeltaE scores of less than 3.0 are accurate enough for anything other than professional photo and video work, and the P2721Q’s are all well under that threshold (though warmer tones like yellows are a bit less accurate than other colors). Its contrast ratio of 1192:1 was also better than average—the dark areas of images will look a little more detailed than they will on monitors like our budget pick. There’s no substitute for professional color calibration, but the P2721Q is more than good enough that most people can just take it out of the box and start using it.

Make/modelContrast ratioGrayscaleColorCheckerSaturations
HP Z27k G3 (sRGB preset)1180:11.21580.72890.8417
Dell P2721Q (Standard preset)1192:11.86052.57761.5479
Asus ProArt PA279CV (Standard preset)1048:11.61961.89561.7055
ViewSonic VG2756-4K (Movie preset)949:12.87824.38764.5472
LG 27BL85U-W (Standard preset)1198:12.13932.72121.9783

Our monitor testing data for our main pick competitors. A contrast ratio of 1000:1 or above ensures that the monitor can display deep blacks and can differentiate between shades of black. A grayscale score above 3.0 means shades of gray may have a visible color tint. ColorChecker and saturation scores above 3.0 mean that the colors displayed onscreen may look visibly different when compared with a color-accurate reference image.

The P2721Q has a stable, fully adjustable stand—with very little wobble—that allows the screen to tilt, swivel, pivot 90 degrees, and go up and down, which is everything we want to see in a good monitor stand. Like everything we tested, it also includes VESA mounting holes, if you want to use a monitor arm. Dell’s three-year warranty was typical among those of the monitors we tested. But its Premium Panel Guarantee means that if your screen has even a single bright-subpixel defect, Dell will replace the whole screen for you; some other manufacturers allow two or three bright subpixels before they’ll replace anything. That said, you can have as many as six dark-subpixel defects before Dell will replace the display, whereas other companies will tolerate only four or five.

The P2721Q doesn’t come with many extra features, like adaptive sync or internal speakers or higher refresh rates. It’s a monitor for people who want great picture quality—if gaming-oriented features are more important to you than USB-C or contrast, consider our budget pick instead.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

We used to recommend one of Dell’s UltraSharp monitors (or U-series), the U2720Q, and there are a couple of places where Dell’s (still generally excellent) P-series monitors are a step down. Most noticeably, the design of the P-series monitor still includes a slightly thicker bottom bezel (sometimes derisively called a “chin”) that hides some of the monitor’s internal electronics, while the U-series bezel is more consistently narrow throughout. This is really only a functional issue if you’re flipping the monitor into portrait mode and you want to minimize the amount of space between the P2721Q’s screen and another monitor; in other words, it’s not going to be a problem for most people, but it doesn’t look as nice.

Runner-up: HP Z27k G3

Our pick for best 4k monitor if the Dell P2721Q is unavailable, the HP Z27k G3.


HP Z27k G3

HP Z27k G3

Better screen, wobblier stand

The HP Z27k G3 has a sleek, minimalist design and near-perfect color accuracy. It can charge a 16-inch MacBook Pro and even has a built-in Ethernet port. But it usually costs more than our pick, and its slim stand also feels more wobbly.

The HP Z27k G3 is more or less evenly matched with the Dell P2721Q, with similar contrast, even better color accuracy, a similarly adjustable stand, and a good three-year warranty. Its port selection is even a bit better than Dell’s. But its minimalist, angular design doesn’t feel as sturdy as that of the P2721Q: The 727k G3’s stand is prone to wobbling, and the plastic cable-management loop in the back will detach if you apply much pressure to it (although it usually reattaches easily, we worry the plastic retention clips could break over time). This monitor is also normally a little more expensive than our pick, though not by much.

In addition to its USB-C port, which can provide up to 100 W of power (enough for a 15- or 16-inch MacBook Pro), the Z27k G3 has one HDMI 2.0 port, a DisplayPort input and output. Compared with our top pick from Dell, it also adds a gigabit Ethernet port, and all four of the USB ports support faster USB 3.0 data-transfer speeds (instead of two 2.0 and two 3.0 ports).

The back side of the HP Z27k G3 4k monitor.

The Z27k G3 is slimmer, lighter, and more angular than the more businesslike Dell P2721Q. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

A close-up of the two 3.0 USB ports on the back of the HP Z27k G3 4k monitor.

Two USB-A 3.0 ports on the back of the monitor, separate from the other ports. Most monitors put these ports on the side or bottom edge somewhere, but the Z27k G3’s edges are all too thin for that. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

A close-up of the port dock on the back of the HP Z27k G3 4k monitor.

