The 5 Best USB-C Monitors of 2021

Upgrade Your Computer Screen with This Must-Have Port

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The best USB-C monitors not only provide an elegant and modern way of extending our digital workspace, but they help in improving overall productivity as well. For the vast majority of us, working on a computer usually involves juggling between several programs and a dozen browser tabs. A single screen isn't enough to manage this kind of workflow, which is why investing in a secondary external display is a good idea. Our product experts tested and reviewed some of the best USB-C monitors from renowned brands including LG, Dell, and ASUS to help you make the right choice.

While most external monitors on the market have a number of different ports (e.g. HDMI, 3.5mm audio), it's advisable to go for a monitor that (also) has a USB-C port, even if that means spending a little extra money. That’s because this nifty port isn't just small and reversible, it's also multi-functional. A USB Type-C port can transfer data, transmit video signals, and even deliver electrical power to the external display.

When it comes to picking a USB-C monitor, it's important to keep the target usage scenario in mind. For example, if you plan to use the display for high-accuracy tasks like photo editing, we suggest LG's 27UK850-W. Apart from that, you should consider features like resolution and screen size too.

Here are our top picks for some of the best USB Type-C monitors you can buy.

The Rundown
Best Overall:
LG 27UK850-W at Amazon
It can be used in both landscape and portrait orientations, and switching between them worked seamlessly in our reviewer's testing.
Most Popular:
LG 34UM69G-B at EBay
The panel's Ultra-Wide aspect ratio makes it ideal for productivity tasks like side-by-side multitasking.
You can choose from a variety of preset sound modes (e.g. movie, music), or configure your own audio settings.
Best for Portability:
AOC i1601fwux at Amazon
The panel can be used in both landscape and portrait orientations, and comes bundled with a smart cover that doubles as a kickstand.
Best for 4K:
BenQ EW3270U at Amazon
Its 31.5-inch 4K display works equally great for everything from editing high-resolution photos to streaming video content.

Best Overall: LG 27UK850-W Monitor

LG 27UK850-W 27" 4K UHD IPS Monitor
What We Like
  • Great picture quality

  • Lots of connectivity ports

What We Don't Like
  • No auto input switching

With the perfect balance of features and performance, LG's 27UK850-W is one of the best USB-C monitors you can get today. Its 27-inch 4K display comes with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio, with HDR10 support resulting in vibrant colors and improved contrast levels. The panel is also ideal for high-accuracy workflows like photo editing, thanks to its 99 percent coverage of the sRGB color gamut.

With a white back panel and a matte silver stand, the 27UK850-W looks quite modern. The monitor can tilt forward (up to 20 degrees) and backward (up to 5 degrees), and has a height adjustment of up to 4.7 inches. It can be used in both landscape and portrait orientations, and switching between the two modes worked seamlessly during our reviewer's testing. You get a single joystick button for managing all the essential functions (e.g. split-screen presets, HDR control).

The 27UK850-W packs in a plethora of I/O and connectivity options, including USB Type-C (with data transfer, 4K output, and power delivery capabilities), USB Type-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, and 3.5mm audio. Among other notable additions are dual 5W speakers and support for AMD's FreeSync technology.

Size: 27-inch | Panel Type: IPS | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Inputs: USB Type-C, USB Type-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, and 3.5mm audio

"In our testing, rotating to portrait mode and back felt smooth. This monitor and stand would fit right in at even the slickest design studio." — Bill Loguidice, Product Tester

LG 27UK850-W 27-inch 4K

 Lifewire / Bill Loguidice

Most Popular: LG 34UM69G-B

LG 34UM69G-B
What We Like
  • 75Hz refresh rate

  • Reasonable price

What We Don't Like
  • Low pixel density

LG's 34UM69G-B ranks among the most popular USB-C monitors out there, and rightfully so. Its 34-inch FHD+ display sports a resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels and a 21:9 aspect ratio. And even though the pixel density leaves something to be desired, the panel's Ultra-Wide aspect ratio makes it ideal for productivity tasks like side-by-side multitasking.

