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If you’re looking for the best Mac compatible monitor for a Mac Mini, here we look at the best external displays for the Mac Mini including the both Intel Mac Minis and the latest M2 and M2 Pro Mac Mini.

The Mac Mini is a favorite with many graphic designers, video editors and music producers on a budget because it’s one of the cheapest Macs on the market.

Apple even dropped the price of the new 2023 M2 Mac Mini by $100 compared to the previous M1 Mac Mini making it even more attractive.

However, since the Mac Mini doesn’t come with a display included, you need to buy an external display separately.

Here we’ve looked at the best external monitors for the Mac Mini including best 4K and best 5K monitors for all budgets.

Can You Use Any Monitor With The Mac Mini?

best monitor m1 mac mini - ports

As long as the monitor has a USB-C/Thunderbolt port (indicated by the lightening bolts) or HDMI port (which almost all displays have at least one of nowadays) it will work with any Mac Mini including the Intel and M1, M2 and M2 Pro Mac Mini.

This means you can use any non Apple monitor with a Mac Mini – it doesn’t have to be the Apple Studio Display.

Thunderbolt and USB-C use the same cables to connect to a Mac Mini and are generally preferable to HDMI for stability, ease of connection and image transfer speeds.

Thunderbolt and USB-C also support 5K displays with a Mac .

If you want to use the monitor with a MacBook Pro too, Thunderbolt and USB-C connections will also charge MacBooks while you use the monitor.

However, the upgraded HDMI 2.1 port in the latest M2 Mac Minis is considerably more powerful than in the previous M1 Mac Mini.

The HDMI 2.0 port in the M1 Mac Mini could only support a maximum of one 4K display at 60Hz but the upgraded HDMI 2.1 port in the M2 and M2 Pro Mac Mini supports one display at up to 8K at 60Hz or one display of 4K at up to 240Hz.

The HDMI port also means that you can easily connect a TV to a Mac Mini and use it as a display too. If the Mac Mini is connected to an Apple TV, you can also connect to a TV to a Mac Mini wirelessly via AirPlay.

Mac Minis also have an Ethernet port which allows you to connect over a network which is supported by some monitors such as the Dell UltraSharp U2723QE.

For more, check out our guide on how to connect a display to a Mac Mini.

How Many Displays Can I Connect To A Mac Mini?

The number of external monitors a Mac Mini can support depends on which model you have.

Here is a breakdown of how many external displays the different models of Mac Mini can support:

M1 Mac Mini:

connect external display mac mini m1

  • Up to two displays: One display up to 6K at 60Hz via a Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) port and one display up to 4K using the HDMI 2.0 port.

M2 Mac Mini

m2 mac mini external displays

  • Up to two displays: One display up to 6K at 60Hz via a Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) port one display with up to 5K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt or 4K resolution at 60Hz over HDMI

M2 Pro Mac Mini

m2 pro mac mini external monitors

The M2 Pro Mac Mini supports the following combination of external displays and specifications:

  • Up to three displays: Two displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz over HDMI.
  • Up to two displays: One display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz over Thunderbolt and one display with up to 4K resolution at 144Hz over HDMI
  • One display: Up to 8K resolution at 60Hz or 4K resolution at 240Hz over HDMI

If the display you want to connect to your Mac Mini only has a DVI or VGA ouput, you can also connect them to an M1/M2 Mac Mini using an adapter:

The M2 Pro Mac Mini clearly has the best support for external monitors.

There are ways of making the basic M1/M2 chip Macs support more external monitors but it depends on the resolution you need and you’ll require a Thunderbolt Hub, Docking Station or third party device.

Intel Mac Mini:

The Intel Mac Mini supports the following combination of displays:

  • Up to three displays:
    Two displays with 4096-by-2304 (4K) resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096-by-2160 resolution (4K) at 60Hz connected via HDMI
  • Up to two displays:
    One display with 5120-by-2880 (5K) resolution at 60Hz connected via Thunderbolt 3 plus one display with 4096-by-2160 (4K) resolution at 60Hz connected via HDMI

connect external display intel mac mini

Like with the Apple Silicon Mac Minis, if the display you want to connect to only has a DVI or VGA ouput, you can also connect them to an Intel Mac Mini using an adapter.

Note that as of 17th January 2023, Apple only stocks M2 Mac Minis from new. The M1 Mac Mini and Intel Mac Mini are only available as older refurbished models from Apple or from third party vendors such as Amazon.

