Monitor Roundup: The best external displays to use with your Mac

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in Current Mac Hardware
Mac users looking for an external display have a variety of options ranging from budget-friendly TN panels to high-end HDR displays. We're rounding up a list of the top monitors -- some with USB-C support and some without -- to use with your Mac.




Whether you're using an ultraportable 2016 MacBook or a powerful Mac Pro with a dedicated graphics card, an external display provides a wealth of screen real estate with options for Ultra HD and even HDR support. We've compiled a list of the best monitors to use with your Mac from portable USB-C models all the way up to top of the line professional displays. Depending on your particular configuration, a compatible cable may be necessary. For more information, please see Apple's support page and our guide on how to connect 4K monitors to your Mac. To find out which ports your Mac has, please visit Apple's help page on the topic.

NEC PA322UHD-BK-2 31.5" UHD IPS 4K LED Monitor




The NEC 31.5-inch PA322UHD professional-grade display offers users 3840 x 2160 4K UHD resolution with a 1000 to 1 contrast ratio and 10 millisecond response time. Connectivity includes two DisplayPort 1.2 inputs with 10-bit support, four 10-bit HDMI ports, two DVI-D inputs and a USB hub (Late 2016 MacBook Pro users, you will need a compatible cable). It's a heavy monitor, weighing in at just over 45 pounds with the stand, but for those looking for accurate color, the PA322UHD is a top choice for photography and videography work. The 14-bit 3D internal programmable lookup tables (LUTs) offer advanced calibration with 99.2% Adobe RGB color space support, and the monitor is TuV Rheinland certified for Color Accuracy and Quick Stability.

Retailing for $2,999.00, the PA322UHD-BK-2 can be purchased at B&H for the discounted price of $2,744.69 with free expedited shipping and no tax on orders shipped outside NY and NJ. Alternatively, Amazon has the display for the same price with free standard shipping. However, Amazon collects sales tax in all applicable states.

USB-C Cables
ChoeTech USB-C to DisplayPort Cable (3 feet) for $19.99 @Amazon ($20 off)
j5create JCA141 USB Type-C to 4K DisplayPort Cable (4 feet) for $34.95 @B&H (No tax outside NY & NJ)

ASUS PA329Q 32" 4K UHD IPS Display

ASUS 32 inch PA329Q 4K Ultra HD Monitor


Also making the list of top displays, ASUS' 32-inch 4K in-plane switching (IPS) panel packs a wealth of features for the price. With a 14-bit internal LUT and 99.5% Adobe RGB, the ProArt PA329Q supports Gamma values of 2.4, 2.2, 2.0 and 1.8 for natural-looking images. The input/output port selection is widespread with 60Hz UltraHD support via DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 and Mini DisplayPort connections (the latter being beneficial to Macs with Thunderbolt ports). The PA329Q is also compatible with popular hardware calibrators, such as X-rite i1 Display Pro and Datacolor Spyder 5 series, for color accuracy and consistency.

Although the ProArt monitor retails for $1,299.00, Amazon has units in stock at press time for $1,149.47 ($150 off) with free 2-day shipping for Prime members and 12 month special financing with your Amazon.com Store Card (see site for details).

USB-C Cable
Itanda USB Type C to Mini DisplayPort Adapter Cable for $23.99 @Amazon (Free shipping for Prime members)

LG 43UD79-B 43" 16:9 4K IPS Monitor with USB-C

LG 43 inch 4K IPS USB C display


If time is not of the essence, MacBook Pro users looking for a sizeable display can order LG's 42.5-inch 4K IPS monitor for under $700 with anticipated delivery in 1 to 3 weeks. This display features four HDMI ports (two version 1.4 and two version 2.0) in addition to one USB Type C connector. It's also factory calibrated and HDCP 2.2 compatible.

Amazon.com currently has the display for $697.00 with a ship date of 1 to 3 weeks. B&H is also taking pre-orders at $697.00 with no tax on orders shipped outside NY and NJ, plus free expedited shipping.