That said, the 34UM69G-B is primarily billed as a gaming monitor and thus comes with several gaming-oriented features. It supports AMD's FreeSync technology that matches the monitor's frame rate with that of your AMD graphics card, resulting in smoother gameplay.

Interestingly, our product tester Bill Loguidice found the monitor to have (some) support for NVIDIA's G-Sync technology as well, with stable performance from an NVIDIA graphics card. You also get dual 7W speakers, motion blur reduction, and a customizable Game Mode.

Talking about connectivity and I/O ports, the 34UM69G-B includes USB Type-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, and 3.5mm audio. The monitor can be tilted both forward (up to 20 degrees) and backward (up to 5 degrees), and has a height adjustment of up to 4.7 inches too. It's backed by a one-year warranty.

Size: 34-inch | Panel Type: IPS | Resolution: 2560 x 1080 pixels | Refresh Rate: 75Hz | Aspect Ratio: 21:9 | Inputs: USB Type-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, and 3.5mm audio

"Between FreeSync, G-Sync, 1ms Motion Blur Reduction, and other modes like Photo and Cinema, there should be settings to accommodate just about any need." — Bill Loguidice, Product Tester

LG 34UM69G-B Monitor

Lifewire

Best Sound: ASUS Designo MX27UC

ASUS Designo MX27UC
What We Like
  • Clean and balanced audio output

  • USB hub functionality

What We Don't Like
  • Some backlight bleed issues

If you're looking for a USB-C monitor that also offers great sound quality, we suggest checking out ASUS' Designo MX27UC. Boasting a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio, its 27-inch 4K display comes with 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color space. The panel is surrounded by ultra-thin top and side bezels that not only make for an immersive viewing experience, but also help in reducing the monitor's overall physical footprint.

The built-in dual 3W speakers deliver a surprisingly loud and clear sound. Our product tester Andy Zahn noted exceptional clarity in high notes, even with the bass being on the weaker side. This is primarily due to onboard audio processing, which is the result of a joint effort between ASUS, ICEpower, and Bang & Olufsen. You can also choose from a variety of preset sound modes (e.g. movie, music), or configure your own audio settings.

ASUS Designo MX27UC features USB Type-C (with 4K output, data transfer, and power delivery functions), USB Type-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, and 3.5mm audio for I/O and connectivity. Some other noteworthy additions include Adaptive Sync support and customizable blue light filter levels.

Size: 27-inch | Panel Type: IPS | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels | Refresh Rate: 75Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Inputs: USB Type-C, USB Type-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, and 3.5mm audio

"For built-in speakers, these really are, as ASUS claims, capable of eliminating the need for dedicated desktop speakers for many users." — Andy Zahn, Product Tester

ASUS Designo MX27UC

Lifewire 

Best for Portability: AOC i1601fwux

What We Like
  • Extremely lightweight

  • No external power required

What We Don't Like
  • Average display quality

On the hunt for a feature-packed monitor that can be carried around anywhere? Meet AOC's I1601FWUX. With a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio, its 15.6-inch FHD display is perfect for those who're always on the move and often need a second screen to go with their laptop.

The panel can be used in both landscape and portrait orientations, and comes bundled with a smart cover that doubles as a kickstand. It can also be tilted forward (up to 25 degrees) and backward (up to 5 degrees) for easy adjustment of the viewing angle(s). Despite its metal alloy casing, the I1601FWUX weighs just 1.8 pounds, which makes it light enough to be tossed in a backpack. That being said, it's not exactly the best as far as parameters like brightness and color accuracy are concerned.

Since the I1601FWUX is designed with portability in mind, it comes with a single USB Type-C port that works for both power delivery and video output functions. You also get just one button (Power on/off) for changing settings via the on-screen menu.

Size: 15.6-inch | Panel Type: IPS | Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Inputs: USB Type-C

What We Like
  • Multiple HDR presets

  • Ambient light sensor

What We Don't Like
  • No USB Type-A port

BenQ's EW3270U is proof that a well-rounded USB-C monitor doesn't always have to cost an arm and a leg. Sporting a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and a 16:9 aspect ratio, its 31.5-inch 4K display works equally great for everything from editing high-resolution photos to streaming video content. The panel is also quite accurate, with around 95 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 wide color gamut.

