Thunderbolt monitors are positioned in the higher price range of top-rated monitors. Consequently, they provide high image quality, exceptional color reproduction, and quick response times.
Even though it may not be essential, you will discover that the best Thunderbolt displays provide 4K resolution and exceptional color accuracy.
Additionally, your Thunderbolt monitor is expected to have daisy-chaining capabilities, enabling you to set up a multi-monitor configuration with a single connection to your computer. This feature promotes improved cable management and a simpler setup process.
In this article, we will provide you with more insights into the best Thunderbolt monitors and how they enhance your computer or laptop experience with their user-friendly and immersive visual performance.
- Best Thunderbolt 4 Laptops
- Top Thunderbolt Gaming Laptops for Ultimate Performance
- Best Affordable Thunderbolt Monitors: Unveiling the Cheapest Monitors
- Best Thunderbolt Monitors for Mac
What are Thunderbolt Monitors?
A Thunderbolt monitor, often considered one of the top-rated monitors for Macbook Pro, serves as an extended display option for your computer or laptop, utilizing a specific type of display cable known as a Thunderbolt cable. This cable not only enables display transmission but also facilitates power delivery. As a result, Thunderbolt monitors are among the best choices for connecting to leading WiFi picture frames.
For desktop computer users, having at least one monitor is essential for viewing their work. On the other hand, laptop users can utilize an external monitor as a secondary display or even as their primary display when the laptop is closed. A Thunderbolt display can fulfill this role of an external monitor.
However, Thunderbolt 4 displays offer even better performance, as they can support two 4K displays or a single 8K display. If you don’t necessarily require an additional display but need a Thunderbolt port, there are dock stations that provide this connector option. The more expensive dock stations generally offer more ports, but if you desire a Thunderbolt 4 dock at an affordable price, the number of Thunderbolt ports may be limited.
Your Thunderbolt display model should offer smooth compatibility and easy connectivity with both Apple computers and the few Windows PCs that are gradually embracing Thunderbolt connectivity.
Best Thunderbolt Monitors
Our top pick is the LG 27-inch Ultrafine UHD Computer Monitor, known for its stunning 4K UHD resolution, rich HDR10 colors, and wide viewing angles, providing a personal theater experience at your desk. It offers Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C connectivity, ensuring seamless connections with modern laptops and desktops for a high-resolution experience.
With its vivid images, IPS display, and VESA DisplayHDR 400, the LG Ultrafine UHD monitor revolutionises gaming and creativity. During frantic gaming or video playing, AMD FreeSync technology reduces screen tearing and stuttering, resulting in fluid and immersive images.
The USB-C port on the monitor offers simple and flexible connectivity, making it simple to connect smartphones, computers, or tablets with only one cable, streamlining setup and minimising cable clutter.
- Impressive 4K UHD resolution
- Great port selection
- Wide color gamut
- Develops dead pixels frequently
We appreciate the Dell UltraSharp UP2720Q for its impressive ergonomics, as its stand allows swivel adjustments, height, pivot, and tilt. Users also have the choice to purchase a shade hood to lessen glare and reflections, further improving the use of the display.
The Dell UltraSharp UP2720Q is an ideal choice for office use, boasting super accurate 4K resolution and scheduled automatic color calibrations. The 27-inch screen fits well in compact spaces, and with a contrast ratio of 1300:1, it accurately represents black and white colors. Users can purchase a quick and easy-to-attach hood to minimize glare and reflections. However, some users have noted that the brightness levels may be insufficient for a professional monitor.
The Ultra 4K display’s 163 PPI pixel density offers unparalleled picture quality. Its four USB ports and two Thunderbolt ports provide customers with several connecting choices.
- To lessen glare and reflections, owners can purchase an easy-to-attach hood.
- Enhanced ergonomics
- outstanding image quality
- For a professional monitor, the brightness is insufficient.
The LG 32UL950-W 32-inch Class Ultrafine 4K UHD Computer Monitor is highly regarded for its excellent picture quality, extensive port selection, and impressive adjustability. It also offers gaming-oriented features, making it suitable for competitive players.
This 32-inch LG monitor delivers pristine picture quality with its 4K resolution and up to 98% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut, ensuring excellent color accuracy. It supports HDR technology for an ultra-realistic viewing experience. The height, pivot, and tilt adjustable stand allow users to adjust the display according to their preferences. The monitor offers a wide range of ports, including two Thunderbolt ports, two USB ports, a DisplayPort, and an HDMI port. However, some users have noted that the viewing angles are not the best.
With its super slim top and side bezels, the LG 32UL950-W has an immaculate appearance in any office setting. Access to modifications for volume, brightness, and picture mode is made simple by the on-screen control settings. With features like the Black Stabiliser for better visibility in dark scenes, Radeon FreeSync technology for synchronised frame rates, and Dynamic Action Sync mode to eliminate input lag, this monitor is excellent for gamers.The vibrant colors and great visuals also make it suitable for viewing images or videos.
