If you’re looking for an external monitor for your Mac Studio, with M1 Max or M1 Ultra chip, here we’ve taken a look at the best monitors for the Mac Studio of 2022.
Like the Mac Mini, the Mac Studio doesn’t come with an external display included so you have to buy one separately.
The Mac Studio was released at the same time as the amazing new Apple Studio Display which is designed to perfectly complement the Mac Studio.
However, it’s not cheap at $1,599 so here we’ve looked at it along with the best alternatives to the Apple Studio Display for the Mac Studio.
In our research, we found the superb 5K LG 34 inch UltraFine is the best monitor for the Mac Studio as an alternative to the Apple Studio Display.
Although all of the monitors reviewed here also work perfectly well with all types of Macs, we also recommend checking out our guide to the best displays for the Mac Mini and best monitors for the MacBook Pro which includes the latest M1 and M2 chip MacBook Pros.
You May Also Like:
- Which Monitors Work Well With The Mac Studio?
- Mac Studio Monitor Connectivity & HDMI 2.1
- Can You Use An iMac As A Monitor For The Mac Studio?
- 1. LG 34BK95U-W 5K UltraFine 34”
- 2. Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR
- 3. Apple Studio Display
- 4. LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27″
- 5. BenQ PD3220U 32 inch 4K Monitor IPS
- 6. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD
- 7. Samsung 34 inch CJ791 Curved
- Best Monitors For Mac Studio Compared
- What To Look For In The Best Mac Studio Displays
- USB-C vs Thunderbolt
- 4K vs 5K vs 6K
- Speakers & Webcams In External Monitors
Which Monitors Work Well With The Mac Studio?
Most monitors will work when plugged into Apple Silicon M1 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.
We’ve therefore excluded all FHD monitors as they simply do not provide good image quality when connected to a Mac Studio.
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 to connect displays to
- A resolution of at least 1080p as this is the Mac Studio’s native resolution
- A refresh rate of at least 60Hz
- Compatibility with the Mac Studio’s AMD Radeon Pro 580X graphics card
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 Monterey although these are usually resolved via updates from Apple or firmware updates by monitor manufacturers.
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.
Mac Studio Monitor Connectivity & HDMI 2.1
The latest 2022 Mac Studio has the best external monitor support of any Mac with 5 external displays possible in total.
The Mac Studio has 5 ports to connect monitors, 4 of which are Thunderbolt 4/USB-C and an HDMI port which you can connect any TV to as it supports both image and audio output.
However, unfortunately the HDMI port in the Mac Studio doesn’t support the latest HDMI 2.1 standard as it uses the older HDMI 2.0 standard instead.
This means that although you can get 4K resolution via the 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.
The good news is that the Mac Studio can can support up to 4 external monitors via Thunderbolt 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 Max and M1 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 Apple 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.
With this in mind here then are the best monitors for the Mac Studio of 2022.
1. LG 34BK95U-W 5K UltraFine 34”
The 5K LG UltraFine 34 inch monitor is the best non-Apple monitor for the Mac Studio and features stunning 5K resolution with 163 pixels per inch (ppi).
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.
We think the 5K UltraFine is the best alternative to the Apple Studio Display and although it can’t come close to the Apple XDR Display, it’s a very economical alternative.
You can get full 5K 5120 x 2160 resolution (also known as 5K2K) with the LG 34BK95-W including on M1/M2 Macs and the Mac Studio which 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.
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.
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.
The refresh rate of the LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine is 60hz which that’s about as good as you’ll find in an external monitor that’s compatible with the Mac Studio and good enough for gaming.
There are 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.
- 5K resolution with 5K2K support
- 163 ppi
- 3 USB-C ports plus Thunderbolt port
- Huge screen estate
- 3 year LG guarantee
- Sound or brightness can’t be controlled from Mac keyboard
- Swivel requires mounting a stand
- No internal webcam
2. Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR
Easily the best Apple monitor for any Mac including the Mac Studio is the amazing 6K Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR.
There’s nothing else on the market that can match the 6K 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.
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.
- By far the best external monitor for all Macs including Mac Studio
- 6K resolution
- 4 Thunderbolt 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
- Stand is sold separately
- No integrated speakers
- No integrated camera
The Apple Studio Display was released on 13th March 2022 by Apple to go with the Mac Studio and offers a much cheaper alternative to the Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR.
Although it can’t compare with the XDR display, the Apple Studio Display is easily the second best external monitor for Macs and starts at just $1,599 compared to $4,999 for the Pro XDR display.
