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Best Thunderbolt Monitors in 2022

thunderbolt

The ever-increasing popularity of Ultrabooks is making laptops thinner and lighter. This is great for two reasons; compact computers help save space and are easy to carry.

Additionally, laptops offer an excellent battery life of up to 18hrs. There is no greater advantage for a professional constantly on the move. In terms of working hours, that is an entire working day plus overtime and then some more.

Despite all their advantages, conventional laptops have average display screens at best. While professionals and content creators may prefer bigger screens, gamers would like a high refresh rate and response times. These sorts of specifications are the domain of monitors. Unfortunately, the problem does not end there.

Ultrabook users also have to deal with the problem of a limited number of Thunderbolt ports. This means you do not get any ports for connecting external displays.

Fortunately, a Thunderbolt interface allows you to do multiple things on a single connection. You can connect a monitor, charge your laptop, and simultaneously transfer data at high speeds, all using a single Thunderbolt connection. Or, you can use a daisy chain to get a dual monitor setup going within minutes.

Monitor manufacturers recognize the market for Thunderbolt monitors and offer plenty of choices. Needless to say, these include monitors that provide fantastic image quality with high refresh rates and low response times. But they also go a step further and have handy features like hubs and KVM switches to increase productivity.

This article brings you some of the best Thunderbolt monitors on the market. We will compare and review each one. After that, we will list some crucial factors to keep in mind when buying a Thunderbolt Monitor. Later, we will answer some frequently asked questions regarding these monitors.

Comparison of the Best Thunderbolt Monitors in 2022

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
LG 40WP95C-W on Amazon
LG 40WP95C-W Display: 40” WUHD (5120x2160) Nano IPS
Refresh Rate: 72Hz
HDR: HDR10
Power Delivery: 96W
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 4
2 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
2 x USB 3.0
1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
Buy on Amazon
Lenovo ThinkVision P27u-20 on Amazon
Lenovo ThinkVision P27u-20 Display: 27” UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 400
Power Delivery: 100W
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 4 (In/Out)
2 x HDMI (v2.0)
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
1 x RJ45
3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 (27W Power Delivery)
1 x USB-B 3.2 Gen 1
1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
Buy on Amazon
ASUS ProArt PA34VC on Amazon
ASUS ProArt PA34VC Display: 34” UWQHD (3440x1440) IPS
Refresh Rate: 100Hz
HDR: HDR10
Power Delivery: 60W
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
2 x HDMI (v2.0)
3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
Buy on Amazon
Dell UltraSharp UP2720Q on Amazon
Dell UltraSharp UP2720Q Display: 27” 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR: NA.
Power Delivery: 90W
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x DP (v1.4)
2 x HDMI (v2.0)
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2
2 x USB 3.2 Gen1
1 X 3.5mm headphone jack
Buy on Amazon
Dell U4021QW UltraSharp on Amazon
Dell U4021QW UltraSharp Display: 40” WUHD (5120 x 2160) IPS
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR: N.A.
Power Delivery: 90W
Ports:
1 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort (v1.4)
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1 x USB-B 3.2 Gen 1
3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 (downstream with BC 1.2)
1 x RJ45
1 X 3.5mm headphone jack
Buy on Amazon
LG 34WK95U-W on Amazon
LG 34WK95U-W Display: 34” 5K (5120 x 2160) Nano IPS
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 600
Power Delivery: 85W
Ports:
1 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
3 x USB-A 3.0
1 X 3.5mm headphone jack
Buy on Amazon
LG 38WN95C-W on Amazon
LG 38WN95C-W Display: 38” QHD+ (3840 x 1600) Nano IPS
Refresh Rate: 144Hz
HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 600
Power Delivery: 94W
Ports:
1 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
2 x USB-A 3.0
1 X 3.5mm headphone jack
Buy on Amazon
BenQ PD3220U on Amazon
BenQ PD3220U Display: 32” 4K (3840x2160) IPS
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR: HDR10
Power Delivery: 85W
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x HDMI (v2.0)
1 x DisplayPort (v1.4)
3 x USB-A 3.1 Gen 1
1 x USB-B 3.1 Gen 1
1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
Buy on Amazon
Samsung 34-Inch CJ791 on Amazon
Samsung 34-Inch CJ791 Display: 34” WQHD (3440 x 1440) VA
Refresh Rate: 100Hz
HDR: NA.
Power Delivery: 85W
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x HDMI (v2.0)
1 x DisplayPort (v1.2)
2 x USB-A 3.0
1 X 3.5mm headphone jack
Buy on Amazon
SAMSUNG TU872 on Amazon
SAMSUNG TU872 Display: 32” UHD (3840 x 2160) VA
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR: HDR10
Power Delivery: 90W
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x HDMI (v2.0)
1 x DisplayPort (v1.2)
2 x USB-A 3.0
1 x RJ45
1 X 3.5mm headphone jack
Buy on Amazon
LG 27MD5KL-B on Amazon
LG 27MD5KL-B Display: 27” 5K UHD (5120 x 2880) IPS
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR: N.A.
Power Delivery: 94W
Ports:
1 x Thunderbolt 3
3 x USB-C
Buy on Amazon
LG UltraFine Display 32UL950 on Amazon
LG UltraFine Display 32UL950 Display: 32” 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS
Refresh Rate: 60Hz
HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 600
Power Delivery: 60W
Ports:
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
2 x USB-A
Buy on Amazon

