5 Best Thunderbolt Monitors of 2019

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If you are currently in the market for a Thunderbolt Monitor you have probably discovered by now, that choosing one is actually quite a complicated process. With so many different options available it can be difficult to figure out exactly what you need.

This guide has been designed to help make the process a lot simpler. Firstly, we will discuss the most important aspects to consider when looking for a monitor, and then we will go on to look at the top Thunderbolt-enabled monitors on the market and compare their pros and cons.

Budget
best-budget-thunderbolt-monitor
LG 34UM88-P 34” 21:9 UltraWide Screen LED-Lit Monitor
4.3/5.0
Thunderbolt Type: Thunderbolt 2
Aspect Ratio: 21:9
This is the lowest price, ultrawide display.
Check Amazon
Best Value
best-value-thunderbolt-monitor
Samsung C34J791 34” QHD Ultrawide Curved Monitor
4.6/5.0
Thunderbolt Type: Thunderbolt 3
Aspect Ratio: 21:9
Well priced, Thunderbolt 3, excellent display.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-thunderbolt-monitor
LG 27MD5KB-B UltraFine 27″ 16:9 5K IPS Monitor
4.8/5.0
Thunderbolt Type: Thunderbolt 3
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Highest pixel density, superb color accuracy, includes a camera.
Check Amazon

What to look for in a Thunderbolt monitor








Thunderbolt Monitors Comparison Table

Make and ModelDisplayThunderbolt
Type
PortsAspect RatioPrice
Samsung
C34J791 34”
QHD
Ultrawide
Curved
Monitor
34”, 3440 x
1440, QHD
LCD
Thunderbolt 32 x
Thunderbolt
3, 1 x HDMI,
1 x
DisplayPort,
2 x USB 3.0,
1 x Audio
Jack
21:9Check Price
LG
27MD5KB-B
UltraFine 27″
16:9 5K IPS
Monitor
27”, 5120 x
2880, IPS
LED-lit LCD
Thunderbolt 31 x
Thunderbolt
3, 3 x USB-C
16:9Check Price
LG
34BK95U-W
UltraFine 34″
21:9 5K Nano
IPS LED
UltraWide
Monitor
34”, 5120 x
2880, IPS
LED-lit LCD
Thunderbolt 31 x
Thunderbolt
3, 2 x HDMI,
1 x
DisplayPort,
3 x USB, 1 x
Audio Jack
21:9Check Price
LG
34UM88-P
34” 21:9
UltraWide
Screen LED-
Lit Monitor
34”, 3440 x
1440, LED-lit
LCD
Thunderbolt 22 x
Thunderbolt
2, 2 x HDMI,
1 x
DisplayPort,
2 x USB
21:9Check Price
LG 34UC98-
W 34-Inch
21:9 Curved
UltraWide
QHD IPS
Monitor
34”, 3440 x
1440, IPS
LED-lit LCD
Thunderbolt 22 x
Thunderbolt
2, 1 x
DisplayPort,
2 x HDMI, 2 x
USB
21:9Check Price

1. Best Value: Samsung C34J791 34-inch QHD Ultrawide Curved Monitor

Samsung C34J791 34-inch QHD Ultrawide Curved MonitorView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The first entry on this list comes from Samsung. The C34J791 Ultrawide is currently the companies only Thunderbolt 3 monitor on the market but with Thunderbolt 3 set to only increase in popularity, this shouldn’t be the case for much longer.

Display

The display on this device is a 34”, 3440 x 1440, QHD LCD panel with an aspect ratio of 21:9. Although it isn’t OLED, the visuals it produces are stunning and the ultrawide design creates a very immersive experience when you get up close to it.

The reason this LCD is able to produce such great visuals is because it uses Quantum Dot technology. This technology supports 125% of the sRGB color space, meaning colors are brighter, crisper, and more natural. This display might not be OLED but with this technology, it is hard to tell the difference.

As good as the display is though, it is not 4k. This might not be an issue for you, but nowadays many people see 4k as a must-have. The truth is though, that with a monitor of this size, you aren’t likely to notice much of a difference between 4k and the resolution of this device.

The response time is also a very respectable 4ms. This isn’t amazing by any means, however, it shouldn’t cause too much of an issue for you unless you are a serious gamer. If you do wish to use this monitor for gaming, then just be aware that you might notice some input lag with certain games.

I/O

The monitor comes with seven ports in total. These include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one HDMI ports, one DisplayPort, two USB 3.0 ports, and an Audio Jack. this is a decent selection of ports and you shouldn’t run into many issues when it comes to connecting other devices.

