Finding The Best Monitor For Your New MacBook Pro
So you got yourself the brand new MacBook Pro (with that fancy Touch Bar) and now you are asking yourself: Which is the Best Monitor for MacBook Pro?
No doubt, you are at the right place! Because we just reviewed and compared the best external monitors for MacBook Pro Laptops.
Regrettably, Apple has put it’s thunderbolt monitors to rest (aka stopped production & sales) and surprisingly entered into an agreement with LG to exclusively distribute the LG UltraFine displays. The problem? The Apple LG UltraFine monitor launch was a big mess, and user ratings haven’t been that good (at the time of writing this post, 264 Apple customers gave the UltraFine display only 2.5 out 5 stars).
Considering that the LG UltraFine display is not to ready for prime time, we decided to look for alternatives and reviewed the best monitors for MacBook Pro users.
Note: If you are not familiar with the technical specification of a monitor, jump down to the monitor tech specs glossary section.
Best External Monitors for MacBook Pro (Top 8 in 2018)
- LG 27UD58-B 27-Inch 4K UHD IPS Monitor with FreeSync
- LG Electronics 21:9 UltraWide 34UM88-P 34″ Screen LED-Lit Monitor
- LG Electronics 34UC98 34-Inch WQHD IPS Curved LED Monitor (with Thunderbolt)
- BenQ 27-inch IPS Quad High Definition LED Monitor (SW2700PT)
- Best 32″ Inch: BenQ 32-Inch IPS 4K Ultra High Definition LED Monitor (BL3201PH), 4K2K HD
- Ideal for MacBook Pro 15″: The ASUS Designo MX27UC 27” 4K UHD IPS-DP
Detailed Review: Best External Displays
1. Our Pick: The Dell 34″ UltraSharp Curved UltraWide Quad HD IPS Monitor
- Dell 34" UltraSharp Curved WQHD IPS Monitor with Stand - Cable Cover - Power Cable - DP Cable (Mini-DP to DP) - HDMI...
- Active Display Area (H x V): 798.20 mm (31.43")x 334.80 mm (13.18")
- Diagonally Viewable Size: 34" (34-inch wide viewable image size)
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (21:9)
- Panel Type, Surface: In-plane switching, anti glare with hard coat 3H
This Dell monitor is a great monitor and we picked it as the “best monitor for the MacBook Pro” .
The Dell U3417W FR3PK 34″ Screen has a curved display which improves your field of view by reducing reflections. The monitor is ideal for photo editing work (the color gamut is 99% sRGB) and connects well with the Apple MacBook Pro (by using a USB C to HDMI Cable).
No doubt, the Dell IPS monitor is an ideal external display for your MacBook Pro. It is a great monitor for photo editing work, considering the following tech specs:
- First and foremost, the color gamut is 99% sRGB (pre-calibrated), which is close to perfect for photo editing tasks;
- Second, the resolution is 3,440 x 1440 pixels, which provides a crisp and clear picture;
- Third, the 1,000:1 static contrast ratio (not stellar, but respectable & sufficient for your photo editing tasks), and the 10-bit color support for vivid colors;
The highly rated Dell U3417W curved screen monitor is available for $729.99 on Amazon.
2. Dell Ultra HD 4K Monitor P2715Q 27-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor
- With 99% sRGB color coverage, and a factory color calibration report to certify that each monitor arrives at a deltaE of...
- Maximize your viewing options by adjusting the monitor to your desired height, or easily tilt or swivel to your...
- Feel free to mount the panel head to the Dell Single Monitor Arm or the wall for even more flexible viewing options
- Compatible with Windows 7 .Your monitor has a built-in diagnostic tool that helps you determine if the screen...
- Brightness - 350 cd/m2 (typical). Color Support - Color Gamut (typical): 99% sRGB (DeltaE > 2) 1.07 billion colors....
If you are not fond of a curved Dell display, you may want to consider the Dell Ultra HD 4K Monitor P2715Q 27″ as the best display for your MacBook Pro and all your photo and video editing work.
High Screen Resolution & 99% sRGB
The P2715Q is not the newest model (this LED-lit monitor was introduced in November 2014), but the monitor is still very good especially because of its high screen resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, which at 27 inches result in over 163 pixels per inch (or Ultra HD 4k).
Furthermore, the sRGB color gamut is really good. It is 99%, which is as good as the curved Dell U3417W monitor covered above. Plus, the display is based on the ISP technology, supports a high bit rate and the color contrast ratio is really high (2 million to 1).
Another plus point of this best-selling monitor is the connectivity: four USB 3.0 ports, a display port, mini display port and HDMI to connect your laptop. You can even connect (daisy-chain) another monitor through the DispalyPorts in and out ports (this won’t work however with your Apple Mac Book Pro, as it works only when using Windows systems).
