Best external monitor mac: The best monitors for MacBook Pro in July 2023

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The 6 Best Monitors for 2023

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Photo: Andrew Cunningham


We’ve updated this guide to include our new portable monitor pick.

Whether you’re buying a first or second monitor for your desktop computer or buying a big screen to use with your laptop at home, a good monitor is a wise investment. There’s no single monitor that will work best for everyone, but our monitor guides cover all different sizes, uses, and prices, from basic, 24-inch budget models to big 4K screens to high-refresh-rate gaming monitors. Here we discuss the best ones you can buy as well as what you might need them for.

  • Best picture quality

    If you watch 4K content or work with high-resolution media, 4K monitors are for you.

  • Big, affordable screen

    Generally, 27-inch monitors offer the right balance of size and price for most people.

  • Bigger and better

    Ultrawide monitors are good alternatives to dual displays for gamers or multitaskers.

  • Small and affordable

    If you’re low on desk space, or you just don’t want to spend a ton, 24-inch monitors will do the trick.

The research

  • Best picture quality: 4K monitor
  • A big screen for less money: 27-inch monitor
  • A monitor for gamers: 27-inch gaming monitor
  • The most affordable option: 24-inch budget monitor
  • A very big screen: 32-inch 4K monitor
  • Good for multitaskers: An ultrawide monitor
  • The best portable monitor
  • Further reading

Best picture quality: 4K monitor

Our pick

Dell S2722QC

The S2722QC is a great-looking 4K monitor. It doesn’t cost as much as Dell’s professional-grade displays but still offers a USB-C port with 65 W of charging and a USB hub.

Who this is for: Great 4K monitors make text sharper and show more detail in images. And they can give you extra desktop space so you can fit more stuff on your screen at once.

Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Why we like it: The Dell S2722QC offers a great balance of high-resolution 4K display, extra features like USB-C, and price. If you’re using this monitor with a laptop, the USB-C port allows a single cable to transmit both video signal and power between the devices. The S2722QC will charge most laptops over this USB-C connection, except for higher-powered machines like the MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 15. This monitor has realistic colors and nice contrast, so 4K content will look as the creator intended. It also has an adjustable stand and VESA-compatible mounts, so you can use it in a variety of configurations on your desk.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The S2722QC doesn’t have a three-year warranty, like Dell’s other professional 4K displays do, but it does have a decent one-year warranty. Also, we’d prefer that the monitor had better audio, since its speakers don’t sound great for anything more than video calls. And better controls for fine-tuning how colors are displayed would make this monitor far more competitive compared with pricier displays.

A big screen for less money: 27-inch monitor

Our pick

Asus ProArt Display PA278CV

This 2560×1440-resolution 27-inch monitor has good color accuracy, an adjustable stand, and all the ports most people will need.

Who this is for: This monitor is for anyone with a computer (or graphics card) that’s over three years old and that can’t support a 4K display, or for anyone who relies on apps that don’t scale well.

Why we like it: The Asus ProArt Display PA278CV is a 27-inch monitor with a wide variety of ports and decent color accuracy on most of its presets. (The exception is its sRGB preset, which offers fantastic accuracy but locks the display at a relatively dim brightness that we found too low for daily use.) The PA278CV has an HDMI port, a DisplayPort input and output, a USB-C port, and four USB 3.0 Type-A ports, making this monitor particularly good for anyone who wants to use it with a laptop. It provides enough power to charge most 13-inch laptops, and its flexible stand tilts, swivels, pivots, and adjusts in height. It also has a three-year warranty with a good dead-pixel policy.

Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Although Asus advertises the color accuracy of its ProArt displays, in our tests the PA278CV was good but not great in that regard on almost every preset. If you’re in a dim or dark room, its sRGB setting is exceptionally accurate, but otherwise you’ll have to calibrate the screen yourself to get the best results.

A monitor for gamers: 27-inch gaming monitor

Also great

Asus ROG Strix XG27AQ

This monitor has the same 2560x1440p resolution as our other picks, but it also has a 144 Hz refresh rate, to make games look smooth and responsive.

Buying Options

Buy from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $457.

Who this is for: This monitor is for gamers who play fast-paced first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, or any games with quick movement. You’ll also need a PC with a dedicated graphics card to take full advantage of the 1440p resolution and 144 Hz refresh rate.

