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