- Impressive selection of ports.
- Great ergonomics
- Supports HDR content
- There may not be the optimal viewing angles.
The SAMSUNG TU872 Series 32-Inch Viewfinity 4K Computer Monitor stands out for its wide range of inputs, offering expanded connectivity, and its great ergonomics, providing easy adjustability. The display also delivers super-accurate color. However, it only has a 60Hz refresh rate, which may be considered a drawback for some users.
The 32-inch SAMSUNG TU872 monitor is an outstanding UHD display with support for HDR10 content and a 250-nit brightness level. Factory calibrated for excellent color quality, its tilt, swivel, pivot, and height-adjustable stand allows users to customize the viewing angle according to their preferences. The 4-side frameless design gives it a modern look, and its 100% coverage of the sRGB color scale ensures exceptional picture quality.
With multiple connectivity options, including three USB ports, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2 port, and two HDMI 2.0 ports, the monitor offers versatile connectivity. Its UHD resolution delivers clear images, and the eye saver mode, along with Flicker-Free technology, reduces blue light levels and minimizes eye strain, making it ideal for extended use during long working hours.
- Numerous port options
- Superior ergonomics
- Precise color
- 60Hz refresh rate only
The BenQ PD3220U 32-inch 4K IPS Computer Monitor, our third pick, excels in color-critical work and offers support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology. Its eye-related technologies make it comfortable for long-term viewing.
The BenQ PD3220U is a high-end 4K display renowned for its excellent picture quality and stunning color representation, with 100% coverage of the sRGB color gamut. Its support for 10-bit color and HDR10 content delivers vivid and ultra-realistic visuals.
The monitor’s Calmone/Pantone verification ensures precision for color-critical tasks. It has an Animation Mode with the perfect contrast balance for animators, as well as a Darkroom Mode for remarkable brightness and contrast in dark environments. After prolonged use, some customers, however, have complained of flickering problems.
For users who spend extended hours on the monitor, it offers eye-care technologies such as a low blue light mode to filter out harmful light. The Thunderbolt 3 port allows combined audiovisual and power transmission, and the Keyboard Video Mouse (KVM) switch enables content control on two screens with one keyboard and one mouse.
- HDR content support
- outstanding colour accuracy
- Stunning image quality due to 4K resolution
- Screen flickering reports
The Apple 32-inch Pro Display XDR with Retina 6K Display Computer Monitor is highly praised for its excellent picture quality, exceptional color accuracy, and wide viewing angles. However, it lacks a stand, which is a drawback.
The Apple Pro Display XDR offers a mind-blowing picture quality with its 6K resolution, rendering up to 1.07 billion colors, and peak brightness level of 1600. Its wide quad high-definition screen ensures stunning visuals. However, some users have noted the absence of a stand as a downside.
The monitor provides good adjustability, being height, swivel, and tilt adjustable. It supports HDR technology, delivering exceptional color and contrast for vivid visuals. There is one Thunderbolt port, three USB-C ports and one HDMI port for charging or syncing. The IPS display offers wide viewing angles, and with an outstanding 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, it ensures deep blacks and bright whites for an immersive viewing experience.
- outstanding image quality
- outstanding colour accuracy
- Viewing angles are wide.
- It lacks a stand.
Is a Thunderbolt Monitor Necessary?
Thunderbolt monitors offer enhanced user-friendliness, superior performance, and improved image quality. While they come at a higher cost compared to cheaper alternatives, investing in a Thunderbolt monitor ensures a better product experience. For a selection of the top Thunderbolt monitors of 2023, refer to our list.
Is Buying a Thunderbolt Monitor Worth It?
Consider the following factors to determine if a Thunderbolt monitor is right for you:
Users of Apple Computers
Most modern Apple devices, such as MacBook Pro, iMac, and Studio Display, come with Thunderbolt ports.
Connecting a Thunderbolt display to your Apple computer results in a seamless and user-friendly setup. The Apple Studio Display even includes a pluggable Thunderbolt cable, making it an appealing choice with both port and cable options.
If you own a Mac Mini, using a Thunderbolt display as your Mac Mini monitor simplifies external device connection. You can envision connecting 15-inch MacBook Pros to your Thunderbolt monitor, creating a convenient combination of monitor and laptop.
Thunderbolt monitors facilitate straightforward configuration and installation, especially for multi-monitor setups. Simply connect the first monitor to your computer and then link subsequent monitors to the first using compatible Thunderbolt cables.
For connecting various devices with Thunderbolt adapters, ensure your monitor has extra Thunderbolt ports. For optimal and seamless desktop setup, use the best dual monitor arm for dual monitors.
High Image Quality
Thunderbolt cables are designed to transfer maximum display data, making them ideal for 4K screen resolutions. If exceptional image quality is crucial, a Thunderbolt monitor delivers it.
Reasons a Thunderbolt Monitor May Not Suit You
- Budget Constraints: Thunderbolt monitors generally fall on the higher end of the price range. If you have budget limitations, a Thunderbolt monitor may not be the ideal choice for you.
