If you’ve been holding out for a new standalone desktop display from Apple, you’re either going to take news of the Thunderbolt Display being discontinued as a sign of good things to come, or as a cue to finally purchase a new 4K or 5K display from someone else. For most, especially considering Apple itself is recommending you purchase a third-party display, the latter option is going to be the more likely.
While Apple didn’t recommend any specific third-party alternatives during its discontinuation announcement of the Thunderbolt display last week, we’ve done the work for you and put together our top picks for the best 4K & 5K displays for Mac available to buy right now.
Things have come quite a long way since my last roundup of the best displays for Mac a couple years back. Dell still makes it into my top picks in most price points, but there are some new and now less expensive models available and also a few more contenders from the other guys. And prices are now more reasonable than ever with a few year old or newer models available for well under $1000 or even $500 price points.
As always, support for 4K displays will depend on your Mac. All the displays on our list have been tested with Macs, but you’ll want to first look into Apple’s official list of support and compatibility for the various Mac models if you’re unfamiliar.
$500 – $1000
Top pick: The sweet spot for specs, Mac compatibility, and price point, the 27-inch Dell Ultra HD (P2715Q) monitor ($498) gets you a solid display with Dell’s specs and build quality not unlike the company’s more expensive options. Currently available for $498 shipped from Amazon, this is our top all-around pick for under $1000 and it really represents the best bang for buck currently. It replaces our top pick from a couple years back (also from Dell) but at a third of the price. There aren’t built-in speakers, but you can use the audio line output with your own or grab Dell’s $20 snap-on soundbar.
Our runners-up at this price point include:
- LG Electronics 4K UHD 27UD88-W 27″ Screen LED-Lit Monitor ($609)
- ASUS 28-inch PB287Q 4k ($447)
- LG Electronics 31MU97C-B 31-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor ($849)
- ASUS 32-inch PA328Q 4K/UHD ($979)
If 5K isn’t a necessity, and for most it probably isn’t, then you can get Dell’s 32-inch UltraSharp 4K UP3216Q monitor ($1279 shipped). A step up in specs from our top pick, this is the way to go if you want a top of the line display and have over $1000 to spend.
You’ll get built-in audio that you don’t get with our less expensive top pick model, and you’ll of course get the larger 32-inch panel alongside some other slightly better specs that come with Dell’s PremierColor tech, making it a suitable option for pros if the specs on the $500 aren’t cutting it.
Another solid option at a price point to consider is the relatively new ASUS PA329Q Ultra HD 4K ($1299). The design might leave a bit to be desired, but the specs and the colors put it on par with the other monitors in this category and so far it’s received much praise from users.
Dell’s premium 5K offering is the UP2715K. It packs in an impressive 5120 x 2880 resolution that Dell points out is almost double the amount of pixels in its Ultra HD 4K monitors. Originally priced at $3000 by Dell, you can currently pick it up for just over $1500 on Amazon. And on top of the considerable jump up in resolution and therefore screen real estate, other upgrades over the $500 top pick include built-in stereo speakers from Harmon Kardon, VESA mount support, and a media card reader.
Keep in mind, for about $300 more you can get Apple’s oldest generation 5K iMac and of course that comes with a full computer built-in. But for that price, this is about as good as it gets and one of the only real 5K options to consider for your Mac currently.
Dell’s 24-inch Ultra HD P2415Q monitor ($374): Similar specs and an almost identical design to our top pick, but comes in a smaller 24-inch package and a lower price point.
LG 27” (Diagonal) Class 4K UHD IPS LED Monitor ($447): This 4K display from LG gets good reviews from Mac users and is a step up in style and quality from the Samsung option below.
Samsung U28E590D 28-Inch UHD LED-Lit Monitor ($399): This is similar to a model Chance reviewed a couple years back. This is one of the lowest priced 4K options with decent specs and good review from Mac users.