Why we like it: The Asus ROG Strix XG27AQ makes games look great, with a 27-inch, fairly color-accurate screen that has a 144 Hz refresh rate, to keep you competitive in fast-paced online games. The display can even hit 170 Hz with an “overclocking” feature, which lets you eke out a few more frames per second if you keep your brightness turned down. The monitor also has a sturdy, adjustable stand, easy-to-navigate controls, and a USB hub for extra peripherals. And we’ve recently seen it on sale for $300, a great price for a monitor with these features.

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The speakers on this monitor are just okay, and we wouldn’t recommend them for an immersive gaming experience. The colors could also be more accurate, or Asus could at least add better controls for adjusting the color, as it does in its ProArt line.

The most affordable option: 24-inch budget monitor

Budget pick

Asus VA24DCP

The VA24DCP is an affordable and reasonably color-accurate monitor with a USB-C connection and 65 W of charging. Its main flaw is its basic stand, which tilts the monitor up and down only, but that’s typical of almost all inexpensive monitors.

Who this is for: This is for anyone who has limited desk space, prefers a smaller screen, or has less than $200 to spend, and for those who don’t mind giving up nice-to-have features such as an adjustable stand. A 24-inch monitor is a lot bigger than even the largest laptop screen, but it takes up much less room on your desk than a 27-inch monitor.

Why we like it: The Asus VA24DCP is a 24-inch, 1080p monitor with a USB-C port capable of 65 W of charging, making it a great budget option for those who need a basic monitor to connect to their laptop. The color accuracy and contrast are suitable for office work or watching videos, and it’s nicely priced. For desktop users or those with older laptops, it also has an HDMI port.

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Flaws but not dealbreakers: This is a budget monitor, so you’re giving up a few features like an adjustable stand and a USB hub. These are nice to have, but they don’t affect daily use for many people, so we think that’s a fine compromise. However, the speakers on this monitor aren’t great, and we don’t recommend using them.

A very big screen: 32-inch 4K monitor

Upgrade pick

Dell P3222QE

The Dell P3222QE is more expensive than most 27-inch monitors, but it has good color accuracy and USB-C connectivity, and the larger display makes it easier to see the detail in 4K photos and videos.

Buying Options

$721* from Amazon

*At the time of publishing, the price was $698.

Who this is for: This monitor is for those who want a ginormous 4K screen that can display apps without scaling and don’t mind paying more to get it.

Why we like it: If a 27-inch monitor isn’t big enough for you, consider the 32-inch Dell P3222QE 4K monitor. It combines good color and contrast, a few display inputs (including USB-C), four USB 3.0 ports, and a gigabit Ethernet port for wired internet connections. The P3222QE’s USB-C port delivers up to 65 W of power (which is enough to charge a 13-inch laptop at full speed), and it also transmits data, video, and audio. And it comes with a three-year warranty and Dell’s Premium Panel Guarantee.

This monitor is big enough that you may be able to use it without needing to scale up text or UI elements to make them readable. Like the Dell P2721Q, the P3222QE comes with a three-year warranty and a Premium Panel Guarantee, which helps make it easier to spend $700 on a bigger monitor. However, it still costs a couple hundred dollars more than the 27-inch monitors we recommend, and it requires a lot more physical space.

Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Dell P3222QE is pricey, and it normally costs more than our 27-inch 4K monitor pick, the Dell S2722QC.

Good for multitaskers: An ultrawide monitor

Also great

Dell P3421W

The Dell P3421W is a sturdy, 34-inch ultrawide monitor with a sharp, 3440×1440 resolution.

Who this is for: A dual-monitor setup is usually the best option if you want to have a bunch of app windows open at once. But an ultrawide model might be a better choice if you need a ton of unbroken horizontal space, or you don’t want monitor bezels in between windows.

Why we like it: The Dell P3421W has a sturdy adjustable stand, lots of ports (including a USB-C port that can handle power, display, and data over a single cable), and a three-year warranty. And it has a built-in KVM switch that allows you to easily swap your keyboard, mouse, and video between two computers. The 1440p display has a 60 Hz refresh rate, which is great for typical office work, web browsing, and casual gaming.

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Flaws but not dealbreakers: If you use your display in direct sunlight, this monitor might not be bright enough for you. It can also provide 65 W of power over USB-C, but some laptops require more. If you have a laptop with an Nvidia GeForce RTX GPU or an Intel Core i7 processor, you might need to keep the laptop plugged in to a separate charger or use a Thunderbolt dock that can provide the extra power.

