UPDATE: I just published a new list: The 7 best 4K monitors for Mac and PC users (2016)
If you’re looking for an Apple monitor you’re in the right place. But if you’re looking at this post you don’t want Apple’s own Thunderbolt Display (which is sad because I love mine; I’ve got it hooked up to my 11-inch MacBook Air and it works SO well). In any case, you’re looking for a Thunderbolt Display alternative that is either nicer or cheaper. Not coincidentally, I’ve listed some of both here. Actually, there’s really only one 27-inch display that could be called nicer than the Apple Thunderbolt Display and that’s the Dell listed below. And nicer really only refers to it’s 5K abilities rather than it’s look. Otherwise, the rest of the monitors below can be had for a much cheaper to somewhat cheaper price than the Apple Thunderbolt Display.
Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor Apple Monitor
This Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor is about as nice a monitor as you can get without buying Apple—it’s 5K for crying out loud! With a resolution of 5120 x 2880 you will see four times greater clarity than QHD. That means that crisp and sharp images are going to be the norm here. But by the time you’ve got features like PremierColor and speakers from Harmon Kardon, you’re looking at a price tag well over $2,000… but if you’re on a budget, fear not! Just look at the next monitor I’ve got listed.
Monoprice 4K Monitor
Unlike the Rolls Royce of 27″ computer monitors listed above, this Monoprice 4k monitor is actually quite affordable—and offers decent functionality to boot. Whether you are a designer or a gamer, you’ll appreciate that this monitor packs 109 pixels per inch, has a 2560 x 1440 max resolution and features a glass laminate glossy panel—with antiglare coating. The best part about this Monoprice is that it will only set you back $349!
LG 27 -Inch ColorPrime IPS Monitor
The awesome LG 27 -Inch ColorPrime IPS Monitor supports Thunderbolt 2, is primed and ready for external color calibration (great for photographers and designers) and has a resolution of 2560 x 1440. But this monitor also does a few cool things that other 27-inch monitors (on this list and off) don’t: Flicker-Safe technology reduces eye-strain by keeping screen flickers near zero and there’s also a nifty Reader mode that will reduce blue light emission—perfect for getting some work or reading done before bed (blue light can keep your brain wired and keep you from falling asleep).
Like the Monoprice above, the Asus PB278Q sports a resolution of 2560 X 1440 though with a bit more of a straightforward/traditional design. What’s nice about this monitor, though, is that it not only has an HDMI input but supports DisplayPort as well. This monitor has a great viewing angle of 178° and comes with QuickFit, a technology that will let you see items you want to print in their real, printed size on your screen—before printing.
I’ll end this post with the BenQ GW2765HT that hit just about all of the same features as the LG listed above; low blue light, flicker reduction and a 2560 x 1440 display. The similarities are exactly why I’ve included both; if you like one you can shop around to see which of these have the best price and get the best deal.