LG 27UD88Source: iMore

Best USB-C Monitors for Macbooks iMore 2019

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 LG's 27-inch 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 27UK850-W

LG 27uk850Source: iMore

LG's latest 4K display is perfectly sized for most people at 27-inches. It supports a wide range of peripherals, including USB-C, USB-A, DisplayPort, HDMI, and standard headphones.

The best part of this monitor is its ability to power your MacBook while acting as a display so that your battery does not limit you. It can even power the 13-inch MacBook Pro with ease (though it struggles to keep the 15-inch MacBook Pro juiced up more than a trickle during use).

Pros:

  • A built-in USB hub for all your peripherals
  • Easy setup
  • 4K display
  • 60Hz refresh rate and 5ms response time
  • IPS 3-side borderless display

Cons:

  • Poor built-in audio
  • Awkward control panel

Best Overall

LG 27UK850-W

The best USB-C monitor for most people.

This 4K monitor is perfectly situated between price and features with a variety of ports, high-speed data transfer, and more.

Best Value: HP Envy 27

HP EnvySource: iMore

The 27-inch Envy has a great display that looks as good as its hardware. It's ultra-thin with a "micro-edge" bezel, meaning it has a 3-sided nearly bezel-less edge, so you see more on the screen than, say an iMac's 27-inch screen. The USB-C connector powers up to the 13-inch MacBook Pro (it'll trickle charge the 15-inch MacBook Pro, too) so you won't have to worry about battery drain.

It's got a small base for minimal desktop footprint and can be mounted on a wall. With two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort, and support for AMD FreeSync, it's the perfect gaming display, movie-watching screen, and everyday monitor.

Pros:

  • 4K display
  • Fast 60Hz refresh rate
  • Zero lag for gaming

Cons:

  • No vertical adjustment
  • Stand is flimsy

Best Value

HP Envy 27

An affordable option that looks as great as it performs.

The HP Envy 27 is a quality model monitor for this price. You're getting the biggest bang for your buck.

Best for daisy-chain: 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 for daisy-chain

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 5120 x 2160 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 Curved: LG 38WK95C-W Curved UltraWide

LG UltraWide CurvedSource: iMore

The future is curved, and LG is the pioneer of bending the display rules. This 38-inch UltraWide monitor has a 21:9 ratio with split-screen support and is perfect for graphic designers and professional photo and video editors. The display has a USB-C data transfer port, two USB- A ports, plus a couple of HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port.

Pros:

  • Well-designed
  • Easy setup
  • Versatile ports
  • Good built-in audio

Cons:

  • Not 4K
  • Plastic backside

Best Curved

LG 38WK95C-W Curved UltraWide

Ahead of the curve.

If you need to charge your Mac laptop and transfer data at the same time, you're in luck.

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 its own 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
  • Supports daisy-chain monitors
  • Comes with its own hotkey controller
  • Variety of screen filter options onboard

Cons:

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

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 27UK850-W is the perfect fit for most people. At 27-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 27Uk850 is just a bit out of your range, the HP Envy 27 truly is the next best thing. With 4K resolution and USB-C support, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the LG model does, but it's got everything you need to make your second screen work for you. Your most significant compromise is that there are fewer ports than the more expensive model, and the base isn't as sturdy.

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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