Best USBC/Thunderbolt displays for MacBooks

USB-C/Thunderbolt display options have grown over the last couple of years. It’s great to see newer options like Apple’s Pro Display XDR on the market but it’s likely not the best fit for the majority of users with a starting price of $5,000 (without a stand). Let’s take a look at some of the best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays available in the $400-$1,300 range.

Update 12/10: New for December is a compelling budget option from Samsung that features 4K resolution, USB-C, and a 32-inch screen. Better yet it comes with smart TV features like Apple TV, Dinsey+, Netflix, etc. and AirPlay 2 built-in. Naturally there are some compromises here, but it goes for just $400. More details below…

While the displays below all work great for a single-cable setup with your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, and PCs, keep in mind the 2018 iPad Pro and 2020 iPad Air can be used with any of these USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 displays too (even Apple’s Pro Display XDR 😅).

Even though Apple’s 6K Pro Display XDR is a fantastic product (full review) the reality is that at $5,000+, it’s overkill for many MacBook owners’ needs, budgets, or both.

Notably, one trend we’re seeing more lately — that Apple has adopted with the Pro Display XDR — is a 32-inch screen size. Fortunately, there are some solid 32-inch options from other companies in the $1,000 ballpark that offer a compelling experience. And we’ll also look at some 27-32-inch 4K USB-C displays in the $400-$600 range.

Best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays for Mac

Best 32-inch or larger USB-C/Thunderbolt displays

LG 32UL950 UltraFine 4K Display Review 01

LG 32UL950-W

This is LG’s UltraFine 32-inch display that includes a solid feature set like two Thunderbolt 3 ports plus two USB-A ports, slim bezels, support for use in portrait orientation, and more.

In his full review, my colleague Jeff Benjamin found he liked the design better than LG’s other UltraFine models with many of the same features.

Specs:

  • 31.5-inch UHD 4K display (3840 x 2160)
  • Refresh rate 60Hz
  • Nano IPS with DCI-P3 98%
  • VESA DisplayHDR™ 600
  • Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports (in x 1 (PD 60W) / out x 1)
  • 4K Daisy Chain with Thunderbolt™ 3
  • 2 x USB-A
  • DisplayPort 1.4
  • HDMI 2.0
  • 3.5mm headphone output
  • Usually retails for around $1,000 (MSRP $1,300)

The LG 32UL950-W can be found on Amazon as well as other retailers like B&H Photo.

LG 34WK95U-W

Moving up a couple of inches, LG’s 34-inch widescreen Thunderbolt 3/USB-C display offers a 5120 x 2160 resolution (in-between 4K and 5K). Jeff reviewed this display and found it to be a compelling option for creative pros.

But if you’re a creative professional who knows what you’re getting yourself into, this display is a significant real estate upgrade from 4K. Just make sure you understand that this is really a 4.5K display, and it doesn’t offer any resolution advantages over a true 5K display like the one found in the 5K iMac or iMac Pro.

Specs:

  • Nano IPS (In-Plane Switching) Panel
  • Thunderbolt 3 Interface
  • Power output: 85W
  • 5120 x 2160 Resolution
  • 21:9 Aspect Ratio
  • 60Hz Refresh Rate
  • Brightness: 450 (Typ), 360 (min) cd/m2
  • Support for VESA HDR 600
  • DCI-P3 98%
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 3.5mm headphone input
  • Speakers: 5W x 2
  • Slim bezel design on all four sides
  • Often available between $1,300-$1,400 (MSRP $1,500)

The LG 34WK95U-W is usually in-stock at Amazon and B&H Photo.

Dell UltraSharp U3219Q

Dell offers its 4K 32-inch USB-C display at a relatively affordable price of $790 at the time of writing. It features slim bezels, decent I/O, an antiglare finish, and 95% DCI-P3.

Specs:

  • 31.5-inch IPS 4K display (3840 x 2160 @ 60Hz)
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Support for VESA HDR 400
  • 1x USB-C, 1x USB-B upstream, 4x USB-A downstream
  • 1x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI port
  • Brightness: 400 cd/m2
  • Antiglare finish
  • DCI-P3 at 95%
  • Usually available under $800 (MSRP $1,049)

Dell also makes its UltraSharp display in a 27-inch model usually priced under $600

Apple-endorsed LG UltraFine displays

LG Ultrafine 5K & 4K Displays

While the 27-inch UltraFine display (reviewed) is really the only option on the market to support USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 at a full 5K resolution, the $1,300 price likely makes this display a tough sell for many, especially since it hasn’t changed since 2016.

Another trade-off here is chunkier bezels for a built-in webcam, although these displays do offer a solid I/O setup. Another aspect that sets these displays apart is P3 wide color gamut and 85W power delivery.

The current models are the 5K 27-inch and the 4K 23-inch UltraFine displays. The 23-inch version replaced the 21.5-inch 4K model last May and retails around $700. Check out our full review here.

If you’re tempted by these displays, our recommendation is to keep an eye out on 9to5Toys, where we’ve seen certified refurbished models of the $1,300 5K display go for as low as $550 and the 21.5-inch 4K model go for as low as $190.

Best USB-C/Thunderbolt displays on a budget

While there are some solid displays on the market that include USB-C with less than 4K resolutions, spending several hundred dollars on a new display with a lower picture quality than what you’re used to on your MacBook won’t be a good fit for many.

Here are three of the best USB-C displays that offer a 4K resolution in the $500 or less range.

32-inch Samsung Smart Monitor M7