- Apr. 1st 2022 11:50 am PT
USB-C/Thunderbolt display options have really grown over the last couple of years. While Apple’s Pro Display XDR isn’t the best fit for most Mac users at $5,000+, it’s now launched the more affordable Studio Display. And there are also lots of solid choices from LG, Samsung, BenQ, and more. Let’s look at the best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays available in the $400-$1,600 range.
Update 4/1/22: Samsung’s 32-inch iMac-like Smart Monitor M8 has officially launched at an affordable $699 price point. It comes with a 4K resolution, AirPlay 2 support, USB-C connectivity, and four color choices. More details below.
And Apple re-entered the consumer display market with the all-new Studio Display last month. Check out our in-depth comparison and more details below.
All the displays below work with a single-cable setup with your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and even PCs. The iPad Pro and 2020 iPad Air can also be used with any of these USB-C/Thunderbolt displays but with limitations.
Even though Apple’s 6K Pro Display XDR is a fantastic product (full review), the reality is that at $5,000+, it’s overkill for many MacBook owners’ needs, budgets, or both.
Fortunately, there are some solid 32-inch+ options from other companies in the $1,000 ballpark that offer a compelling experience. And we’ll also look at some 27-32-inch 4K USB-C displays in the $400-$800 range.
This is LG’s UltraFine 32-inch display that includes a solid feature set like two Thunderbolt 3 ports plus two USB-A ports, slim bezels, support for use in portrait orientation, and more.
In his full review, my colleague Jeff Benjamin found he liked the design better than LG’s other UltraFine models with many of the same features.
The LG 32UL950-W can be found on Amazon as well as other retailers like B&H Photo.
Moving up a couple of inches, LG’s 34-inch widescreen Thunderbolt 3/USB-C display offers a 5120 x 2160 resolution (in-between 4K and 5K). Jeff reviewed this display and found it to be a compelling option for creative pros.
But if you’re a creative professional who knows what you’re getting yourself into, this display is a significant real estate upgrade from 4K. Just make sure you understand that this is really a 4.5K display, and it doesn’t offer any resolution advantages over a true 5K display like the one found in the 5K iMac or iMac Pro.
The LG 34WK95U-W is usually in stock at Amazon and B&H Photo.
This is a nice alternative to the LG options above. The 32-inch BenQ PD3220U features Thunderbolt 3, 4K resolution, 95% DCI-P3 color, 85W power delivery for MacBooks, a variety of professional modes, hotkey puck, solid metal stand, and lots of I/O.
You can usually find the BenQ PD3220U at Amazon and BH Photo.
BenQ also has two more 4K affordable models with the $800 PD3205U and $600 PD2705U.
The newest release from Dell is a 32-inch version of its USB-C Hub Monitor. Highlights include 98% DCI-P3 color, 90W charging via USB-C for MacBooks, and a convenient integrated hub with USB-C, USB-A, Ethernet, DP 1.4, and HDMI.
At the time of writing, the UltraSharp 32 4K USB-C Hub Monitor is available to order direct from Dell priced at $1,150 with deliveries estimated for early April.
Dell also makes more affordable UltraSharp models in 32-inch and 27-inch sizes.
After starting to sell the 32-inch model priced at $3,999 back in August, BH Photo listed the 27-inch model at $2,999 just before Christmas.
The new LG UltraFine OLED Pro Monitor is a 32-inch USB-C display with a 27-inch version coming later.
The move to OLED is interesting. While there are some benefits like blacker blacks, and more, there may be concerns about display burn-in.
BH Photo was the first retailer to sell the UltraFine OLED Pro with a $3,999 price tag starting on August 12.
For a closer look, check out the first full review:
Apple’s Studio Display arrives alongside the new Mac Studio and marks the return to prosumer monitors after letting LG’s UltraFine series serve as its official recommendation since 2016.
Starting at $300 above the LG UltraFine 5K the Studio Display is aimed at those who value Apple’s refined (and metal) build quality.
Studio Display is available from Apple, Amazon, BH Photo, Best Buy, and more.
Check out our detailed comparison along with more perspective on the Studio Display:
While the 27-inch UltraFine display (reviewed) is was really the only option on the market to support USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 at a full 5K resolution, the $1,300 price may make this a tough sell for some.
Another trade-off here is chunkier bezels for a built-in webcam. The current models are the 5K 27-inch and the 4K 24-inch UltraFine displays.
At almost half the price, the 24-inch 4K UltraFine is a compelling option for an Apple-endorsed display for those okay with the smaller size. The 24-inch version replaced the 21.5-inch 4K model in May 2019 and retails around $700. Check out our full review here.
While there are some solid displays on the market that include USB-C with less than 4K resolutions, spending several hundred dollars on a new display with a lower picture quality than what you’re used to on your MacBook won’t be a good fit for many.
Here are some of the best USB-C displays that offer a 4K resolution at around $600 or less.
The successor to last year’s M7, the Smart Monitor M8 offers a compelling package for those that want a 4K resolution, USB-C, and a large screen while spending under $1,000. It even features a very iMac-like design and four color choices too.
The Smart Monitor M8 is up for pre-order now direct from Samsung and Amazon with the white version going for $699.99 and the colored variants selling for $729.99. First deliveries are estimated for late April.
Meanwhile, Samsung still sells the Smart Monitor M7 priced around $400 (see below).
You’re getting some great features at a budget price point like 4K resolution, USB-C, AirPlay 2, and more. However, it sounds like picture quality is not its strongest point.
You’re also not getting things like a 3.5mm audio jack, DisplayPort, and brightness is just 300 nits.
You can find the Smart Monitor M7 at Amazon, Best Buy, and more.
This newer budget release from LG is a more compelling option than its older 27-inch 4K 27UK850. The 32UP550-W features a 32-inch screen, 4K resolution, USB-C, 96W power delivery, and more.
This 32-inch affordable 4K USB-C display from LG is available to order on Amazon.
This 4K USB-C display is the successor to LG’s older 27UD88 model that we reviewed some years ago. The 27UK850 27-inch model features an LED-backlit IPS panel with HDR10 support, AMD Freesync, and single-cable USB-C connectivity.
The 27UK850 offers two USB 3.1 ports, but like the previous model, when running 4K at 60Hz, you’re limited to USB 2.0 speeds. It would have been nice to see 87W power delivery for full-speed 15-inch MacBook Pro charging, but that shouldn’t be an issue for most users.
For a more in-depth look at this display, check out our review here.
The LG 27UK850 is available on Amazon.
Thinking of waiting a while longer? If you feel like you can’t compromise on a 4K resolution but are open to saving some cash by skipping the USB-C/Thunderbolt connectivity, Philips has a 27-inch 4K display for quite a bit less than the price of the other displays on this list. AOC also makes a comparable 27-inch 4K option.
Another option – make use of the great macOS Sidecar feature that lets you use an iPad as a secondary display.
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Apple’s Mac lineup consists of MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac Mini. The Mac runs macOS for its operating system.
Apple's premium laptop comes in 13- and 16-inch screen sizes. Each model includes 2-4 USB-C ports for charging, accessories, and data transfer. Higher-end models also include the Touch Bar.
Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.
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