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Plato Grishin
Plato Grishin

4k Monitor For Mac

Our monitor guides benefit from the expert advice of Chris Heinonen. He helped us figure out the best hardware and software to use for our testing, and during his time with Wirecutter, he designed the evaluation process.

4k Monitor For Mac

To test the monitors, we use each model for typical desktop work for a few hours, noting the sturdiness and quality of the stand and how easy the monitor is to adjust using the on-screen controls. We test for some common issues that can afflict LCD monitors, such as low-light flicker (also called PWM flicker) and image retention.

The biggest failing of the ViewSonic VG2756-4K is its mediocre 949:1 contrast ratio, which is okay in a budget monitor but harder to swallow in a model that usually costs around $500. Its performance in our color-accuracy tests was also mediocre. It has many of the other features we look for in a good 4K monitor, including a USB-C port, a USB hub (along with an Ethernet port), a flexible stand, and a three-year warranty. But its image quality is a step down from that of the Dell S2722QC and the HP Z27k G3.

The best monitor for a MacBook Pro makes everything you do on your MacBook clearer and more beautiful. A good external monitor can help you be more productive, giving you more screen real estate to work with and ensuring the videos and games you play on your MacBook look stunning.

With that in mind, we've looked through the best monitors overall and rounded up our favorite monitors for use with MacBooks based on our own research, testing and hand-on reviews. Read on for our full list of the best monitors for MacBook Pros.

Like the Pro Display XDR, the Studio Display offers useful features for creative professionals, including a range of reference modes and P3 wide color gamut support. But it also has unique features that any Mac user can enjoy, like a killer (for a monitor) six-speaker sound system and a 12MP ultrawide camera that supports Apple's Center Stage feature, courtesy of an onboard A13 Bionic chip.

Speaking of paying an arm and a leg, the Acer XFA240 demonstrates that excellent full HD monitors don't need to cost a ton of money. For less than $200, this 1080p monitor delivers accurate colors and more extra features than you'd expect, including a full vertical mode that makes it invaluable as a second screen. The monitor works well for both gaming and productivity, with a 144 Hz refresh rate and a variety of ports, including a DVI input for older machines and an HDMI port for your MacBook Pro.

The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is a workhorse of a 4K monitor that does everything pretty well, making it our overall pick for the best MacBook Pro monitor. This 27-inch display offers great color reproduction, and its 3840 x 2160 resolution lets you work and play on your MacBook at 4K.

We also appreciate this monitor's thin-bezelled InfinityEdge display design, as thin bezels tend to help whatever you're looking at pop off the screen. This UltraSharp offers plenty of ports, too, and it has both USB-A and USB-C downstream ports, meaning you can plug USB accessories directly into the monitor and (as long as your laptop is connected via USB) use it as an impromptu USB hub for your MacBook.

But with an asking price of $500, you have to really want a great portable monitor with touch controls to invest in the M14t. Otherwise, a few of the other monitors on this list are cheaper, with higher resolutions and better refresh rates. But if you really need an excellent portable monitor for your MacBook, the Lenovo ThinkVision M14t is our top overall pick. If you want one without touch functionality, Lenovo sells a cheaper non-touch version for $249.

Of course, Apple can get away with charging these high prices because the equipment is high-quality and aimed at photo/video professionals working for big organizations. If you need the best monitor for photo/video editing on your MacBook Pro and don't mind paying an arm and a leg, the Pro Display XDR will serve you well.

The Acer PEO Series ProDesigner PE320QK is a widescreen 4K monitor that's made for professionals who demand the best color and accuracy they can get for working with images, video and graphics. It's significantly cheaper than the Pro Display XDR yet manages to be one of the best monitors overall for serious work on your MacBook Pro. The PE320QK comes calibrated from the factory, offering superb accuracy right out of the box, and comes with a matte display and built-in display hood that eliminates the glare and ambient light that might skew color perception.

This excellent display is made with pros in mind, and also boasts a 100,000,000:1 contrast ratio plus support for HDR 10 and DCI-P3, along with AMD FreeSync. It checks all the right boxes for letting you do your best work, without the fuss of pro-grade displays that might require extensive calibration to dial in the color quality. Whether you're a freelancer working from home or one of many in a studio or creative shop, the Acer PEO Series ProDesigner PE320QK is the best monitor for creative professionals.