It is also really good to see multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports on this device as this is something that not all monitors have. A second Thunderbolt 3 port gives you the option of connecting a number of other devices including a dock, which could be useful to you if you use a lot of different devices on a daily basis.

It also means that this device is fairly futureproofed as the USB-C connector used by Thunderbolt 3 will likely be around for years to come. It is currently in the latter part of its adoption phase right now, but in a few years, USB-C will be commonplace.

Other features

There are a couple of other features on this device including stereo speakers and the option to mount the monitor on a wall. This isn’t the widest range of features seen on a monitor but at least it includes the most important ones.

The speakers aren’t going to be the best you’ve heard as monitor speakers never are but they are decent and unless you are serious about your audio, you should be pretty pleased with them.

You might not intend on mounting the monitor on a wall but this is a feature that most high-end monitors should include. Monitors are getting bigger and bigger and, therefore, taking up more space on desks. The option to mount a monitor solves this problem as it removes the monitor from your desk entirely.

If you intend on using the stand instead then you will be pleased to know that this monitor includes a very good one. It has excellent levels of adjustability and the monitor also has a high degree of tilt, meaning that almost any viewing angle desired should be possible.

As a monitor it is excellent. It does lack a few features that can be found on other monitors though such as a camera and microphone. It also isn’t quite 4k, although the resolution is still very high and the image quality is outstanding.

amazon

Tech Specs
Thunderbolt Type: Thunderbolt 3
Display: 34”, 3440 x 1440, QHD LCD
I/O: 2 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x Audio Jack
Other Features: Dual 7w stereo speakers, Wall mount
The Pros
Fastest connection type available
40 Gbps bandwidth
High resolution
Large screen
Ultrawide
Plenty of ports
Multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports
Thunderbolt 3 ports are also USB-C
Includes built-in speakers
Can be wall mounted
The Cons
Not 4k
Ultrawide isn’t always preferred
No camera
No microphone

2. Top Pick: LG 27MD5KB-B UltraFine 27″ 16:9 5K IPS Monitor

LG 27MD5KB-B UltraFine 27View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

LG are major players when it comes to monitors and they have been known for producing some of the best displays for many years now. The LG Ultrafine 5k is arguably the pick of the bunch and it isn’t hard to see why.

It has been designed as an unofficial replacement for Apple’s Thunderbolt Monitor and it brings with it both a better display and Thunderbolt 3 technology.

Display

The monitor has an incredible 27”, 5k display with a resolution of 5120 x 2880. The panel is an IPS LED-lit LCD with a color spectrum of P3 99. This gives you an excellent amount of precision when editing photos and videos and this is primarily what the monitor has been designed for. If you are not a photographer or video editor though, you can still benefit from this display as any content you throw on it is guaranteed to look good.

It does have an aspect ratio of 16:9 though so it isn’t ultrawide. This isn’t the end of the world, however, it will likely impact productivity and immersion somewhat. The workaround to this is to go for a dual-monitor setup but with this device already being very pricey, and with plenty of ultrawide options on this list, it is difficult to suggest this unless you really need to.

I/O

The most disappointing aspect of this device is its selection of ports as it only has one Thunderbolt 3 port and three USB-C ports. This means that you will most likely need to use some adapters or a dock unless you have already managed to go completely USB-C with your devices.

The reason for only including USB-C style connectors is that the monitor has been designed to be used with the latest range of MacBooks. The latest MacBook Pro’s for example, only have four Thunderbolt 3 ports on them and nothing else. If you are a Mac user, then this monitor probably offers a lot of convenience to you, however, if you use a Windows machine then things could become tricky.

The Thunderbolt 3 port on this monitor is also capable of providing up to 85w of power to charge a MacBook Pro whilst transmitting 5k video. This is seriously impressive and further proof that this device is aimed at Mac users.

Other features

Compared to the other monitors on this list, the LG Ultrafine 5k really excels with its other features. Like most monitors, it has built-in stereo speakers and as usual, they are good but not great. They will likely serve a purpose when needed but if you care about audio, then its worth connecting an external speaker.

One of the features that sets it apart from its competition, however, is that fact that it has a built-in camera. This is something not seen on any of the other monitors on this list, so if you are someone who regularly needs to take video calls, this could be a good selling point. It also has a built-in microphone which, of course, makes sense if you are going to use it for video calling.

The stand is also excellent and offers a great amount of height adjustability. There is also a generous amount of tilt which makes sense, given the giraffe-like extendability.