Most ultrawide monitors are also curved. This design helps minimize viewing-angle problems—when you’re sitting centered, things on the far edges of the screen won’t look as washed out as they would on a flat display of a similar width. But this also makes ultrawide monitors inaccurate for precision tasks requiring straight lines, such as drawing, photo editing, or similar design work.

The best portable monitor

Photo: Dave Gershgorn

Our pick

Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV

The Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV has a sharp, 1080p display, which makes it a great second monitor for work.

Who this is for: Portable monitors can be helpful if you commonly work on a laptop away from an office, like in coffee shops, coworking spaces, or hotel rooms. If you already have a set workspace, you’d get more value from other monitors on this page.

Why we like it: The Asus ZenScreen MB16ACV has a quality 15.6-inch screen and an integrated stand, and it’s also compatible with older Windows laptops that don’t have USB-C ports. The MB16ACV also costs a competitive $200, about $100 cheaper than similar competitors, without sacrificing any key features.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The MB16ACV has only one USB-C port, which is barely a flaw. Many portable monitors have two USB-C ports, one to connect to your laptop and another to plug into the wall to supply power to the monitor and computer. We never found a situation where we couldn’t just plug our laptop in to charge normally while using the MB16ACV.

Also, Asus software that allows older laptops to send video through a USB-A is available only on Windows. Those who have older Macs without a USB-C port will not be able to use the monitor as intended.

Further reading

We look for monitors with adjustable stands to accommodate the widest range of postures and desk setups. But if you need an even-more-adjustable mount for your monitor to achieve better ergonomics, we recommend picking up a monitor arm. All of our monitor picks are VESA-compatible and will work with our monitor-arm picks.

This article was edited by Signe Brewster and Caitlin McGarry.

Further reading on monitors
  • The Best 4K Monitors

    If you’re a video-editing pro or love to watch high-res movies, the best 4K monitor is the Dell UltraSharp U2723QE.

  • 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 Ultrawide Monitors

    Ultrawide monitors are appealing for viewing documents or browser windows side by side, and they make video games more immersive.

  • 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.

Meet your guide

Dave Gershgorn

Dave Gershgorn is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter. He’s been covering consumer and enterprise technology since 2015, and he just can’t stop buying computers. If this weren’t his job, it would likely be a problem.

Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).

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Best monitors for the MacBook Air

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Caleb Clark

The M1 MacBook Air was met with universal praise when it launched at the tail end of 2020. However, the M1 Macbook Air has one major drawback, at least for right now: It only supports one external monitor. That’s a problem that would be addressed with the new MacBook Pros. Most productivity pros and video professionals will opt for those devices anyway, so it isn’t a big deal for most users. It does mean that the monitor you pick is more important than ever, though.

So with that, here are the best monitors you can get for the MacBook Air. If you’re still trying to decide between the M1 MacBook Air and 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, be sure to check out our comparison between the two. And if you’re looking for accessories for the new iMac, we have a roundup for that too.

Dell P3222QE 32-inch 4K USB-C Hub Monitor

A great display with a hub built-in

Jump to details

Apple Studio Display

The premium selection from Apple

Jump to details

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor

The Studio Display alternative

Jump to details

BenQ PD3220U

Best for color accuracy

Jump to details

BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R

An affordable curved display

Jump to details

Acer Nitro VG271

A solid budget option

Jump to details

Apple iPad Air 5

Sidecar and Universal Control makes the iPad Air a versatile display

Jump to details

Niels Broekhuijsen/Digital Trends

Dell P3222QE 32-inch 4K USB-C Hub Monitor

A great display with a hub built-in


  • Excellent connectivity options
  • Great IPS picture quality
  • Sturdy, modern construction
  • Large 4K panel
  • Superb warranty


  • Expensive
  • No wide-gamut color space

Why should you buy this: It has one of the best built-in USB-C hubs.

Who’s it for: Multitaskers who need a monitor to keep up with many devices, including MacBook Airs.

Why we picked the Dell P3222QE:

The M1 Macbook Air is great, but it does have one major drawback: It only has two Thunderbolt 4 ports. That makes a dongle all but necessary if you want to plug in any accessories or peripherals.

That’s why the P3222QE is such a great monitor specifically for the Macbook Air. It has a USB-C hub built into the chassis and includes an HDMI port, a DisplayPort input, a USB-C port, and three USB-A ports.

