Apple MacBook Pro and MacBook Air work fine even when you use them with a monitor. As long as you have a USB-C adapter or hub or the right USB-C to HDMI cable, you will be able to connect your MacBook to an external monitor. The Apple MacBooks packs a USB-C Thunderbolt port that also supports Power Delivery. So it's a good idea to make the best of these features.
But, if you want a 'budget' or 'affordable' monitor, the scenario changes drastically. For instance, Thunderbolt monitors or 4K monitors are expensive and cost a north of $700.
Thankfully, there are good enough budget monitors out there that will work brilliantly with your Apple MacBook Pro or the MacBook Air. While we have tried to include as many USB-C monitors for seamless connectivity, there are a couple of non-USB-C displays. But let that not deter you from checking them out because the other features make up for it.
Let's check some of the best affordable monitors for the Apple MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. But first,
If you are looking to boost your productivity levels, there's nothing like an ultrawide display, and the LG 29WN600-W fits the requirement. The 29-inch 21:9 screen gives you ample screen real estate to go about your job. At the same time, the thin bezels along the sides help its case and make it easy to pair it with a second monitor.
It's one of the least expensive monitors on this list, and for the price, it delivers an impressive picture quality. At the same time, the IPS screen panel makes sure that you get vivid colors and wide viewing angles. If we talk numbers, the LG 29WN600-W can display 98.5% of the sRGB color spectrum.
At the same time, the panel is bright and can go up to 300cd/m2, which is more than sufficient for regular office work.
IF you have a secondary Windows laptop, you can take advantage of the Windows Snap feature. This one makes it easy and convenient to dock the open windows, thereby making it easy to work on multiple windows at the same time.
The ergonomics are fairly decent. Again it's a budget monitor, so you will have to give up on features such as height adjustments. It offers minimal tilt adjustments. But the good news is that you can mount it on a monitor arm. You also get a decent amount of ports. The lack of a dedicated USB-C port means you will have to take the aid of a USB-C hub or adapter to connect it to your Mac.
2. ASUS ProArt Display PA247CV Monitor
Resolution: 2560x1440| Size: 27-inch| Panel: IPS
Ports: 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x DisplayPort Out, 4 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB-C
If you are looking for a monitor for creative purposes within a certain budget, the ASUS ProArt Display PA278CV checks off the right boxes. This one is the successor to ProArt PA278QV and brings an interesting mix of features, including the handy USB-C port. At the same time, the USB-C port can supply power up to 65W, which makes it apt for charging the MacBook Air. And being created for creative professionals, you can expect rich and accurate colors from this 1440p screen.
However, that's not the only thing that's worth checking out. For one, this one has an above-standard refresh rate of 75Hz. This translates into smooth scrolling while going through long web pages. Plus, you can also expect movies and videos to be smooth.
Last but not least, the 27-inch display is more than sufficient to run multiple windows side by side, provided the app supports it. And on the off-chance that you'd connect it to a Windows laptop, you can reap maximum benefits from the DisplayPort Out port. With it, you can daisy chain multiple monitors, thereby reducing cable clutter.
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3. HP E24u G4 USB-C Monitor
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 | Size: 24-inch | Panel: IPS
USB-C: Yes (100 W)
Ports: 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2 Out, 1 x USB-C downstream, 4 x USB 3.1 downstream
If a business monitor is more of your cup of tea, then the HP E24u is worth checking out. This 24-inch monitor bundles an FHD screen and is adequate for regular office work. But the feature that helps it stand apart from the rest is its support for 100W charging power. So yeah, you needn't connect a separate power cable to juice your laptop. Plus, it bundles a built-in USB-C hub which lets you connect several peripherals and accessories. It helps to transfer data to external storage.
Surprisingly, the HP E24u has a wide array of ports. Apart from the USB-C ports, there are HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. So you can connect Windows desktop or an older laptop with it as well.
As noted earlier, this monitor is designed for regular business work and is not meant for color-critical work. However, you can dabble with casual photo editing from time to time.
4. LG 27UK650-W UHD Monitor
Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Size: 27-inch| Panel: IPS
Ports: 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x 3.5mm
If you want a 4K monitor to connect to your Apple MacBook and do not want to spend as much, then the LG 27UK650 proves to be a good pick. For the price, it checks off all the right boxes. For one, the IPS panel gets you vibrant picture quality. The details appear sharp and clear, thereby staying true to its 4K monitor tag. At the same time, you can use it for color-sensitive work as well. It can display 99% of the sRGB color spectrum.
It has a premium look, all thanks to the slim bezels and the curved monitor stand. The stand is ergonomic, and you will be able to adjust the height by around 100 mm. The viewing angle is decent at 178-angle, and if you have to share your screen with your colleagues from time to time, it shouldn't be an issue.
The affordable price tag means you will have to give up on some features and in this case, it's the HDR. Though it supports HDR 10, the resulting picture quality when playing HDR quality leaves a little to be desired. The lack of local dimming and the low brightness ceiling may not deliver dark or deep color like its premium counterparts and can result in washed-out colors at times.
Here too, you do not get a USB-C port. Instead, you get to pick from dual HDMI 2.0 ports and a DisplayPort 1.2. Without a dedicated USB-C port, you will have to rely on the good old USB-C adapter to connect your Mac to the display.
The Dell U2520DR costs a little more than the monitors above. However, it brings an interesting set of features to the table. Though it may not have a 4K panel, the 1440p display delivers sharp and vivid picture quality. At the same time, you can use this monitor for the occasional color-critical work, thanks for its support for a wide color gamut (99% sRGB). The price does justice to the dynamic range and the odds are that you will love the outcome.
It's a USB-C monitor and bundles two USB-C ports, and one of them can provide 90W of power. Moreover, since it supports DisplayPort over USB-C, the same port can also deliver the video signal. Cool, right?
Apart from that, you also get a wide variety of ports, including nifty UBS-A ports to connect your peripherals. Another highlight of the Dell U2520DR is its ergonomics. For example, you can adjust the height (5.1-inch), and tilt and rotate the display per your preference.
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The Second Eye
When you get an external display for your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, do get a laptop riser to go with it. With both the screens at the same level, you will be able to work more efficiently. And trust me, your neck will thank you. Alternatively, you can take the deal even further by mounting it on a desk mount (provided the monitor has VESA compatible mounts).
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