The best external monitors for your Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware
If a MacBook Pro is your primary computer, you're probably going to want a big-screen monitor for your desktop. These are some of the top-rated options compatible with Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C, in no particular order.

lg-ultrafine5k-macbookpro

Dell U3818DW

Dell-U3818DW


Truly a behemoth, the U3818DW ($874.99) is a 38-inch, 3,840-by-1,600 IPS panel which not only has USB-C, DisplayPort, and HDMI connections, but additional USB 3.0 ports, 9-watt speakers, and integrated Bluetooth. As with all of the monitors on this list it can charge an attached MacBook, in this case supplying 95 watts of power, enough to run and charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro without issue.

BenQ PD2710QC

BenQ-PD2710QC


For people looking to keep costs semi-reasonable, the PD2710QC ($549.99) is a 27-inch, 2,560-by-1,440 IPS display that supplies up to 61 watts to an attached laptop. Beyond USB-C, ports are limited to DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio.

Dell S2718D

Dell-S2718D


Still less expensive is the 27-inch S2718D ($348.95). This delivers 2,560-by-1,440 resolution, but you will make some sacrifices -- there's no DisplayPort option, and power delivery is capped at 45 watts, which is only enough to slow down battery drain on a MacBook. There are at least audio-out and two USB 3.0 ports.

LG 27MD5KA UltraFine 5K

lg-ultrafine5k


The 27-inch UltraFine 5K was designed in cooperation with Apple, and as its name suggests, supports resolutions up to 5,120 by 2,880. This hits 99 percent of the P3 color gamut, and provides up to 85 watts of power via Thunderbolt 3, while also including a camera and three USB-C ports, the latter capped at 5 gigabits per second. You'll pay a hefty fee: it typically retails for $1,299.95.

Acer XR382CQK

acer-XR382CQK


Back to the big ones -- the XR382CQK ($949.99) measures 37.5 inches, and runs at 3,840 by 1,600. It's also marketed as a gaming monitor, with an incredibly fast 1-millisecond response time. MacBooks are connected via a USB 3.1 Type-C port, and four USB 3.0 ports are provided for peripherals. Other video options include DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, and MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) 2.1.

Asus Designo MX27UC

Asus-Designo-MX27UC


The Designo MX27UC ($525.19) is 27-inch 4K monitor notable for its slim design, while having a decent assortment of ports on the back: USB-C, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, and two Type-A USB 3.1 connections. You can also plug in external audio, but the monitor's speakers are rated at just 3 watts.

LG 27UK850-W

LG-27UK850-W


The 27UK850-W ($594.90) is another 27-inch, 4K USB-C display, and indeed even has bezels similar to those on the Designo. Secondary ports include DisplayPort, two HDMI, and two USB Type-A options.

Samsung C34H890WJN

Samsung-C34H890WJN


Samsung is big on curved displays, a prime example being the 34-inch C34H890WJN ($699.99). This one has a 3,440-by-1,440 panel in a 21:9 ratio, and ports for USB-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio, and three USB 3.0 peripherals.

Samsung CJ79

samsung-cj79


This one ($899.99) was just announced. Like the C34H890WJN it's a 34-inch, 3,440-by-1,440 monitor, the main difference being the replacement of USB-C with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one of which can deliver 85 watts to a connected MacBook. Other ports include HDMI, DisplayPort, and two USB 3.0 connections.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    Really? Someone’s going to put something with a “SAMSUNG” logo next to their expensive Mac?

    As an aside, it’s rather pathetic that Apple does not make high-end monitors. Heck, for starters, all it needs to do is make an iMac without the internals and the chin...
    wozwozMDChopsargonaut
  • Reply 2 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,443member
    I've found the very inexpensive Dell Ultra HD 4k Monitor P2715Q 27-Inch Screen LED has worked great for me as an extra monitor, albeit no sound but that's not an issue for me.  No problem with legacy Macs either using TB2.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,443member
    Really? Someone’s going to put something with a “SAMSUNG” logo next to their expensive Mac?

    As an aside, it’s rather pathetic that Apple does not make high-end monitors. Heck, for starters, all it needs to do is make an iMac without the internals and the chin...
    Not me ... lol

    I do have to keep the MacBook Pros away from the Samsung fridge too.

    On your aside, I don't have an iMac but the last few Apple monitor I have owned  have all suffered from a weird darkening area that creeps in from both sides in a non-uniform almost organic structural way.  It isn't visible most times but on an all white screen very noticeable.  This hapened with a pair of 30" Apple Cinema displays and has again with my current 27" Apple LCD.
    edited August 2018
  • Reply 4 of 29
    I would go with the Iiyama 27" 5k XB2779QQS-S1 because its the same panel as the iMac 5k/iMac Pro and doesn't suffer the burn-in the LG 5k does.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    MacPro said:

    On your aside, I don't have an iMac but the last few Apple monitor I have owned  have all suffered from a weird darkening area that creeps in from both sides in a non-uniform almost organic structural way.  It isn't visible most times but on an all white screen very noticeable.  This hapened with a pair of 30" Apple Cinema displays and has again with my current 27" Apple LCD.
    I am not sure that the monitor on the iMac has this problem?
  • Reply 6 of 29
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,504member
    I would go with the Iiyama 27" 5k XB2779QQS-S1 because its the same panel as the iMac 5k/iMac Pro and doesn't suffer the burn-in the LG 5k does.
    $965.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,504member
    I did go look at a 5k iMac screen. Impressive. Saw a sale on the base 27" model for like $1400. I've been pondering the replacement of my current 27" iMac, and weighing buying a nice monitor like these (less the samesung ones) and driving it with a mac mini or macbook. It did just occur to me..."why not both?" That's an option you don't get with an iMac. 
  • Reply 8 of 29
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,127member
    I would go with the Iiyama 27" 5k XB2779QQS-S1 because its the same panel as the iMac 5k/iMac Pro and doesn't suffer the burn-in the LG 5k does.
    Have you had success getting this to work at 5K Resolution/60hz on an iMac Pro (or TB3 with DP1.2)?
  • Reply 9 of 29
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 478member
    As to the title. Maybe it should just say for your Thunderbolt 3 Macintosh. If the Mac mini gets upgraded as reported, it should be needing a high quality monitor as well.

