8 Best External Monitors For MacBook Pro Users

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The MacBook is a great computer, and it’s even better when you have an external monitor. With an external monitor, you can have more screen space for all of your work, and you can also use the external monitor as a second screen for your MacBook. This is really helpful if you need to keep multiple windows open at the same time.

There are a lot of different external monitors out there, and it can be tough to choose the right one. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up the best external monitors for MacBook Pro, so you can find the perfect one for your needs.

Apple Silicon M Chip vs Intel Chip: External Monitor Support

external monitor for mac
Macbook Pro 14-inch

As we now, there are two types of MacBook Pro: those with an Apple Silicon M Chip and those with an Intel Chip. The key difference between the two is that the Apple Silicon M Chip is designed by Apple, while the Intel Chip is designed by Intel. And they also have different external monitor support.

All monitors that we’ve tested work with both types of MacBook Pro. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using an external monitor with a MacBook Pro with an Apple Silicon M Chip.

Intel Chip and External Monitor

A number of factors such as the model, size and year that your MacBook Pro was made will affect how many external monitors it can support.

external monitor for mac
Macbook Pro 15-inch Intel Chip

For example:

  • The MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2014) can support up to Three 4K displays (via one HDMI and two Thunderbolt 2)
  • The 16-inch model from 2016 can support Two 5120×2880 (5K) and Two 6016 x 3384 (6K) display at 60Hz or Four 3840×2160 (4K UHD) displays at 60Hz or One 5K and Three 4K at 60Hz .

Apple Silicon M Chip and External Monitor

On Mac computers with Apple M chip, you can connect up to four displays. It depends on the M Chip type that your Mac has.

m1 chip
M1 processor chip.
  • For Mac Studio with M1 Ultra

The Mac Studio with M1 Ultra is a powerful computer that can connect to up to Five external displays via Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports and HDMI ports. This makes it perfect for creative professionals who need to connect to multiple devices.

  • For Mac with the M1 Max/M1Pro

The Mac with the M1 Max chip provides the fastest integrated graphics in any personal computer. It supports Four external displays, while Mac Studio can connect up to Five 5K external displays via Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) and HDMI ports. However, Mac with M1 Pro chip is only able to support up to Two external displays.

Macbook Pro 14 inch and 16 inch both have HDMI and Thunderbolt ports that support up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. The M1 Pro can support two external displays with 6K at 60hz while the M1 Max can support up to three external displays with 6K at 60hz and one 4K at 60hz

  • For Mac with the M1 or M2 chip

MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac mini support One external display with a resolution of 4096×2304 at 60Hz connected using Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. You need to buy a docking station or a hub to connect multiple displays.

Read more: Best USB-C Hubs For Macbook Pro

Our Top 8 Pick

Now that we’ve gone over the different types of external monitors and how many each MacBook Pro can support, let’s take a look at the best external monitors for MacBooks. 

Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD

Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit LCD IPS, USB-C Monitor

Brand: Dell | Size: 27 inch | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Display Resolution: 4K | Vesa Mount: Yes | Power Delivery: 90W

Dell’s UltraSharp U2720Q is a sleek and stylish 27 inch monitor that offers stunning 4K resolution with excellent color accuracy. It features convenient connectivity options including DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB ports, as well as Audio Line out. With a refresh rate of 60 Hz, it is ideal for gaming or watching videos. The anti-glare screen and LED backlights make it easy to see in any lighting condition, and the Energy Star certification means it is environmentally friendly.

The 99% sRGB color gamut ensures accurate colors, making it perfect for creative professionals or anyone who wants to enjoy their favorite movies and games in the highest quality. The monitor also comes with a USB-C port, which allows you to charge your laptop while you work. This convenient feature makes it easy to stay productive even when you’re on the go.