You May Also Like:

With this in mind here are the best monitors for the Mac Mini including M2 Mac Mini of 2023:

1. Apple Studio Display (Best Overall)

best monitor for mac mini

It’s hard to argue against the 27 inch 5K Apple Studio Display being the best overall monitor for the Mac Mini.

It’s made by Apple, it works seamlessly with Macs and has the best color calibration of any monitor on the market.

The Apple Studio Display was released in March 2022 by Apple to go with the amazing new Mac Studio.

Although it’s not cheap at $1,499 it offers a much cheaper alternative to the Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR which costs an eye watering $4,999.

The Apple Studio Display supports a stunningly high 218 PPI and offers 5K2K resolution with a maximum resolution of 5120 x 2880.

This makes it easily the best 27 inch 5K monitor for the Mac Studio outside of the 5K 27 inch LG UltraFine.

However unlike the 5K 27 inch 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 which makes it a dream for graphic design.

The Apple Studio Display also has a 12 MegaPixel Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage thanks to a powerful internal A13 Bionic chip.

It also has a music studio quality three-mic array and a six speaker sound system with Spatial Audio which makes it definitely the best monitor for music production on a Mac.

Finally, the Apple Studio Display also comes with a tilt and height adjustable stand although you’ll have to add a VESA mount adapter if you want to add swivel to it.

If money is no object and you need a monitor with perfect color calibration and compatibility with a Mac, you can’t do better than the Apple Studio Display.

If the price is out of your budget, you can also check out our guide to the best Apple Studio Display alternatives for some cheaper options.

For more you can check out our full Apple Studio Display review.

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • The best affordable Apple display for the Mac Mini
  • Supports 5K
  • 3 Thunderbolt ports
  • Automatic sRGB color calibration
  • 12MP ultra-wide camera
  • Three-way microphone
  • 6 internal speakers

Cons:

  • Price
  • Maximum size is 27 inch

2. LG Monitor 27MD5KL-B Ultrafine 27″ (Best Apple Studio Display Alternative)

best alternative apple studio display mac mini

If you want a cheaper alternative to the Apple Studio Display 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 Mini 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.

Buy on Amazon

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)

3. LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine 34” (Best Ultrawide Monitor)

best ultrawide monitor mac mini

The 5K LG UltraFine 34 inch monitor is the best ultrawide monitor for the Mac Mini and features stunning 5K resolution and 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 series 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 when connected to the M2 Mac Mini.

One advantage of the 5K LG UltraFine 34 inch monitor is that it 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.

You can change the tilt and height on the stand that comes with the LG34BK95U-W UltraFine but you can only add swivel with a VESA stand mount connection.

In terms of ports, apart from the standard HDMI port 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 for the Mac Mini.

The refresh rate of the LG34BK95U-W UltraFine is 60hz but that’s about as good as you’ll find in an external monitor that’s compatible with Macs and good enough for most gaming.

There are even 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 even use a digital camera as a webcam.

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

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • 5K resolution with 5K2K support
  • 163 ppi
  • 3 USB-C ports plus HDMI and Thunderbolt port
  • Huge 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 integrated webcam

4. BenQ PD3220U 32 inch 4K Monitor IPS (Best 4K Monitor)

mac mini display for designers

The BenQ PD3220U is aimed at creative professionals and is easily one of the best 4K external monitors for the Mac Mini.

The BenQ is packed with ports and among them are a generous two Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-C ports, HDMI and DisplayPort.

This means it’s easy to daisy chain other monitors to the BenQ PD3220U and one of the ports will also charge your MacBook.

The BenQ PD3220U also has a special Mac mode to automatically optimize it for use with Mac Minis.

The BenQ PD3220U is an IPS monitor which means In-Plane Switching and uses liquid crystals in parallel to produce richer colors than most displays.

It supports P3 wide color gamut and HDR with a 60Hz refresh rate so it’s suitable 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 a convenient HotKey puck adjuster for controls, KVM switch, ability to hot-swap color profiles and even display two profiles at once.

The BenQ PD3220U has recently upgraded the firmware to support 60Hz refresh rates on M1/M2 Macs and updates to macOS Ventura and Monterey have also improved compatibility.

On the downside, the maximum brightness of 350 nits means it may not be bright enough for some in highly lit environments.

The BenQ PD3220U also has internal speakers but like most external displays, the quality is very poor and you’re much better off using external speakers or sound bar.