Under the stand, the Z27k G3 has an HDMI port, DisplayPort input and outputs, a USB-C port, and two more USB-A 3.0 ports. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Using the Z27k G3’s sRGB color preset, we measured a contrast ratio of 1180:1, effectively identical to that of the Dell P2721Q. But the HP monitor’s color accuracy is exceptionally good, with DeltaE values at or below 1.0 across the board—remember, anything under 2.0 is excellent, and anything under 3.0 is good enough to get by with. And though the P2721Q is less accurate with warmer colors like yellow or orange, the Z27k G3 is pretty accurate across the board, regardless of the color you’re looking at.

The Z27k G3’s stand can swivel, tilt, pivot, and raise and lower the monitor’s height, which is everything we look for in a decent built-in stand. The only downsides are the relative wobbliness and the more-fragile plastic loop for cable management, neither of which is a problem with the Dell P2721Q. The monitor’s three-year warranty includes a zero-bright-subpixel guarantee: Like Dell, HP will replace your display if it develops even a single bright-subpixel defect. The dark-subpixel policy is less generous but also in line with what Dell offers on the P2721Q; you can have as many as five dark-subpixel defects before HP will replace the monitor.

A larger option: Dell UltraSharp P3222QE

Our pick for best 4k monitor for people who want a larger, 32 inch screen, the Dell UltraSharp P3222QE.

Upgrade pick

Dell P3222QE

Dell P3222QE

A 32-inch 4K monitor

The Dell P3222QE is more expensive than most 27-inch monitors, but it offers good color accuracy and USB-C connectivity. And with a larger screen, it’s easier to see the detail in 4K photos and videos.

Buying Options

$665* from Dell

*At the time of publishing, the price was $720.

If you have more money to spend and more space on your desk, a 32-inch 4K monitor is big enough that you may not need to scale up text or UI elements to make them readable. The Dell UltraSharp P3222QE combines good color and contrast, useful inputs, a USB hub, and a clean, understated design. The P3222QE’s USB-C port delivers up to 65 W of power, enough to charge most 13-inch laptops at full speed, and it also transmits data, video, and audio. Like our top pick, the Dell P2721Q, the P3222QE comes with a three-year warranty and a Premium Panel Guarantee. However, it usually costs $200 or $300 more than the 27-inch monitors we recommend.

The 32 inch P3222QE 4k monitor, placed behind the 27 inch P2721Q monitor, for size comparison purposes.

A 32-inch monitor like the P3222QE (left) dwarfs an already-large 27-inch monitor like the Dell P2721Q (right). Photo: Andrew Cunningham

The port dock on the back of the P3222QE 4k monitor.

The P3222QE has an HDMI port, DisplayPort, USB-C port, two USB Type-A 3.0 ports, and an Ethernet port on the back. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

The two extra 3.0 USB ports along the bottom edge of the P3222QE 4k monitor.

Two more USB Type-A 3.0 ports on the bottom of the monitor. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

The Dell P3222QE has all the ports you need from a high-end monitor: one HDMI 2.0 port, one DisplayPort, the USB-C port, four USB 3.0 ports, and a gigabit Ethernet port for wired internet connections. Its 1297:1 contrast ratio is superb—even better than that of our 27-inch picks—and its color accuracy is similar to that of the smaller P2721Q. Using its standard color preset, the P3222QE’s DeltaE scores are usually between 1.0 and 2.0, which indicates generally accurate color. As with the P2721Q, on this monitor the warm tones like yellows and oranges were a little less accurate than other colors.

Make/modelContrast ratioGrayscaleColorCheckerSaturations
Dell P3222QE (Standard preset)1297:11.28852.11411.6513
Lenovo P32p-20 (Neutral preset)1067:14.27223.24693.309
HP Z32 (sRGB preset)1250:12.44121.71251.741
Dell U3219Q (Standard preset)1343:13.25211.76781.8583
Lenovo T32p-20 (Reddish preset)1105:11.78812.45592.7655

Monitor testing data for our 32-inch upgrade-pick candidates.

The P3222QE has an excellent stand that can tilt, swivel, move the monitor up and down, and pivot 90 degrees into a landscape position, and it has VESA mounting holes for monitor arms. The monitor comes with Dell’s three-year limited warranty, which covers defects in materials and workmanship. And the Premium Panel Guarantee allows for a replacement if even one bright pixel (a stuck pixel that continually allows backlight to shine through) is present.

Budget pick: Acer B287K bmiipprzx

Our pick for best 4k monitor on a budget, the Acer B7 Series B287K bmiipprzx.