PROS:

  • Excellent color accuracy
  • Convenient connectivity options
  • Energy Star certified
  • USB-C port for charging laptops
  • Vesa Mount Compatible

CONS:

  • May be too small for some desks No built-in speakers

Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR With Retina 6K Display

Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR with Retina 6K Display – Nano-Texture Glass

Brand: Apple | Size: 32 inch | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Display Resolution: 6K | Response Time: 0.1 Milliseconds

Apple has just announced the release of their new 32-inch Pro Display XDR. This monitor is designed for users who demand the very best in performance and quality. The Retina 6K resolution (6016 by 3384 pixels) and 1000 nits brightness make it an ideal choice for creative professionals, video editors, and photographers. The contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 ensures that blacks are blacker and whites are whiter, while the P3 wide color gamut allows for accurate representation of colors across the entire spectrum.

The 10-bit color depth provides a total of 1 billion colors, ensuring faithful reproduction of even the most subtle shades. And with a superwide viewing angle, everyone in the room can see what’s on screen clearly and accurately. The Thunderbolt 3 port (x1) and USB-C port (x3) make it easy to connect to a variety of devices, and the Pro Stand and VESA Mount Adapter (sold separately) provide a wide range of options for mounting the display.

However, the refresh rate of the Pro Display XDR is 60Hz. This is a disappointment for gamers and other users who require a higher refresh rate for smoother gameplay or video playback. Nevertheless, the exceptional resolution, color reproduction, and viewing angle make this monitor a great choice for those who need the absolute best in image quality.

PROS:

  • Great design
  • HDR content is awesome
  • VESA mount support
  • Very bright
  • Good color accuracy and contrast ratio

CONS:

  • Pricey
  • Stand vs VESA Mount Adapter is sold separately

ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27-inch WQHD Monitor

ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) Monitor, Height Adjustable

Brand: ASUS | Size: 27 inch | Refresh Rate: 75 Hz | Display Resolution: 2K | Vesa Mount: Yes | Power Delivery: No

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line monitor to use with your Mac, the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV 27-inch WQHD is an excellent option. This monitor features a 27-inch screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, making it perfect for creative professionals or anyone who wants a high-quality display. The Asus monitor also has 100% Rec. 709 color gamut and 100% sRGB, so you can be sure that the colors you see onscreen are accurate. Additionally, it has ergonomic stand adjustments and VESA wall-mounting capabilities, making it easy to find the perfect viewing angle.

The refresh rate on the Asus monitor is 75 Hz, which is higher than most monitors on the market. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy smooth visuals, even when you’re watching fast-paced content. The monitor also has a variety of ports, including HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, DisplayPort, dual-link DVI-D, and four USB 3.0 ports. This makes it easy to connect all of your devices and peripherals. So whether you’re looking for the perfect display for your Macbook Pro on a budget or just want a great monitor for general use, the ASUS ProArt Display PA278QV is a great option.

PROS:

  • Inexpensive
  • Good color accuracy
  • Ergonomic stand adjustments
  • VESA wall-mounting capabilities
  • A variety of ports

CONS:

  • No USB-C port
  • May not be the best choice for gaming or other high-refresh-rate activities

LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27-inch IPS

LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27-inch IPS LCD 5K UHD Monitor for Apple Mac

Brand: LG | Size: 27 inch | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Display Resolution: 5K | Vesa Mount: Yes | Power Delivery: 94W

The LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B is an excellent monitor for MacBook Pro users. It features a 5K resolution, 6:9 aspect ratio, 500nit brightness, and 99% DCI-P3 color gamut. This allows users to experience incredibly clear and lifelike images while working on their MacBook Pro. Additionally, the monitor has a built-in camera and speaker, making it perfect for video conferencing or listening to music.

The Thunderbolt 3 port also allows for up to 94W of power delivery, making it easy to charge your MacBook Pro while using the monitor. And finally, the three USB Type C ports provide plenty of connectivity options. However, refresh rate is only 60Hz which might not be ideal for some users.

