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Best Monitor For Mac Studio of 2024 For All Budgets

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If you’re looking for an external monitor to go with the Mac Studio, here we’ve taken a look at the best monitors for the Mac Studio of 2024 for all wallet sizes.

The impressive Mac Studio is one of the most powerful Macs on the market especially if you customize it with Apple’s incredibly powerful M2 Ultra chip.

However, it doesn’t come with an external display included so you have to buy one separately.

The good news is the Mac Studio has the best support of any Mac for displays with the ability to connect up to 5 external monitors to it.

The Mac Studio is designed to be complemented by the amazing Apple Studio Display but it’s not exactly a budget option with the base version of the monitor starting at $1,599.

However, don’t fear as here we’ve looked at the best monitor for the Mac Studio of 2024 with options for all different budgets and needs.

In our extensive testing and research, we decided the superb new 32 inch BenQ PD3225U is the best display for the Mac Studio of 2024.

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1. BenQ PD3225U 32 inch 4K Monitor

benq pd3225u

Although its hard to argue against the Apple Studio Display as being the best match for the Mac Studio, the superb BenQ PD3225U is the best alternative to it we’ve tried and our pick as the best monitor for the Mac Studio overall.

The new BenQ PD3225U offers incredibly sharp picture quality that’s ready to go out-of-the-box with Macs.

The BenQ PD3225U is an upgrade on the older 4K 32 inch BenQ PD3220U with much greater brightness (400 nits compared to 250 nits), deeper blacks and greater color depth than its predecessor.

In our review of it, one thing that really stood out is the way BenQ have calibrated it to work instantly with Macs thanks to its “M-Book mode”.

Although this is designed to calibrate with MacBooks, it works just as well when calibrating it with the Mac Studio.

If you’ve got an Apple keyboard connected to your Mac Studio, it also allows you to use the brightness controls from it to adjust the brightness of the monitor itself.

For designers and photographers, BenQ’s PD3225U is easily one of the best displays for editing images due to the crystal clear sharpness and color accuracy of its images.

It also utilizes BenQ’s ColorTone software to automatically fine tune calibration for the Mac Studio with a bit of manual input from the user to help it get the color representation just right.

The PD3225U supports a DCI-P3 99% color gamut so it’s suitable for working with Adobe RGB profiled images and RAW photos which covers Rec BT 709.

The pixel density of the BenQ PD3225U is a bit low at just 140 ppi but its really hard to discern this even compared to monitors with higher pixel density.

Apart from all this, there are lots of connectivity options including two Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-C ports, HDMI and DisplayPort. This enables you to connect more than one monitor together (known as daisy-chaining).

There’s also an external HotKey puck to control the monitor with, KVM switch, ability to hot-swap color profiles and display two color profiles at once.

There are internal speakers in the BenQ PD3225U but with the six-speaker surround system in the Mac Studio supporting spatial audio, you really don’t need these anyway.

It really is an excellent option for Mac Studio owners and you can check out our full BenQ PD3225U review for more.

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Pros:

  • Mac mode designed for connecting seamlessly to Macs
  • Fast user interface access via Hotkey Puck
  • Amazing color depth and blacks thanks to wide P3 color gamut
  • Thunderbolt 3 ports for daisy chaining other monitors
  • Control brightness from your Mac keyboard
  • Excellent ColorTone software
  • Lots of other port connections

Cons:

  • Internal speaker quality is poor
  • No integrated webcam
  • Only 4K resolution

2. LG 34BK95U-W 5K UltraFine 34”

lg34bk95uw monitor

The 5K LG UltraFine 34 inch monitor is our pick as the best 5K monitor for the Mac Studio of 2024 overall and features stunning 5K resolution on an ultrawide 34 inch screen.

LG monitors are some of the best displays you can get for Macs and Apple even helped LG develop the UltraFine display as it contains a very similar panel to the 27 inch 5K iMac display.