Among the most interesting features of the EW3270U is a dedicated button, which lets you choose from four levels of HDR processing for the best picture quality. The monitor includes numerous preset modes (e.g. smart focus, super resolution) for enhancing video quality and emits less blue light, thereby reducing eye fatigue. It also supports AMD's FreeSync technology for a smoother gameplay experience with your AMD graphics card.

Talking about I/O and connectivity options, the EW3270U comes with USB Type-C (having data transfer and video output functions), DisplayPort, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio. You also get dual 2W speakers, forward (up to 15 degrees) and backward (up to 5 degrees) tilt adjustment, and more.

Size: 31.5-inch | Panel Type: VA | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels | Refresh Rate: 60Hz | Aspect Ratio: 16:9 | Inputs: USB Type-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, and 3.5mm audio

Final Verdict

With high-end features like a color-accurate 27-inch 4K display, portrait and landscape usage modes, and AMD FreeSync support, LG's 27UK850-W (view at Amazon) is our overall pick as the best USB-C monitor. However, if you just want a big display (which also has a high refresh rate) for your gaming and multitasking needs, LG's 34UM69G-B (view at Amazon) is a great choice.

About Our Trusted Experts

Rajat Sharma is a technology journalist with over seven years (and counting) of experience in the field, and has tested and reviewed dozens of gadgets over the course of his career so far. His areas of expertise include computers and their peripherals.

Bill Loguidice has more than 20 years' experience writing for a variety of major technology publications including TechRadar, PC Gamer, and Ars Technica. He is an expert in computers, tablets, and their peripherals.

Andy Zahn began writing for Lifewire in April 2019. His areas of expertise include consumer technology, such as computer monitors.

FAQs

What resolution do you need?

As in most displays, size is a major consideration when choosing a resolution (typically the larger a display, the higher resolution you need to maintain the sharpness of an image). Higher resolution is generally recommended if you'll be working with a lot of text/data or if you want to game at high resolution, though for smaller screens FHD (1080p) is usually sufficient. If you're looking at buying a larger display, 1440p or 4K is probably a more reasonable target.

Does refresh rate matter?

Refresh rate refers to the number of frames a monitor is capable of displaying per second, rated in hertz. Generally, higher refresh rates are only critical for motion, like that in first person shooters or action movies. For a monitor you'll mostly use for produciivity tasks, a lower refresh rate is fine, especially considering the modern standard is around 60Hz.

Does panel type matter?

If you plan to spend a lot of time parked in front of a display, panel type is important. Relying on an outdated technology like TN (twisted nematic) with its poor color accuracy and abysmal viewing angles can increase eye strain, and should only be considered when budget restraints make it a necessity. Your target should be at least a VA panel or, ideally, an IPS panel (or perhaps one of its variants) with improved color depth and pixel density.

ASUS Designo MX27UC

Lifewire

What to Look For in a USB-C Monitor

USB-C Hub

If your laptop has a limited number of USB ports, look for a monitor that includes a built-in USB-C hub. This is a great feature, since it allows you to use a single USB-C connection on your laptop to send video to your monitor, power your laptop, and even plug in as many extra USB devices as the monitor supports.

Thunderbolt

USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connectors look the same and are mostly compatible, but you need a Thunderbolt-equipped computer to take advantage of a Thunderbolt-equipped monitor. If your laptop has a regular USB-C connection but not Thunderbolt, don’t spend extra money on a monitor that has Thunderbolt-dependent features.

Additional Connections

The great thing about USB-C monitors is that you can accomplish the work of multiple cables with a single USB-C connection, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never need additional connections. Look for a monitor that includes multiple HDMI inputs if you want to connect game consoles and other video sources, or one that includes a headphone jack if you want to plug in headphones.

LG 27UK850-W Monitor

Lifewire 

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