Combine that with the monitor’s crisp 4K resolution and elegant design, and it feels like this monitor was made with the Macbook Air in mind.

Dell P3222QE 32-inch 4K USB-C Hub Monitor

A great display with a hub built-in

Apple Studio Display

The premium selection from Apple


  • Vivid 5K display
  • Solid amount of I/O
  • Impressive audio
  • Amazing color accuracy
  • Gorgeous design


  • Power cable is not detachable
  • You have to pay extra for a height-adjustable stand
  • Expensive

Why should you buy this: Apple’s own display is unparalleled when it comes to color and detail.

Who’s it for: Serious creatives who are willing to drop a lot of money on a display (and don’t want 8K).

Why we picked the Apple Studio Display:

Apple’s own Studio Display is an obvious pick for the Macbook Air. It’s very similar to the LG UltraFine 5K monitor but with some Apple-specific features. For one, the Studio Display has a great speaker setup that outperforms basically every other monitor’s built-in speakers.

The image and color accuracy are excellent as well, though you are paying the Apple tax to get it, and that’s probably the biggest downside to this monitor. For all its great features, there are a lot of displays that offer similar experiences for a much lower cost.

However, if you’re sold on Apple’s products, the Studio Display is an obvious choice.

Apple Studio Display

The premium selection from Apple

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor

The Studio Display alternative


  • Sleek, Mac-like design
  • Smart monitor and smart home functionality
  • Cool color variants


  • Included webcam is a bit awkward

Why should you buy this: It has a similar design to Studio monitors, but at more affordable prices.

Who’s it for: Those with a connected home who want an Apple-friendly monitor to hook up their laptop to.

Why we picked the Samsung M8 Smart Monitor:

Samsung’s M-series monitors have always been great options for the Macbook Air, but the new M8 brings the compatibility to a whole new level. For one, the monitor has been redesigned to closely resemble the new iMacs and Studio Display. That’s great if you love the aesthetic of Apple’s lineup but don’t want to shell out the money.

The Studio Display has the M8 beat on built-in audio and I/O, but the M8’s dual function as a SmartTV and smart home hub definitely makes it an appealing option. The M8 natively supports AirPlay, which lets it tie seamlessly into your Apple ecosystem. It also includes a height- and tilt-adjustable stand (which you have to pay for on the Studio Display).

At half the cost of the Studio Display, the M8 is well worth looking at for a clean, Apple-like experience.

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor

The Studio Display alternative

BenQ PD3220U

Best for color accuracy


  • Simple, minimalist design
  • Great stand adjustments
  • Accurate colors
  • Easy-to-use menu
  • Good port selection


  • Thick cabinet
  • Confusing color modes
  • Expensive

Why should you buy this: It has a large screen and great color calibration.

Who’s it for: Those looking for a color-accurate monitor with professional features.

Why we picked the BenQ PD3220U:

BenQ promotes the PD3220U as “Mac ready” and backs that claim up. This is without a doubt one of the best monitors to get for your MacBook Air. It’s a large 32-inch 4K HDR display, and the bezels are thin to maximize the screen real estate.

The PD3220U also comes out of the box calibrated for maximum color accuracy (it covers 95% of the DCI-P3 space). Along with that, it has convenient connection options through Thunderbolt3 as well as HDMI and DisplayPort. Combine that with flicker-free tech and blue light filters, and you have a monitor that looks great and is comfortable to view for hours.

It comes at a premium, but we think BenQ has made something that is great for any Mac user, including those with the MacBook Air.

BenQ PD3220U

Best for color accuracy

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R

An affordable curved display


  • Bright, vibrant colors
  • Solid DisplayHDR 400 performance
  • Excellent integrated speakers
  • Automatic source/preset mapping
  • Included remote
  • Decent overdrive settings


  • Menu is a little clunky
  • Not well-suited for color work

Why should you buy this: It’s a gaming-friendly monitor with a ton of screen space.

Who’s it for: MacBook Air users who also like to game or who need a big, curved ultrawide to manage complex projects.

Why we picked the BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R:

Ultrawide monitors are growing more popular every year, and the aspect ratio is ideal for a Mac setup.

The BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R is a great ultrawide option thanks to its curved display, vibrant colors, and solid speaker array. The display also has DisplayHDR 400, though the colors are not as accurate as other options on this list.