1. LG 40WP95C-W – Best Thunderbolt 4 Monitor

The LG 40WP95C-W is among the first monitors to offer Thunderbolt 4. But being first does not make it the best. It has an excellent display and loads of features that contribute to your productivity and well-being.

LG offers a 40-inch curved display with 5K2K resolution in a 21:9 aspect ratio on its Ultrawide frame. And you get a Nano IPS panel that offers excellent viewing angles at 178 degrees (L/R and U/D). But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

The monitor delivers excellent visuals thanks to the 98% DCI-P3 color gamut and 1.07 billion color representations. It also gets a 1000:1 contrast ratio and 300nits of peak brightness. Admittedly, the brightness level is low, but the overall picture quality is still quite good. So, whether you are a gamer or a content creator, you will get an immersive visual experience.

With an impressive display like that, you are bound to spend endless hours in front of this monitor. So, LG has made the extra effort to get a TUV Rheinland certification for low blue-light emissions. Also, the ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness to ease the stress on your eyes. So, you can focus on your work without worrying about eye fatigue or the resulting headaches.

The 40WP95C-W comes with an ergonomic stand. You get height adjustments up to 110mm, -5/+20 degrees tilt, and -15/+15 swivel action. So, you can adjust the viewing angle to avoid unnecessary strain on your neck.

Our Take

The LG 40WP95C-W offer Thunderbolt 4, which allows you a dual-monitor setup using a daisy chain. The wide color gamut, high contrast ratio, and 5K2K resolution make it ideal for gamers and content creators.

PROS
  • The AMD FreeSync and 5ms response allow gaming.
  • The 5K2K resolution is excellent for content creators looking for greater details.
  • TUV Rheinland certification for low blue-light emission keeps your eyes safe.
  • The 98% DCI-P3 color gamut and HDR10 deliver excellent color representation.
  • Thunderbolt 4 supports daisy-chaining for a dual-monitor setup.
CONS
  • Expensive
  • No rotation action to change the screen from landscape to portrait orientation.
  • Low brightness levels; mean images will look dull.

2. Lenovo ThinkVision P27u-20 – Thunderbolt 4 Monitor with KVM and Dock

The Lenovo ThinkVision P27u-20 helps improve productivity and comes at a reasonable price. It comes with a built-in KVM and dock to easily attach additional devices. So, not only does it let you expand your existing setup, but it also helps streamline it to enhance productivity.

This ThinkVision monitor comes with a 27-inch IPS screen and offers a 178/178-degree (L/R and U/D) viewing angle. It offers a 3840 x 2160 resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 60Hz refresh rate.

