Best monitor 2023: top picks for MacBook Pro, 4K, gaming & more

Mac Studio Display
(Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

Choosing a monitor for your Mac can be frustrating because there are various factors to consider, including the size and quality of the display. Perhaps, for example, you do a lot of photo editing and video work. You need a monitor with a fantastic screen and brilliant colors to see every shade as you modify images. Another consideration is where you plan on using the monitor. For example, whether it will be used primarily on a desktop or requires easy mobility. 

Luckily, the market has a lot of terrific monitors available at various price points. Here are our favorite monitors for Macs, whether it's as a companion for a Mac Studio, Mac mini, Mac Pro, or MacBook. 

What is the best Mac monitor?

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Apple Studio Display Hero

(Image credit: iMore / Bryan M. Wolfe)
Best monitor for Mac users overall

Specifications

Screen size: 27-inch
Resolution: 5120 x 2880
Connectivity: Thunderbolt 3 (1) , USB-C (3)

Reasons to buy

+
Apple official
+
Less expensive than Apple's other monitor
+
5K

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey
-
No HDR support

Mac lovers are biased, so we're recommending the Apple Studio Display first for Mac owners looking for a new monitor. Released in 2022 to primarily stellar \reviews, the Apple Studio Display looks perfect, sitting near the Mac Studio or Mac Pro desktop. Besides the simple joy of the matching aluminum design and Apple aesthetic, the Apple Studio Display has a lot going for it — if you can afford it. 

Creatives will enjoy the monitor's 5K resolution, vibrant color accuracy, and contrast, as well as detailed calibration options. For those who appreciate good sound alongside the visuals, there's a three-mic array and a six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio. When you add in the 12MP Ultra-Wide camera with Center Stage, you have a creative workhouse of a display that will support any number of professional activities, from artistic pursuits to long interactive video meetings. Aside from the Apple Pro Display XDR, this is as pro as a display can get in the Apple lineup.

For compatibility, the display comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port and three USB-C ports, which means you may need a dongle if you have a lot of devices and accessories to connect. I suppose this is what we have come to expect from Apple. But if budget is not an issue, you can add some enticing extras to make this display even better. One such choice is nano-texture glass which produces impressive image quality and less glare in bright spaces. Another upgrade is the taller adjustable stand which will elevate the display to a comfortable viewing angle. But, of course, these extras come at a price. 

As detailed in our comprehensive review of the Apple Studio Display, there are pros and cons. The price will undoubtedly be a factor for the average buyer, while the extras might seem too costly to the professionals that need them. But in my opinion, this is the perfect companion to your Mac desktop computer if it's within the budget. 

LG UltraFine 4K Display

(Image credit: iMore)

LG UltraFine 4K

A sure thing

Specifications

Screen Size: 23.7 inches
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Connectivity: Thunderbolt 3 (2), USB-C (3)

Reasons to buy

+
UHD 4K support for two connected displays
+
Height and tilt stand
+
Supports 85W charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Wildly expensive
-
Doesn't look like an Apple monitor
-
No power brick for cable

The LG UltraFine 4K is a 23.7-inch display with a 3849 x 2160 resolution. It has two Thunderbolt 3 ports and three USB-C ports for connecting to Macs, Mac laptops, and iPad Pro devices. In addition, you can quickly connect two UltraFine 4K displays using the included Thunderbolt 3 cable and connect that to your MacBook Pro for dual UHD 4K resolution. Plus, with the 85W power delivery through the Thunderbolt 3 ports, you can charge most MacBooks (all but the 16-inch model) with the monitor itself, making it the ultimate workhorse.

Now, about that dual-4K monitor support. When we did our LG UltraFine 4K review, there was some worry that using two monitors wouldn't seem as seamless as one reliable monitor would. It turns out that daisy-chaining the two UltraFine 4K monitors together works just as smoothly as any single monitor we have used. No lag at all. Items drag across the gap between screens like magic. It didn't miss a beat in terms of productivity. You can't go wrong if you're the type of person who loves two screens side-by-side as their set up.

The LG UltraFine 4K supports True Tone and Night Shift on Mac. When the MacBook screen adjusts to the ambient lighting in the room, so does the monitor. When it's nighttime, and you're still working, the connected monitors dim slightly and take on a yellow hue with Night Shift. Little things like this make the LG UltraFine 4K feel like Apple designed the monitor itself.