It also has a bit of a gamer aesthetic, which may be a turn-off if you’re more interested in the clean and minimal design of Apple’s products.

However, for $600, the BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R is an excellent option for those looking for a solid productivity monitor.

BenQ Mobiuz EX3410R

An affordable curved display

Acer Nitro VG271

A solid budget option


  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • Affordable
  • Solid viewing angles


  • Only 1080p

Why should you buy this: It’s a more affordable choice that still has solid features.

Who’s it for: Those looking to save money on accessories but can’t skimp on refresh rate.

Why we picked the *Acer Nitro VG271:

If you’re looking for a monitor that isn’t almost as much as the MacBook Air itself, the Acer Nitro VG271 is a solid choice. It’s only 1080p, so it won’t be as crisp as the other options on this list, but at just $200, it’s hard to complain.

However, you do get a higher 144Hz refresh rate and some great viewing angles on the display. The stand is sturdy too, though it still has a gaming aesthetic. It has two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort, so you will need a dongle to connect to this monitor. But if you’re just looking for something to enhance the size of your Mac display, you won’t be disappointed by this option.

Acer Nitro VG271

A solid budget option

Digital Trends

Apple iPad Air 5

Sidecar and Universal Control makes the iPad Air a versatile display


  • Includes the M1 chip
  • Sleek industrial design
  • $599 makes it just as much as some monitors


  • Its 10. 9-inch display is a bit small for a second monitor

Why should you buy this: It works perfectly with MacBooks if you need a second screen.

Who’s it for: Those who don’t mind a smaller second screen that also has plenty of independent uses.

Why we picked the Apple iPad Air 5:

A bit unconventional, but iPads make great external displays thanks to Sidecar. This is a great solution if you’re looking for an external monitor for travel or while you’re at a coffee shop. You can activate Sidecar the way you would use AirPlay any other time from your Mac.

The new iPad Air 4 is a great contender for a portable monitor that functions as a secondary device. With a 10.9-inch display and a 2360 x 1640 resolution, it looks great and easily fits into a bag with your MacBook Air.

Other portable monitors can be clunky and inconvenient to carry around, which defeats the whole point. The iPad Air 4 combined with Sidecar is a great option thanks to its awesome battery life and thin profile, especially if you already have one lying around.

Universal Control also allows users to control an iPad and Mac from the same mouse and keyboard. While it wouldn’t technically be a second display, this is still a great feature if you find yourself hopping between two devices a lot.

Apple iPad Air 5

Sidecar and Universal Control makes the iPad Air a versatile display

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use any monitor with a MacBook Air?

Yes! As long as you have the right cable or dongle with the proper connector, you can connect any monitor to the MacBook Air.

How do I display my MacBook Air on a monitor?

There are a few ways you can connect your MacBook Air to an external monitor. The most obvious way is to connect it via cable. This is as simple as getting a dongle or matching cable and hooking it into your monitor.

There is also a wireless option. If you have an Apple TV or an AirPlay-compatible monitor, you can actually cast your screen via AirPlay. Make sure both devices are connected to the same network, then click on the AirPlay button (the box with an arrow pointing inward) in your menu bar. Select your AppleTV or monitor, and your screen will automatically mirror to the device. If you want the monitor to be a secondary display, be sure to click Use as separate display in the AirPlay menu.

What cable do I need to connect my MacBook Air to a monitor?

The MacBook Air only comes with two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. That means your monitor will either need a Thunderbolt port or you will need a dongle with a matching port to your monitor. For modern monitors, that means you will want to get a dongle with an HDMI or DisplayPort.

To output to 4K or higher, you will want at least an HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.4 cable. Alternatively, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3/4 cables can support 4K too.

Can you use a MacBook Air with a TV?

Most TVs have HDMI, so the HDMI adapter option we mentioned above should work with them as well. But that can be a trial with short cables. If you have an Apple TV connected to your TV, you can use its AirPlay capabilities to mirror your MacBook onto the screen.

What if the monitor display isn’t in focus or has the wrong image?

On your MacBook Air, go to System preferences and visit the Displays section. With an external monitor connected, you should be able to see its settings here. You can choose if you want an extended display, adjust the brightness and color profile, adjust according to orientation, and more. If you’re using a scaled resolution, hold down the Option key while selecting the Scaled option, and you should see a number of resolutions you can set manually.