There are, however, no buttons on the monitor meaning brightness, contrast, volume, etc, needs to be adjusted on your device instead. This is actually quite a nice thing though as it means everything can be adjusted using the software on your computer and you don’t need to go reaching around the monitor to find the buttons.

Hands down one of the best monitors on the market today. It isn’t perfect and there have been some known issues to do with router interference, but in terms of specifications and design, it is a tough monitor to beat.

amazon

Tech Specs
Thunderbolt Type: Thunderbolt 3
Display: 27”, 5120 x 2880, IPS LED-lit LCD
I/O: 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 3 x USB-C
Other Features: Camera, Mic, Stereo speakers
The Pros
Fastest connection type available
40 Gbps bandwidth
Very high resolution
Most popular screen width
Multiple USB-C ports
Includes built-in speakers
Can be wall mounted
The stand is highly adjustable
The Cons
Only one Thunderbolt 3 port
Only supports USB-C connectors
Might not be wall mountable

3. LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine 34″ 21:9 5K Nano IPS LED UltraWide Monitor

LG 34BK95U-W UltraFine 34View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The next monitor by LG offers some very similar specs to the Ultrafine 5k, except this time, with an ultrawide display. Like the previous monitor, it uses Thunderbolt 3 technology, meaning you get both the faster speeds and the USB-C connector.

Display

The display on this monitor is a 34”, 5k, IPS LED-lit LCD. As an ultrawide display, it has an aspect ratio of 21:9, meaning you can enjoy increased productivity as well as a greater level of immersion.

Although the display is 5k, it is arguably not as sharp as the previous monitor as the same amount of pixels is being packed into a larger space. The difference will most likely be unnoticeable, especially at this sort of resolution, but it is still worth bearing in mind if that sort of thing bothers you.

Although ultrawide displays aren’t always preferred, they do provide the option of not needing to buy a second monitor for most people. This is one area where this monitor trumps the previous one, as the cost to achieve a similar level of productivity with the other LG Ultrafine is far higher.

I/O

There is also a better selection of ports on this device and it has plenty of different input types for video. This might not make it as futureproof as the previous Ultrafine but in today’s world, it is far more convenient to have more than just USB-C connectors.

There are also three standard USB ports too, giving you the option to connect other peripherals as well. This gives the monitor dock-like functionality, albeit, in a much more limited fashion.

Other features

Unfortunately, this monitor doesn’t have much in terms of extra features. It does have two built-in 5w speakers though, which are okay but rather average, even for monitor speakers. Again, if you care about audio quality you will likely have an external speaker of some kind anyway, so this shouldn’t be an issue.

What is unclear, however, is whether or not the device is wall mountable. As an ultrawide monitor it really should be as it will help those with smaller desks, but without any concrete information on it, it’s hard to say for sure.

If not, the stand can at least make up for it to a certain extent as it is very extendable. This means that you can set the monitor up high to create more space underneath for smaller devices, should you need to.

Another great monitor from LG. Its ultrawide 5k display is amazing to look at and provides excellent levels of immersion, however, it does lack a few desirable features and the possible lack of a wall mount option is a bit concerning.

amazon

Tech Specs
Thunderbolt Type: Thunderbolt 3
Display: 34”, 5120 x 2880, IPS LED-lit LCD
I/O: 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 3 x USB, 1 x Audio Jack
Other Features: 5w x 2ch speakers
The Pros
Fastest connection type available
40 Gbps bandwidth
Very high resolution
Large screen
Ultrawide
Plenty of ports
Thunderbolt 3 port is also USB-C
Includes built-in speakers
The Cons
Ultrawide isn’t always preferred
Only one Thunderbolt 3 port
Might not be wall mountable

4. Best Budget: LG 34UM88-P 34-Inch 21:9 UltraWide Screen LED-Lit Monitor

LG 34UM88-P 34-Inch 21:9 UltraWide Screen LED-Lit MonitorView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

LG continue their dominance on this list with yet another high-end Thunderbolt monitor. Unlike the previous two though, this monitor uses Thunderbolt 2 technology, rather than Thunderbolt 3. Although this version of the technology is inferior, it is still a fast connection-type in its own right and it can still output video in a fairly high resolution.

Display

The 34UM88-P has a 34” display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. The display itself is really sharp, albeit, not quite as sharp as LG’s 5k models, but on a panel of this size, the difference is less noticeable compared to 65” TVs for example.

The display is also an LED-lit LCD, rather than OLED, meaning blacks won’t be truly black. Having said that, there is a good level of vibrancy to the visuals so if you do decide to go with this monitor, you shouldn’t be disappointed by the colors.