If you want the biggest curved monitor possible for your MacBook Pro and price is no option, boy do we have a display for you. Samsung's curved 49-inch Odyssey G9 Gaming Monitor is a strong overall performer, but its unwieldy design and sky-high $1,000+ asking price make it unfeasible for most of us.

Boasting top-notch functionality and impressive performance along every metric, the Odyssey G9 is worthy of serious consideration from anyone who can make full use of it. It gets remarkably bright and delivers impressive color reproduction, as well as a welcome suite of gaming-related features. However, not all games play well with its unusually wide aspect ratio, and its so large and expensive as to be out of reach for all but a handful of MacBook Pro owners. But if you need the biggest, best curved monitor for immersive gaming or movie-watching on your MacBook, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything better than the Samsung Odyssey G9

Finding the best monitor for your MacBook can be a confusing experience, especially if you're unsure what you need. There are a few key details to pay attention to for any monitor, and some specific advice for certain specialized uses.

Size: A larger monitor is generally better simply because it offers the most visual real estate, which is better for both full-screen media consumption and split-screen multitasking. Higher resolution is also better, since it allows you to see more detail and fit more information on the screen. The old phrase "bigger is better" applies to both here, and we recommend opting for larger screens and higher resolution whenever possible. However, keep in mind that you'll probably need to scale up the size of text (and macOS in general) on 4K monitors, as that resolution makes text hard to read on all but the largest monitors.

Shape: Most monitors are simple rectangles you stand up on a desk, but nowadays you also have the option of buying monitors that are curved, or even portable. A simple flat monitor will serve most uses quite well, but you might want to try a curved monitor if you want a more immersive experience (especially when gaming) since the curve keeps all areas of the monitor within easy viewing distance. Likewise, you might like to invest in a portable monitor instead of a traditional one if you want an external display that's easy to use with your MacBook Pro on the go.

Response time: If you care about playing the latest games under optimal conditions, you'll want to look for a monitor with low response time. This measures how long it takes for the display to respond to what you're doing, and it's typically expressed as a measurement (in milliseconds) of how long it takes a pixel on the display to go from one color to another and back again.

Unless you're planning to play games on your MacBook that demand quick reflexes or pinpoint accuracy, you really don't need to worry about response time. In general, anything under 10ms is good, though 5ms or less is better for gaming. Many gaming monitors promise response times as low as 1ms, which is about as good as you can hope for.

Refresh rate: Refresh rate measures how many times per second your monitor can draw a new image. It's measured in Hertz, and again if you're not planning on doing a lot of intense gaming you probably don't need to worry about this very much. Most monitor achieve refresh rates of 60Hz or less, and that's plenty for watching videos or getting work done. However, the new MacBook Pros have Liquid Retina XDR displays that can achieve variable refresh rates of up to 120Hz, so you'll need a monitor with at least a 120Hz refresh rate if you want it to be as good as your MacBook's display.

If you want to play games at higher than 120 frames per second, or you're planning on working with video at framerates higher than 120 fps, you'll want a monitor with even higher refresh rates. 120Hz is as high as most monitors go, but some gaming monitors can achieve refresh rates of 360Hz or higher.

When seeking out the best monitors, we test every display we review with our Klein K 10-A colorimeter, paired with testing software. We use this high-quality scope to measure the display's brightness levels, color gamut and color accuracy.

Brightness is measured in nits, or candela per square metre (cd/m2). More nits means a higher brightness, which translates into clearer picture, brighter color and usually a more realistic looking image. For basic monitors, we expect a display backlight to produce between 2-300 nits of brightness, though HDR (high dynamic range) displays will often exceed that with a higher maximum brightness. However, brightness alone doesn't make for a great display, since some monitors will wash out colors or offer inconsistent backlight that varies in some portions of the display panel.

HDR also presents its own testing challenges, as new capabilities and standards allow a monitor to offer higher peak luminance than our standard tests will register. When in doubt, read an individual review for a discussion of these issues, and how an individual product will handle each.


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