You also get a 10-bit color representation that generates 1.07 billion colors. Hence, you end up with a 99.1% DCI-P3 and 99.5% Adobe RGB color gamut that gives you vibrant and realistic colors. And the DisplayHDR 400 ensures you get a peak brightness of 450nits and a 1000:1 contrast ratio. So, everyone from business professionals to content creators will be happy with the image quality.

Lenovo also offers you an excellent selection of expansion ports in keeping with the productivity motif. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one each for upstream and downstream. This allows you to daisy-chain monitor for a dual-monitor setup. Also, you can use the USB-A as a docking station to easily expand your setup. And you also get an RJ-45 port that offers 1Gbps for network connectivity.

The ThinkVision Monitor also features an ergonomic design. It comes with rotation, tilt, swivel, and height adjustments so that you can get the perfect viewing angle. And it comes with an ambient light sensor that manages the brightness automatically.

Our Take

The Lenovo ThinkVision monitor P27u-20 is ideal for users looking to enhance their productivity. The Thunderbolt 4 ports allow you to set up dual monitors and the USB ports offer KVM and dock functionality. And you get all of this at a pocket-friendly price.

PROS
  • The in-built KVM and dock allow you to expand and streamline your setup easily.
  • Excellent color representation with 99.1% DCI-P3 and 99.5% Adobe RGB color gamut.
  • Pocket-friendly price.
  • The 100W Power Delivery will charge even the most heavy-duty laptop.
  • Thunderbolt 4 supports daisy-chaining for a dual-monitor setup.
CONS
  • A higher than 60hz refresh rate would’ve been nice.
  • The 27-inch screen may be too small for most users.

3. ASUS ProArt PA34VC – Thunderbolt 3 Monitor with Eye Care and Great Colors

The Asus ProArt offers Thunderbolt connectivity and all the features that come with it. More importantly, Asus makes the best eye care feature to relieve eye fatigue and prevent headaches.

Of course, it comes with a TUV Rheinland certification for low blue-light emission. But it also offers four eye-care modes to choose from, depending on the content you are viewing. These settings are optimized for reading, viewing videos, and more. You do not need to install software for this as it is accessible from the On-screen Display menu. The monitor also uses Asus Flicker-Free technology to reduce on-screen flicker that causes severe eye strain resulting in headaches.

The ProArt PA32VC offers a 34-inch widescreen display with 1900R curvature. You get an IPS display panel with a 3440×1440 resolution in a 21:9 aspect ratio. This means you get excellent detail in the images from a wide viewing angle of 178 degrees (L/R and U/D). Further, the display uses a 10-bit color representation that offers 1.07 billion colors and a 100% sRGB color gamut. And, the monitor also offers HDR10, which ensures you get vibrant colors and the commonly seen 1000:1 contrast ratio. Unfortunately, while the color representation is excellent, you cannot ramp up the brightness with its 300nits peak.

Our Take

The ProArt PA32VC offers TUV certification for Flicker-Free and low blue-light emission. It has excellent color representation, which most professionals and home users find perfect. Content creators may find other monitors that offer better color and brightness levels.

PROS
  • Thunderbolt support daisy-chaining for a dual-monitor setup.
  • Good color representation with 100% sRGB color gamut, ideal for daily use.
  • Flicker-Free and Low Blue-Light certification from TUV.
  • The 100Hz refresh rate, 5ms Response Time, and Adaptive-Sync are ideal for mid-range gaming.
  • Three-year warranty keeps you protected.
CONS
  • Only 60W Power Delivery; not suitable for high-powered laptops.
  • Low brightness levels; mean images will look dull.
  • No rotation action to change the screen from landscape to portrait orientation.

4. Dell UltraSharp UP2720Q – Thunderbolt 3 Monitor with accurate colors

The Dell UP2720Q offers an accurate color representation thanks to the colorimeter that comes with this monitor. Not only does it allow you to check color accuracy, but it also allows you to calibrate your monitor’s color depiction. For this, Dell provides a whole suite of software to modify the calibration setting and generate automated schedules. Further, the monitor is compatible with the CalMAN software for professional-grade calibration.

