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What are the features that make for the best monitor for MacBook Pro? First and foremost, the monitor you purchase should offer seamless compatibility with the macOS operating system. This way, your monitor can also be the best second monitor for iMac that your money can buy.
Compatibility with Apple computers usually means your monitor will offer USB-C connectivity, a high resolution, a high pixel density of 110 to 220 PPI, excellent color accuracy, and a high level of adjustability for a comfortable viewing experience. Plus, throw in one of the high-end computer screen protectors for privacy and your new monitor setup is complete.
Finally, the best computer monitor for MacBook Pro should offer features and functionalities that fit your individual needs and preferences. These factors include features like built-in speakers, ultrawide monitors, gaming features, and flexible viewing angles.
Keep reading to learn more about the best monitors for MacBook Pro and how you can identify the best options to meet your needs.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The monitor has a lightweight, compact profile that fits easily in backpacks. It has a swiveling design that offers flexibility, making it a good choice for use in transit and the office.
The SideTrak Swivel 14-inch monitor allows MacBook Pro users to add a second display to their device instantly. This portable monitor features a high-quality panel that provides wide viewing angles. It’s lightweight and fits easily in a laptop bag for hassle-free transportation. With its ultra-thin bezels, this monitor delivers an immersive viewing experience. It has vivid colors that offer a pleasant appearance. However, the included USB-C cable is weak. So, watch out for any common monitor issues, and be sure to check the cable before you try and fix any monitor display problems.
We love the fact that this SideTrak Swivel 14-inch monitor swivels 360 degrees, allowing unlimited customization. The monitor has a kickstand, which gives it a freestanding orientation. In addition to compatibility with MacBook Pro laptops, the device connects to Windows computers, mobile devices, and various consoles. It connects to the monitor via a USB cable. Users can also connect it to external devices with an HDMI cable.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: We like that the monitor has a built-in kickstand that enables a self-standing posture. It also has High Dynamic Range and advanced gaming tech, which unlocks superior gaming and multimedia features.
The Cocopar Y156FH7S 15.6-inch monitor has a sleek design to add aesthetic appeal to any desk. This monitor has a Full HD resolution that delivers vibrant text and graphics. This can be an amazing monitor for content creators and other creative professionals thanks to the color coverage, sharp picture, and strong image quality. Covering 72% of the NTSC Sync color gamut, this monitor is suitable for some photo and video editing. With low blue light tech, this monitor enables users to work or play at night without worrying about harmful rays. It also has HDR and built-in FreeSync, delivering outstanding picture quality. However, its stand is a bit weak.
This Cocopar Y156FH7S 15.6-inch monitor has dual USB Type-C ports for connecting a wide variety of devices. It requires just one cable to connect to a computer. Its USB-C ports support power delivery for charging. Ultra-wide 178-degree viewing angles allow comfortably viewing of the display from the sides. This Cocopar monitor is compatible with various devices including MacBook Pro, video consoles, and Windows devices. This is great, considering that Windows vs Apple computer monitors tend to be very incompatible most times. It measures just 0.2-inches thick and weighs just 1.59 pounds, so carrying it is easy.
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Award: BEST FOR TRAVEL
WHY WE LIKE IT: This monitor has incredibly vibrant colors and has a sound system that supports music playback and video calls. The device is designed for portability and easily fits into backpacks for transportation.
The Arzopa 15.6-inch monitor boasts several MacBook-friendly features. This 15.6-inch monitor has a big screen with thin bezels to provide an immersive experience. Featuring a peak brightness of 300 nits of brightness, this monitor is ideal for brightly lit spaces. It has HDR tech, so it works with compatible HDR devices to deliver high-quality content. The monitor also has eye care functionality. However, the cables included with this monitor are not reliable.
This Arzopa 15.6-inch monitor has wide viewing angles suitable for dual-screen setups. It also works with Mac, Windows, and mobile devices. The monitor has a USB-C port and works with devices that support Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 3.1. With a very thin design that’s reminiscent of a tablet computer, the monitor is easy to carry around. It has built-in dual speakers that provide decent sound output. Its PU leather case doubles as a kickstand for easy placement.