You can get full 5K 5120 x 2160 resolution (also known as 5K2K) with the LG 34BK95-W including on M1/M2 Macs with support for 163 pixels per inch (ppi).

This is great for video editing although for reading text, you might want to scale down the resolution as it does make everything look much smaller at its maximum resolution. 

The display supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) which, like Dolby Vision, makes bright and dark parts of an image incredibly intense and contrasted.

It can of course also easily handle 4K video and the wide viewing angles make it an excellent choice for those in desktop publishing or video editing.

But because its a 34 inch 5K screen, you get over 30% more screen estate on the LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine than on a standard 4K monitor of the same size.

You can change the tilt and height on the stand that comes with the LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine but you add swivel with a VESA stand mount connection.

In terms of ports, apart from the standard HDMI there’s a dedicated Thunderbolt 3 port with 85W of power which offers DisplayPort Alt Mode.

There are also an additional 3 USB-C ports so there’s no shortage of connection options to connect it to a Mac Studio.

The refresh rate of the LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine is 60Hz which is enough for most general use although might be a little slow for gaming.

There are also speakers in the LG UltraFine 34 inch 5K but the sound is poor and it’s best to connect some external speakers to it.

There is no integrated webcam in the LG UltraFine 34 inch either although you can connect one via USB-C or use a digital camera as a webcam.

You can read our full LG 34BK95U-W 34 inch 5K monitor review for more.

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Pros:

  • 5K resolution with 5K2K support
  • 163 ppi
  • 3 USB-C ports plus Thunderbolt port
  • Huge 34 inch screen estate
  • 3 year LG guarantee
  • Supports HDR

Cons:

  • Sound or brightness can’t be controlled from Mac keyboard
  • Swivel requires mounting a stand
  • No internal webcam

3. Apple Studio Display

best apple monitor for mac studio

It’s no surprise the Apple Studio Display won our vote as the best Apple monitor for the Mac Studio as it’s designed by Apple to go with it although starting at $1,599, it isn’t in everyone’s budget.

The Apple Studio Display was released on 13th March 2022 by Apple to go with the Mac Studio and is easily the best Apple monitor for the Mac Studio outside of the Apple Pro XDR display.

Although it can’t compare with the far more expensive Apple Pro XDR display, the Apple Studio Display is far better value starting at $1,599 compared to $4,999 for the Pro XDR.

The Apple Studio Display supports 218 Pixel Per Inch (PPI) although and can handle a maximum 5K 5120 x 2880 resolution compared to 6K in the XDR.

This makes it easily one of the the best 5K monitor for Macs outside of the cheaper 34 inch 5K LG UltraFine.

However unlike the LG UltraFine the Apple Studio Display has features only Macs can use too such as an automatic sRGB mode which calibrates color perfectly for your applications.

The Apple Studio Display supports 600 nits of brightness compared to 1600 in the XDR which is more than enough for most although may not be quite enough for professional video editors that need added brightness.

It does however support HDR which is an important feature for video editors and high quality video playback in general.

The Apple Studio Display has the same True Tone Anti Reflective Coating as the XDR and is also available with nano-texture glass.

There are even some advantages to the Studio Display over the Pro XDR.

The Apple Studio Display also has a 12 MegaPixel Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage which is great for video conferencing.

It also has a professional music studio quality three-mic array which makes it definitely the best monitor for music production on a Mac.

This includes a six speaker sound system with Spatial Audio.

The Apple Studio Display also comes with a tilt and height adjustable stand with a VESA mount adapter if you want to add swivel to it.

For more about this amazing monitor you can check out our full Apple Studio Display review.

You might also be interested in our look at the best Apple Studio Display alternatives too.