- Windows PC Users: The vast majority of Windows computers lack compatibility with Thunderbolt displays. If you own a Windows PC, verify its compatibility with Thunderbolt displays before making a purchase.
How Durable Is a Thunderbolt Monitor?
Thunderbolt monitors are typically available as flatscreen options, using either LCD or LED panel technology. According to experts, an LCD monitor is expected to last anywhere between 30,000 to 60,000 hours, while an LED monitor can last anywhere between 80,000 to 120,000 hours.
Choosing the Best Thunderbolt Monitor
Selecting the best Thunderbolt monitor involves identifying features that cater to your specific needs. This guide will help you determine those requirements and find the ideal monitor.
Ask yourself the following questions to guide your Thunderbolt monitor purchase and narrow down your choices:
Do you require additional peripherals to connect to your Thunderbolt monitor?
Many Thunderbolt computer monitors come with extra input ports and features beyond the Thunderbolt port. The choice of features largely depends on your intended use of the monitor.
Keep an eye out for built-in speakers, adjustability options, USB ports, and a built-in webcam. Some monitors may also include a headphone jack, providing direct plug-in for headphones. For those seeking a monitor with an integrated webcam, our guide on great monitors with a webcam may be helpful.
What display technology should your Thunderbolt monitor use?
Most Thunderbolt monitors utilize LED display technology, a type of LCD technology. LED stands for light-emitting diode, referring to the monitor’s backlighting. In contrast, LCD monitors use fluorescent lamps, while LED monitors feature smaller, individual lights.
We recommend opting for an LED Thunderbolt monitor as it typically offers a better contrast ratio, more accurate colors, and a sleeker design. However, note that LED monitors often come with a higher price tag compared to LCD monitors.
Additionally, consider the panel type your monitor uses. The main types are:
- Twisted Nematic (TN) panels: These are among the most reasonably priced monitors on the market and provide the quickest response times, making them appropriate for competitive gamers. Narrow viewing angles, however, could be difficult for TN panels. The liquid crystals in a TN monitor bend light as it travels through the monitor.
- Vertical Alignment (VA) panel: VA panels offer good all-around displays with broad colour gamuts and wide viewing angles. Due to their marginally slower response times, they might not be the ideal option for gaming. When actuated, the liquid crystals in VA panels align activated.
- In-plane switching (IPS) panel: Because of their superior colour accuracy, wide viewing angles, and quick response times, IPS panels are regarded as the best monitors available. For gamers and content makers who need constant colour reproduction, such as video editors, IPS monitors are excellent. Better picture quality is achieved by the liquid crystals’ constantly pattern shifting in IPS monitors.
Do you prefer a curved or ultrawide configuration for your Thunderbolt monitor?
Certain Thunderbolt monitors offer ultrawide configurations or curved monitor designs. Opting for an ultrawide monitor grants you a 21:9 aspect ratio, facilitating multitasking by allowing easy side-by-side window placement.
On the other hand, a Thunderbolt monitor with a curved screen offers a more immersive visual experience. The curvature reduces the need to turn your head extensively to see the entire screen.
What image quality aspects are crucial for a Thunderbolt monitor?
A Thunderbolt display should offer a high level of picture quality, and these are the key features to consider:
- Color accuracy: Thunderbolt monitors generally offer accurate color reproduction, featuring a wide color gamut and a good brightness range, making them suitable for creative professionals.
- Screen size: The majority of Thunderbolt monitors are between 24 and 27 inches in size. We advise staying within this size range and spending money on a top-notch 27-inch monitor. An ultrawide screen, as opposed to a smaller laptop screen, can be more productive for video editing work. However, gamers or content creators like video editors may demand additional screen space.
- Resolution: For optimal Thunderbolt display performance, consider purchasing an option with a 4K screen resolution. While Thunderbolt monitors typically offer ultra HD resolution, you may find some products with a 5K screen resolution.
Are you planning to use your Thunderbolt monitor for gaming?
Due to its exceptional image quality, a Thunderbolt monitor is an outstanding choice for gaming purposes. If gaming is your focus, consider looking for the following features:
Refresh rate: A fast refresh rate allows your monitor to update with new images quickly, reducing motion blur and enhancing the gaming experience. While standard monitors typically offer a 60Hz refresh rate, gaming monitors should have at least a 120Hz refresh rate, sometimes referred to as frame rate.
Input lag: A low input lag means your monitor can respond swiftly to mouse and keyboard inputs, crucial for gaming. Look for a monitor with a 1ms response time for an optimal gaming experience.
Adaptive sync compatibility: Adaptive sync technology enables your computer monitor to synchronize with your computer’s graphics card, matching refresh rates and providing a seamless gaming experience. Seek monitors with Nvidia G-Sync compatibility or AMD FreeSync compatibility. Alternatively, if you’re interested in playing computer games with your monitor, consider the best triple monitors for sim racing.