Related Post: Best Laptop Screens 2018
3. LG 27UDh58-B 27-Inch 4K UHD IPS Monitor with FreeSync
- 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS monitor
- Freesync.OS Compatibility-Windows 10
- On-Screen control with screen Split 2.0
- Game mode & Black stabilizer. Brightness: 250 cd/m2, color depth (number of colors):10bit(8bit + A-FRC)
- HDMI 2.0 (x2) and DisplayPort
The product highlights of the amazing LG 27UD58 27″ Monitor are quite impressive:
- In-Plane Switching (IPS) Technology
- Resolution: 3840 x 2160
- 178° Viewing Angle
- 1.07 Billion Colors
Furthermore, the FreeSync technology makes it a very fast response time monitor ideal for gamers. Even if you are not a gamer and just want a great monitor for your laptop/desktop and do your photo editing work, this monitor is a great pick!
Here are some feedbacks from photo enthusiast users (Amazon varified buyers):
The resolution looks as good as my iPad which is what I was looking for because I edit photos for web use and since most web users are using mobile devices, I needed what I was seeing as I was editing to match the end displayed result for the average user. This does it!
Bright, sharp, good color. Using for photo editing. Read more reviews.
Related Post: Best Desktops for Photography
4. LG Electronics 21:9 UltraWide 34UM88-P 34″ Screen LED-Lit Monitor
- 21:9 Ultra Wide QHD IPS Display. Response Time id 5ms GTG
- sRGB Over 99%. OS Compatibility-Windows
- Thunderbolt 2.0 (x2)
- USB Quick Charge
- On-Screen Control
Key Benefits of the “UltraWide” LG 34UM88-P Display:
- The LG 34 UM88C-P 34″ comes with 2 Thunderbold 2.0 Connection (you can connect compatible devices and transfer data @ 20-gigabists-per-second).
- Amazing Sharp Images (3,440 x 1,440) and IPS.
- Additional Features:
- USB 3.0 Quick Charge (Charge Your Mobile Devices up to four times faster).
- On-Screen Monitor Settings Control.
- Screen Split 2.0 Functionality (display multiple windows at once.
- Easy Setup and tilt/height adjustments.
Not so good about the LG 34UM88-P:
- The built-in speakers are not that great.
- For heavy video editing, it may be difficult to connect two displays to your MacBook Pro 15″, as running two of these monitors at their native resolution (3440 x 1440 @ 60 frames per second refresh rate) may not work.
5. LG Electronics 34UC98 34-Inch WQHD IPS Curved LED Monitor
- LG Electronics
- Personal Computers
What’s Different & Why the LG 34UC98-W 34″ Costs More
The LG 34UC98-W 34″ has the same specs as the display we just covered above (the LG 34UM88C-P 34-Inch 21:9 UltraWide QHD IPS Monitor).
So what’s the difference between the LG 34UC98-W and the LG 34UM88C-P?
The LG 34UC98-W 34″ is a curved monitor. And by adding a few hundred dollars, you get 75 Hz (only with FreeSync enabled, without it 60 Hz) vs. the 60 Hz of the LG 34 UM88C-P.
Ultimately, it comes down to the curved display. Unless you need the additional Hz (refresh rate of the monitor) if you are into heavy gaming or lots of video editing.
Related Post: Best Tablets for Photo Editing
The New MacBook Pro only has USB-C Ports. Consequently, you may have to look for the best HDMI – USB-C connection cable if the monitor does not have USB-C.
What Is USB-C?
USB-C is equal to Thunderbolt 3 and is a next-generation industry standard that allows charging, data transfer, and video (all in one connector). For more information read the details on the Apple Website.
How Many Monitors Can The New Macbook Pro Connect?
Only the new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Radeon-Pro-GPU can control two external 5K displays or four external 4K displays (according to Apple’s specifications). The 13-inch model with integrated Iris graphics supports an external 5K monitor or two 4K screens – always at 60 Hz.
6. BenQ 27-inch IPS Quad High Definition LED Monitor (SW2700PT)
- Personal Computers
The BenQ 27 inch IPS HD LED, in fact, was picked as the overall winner. Here are the key featured summarized:
- The BenQ SW2700PT 27” is a 27” monitor powered by IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology.
- Display resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels.
- The contrast ratio is 1000:1.
- Built-in calibration tool & a proprietary calibration application.
- Support for 1.07 billion colors.
- There is this quick ‘mode-change’ option named OSD controller that allows you to make that change whenever you want to use your monitor for anything other than photo editing.
- A feature of the BenQ SW2700PT 27” is the detachable hood. This hood is a nice touch, especially for users who might be sitting in areas where controlling the ambient light may not be possible.
Related Post: 7 Best TVs to View Photos
7. BenQ 32-Inch IPS 4K Ultra High Definition LED Monitor (BL3201PH), 4K2K HD
- ULTRA HIGH RESOLUTION MONITOR: 32 inch LED 4K2K HD (3840x2160 resolution), 20,000,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio for...