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Pros:

  • Supports 5K
  • Supports HDR
  • Automatic sRGB color calibration
  • High quality six speaker surround system
  • 3 Thunderbolt ports
  • 12MP face tracking camera
  • Three-way microphone

Cons:

  • No 6K support
  • 600 nits brightness support compared to 1600 in Pro XDR
  • Maximum size is 27 inch

4. Samsung ViewFinity S9

samsung viewfinity s9

The Samsung ViewFinity S9 has almost identical specifications to the Apple Studio Display and is our pick as the best Samsung monitor for the Mac Studio.

Samsung announced the impressive 27 inch 5K ViewFinity S9 at CES 2023 and has clearly positioned itself as its alternative to Apple’s Studio Display.

The Samsung ViewFinity S9 even looks like the Apple Studio Display although the similarities stretch all the way to the price which at $1,599, is the same as the base model Apple Display.

Like the Apple Studio Display the Viewfinity S9 has a 5120 x 2880 display with a wide 10-bit color gamut that covers 99% of the DCI-P3 spectrum.

The ViewFinity S9 also supports 218 PPI which is the same as the Apple Studio Display and the golden range for producing the best image quality when connected to a Mac.

The Samsung ViewFinity S9 has HDR600 support to improve shadows and highlights, support for 600 nits of brightness, a 4K webcam, one Thunderbolt 4 port, three USB-C ports and a mini Display port.

The ViewFinity S9 also features its own remote control with a control joystick to navigate the on screen display settings. This means it can easily be used as a SmartTV too with preinstalled apps including Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube.

Other nice touches in the S9 include wireless Bluetooth connectivity for speakers, keyboards and game controllers including support for AirPlay.

The sound system in the ViewFinity S9 is also pretty decent with 5W stereo speakers (although these don’t support spatial sound), split screen support with Samsung MultiView, WiFi connectivity and Tizen TV OS built-in.

You can also adjust the height of the stand on the ViewFinity S9 as standard. If you want to do the same thing on the Apple Studio Display you need to pay an extra $400 for an adjustable stand.

Unfortunately, the price of the S9 is also very similar to the base model Apple Studio Display meaning that it’s not exactly the cheapest display for the Mac Studio but it’s definitely one of the best.

You can check out our look at the Samsung ViewFinity S9 vs Apple Studio Display for more.

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Pros:

  • Same specifications as Apple Studio Display
  • 218 PPI
  • 5K resolution
  • HDR600 support
  • Looks similar to the Apple Studio Display
  • Remote control and Smart TV functionality

Cons:

  • Big external power supply
  • Price is the same as the Apple Studio Display

5. LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27″

best alternative apple studio display mac studio

If you want a 5K 27 inch alternative to the Apple Studio Display for the Mac Studio then look no further than the 27 inch 5K LG 27MD5KL-B UltraFine.

The LG 27MD5KL-B UltraFine 27 inch monitor is one of the few 5K 27 inch monitors on the market outside of the Apple Studio Display and is a great alternative to it.

The LG 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27 inch is a 5K Ultra High Definition (UHD) monitor with 5120 x 2880 Resolution and a 16:9 Aspect Ratio.

The 27 inch LG UltraFine 5K display supports up to 218 pixels per inch (PPI) which is the same as the Apple Studio display although only has 500 nits of brightness which is 100 less than the Apple Studio Display.

The LG Ultrafine is a flat-Panel IPS monitor with support for DCI-P3 99% color gamut.

The monitor also features both a built-in camera and a speaker.

There are also three Thunderbolt 3 ports which can display 5K video, audio and data simultaneously from a Mac Studio and will also charge a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

On the downside, the LG 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27 inch monitor only has a 60Hz refresh rate but it still performs very well fine for gaming and fast moving media such as when video editing.

You can read our full LG 27MD5KL-B 5K UltraFine 27″ monitor review for more.