You can check out our full BenQ PD3220U review for more.

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • Mac mode for better compatibility with Macs
  • Fast user interface access via Hotkey Puck
  • Amazing color depth thanks to wide P3 color gamut
  • Thunderbolt 3 ports for daisy chaining other monitors
  • Lots of other port connections

Cons:

  • Lack of brightness
  • Internal speaker quality is poor
  • No integrated webcam

5. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD (Best Budget Monitor)

best budget monitor for mac mini

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

We think it’s certainly the best monitor for the Mac Mini under $500 although the price may fluctuate a touch above that at times.

The 4K display looks great connected to a Mac Mini 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 not even Apple’s own Apple Studio Display supports.

HDR, like Dolby Vision, makes bright and dark parts of an image incredibly intense and contrasted with whiter whites and blacker blacks.

The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q has two USB-C ports and one HDMI port so you can connect it easily to any Mac Mini although there’s no Thunderbolt port.

The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q has a stand that can swivel, pivot and adjust vertically which is another bonus as many external monitor stands don’t offer such flexibility.

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 to the Mac Mini.

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

Buy on Amazon

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

6. Asus ProArt PA279CV Display 4K (Best For Photo Editing)

best monitor for artists mac mini

If you need the best in color accuracy outside of Apple’s displays but are on a budget then the Asus ProArt Display is designed with photographers, graphic designers and drawing tablets in mind.

The Asus ProArt Display is available in sizes ranging from 27-inch to 34-inch and the Asus ProArt PA279CV supports 4K HDR UHD (3840 x 2160 resolution).

It also has an LED backlight display with an IPS 178° wide viewing angle panel.

The color accuracy is one of the best things about the Asus ProArt Display with a wide color gamut of 709 and Delta E < 2 color accuracy.

There’s also 2 HDMI 2.0 and a USB 3.1 hub to connect the Asus ProArt Display to a Mac Mini.

For video editors or gamers, there’s also Adaptive-Sync technology that adjusts automatically between 40Hz to 60Hz for animated content or fast action footage.

Asus also include ProArt Presets and ProArt Palettes that allow you to configure and save color settings depending on what you’re working on.

For more check out our full Asus ProArt Display 4K review.

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • Excellent color accuracy for this price range
  • 4K HDR support
  • Good value for money
  • High brightness levels
  • Available between 27 to 34 inches
  • Lots of presets for artists and graphic designers

Cons:

  • No real Adobe RGB support
  • Not suitable for fast gaming

7. Samsung 34 inch CJ791 Curved (Best Curved Display)

best curved monitor for mac mini

The Samsung 34-Inch CJ791 Ultrawide Curved Monitor was the first curved monitor with Thunderbolt 3 ports and we think it’s the best curved monitor for the Mac Mini.

It’s mainly designed for gaming with an incredibly high 100Hz refresh rate.

There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports which means you can connect not only a Mac Mini but also other Thunderbolt peripherals such as external Thunderbolt storage drives.

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 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.

Buy on Amazon

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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 Mini Comparison Table

To see how these displays compare in terms of specification and pricing, here’s a side-by-side comparison of the best monitors for the Mac Mini.