The monitor display stand has adjustable height and can tilt to various positions, though it doesn't support a vertical view. Thanks to the hydraulic style adjustment system, you can easily adjust the height by simply pulling up the monitor. If you don't want to use a stand, the monitor comes with a VESA plate to switch out to use with your favorite VESA wall mount.

Dell UltraSharp 38 (U3818DW)

(Image credit: Dell)

Dell U3821DW

Best ultra-wide monitor for Mac

Specifications

Screen Size: 38 inches
Resolution: 3840 x 1600
Connectivity: USB-C (1), HDMI (2), 3.5mm AUX (1), USB (2)

Reasons to buy

+
Accurate images
+
A lot of real estate

Reasons to avoid

-
Black is sometimes gray, depending on how dark the room

This 38-inch ultrawide is our favorite curved monitor for Mac and has plenty of features that will make connecting with and using your computer an incredibly productive and enjoyable experience. The monitor has a special flicker-free screen that won't irritate your eyes like other screens. This allows you to happily spend hours on end using your monitor to edit pictures, and videos, create slideshows or do additional work. If you tend to get migraines or discomfort from eye strain, you'll be happy to know that this monitor allows you to rearrange and align your open documents to reduce your eye movements while viewing your screen.

One of the downsides users report about this monitor is that if you're a Mac user, the built-in volume and brightness control on Mac keyboards won't work with the monitor. Mac users also may lose access to the display manager. However, you can control the basic settings directly from the monitor.

The picture quality of this ultrawide monitor is elevated through the perfectly curved screen. It offers a 21:9 aspect ratio, allowing you to create elegant work designs and watch movies or play online games with excellent image quality. This monitor is great for individuals who frequently engage in photography, videography, or design.

Gigabyte M27Q

(Image credit: GIGABYTE)

Gigabyte M27Q

Best budget monitor for Mac

Specifications

Screen Size: 27 inches
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Connectivity: USB-C (1), HDMI (2), 3.5mm AUX (1), USB (2)

Reasons to buy

+
Expansive color gamut
+
Accurate sRGR mode
+
170 Hz
+
KVM switch

Reasons to avoid

-
Some undersaturation
-
Weak HDR

When cost is an important factor, you can't go wrong with the Gigabyte M27Q. The IPS panel offers speedy performance and terrific picture quality at its price point. It even includes HDR support, although it's lacking on this point compared to most other monitors, especially those that cost more. 

Other highlights include Adobe RGB gamut coverage, an impressive height-adjustable stand, a USB hub, a KVM switch, and more. 

Porsche Design AOC

(Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

AOC Porsche Design PD32M

Great for gaming

Specifications

Screen Size: 32 inches
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Connectivity: DisplayPort (1, USB-C (1), HDMI (2), 3.5mm AUX (1), USB (4)

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible design
+
Slender top and side bezels
+
Offers shaped aluminum
+
Easy to rotate to portrait mode

Reasons to avoid

-
Sometimes confusing settings
-
Very heavy
-
Energy hog
-
Some unnecessary features

If you're looking for a display that offers a brilliant look by itself, you've come to the right place. The AOC Porsche Design PD32M, ideally suited for gaming, is a terrific beast created in such a way to be noticed. It's pricey, however, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise given its name. 

The AOC Porsche Design features a 4K 32-inch monitor with a 144Hz refresh in the same pricey neighborhood as the Apple Studio Display. Other features include HDR, mini-LED, HDMI 2.1, USB-C, remote control, and more.  

Among the quirks that are mostly unnecessary on this monitor are RGB lights on the back and a logo projector that's gimmicky at best. It also uses a lot of energy.

A quick guide to the important details of monitors

Not every monitor is right for every person. Depending on which of the best Mac computers you're operating, you may prefer something more portable or something more substantial. There's no ultimate solution that works for everyone, but that doesn't mean there aren't some universal truths about monitors that can help you make a decision. There's a lot of technical jargon that can get in the way of what's important to a monitor when you go shopping. So, we've made a handy guide on understanding some important aspects of monitors to help you make a better choice.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.

With contributions from