Can the LG 27UD88 monitor charge my MacBook Pro?

Close up of USB-C port on MacBook
Close up of USB-C port on MacBook (Image credit: iMore)

Can the LG 27UD88 monitor charge my MacBook Pro?

Best answer: The LG 27UD88 is fully capable of charging a 13-inch MacBook Pro through its USB-C ports. But if you want to fully power a 15-inch MacBook Pro, you'll need LG's UltraFine 5K.4K bargain: LG 27UD88-W LED Monitor ($597 at Amazon)Even more pixels: LG UltraFine 5K ($1,300 at Amazon)

For owners of the 13-in MacBook Pro, the 27UD88 is a great choice

The LG 27UD88, one of our all-time favorite monitors provides 60W of power, which is enough to charge a 13-inch MacBook Pro over the built-in USB-C connection. This means that you won't need to use your MacBook Pro's included charger while plugged into this great USB-C monitor.

If you purchased a new MacBook Pro in the past couple of years, there's a good chance that you're using the 13-inch model, in which case you'll be good to go. Things get a little less clear if you purchased the 15-inch MacBook Pro, however.

About that 15-inch MacBook Pro

According to Apple, you need 85W of power in order to charge the 15-inch MacBook Pro. This isn't completely true; strictly speaking, as you can charge the 15-inch model at lower wattages. It'll just be slower than if you were using the included 87W charger.

The real problem presents itself when you're trying to use your computer under load. During heavy usage, the 60W provided by the LG 27UD88 will not be enough to satisfy the needs of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, and Apple has warned that in these cases your MacBook Pro will switch to battery power. This is particularly problematic if your MacBook Pro will be overburdened for an extended period of time, such as rendering a video or compiling software.

If you find yourself needing a monitor that can provide 85W of power, you don't have a lot of options.

The UltraFine 5K is a great, if pricey, guarantee

Originally launched alongside the 2016 MacBook Pro lineup, LG's UltraFine 5K can provide 85W of power to your MacBook Pro, which is enough to power and charge your MacBook Pro while you work through its USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port. In addition, you can plug any needed accessories into the other USB-C ports on the back of the monitor, including adapters for ethernet, USB-A connections, and more.

The biggest roadblock for many will be the UltraFine 5K's price tag. At $1,300 it's price is more than $700 north of what you'd pay for the 27UD88. However, the UltraFine 5K is also built from the ground up to work with the both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro, developed in partnership with Apple. With a resolution of 5120x2880, you'll have a hard time seeing any pixelation on the 27-inch IPS display, which also features excellent color range thanks to its support for the Display P3 color gamut.

As costly as it is, the UltraFine 5K is a great, versatile choice if you can swing it.

Joseph Keller

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.