The 8 Best Monitors for MacBook Pros in 2021

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Apple's MacBook Pros are powerful but, as with all laptops, benefit from being used with a bigger screen.

For most people, our experts think you should just buy the BenQ PD3220U 32-inch 4K monitor. It provides excellent image quality and the right ports you need to plug in.

However, we’ve selected numerous additional picks to cover a range of uses. This list targets the MacBook Pro specifically and, as such, most monitors we recommend have Thunderbolt or USB-C connectivity (if you have a newer Macbook, it'll be USB-C, a small connector with rounded edges, and if your Macbook is older, you may have the more rectangular Thunderbolt connector).

The Rundown
The BenQ PD3220U is an outstanding 4K monitor with Thunderbolt support and a super-sharp 4K image.
The Asus ProArt PA247CV delivers strong image quality and a useful aspect ratio at a surprisingly low price.
Best Budget:
Dell S2721QS at EBay
Dell’s S2721QS is an affordable 4K monitor designed for everyday use. It’s a great budget pick for less demanding MacBook Pro owners.
MacBook Pro owners who want an ultrawide monitor will adore the LG 34BK95U-W for its crisp, sharp image.
Acer’s Nitro XV282KV KVbmiipruzx is a sharp, fast 4K gaming monitor ideal for use with a MacBook Pro and modern game console.
Apple’s Pro Display XDR offers unparalleled image quality at an unparalleled price.
Best Budget USB-C:
ViewSonic VG2755-2K at Amazon
MacBook Pro owners seeking a well-rounded USB-C monitor at a low price should put Viewsonic’s VG2755-2K on a short list.
Best USB-C Hub Monitor:
Dell UltraSharp 2722DE at Amazon
It can turn a single USB-C port into USB-A, Ethernet, and DisplayPort-out, and provides up to 90 watts of power delivery.

Best Overall: BenQ PD3220U 32-inch 4K Monitor for Mac users

BenQ PD3220U 32 inch 4K Monitor IPS
What We Like
  • Accurate, vibrant color

  • Sharp 4K resolution

  • Has Thunderbolt and USB-C with power delivery

What We Don't Like
  • Complicated controls

  • Expensive

BenQ’s PD3220U is an easy choice for MacBook Pro owners. It offers excellent image quality and Thunderbolt/USB-C for easy, one-cable connectivity.

This monitor is designed for professional use and, as a result, has excellent color performance. Color is accurate out of the box and wide color gamuts, such as DCI-P3, are supported. This provides a vibrant, colorful image that’s always attractive. It’s a 4K monitor, as well, so images and videos look crisp.

Build quality is excellent. The monitor has a sturdy height-adjustable stand and slim display bezels. It supports Thunderbolt/USB-C and can charge a connected MacBook Pro. BenQ includes a unique puck controller that can be used to adjust settings. It’s useful, but the wide variety of available display options can still be overwhelming. 

The BenQ PD3220U is expensive, but worth the investment. The monitor’s excellent image quality, simple connectivity, and attractive design make it a great match for a MacBook Pro.

Size: 32-inch | Panel Type: In-Plane Switching | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K) | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3

Amazon Top Pick: ASUS ProArt PA247CV Monitor

ASUS ProArt PA247CV Monitor
What We Like
  • Accurate color

  • Good build quality

  • Has USB-C with power delivery

What We Don't Like
  • Could be brighter

  • Only 1080p resolution

  • Limited color gamut

Asus’ ProArt PA247VC is a great entry-level MacBook Pro monitor. Priced well below $300, this monitor provides excellent color accuracy and great build quality. It even has USB-C for one-cable connectivity.

The PA247VC’s out-of-box color accuracy is on par with monitors several times its price. The monitor also has a good contrast ratio. It provides a realistic image that’s ideal for editing photos.

The monitor has a solid, height-adjustable stand. It supports USB-C with power delivery, so it can charge a connected MacBook Pro. Power delivery is limited to 65 watts, however, which isn’t enough for the most powerful MacBook Pro models.

The Asus ProArt PA247VC does have downsides. It’s only a 1080p monitor, so its image does not look sharp. It also lacks support for wide color gamuts required by some professionals. Still, it’s an outstanding monitor for the price.

Size: 24-inch | Panel Type: In-Plane Switching | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p) | Refresh Rate: 75Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C

Best Budget: Dell S2721QS 27 4K UHD Monitor

Dell S2721QS 27 4K UHD Monitor
What We Like
  • Sharp 4K image

  • Good color accuracy and contrast

  • Attractive design

What We Don't Like
  • No Thunderbolt or USB-C

  • Only one HDMI and one DisplayPort

  • Modest color gamut

The Dell S2721QS is among the best monitors of 2021. It delivers strong all-around performance and a 4K image at a low price. This makes it a great choice for most MacBook Pro owners.

Image quality is surprisingly excellent. 4K resolution provides excellent sharpness, of course, but the monitor is also bright, has accurate color, and a solid contrast ratio. It delivers a realistic, dynamic image that’s impressive in a variety of tasks. More expensive monitors are slightly better, but the Dell S2721QS performs so well most people will have no reason to spend more. 