Apple Studio Display - Standard Glass - VESAMount Adapter
LG 27MD5KL-B 27 Inch UltraFine 5K (5120 x 2880) IPS Display with macOS Compatibility, DCI-P3 99% Color Gamut and Thunderbolt 3 Port, 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
BenQ PD3220U 32 Inch 4K IPS AQCOLOR Computer Monitor with Thunderbolt 3 for MacBook, HDR, Mac Monitor, Display P3, 95% DCI-P3, sRGB, Rec.709, Hotkey Puck G2, Daisy Chain, ICC Sync and Eye-Care Techy
Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit LCD IPS USB-C Monitor (7GZ651)
ASUS ProArt Display PA279CV 27” 4K HDR UHD (3840 x 2160) Monitor, IPS, 100% sRGB/Rec. 709, ΔE < 2, USB-C DisplayPort HDMI USB hub, Calman Verified, Eye Care, Tilt Pivot Swivel Height Adjustable
Apple Studio Display - Standard Glass - VESAMount Adapter
LG 27MD5KL-B 27 Inch UltraFine 5K (5120 x 2880) IPS Display with macOS Compatibility, DCI-P3 99% Color Gamut and Thunderbolt 3 Port, 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
BenQ PD3220U 32 Inch 4K IPS AQCOLOR Computer Monitor with Thunderbolt 3 for MacBook, HDR, Mac Monitor, Display P3, 95% DCI-P3, sRGB, Rec.709, Hotkey Puck G2, Daisy Chain, ICC Sync and Eye-Care Techy
Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit LCD IPS USB-C Monitor (7GZ651)
ASUS ProArt Display PA279CV 27” 4K HDR UHD (3840 x 2160) Monitor, IPS, 100% sRGB/Rec. 709, ΔE < 2, USB-C DisplayPort HDMI USB hub, Calman Verified, Eye Care, Tilt Pivot Swivel Height Adjustable
Screen Size
27 inch
27 inch
34 inch
32 inch
27 inch
27 inch
Refresh Rate
60Hz
60Hz
60Hz
60Hz
60Hz
60Hz
Pixels Per Inch (ppi)
218
218
163
140
164
163
Resolution
5K2K 5120 x 2880 Pixels
5K2K 5120 x 2880 Pixels
5K 5120 x 2160
4K 3840 x 2160 pixels
4K 3480 x 2160
4K 3840 x 2160
Ports
1 Thunderbolt 3 port, 3 USB-C ports
1 Thunderbolt 3 port, 3 USB-C ports
Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, 3 USB-C
2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, USB-C ports, HDMI, DisplayPort
2 USB-C, 1 HDMI, 3 USB-A, DisplayPort
USB-C, 2 HDMI, USB 3.1, DisplayPort
Brightness
600 nits
500 nits
600 nits
300 nits
350 nits
402 nits
Color Support
One billion colors & P3 wide color
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
DCI-P3 99% Color Gamut
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
Delta E < 2 color accuracy
Speakers
Six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Webcam
12MP Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage
Yes
No
No
No
No
Special Features
Face tracking, Studio-quality three-mic array
Mac keyboard integrations for controls
Thunderbolt port, 600 nits brightness, integration with Mac keyboard
Mac mode, HotKey puck, KVM switch
Supports HDR, LED Backlight
Color presets, ProArt Palletes
$1,599.00
$1,136.94
$1,069.95
$1,099.99
$482.64
$449.99
-
-
-
Apple Studio Display - Standard Glass - VESAMount Adapter
Apple Studio Display - Standard Glass - VESAMount Adapter
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
$1,599.00
LG 27MD5KL-B 27 Inch UltraFine 5K (5120 x 2880) IPS Display with macOS Compatibility, DCI-P3 99% Color Gamut and Thunderbolt 3 Port, Black
LG 27MD5KL-B 27 Inch UltraFine 5K (5120 x 2880) IPS Display with macOS Compatibility, DCI-P3 99% Color Gamut and Thunderbolt 3 Port, Black
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
$1,136.94
-
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
$1,069.95
-
BenQ PD3220U 32 Inch 4K IPS AQCOLOR Computer Monitor with Thunderbolt 3 for MacBook, HDR, Mac Monitor, Display P3, 95% DCI-P3, sRGB, Rec.709, Hotkey Puck G2, Daisy Chain, ICC Sync and Eye-Care Techy
BenQ PD3220U 32 Inch 4K IPS AQCOLOR Computer Monitor with Thunderbolt 3 for MacBook, HDR, Mac Monitor, Display P3, 95% DCI-P3, sRGB, Rec.709, Hotkey Puck G2, Daisy Chain, ICC Sync and Eye-Care Techy
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
300 nits
Color Support
DCI-P3 99% color gamut
Speakers
Yes
Webcam
No
Special Features
Mac mode, HotKey puck, KVM switch
$1,099.99
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
$482.64
-
ASUS ProArt Display PA279CV 27” 4K HDR UHD (3840 x 2160) Monitor, IPS, 100% sRGB/Rec. 709, ΔE < 2, USB-C DisplayPort HDMI USB hub, Calman Verified, Eye Care, Tilt Pivot Swivel Height Adjustable
ASUS ProArt Display PA279CV 27” 4K HDR UHD (3840 x 2160) Monitor, IPS, 100% sRGB/Rec. 709, ΔE < 2, USB-C DisplayPort HDMI USB hub, Calman Verified, Eye Care, Tilt Pivot Swivel Height Adjustable
Screen Size
27 inch
Refresh Rate
60Hz
Pixels Per Inch (ppi)
163
Resolution
4K 3840 x 2160
Ports
USB-C, 2 HDMI, USB 3.1, DisplayPort
Brightness
402 nits
Color Support
Delta E < 2 color accuracy
Speakers
No
Webcam
No
Special Features
Color presets, ProArt Palletes
$449.99

How To Choose A Monitor For The Mac Mini

There are a few things to be aware of and look for when choosing the most compatible external displays for the Intel Mac Mini and Apple Silicon Mac Mini M1/M2.

