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Apple shook up the computer world forever in November 2020 when it introduced the first Mac lineup with its own Apple Silicon processors. Dubbed the M1, this processor blew professionals and critics away with its seamless performance and impressive benchmarks. The top dog of those new devices was the M1 Mac Mini. With Apple’s in-house processors, the Mac Mini is now one of the best desktop computers you can get, period. But a great computer will need great peripherals, which the Mac Mini lacks out of the box — key among them being a great monitor.

But which monitors are compatible and what’s 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. One of our favorites is the LG UltraFine 5K monitor. It has a beautiful 27-inch screen with a beautiful display. There are plenty of other monitors out there, most of which are 4K resolution, so let’s go over the top choices for you to consider.

The best Mac Mini monitors

  • LG UltraFine 5K
  • LG UltraFine 4K
  • Asus Designo MX279Hs
  • LG 34WK95U-W UltraWide monitor
  • HP Z38c curved monitor
  • Dell P3222QE 4K Hub Monitor

LG UltraFine 5K

The LG UltraFine 5K for Mac mini.

The LG UltraFine 5K display also is a workhorse. It features a beautiful 27-inch screen (5120 x 2880 resolution), which also is 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 also can 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

The LG UltraFine 4K for Mac mini.

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.

Asus Designo MX279HS

The Asus Designo MX279HS monitor.

Another boon to designers, this frameless 27-inch monitor offers an extra-wide 178-degree viewing angle with its LED-backlight IPS panel, which is ideal for collaborating with others or working with clients. The full HD monitor also includes virtual scaling so you can preview photos or a variety of documents with precise dimensions before printing them out, as well as a blue light filter and similar modes to help with lengthy work sessions.

The Designo MX279HS also has a brightness rating of up to 250 nits, 32mm built-in speakers for some impressive audio while you work, and a variety of ports, including two HDMI, a VGA port for older connections, and more. Best of all, it’s highly affordable, making it a good pick for artists or others working within their budgets.

LG 34WK95U-W UltraWide monitor

The LG 34WK95U-W UltraWide monitor on a wood desk.
Riley Young/Digital Trends

LG offers this 34-inch model with a 5K resolution for those looking for a clean design and top-notch image quality. The 5120 x 2160 resolution is backed by a 5ms response time and a 60Hz refresh rate. USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort, HDMI, and USB-C ports all are 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 theLG 34WK95U-W monitor really has it all.

HP Z38c curved monitor

The HP Z38c curved monitor.

Curved monitors are great for multimedia lovers who plan on playing a lot of games or watching a lot of movies and TV on their computers. Now that the M1 has finally made the Mac a competent gaming solution, a curved monitor is an excellent option for your new Mac Mini setup. The HP Z38c curved monitor is one of the best curved monitors to come out recently, featuring a massive 37-inch screen for the most complicated projects or immersive entertainment, plus a UHD resolution for rendering as much detail as you need.

With a curved monitor this large, you will need a lot of space to accommodate it. But the HP Z38c curved monitor offers some of the most real estate you can find in a single screen, which can be particularly helpful for more detailed video or sound editing and many similar projects where you need to review a whole lot of information at once — preferably in high-resolution detail.

Dell P3222QE 4K Hub Monitor

Dell 32 4K USB-C Hub monitor sitting on desk next to plant and light.
Niels Broekhuijsen/Digital Trends

Dell’s 32-inch USB-C hub is an ideal monitor for a busy desk, so makes an excellent companion for a Mac Mini mode — especially if you need to dock some other accessories while you work. The sturdy design is made to last with options for adjusting height, tilt, swiveling, and more, while the 4K IPS panel covers 99% of the sRGB gamut.

In addition to the easily accessed USB-C ports, the Dell P3222QE monitor also comes with HDMI, DisplayPort, four USB-A 3.0 ports, and Gigabit Ethernet. It’s a particularly strong choice if you tend to work not only with a desktop computer like the Mac Mini but with a MacBook also by your side that may need charging while you are busy.

Mac Mini monitor research and buying FAQs

  • Does a Mac Mini need a monitor?
  • Can you use any monitor with a Mac Mini?
  • Does the Mac Mini support 4K resolution?
  • Can the Mac Mini support two monitors?
  • Can I use a Mac Mini with my iMac monitor?
  • Can you use a MacBook as a monitor for your Mac Mini?
  • How do you connect a monitor to your Mac Mini?
  • Should I choose a curved monitor for my Mac?
  • What should you avoid when choosing a monitor for your Mac Mini?

Does a Mac Mini need a monitor?

Yes. The Mac Mini does not come with a monitor included, so you will need to purchase one separately.

Can you use any monitor with a Mac Mini?

Yes, you can connect the Mac Mini to virtually any monitor as long as you have the proper ports or adapters. The Mac Mini really is flexible, and it comes with two display outputs. One is USB-C/Thunderbolt and the other is HDMI 2.0. You can get adapters and accessories to convert it to DVI or VGA monitors.

Does the Mac Mini support 4K resolution?

Yes. The HDMI supports 4K up to 60Hz, and the USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port outputs up to 6K at 60Hz.

Can the Mac Mini support two monitors?

Since the Mac Mini has two display ports, it does support two monitors. However, you cannot daisy chain with the Thunderbolt 3 connection. You are limited to one for each. The M1 MacBooks are limited to only one external display.

Can I use a Mac Mini with my iMac monitor?

While prior Mac Mini models had some workarounds to get a Mac Mini running on an iMac monitor, you will have to obtain a separate display.

Can you use a MacBook as a monitor for your Mac Mini?

Not reliably. You could use Mac screen sharing or a solution like Luna Display over Wi-Fi if you are desperate, but most workarounds are a pain to get started. It’s best to stick with an external monitor whenever possible. Even options such as using Sidecar with an iPad require you to have a display first to set it up.

How do you connect a monitor to your Mac Mini?

Find the matching port in the back of the Mac mini, either USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 or HDMI 2.0. Plug in both devices (don’t turn them on yet), and then connect those ports with the compatible cable. Then turn your Mini and your monitor on. You also can find USB-C adapter cables that will work with the Thunderbolt 3 port if you are working only with DisplayPlay or other, rarer connections.

Should I choose a curved monitor for my Mac?

Given that the Mac Mini only supports two external displays and the M1-powered MacBooks can only connect to one monitor, a curved display can be a good solution to get more screen real estate. Curved monitors come in a variety of sizes and resolutions, but in general, you’ll want to choose an ultrawide curved display. These generally come in UWQHD resolution, and it’s like have two FHD panels stacked side-by-side. There are several benefits here. First, curved displays are more immersive and the slight curvature can help immerse you into the content you’re looking at or working on. Second, the wide format means you essentially get the benefit of having two displays, but without the seams of connecting two monitors together. And third, cable clutter is reduced to a single cable running to your Mac. If you’re short on desk space with a large ultra-wide panel, be sure to choose a monitor that comes with a VESA mounting bracket so you can mount the display to a monitor arm or to the wall.

What should you avoid when choosing a monitor for your Mac Mini?

The 2020 Mac Mini has a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port and HDMI 2.0 port for video connections, so your monitor really needs one of those for a proper connection. Monitors that only have older connections will not be a good fit.

Otherwise, it’s mostly down to how you’ll be using the Mac Mini, and this can vary a lot. Artists and photographers will want to look for high-quality panels with plenty of color coverage. Those with additional accessories like MacBooks may want to check for extra USB-C hubs for multiple connections or charging. If you’ll be moving your Mini around frequently, look for a monitor design with easy-to-reach ports so re-connecting it will be less of a hassle.

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