It’s not a perfect MacBook Pro monitor, however. It lacks Thunderbolt or USB-C support. You will need to use HDMI or a Thunderbolt dock, and it can’t charge a MacBook Pro. The monitor’s color is accurate, but it doesn’t support wide color gamuts required by professionals. 

These are minor downsides, however, and most applicable to shoppers with specific needs. The Dell S2721QS is all the monitor most MacBook Pro owners will ever need.

Size: 27-inch | Panel Type: In-Plane Switching | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K) | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort

Best Ultrawide: LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine 34-inch Monitor

LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine 34" Monitor
What We Like
  • Excellent color accuracy

  • Sharpest image of any ultrawide

  • Has USB-C with power delivery

What We Don't Like
  • USB-C power delivery is limited

  • Mac ultrawide support can be spotty

  • Very expensive

The LG 34BK95U-W is an unusual ultrawide. It has a 34-inch screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is common, but offers 5120 x 2160 resolution instead of the more popular 3440 x 1440. This delivers a big boost in sharpness ideal for MacBook Pro owners.

It also provides excellent color accuracy, a good contrast ratio, and support for wide color gamuts required by professionals. The monitor has decent HDR support, too. It includes USB-C for one-cable connectivity with a MacBook Pro. It provides up to 85 watts of power delivery, which isn’t enough to charge the most powerful MacBook Pro models.

MacOS support for ultrawide monitors can be spotty. The LG 34BK95U-W’s resolution is supported by modern Macs, but you may notice some apps do a poor job of using the additional space. We recommend you research how your favorite Mac apps work with an ultrawide monitor before buying.

If you decide an ultrawide is for you, however, the LG 34BK95U-W is easily the best to pair with a MacBook Pro.

Size: 34-inch | Panel Type: In-Plane Switching | Resolution: 5120 x 2160 (5K) | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C

Best for Gamers: Acer Nitro XV282K KVbmiipruzx Monitor

Acer Nitro XV282K KVbmiipruzx Monitor
What We Like
  • Sharp 4K resolution

  • 170Hz maximum refresh rate

  • HDMI 2.1 support

What We Don't Like
  • No Thunderbolt/USB-C support

  • Mediocre build quality

  • Not ideal for professional use

Acer’s Nitro XV282KV is part of a new breed of gaming monitors that support HDMI 2.1. That means it can deliver an enhanced refresh rate with a Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 game console. It can also display high refresh rates when connected to a Mac over DisplayPort

The monitor has excellent image quality and a crisp 4K image. Its high refresh rate and great motion clarity make detail more visible in fast-paced games and offer a competitive advantage. It also has a realistic, vibrant image with a good sense of depth. 

This monitor does not support Thunderbolt or USB-C, so you will need to connect over HDMI or use a Thunderbolt dock. It’s also not especially attractive, which will disappoint MacBook Pro owners who care about aesthetics. 

Still, the Acer Nitro XV282KV is a great choice for gaming. It’s fast, sharp, and less expensive than most HDMI 2.1 gaming monitors.

Size: 27-inch | Panel Type: In-Plane Switching | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (4K) | Refresh Rate: 170Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort

Best Splurge: Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR

Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR
What We Like
  • Class-leading image quality

  • Has Thunderbolt 3 with power delivery

  • Unparalleled build quality

What We Don't Like
  • Works well only with MacOS

  • Extremely expensive

  • Stand sold separately

Apple’s Pro Display XDR is the undisputed champion of image quality among MacBook Pro monitors. It provides a unique resolution of 6016 x 3384 which is sharper than even a 4K 32-inch monitor. It also has a Mini-LED backlight that delivers outstanding contrast and top-tier HDR performance.

The monitor is designed to work well with a MacBook Pro. In fact, you’ll need a Mac to make full use of its feature set. Windows’ interface scaling is not ideal for 6K resolution, and Windows’ HDR support is so-so. The Pro Display XDR includes Thunderbolt 3 and can charge all MacBook Pro models currently sold.

Build quality is excellent, but the monitor does not come with a stand. Apple sells a matching stand separately for $999 — more than the retail price of most monitors on this list. The Pro Display XDR’s full price with a stand is at least $5,999, or $6,999 if you choose nano-textured glass.

Size: 32-inch | Panel Type: In-Plane Switching with Mini-LED | Resolution: 6016 x 3384 (6K) | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Video Inputs: Thunderbolt 3, USB-C

Best Budget USB-C: ViewSonic VG2755-2K 27-inch LED Monitor

ViewSonic VG2755-2K 27-inch LED Monitor
What We Like
  • Vibrant, colorful image

  • Good build quality

  • Supports USB-C with power delivery

What We Don't Like
  • Plain design

  • Doesn't support wide color gamuts

  • USB-C power delivery is limited

The Viewsonic VG2755-2K is a great choice for MacBook Pro owners who have modest needs and want to expand their laptop’s connectivity. This monitor supports USB-C with up to 65 watts of power delivery, enough to charge current MacBook Pro 13 and Air models. The monitor has additional USB-A ports that can expand a MacBook Pro’s connectivity. 