PROS:

  • 5K resolution
  • 500nit brightness
  • 99% DCI-P3 color gamut
  • Built-in camera and speaker
  • Thunderbolt 3 port for power delivery

CONS:

  • Refresh rate is only 60Hz
  • May be too expensive for some users

BenQ PD3220U 32 inch 4K Monitor IPS

BenQ PD3220U 32 inch 4K Monitor IPS, Thunderbolt 3 for Mac, 60 Hz

Brand: BenQ | Size: 32 inch | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Display Resolution: 4K | Vesa Mount: Yes | Power Delivery: 85W

The BenQ PD3220U monitor is a great choice for anyone looking for an external monitor for their Macbook Pro. With its 4K resolution, 178° viewing angle, and 300 nits brightness, it offers a great viewing experience that is perfect for creative professionals. Additionally, the Hotkey Puck G2 allows you to easily control the monitor’s functions, while the Low Blue Light filters help to reduce eye strain.

It supports both the DCI-P3 and Display P3 color spaces (95%), as well as the sRGB and Rec. 709 color spaces (100%). This ensures that you can view your photos, videos, and other content in the best possible quality. The BenQ PD3220U monitor comes with a variety of ports, including HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C. This allows you to easily connect it to your Macbook Pro, as well as other devices. The USB-C port also supports power delivery, so you can use the monitor while charging your laptop.

PROS:

  • Attractive design
  • ESA mount support
  • Thunderbolt 3 port support
  • Built-in speakers
  • 4K resolution
  • Lots of ports

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Viewing angle could be better
  • Speakers are not the best quality

SAMSUNG J791 Series 34-Inch Ultrawide QHD

SAMSUNG J791 Series 34-Inch Ultrawide QHD (3440×1440) Computer Monitor

Brand: SamSung | Size: 34 inch | Refresh Rate: 120 Hz | Display Resolution: 4K | Vesa Mount: Yes | Power Delivery: 85W

The design of the Samsung J791 Series 34-Inch Ultrawide QHD monitor is sleek and stylish, with a thin bezel that makes it perfect for multi-monitor setups. The Thunderbolt 3 port on the Samsung monitor is incredibly versatile, providing power and charging for your laptop, as well as connectivity for displays and other devices. With up to 85W of charging power, it can quickly charge your laptop while you work.

The Samsung J791 Series 34-Inch Ultrawide QHD monitor features an ultra wide WQHD resolution of 3440 x 1440, providing you with plenty of screen real estate to work with. It features 125% sRGB color reproduction, making it perfect for creative professionals who need accurate color reproduction. The large size and high resolution is perfect for graphic designers, video editors, or anyone who needs a lot of screen space.

The ports on the monitor are incredibly versatile, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB inputs. This allows you to easily connect to a variety of devices, including your laptop, desktop computer, and gaming console. The AMD FreeSync technology ensures smooth, tear-free graphics while you play your favorite games or work on your most graphics-intensive projects. It’s also has a built-in 7-watt stereo speaker system, so you can enjoy great sound without the need for external speakers.

PROS:

  • Good design
  • Fast charging for laptops 85W
  • Support 100 hertz
  • Multiple input options
  • 7-watt stereo speakers

CONS:

  • Lack HDR
  • No built-in webcam

Acer SB220Q bi 21.5 Inches Full HD

Acer SB220Q bi 21.5 Inches Full HD IPS, Ultra-Thin Zero Frame Monitor, HDMI & VGA Port

Brand: Asus | Size: 12.5 inch | Refresh Rate: 75 Hz | Display Resolution: Full HD | Vesa Mount: No | Power Delivery: No

Acer SB220Q bi 21.5 Inches Full HD monitor is very sleek and modern. It has a zero-frame design, which makes it look very thin and stylish. It also has a full HD IPS display, which looks clear and sharp. This monitor is that it has Radeon free sync, which helps to prevent image tearing and stuttering when playing games or watching videos.