- PROFESSIONAL GRAPHIC DESIGN DISPLAY: CAD/CAM and Animation Mode. Incredible image detail with 4ms GTG and 10-bit, 100%...
- CONNECT AND COLLABORATE: USB 3.0 and OSD controller for easily switching modes and multiple digital inputs, 5Wx2...
- LATEST IPS PANEL TECHNOLOGY: 178/178 Wide Viewing Angle plus Picture-in-Picture (PIP) & Picture-by-Picture (PBP) to...
- ERGONOMIC DISPLAY: Height Adjustable Stand, Eye Protector Sensor, Zero Flicker and Low Blue Light, plus Pilot software...
The BenQ 32″ IPS 4K HD LED Monitor is a notch better the the BenQ SW2700PT 27″. Apart from having a larger diplay, the BenQ 32″ is having a higer resolution and 100% vs 99% sRBG Color spectrum coverage allowing you to work with more than 1 billion vibrant colors.
Consequently, the BenQ 32″ IPS 4K is ideal for professional photo editing and image viewing and a preferred choice for those looking to add an external monitor to their MacBook Pro.
As a matter of fact, the 32inch BenQ is getting very positive reviews on Amazon.com; here is one such review comparing the monitor to the iMac:
Absolutely Stunning. That’s all I can say. I use this monitor side by side with a 27″ iMac with 5k display. Looking at one another, they look like a match made in heaven.
The clarity of the screen is simply amazing! Watching 4k content on sites like YouTube are fantastic. The base for this monitor feels like it’s solid steel. It weighs more than the screen! The rotation is butter smooth as is the tilt and riser. […] Read all reviews here.
- 27" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) AH-IPS monitor with a wide 178° viewing angle. Display viewing area(HxV) : 596.7 x 335.6 mm,...
- ASUS Eye Care technology with TUV Rheinland-certified flicker-free backlighting and blue light filter minimizes eye...
- 3W x 2 stereo, RMS, with 3Wx2 Amplifier, SonicMaster sound optimization technology was co-developed by ICEpower | Bang &...
- Award-winning frameless design and sundial-inspired base with a metallic, icicle gold finish.Designo MX27UC features an...
- Support 4K video/data transmission and power delivery with a single USB Type-C port to pair perfectly with devices such...
Update & Warning: What’s not so good about the Asus Designo (And How You Can Trouble Shoot Known Connectivity Problems with the MacBook Pro).
Some users have reported a “Asus Designo – MacBook Pro Connectivity Problem”. Here is how to fix this:
- For 15″ MacBook Pro Users:
- In order for 60 Hz to work:
- Go to Menu
- Switch USB Modus to USB 3.1
- Then switch back to USB 2.
- In order for 60 Hz to work:
- For 13″ MacBook Pro Users:
- The USB-C cable won’t work for the MacBook Pro 13-inch.
- It will, however, work fine with an HDMI or display port cable.
The ASUS Designo MX27UC 27″ 4K is a great pick in the category “best display for MacBook Pro 15-inch” because it has a superb display clarity, amazing 4K resolution (3,840 x 2116), IPS technology, and USB Type-C Connector (even though it works only with MacBook Pro 15″, not 13″).
Very Positive User Reviews
As a result of the great tech specs, the Asus Design is getting raving reviews on Amazon.com. Here is one example of a recent buyer:
Great monitor. Great price. Hooked it up to my MacBook Pro […]. Really happy with the price… Read all the reviews here.
- Astonishing 100,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
- Stunning 178-degree wide viewing angles.
- Support for 1.07 billion colors.
- 2 x 3W stereo speakers (co-developed with Bang & Olufsen).
- HDMI 2.0 port, the DisplayPort 1.2 port
- or the DisplayPort connector available through the USB Type-C port.
- ASUS Eye Care technology, which includes flicker-free technology and a blue light filter.
- A hotkey lets you preview your photos on screen in their actual sizes prior to printing.
Related Post: Best Monitors for Photo Editing
Best External Monitor for MacBook Pro 15″ Users & Photographers
All specs considered, theASUS Designo MX27UC 27″ 4K is the best monitor for multimedia & photo enthusiasts and works perfectly for those who want to hook up their new MacBook Pro with a great external monitor.
The 27″ may not be as big as the below covered Dell 34″, but 27″ is in our opinion enough for all your photo editing task, especially if you are used to working on a 27″ iMac.
Watch this Video for a Great Summary of the Asus Designo MX27UC 4K UHD USB-C Monitor Features:
Here is another relevant and positive verified buyer review:
Love this monitor! I connected this to my MacBook Pro using a Hedgedock. It works great as soon as I plugged it in the screen is very vibrant. There is very little frame and the screen goes almost all the way to the edge. Read all reviews here.