    I miss my old Apple LED Cinema Display- too bad they decided to get out of the business. Same for Airport Extreme Base stations.

    Right now I am enjoying my H-P 32" UHD Monitor. They had them for fire sale prices at Best Buy when I bought mine, so I brought it home and it performs well. Display Port and HDMI support. Only thing I needed was a Mini Display Port to Display Port adapter.
    razorpit
  • Reply 10 of 29
    MacPro said:
    I've found the very inexpensive Dell Ultra HD 4k Monitor P2715Q 27-Inch Screen LED has worked great for me as an extra monitor, albeit no sound but that's not an issue for me.  No problem with legacy Macs either using TB2.
    I've been looking at the 24-inch 4K Monitor but have heard complaints about uneven ilumination.  Did you find any problems?

    For some reason the 4K market is moving to 21.5-inch and then 27-inch and up, with few suppliers offering a realistically priced 4K 23/24-inch monitor.  
  • Reply 11 of 29
    wozwozwozwoz Posts: 244member
    Where's Apple's monitor?  None of those featured here have any style --- other perhaps than the new curved Samsung (last one)
  • Reply 12 of 29
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,961member
    I've got this:

    https://www.monitornerds.com/dell-u2718q-review/

    It's a nice monitor in terms of the display, but the stand is standard ugly Dell. 

    I really try to avoid speculating about what Steve Jobs would have done if he were still alive, but it's really inconceivable to me that he would have tolerated beautiful Macs being paired with ugly PC monitors. Frankly, it's pretty disappointing that Jony Ive tolerates it. 
  • Reply 13 of 29
    felix01felix01 Posts: 258member
    wozwoz said:
    Where's Apple's monitor?  None of those featured here have any style --- other perhaps than the new curved Samsung (last one)
    4th one down. (No particular order)
  • Reply 14 of 29

    Can't get the embedded quotes right:
    MacPro originally said:
    On your aside, I don't have an iMac but the last few Apple monitor I have owned  have all suffered from a weird darkening area that creeps in from both sides in a non-uniform almost organic structural way.  It isn't visible most times but on an all white screen very noticeable.  This hapened with a pair of 30" Apple Cinema displays and has again with my current 27" Apple LCD.

    anantksundaram then said
    I am not sure that the monitor on the iMac has this problem?

    I say:

     My 27" iMac display did this.  I ordered it 2-days after the 27" was announced in Nov 2009. 

    I was ready to buy pre-announcement, but didn't know 27" was coming.  When I heard it I almost feinted with delight.

    Anyway, great description by MacPro, that's exactly what happened.  "Organic darkening", ameoba-shaped, crept in (from the top).  Esp noticeable on the grey-bootup screen.  Not really noticeable when any image is shown, but clean-white it was as MacPro says.

    I was nervous about the Genius bar not "seeing" the issue (think car-dealership-evil), but a few days before AppleCare ended, I hauled all 30-lbs of it to a Genius Bar and upon power up (grey-screen still), the Genius instantaneously said (with funny accent):   "Oh that's ObNOXious", and ordered the $597 screen-part under applecare.

    I had it back a few days later and it's been fine ever since.  Coming up on 9 years overall.

    My use case is just internet, e-mail, and 56,000+ family Photos in one always-growing mega-library.

    Off-Topic: 
    Deeply Loved iPhoto and everything about it.
    Frustrated by Photos which seems like a step backwards (but I know it's me).
    edited August 2018 argonaut
  • Reply 15 of 29
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,763member
    blastdoor said:
    I've got this:

    https://www.monitornerds.com/dell-u2718q-review/

    It's a nice monitor in terms of the display, but the stand is standard ugly Dell....
    Is this monitor USB-C or Thunderbolt 3?  Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I don’t see it...
  • Reply 16 of 29
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,989administrator
    bageljoey said:
    blastdoor said:
    I've got this:

    https://www.monitornerds.com/dell-u2718q-review/

    It's a nice monitor in terms of the display, but the stand is standard ugly Dell....
    Is this monitor USB-C or Thunderbolt 3?  Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I don’t see it...
    Nope. USB-C to MDP, DP, or HDMI are trivial and cheap, but won't provide charging power back to the computer.
  • Reply 17 of 29
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,961member
    bageljoey said:
    blastdoor said:
    I've got this:

    https://www.monitornerds.com/dell-u2718q-review/

    It's a nice monitor in terms of the display, but the stand is standard ugly Dell....
    Is this monitor USB-C or Thunderbolt 3?  Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I don’t see it...
    No, it's not -- I use a dock/adapter thingy. 
  • Reply 18 of 29
    wozwoz said:
    Where's Apple's monitor?  None of those featured here have any style --- other perhaps than the new curved Samsung (last one)
    Waiting for the replacement LG ultrafine model:

    34WK95U-W

    34" Class 21:9 UltraWide® 5K2K Nano IPS LED Monitor with HDR 600 (34" Diagonal). 
    But looks like it's delayed til next year 😫
  • Reply 19 of 29
    Beyond USB-C, ports are limited to DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio”

    The BenQ comes with a docking station base doesn’t it?
  • Reply 20 of 29
    Apple has already said they’re working on a monitor. During the Mac Pro press interview. 
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