Image quality is solid. The monitor has great color accuracy and 1440p resolution which, although not as sharp as 4K, is sharp enough to look great in most situations. It lacks support for wide color gamuts required by some professionals, however. 

The VG2755-2K is not an attractive monitor, but it is durable. It has a height adjustable stand and solid construction. The stand includes a handle, which is convenient when you need to move the monitor.

Size: 27-inch | Panel Type: In-Plane Switching | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 (1440p) | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C

Best USB-C Hub Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 2722DE 27-inch Monitor

Dell U2722DE 27-inch Monitor
What We Like
  • Good image quality

  • USB-C connectivity

  • Additional ports include USB-A, Ethernet

What We Don't Like
  • Only 1440p resolution

  • Modest brightness

The Dell Ultrasharp U2722DE is a useful 27-inch monitor that can hugely expand a MacBook Pro’s connectivity. It has additional USB-C, USB-A, and Ethernet ports, all of which can be accessed with a single USB-C connection from your MacBook Pro to a monitor. You can even daisy-chain to a second external display using the monitor’s DisplayPort-out port. 

Up to 90 watts of power delivery is also included, so the U2722DE can charge most MacBook Pro models attached to it — though high-end MacBook Pro 15 and 16 models will need more juice.

It’s otherwise a good, if not excellent, monitor. The monitor has accurate color, a good contrast ratio, and supports the wide color gamuts professionals need. It has a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440, however, which is not as crisp as 4K alternatives. The monitor’s maximum brightness is modest, as well, though still enough for most people.

Size: 27-inch | Panel Type: In-Plane Switching | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 (1440p) | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Video Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C

Final Verdict

The BenQ PD3220U (view at Amazon) is an excellent monitor for use with a MacBook Pro. It has outstanding image quality, 4K resolution, support for wide color gamuts, and Thunderbolt/USB-C connectivity. It’s an attractive monitor, as well, making it a handsome match for the MacBook Pro.

FAQ
  • How do you connect your monitor to your MacBook Pro?

    Chances are you will need to buy the appropriate adapter cable to connect your monitor to your MacBook. MacBooks have had their port options pared down in recent years and many of the newer models only have USB-C and Thunderbolt ports. If you have an older model, it may have a Mini DisplayPort connection instead. Many of the monitors on this list support Thunderbolt connections while nearly all of them support HDMI or VGA connections. You’ll need to get a cable that matches both the port(s) on your laptop and a connection on your monitor.

  • How do you adjust the display settings for your monitor?

    If you want to adjust device-specific settings (color adjustments, switching between specialized modes, etc.) you will need to access that through the monitor’s settings menu. But if you want to adjust how your MacBook Pro interacts with the monitor—to change the desktop image, or adjust the orientation of the displays—you can change this through the System Preferences menu. With the monitor attached and turned on, go to System Preferences > Displays on your MacBook to see your options.

  • How many monitors can a MacBook Pro support?

    The number of monitors your laptop can support depends on the resolution of those monitors. It can support up to four 4K monitors, two 6K displays, or a combination of 4K and 5K displays.

LG 27UK850-W Monitor

 Lifewire

What to Look For in the Best Monitor for a MacBook Pro

Resolution

MacOS supports a range of resolutions and handles high resolutions well, so a sharp monitor is ideal. Most of the monitors we recommend deliver 4K resolution. 1080p or 1440p resolution is acceptable in a monitor with other advantages or budget pricing, but you will notice a pixelated look around fine fonts and interface elements.

Thunderbolt/USB-C

All MacBook Pro models sold since 2016 have relied on Thunderbolt/USB-C ports. A monitor with Thunderbolt or USB-C can accept video output from the MacBook Pro and, if the monitor supports a feature called Power Delivery, can also charge the MacBook Pro. This removes cable clutter from your desk.

USB-C Hub

Monitors that have a Thunderbolt or USB-C port may have additional USB-C, USB-A, Ethernet, and video ports. This turns the monitor into a USB hub when the MacBook Pro is connected to the monitor over Thunderbolt/USB-C. Monitors with this feature can expand your MacBook Pro’s connectivity and reduce cable clutter.

LG 34UC98-W Curved UltraWide Monitor

Lifewire / Gannon Burgett

Wide Color Gamut

A color gamut, also called a color space, describes a range of color used by media. Most content viewed on a modern Mac is designed for a color gamut called sRGB, but other color gamuts exist, and many include additional colors. The DCI-P3 color gamut is one example. 

Professionals often require monitors that have a wide color gamut, as they’re capable of displaying colors that aren’t visible on a monitor designed for sRGB. Everyday consumers shouldn’t worry about this feature, however, as the sRGB color gamut is more than adequate for day-to-day use.

About Our Trusted Experts

Matthew S. Smith is a veteran technology journalist, product reviewer, and influencer with fourteen years of experience. He has reviewed or tested over 650 computer monitors and laptop displays in the past decade. In addition to Lifewire, you can find his work on PC World, Wired, Insider, IEEE Spectrum, IGN, Digital Trends, and a dozen other publications.

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