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The best external monitors for your MacBook Pro

These are the best monitors for your MacBook Pro. If you’ve just started working from home, or just want to boost your productivity, we recommend adding an external monitor. You can quickly turn your MacBook Air into an entire workstation or just enjoy the big screen.

Table of Contents

Best Monitors for MacBook Pro (2020)

1. LG UltraFine 4K Display (24″ or 27″)

2. Lenovo L24i IPS Display (24″)

3. LG 34UM69G-B Ultrawide IPS Monitor (34″)

4. ViewSonic VG2755-2K USB-C Tilt Monitor (27″)

5. Dell U3419w Ultrasharp Curved Monitor (34″) 900 03

6. Samsung 850 Series 4K (28″) Work Monitor

7. LG 34WL85C Curved Ultra-Wide IPS Display (34″)

The displays below will work with all 2016 and later MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models with USB Type-C or display port.

Apple MacBook Pro’s screen is good, but if you’re still using something like an old 13-inch MacBook Pro, you’ll need a bigger screen. I use a single 34″ widescreen monitor instead of two monitors side by side so there are no borders to get in the way of my content. However, others may just want one huge screen, so we’ve rounded up some great options below.

Best Monitors for MacBook Pro (2020)

1. LG UltraFine 4K Display (24″ or 27″)

If you don’t want to just upgrade to a larger device like the new MacBook Pro 16, your best bet is to use an external monitor like the LG UltraFine 4K. This is, by the way, the display that Apple recommends connecting to your Mac. With 3840 x 2160 4K resolution, your photos, videos or games will come to life.

This monitor comes with a Thunderbolt 3 cable that delivers up to 85W of charging power to your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, not to mention three USB-C ports. In addition, there are two Thunderbolt ports that you can use to connect a second screen so you have two external monitors for your MacBook Pro. These screens have beautiful, accurate colors, great sound, but they’re not cheap. If you want to go even bigger, Apple and LG offer a 27-inch 5K UltraFine monitor if you want.

2. Lenovo L24i 24″ IPS Display

The Lenovo L24i is a sleek, affordable and slim monitor that can be easily placed almost anywhere to expand your MacBook desktop space. This is ideal for those who have limited space or a limited budget but don’t want to make too many compromises. It still gives you a big 23.8-inch IPS monitor, but at this price point it only supports 1080p HD resolution. However, an IPS panel should deliver accurate color reproduction, excellent viewing angles, and even be suitable for gamers with a 4ms response rate.

Or you could just get a 27-inch iMac and call it a day.

3. LG 34UM69G-B 34″ Ultra Wide IPS Monitor

Ultra wide monitors are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They provide a huge screen real estate that is perfect for gaming or business users without taking up too much space on your desk. And while I’d like to wait for the fancy curved screen, the LG 34UM is the monitor I use to this day.

This is a large, wide, 34-inch ultra-wide IPS screen that looks amazing from any angle. I ditched my two monitors, put them in portrait mode and went widescreen, and never looked back. You’ll love connecting it to your Mac with HDMI, Displayport, USB-C and more. This is a full featured, full wide monitor that won’t break the bank.

4. ViewSonic VG2755-2K USB-C Tilt Monitor (27″)

If you’re looking for an external monitor for your MacBook that’s the perfect size, feature, and price point, then ViewSonic is for you. The ViewSonic VG2755 has a decently large 27-inch 2k screen and costs less than $400. It’s not too big, not too small, and still has high resolution. You get USB 3.1, USB-C, HDMI, and DisplayPort options, so it’s very versatile. Plus, it has a 40-degree tilt capability that improves ergonomics, making it ideal for your office or work at home.

5. Dell U3419w Ultrasharp 34″ Curved Monitor

Dell makes some of the best monitors out there, and if you like LG’s idea of ​​an ultra-wide screen but want something better for work and play, get this . The Dell U3419 is a fully curved 34″ ultra-wide screen, part of the Dell Ultrasharp family of high-performance displays. What’s more, the U3419 has a USB-C output that delivers 90W of power, so you can safely fully charge your MacBook straight from the monitor and cut down on unnecessary cables.

It’s still an IPS display, so everything looks great, but the curvature helps provide better viewing angles, crisp, crisp colors, less glare, and overall better. If you can afford it, you’ll love everything this display has to offer.