USB-C vs Thunderbolt

best monitor mac - thunderbolt ports

An important feature to look for is whether the monitor supports Thunderbolt and USB-C connections with your Mac Mini.

There’s a lot of confusion between USB-C and Thunderbolt because the cable and ports are exactly the same.

The only difference is that Thunderbolt cables and ports support faster transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps in Thunderbolt 4 which is important when it comes to transmitting extremely high quality images from your Mac Mini to the display.

Thunderbolt 4 also supports 10-bit color representation for the best quality color reproduction.

Almost all monitors support HDMI 2.0/2.1 and DisplayPort connections but an increasing number of monitors like the LG 27MD5KL-B UltraFine 27 inch now support Thunderbolt/USB-C which delivers a much faster refresh rate meaning a much better quality image for the naked eye.

If a monitor has more than one Thunderbolt port, you can also connect them together which is known as “daisy chaining” your monitors.

Note that most TVs will also connect to a Mac Mini via HDMI (or wirelessly via AirPlay with an Apple TV connected) but for external monitors we strongly recommend using a Thunderbolt connection.

The least preferable connection is a DisplayPort and if the monitor you want to connect your Mac Mini to only has a DisplayPort port, you’ll need to use a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter.

Refresh Rate

You should be looking for a refresh rate of at least 60Hz for the best quality images and you’ll definitely get this with either USB-C or Thunderbolt if the monitor supports it.

Most Mac Mini compatible Thunderbolt monitors support a 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.

For those that are serious gamers, the HDMI 2.1 port in the M2 Mac Pro Mac Mini supports up to 240Hz over HDMI at 4K but you’ll be hard pressed to find an external display that even supports 240Hz.

DPI/PPI

When buying an external monitor for your Mac Mini 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 16 inch M2 MacBook Pro Retina XDR display for example has a stunning resolution of 254 ppi which can handle 8K video. The only external monitor for the Mac Mini that comes close to that is the 6K Apple Pro XDR display which supports up to 218 ppi and starts at $4,999.

A more affordable Apple option is the Apple Studio Display which supports up to 218 ppi and starts at $1,499.

Most non-Apple displays have a DPI of less than 200 dpi but there are exceptions such as the LG 27MD5KL-B UltraFine 27 inch which supports 218 ppi.

Does The Mac Mini Support HDMI 2.1?

The latest M2 Mac Mini supports HDMI 2.1. One of the big upgrades in the new M2 Mac Mini was the addition of the HDMI 2.1 port.

Previously both the Intel Mac Mini and M1 Mac Mini only supported HDMI 2.0.

HDMI 2.0 supports up to 240 Hz when using 1080p resolution, 144 Hz at up to 1440p resolution, and 60 Hz at up to 4K resolution.

HDMI 2.1 supports 120 Hz at up to 4K resolution and 60 Hz at up to 8K resolution. If you use a lower resolution than 4K, HDMI 2.1 can even handle up to 240 Hz.

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

If you’ve for an old iMac lying around you can use an iMac as an external display for the Mac Mini – 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 is no method that supports 5K resolution reliably and our advice is you’re much better off getting a dedicated external monitor.

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 Mac Minis with both integrated speakers and a webcam is the Apple Studio Display.

With a 12MP face tracking camera and six high fidelty speakers, there’s simply no monitor on the market that can touch it in terms of webcam and sound.

Most external monitors have very poor integrated speakers and many don’t even have a webcam.

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 Mini.

About The Author

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2 Responses

  1. JOHN BAKER

    How about mentioning speakers and a camera in your reviews. Those are absolute necessities, IMO.

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      The best external monitor for Mac Minis with both integrated speakers and a webcam is easily the Apple Studio Display. Most brand monitors have very poor integrated speakers and most don’t have a camera apart from the LG UltraFine 27 inch. You’re much better off using external speakers and even a digital camera as a webcam in most cases.

      Reply

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