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Pros:

  • 5K quality resolution
  • Wide P3 gamut
  • 218 PPI
  • Built-in web camera
  • Built-in speakers
  • Supports volume and brightness control from Mac
  • Excellent alternative to the Apple Studio Display

Cons:

  • Internal speaker quality is poor
  • Webcam quality isn’t great
  • Doesn’t support High Dynamic Range (HDR)

6. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K

dell ultrasharp u2720Q

The 27 inch Dell UltraSharp U2720Q is a great all round external display and the best budget external monitor for the Mac Studio.

The 4K display looks great connected to a Mac Studio and makes it ideal for editing photos, watching films, designing and more.

Unusually for a monitor in this price range, it supports HDR (High Dynamic Range) which features enhanced contrast and makes video look more realistic.

HDR makes bright and dark parts of an image incredibly intense and contrasted with whiter whites and blacker blacks and is an important feature for video editors.

The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q has two USB-C ports and one HDMI port so you can connect it easily to any Mac Studio via the Thunderbolt ports.

However, the lack of Thunderbolt port means it won’t support the maximum transfer speeds of 40Gb/s that Mac Studios are capable of.

At around $500, you won’t find many better quality external displays for the Mac Studio in this price range.

If you need an Ethernet connection for your monitor, you should also check out the newer Dell UltraSharp U2723QE which is an upgraded version of this model and allows you to connect the display directly via Ethernet.

You can read our full Dell UltraSharp U22720Q review for more.

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Pros:

  • Lots of ports for connectivity
  • Great crisp 4K quality images
  • Excellent color gamut
  • Excellent value for money
  • Supports HDR

Cons:

  • Brightness controls are poor
  • No internal speakers
  • No internal webcam
  • No Thunderbolt port

7. Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR

apple pro xdr display

Easily the best professional monitor for Macs including the Mac Studio is the amazing 6K Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR.

If you’ve got a $4,999 budget, there’s nothing else on the market that can match the 6K 6016 x 3384 resolution on the Apple Pro Display XDR.

The XDR stands for Extreme Dynamic Range and goes way beyond the usual High Dynamic Range (HDR) you get in most monitors.

The stunning XDR is the first 32-inch Retina display to support up to 1600 nits of brightness and 218 pixels per inch (PPI which is the same as DPI).

This makes it easily the best external Mac display for professional video and photo editors the XDR can adjust its brightness to reach HDR during playback.

In terms of connectivity, naturally Apple has included 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports (although note not Thunderbolt 4) plus two USB-C ports.

The XDR display is available in Standard Glass and Nanotexure and Standard Glass, the latter offering a sharper picture.

Nanotexture has a more textured looks but is designed to reduce loss of quality due to reflections.

The Standard Glass offers the same sharp look that you get on a Macbook Pro or an iPhone.

The Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR automatically adjusts picture quality based on what you’re watching or doing on it so it’s optimized whether you’re doing video editing or music production.

The Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR also adjusts brightness automatically depending on lighting up to a maximum of 1600 nits.

Other highlights of the Apple Pro XDR display include:

  • Support for up to a billion colors
  • Super-wide viewing angle
  • 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio
  • P3 Wide Color Gamut

Note that the XDR display does not include a stand which you have to purchase separately for around $999.

The Apple Pro XDR display also does not have any integrated speakers or a webcam like the Apple Studio Display does.

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Pros:

  • By far the best external monitor for all Macs including Mac Studio
  • 6K resolution
  • 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Available with both glass and nanotexture
  • 1600 nits of brightness
  • Automatically optimizes picture depending on what you’re doing
  • Support for one billion colors

Cons:

  • Stand is sold separately
  • No integrated speakers
  • No integrated camera
  • Price

Best Mac Studio Displays Pricing & Specs Compared

To help see how these displays compare with each other, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the specs and pricing of the best monitors for the Mac Studio of 2024.

Note that we have excluded the Apple Pro XDR display from this list as it starts at $4,999 which is way out of the price range of most users.