The UP2720Q offers a 27-inch IPS panel with 3840 x 2160 resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate. In comparison to its competition, Dell provides a slightly higher contrast ratio of 1300:1. You also get a 98% DCI-P3 and 100% Adobe RGB color gamut, thanks to the 10-bit 1.07 billion colors. Sadly, the brightness level offers a disappointing 250nits.

The monitor is geared to increase productivity. It comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one for upstream and downstream, that allow daisy-chaining two 4K monitors. And, you get a USB 3.2 hub to connect any peripheral devices.

Dell also offers a range of ergonomic movements to ensure you get the perfect viewing angle. These include height adjustment, tilt, swivel, and 360-degree rotation.

Our Take

Dell lays great emphasis on color accuracy with its UltraSharp UP2720Q monitor. It is among the few, if not the only monitor, with a colorimeter to help calibrate color representation. Thus, content editors and graphic designers, for whom color accuracy is critical, will find this monitor of great use.

PROS
  • The in-built USB 3.2 hub allows you to connect peripheral devices easily.
  • The in-built colorimeter ensures accurate color representation.
  • Thunderbolt 3 supports daisy-chaining for a dual-monitor setup.
  • Good color representation with 100% Adobe RGB color gamut and 1.07 billion colors.
  • The 90W Power Delivery will charge most laptops.
CONS
  • Price
  • Low brightness levels; mean images will look dull.
  • No ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the brightness levels.
  • No HDR for enhanced visual quality.

5. Dell UltraSharp U4021QW – Curved Thunderbolt 3 Monitor for Office

The Dell U4021QW is the perfect monitor for office setups. It offers plenty of features that ensure greater productivity.

Dell offers the U4021QW with a 40-inch ultrawide IPS screen with 2500R curvature and 5120×2160 resolution. Further, the screen has a 300nits brightness and a 1000:1 contrast ratio. For colors, you get 1.07 billion colors covering 100% of sRGB and 98% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.

To enhance productivity, the monitor offers a KVM and a USB-C hub to streamline and improve your existing setup. There is only one Thunderbolt 3 port on the U4021QW, so daisy-chaining for a dual-monitor setup is not easy. But nothing is stopping you from using split-screen software to use it as a dual-monitor setup. Also, the 90W Power Delivery ensures your laptop charges whilst you work for long hours using the monitor.

Dell also keeps your comfort in mind. The monitor has a TUV Rheinland certification for low Blue-Light emissions to keep your eyes safe. And you also get an ergonomic design that ensures you get the ideal viewing angle to avoid neck pain.

Our Take

The Dell U4021QW ensures enhanced productivity. It has an in-built KVM switch and a USB hub that complements your setup. And it’s ultrawide form factor allows you to multitask with immense ease. Hence, it is ideal for the typical office setup.

PROS
  • In-built KVM and hub allow you to expand and streamline your setup easily.
  • Good color representation with 100% sRGB color gamut and 1.07 billion colors.
  • The 90W Power Delivery will charge most laptops.
  • TUV Rheinland certification for low blue-light emission keeps your eyes safe.
  • RJ-45 port for network connectivity.
CONS
  • Only one Thunderbolt 3 port means you cannot daisy-chain for a dual-monitor setup.
  • No rotation movement of the screen to change the orientation.
  • Expensive

6. LG 34WK95U-W – Gaming Thunderbolt 3 Monitor

The LG 38WN95C-W is not that cheap. You can get this giant 38-inch curved ultra-wide monitor. It features a 3840×1600 resolution that doesn’t let you watch 4K content, but it’s close and reasonably sharp given the size.

You also get a nano IPs panel covering 100% sRGB and 90% Adobe RGB and an impressive 95% DCI-P3 color gamut. It also supports VESA DisplayHDR 600. You also get a Thunderbolt 3 port, ideal if you are hooking up a Macbook or a laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 port as it will carry the video output, data transfers, and up to 90-watt charging. This laptop features some cool upgrades ideal for gamers. They include a 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and Nvidia G-sync compatibility.

Our Take

The LG 38WN95C-W is a pretty large monitor and also expensive. However, if you are looking for a large, color-accurate, and super-fast monitor for work or gaming, the LG 38WN95C-W would be a great option. The premium features like FreeSycn, G-Sync, and 144Hz refresh rate make it a great monitor for professional use.