I/O

Being a Thunderbolt 2 monitor, it obviously doesn’t have any Thunderbolt 3 ports, which on one hand, is a negative given that they are the future, but it does mean that the monitor has to include other ports in order to make up for it, therefore, increasing its input options.

This means you get a great selection of ports on the device including multiple HDMI and USB ports. There is also a DisplayPort as well as two Thunderbolt 2 ports, rather than one. There are, of course, a number of downsides to using Thunderbolt 2 over Thunderbolt 3 but compared to most other connectors it’s a good way to go as it still a lot faster than most.

Other features

There isn’t much in the way of extra features on this device apart from built-in speakers. However, unlike most of the speakers found on monitors, these ones are actually pretty good. They are dual 7w MaxxAudio speakers and they provide a decent sound compared to their competitors.

They aren’t going to compete with a high-end external speaker, of course, but if you aren’t too bothered by audio quality, you will probably be very happy with these.

A good monitor overall, however, its lack of Thunderbolt 3 causes a number of issues which will likely turn away a lot of people. Having said that, it is considerably cheaper than LGs Thunderbolt 3 monitors which might make it appealing.

amazon

Tech Specs
Thunderbolt Type: Thunderbolt 2
Display: 34”, 3440 x 1440, LED-lit LCD
I/O: 2 x Thunderbolt 2, 2 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort, 2 x USB
Other Features: MaxxAudio 7w x 2 speakers
The Pros
Fast
20 Gbps bandwidth
High resolution
Large screen
Ultrawide
Plenty of ports
Multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports
Thunderbolt 3 ports are also USB-C
Includes built-in speakers
High watt speakers for a monitor
The Cons
Not Thunderbolt 3
Half the speed of Thunderbolt 3
Not 4k
Ultrawide isn’t always preferred
Might not have an Audio Jack
Might not be wall mountable

5. LG 34UC98-W 34-Inch 21:9 Curved UltraWide QHD IPS Monitor

LG 34UC98-W 34-Inch 21:9 Curved UltraWide QHD IPS MonitorView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The next entry on this list is yet another monitor from LG, further cementing their status as an industry leader when it comes to display technology. This monitor is very similar to the previous one, however, there are a few subtle differences between the two that make this worthy of a place in this guide

Display

The most notable difference comes from the display itself as this monitor has a curved ultrawide display rather than a straight one. Aside from that though, both monitors share the same LED-lit LCD panel as well as a resolution of 3440 x 1440. This display is also 34” wide with an aspect ratio of 21:9.

Although the curved display might seem like a minor difference, it actually makes a huge difference in terms of immersion, especially if you are sitting close to it. Having a monitor that wraps around you slightly is a lot more visually appealing and it works very well when gaming, creating an almost pseudo-VR experience to a certain extent.

I/O

The I/O for this device is much the same as the previous monitor as it uses a Thunderbolt 2 connection. This means it has no other choice but to include multiple options for video input as well as USB ports for peripherals.

This does mean though, that there are no USB-C ports on this monitor which means it isn’t the most futureproof. This is because it is quite clear that we are headed towards a world where every device uses the USB-C connector. Nowadays most devices should include at least one so it is a shame not to see any on this monitor.

Other features

This monitor also includes the same dual 7w MaxxAudio speakers that can be found on the previous monitor. This means that again, you can expect decent audio performance from this monitor compared to others. It will, of course, fall short against a decent external speaker setup though.

As is the case with a few of the monitors on this list, it is unclear as to whether the monitor is wall mountable. This would be a real shame as it is a large, curved monitor that will no doubt take up a lot of space on a users desk. This is fine if you have a large desk but if you don’t and are thinking of mounting your new monitor on the wall, be sure to check it actually includes this functionality.

Very similar to the previous monitor on this list, however, it does have the added benefit of a curved display which gives it the slight edge.

amazon

Tech Specs
Thunderbolt Type: Thunderbolt 2
Display: 34”, 3440 x 1440, IPS LED-lit LCD
I/O: 2 x Thunderbolt 2, 1 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, 2 x USB
Other Features: MaxxAudio 7w x 2 speakers
The Pros
Fast
20 Gbps bandwidth
High resolution
Large screen
Ultrawide
Plenty of ports
Multiple Thunderbolt 3 ports
Thunderbolt 3 ports are also USB-C
Includes built-in speakers
High watt speakers for a monitor
The Cons
Not Thunderbolt 3
Half the speed of Thunderbolt 3
Not 4k
Ultrawide isn’t always preferred
Might not include an Audio Jack
Might not be wall mountable
2/52 ratings