The Acer monitor has one HDMI port and one VGA port. This makes it easy to connect to most devices, such as gaming consoles, laptops, or desktop computers. The monitor also has a refresh rate of 75 hertz and a response time of 4ms. It is also capable of displaying 16.7 million colors and has a brightness of 250 nit. However, one downside of this monitor is that it is not VESA mount compatible, so you will need to use the included stand to attach it to your desk.

Overall, the Acer SB220Q bi 21.5 Inches Full HD monitor is a great choice for those who are looking for a sleek and stylish monitor with excellent features. It is also very affordable, making it a great option for budget-conscious shoppers.

PROS:

  • Very affordable
  • Good design
  • Full HD IPS display
  • Radeon FreeSync
  • 75Hz refresh rate

CONS:

  • No VESA mount support
  • No USB
  • 21.5 inch only

BenQ SW321C 32-inch 4K IPS Photo&Video Editing Monitor

BenQ SW321C 32-inch 4K IPS Photo&Video Editing Monitor, 99% AdobeRGB

Brand: BenQ | Size: 32 inch | Refresh Rate: 60 Hz | Display Resolution: 4K | Vesa Mount: Yes | Power Delivery: 60W

The BenQ SW321C is a professional monitor that offers stunning visuals and accurate colors. With a 10-bit color depth, HDR10 and HLG formats, and 99% Adobe RGB coverage, this monitor is perfect for photographers, graphic designers, and other professionals who need accurate color representation. The USB-C port supports high-speed data transmission and provides 60W of power delivery, making it easy to connect and use with a laptop or other devices. The GamutDuo feature allows for simultaneous display of two different color spaces, making it easy to compare and edit images.

And with a refresh rate of 60 Hz, the BenQ SW321C provides smooth visuals no matter what you’re working on. The BenQ SW321C has a variety of ports that users can take advantage of. These include two HDMI ports, USB Type-A, B and C, and DisplayPort. This allows users to connect a variety of devices to the monitor. Whether you’re editing photos, designing graphics, or just enjoying your favorite movies and TV shows, the BenQ SW321C is a great choice for an amazing viewing experience.

PROS:

  • Good build quality
  • Large screen with accurate colors
  • USB-C with power delivery
  • Plenty of ports
  • 99% Adobe RGB

CONS:

  • Relatively slow refresh rate
  • Pricey

What To Look For When Buying A Monitor For Your Macbook Pro

external monitor for mac

When you are looking for the best external monitor for your Macbook Pro, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Here are 9 of the most important ones:

1. Size Matters

When choosing an external monitor for your Macbook Pro, size is definitely important. You want to find one that is not too small or too large, but just the right size to give you the extra screen real estate that you need. My recommenation is to get an external monitor for Macbook that is at least 27 inches.

2. Resolution

Make sure to get one with a high resolution so that you can take advantage of all those extra pixels and get the most out of your new display. Although, you don’t need to go crazy and get the highest resolution monitor out there because it’s not worth the extra money for most people. A resolution of 2560×1440 is plenty for most people.

3. Refresh Rate

This is how often the image on your screen refreshes and is measured in Hz. A higher refresh rate means that your screen will refresh more often and you’ll see less image ghosting. This is especially important if you’re going to be doing any gaming on your external monitor. I would recommend getting a monitor with a refresh rate of at least 60 Hz.

4. Response Time

This is how long it takes for a pixel to change colors and is measured in milliseconds. A lower response time means that your image will look smoother with less image ghosting. A response time of 5 ms or less is ideal.

5. Connectivity

Make sure to check the connectivity options on the external monitor that you’re considering to make sure that it is compatible with your Macbook Pro. Most monitors these days will have at least HDMI and DisplayPort, but some also have Thunderbolt 3.  