However, this monitor doesn’t lack some flaws. One is the low contrast which affects the HDR and imaging performance. Additionally, the panel uniformity of this monitor is something LG should work on.

PROS
  • Wide viewing angles thanks to the use of IPS display panels
  • High Brightness brings out the color vividly
  • High resolution gives you a greater level of detail.
  • A wide color gamut ensures you get a vibrant color depiction
  • FreeSync/G-Sync help reduce motion blur
  • The 94W Power Delivery will charge most laptops.
CONS
  • Expensive
  • No rotation motion to change the orientation

8. Samsung CJ34J791 – 100Hz, 1440p Curved Ultrawide, TB Monitor

The Samsung CJ34J791 is a 34-inch ultra-wide gaming monitor which incorporates a Thunderbolt 3 port to its breathtakingly curved screen. The box includes the Thunderbolt 3 cable and a wall mount.

The setup process is pretty straightforward as it is already put together, and all you need to do is connect the power cable and the Thunderbolt cable to your laptop. The styling of the monitor looks gorgeous with a slightly aggressive 1500r curvature for a better immersive viewing experience, primarily when gaming. The side and top bezels are thin and give it a unique modern look.

It features a single joystick located behind the right-hand corner of the monitor. The monitor is equipped with a QLED display at 3440×1440 resolution with a 4ms response time and covers up to 125% sRGB color space. Other than your laptop, you can also use it with PlayStation and Xbox consoles via the HDMI ports, even though they are not HDMI 2.1. For connectivity, this monitor features a headphone jack, two standard USB 3.0 ports, one Display port, one HDMI port, and 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Our Take

The Samsung CJ34J791 is a decent gaming monitor which you can use for productivity, gaming, and office use. Even though it’s expensive, the ultra-wide 34-inch curved screen, fantastic picture quality, and Thunderbolt 3 ports make it worth every dollar. Motion handling on this monitor is excellent as it features a 100Hz refresh rate, FreeSync support, and incredible low input lag for a fantastic gaming experience.

PROS
  • Low input lag means better control while gaming.
  • The Ultrawide screen gives you a panoramic view, ideal for gaming.
  • A better refresh rate means no lotion blur and sharper images during gaming sessions.
  • The 85W Power Delivery will charge most laptops.
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports support daisy-chaining for a dual-monitor setup.
CONS
  • No HDR support means the picture quality is not the best.
  • Using a VA panel means the picture quality degrades when viewed at an angle.

9. Samsung TU872 – 4k, 90W Output, 2 TB Ports

The Samsung TU872 32-inch gaming monitor gives you a stunning 4K UHD resolution and the perfect image quality you need. The 32-inch screen size gives you enough room to work, especially for coders and graphic designers.

It also offers 178 degrees viewing angle, making it an ideal monitor when working with a colleague side-by-side. The two 90-watt Thunderbolt 3 ports enable you to connect several devices and transfer data at high speeds. This monitor features ultra-slim side and top bezels, making it ideal for a dual or multi-setup workstation.

With the on-screen Samsung software, you can easily manage how you split your screen, allowing split-screen (PBP) and Picture in Picture (PIP) display. You can easily adjust the height, tilt, swivel, and pivot up to 90 degrees. This monitor incorporates an Eye saver mode and flicker-free technology for eye care.

Our Take

The 4K resolution and picture quality on this monitor is excellent; hence, it is suitable as a business monitor. It is easily adjustable, and the ultra-thin bezels make it fit on any desk. With a 3840 x 2160 resolution, you get four times the resolution you would have on a 1080p standard monitor. This monitor will serve the purpose if you are a coder or someone who works with lots of data on a spreadsheet or multiple documents.

PROS
  • 4K UHD resolution provides exceptional clarity and crisp images.
  • Good color representation with HDR10
  • The 90W Power Delivery will charge most laptops.
  • Split Screen (PBP) and Picture in Picture (PIP) enhance productivity
  • An ergonomic Stand gives you to perfect viewing angle and helps reduce neck pain.
CONS
  • The monitor disconnects all devices when in sleep mode.
  • Low brightness levels; mean images will look dull.

