Best alternatives to Apple's Pro Display XDR in 2023

Apple's 32-inch 6K Pro Display XDR is one of the best monitors for Mac. But it's not for everyone. Not only will it not suit everyone's preferences, but it's incredibly expensive as well. Luckily, there are several great alternatives to Apple's Pro Display XDR on the market. 

Not all of these alternatives will bring you the exact same features as the Pro Display XDR, but we've selected some of the key things you need to know as you consider these rivals. 

Although the best USB-C monitors for Mac are great for most people, having both Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports is what makes the best alternative to Apple's Pro DIsplay XDR. If you're looking for a more affordable external display for your MacBook Air (M2) or other Mac, here's a list of monitors that won't disappoint.

Our pick of the cheaper alternatives to Apple's Pro Display XDR

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How to choose Thunderbolt 3 vs. USB-C displays

USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 both utilize the same reversible port, leading to a lot of confusion surrounding the two protocols. While a USB-C port and a Thunderbolt 3 port look the same, Thunderbolt 3 has some extra hardware compared to the more widely adopted USB-C. The biggest and most significant difference is that Intel developed Thunderbolt 3. It offers high-bandwidth data transfers between devices, with maximum transfer rates of 40Gbps — on a plain USB-C connection, you won't get transfer rates this fast.

If your workflow needs the fast transfer speeds or daisy-chaining capabilities of Thunderbolt 3, I would suggest the LG UltraFine 4K Display. It has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and an additional 3 USB-C ports, giving you a ton of space to plug in your favorite accessories. There's also the Samsung ViewFinity S8 Series with its vibrant colors and plethora of options.

If you prefer an ultrawide monitor, the LG 38WN95C-W is one of the best external monitors we have used. It comes with USB-A and HDMI ports, has a fantastic-looking display, and can even provide power delivery up to 94W, meaning most MacBooks will stay charged up when plugged into the monitor.

If you're looking for a new monitor but don't need one that rivals Apple's Pro Display XDR 2022, then take a look at our best 4K monitors for Mac guide.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.