This article was last updated by Digital Trends contributor Alex Blake on 7/6/2020.
The displays on Apple’s MacBook Pros are great, but notebooks can never quite live up to the grandeur and functionality of working or watching media on a large-scale desktop display. And if you are thinking about getting a new Mac with a powerful Apple Silicon processor this fall, a top-notch monitor is the perfect accessory to get your work done.
After reviewing more than 100 of the top monitors from the best brands, we know a thing or two about what works well with Apple’s MacBook Pro. Our top recommendation is the stunning BenQ PD3200U, with its large display and 4K resolution.
While Apple has its own Pro Display XDR, it’s an ultra-high-end display meant for professionals and starts at a whopping $4,999 — not including its $999 stand. If you need something more down-to-earth that still offers fantastic performance without breaking the bank, these are the best monitors you can pair with your MacBook Pro.
The best monitor for the MacBook Pro at a glance
The best monitor for the MacBook Pro: BenQ PD3200U
The BenQ PD3200U made our list of the top MacBook Pro accessories, so it’s no wonder it steals the top spot here. At 32 inches diagonally with a 4K resolution, it’s a huge display with tons of screen real estate. That gives you plenty of room for productivity, though working so close to a large screen may take some getting used to. Once you do, you’ll appreciate how gorgeous this display looks.
Built using an IPS panel for fantastic color accuracy, this BenQ monitor has a 4ms response time, so it can handle gaming sessions as well as high-detail work. It also features BenQ’s Eye-Care technology for reduced blue light and flickering, making it more comfortable to use over longer periods.
If the price tag is a little rich or you think the resolution is overkill, there is a substantially cheaper
also available, with all of the same specifications and features otherwise.
Dell Ultrasharp U2720Q
If you are looking for a pin-sharp 4K display, the Dell Ultrasharp U2720Q is one of our top-rated options. It packs a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution into a 27-inch screen, giving you an unbelievably sharp picture.
It excels in other areas, too. Its 1,300:1 contrast ratio is fantastic, giving you deep blacks that never feel lackluster or washed out. The panel uses IPS technology for top-notch viewing angles and color reproduction. And speaking of color, Dell’s display hits 99% of the sRGB gamut and 95% of the P3 wide color gamut that Apple uses in its own screens.
You get two USB-C ports that provide up to 90W of power to keep your MacBook charged up, while there are also three USB-A ports, a DisplayPort slot, and an HDMI port, so you get plenty of options for connecting your devices.
Best of all, the Dell Ultrasharp U2720Q comes in at a competitive price, so you don’t need to break the bank to get a stellar 4K experience.
The Dell S2719DC is an absolute beauty of a monitor. Not only does it boast slimline bezels around the edges, but it is — quite amazingly — as thin as an iPhone. Wrapped in sleek aluminum and looking like the picture of class and sophistication, it is an exciting monitor that will turn heads wherever you use it.
But it is not just a pretty face. The S2719DC comes with a USB-C port that can charge your device (up to 45W) and transfer video at the same time. Its 1440p display is stunner, with an astounding 418 nits of brightness (one of the highest values we’ve ever tested on an external monitor), while it also meets the VESA DisplayHDR 600 standard, making it perfect for HDR content. It manages all this while being incredibly lightweight and portable.
The one downside is the 45W charging capability – that’s not enough to handle the most powerful MacBook models at full tilt, so you may see the battery discharge under certain situations. This won’t be an issue with the MacBook Air or low-end MacBook Pro 13 models, but it may be an issue with high-end Pro 13 models, and it will definitely be an issue with the MacBook Pro 16.
Still, the Dell S2719DC will add a touch of elegance to your desk and fit right in with your other Apple kit. It’s a slim monitor that works well with Apple’s thinnest laptops.
LG’s 27MD5KA-B is both stunning and the most expensive display on our list. It’s the only product listed here built specifically for the MacBook Pro, meaning it’s highly compatible and easy to use.
Not only does it start working straight away, but it also starts charging your laptop immediately. MacOS will automatically detect and configure the monitor as a second display. If you disconnect and reconnect it later, all your windows and apps jump back into place.
With a staggering 5,120 x 2,880 resolution, this monitor makes even 4K displays appear lacking in terms of pixel density — especially since these are crammed into a 27-inch frame. Other features include one USB-C upstream port (Thunderbolt 3), three USB-C downstream ports, two five-watt speakers, and a superb maximum brightness of 500 nits.
There are some issues with color accuracy and the design, however, that aren’t as attractive as the other LG entry on this list. Still, this display is sublime in appearance.
4K displays may now be more affordable than ever, but you’ll still find many great monitors at a lower resolution and price. The Acer H277HU is an excellent example: A 27-inch panel that looks great while packing a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution at 60Hz.
Featuring a response time of just 4ms, it’s surprisingly spry for an IPS panel. Its slimline bezel makes it an attractive addition to your home or office from any angle. It has a decent maximum brightness of 350 nits.
Packed into this affordable panel are two USB-A, one USB-C, one HDMI, and one DisplayPort connector. Mounted under the panel are two three-watt speakers with DTS sound technology, although it doesn’t include a headphone jack.