10 Thunderbolt Display Alternatives for Apple Macs

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-07-05
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Thunderbolt Display Alternatives for Apple Macs
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    10 Thunderbolt Display Alternatives for Apple Macs

    With Apple putting its Thunderbolt Display to pasture, users will need to look to third-party alternatives. Here are a few models worth considering.
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    Dell Goes to the End With UltraSharp
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    Dell Goes to the End With UltraSharp

    Dell's new UltraSharp 27 Monitor comes with a 27-inch screen and an extremely thin bezel to deliver what the company calls the InfinityEdge. In addition to a quad-HD resolution, the screen connects to machines via DisplayPort, miniDisplayPort or HDMI, and has a handful of USB 3.0 ports built-in. The Dell UltraSharp 27 Monitor typically retails for $720, but the company is offering an online special right now for $650.
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    Check Out Dell's Expensive 5K Display
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    Check Out Dell's Expensive 5K Display

    For those who want a slightly higher-end visual experience, Dell sells the UltraSharp 27 UltraHD 5K Monitor with PremierColor. The screen can be used in both landscape and portrait modes and comes with a 5,120-by-2,880 Ultra HD resolution. Dell says the 27-inch screen has 11 million more pixels than a standard quad-HD display, and offers 99 percent accuracy on AdobeRGB colors. In addition, users will find two Harman Kardon speakers, a bunch of USB 3.0 ports, a media card reader and more. But for all of that, expect to pay a pretty price: The monitor retails for $2,200.
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    HP Offers a Big 34-Inch Screen
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    HP Offers a Big 34-Inch Screen

    Those who are looking for a big display should consider the 34-inch HP Envy 34c. The monitor has a resolution of 3,440 by 1,440 and comes with a curved screen to deliver 178-degree viewing angles. Users will also find DisplayPort, dual USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI ports and a static contrast ratio of 3,000 to 1. It even comes with a wireless remote if owners want to use it as a television. The Envy 34c is available for $850.
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    The HP Spectre Is All About 4K Resolution
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    The HP Spectre Is All About 4K Resolution

    Another big-screen option from HP is the 32-inch HP Spectre 32 Studio Display. The screen has a 4K resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 and features dual HDMI ports and a DisplayPort. Two front-facing speakers sit on either side of the display and, like the Envy, it comes with a wireless remote for controlling on-screen content. The Spectre 32 is $850.
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    The Asus Gaming Monitor Is Really Wide
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    The Asus Gaming Monitor Is Really Wide

    The central focus for the Asus ROG Swift gaming monitor is width. The device, which has a 34-inch screen, has an ultra-wide panel, allowing it to boast a 21:9 aspect ratio. In addition, users will find a 100Hz refresh rate and a gamer-friendly resolution of 3,440 by 1,440. Like the others, the display has several USB 3.0 ports and comes with an anti-glare panel. It's expensive, though, coming in at $1,300.
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    The Acer XG Is All About Speed
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    The Acer XG Is All About Speed

    The Acer XG is another gamer-focused monitor that can work in both the home and office. The device's resolution isn't mind-blowing at just 2,560 by 1,440, but it features a "rapid refresh rate" of 144Hz and a response time of 1ms to reduce lag time in action sequences. The display also comes with a slim bezel, like Dell's UltraSharp 27. Look for it on store shelves for $500.
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    LG Goes UltraWide IPS
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    LG Goes UltraWide IPS

    In the land of LG, ultrawide technology is the way to go. The company offers a 34-inch, 21:9 UltraWide monitor that can accurately re-create more than 99 percent of all sRGB colors. Users will also be able to charge their phones through the bundled USB 3.0 ports, as well as HDMI for connectivity. There's even a split-screen feature, so users can see multiple windows at once. LG's UltraWide monitor goes for $900.
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    LG Also Offers 4K UHD Monitor
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    LG Also Offers 4K UHD Monitor

    The other higher-end LG monitor available is the company's 27-inch 4K UHD option. Like the UltraWide, the 4K monitor can accurately represent more than 99 percent of the colors in sRGB and has a game mode for faster-paced action. However, the 27-inch model has a 16:9 aspect ratio and comes with HDMI 2.0 instead of HDMI 3.0. LG's 4K monitor is available for $500.
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    Samsung Offers Professionals an LED Monitor
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    Samsung Offers Professionals an LED Monitor

    Samsung's 32-inch 970 Series Ultra HD monitor is designed for professionals, according to the company. The display, which costs $1,300, has a full-HD resolution and can accurately represent 100 percent of sRGB colors. In addition, the display features both HDMI and DisplayPort inputs and can even be wall-mounted. It's a bit on the heavy side, though, tipping the scales at 30.2 pounds with the stand.
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    Samsung Delivers a Big Curvy and Affordable Screen
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    Samsung Delivers a Big Curvy and Affordable Screen

    If it's the combination of style and affordability a customer is after, the Samsung 34-inch, ultra-wide curved screen monitor might be a suitable option. The device has a 21:9 aspect ratio, thanks to its curve, and ships with a 3,440-by-1,440 resolution—two-and-a-half times the resolution in full HD. In addition to its curves, the device has two speakers built-in and supports picture-in-picture, so users can view two windows simultaneously. Best of all is the price tag: $700 for all those features.
 

Apple announced in late June that it was discontinuing production of its Thunderbolt Display. Apple released a statement at that time noting there are many third-party display models customers could buy for their Macs. Apple is correct in encouraging Mac users to seek out alternative display suppliers. In fact, over the past several years, many have argued that displays from Dell, HP and even Apple's archrival Samsung have delivered better color accuracy, nicer designs and far more value for the money than Apple's $1,000 display. Best of all, they work just fine with Apple's Macs by connecting through any number of ports, including HDMI or even the Thunderbolt connector. But now that Apple has given its Mac users its blessing to buy something else, eWEEK thought it might be a good time to discuss some of the better monitors currently available on store shelves. Each of the following display modes offers features that shouldn't be overlooked. Read on to learn more about some of the best Apple display alternatives.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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