It’s been a while since we took at look at the best 4K USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 displays available for MacBook and MacBook Pro. While we’re still waiting to hear more about Apple’s upcoming pro display, and if it will work with other Macs besides the next-gen Mac Pro, there are some notable new display options on the market. Follow along after the break for a look at the best 4K and USB-C displays.

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12/11 Update: We’ve refreshed this post with two new additions from LG and Samsung. Also, keep in mind the new iPad Pro can be used with any of the USB-C displays below. Meanwhile, LG’s popular 27UK850 4K USB-C display is $70 less than before with a $580 holiday price tag.

LG 34WK95U-W

This is LG’s new 34-inch widescreen Thunderbolt 3/USB-C display that offers a 5120 x 2160 resolution (in-between 4K and 5K). 9to5Mac’s Jeff Benjamin reviewed this display and found it to be a compelling option for creative pros, while other users may not see the benefits.

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.

This display also charges all MacBook’s at full speed, even the 15-inch MacBook Pro. It’s currently available from Amazon at a premium for $1689. If you’re okay waiting a bit longer, pre-orders are open at B&H Photo for $1,500.

best 4K USB-C displays

Samsung C34J791

While this isn’t a full 4K display, this is great alternative for those who are looking for a widescreen Thunderbolt 3/USB-C display, but want to spend less than $1,000. The C34J791 offers a 34-inch curved panel with a 3440 x 1440 resolution for $892.

In addition to single cable connectivity via Thunderbolt 3, the Samsung C34J791 also charges all MacBooks at full speed with up to 85W. Stay tuned for a hands-on look at this widescreen display.


Previous Picks

In case you haven’t given a 4K USB-C display a shot with your MacBook, MacBook Pro, or iPad, one of the primary benefits is being able to use one cable for charging, video output, and data. Some will also offer built-in USB hub connectivity for other peripherals.

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.

Aiming for something that will give you the most years of use, let’s take a look at displays that offer both sharp 4K resolutions and USB-C.

 

LG 27UK850

This 4K USB-C display is an update to the older 27UD88 model that we reviewed a couple of years back. The refreshed 27-inch model features an LED-backlit IPS panel with HDR10 support, AMD Freesync, and single-cable USB-C connectivity.

The 27UK850 offers two USB 3.1 ports, but like the previously model, when running 4K at 60Hz, you’re limited to USB 2.0 speeds. It would have been nice to see 87W power delivery for full speed 15-inch MacBook Pro charging, but that shouldn’t be an issue for most users (with two different monitors I’ve found 60W to fully charge my 15-inch MBP in about 3 hours).

  • 1 x USB-C v. 3.1 with 60W PD
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 1 x Display Port
  • 2 x USB v. 3.1 gen1
  • 3.5 mm audio port
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • sRGB 99%
  • AMD Freesync
  • Anti-glare finish

For a more in-depth look at this display, check out our review here.

The LG 27UK850 is available on Amazon for $580 (prev. $649).

ASUS Designo

This display offers almost all of the same features as LG’s UK850 for about $100 less. The LED-backlit IPS panel doesn’t feature HDR10 support and AMD FreeSync, but otherwise its specs stack up almost identically.

  • 1 x USB-C v. 3.1 with 60W PD
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 3.5 mm audio port
  • 2 x USB v. 3.1 gen1
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 60Hz refresh rate
  • 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • 100% sRGB
  • Eye Care blue light filter
  • Anti-glare finish

ASUS Designo is available on Amazon for $548.

LG Ultrafine 5K & 4K Displays

These displays have gained some notoriety since debuting last year. After 9to5Mac’s Zac Hall discovered a design flaw in the 27-inch 5K model, Apple pulled stock of the displays until a fix was implemented. That issue aside, we dove into the pros and cons of the Ultrafine 5K display with our in-depth review by Jeff Benjamin.

While the 27-inch Ultrafine display is really the only option on the market to support USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 and a 5K resolution, the $1,300 price premium likely makes this display a non-starter for a majority of users.

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

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.

Holding Out?

Thinking of waiting a while longer to see what Apple’s pro display or other manufacturers offer over the next year? If you feel like you can’t compromise on a 4K resolution but are open to saving some cash by skipping the USB-C connectivity, LG has a compelling 27-inch 4K display for quite a bit less than the price of other displays at $350. It’s got many of the features of LG’s $580 UK850, and is rated 4.3/5 stars with over 400 reviews on Amazon.


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