10. LG 27MD5KL – The Best Pixel Density, 1 TB3, and 3 USB-C Ports

The LG 27MD5KL 27-inch 5K monitor is stunning but also expensive. When you first glance at this monitor, it’s like LG has taken a 5K iMac, taken the screen out, and left the CPU. It’s pretty much the Apple monitor in all but name. LG is marketing it as the perfect companion for Mac users. Following Apple’s footsteps, LG has gone full USB-C here. It features one Thunderbolt 3 upstream (94 watts) and three USB-C 3.1 downstream. There is no HDMI, USB-A, or physical controls.

Our Take

If you are looking for a premium color-accurate, super sharp, and easy-to-connect the second screen for your Macbook Air or Macbook pro, this monitor is worth considering. Even though most people find it expensive, this monitor is worth every penny.

PROS
  • Excellent peak brightness makes the colors look vibrant and lifelike.
  • The IPS panel delivers excellent picture quality even when viewed at an angle.
  • Three USB-C ports for high-speed data transfer between devices.
  • One Thunderbolt 3 port with 94W Power Delivery to charge your laptop.
CONS
  • Lack of HDMI or Display ports

11. LG 32UL950 – 4K, Nano IPS, with Speakers

If you have used an LG monitor before, you will notice a similar design theme with these monitors, and the LG 32UL950 follows in these footsteps. It comes with a black front and white-back two-tone design as well as a curved base. The monitor is tilt and height adjustable and even allows for portrait orientation.

The I/O ports at the back are pretty interesting as they come with two Thunderbolt ports (one for upstream and downstream), two USB-A ports, a DisplayPort, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. At the bottom of the monitor, you will find a Joystick that you will use to turn the monitor on, switch between inputs, and control various settings. It also has built-in speakers, which can get pretty loud but are not the best. This monitor support HDR, and its big selling point are the colors. It offers a fantastic color range with DCI-P3.

Our Take

The LG 32UL950 looks fantastic, it has a very crisp display, and the text is sharp, allowing you to see a lot of detail in images. The IPS nano cell display is lovely but will not look the same with a 5K monitor side-by-side. Remember that because it is not a Retina display, running this monitor at a full 3840×2160 resolution might be a little small for your liking. However, the monitor has excellent color accuracy, which allows for better shadow details, brightness, and saturation during editing and post-production. So, in a nutshell, if you are a graphic designer, photographer, or video editor, this will be the monitor for you.

PROS
  • Excellent color with DisplayHDR 600
  • The monitor comes with in-built speakers
  • FreeSync support for variable refresh rates during gaming.
  • Thunderbolt 3 supports daisy-chaining for a dual-monitor setup.
  • The 1300:1 contrast ratio provides good image quality
CONS
  • A significant amount of backlight bleed.
  • The 60W Power Delivery may not be enough to charge larger-capacity laptop batteries.

12. BenQ PD3220U – 4k IPS, With Built-in KVM

The BenQ PD3220U is a fantastic display from the BenQ design series. It has Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, outstanding design and build, and great features for video editing and graphic design. This monitor comes with an HDMI cable, a short Thunderbolt 3 cable, a USB 3.0 cable for the KVM switch, a DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort cable, a power cable, and a controller that connects over mini USB. The bezels are equal and thin on all sides, and there is no branding on the front, which gives it a pretty clean look. You can easily adjust the monitor’s height, tilt, and pivot.

At the right bottom section of the back, that’s where you get the controls. There is a power button, a joystick, and two customizable buttons that you can remap shortcuts. You get USB-C, USB-A ports, and a headphone jack on the right side. The AC port and the two Thunderbolt ports are located at the bottom. This monitor can reproduce 100% of sRGB color spaces for accurate color reproduction. It has a 300nits brightness level, so not the brightest for working in a room with too much light.