BenQ PD3225U 32 Inch 4K IPS Black UHD Thunderbolt Monitor for MacBook, AQCOLOR, 98% P3, 100% sRGB & Rec.709, DeltaE ≤2, Factory Calibration, USB-C 85W, USB Hub, Daisy Chain, KVM Switch
LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine 34" 21:9 5K 2K (5120 x 2160) Nano IPS LED UltraWide Monitor, 600 cd/m² HDR, Thunderbolt 3 / USB Type-C Inputs Black
Apple Studio Display - Standard Glass - Tilt-Adjustable Stand
SAMSUNG 27" ViewFinity S9 Series 5K Computer Monitor, Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, Matte Display, 4K Slimfit-Camera, Slim Metal Design, AirPlay, Smart-TV Apps, Gaming Hub, LS27C900PANXZA, 2023
LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27" IPS LCD 5K UHD Monitor for Apple Mac
Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit LCD IPS USB-C Monitor (7GZ651)
BenQ PD3225U 32 Inch 4K IPS Black UHD Thunderbolt Monitor for MacBook, AQCOLOR, 98% P3, 100% sRGB & Rec.709, DeltaE ≤2, Factory Calibration, USB-C 85W, USB Hub, Daisy Chain, KVM Switch
LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine 34" 21:9 5K 2K (5120 x 2160) Nano IPS LED UltraWide Monitor, 600 cd/m² HDR, Thunderbolt 3 / USB Type-C Inputs Black
Apple Studio Display - Standard Glass - Tilt-Adjustable Stand
SAMSUNG 27" ViewFinity S9 Series 5K Computer Monitor, Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, Matte Display, 4K Slimfit-Camera, Slim Metal Design, AirPlay, Smart-TV Apps, Gaming Hub, LS27C900PANXZA, 2023
LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27" IPS LCD 5K UHD Monitor for Apple Mac
Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit LCD IPS USB-C Monitor (7GZ651)
Screen Size
32 inch
34 inch
27 inch
27 inch
27 inch
27 inch
Refresh Rate
60Hz
60Hz
60Hz
60Hz
60Hz
60Hz
Pixels Per Inch (ppi)
140
163
218
218
218
164
Resolution
4K 3840 x 2160 pixels
5K 5120 x 2160
5K2K 5120 x 2880 Pixels
5K 5120 x 2880
5K2K 5120 x 2880 Pixels
4K 3480 x 2160
Ports
2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-C ports, HDMI, DisplayPort
Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, 3 USB-C
1 Thunderbolt 3 port, 3 USB-C ports
1 Thunderbolt 4, 3 USB-C, 1 HDMI, Mini DisplayPort
1 Thunderbolt 3 port, 3 USB-C ports
2 USB-C, 1 HDMI, 3 USB-A, DisplayPort
Brightness
400 nits
600 nits
600 nits
600 nits
500 nits
350 nits
Color Support
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
DCI-P3 99% Color Gamut
One billion colors & P3 wide color
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
Speakers
Yes
Yes
Six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio
2 x 5W
Yes
No
Webcam
No
No
12MP Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage
4K
Yes
No
Special Features
Mac mode, HotKey puck, KVM switch
Thunderbolt port, 600 nits brightness, integration with Mac keyboard
Face tracking, Studio-quality three-mic array
Supports HDR, Remote Control, Smart TV features
Mac keyboard integrations for controls
Supports HDR, LED Backlight
$1,099.99
$964.99
$1,499.00
$899.99
$1,599.95
$539.99
Amazon Prime
-
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
-
-
BenQ PD3225U 32 Inch 4K IPS Black UHD Thunderbolt Monitor for MacBook, AQCOLOR, 98% P3, 100% sRGB & Rec.709, DeltaE ≤2, Factory Calibration, USB-C 85W, USB Hub, Daisy Chain, KVM Switch
BenQ PD3225U 32 Inch 4K IPS Black UHD Thunderbolt Monitor for MacBook, AQCOLOR, 98% P3, 100% sRGB & Rec.709, DeltaE ≤2, Factory Calibration, USB-C 85W, USB Hub, Daisy Chain, KVM Switch