LG 32UD99-W 31.5" 16:9 HDR10 FreeSync IPS Monitor

LG 32UD99W Free Sync USB Type C Display


The smaller 31.5-inch LG 32UD99-W display is also on the verge of shipping with an expected availability date of June 12. This display not only offers USB-C connectivity for Late 2016 MacBook Pro users, but it also has DisplayPort and HDMI ports for compatibility with other Mac devices. In addition to having a near borderless design, the 32UD99-W also supports high-dynamic-range (HDR) video for vibrant colors that really pop. In fact, the monitor has a DCI-P3 95% color gamut, which is the current standard utilized by the film industry.

As noted above, B&H Photo expects to ship the 32UD99-W on June 12 for $999.00 with free expedited shipping and no sales tax outside NY and NJ. Pre-orders are first come, first served.

BenQ PD3200U 32" 4K Designer Monitor

BenQ PD3200U 32 inch 4K Display


With 100% sRGB color space, the BenQ PD3200U IPS display offers users an abundance of features for under $800. For starters, the 32-inch size provides users with a large amount of screen real estate. The build quality of the 10-bit display is also top-notch with advanced capability that's perfect for creative professionals.

The aggressive sub-$800 price point makes the BenQ PD3200U a viable option for those willing to forego USB-C connectivity (port options include two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2 input and one mini DisplayPort connection). While Amazon is currently reporting shipping delays of 1 to 2 months, NewEgg has units in stock for $799.00.

Dell P2715Q 27" Ultra HD 4K Monitor

Dell P2715Q 27 inch Ultra HD 4K Display


For Mac users wanting to run dual monitors, Dell's P2715Q offers UltraHD 4K support and is factory tuned at 99% sRGB. With 178 degree viewing angles, this IPS display also has a 2 million to 1 contrast ratio and 9 millisecond response time. With the 27-inch size and $550 price tag, many users tend to opt for two of these displays for business or personal use.

Dell Home currently has the P2715Q for $549.99 with free shipping, with inventory levels at Amazon fluctuating rapidly. At press time, 19 units are left in stock after Amazon previously reported a 2 to 4 week wait.

Acer CB281HK Bmjdpr 28" 16:9 4K LCD Monitor

Acer affordable 4K monitor


On the more affordable spectrum, Acer's CB281HK Bmjdpr 28-inch display offers users 4K resolution for Late 2016 MacBook Pro users when paired with a compatible dongle or dock. At $379.99, this UDH display can be purchased with the OWC Thunderbolt 3 13-port dock for less than LG's UltraFine 4K Display, and features a fast 1 millisecond response time due to its Twisted Nematic (TN) panel (compared to LG's IPS panel).

At press time, B&H has the Acer CB281HK Bmjdpr 28" 16:9 4K LCD Monitor in stock for $379.99 with free expedited shipping and no tax on orders shipped outside NY and NJ.

Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station
OWC 13-port Thunderbolt 3 dock for $297.50 @B&H (No tax outside NY & NJ)

ASUS MB16AC 15.6" 16:9 Full HD Portable IPS USB-C Monitor

ASUS MB16AC ZenScreen Portable IPS USB Type C


Looking for a portable second display? Although the MB16AC, which features full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution at 60Hz, was unveiled at IFA 2016, shipments are finally set to get underway with inventory anticipated to arrive within a month. At 8mm thick, the panel offers decent viewing angles thanks to in-plane switching with power consumption of 8 watts or less. The MB16AC also features TUV Rheinland-certified ASUS Flicker-free technology to minimize eyestrain -- and the smart pen hole can be used to prop up the panel (a unique, but effective, method).

Amzon.com is now taking orders for the ASUS MB16AC USB-C display at $249.00 with shipments expected to begin in 1 to 3 weeks. B&H is also accepting pre-orders with no tax collected outside NY and NJ, although delivery is expected to begin later (July).
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,147member
    I had the Dell 27in display. I say had. The cat knocked it over and the screen got damaged. The insurance coughed up enough for me to get an Ilyama 27in 4K display.
    I actually preferred the Dell. The U/I on the Ilyama is a POS. They aren't alone there though.


