USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 Display Buyer's Guide for New MacBook Pro

Apple's new MacBook Pro models feature between two and four Thunderbolt 3 ports that carry power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA over a single cable, creating one standard for connecting most accessories and peripherals. Thunderbolt 3 uses the same connector type as USB-C, also called Type-C, meaning the new MacBook Pros are compatible with a growing lineup of USB-C external displays.

side_2016_macbook_pro
USB-C displays can display up to 4K video, transfer data, and charge the new MacBook Pro at up to 60W over a single cable connected between the display and notebook. LG's new UltraFine 5K display, meanwhile, uses Thunderbolt 3 to display 5K video and fully charge the new MacBook Pro at up to 85W. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar can drive dual 5K displays, while the 13-inch model can drive one 5K display.

LG launched its UltraFine 4K and 5K displays in partnership with Apple, which exited the standalone display business after discontinuing its Thunderbolt Display earlier this year. The first USB-C displays from other manufacturers were released just this year, so the current selection remains limited. MacRumors has rounded up most of the options available from LG, ASUS, Acer, and Lenovo below.

LG 27UD88

lg-27ud88
Display size: 27-inch
Display resolution: Ultra HD (3,840×2,160 pixels)
PPI: 163
Display technology: IPS LED
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: sRGB (over 99%)
Brightness: 350 cd/m2
Ports: 1 input USB-C, 2 USB 3.0, 2 HDMI 2.0, 1 DisplayPort 1.2
Cables included: USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to USB, HDMI, DisplayPort
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to 60W
Price: $699 at B&H Photo Video or $740 on Amazon

LG 38UC99

lg-38uc99
Display size: 37.5-inch curved
Display resolution: Wide QHD+ (3,840×1,600 pixels)
PPI: 110
Display technology: IPS LED
Aspect ratio: 21:9 (ultrawide)
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: sRGB (over 99%)
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Ports: 1 input USB-C, 2 USB 3.0, 2 HDMI 2.0, 1 DisplayPort 1.2
Cables included: USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to USB, HDMI, DisplayPort
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to 60W
Price: $1,499 at B&H Photo Video or $1,699 on Amazon

LG UltraFine 5K

lg-ultrafine-5k
Display size: 27-inch
Display resolution: 5K (5,120×2,880 pixels)
PPI: 217
Display technology: IPS LED
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: DCI-P3 wide color gamut
Brightness: 500 cd/m2
Ports: 1 Thunderbolt 3 and 3 USB 3.1 Type-C
Cables included: Thunderbolt 3
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to 85W
Price: $974 from Apple until December 31, 2016. $1,299.95 after. Available December.

LG UltraFine 4K

lg-ultrafine-4k
Display size: 21.5-inch
Display resolution: 4K (4,096×2,304 pixels)
PPI: 218
Display technology: IPS LED
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: DCI-P3 wide color gamut
Brightness: 500 cd/m2
Ports: 1 input USB-C, 3 USB 2.0 Type-C
Cables included: USB-C to USB-C
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to 60W
Price: $524 from Apple until December 31, 2016. $699.95 after.

HP 4K ENVY

hp-envy-27-display-4k
Display size: 27-inch
Display resolution: Ultra HD (3,840×2,160 pixels)
PPI: 163
Display technology: IPS LED
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: 99% sRGB color gamut
Brightness: Typically 350 cd/m2
Ports: 1 input USB-C, 1 DisplayPort 1.2, 1 HDMI 2.0, 1 HDMI 1.4
Cables included: A/C power, USB-C, DisplayPort, HDMI
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to 60W
Price: $499 on HP.com and at select retailers in United States

Lenovo ThinkVision X1

lenovo-thinkvision-x1
Display size: 27-inch
Display resolution: Ultra HD (3,840×2,160 pixels)
PPI: 163
Display technology: IPS LED
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: sRGB (100%)
Brightness: 300 cd/m2
Ports: 1 input USB-C, 1 HDMI 2.0, 1 DisplayPort 1.2
Cables included: Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C to USB-C, USB-C to USB
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to 60W
Price: $639 from Lenovo or $760 on Amazon

ASUS MB169C+

asusmonitor
Display size: 15.6-inch
Display resolution: 1080p (1,920×1,080 pixels)
PPI: 141
Display technology: IPS
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: Unknown
Brightness: 220 cd/m2
Ports: 1 input USB-C
Cables included: Unknown
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: None
Price: From $157.84 on Amazon

Acer H277HU

acer-h277hu
Display size: 27-inch
Display resolution: 1440p (2,560×1,440 pixels)
PPI: 108
Display technology: IPS LED
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Color gamut: sRGB (100%)
Brightness: 350 cd/m2
Ports: 1 input USB-C, 2 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI 2.0, 1 DisplayPort, 1 DVI
Cables included: USB-C to USB-C and others
Power delivery to MacBook Pro: Up to 60W
Price: $458.99 on Amazon

Which to Buy

The best option is LG's UltraFine 5K display. The display's Thunderbolt 3 port enables pass-through charging to the new MacBook Pro at up to a full 85W. It is also the brightest display at 500 cd/m2 and it has a wide DCI-P3 color gamut that shows more vibrant colors compared to the traditional sRGB standard. The 27-inch display has a built-in camera, microphone, stereo speakers, and three USB-C ports at 5 Gbps speeds. Apple's sale price of $974 is expensive overall but reasonable for 5K displays.