Screen Size
32 inch
Refresh Rate
60Hz
Pixels Per Inch (ppi)
140
Resolution
4K 3840 x 2160 pixels
Ports
2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-C ports, HDMI, DisplayPort
Brightness
400 nits
Color Support
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
Speakers
Yes
Webcam
No
Special Features
Mac mode, HotKey puck, KVM switch
$1,099.99
Amazon Prime
LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine 34" 21:9 5K 2K (5120 x 2160) Nano IPS LED UltraWide Monitor, 600 cd/m² HDR, Thunderbolt 3 / USB Type-C Inputs Black
LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine 34" 21:9 5K 2K (5120 x 2160) Nano IPS LED UltraWide Monitor, 600 cd/m² HDR, Thunderbolt 3 / USB Type-C Inputs Black
Screen Size
34 inch
Refresh Rate
60Hz
Pixels Per Inch (ppi)
163
Resolution
5K 5120 x 2160
Ports
Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, 3 USB-C
Brightness
600 nits
Color Support
DCI-P3 99% Color Gamut
Speakers
Yes
Webcam
No
Special Features
Thunderbolt port, 600 nits brightness, integration with Mac keyboard
$964.99
-
Apple Studio Display - Standard Glass - Tilt-Adjustable Stand
Apple Studio Display - Standard Glass - Tilt-Adjustable Stand
Screen Size
27 inch
Refresh Rate
60Hz
Pixels Per Inch (ppi)
218
Resolution
5K2K 5120 x 2880 Pixels
Ports
1 Thunderbolt 3 port, 3 USB-C ports
Brightness
600 nits
Color Support
One billion colors & P3 wide color
Speakers
Six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio
Webcam
12MP Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage
Special Features
Face tracking, Studio-quality three-mic array
$1,499.00
Amazon Prime
SAMSUNG 27" ViewFinity S9 Series 5K Computer Monitor, Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, Matte Display, 4K Slimfit-Camera, Slim Metal Design, AirPlay, Smart-TV Apps, Gaming Hub, LS27C900PANXZA, 2023
SAMSUNG 27" ViewFinity S9 Series 5K Computer Monitor, Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, Matte Display, 4K Slimfit-Camera, Slim Metal Design, AirPlay, Smart-TV Apps, Gaming Hub, LS27C900PANXZA, 2023
Screen Size
27 inch
Refresh Rate
60Hz
Pixels Per Inch (ppi)
218
Resolution
5K 5120 x 2880
Ports
1 Thunderbolt 4, 3 USB-C, 1 HDMI, Mini DisplayPort
Brightness
600 nits
Color Support
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
Speakers
2 x 5W
Webcam
4K
Special Features
Supports HDR, Remote Control, Smart TV features
$899.99
Amazon Prime
LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27" IPS LCD 5K UHD Monitor for Apple Mac
LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27" IPS LCD 5K UHD Monitor for Apple Mac
Screen Size
27 inch
Refresh Rate
60Hz
Pixels Per Inch (ppi)
218
Resolution
5K2K 5120 x 2880 Pixels
Ports
1 Thunderbolt 3 port, 3 USB-C ports
Brightness
500 nits
Color Support
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
Speakers
Yes
Webcam
Yes
Special Features
Mac keyboard integrations for controls
$1,599.95
-
Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit LCD IPS USB-C Monitor (7GZ651)
Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit LCD IPS USB-C Monitor (7GZ651)
Screen Size
27 inch
Refresh Rate
60Hz
Pixels Per Inch (ppi)
164
Resolution
4K 3480 x 2160
Ports
2 USB-C, 1 HDMI, 3 USB-A, DisplayPort
Brightness
350 nits
Color Support
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
Speakers
No
Webcam
No
Special Features
Supports HDR, LED Backlight
$539.99
-