Award: BEST FOR OFFICE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 24-inch monitor has considerable screen real estate, so it’s suitable for professionals who want to preview graphic content and databases. It has an integrated sound system for hassle-free video calls and music playback.
Although not designed specifically for mobile devices, the HP 24mh 24-inch monitor has powerful features ideal for some MacBook Pro users. It has wide viewing angles, so the picture quality remains good when viewed from the sides. MacBook users who need a large second screen will love this monitor’s gigantic screen. With a resolution of 1080p, this monitor provides sharp text and imagery. Gaming enthusiasts will appreciate this device’s 75Hz refresh rate. Though it’s not a 100hz refresh rate on this 24-inch display, this still gets the job done for gamers. However, this monitor is not portable and takes up considerable desk space.
The monitor has a VESA interface for wall mounting. It has a sleek metallic grey finish on the front bottom bezel that will complement MacBook Pro devices. The three other bezels are very thin, providing an immersive experience. Featuring low blue light features, this monitor is quite comfortable. This excellent display also has built-in 2W speakers for sound output. Equipped with a huge variety of ports, including DisplayPort and HDMI, the display connects various devices. If you’re looking for the best 1080p monitor and are an avid gamer, consider this quality screen.
Award: BEST FOR MULTIMEDIA CONTENT
WHY WE LIKE IT: This device has clips that attach to MacBook Pro for great side-by-side views. It has an ergonomic design that lets users change the orientation easily. It also has enough ports for various devices.
The Mobile Pixels Trio Max 14-inch monitor is a portable display designed for office and on-the-go use. This monitor has an ultra-wide form factor that is a good fit for MacBooks. It has a Full HD resolution that enhances the workflows of users who work with graphics and text. This monitor has a mount that attaches to laptops ranging in screen size from 13 inches to 17 inches. However, the included clips that attach to the laptop are weak.
This Mobile Pixels Trio Max 14-inch laptop has a USB Type-C port for connecting to MacBooks. It also has a USB-A port for plugging into Windows computers and mobile devices. The monitor has sensitive buttons on the right bezel for adjusting settings. With a rigid metallic chassis, this display stands up to rough handling. A blue light filter reduces eye strain. It has many energy-saving certifications, so it won’t create a big burden on laptop batteries. A detachable kickstand enables stand-alone placement.
Award: BEST FOR GRAPHIC DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: This LG monitor has an ultra-high-definition screen and fantastic colors that are suitable for graphic design professionals. The large screen will appeal to office dwellers.
MacBook users who want a UHD monitor should consider the LG 27MD5KL-B UltraFine 27-inch monitor. This device offers an expansive screen that is especially suitable for office use. With a 5K 5120 x 2880 resolution, this device showcases intricate details. It covers a whopping 99% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, making it a good choice for graphic design professionals. Even content creators can get a lot out of this 27-inch display with a great color profile as an ideal choice for their studio display. MacBook Pro owners can connect to this monitor easily via the Thunderbolt 3 port. Unless you already have a compatible, high-end Thunderbolt monitor. However, the large size of this display rules out its use on the go.
This LG 27MD5KL-B UltraFine 27-inch monitor supports up to 94W power delivery via its USB-C port, making it easy to charge connected laptops. It has built-in stereo speakers that provide fine sounds. This display also features a built-in microphone and camera, delivering high-quality video calls. Its sturdy stand provides stability. This device’s screen is very bright and reaches a peak brightness of 500 nits, making it a good choice for placement near bright windows.
If you want to extend or expand your MacBook Pro’s built-in display, then you’ll need an external monitor. These monitors connect directly to your laptop and either mirror your MacBook’s display or extend the display to act as a dual monitor setup.
Once connected, your MacBook Pro’s external monitor will display data like text, applications, and images from your laptop.
In general, monitors for MacBook Pro and other Apple computers are branded as such. If you purchase a monitor branded as made for Apple, then you can rest assured that you’ll get seamless compatibility with Apple products.
A monitor for MacBook Pro differs from traditional monitors only in the sense that they tend to be branded specifically for use with Apple products. However, there are some other broader trends to consider when looking at the category as a whole.
