Best Alternative to Apple's Pro Display iMore 2021

Apple's 32-inch 6K Pro Display XDR is one of the best monitors for Mac, but it's not for everyone — it's not even for most of us, and there are great alternatives to Apple's Pro Display XDR on the market. Depending on what you're looking for in an external monitor, you might not have to spend thousands of dollars to get a quality alternative to Apple's Pro Display XDR. Well, the best USB-C monitors for Mac are great for some people; having both Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports are what make the best alternative to Apple's Pro DIsplay XDR. If you're looking for an external display for your Mac that's easier on the pocketbook, here's a list of monitors that won't disappoint!

LG UltraFine 4K Display

Multiple Thunderbolt 3 Ports: LG UltraFine 4K Display for Mac

Staff Favorite

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.

$700 at Apple
LG UltraFine 5K

5K greatness: LG UltraFine 5K Display for Mac

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.

LG 32UL950-W

Tons of connectivity: LG 32UL950-W

LG's big 32-inch 32UL950-W is not only a Thunderbolt 3 monitor, meaning you can daisy chain monitors together but also has quite a few ports. With one Thunderbolt 3 port, one USB-C, two USB-A, an HDMI, DisplayPort port, and a headphone jack, this monitor has tons of connectivity to attach all your favorite devices. Plus, its 60hz screen refresh rate, 600 nits brightness, and beautiful P3 wide color gamut make this screen look amazing right out of the box.

Samsung CJ791

Curved without 4K: Samsung CJ791

If you prefer going the ultrawide route and don't mind a bit of curve in your monitor, the Samsung CJ791 uses Samsung's QLED display technology, which is gorgeous. This monitor is no slouch when it comes to ports, either. With two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI port, DisplayPort, two USB-A ports, and a headphone jack, it's easy to connect your accessories. Plus, the 100hz refresh rate makes this an amazing screen for gaming, as long as you don't mind losing out on 4K.

LG 38WN95C-W

Ultrawide 4K curved monitor: LG 38WN95C-W

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.

$1,600 at Best Buy
BenQ PD2700Q

Great USB-C budget option: BenQ PD2700Q

If you're on a budget, then Ben Q is the way to go with its 27-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.

$299 at Amazon

Thunderbolt 3 vs. USB-C

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.

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. Heck, it's such a good display that even our Windows loving friends face it a great review on Windows Central.

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