Budget pick

Acer B287K bmiipprzx

Acer B287K bmiipprzx

Cheap but full-featured

The Acer B287K bmiipprzx lacks a USB-C port, and its contrast isn’t as good as that of our top picks. But it does include a USB hub and all the other ports most people need, and it has good color accuracy, an adjustable stand, and a solid warranty.

The Acer B287K bmiipprzx is the monitor to get if you want the sharpness of a 4K screen but don’t want to pay $500 or more for it. Compared with our top picks, it’s physically bulkier and more plasticky, and it doesn’t have a USB-C port. Also, its contrast ratio is okay as opposed to great—you won’t be able to see quite as much detail in the dark areas of your photos, videos, and games. But its color accuracy is outstanding, even compared with that of our more expensive picks, and its fully adjustable stand and four-port USB 3.0 hub are rare in this price range. It also includes FreeSync adaptive sync technology and basic built-in speakers, which our top picks don’t include.

The lack of a USB-C port is inconvenient for people with newer laptops who want to cut down on cable clutter, but its port selection is otherwise excellent: You get two HDMI 2.0 ports, one mini DisplayPort, a DisplayPort, and four USB-A 3.0 ports (two on the back of the monitor and two on the side). It’s one of the few sub-$400 4K monitors we’ve tested that includes a USB hub at all.

The back side of the Acer B7 Series B287K.

The B287K is bulkier and more plasticky than our top picks, but it will still blend in with most computer hardware. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

The port dock on the back of the Acer B7 Series B287K.

There’s a pair of HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, and a mini DisplayPort on the back of the monitor, in addition to two USB Type-A ports. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

The two extra 3.0 USB ports on the lateral edge of the Acer B7 Series B287K.

Two USB Type-A 3.0 ports on the left side of the B287K. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Though the Acer’s 974:1 contrast ratio is merely average, its color accuracy would be great at any price. Using its sRGB color preset, all of the B287K’s DeltaE scores were at or under 1.0, which indicates effectively perfect color. That said, this color preset does have other shortcomings. The monitor’s Standard color preset is considerably less accurate. But we measured a somewhat-better 1002:1 contrast ratio and better color gamut coverage in Standard mode (a wider color gamut means that a monitor can show you more shades of more colors; the monitor can display roughly 93% of the sRGB color gamut when using its sRGB color preset, and closer to 97% of the gamut using the standard preset). Most people can use the sRGB preset and benefit from the more-accurate color, but those considering the B287K for professional work should be aware of the caveats.

Make/modelContrast ratioGrayscaleColorCheckerSaturations
Acer B287K bmiipprzx (sRGB preset)974:10.45840.80031.0647
Acer CB282K smiiprx (Standard preset)998:11.70583.3933.0731
Asus VG289Q (User mode preset)1052:13.8712.792.8572
LG 27BK67U-B (Cinema preset)1180:11.94032.65761.8422
LG 27BL55U-B (Cinema preset)1172:11.99592.11941.5022

Monitor testing data for our budget-pick candidates. Note that the LG monitors, though they look good here, have significant image retention problems.

The B287K has a large, sturdy stand with very little wobble. As can those of our more expensive picks, this model’s stand can swivel, tilt, pivot, and adjust the monitor’s height. The three-year warranty’s dead pixel policy isn’t as generous as what you’ll get from Dell or HP, but it still covers egregious defects; you’ll need at least two bright subpixels, five dark or dead subpixels, or a total of five defective subpixels of either type before Acer will replace the monitor.

It’s not a gaming monitor, but if you sometimes play games and you’re on a budget, the B287K’s FreeSync support is a nice addition. FreeSync helps prevent stuttering and screen tearing in 3D applications, making gameplay a bit smoother and nicer-looking. I find FreeSync a bit less noticeable and useful in monitors that don’t also have high refresh rates (a high-refresh-rate monitor can update its contents more than the typical 60 times per second, making games in particular look more fluid and responsive), but it’s still nice to have.

Other good 4K monitors

The Asus ProArt PA279CV is similar to the Dell P2721Q and the HP Z27k G3 in price and features—they all offer good color accuracy, USB-C ports and USB hubs, flexible stands, and good warranties, and they all cost around $500. Like the Dell, the Asus ProArt supports DisplayPort 1.2, not the more robust 1.4 version included in the Z27kl G3. The ProArt’s 1048:1 contrast ratio isn’t as good as that of the Dell or HP monitors, but if both of those are out of stock, or if the PA279CV is significantly cheaper, it’s the one you should buy instead.


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