Apple refreshed the Mac mini in March 2020 with a bump to the computer’s storage — essentially doubling the storage on both standard configurations. Prior to that, the last major upgrade to the Mac mini arrived in 2018, giving it a much-needed refresh, so it’s no surprise people started to pick up this portable desktop computer again. However, unlike the iMac, the mini requires necessary peripherals, particularly a reliable monitor.
But what monitor is compatible with the mini and the best choice for your Mac mini setup? Apple used to make its own displays, but the last one was discontinued in 2016. While Apple recently released a new line of Pro displays, they are out of reach for most consumers (price-wise, they start at $5,000 for just the monitor — no stand), so for now the best options remain other brands. So, let’s go over the top choices for you to consider.
LG UltraFine 5K
The LG UltraFine 5K display is a workhorse. It features a beautiful 27-inch screen (5,120 x 2,880 resolution), which is also the size of Apple’s larger iMac, and has a similar P3 wide color gamut with 500 nits brightness. The monitor comes with both USB-C and Thunderbolt. The single Thunderbolt 3 port connects to the Mac mini, and the three USB-C ports offer 5Gbps downstream for other external devices. The monitor can also be adjusted up and down to improve your viewing experience.
The biggest downfall of this display (aside from its not-quite-Apple aesthetic) is the price. The LG UltraFine 5K will set you back around $1,300 — but keep in mind, this is a 5K display. Also, the newly released Apple Pro Display XDR will run you $5,000 (without a stand) so this does seem like a better deal.
LG UltraFine 4K
Similar to its bigger brother, the LG UltraFine 5K, the UltraFine 4K offers the same great display, P3 wide color gamut, and 500 nits brightness. The UltraFine 4K is a bit smaller than its 5K counterpart, sizing up at 24 inches with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. But it’s also much less expensive than the 5K model. The UltraFine 4K will run you about $700.
One area of difference between the 5K and 4K UltraFine displays (aside from size and resolution) is that the UltraFine 4K has two Thunderbolt 3 ports (the 5K only has one) and three USB-C (USB 3.1 gen 1, 5 Gbps) on the back. This is helpful for plugging in additional accessories such as a Thunderbolt 3 external drive.
BenQ PD3220U 32-inch
BenQ’s 32-inch monitor is tailor-made for Apple users. That’s because not only does it work in the P3 wide color gamut that Apple uses on all of its products, but it even has an “M-book” mode, which is essentially the P3 gamut with a tweaked white point to make images look even better. Throw in excellent color accuracy and minimal color error and you’ve got yourself an ideal monitor if you need to edit photos and videos on your Mac mini.
The $1,200 price tag may seem on the expensive side at first, but consider that Apple’s own Pro Display XDR will set you back a cool $5,000 and BenQ’s offering starts to look like quite the bargain. If color accuracy is a must, it’s worth the cost.
LG 34WK95U-W UltraWide monitor
LG offers this 34-inch model with a 5K resolution for those looking for a clean design and top-notch image quality. The 5,120 x 2,160 resolution is backed by a 5ms response time and a 60Hz refresh rate. USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB-C ports are all included on this model, so you don’t need to worry about compatibility.
As we noted in our review, the menu options are very easy to use via the hidden joystick, and allow for detailed adjustment of color and image quality. The price is high, but this model really has it all.
Samsung LC32F397FWNXZA 32-inch Curved
If you like the idea of a curved, extra-large screen but your budget is limited, this alternative Samsung monitor makes a great choice. It has a beautiful design and good HD picture quality. Response time is around 4ms, which is a little high compared to high-end monitors, but for Mac mini purposes it should be fine. You will need to use an HDMI connection with mini, as this model lacks some of the advanced ports of other models. However, for an affordable 16:9 monitor, it’s an excellent pick!
Dell S2719DC 27-inch
Dell also has a number of monitors that are particularly compatible with the Mac mini, and one of the best is this S-series IPS model, which includes Dell’s own HDR technology and a design that matches the Mac mini almost perfectly.
It includes a USB-C port, an HDMI port, a security lock slot, and traditional USB ports as well. The display resolution clocks in at a healthy 2,560 x 1,440, enough for plenty of detail. It’s also beautifully thin, with a slender chassis and minimal bezels, so will fit right in alongside your other Apple gear.
- The best monitor for the MacBook Pro
- The best monitors for 2020
- The best budget monitors for 2020
- Mac Mini vs. MacBook Air
- The best desktop computers for 2020