Our Take

The BenQ PD3220U is a fantastic monitor and ideal for digital works as it doesn’t support the entire Adobe RGB color space. The refresh rate is average making it not the best monitor of choice for gaming. However, this monitor has raised a lot of concern among users who complain of “screen flicker issues” after a couple of weeks. BenQ has confirmed the complaints, saying it’s a firmware issue that they can fix.

PROS
  • An ergonomic stand ensures you get a good viewing angle
  • The use of an IPS panel gives you flexible viewing angles
  • UHD (4K) resolution delivers clear and crisp images on the screen.
  • The built-in KVM switch helps reduce wire clutter at your workstation.
CONS
  • Average color representation at best.

Thunderbolt Monitors – Our Buying Guide

Here are some vital considerations to keep in mind when buying a Thunderbolt Monitor

Screen

The screen is an umbrella term that covers multiple parameters. These include:

  • Size
  • Resolution
  • Refresh Rate
  • Panel Type

We briefly explain each one of these

Size

The size determines the amount of space you have to display. The greater the area, the more windows you can have open at the same time. Of course, this means better multitasking and enhanced productivity. However, bigger is not always better as large screen monitors occupy a lot of space and tend to be expensive.

A large ultrawide screen can replace a dual, or triple monitor setup. Using the software, you can create virtual screens that mimic the functionality of a multi-monitor configuration.

Resolution

The resolution refers to the number of pixels you see on the screen. The more the number of pixels, the great the level of detail in the image you are viewing.

There are plenty of options, so deciding on one can be confusing. However, Thunderbolt technology supports 4K, so it would be better to have at least a 4K resolution.

Refresh Rate

The refresh rate refers to the number of times the image on the screen is refreshed. When you are viewing videos, fast-moving objects on the screen tend to be blurry. A good refresh rate will remove this motion blur and give you crisper images.

Anything under 60Hz should be a strict “No-No”, and to be frank, it is hard to find a monitor with less than 60hz, but using some docks or adapters might limit the refresh rate to 30hz.

Thunderbolt technology can support a refresh rate up to 240Hz depending on the video resolution. While the 4K video refresh rate ranges from 30Hz to 120Hz, 1080p videos can get up to 240Hz.

Adaptive Sync

Although Thunderbolt monitors are not created for gamers,  there are a lot of options with G-Sync and FreeSync. These features also work while using a Thunderbolt cable for the video input, as it incorporates the DisplayPort protocol.

Panel Type

Essentially, there are three main panel types IPS, VA, and Nano IPS (no need to mention TN for this product). IPS panels tend to be more popular as they give the best viewing angles without causing images to look dark from certain angles.

VA panels offer better refresh rates and response time than IPS panels. But are not as good for color representation and contrast ratios. Alternately, the Nano IPS panel offers the best color representations and comes with low response times suitable for high-performance gaming.

Color Gamut

The color gamut refers to the range of colors the monitor can display. Just because it can offer 1.07 billion colors does not mean you can view that level of accuracy. Look for parameters that measure the color in terms of percentage (%) of the DCI-P3 or Adobe RGB standards. These are recognized by industry experts and ensure you get accurate color depictions.

Productivity Features

A good Thunderbolt monitor must offer you Power Delivery (PD). Anything from 60W to 100W PD will allow you to charge your laptop while connected to the monitor.

All the monitors on our list offer PD.

Further, you would do well to select a monitor that has an in-built KVM switch or a USB hub. These allow you to reduce the clutter and expand your setup, respectively.

Monitors like the UltraSharp U4021QW and ThinkVision P27u-20 offer all three (PD, KVM, and USB hub).

Ports

The number of ports a monitor offers governs the setup you can have. Some monitors have multiple HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB ports that offer excellent utility. But the better monitors come with at least two Thunderbolt port that allows you to daisy-chain monitor for a dual-monitor setup.

Thus, LG, Lenovo, Asus, and Samsung monitors are excellent choices.

Thunderbolt 3 Vs Thunderbolt 4

The two technologies are very similar with only one subtle difference. Thunderbolt 4 offers support for 8K video resolution at 60Hz refresh rates.