An affordable Thunderbolt Display replacement is Acer's H277HU display. It has the same 27-inch screen size, 1440p resolution, and LED-backlit IPS display technology as the Thunderbolt Display. The display familiarly connects to and charges the MacBook Pro at up to 60W over a single cable. It runs at a full 60Hz refresh rate and has a decent variety of ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI 2.0 port, 1 DisplayPort, and 1 DVI port. Amazon's price of $458.99 is very reasonable.

Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

apolloa Avatar
72 months ago
Step 1... buy a PC and not a Mac..
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
apb87 Avatar
72 months ago
I use the LG 27UD88 at work. I take advantage of the cable manager on the back of the monitor stem, and the single cord is awesome. Not to mention it has an audio jack and standard USB ports on the back that can be used as a hub. I think this one looks better than the black, but just my opinion

Attachment Image
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jozero Avatar
72 months ago
Just wanted to say again how insane it is Apple "worked with LG", and the main change was they ADDED **HUGE** uneven bezels to the monitors. That was Apple's contribution to the bezel less LG designs.

Bravo.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Arcus Avatar
72 months ago
Agreed, 34inch is really the upper limit for a desktop use...
..for you.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gugy Avatar
72 months ago
I like the curved LG for Photoshop work but honestly most of these enclosures are hideous. Apple could have give LG some insight and come up with a nice looking 27/30 inch 5K display. Hopefully we will get something better sooner than later.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shareef777 Avatar
72 months ago
We'll just agree to disagree. I don't like the design, but I just don't think it is straight trash like a lot of people. Ideally, I wish they made it look like the old ACD. That thing is gorgeous (I have one now), but my 24" at 1920x1200 just won't look right if I pop a 2016 MBP 15" next to it that has a higher resolution lol.
I'm coming from an Apple Thunderbolt Display. From what we've used (also priced in the $1k range), the LG design is unacceptable. I'll never understand why they couldn't just give us the iMac sans computer (same connectors too). I say unacceptable, but I'll be buying it anyway lol.

Who else finds it strange that the sale price is good only for December, but the display is only available for sale in December. I hope they don't sell out too quick.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16 mock for article

Gurman: iOS 16 to Include New Ways of System Interaction and 'Fresh Apple Apps'

Sunday May 15, 2022 6:14 am PDT by
iOS 16 will include new ways of interacting with the system and some "fresh Apple apps," Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has said, offering some more detail on what Apple has in store for the upcoming release of iOS and iPadOS set to be announced in a few weeks at WWDC. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman wrote that while iOS 16 is not likely to introduce a major face-lift to...
maxresdefault

Unbox Therapy Shares Hands-On Look at iPhone 14 Pro Max Replica

Monday May 16, 2022 4:40 am PDT by
YouTuber Unbox Therapy has shared a hands-on look at the iPhone 14 Pro Max using what he claims is a one-to-one replica created by third-party case makers with access to detailed schematics and dimensions for Apple's new upcoming flagship smartphone. As with the iPhone 13 Pro lineup, in 2022, we are expecting a 6.1-inch iPhone 14 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, but this time the Pro...
RIP iPod Feature

RIP iPod: A Look Back at Apple's Iconic Music Player Over the Years

Friday May 13, 2022 2:25 pm PDT by
Apple earlier this week announced the discontinuation of the iPod touch, and because it was the last iPod still available for purchase, its sunsetting effectively marks the end of the entire iPod lineup. To send the iPod on its way, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of the most notable iPod releases over the last 21 years. Original iPod (2001) Introduced in October...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
iOS 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 With Wallet and Podcast Updates

Monday May 16, 2022 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5, the fifth major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were initially released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.5 come a little over two months after the launch of iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4. The iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in...
airpodsprodesign

Kuo: AirPods, MagSafe Battery Pack, and Other Apple Accessories Also to Switch to USB-C in Future

Sunday May 15, 2022 5:59 am PDT by
Earlier this week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple plans to release at least one iPhone 15 model with a USB-C port in 2023. Now, in a follow-up tweet, he has claimed that accessories like AirPods, the MagSafe Battery Pack, and the Magic Keyboard/Mouse/Trackpad trio would also switch to USB-C in the "foreseeable future." Both the iPhone and all of the aforementioned...
apple tv 4k design green

Apple Releases tvOS 15.5 for Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K

Monday May 16, 2022 9:57 am PDT by
Apple today released tvOS 15.5, the fifth major update to the tvOS operating system that first launched in September 2021. tvOS 15.5 comes more than two months after the release of tvOS 15.4, an update that brought support for captive WiFi networks. tvOS 15.5 can be downloaded over the air on the Apple TV through the Settings app by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌‌‌Apple...