Thunderbolt 3 is the best option because it supports 4K resolutions at 60 Hz (x2), and it can also charge your laptop up to 100W. It’s very important to make sure that the monitor you’re getting has the right connectivity options for your needs.

Thunderbolt 4 is also available on the new Macbook Pros and it supports 6K resolutions at 60 Hz (x3) with Apple’s M1 MaX chip.

6. VESA Mounting

This is a standard that allows you to mount your monitor to a desk or wall. This can be really helpful if you want to free up some desk space or if you want to mount your monitor in a specific spot. Not all monitors have this feature, so make sure to check before you buy.

7. Adjustability

Many monitors these days come with adjustable stands that allow you to tilt, swivel, or even rotate your monitor. This can be really helpful if you want to find the perfect viewing angle for your needs.

8. Built-in Speakers

Some external monitors come with built-in speakers which can be really convenient if you don’t want to have to use external speakers. Just keep in mind that the sound quality on these speakers is usually not as good as dedicated external speakers.

9. Price

Just like anything else, you get what you pay for with external monitors. So, if you want a high-quality monitor, you’re going to have to pay a bit more. But, there are definitely some great options available at a variety of different price points.

How We Decided

To help narrow down your choices, we took a look at a variety of different factors including size, resolution, refresh rate, response time, connectivity, VESA mounting, adjustability, and price. We also read through a lot of customer reviews to get a better idea of what people who have actually used these monitors think of them.

About Me

I am a freelance writer and tech enthusiast who is always on the lookout for the latest and greatest gadgets. I have a particular interest in monitors because I think they are one of the most important parts of any computer setup.

When it comes to external monitors for Macbook Pros, I have used a few different ones over the years and I have to say that my favorite is the LG brand. It’s a great all-around monitor that offers a great picture quality, a high resolution, and a wide range of connectivity options. It’s also VESA mountable as well.

Now, I also own my minimalist desk setup, where I’ve mounted my LG display to the desk. This has freed up a lot of desk space and I love the way it looks.

my desk setup
My Desk Setup
desk setup

FAQs

1. What are the benefits of using an external monitor?

The main benefit of using an external monitor is the increased screen real estate. This can be extremely beneficial for productivity, as you’ll have more space to work with.

2. Which connection type should I choose?

The connection type you’ll need depends on the ports available on your MacBook Pro. The most common options are HDMI, DVI, and Thunderbolt.

If your Mac has two Thunderbolt port or your Mac only supports one external monitor, you’ll need to use an adapter or dock that supports more than one additional monitor.

3. What size monitor should I get?

27″ is a popular size for external monitors. It also happens to be my favorite size, but it really depends on your needs and preferences. If you want the largest possible screen, go for a 32″, 34″,…

external monitor for mac m1

4. Is the Macbook support HDMI 2.1?

No, the MacBook Pro only supports HDMI 2.0 instead. At this time, there is no official word from Apple on whether or not the MacBook Pro will support HDMI 2.1. However, it’s likely that future models will include this feature.

With HDMI 2.1, you’ll be able to enjoy 4K content at 120Hz or 8K content at 60Hz. This is a significant upgrade over the current HDMI 2.0 standard, which is limited to 4K at 60Hz.

Read also: Best HDMI 2.1 Cable For TV & Monitor

5. What is the best resolution for an external monitor?

The highest possible resolution is always best, but it’s not always practical. A 4K monitor will require a lot of processing power, so it might not be the best choice if you’re looking for an affordable option.

6. Are there any other features to look for?

Some external monitors come with built-in speakers, which can be handy if you don’t want to use your MacBook Pro’s speakers. Other features to look for include USB ports, DisplayPort, and an adjustable stand.

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for the best external monitor for your Macbook Pro, then any of the monitors on our list would be a great option. Just make sure to keep your specific needs in mind when making your decision.

We hope this guide has been helpful and that you now have a better idea of what to look for when choosing an external monitor for your Macbook Pro. Thank you for reading and we hope you have a great day!

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