    1983
  • Reply 2 of 28
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    The best external displays to use with your Mac? And now in context of "Apple's Tim Cook condemns Trump decision to back out of Paris climate accord, promises corporate efforts will continue"... That should be made by Apple. Really. Desktop headless Macs like Mac mini and Mac Pro are ecological, whereas all-in-one desktops like iMac are anti-ecological, since a CPU may last seven years, but a display lasts more more than 20 years. Apple should put emphasis on making brand new headless Macs and brand new displays.
    edited June 2017 xzuwelshdog
  • Reply 3 of 28
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,694member
    Eizo makes really nice monitors: http://www.eizoglobal.com/products/coloredge/cg318-4k/index.html
    Designed form the ground up to be calibrated to whatever colorspace you need.  Had one on our Discreet Logic compositing system and it was rock solid. A true professional monitor.

    mobirdpscooter63polymnia
  • Reply 4 of 28
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,934member
    appex said:
    The best external displays to use with your Mac? And now in context of "Apple's Tim Cook condemns Trump decision to back out of Paris climate accord, promises corporate efforts will continue"... That should be made by Apple. Really. Desktop headless Macs like Mac mini and Mac Pro are ecological, whereas all-in-one desktops like iMac are anti-ecological, since a CPU may last seven years, but a display lasts more more than 20 years. Apple should put emphasis on making brand new headless Macs and brand new displays.
    You just don't give up do you? Who the hell uses a 20yr old display? You seriously want to bring that ignorant argument back? Do you realize how dumb of a comment that is?
    edited June 2017 williamlondonrotateleftbytepscooter63baconstangrandominternetperson
  • Reply 5 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,176member
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a wider aspect ratio.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    Finally in the UK retailers have just received some stock of the LG 27UD88 (4K, USB-C -> the 27" version of the 32UD99 listed in the article I think), which reviews say is a very nice monitor - mine arrives on Monday! :smiley:
  • Reply 7 of 28
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,147member
    Soli said:
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a wider aspect ratio.
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
    Not everyone wants widescreen or ultra widescreen but don't worry, I'm sure that LG or Samsung will be along with a curved screen before long.
  • Reply 8 of 28
    pkisselpkissel Posts: 25member
    While the Apple/LG 5K monitor still apparently has its share problems, I've not seen another monitor that offers its integrated MacOS camera/audio integration.  I use my MacBook Pro 15" primarily in clamshell mode attached to a Apple Thunderbolt display.  I can't imagine not having a monitor with integrated support for video conferencing.  The fact that Apple is only offering the LG 5K has held me back from getting a 2016 MBP.  Anyone know of any other Mac OS video/audio supported monitors like the LG 5K?
  • Reply 9 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,176member
    Soli said:
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a wider aspect ratio.
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
    Not everyone wants widescreen or ultra widescreen but don't worry, I'm sure that LG or Samsung will be along with a curved screen before long.
    On a smaller display I can see that, but on something that's the height of the 27" display or larger it's considerably more natural for humans and for most of the productivity apps Apple makes to have a wider display. Our eyes are side-by-side, not atop of each other. This means it takes considerably less effort by your extraocular muscles to look at more area.

    Just imagine if a movie screen was 4:3. You'd be seeing a lot more of the walls unless you were sitting very close to the screen, at which point you would be missing the top and/or bottom of the presentation depending on where your vision was pointing.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,317member
    Well done! Ai is quickly becoming my first source for all things Apple. Love the reviews.

    I currently have a MBP (~2009/El Capitan) mounted on a small tray under my desk, running an external  23" Dell monitor (POS). Am looking to upgrade to an LG 32." 

    I was amazed that I could connect the MBP and have it all 'just work!' The lid is closed, the speakers on the MBP work.

    I'm using the first generation 'chicklet' keyboard and first generation MagicPad from my 2006 original intel iMac and they both synced perfectly, first try. (Man I love Apple!)

    Just don't like the obligatory 2 cables coming out the back. The iMac just has the one, white power cord out the back. So elegant.

    ...or buy a new rose gold iPad Pro/Apple KB and kind of move on from MacOS altogether -maybe. Or...just get a new rose gold MacBook and finally be done with the desktop system. or....

    :)
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 11 of 28
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,317member
    Can a 2016-'17 MacBook run a 32" USB-C monitor? Hmmm.