When we selected the best monitors, we paid special attention to the screen resolution and the color gamut; both these parameters are very important for a good viewing experience, especially for photo & video enthusiasts.
Related Post: Best Laptops for Photo Editing
As a photographer or photo enthusiast, you may or may not know what some of the tech specs mean when it comes to monitors (or displays, as they are called more recently). Therefore, we made a small glossary for you that briefly explains the most important parameters when choosing a new display:
- Resolution: Number of pixels on a display (e.g. 3,440 x 1,440); The more pixels, the sharper the image. This rule of “more pixel = sharper images” however only works up to a point though. Once you have 220 pixels per inch (ppi), your eye can’t see any more improvements. That’s why Apple calls their screens now “Retina”, referring to the maximum resolution your eye can process. (In this review blog post we calculated the ppi of all the monitors using the true.com Display PPI calculator).
- sRGB: The sRGB color space/profile is based on how the three primary colors (red, green, and blue) play together and store data when they are combined with different new colors and shades. The sRGB value goes up to 100%, in which case there will be no mismatch when the data profile is sent to another device, e.g. printer or web browser. (There is a similar standard called Adobe RGB, but in this monitor review, we stick to sRGB, as it is the world’s default color space).
- Static Contrast: The contrast ratio describes the luminance of the brightest white to that of the darkest black that the display can reproduce. Everything above 800:1 is considered to be sufficient for photo editing work. It’s important however to cross check that the contrast is static and not dynamic.
- Response Time: This reference to how long it takes for the pixels to respond to the electrical impulses that change the color and creates a new picture. (This is more important for gamers and not so much a criteria for photo & video enthusiasts).
- IPS: In Plane Switching Panels or IPS refers to a consistent viewing angle from different viewing angles. Having an IPS monitors is great for photo editing and superior to TN (Twisted Nematic) or VA (Vertical Alignment) panels displays.
- Color Depth: This says how many distinct colors a monitor can display. The higher the bit the better the monitor (e.g. 10-bit color support is better than 8-bit).
Ideal Set-Up for Photographers
Laptop Stand & Monitor
You could potentially retire your desktop computer by creating a “spaceship-like workstation”.
By using your laptop as a “desktop station” connected to an external monitor you remain fully mobile (no syncing between desktop & laptop required). At the same time, you remain fully operational when working on your home or office desk, just like working on a 27″ iMac.
Once you have the monitor and the MacBook Pro Display setup side-by-side you can drag open windows between the screens and use both the displays for optimal task management.
How to set up an Extended Desktop from Your Mac
- Connect and turn on your additional display.
- Click the Apple () menu and choose System Preferences.
- Choose Displays.
- Click the Arrangement tab.
- Make sure that the Mirror Displays checkbox isn’t selected.
For more detailed instructions, visit the Apple Support Page on how to setup external monitors.
- 【Plug and Play】 The USB C to HDMI Cable enables you to directly connect a USB-C computer to an HDMI-equipped...
- 【4K@60Hz Resolution】This cable enable resolutions up to 3840x2160@60Hz (4K 60Hz) and backwards compatible to 720,...
- 【Compatibility】Works with USB-C port computers with DP Alt mode such as 2018, 2017, 2016 MacBook Pro, 2017 iMac,...
- 【Reliable & Compact Design】 Fully reversible USB-C interface, easy to plug and unplug, with user friendly anti slip...
- 【What You Get】 1*CHOETECH USB C to HDMI Cable, 18-month Warranty & Friendly Customer Service
If you buy any of the monitors with no USB-C connector, you may want to buy the above HDMI to USB-C adapter, ideal for connecting your MacBook Pro to an external monitor.
Also, you may want to buy this fancy laptop stand for placing your MacBook Pro next to your new external monitor:
- Raises notebook screen height to eye level for better ergonomics (5.9 inches).
- Single piece aluminum design provides solid stability and acts as a heat sink to cool laptop
- The back cable management hole is 2 inches in diameter. Cable organizer behind routes wires neatly
- Sand-blasted and silver anodized finish matches Apple notebooks. Keyboard stash clears up desk area when not in use
- Compatible with Apple Macbook Pro, Macbook Air and other laptops with depths less than 10.4 inches
Conclusion: Best Monitor for MacBook Pro
Our Pick for the “Best Monitor for MacBook Pro” is the Dell U3417W FR3PK 34″. It has everything you need as a photo & video enthusiast and MacBook Pro owner.
Another great option is the BenQ 32-inch IPS 4K Ultra HD LED Monitor. If you own the MacBook Pro 15″ (it has a different graphic card then the MacBook 13″), and just want to use a USB-C cable, then check out the ASUS Designo MX27UC 27″ 4K.
For any feedback on this article or if we missed out on any great or new monitors for the MacBook Pro, please leave a comment below.