6. Samsung 850 Series 4K 28″ Work Monitor

We can’t recommend a display for your MacBook without at least one from Samsung. The company has a premium 850 series monitor designed for business users that pairs beautifully with any Mac. The Samsung 850 offers stunning 4K UHD resolution, USB-C and plenty of connectivity options. It even works with VESA mounts if you want to buy more than one.

The Samsung 850 not only has a USB hub with HDMI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort inputs for peripherals and accessories, but also a swivel function. This monitor works regularly but can also rotate up/down completely in portrait mode, perfect for reading documents. If you scroll a lot and don’t need a wide screen, try this. It is also one of the best TAA compatible monitors for Mac.

7. LG 34WL85C Curved Ultra-Wide IPS Display (34″)


Last but not least, we’d like to recommend another amazing ultra-wide monitor, and this is the one I’d like to look forward to for myself. The LG 34WL85C is slightly larger than other LG ultra-wide screens, but that’s because it has a curved screen, tilt, and HDR10 with a beautiful 3440 x 1440 resolution. The edges envelop your field of view, delivering the best colors and picture quality, and reduce glare. This is a really great monitor for gaming or serious video editing.

LG has added a neat reading mode for heavy work days to ease your eyes, not to mention a Black Stabilizer option when you switch from work to play and start watching Netflix movies with dark scenes. Basically, he can do a little bit of everything, and it looks great. Get this monitor for your Mac and enjoy all its features. Or, if money is no object, try this 38-inch curved widescreen display.

Finally, find the monitor size, specifications and features that are right for you. If you plan to use your MacBook and extended monitor for work or video editing, get a good IPS screen with great colors. If you’re a college student who wants to play and enjoy movies, this affordable LG widescreen TV is a great choice. Choose what suits you and your budget.

🔥 How to choose an external monitor for your MacBook and not regret buying it

Monitor for Macbook

I’ll tell you why the image on an external MacBook monitor is small, large and cloudy. And how to choose a monitor to avoid this.

Vlad Gorokhovsky

• 6 min read

When you buy a brand new MacBook monitor, you will most likely run into one of three problems: the macOS interface will be small, large, or muddy. In this note, I’ll explain why this happens and how to choose a monitor so that the macOS interface looks as good as on the iMac screen.

If you don’t want to get into the technical details, just scroll down the article. There is a table with recommendations for choosing the right diagonal and resolution. This will help you navigate the selection of the model.

macOS features: Retina and PPI

Apple has several models of MacBooks and iMacs. All computers have different screen sizes and resolutions, but the macOS interface is the same everywhere in clarity and proportions. Why?

To understand why this happens, you need to understand the concepts Retina and PPI . And since we’re talking about external monitors, let’s break these terms down using the 4K 21-inch iMac as an example.

The physical resolution of the 21-inch iMac 4K is 4096×2304 pixels, but what you actually see is half the resolution of 2048×1152.

If the picture was displayed in full 4K resolution, then all fonts, buttons and icons on the screen would be very small.

When the visible image is half the physical resolution of the monitor, then one visible pixel consists of four physical pixels. Such an image is called a high-definition image, or HiDPI. Apple has its own marketing name for this – Retina .

To make macOS look equally good on devices with different diagonals and resolutions, Apple tied the size of the macOS interface to the PPI (Pixels Per Inch) parameter, the number of pixels per inch that can be calculated from the diagonal and screen resolution.

‼️ The macOS interface looks good when the apparent pixel density (PPI) is 110 .

For example, MacBook Pro 13″ and iMac 27″ apparent pixel density is 109PPI. Therefore, if you switch from a MacBook to an iMac, you won’t notice a big difference in image sizes.

To determine the PPI density of a monitor, use a special calculator. You need to enter the apparent screen resolution and its diagonal into it.

👉 PPI calculator for monitors

macOS looks good on MacBooks and iMacs because the pixel density of their screens is always the same

Why the macOS interface is small

Because you’re displaying the picture at your monitor’s native resolution. At the same time, the resolution of the monitor is high. For example, 4K. Because of this, the PPI is much higher than the reference value of 110 points.

The vast majority of 27-inch 4K monitors have a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels. If you display an image at this resolution, then the macOS interface will be small. Since the pixel density (PPI) will be 163.

If you try to scale the 3840×2160 resolution to a Retina-compatible resolution, then it will have to be halved both horizontally and vertically. Thus, each pixel will consist of four physical pixels, and the apparent resolution will be 1920 × 1080 pixels.