Like the Pro XDR, the Apple Studio Display supports 218 PPI although it can only handle a maximum 5K 5120 x 2880 resolution compared to 6K in the XDR.
It also only supports 600 nits of brightness compared to 1600 in the XDR which although impressive, is not quite enough for professional video editors that need the added brightness to reach HDR during video playback.
It does however have the same True Tone Anti Reflective Coating and is available with nano-texture glass like the XDR.
There are also 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.
It also has a 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 you check out our full Apple Studio Display review.
- Much cheaper alternative to the XDR Pro
- Supports 5K
- Six speaker surround system
- 3 Thunderbolt ports
- 12MP camera
- Three-way microphone
- No 6K support
- 600 nits brightness support compared to 1600 in Pro XDR
- Maximum size is 27 inch
4. LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27″
The LG 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27 inch monitor is marketed at all Apple Mac users as it offers excellent compatibility and quality compared to most when used with a Mac including the Mac Studio.
Highlights of the LG 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27 inch monitor include:
- 5K UHD 5120 x 2880 Resolution with 16:9 Aspect Ratio – 500nits Brightness
- 27 Inch Wide-Screen Flat-Panel IPS Monitor – DCI-P3 99% Color Gamut
- The monitor features both a built-in camera and a speaker
- Thunderbolt 3 Port with up to 94W Power Delivery – 3 x USB Type C Ports
The LG UltraFine 5K display is over 50% bigger than a 4K display with a maximum of 218 PPI which is the same as both the Apple Pro XDR display and Apple Studio display.
The LG UltraFine 5K display supports P3 gamut & 500 nits of brightness which is only 100 nits lower than the Apple Studio Display.
The Thunderbolt 3 connection can transmit 5K video, audio and data simultaneously to the Mac Studio.
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 on a Mac Studio.
You can read our full LG 27MD5KL-B 5K UltraFine 27″ monitor review for more.
- 5K quality resolution
- Wide P3 gamut
- 218 PPI
- Built-in web camera
- Built-in speakers
- Supports volume and brightness control from Mac
- Internal speaker quality is poor
- Webcam quality isn’t great
- Doesn’t support High Dynamic Range (HDR)
5. BenQ PD3220U 32 inch 4K Monitor IPS
The BenQ has not only a Thunderbolt 3 port but also a USB-C port and a DisplayPort port.
The BenQ PD3220U is an IPS monitor which means In-Plane Switching and uses liquid crystals in parallel to produce richer colors.
It supports P3 wide color gamut and HDR with a 60Hz refresh rate so it’s ideal for digital work including Adobe’s RGB profile.
The wide P3 gamut of the BenQ PD3220U is ideal for working with Adobe RGB profiled images and RAW photos which covers Rec BT 709 although not up to Rec BT2020.
Other highlights of the BenQ PD3220U include puck adjuster for controls, KVM switch, ability to hot-swap color profiles and display two profiles at once.
The BenQ PD3220U has recently upgraded the firmware to support 60Hz refresh rates on M1 Macs and updates to macOS Monterey have also improved compatibility.
On the downside, the viewing angle is a little narrow although not bad for a 32 inch monitor. The glass finish also suffers from glare in bright sunlight although as long as you avoid this, it’s fine.
The BenQ PD3220U does have internal speakers but the quality is very poor and you’re much better off using external speakers.
Display Pilot also does not work on M1 Macs including the Mac Studio due to a lack of support for Rosetta in macOS.
- Wide P3 color gamut
- Easy to use, fast user interface
- Thunderbolt 3 port
- Lots of other ports
- Uses IPS for richer colors
- Internal speakers
- Viewing angle could be better
- Stand works nicely, no buttons or levels.
- Internal speaker quality is poor
6. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD
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.
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.
- Lots of ports for connectivity
- Great crisp 4K quality images
- Excellent color gamut
- Excellent value for money
- Brightness controls are poor
- No internal speakers
- No internal webcam
- No Thunderbolt port
7. Samsung 34 inch CJ791 Curved
The Samsung 34-Inch CJ791 Ultrawide Curved Monitor was the first curved monitor with Intel Thunderbolt 3 ports and is the best curved monitor for the Mac Studio.
It’s mainly designed for gaming with an incredibly high 100Hz refresh rate and for those that love gaming on curved screens, it’s easily the best curved monitor for the Mac Studio.
There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports which means it will also charge your MacBook Pro if you have one and also allow you to connect other Thunderbolt peripherals such as external storage drives and external graphics cards.
The Samsung CJ791 also supports daisy chaining Thunderbolt devices meaning you can connect them all together meaning you only need one Thunderbolt cable connected to your monitor.
