LG 27UD88Source: iMore

Best USB-C Monitors for Macbooks iMore 2020

Even if you have that large, lovely 16-inch Macbook Pro, that one monitor is not always enough for all the incredible things you'd like to do and see with your computer. If you're looking for a large-screen display to go with your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, you've come to the right place. Your best bet is the LG UltraFine 4K display thanks to its versatility and price. It's perfect for most people, though there are other monitors better suited to different needs.

Best Overall: LG UltraFine 4K

LG Ultrafine 4kSource: iMore

The price tag on the LG UltraFine 4K is very appealing. You can have a quality 4K monitor that works seamlessly with your Mac. Though it doesn't have the Apple design aesthetic, the good stuff is all on the inside. Just like an Apple brand monitor, all of the monitor's controls are available in the settings section of your Mac.

This 24-inch display fits right into the pocket of reasonably priced and excellent quality if you don't mind the boxy black look. As for the price, you can get two of them for almost the price of one LG UltraFine 5K Display.

Pros:

  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Dual-screen full 4K display support
  • Supports 85W charging
  • Easy to set up

Cons:

  • No camera or mic
  • No legacy ports

Best Overall

LG UltraFine 4K

Dual-screen full 4K support.

Hook up two for a beautiful, bright, and convenient workflow for your Mac laptop.

Premium Option: LG 34WK95U-W Nano-ISP UltraWide

LG UltraWideSource: iMore

Though LG's UltraFine 5K was designed specifically with Apple's MacBook Pro in mind; it's the 34WK95U-W that wins our hearts. This 5K monitor has a 5120x2160 resolution, 34-inch display, a Thunderbolt 3 port, an HDMI port, a DisplayPort port, and a couple of USB-A ports. It's more versatile than the UltraFine, and that's ultra-fine with us.

Pros:

  • Pro-quality technology
  • Nano ISP color 5K display
  • USB hub
  • Versatile input options

Cons:

  • No built-in camera or microphone
  • Poor built-in speaker quality

Premium Option

LG 34WK95U-W Nano-ISP UltraWide

From MacBook to iMac with LG and Thunderbolt 3.

Use LG's UltraWide monitor with your Mac laptop and daisy chain it with a second 4K monitor.

Best for iPad Pro: LG UltraFine 5K

LG UltraFine 5KSource: iMore

With LG's latest update to its UltraFine 5K monitor, you can use it along with your 2018 (or later) iPad Pro with USB-C. That's because the monitor now supports USB-C and Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt 3 charges the MacBook Pro, and the three USB-C ports offer 5Gbps downstream. Its 27 inches big, which is about the size of Apple's larger iMac, and has a similar P3 wide color gamut with 500 nits brightness. For full 5K resolution on a larger display, the UltraFine 5K is your perfect choice.

Its biggest downfall is that it doesn't quite have that Apple aesthetic. LG has designed an attractive Edge-Arcline base for some of its monitors, which looks better with Apple products. The UltraFine 5K, unfortunately, still has that big, boxy black base.

Pros:

  • Up to 5K resolution
  • Designed for Apple
  • Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C
  • Built-in speakers, camera, and mic

Cons:

  • No Apple aesthetic
  • No legacy ports

Best for iPad Pro

LG UltraFine 5K

Full 5K display plus support for USB-C.

If your workflow includes both a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro, this is the monitor you want.

Best for Entertainment: BenQ EW3280U Entertainment Monitor

BenQ Entertainment MonitorSource: BenQ

Equipped with 4K UHD 3840x2160 resolution and 95% DCI-P3 wide color gamut, this monitor is built for performance. Sharp graphics, bright colors, and an impressive built-in speaker system combine for a fantastic entertainment experience. Whether you're gaming, streaming, designing, or editing, this monitor has the visuals and sound you need to get the job done. The only downside to this monitor is that the USB-C port does not support charging, so you'll have to charge separately.

Pros:

  • 4K UHD resolution
  • 95% DCI-P3 wide color gamut
  • True-tone treVolo audio with two speakers and a 5W subwoofer
  • HDRi imagery with intelligent brightness control

Cons:

  • USB-C port does not support charging
  • Expensive

Best for Entertainment

BenQ EW3280U Entertainment Monitor

Full visual + sound experience

Combine eye and ear candy for a full entertainment experience that looks and sounds amazing.

Best on a Budget: ASUS ZenScreen

ASUS ZenscreenSource: ASUS

The ZenScreen is a favorite around the iMore office for its incredible portability. It's a 15.6-inch screen with a USB-C connector. You can rotate between landscape and portrait mode, and it's compatible with Thunderbolt 3. If you need a second screen when you're headed for the coffee shop, this takes up just the right amount of space without being a burden on your portability.

Pros:

  • Weighs less than 2 pounds
  • Ultra-slim at only 8mm thick
  • Comes with its own cover
  • 60Hz refresh rate

Cons:

  • Does not charge your laptop
  • No HDMI support

Best on a Budget

ASUS ZenScreen

As portable as it gets.

The ZenScreen is ASUS's very portable monitor with a USB-C port, a great-looking IPS panel, and more.

Best for Creatives: BenQ PD2720U DesignVue 4K

Benq Designvue 4KSource: iMore

Graphic designers, photographers, and videographers win big with BenQ's DesignVue 4K Display. It's built for you. The variety of display modes are useful, and the incredibly easy way to switch between them, including split-screen, is an absolute pleasure to use.

The screen meets all your high-quality resolution needs. The blacks are deep, the reds are bright, and the whites are so bright you almost need sunglasses. I actually worked in Dark mode for a while, which reduced the brightness a bit, while still keeping the screen clear.

Pros:

  • Sharp picture
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Legacy ports
  • Multi-angle stand
  • Comes with its own hotkey controller
  • Variety of screen filter options onboard

Cons:

  • Connection ports are positioned
  • Not as Mac-friendly as LG's UltraFine 4K display
  • Poor quality speakers
  • Very expensive

Best for Creatives

BenQ PD2720U DesignVue 4K

Space saver

If you're a graphic designer, photographer, or videographer, you're going to love the variety of display modes here.

Bottom Line

Picking the right second screen for your MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro is a difficult one. It's important to consider how much room you have on your desk, what you plan to use your Mac laptop for, and how much you can afford. That's why the LG UltraFine 4K is the perfect fit for most people. At 24-inches, it's big, but not too big. It's got an incredible 4K screen resolution and a variety of versatile ports for connecting all manner of peripherals.

If the LG is just a bit out of your range, the ASUS ZenScreen truly is the next best thing, and it's portable! On the other end, consider the always impressive LG UltraFine 5K. The monitor is powerful and beautiful too!

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Lory Gil is iMore's managing editor and spends more time in front of her monitors than she does anywhere else. She's constantly switching between desktop and mobile for work and knows how important an easy setup is.

Luke Filipowicz is iMore's gaming guru and knows how important a great monitor with zero lag is. If he had the room on his desk, he'd surround himself with 360-degrees of 4k displays.

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