    Just read the 'Support page.' Still not sure.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 12 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,176member
    Can a 2016-'17 MacBook run a 32" USB-C monitor? Hmmm.

    Just read the 'Support page.' Still not sure.
    Well, what's the resolution?
  • Reply 13 of 28
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    macxpress said:
    appex said:
    The best external displays to use with your Mac? And now in context of "Apple's Tim Cook condemns Trump decision to back out of Paris climate accord, promises corporate efforts will continue"... That should be made by Apple. Really. Desktop headless Macs like Mac mini and Mac Pro are ecological, whereas all-in-one desktops like iMac are anti-ecological, since a CPU may last seven years, but a display lasts more more than 20 years. Apple should put emphasis on making brand new headless Macs and brand new displays.
    You just don't give up do you? Who the hell uses a 20yr old display? You seriously want to bring that ignorant argument back? Do you realize how dumb of a comment that is?
    I am. And it works OK.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 937member
    Soli said:
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a wider aspect ratio.
    I dunno, I guess it depends upon one's use case.  I still have a thing for 16:10, rather than 16:9.

    Is it about banishing the bezels that are inherent in a multi setup?
  • Reply 15 of 28
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 937member
    Soli said:
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a wider aspect ratio.
    I dunno, I guess it depends upon one's use case.  I still have a thing for 16:10, rather than 16:9.

    Is it about banishing the bezels that are inherent in a multi setup?
  • Reply 16 of 28
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,475member
    I'm surprised the LG Digital Cinema 4K monitor, model 31MU97-B, at 4096x2160 resolution didn't make the cut.

    https://www.amazon.com/LG-Electronics-Digital-31MU97-B-31-0-Inch/dp/B00OKSEVTY/


    edited June 2017
  • Reply 17 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,176member
    Soli said:
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a wider aspect ratio.
    I dunno, I guess it depends upon one's use case.  I still have a thing for 16:10, rather than 16:9.

    Is it about banishing the bezels that are inherent in a multi setup?
    Bezels from dual monitors do create a break right in the center of your line of sight. I've also seen studies show that one larger monitor is more productive than dual monitors, even if the larger monitor has less area than the dual monitors combined. Obviously, there are countless circumastances where the benefits change, or are non-existence; and then there's the issue of getting rid of a good display to get a new one that's larger instead of just getting a second smaller one.
    pscooter63
  • Reply 18 of 28
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,147member
    Soli said:
    Soli said:
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a wider aspect ratio.
    I wish someone was making a high-DPI display with a 4:3 aspect ratio.
    Not everyone wants widescreen or ultra widescreen but don't worry, I'm sure that LG or Samsung will be along with a curved screen before long.
    On a smaller display I can see that, but on something that's the height of the 27" display or larger it's considerably more natural for humans and for most of the productivity apps Apple makes to have a wider display. Our eyes are side-by-side, not atop of each other. This means it takes considerably less effort by your extraocular muscles to look at more area.

    Just imagine if a movie screen was 4:3. You'd be seeing a lot more of the walls unless you were sitting very close to the screen, at which point you would be missing the top and/or bottom of the presentation depending on where your vision was pointing.
    I do beg to differ. My previous destop used TWO Dell 24in 1920x1200 displays rotated 90% and mounted vertically. For my work, vertical screen real estate is more important than the width.
    Different use cases....
  • Reply 19 of 28
    Franke39Franke39 Posts: 2member
    I find 27" monitors too big. Too big for my desk and too big for my eyes to look around.

    I have two 24" Dell P2415Qs connected to my MP 2013. 
    They work very well and were about $550 Canadian (each)  when I purchased them last June.
    Very accurate colour from the factory and they come with a thunderbolt to mini display port cable.

    On the downside, they don't have a built-in speaker or camera.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 931member
    welshdog said:
    Eizo makes really nice monitors: http://www.eizoglobal.com/products/coloredge/cg318-4k/index.html
    Designed form the ground up to be calibrated to whatever colorspace you need.  Had one on our Discreet Logic compositing system and it was rock solid. A true professional monitor.

    This monitor sits on my desk today. Best investment I've made. Now it's just waiting for a MacPro worthy to feed it video ;)
    edited June 2017 welshdog
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