The Samsung 34-Inch CJ791 Ultrawide Curved Monitor also includes DP, HDMI and USB ports.
The speakers in the CJ791 are also better than most. It includes a built-in 7-watt stereo speakers which are ideal for watching videos, films and gaming.
The curved 34 inch widescreen monitor is ultrawide which gives you the feel of two monitors in one in terms of screen estate.
It also has a contrast ratio of 3:1 compared to the 1:1 ratio of many monitors in this price range which gives crisp, clear contrast.
You can even enjoy Picture-in-Picture by displaying two sources of data on the display by resizing one of the sources up to 25% which you can place anywhere.
Initially you may find that text looks a little pixelated and jagged on the Samsung CJ791 Ultrawide Curved Monitor but if you switch Game Mode to “Always On”, it seems to fix the problem.
- 2 Thunderbolt ports
- Curved 34 inch display feels huge
- Good quality internal speakers
- Supports Picture-in-Picture
- 100Hz refresh rate ideal for gaming
- VESA mountable
- Supports daisy-chaining Thunderbolt devices
- Picture in Picture tricky to configure
- Large text can look pixelated without Game Mode on
- No integrated webcam
- QHD not as high quality as 5K
Best Monitors For Mac Studio Compared
If you’re still not sure which monitor to get for your Mac Studio here’s a side-by-side comparison of the best alternatives to the Apple Studio Display to help.
What To Look For In The Best Mac Studio Displays
If you’re still in doubt about what to look for in the best Mac Studio compatible monitors, here’s a more detailed look at what to consider.
When buying an external monitor for the Mac Studio one of the most important things to look out for is the Dots Per Inch (DPI) or Pixels Per Inch (PPI).
Technically, printed material resolution is measured in DPI and digital screen resolution in PPI but pixels and dots are virtually interchangeable.
A 300 PPI image on a screen will still be a 300 DPI image when printed.
The Apple Studio Display has a stunning resolution of 218 ppi which can handle 8K video and you simply won’t find an external monitor that can come close to that.
Even the very best non-Apple displays have a DPI of less than 200 dpi but we looked at monitors that offered the highest possible DPI/PPI for Mac Studio users.
USB-C vs Thunderbolt
Another important feature to look for is whether the monitor supports Thunderbolt and USB-C connections with the Macs Studio.
The Mac Studio has four Thunderbolt 4 ports which is the most number of Thunderbolt ports you’ll find on any Mac and great for those that want to connect multiple external monitors.
Thunderbolt and USB-C are interchangeable and you can connect Thunderbolt to USB-C and vice versa.
There’s often confusion between USB-C and Thunderbolt though because even though the cable and ports are exactly the same, there are different USB 3, 3.1, 3.2 and 4.0 designations within USB-C which perform differently.
The main difference is that Thunderbolt cables and ports are Apple specific and support faster transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps.
This is important when it comes to transmitting high quality images from your Mac to the display such as the 6K resolution of the Apple Pro Display XDR.
If you’ve also got a MacBook, Thunderbolt monitors will also charge your MacBook while connected which is a useful bonus.
Thunderbolt also supports 10-bit color representation for the best quality color reproduction.
Most monitors also support the older HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort connections but we strongly recommend choosing one with a USB-C or Thunderbolt port for the best performance.
USB-C and Thunderbolt also support higher refresh rates than HDMI 2.0 of at least 60Hz for the best quality images.
Most Mac Studio compatible Thunderbolt monitors support a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz although the Samsung 34-Inch CJ791 Ultrawide Curved Monitor has a refresh rate of 100Hz which is only really necessary for the demands of gaming.
If a monitor has more than one Thunderbolt or USB-C port, you can also connect them together which is known as “daisy chaining” your monitors.
4K vs 5K vs 6K
Apple is already way ahead of the game when it comes to monitors as it already supports 5K in the Apple Studio Display and 6K in the Apple Pro XDR display.
Most other external displays only support 4K although there are some models like the LG UltraFine 34 inch which supports 5K resolution.
Speakers & Webcams In External Monitors
If you need integrated speakers and a webcam with your external monitor then by far the best external monitor for the Mac Studio with both integrated speakers and a webcam is the Apple Studio Display.
However, many users have found that there have been issues with the Apple Studio Display audio failing intermittently although it’s likely Apple will address this in a software update for the monitor.
The problem is that most alternative monitors also have very poor integrated speakers and most don’t have a camera.
Our advice is to use external speakers with an external monitor and for the best quality webcam images, use a digital camera as a webcam with your Mac Studio.