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
You can always trust iMore. Our team of Apple experts have years of experience testing all kinds of tech and gadgets, so you can be sure our recommendations and criticisms are accurate and helpful. Find out more about how we test.
Multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports
With two Thunderbolt 3 ports on this 23.7-inch display that can handle 4K video, audio, and data all at once, on top of supplying up to 85W of charging power, it's the perfect monitor for hooking up to your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. Additionally, three USB-C ports allow you to connect other peripherals like a USB-C hub or a hard drive, and LG's beautiful IPS panel with P3 wide color gamut carries a 3840-by-2160 resolution for impeccable clarity.
If you love resolution more than anything, the LG UltraFine 5K Display for Mac is perfect. While it only has one Thunderbolt 3, it does have four total USB-C ports to work with. Plus, it even comes with a built-in webcam, microphone, and speakers, so it can truly be the only monitor you need.
Great value for size
The BenQ PD3220U is not only a Thunderbolt 3 monitor, meaning you can daisy chain monitors together but also has quite a few ports. This monitor has tons of connectivity to attach all your favorite devices with one Thunderbolt 3 port, one USB-C, a USB-A, an HDMI, and a DisplayPort port. Plus, its 60hz screen refresh rate, beautiful P3 wide color gamut, and HDR compatibility make this screen look amazing right out of the box.
Curved without 4K
If you prefer going the ultrawide route and don't mind a bit of curve in your monitor, the Samsung Business S65UA has a 100hz refresh rate — it looks gorgeous. This monitor is no slouch when it comes to ports, either. It's easy to connect your accessories with a USB-C port, an HDMI port, DisplayPort, two USB-A ports, and a headphone jack.
Ultrawide 4K curved monitor
This ultrawide 4K curved display features one Thunderbolt 3 port, two HDMI ports, two USB-A ports, a DisplayPort port, and a headphone jack. It gives you access to multiple ports every time you plug in your Mac! Plus, the 60hz refresh rate, DCI-P3 98% color gamut, and 600 nits brightness make this Nano IPS LED display full of rich and beautiful color.
Great USB-C budget option
If you're on a budget, then Ben Q is the way to go with its 32-inch LED-lit monitor. It features a 2560x1440 resolution, which competes with any of the top monitors in its class, and its IPS panel gives it excellent viewing angles. If you're jumping back and forth between desks and need to be constantly referencing the screen, you'll have a much better time without having to look at it head-on.
Vibrant colors and good looks
Samsung knows how to make good panels and this one certainly highlights that. With one billion colors, 99% sRGB coverage and HDR10 support, it looks great. A resolution of 3840 x 2160 does the job well too. It has two Thunderbolt 4 ports with 90W charging at its disposal, so it's everything you could need. There are built-in speakers too to save on clutter on your desk with a slim metal stand that also cuts down on extra mess.
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.
Master your iPhone in minutes
iMore offers spot-on advice and guidance from our team of experts, with decades of Apple device experience to lean on. Learn more with iMore!
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.