Which Monitors Work Well With The Mac Studio?

Most monitors will work when plugged into Apple Silicon M1/M2 Macs such as the Mac Studio but some produce better quality than others.

Cheap Full HD (FHD) and even some Quad HD (QHD) monitors for example produce terrible image quality compared when connected to a Mac Studio screen and should definitely be avoided.

Some other key things to look for in the best Mac Studio compatible displays are:

  • Thunderbolt/USB-C or HDMI ports as the Mac Studio has 4 Thunderbolt/USB-C ports and one HDMI port to connect displays to
  • A resolution of at least 1080p
  • A refresh rate of at least 60Hz

One problematic issue for Mac users have been updates to macOS which sometimes break compatibility with external monitors on all Macs.

For example, there have been issues with some external monitors not working with macOS Sonoma, Ventura and Monterey although these are usually resolved via updates from Apple or firmware updates by monitor manufacturers.

These problems often occur when a new version of macOS is released like although Apple usually fixes them when it pushes out minor updates to macOS.

However, there have also been some issues with resolution scaling issues on external displays when connected to M1 & M2 Macs.

This is due to 5K scaling issues on non Apple displays when connected to a Mac but can be fixed simply by scaling down the resolution.

Most displays work well when connected to Apple Silicon Macs but you can find some ways to fix resolution issues on external displays here.

For more on connecting displays to a Mac Studio, check our guide on how to connect a monitor to a Mac Studio.

Mac Studio Monitor Connectivity & HDMI 2.1

The Mac Studio has the best external monitor support of any Mac with 5 external displays possible in total.

The Mac Studio with M1/M2 Max chip has 5 ports to connect monitors, 4 of which are Thunderbolt 4/USB-C and an HDMI port which you can connect to any TV as it supports both image and audio output.

In the Mac Studio with M1/M2 Ultra chip, there are 6 Thunderbolt ports as the two USB-C ports on the front are also Thunderbolt 4 compatible plus an HDMI port.

However, note that only the M2 Mac Studio supports the latest HDMI 2.1 standard as the M1 Mac Studio uses the older HDMI 2.0 standard instead.

This means that although you can get 4K resolution via the M1 Mac Studio’s HDMI port, you can’t get high refresh rates of 120Hz via HDMI.

HDMI 2.0 only supports a maximum display resolution of 3840 x 2160 with a 60Hz refresh rate.

HDMI 2.1 supports the same 3840 x 2160 resolution but at up to a 120Hz refresh rate and can also support resolutions of 7680 x 4320 at 60Hz.

Currently, HDMI 2.1 is only available in the latest M2 Mac Studio, M2 Mac Mini and M2 MacBook Pros.

The good news is that both the M1 and M2 Mac Studio can can support up to 4 external monitors via Thunderbolt (or 5 via Thunderbolt if you have the Mac Studio with M1/M2 Ultra chip) including 4 Apple Pro XDR displays at 6K resolution which should be more than enough for most professionals.

The Mac Studio can also handle Ultrawide monitors including 34-inch, 38-inch and the biggest 49-inch displays.

The Mac Studio is available with both the M1/M2 Max and M1/M2 Ultra chip but neither chip affects which monitors or displays it can support.

Can You Use An iMac As A Monitor For The Mac Studio?

If you’ve for an old iMac lying around, you can use an iMac as an external display for the Mac Studio but it’s not as straightforward as it should be.

The latest iMacs support up to 5K resolution which is the same as the Apple Studio Display so in theory, it would make perfect sense to use an old iMac with the Mac Studio.

However, Apple dropped what’s known as Target Display Mode for retina Macs like the iMac back in 2014 which previously allowed you to use an iMac as an external monitor with another Mac.

There are still ways to use an iMac as a monitor but there are very few that support 5K resolution reliably and our advice is you’re much better off getting a dedicated external monitor.


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