Best Alternative to Apple's Pro Display iMore 2020
Apple's upcoming 32-inch 6K Pro Display XDR is not for everyone. It's not even for most of us. Especially with such a hefty price tag. 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!
- Multiple Thunderbolt 3 Ports: LG UltraFine 4K Display
- Tons of connectivity: LG 32UL950-W
- Curved without 4K: Samsung CJ791
- Ultrawide 5K: LG 34BK95U-W
- Best USB-C monitor: LG 27UK850-W
- Great USB-C budget option: Ben Q GW Series GW2765HT
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. It's additional 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.
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, it's 60hz screen refresh rate, 600 nits brightness, and beautiful P3 wide color gamut makes this screen look amazing right out of the box.
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 all your of 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.
This ultrawide 5K 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.
This 4K monitor is perfectly situated between price and features. With a variety of ports, high-speed data transfer, and 60W charging for your MacBook, the LG 27UK850-W is one of the best USB-C monitors. Even though it doesn't support Thunderbolt 3, it still sports two USB-A ports, two HDMI ports, one DisplayPort port, and a headphone jack for optimal accessory compatibility.
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.
Thunderbolt 3 vs. USB-C
USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 both utilize the same reversible port, which can lead to a lot of the confusion surrounding the two protocols. While a USB-C port and 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 don't need the extra benefits that come with Thunderbolt 3, the LG 27UK850-W is one of the best USB-C monitors for Mac users around — I even use one myself. It comes with USB-A and HDMI ports, has a fantastic looking display, and can even provide power for every MacBook except the 15-inch MacBook Pro, making it a solid choice for the majority of people.
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