In this case, the PPI calculator gives us the number 82. And this is already a very large picture, as for my taste. It will look much better if you choose not a 27-inch screen, but a 24-inch one. Then the PPI will become 92, and the picture will be of an acceptable size and clarity.

If you want to get a picture similar to an iMac on a 27-inch monitor, then you need to look for a model with a resolution of not 3840×2160, but 5120×2880. In this case, its visible image is 2560×1440 and will correspond to 109PPI. A budget option is to simply choose a 27-inch monitor with a resolution of 2560×1440 (2K).

Why the macOS interface is large

Because you’ve scaled your monitor to Retina resolution. Often, the system does this automatically.

For example, again take a 27-inch monitor with a resolution of 3840×2160 px. If you scale its resolution to the required 1920×1080 pixels (Retina), then the PPI will drop to 82. The image will be unusually large. The only acceptable scenario for using such a monitor is if it is far away and your eyesight is planted.

Recommendations are similar: either take a variant with the same resolution and a diagonal of 21‒24 inches, or take a model with a native resolution of 2560×1440 pixels.

Why is the interface muddy

If the physical resolution is large and Retina is too small, then why not scale the image to a different resolution? For example, make from 3840×2160 not 1920×1080 (Retina), but the required 2560×1440, at which the PPI will be 109, since the monitor settings allow it.

‼️ You can choose any image scaling in the macOS settings, but if it is not half the native screen resolution, the picture will become a little hazy.

This happens because the physical number of pixels is always even and painlessly divisible by only two. With arbitrary scaling, one visible pixel will be displayed not as an integer, but as a decimal number of pixels. For example, not a 2×2 pixel matrix, as with Retina, but 1.5×1.5 px. Which, in principle, is impossible, since a physical pixel cannot be divided.

To get out of this situation, the video system will paint the neighboring pixels in the main hue. This is how blurryness is obtained, which is especially clearly visible on text and lines that are one pixel thick.

Some monitors scale better than others. The higher the resolution and the smaller the diagonal of the monitor, the less noticeable the blurring of the image.

Of the entire line of Apple computers, only the 13-inch MacBook Pro does “bad” scaling, turning the native resolution of 2560×1600 into 1440×900. But, thanks to the small diagonal, the pixels are so small that the picture is still clear.

With a large diagonal, this trick will not work for you. With arbitrary scaling, the picture will be slightly blurry, which, at least, is not suitable for designers.

If the picture is blurry when connecting an external monitor to the MacBook, regardless of the resolution, then most likely the matter is in the wrong digital profile. This is being treated, and I wrote a separate post about it.

The image quality on the monitor has become poor. What to do? 🤔

After purchasing a new monitor or updating macOS, the interface may become hazy and the fonts may appear slightly double. It’s as if an Instagram filter has been applied to them or you are looking at a monitor screen with a CRT kinescope. I tell you how to fix it.

Mac OS WorldVlad Gorokhovsky

Which monitor to choose

When choosing an external monitor for Mac, be guided by the density of visible pixels – PPI. This parameter depends on the diagonal and the resolution in which you are going to work.

To make icons, fonts and buttons look the same as on a MacBook or iMac, PPI must be around 110. If your eyesight is a little set or the monitor is far away, you can safely take a monitor with 90 PPI. Don’t go below.

If PPI is greater than 110, then the image will be small.

Cheat sheet for choosing the right resolution and diagonal

The optimal ratio of price and quality will be a monitor with a diagonal of 27 inches and a resolution of 2560 × 1440. Each manufacturer has such options. Thanks to the PPI of 108 points, the scale of the interface on such a monitor will look like Apple intended. And the usable area is maximum.

If you need a sharp Retina image, look at 4K 24-inch monitors, and then scale the image to 1920×1080. The usable area will be smaller, but the picture will be clear.

The most budget option is a 21-inch monitor with 1920 × 1080 pixels. The picture will look good and not too grainy. A good option for an additional monitor.

Other things to look for when choosing a monitor for Mac

Auto-dimming, VESA mount, built-in speakers – it’s all up to your needs.

The only thing worth hunting for is the ability to connect a monitor directly with a USB-C cable. In this case, such a cable will not only transmit the picture, but also charge the laptop itself.

If you choose a laptop with USB-C support, then the USB ports in the monitor itself will not be redundant. In this case, you do not have to use a hub to connect ordinary flash drives, microphones and other peripherals.