The best Thunderbolt 3 can offer is [email protected] or a [email protected] (as does Thunderbolt 4). So, there is no real reason to go for a monitor that offers Thunderbolt 4, until you find a monitor that offers [email protected]

Best Thunderbolt Monitors in 2022 – Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is daisy-chaining?

Daisy-chaining is a mechanism that allows you to connect Thunderbolt devices in a series (similar to a chain). This makes the setup easy, and your computer can communicate with all the devices using just one port.

What is the difference between Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4?

In terms of data transfer speed, there is no difference between the two technologies. Thunderbolt 4 comes with the added benefit of [email protected] video capabilities. In comparison, the best that Thunderbolt 3 can do is [email protected]

Do you need a Thunderbolt Monitor?

If you are using a laptop that offers only Thunderbolt ports and you need an external monitor, a Thunderbolt Monitor is a good solution. It provides excellent video quality that laptops cannot match. They also feature Power Delivery and data on the same connection; hence, your setup is free of unnecessary wires. If you don’t need any of the TB features like daisy chaining, you can also opt for a USB-C only monitor and save some money.

What are DCI-P3, Adobe RGB, and sRGB?

These are industry benchmarks that have been developed to measure a monitor’s color reproduction. They define a set of colors called the color gamut. Then, they measure each monitor’s performance in terms of a percentage. The percentage measures the degree to which it covers the color gamut.

How many monitors can I connect through Thunderbolt?

When Thunderbolt technology was first introduced, it could only support one monitor per port with a max resolution of 2560×1600. Thunderbolt 2 release enabled connecting up to two monitors at 2560×1600 resolution and added the capability of transmitting 4K. Thunderbolt 3 and 4 support connecting one 5K monitor, two 4K monitors, or one 4K monitor at 120Hz per port. Thunderbolt 4 includes support for up to 8K resolution.

What’s the difference between Refresh Rate and Response Time?

To understand these two terms better, we first need to look at what frames are. A frame is a basic unit of the image shown on display. When you watch a video or play games on your laptop, the graphics look continuous, but they are a series of pictures/frames displayed on the screen very fast. However, you will see all of these as a video due to a monitor’s high refresh rate and the human eye’s persistence.

Refresh rate means how frequent frames are refreshed on a panel. Usually, up to this is measured in Hz. Therefore 60Hz means frames are refreshed 60 times in one second. If you are a gamer, you will probably go for monitors with a high refresh rate; otherwise, you might experience screen tearing or flickering, which might be painful to the eye.

Response time, on the other hand, means the time taken for a panel to change color from brightest to the dark or from dark to the brightest. Most standard laptops take 8ms. Therefore the shorter the response time, the better.

What’s HDR?

Note: This is not the HDR commonly used in photography.

With monitors, High Dynamic Range (HDR) contrasts the darkest and lightest elements a screen can produce. On a typical LCD monitor, the brightest part of an image is 1000 times brighter than the darkest part. In other words, it has a contrast ratio of 1000:1. However, monitors with a high dynamic range can increase that contrast by ten (10) or even 100. That allows the screen to show deeper, darker blacks right alongside the most dazzling colors.

HDR monitors also increase the range of colors they can show. Standard monitors normally work in the SRGB color space, covering roughly 36% of what the human eye can see. Meanwhile, most HDR standards use a large color space, such as the DCI-P3 standard, covering 46% of the visible range.

Is Thunderbolt 3 the same as USB-C?

USB-C is a physical standard, while Thunderbolt 3 is a data standard. Thunderbolt 3 uses a USB-C physical connector. That means the Thunderbolt 3 port on a laptop/ monitor is similar to a USB-C port. The only difference is that a Thunderbolt port has a lightning bolt sign next to it. Let’s look at the capabilities of these two connectors.

USB-C 3.1 Thunderbolt 3
Speeds: 10GBps Speeds: 40GBps
Power: 100W Power: 100W
DP over USB-C DP over USB-C
Daisy-chaining of up to 6 Devices
External Graphics card support
Thunderbolt networking
Can use one cable to charge, support display, and transfer data all at once Can use one cable to charge, support display, and transfer data all at once
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