Best Monitor for Older MacBook Pros iMore 2020
MacBook Pros stand the test of time and typically last a lot longer than other laptops on the market. If you're looking for a monitor for your older machine, we recommend the HP VH240a, which offers all the bells and whistles you need for a home environment. We've gathered other noteworthy models to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.
- Best Overall: HP VH240a 23.8-Inch FHD IPS LED Monitor
- Best Portable: AOC I1601FWUX (USB 3.0)
- Best Curved: LG 38WK95C-W
- Best Gaming: BenQ EW3270U
Best Overall: HP VH240a 23.8-Inch FHD IPS LED Monitor
The HP VH240a 23.8-Inch FHD IPS LED Monitor is a great monitor for basic everyday use. Measuring at 23.8 inches, this screen comes fully equipped with superb picture and video quality, spanning 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920 by 1080P HD. The built-in anti-glare IPS LED-backlit panel accommodates 2 million pixels and 16.7 million colors to ensure that you always experience beautiful images.
The HP VH240a 23.8-Inch FHD IPS LED Monitor is designed to optimize your viewing experience as it can rotate 90-degrees resting in a vertical or horizontal position. You can also adjust the height and tilt to parallel with your needs at any particular time. This monitor delivers a response time of up to 5ms, which means that it delivers a fluid stream of motion without any lagging or blurriness.
The design of the HP VH240a monitor is visually appealing. It features a super-thin frame, and an ultra-widescreen IPS LED monitor. It comes with the option to mount it on the wall via a VESA mount; however, it is not included.
- Has horizontal and vertical viewing modes
- Response time of 5ms
- Visually appealing
- Need Thunderbolt 3 to HDMI adaptor for MacBooks
Rotating LED monitor
This visually appealing LED monitor can rotate and offer vertical or horizontal viewing modes.
Best Portable : AOC I1601FWUX (USB 3.0)
Portable monitors get the job done for folks on the go, especially business travelers who might sometimes appreciate a larger display than the MacBook Pro can provide. These types of monitors offer a good, not great, display appearance.
The 15.6-inch AOC portable monitor weighs less than two pounds and is only 8.5mm thick. It offers an IPS screen and full HD 1080p resolution and features a smart cover that protects it when not in use. You can use the cover as a screen holder in both portrait or landscape orientation. Also note the USB 3.0 cable offers both power and signal, which saves you from carrying more than one cable!
We love this monitor solely for its portability and price. Though it's one of the brightness portable monitors around (212.6 nits) and offers excellent color accuracy, it's color gamut lacks. And the stand isn't the sturdiest around. Regardless, for what it is, the monitor shines.
- Power and signal delivery via a single USB 3.0 cable
- Weighs just 1.81 pounds
- 1080p resolution only
- Wobbly stand
- Weak color gamut
Travelers, take note
Offering a bright display for less, this portable monitor is great in a pinch when a lightweight, larger screen is needed.
Best Curved : LG 38WK95C-W
The 38-inch LG 38WK95C-W UltraWide curved monitor is ideally suited for mirroring what's happening on your laptop or act as a secondary display. The result is a highly functional device that can also support the rest of Apple's lineup of laptops, plus the iPad Pro.
Offering a resolution of 3480-by-1600, the wide-screen monitor includes data transfer and 60W charging using USB-C. It also has two USB-A ports, two HDMI ports, and a DisplayPort. The 38WK95C-W also has a relatively decent set of speakers, a setup that's a breeze, and a joystick-style button at the bottom edge of the screen for monitor control that's a surprising joy to use!
Less impressive is the monitor's plastic backside that LG, for some reason, elected to make white. Luckily this odd design choice is only a problem if the monitor is sitting in the middle of a room. Also: the wide display isn't Retina; sometimes those extra pixels-per-inch are missed.
- Plenty of ports
- Well-designed base
- Screen resolution isn't as good as Retina
- White plastic backside
Here's a tremendous curved display that enhances the MacBook Pro experience. You'll miss the Retina, however.
Best Gaming : BenQ EW3270U
Finally, there's this 32-inch 4K HDR monitor from BenQ. Featuring low blue light and flicker-free technology to reduce eye strain, this monitor is an excellent choice for Mac gamers who need a bigger screen. Besides a USB-C port, the monitor offers two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2, and a 3.5mm audio out.
With AMD Freesync technology, this monitor has done a great job of removing broken frames, image tearing, and choppy gameplay often associated with external monitors. However, this is still a sub-$400, so you should expect some drawbacks starting with the poorly designed speakers. We're also shaking our heads over the confusing control panel and missing power passthrough.
Despite these limitations, we like this monitor immensely. The EW3270U covers 100 percent of Rec. 709 and 95 percent of DCI-P3 standards. Yes, the colors are accurate, and the 4K content is wonderfully rendered.
- Offers USB-C, HDMI 2.0, and DP1.4
- AMD FreeSync
- 95% DCI-P3
- No power supply passthrough
- Poor built-in speakers
- Onboard controls difficult to use
Look at that color!
This 4K monitor provides a nice balance between features and price. Though limitations remain, for most gamers, this one will work very nicely.
If you're in the market for an external monitor for your MacBook Pro, you'll quickly notice there's a wide selection from which to choose. Our favorite model, the HP VH240a, is a terrific choice for anyone looking for a great performance monitor at an incredible price.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
Camille Sanghera is a freelance writer who loves telling stories through writing. When she is not content writing, you can find her watching movies, playing sports, or writing books. Check out her blog at www.happycoconut.ca.
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