For example, most computer monitors for Apple products are USB-C monitors. They use a single USB-C cable for display and power functionality. A Mac monitor also tends to be as close as possible to your MacBook’s Retina display screen resolution.
Your monitor for MacBook Pro works in the same manner as most traditional computer displays. It connects to your MacBook using a display cable like a USB-C cable, HDMI cable, or DisplayPort cable. After the two devices are connected, your MacBook will begin to transmit data to your monitor for display.
In most cases, your Mac monitor will be either an LCD or LED display. Let’s take a quick look at these monitor types:
If you own a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or iMac, then one of these monitors is an excellent choice. This is especially true if you want to match the high quality of Apple’s Retina display. These are also great monitors to use if you want something extra convenient to set up.
Since the best monitor for iMac and MacBook uses a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connection, you’ll also get a level of seamless compatibility that is hard to find in other types of monitors.
Since most monitors for MacBook Pro are either LCD or LED, we’ll focus on the lifespan of these two display types.
According to TechiExpert, an LCD screen will last you anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 hours of total use. An LED screen will last you anywhere from 80,000 to 120,000 hours of total use. This usually equates to 10-20 years if you use your monitor for an average of eight hours a day.
Of course, the specific lifespan of your monitor ultimately depends on the way you treat it. If you constantly use it on maximum brightness for long, continuous hours, you can expect its lifespan to diminish a bit. The opposite is also true.
We recommend keeping your monitor out of dirty situations. Regularly clean and dust your monitor so external debris doesn’t make its way inside. Also, make sure it’s on a sturdy stand on a sturdy desk so it doesn’t accidentally tip over and get damaged.
When it comes time to choose the specific model of MacBook Pro monitor to use in your home office, we always recommend taking some time to figure out exactly what you need first. Once you’ve identified your needs and wants in the monitor’s features and functionality, you can start to narrow down your choices to ensure you get the right one for you.
You can use the following questions to determine which features are most important for your monitor to offer. Ask yourself the questions, note your answers, and keep them in mind as you start to look at the monitors available today.
One of the first decisions you’ll face when purchasing a new MacBook Pro monitor is whether you want a USB-C monitor or not. Simply put, a USB-C monitor is an option that offers a single cable connection between your monitor and your laptop for audio, video, and charging. In this way, a USB-C monitor acts as a connection hub.
These types of monitors offer the best when it comes to seamless connectivity and setup. Plus, you won’t lose out on screen resolution or quality. These monitors are just as good, if not better than monitors with conventional video connections. Plus, you’ll still often get those same conventional video connections on your USB-C monitor, including HDMI and DisplayPort.
A USB-C monitor is especially helpful for MacBook Pros since Apple has moved to only including USB-C ports on their laptops. With a USB-C display, you won’t have to purchase any kind of adapter or external connection hub just to make the monitor work with your MacBook.
The display quality on a MacBook Pro is already one of the best available on the market, thanks to Apple’s revolutionary Retina display. As such, you’ll likely want to mirror that same quality in whatever external monitor you purchase.
Consider these factors when looking at image quality:
If you’re considering gaming monitors for MacBook Pro, then you’ll need to consider some individual specifications more than others:
One of the new additions to display technology comes in the form of ultrawide configurations and curved screens. The best ultrawide monitor for MacBook Pro offers a 21:9 aspect ratio and provides you with a ton of screen real estate for creative and professional work.
A curved screen is exactly as it sounds. The curved monitor curves toward you and creates a truly immersive viewing experience. You can also choose an ultrawide curved monitor to combine the two features.
These aren’t cheap monitors, but they can increase productivity and immersion, especially if you’re a gamer or a creative professional.
Now that we’ve covered the must-haves for MacBook Pro external monitors, you’ll want to consider what additional features you want. These don’t drastically change the way the monitor works, but they can provide more convenience or efficiency.
Consider options that have built-in speakers, ergonomic adjustments, and different display modes if you want additional customizability. You can also purchase monitors with a built-in webcam, an audio jack for external speakers, and USB ports to connect additional peripherals directly to the monitor.