So you’re looking for a new external monitor for your MacBook Air M1 and you’re frustrated with the overwhelming number of options.
When it comes to monitors, it’s very difficult to decide which one to buy. Luckily for you, I did some digging and found some great monitors to pair with your brand new MacBook Air M1.
Here’s the thing:
What You Need to Know:
Before you buy a monitor, remember the MacBook Air M1 does not have a dedicated HDMI port. In fact, it only has two Thunderbolt ports.
So you will need to buy a dongle that matches the video ports on your external display.
There are some monitors that support Thunderbolt video, so you would only need one cable connected from the monitor to the Thunderbolt port on your MacBook Air.
It saves you the hassle of buying extra adapters, and the quality is very good. The downside is that most Thunderbolt displays are a bit expensive.
For HDMI, I personally use this Anker USB C Hub with HDMI and power delivery.
You can take a look at my official list of best dongles for MacBooks for more options.
The good news is any HDMI monitor will work with the MacBook Air M1 when connected to a dongle.
Nevertheless, I would look for at least a 4K monitor with a good color profile. There are plenty of options out there.
Here are some good choices:
Note: All links open in a new tab, so feel free to open them to compare.
What is the Best Monitor for MacBook Air M1?
In my opinion, the best monitor for the MacBook Air M1 is LG 32UL950-W 32″ Ultra Fine 4K Thunderbolt 3 Monitor because it has a DCI-P3 98% color accuracy, Nano IPS panel, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDR 600, and extremely thin bezels.
The best of the best:
If price isn’t an issue for you, consider going with Apple’s official external display, the Apple 32-Inch Pro Display XDR. The problem is it literally costs thousands of dollars. It’s mainly designed for creatives and professionals who need the best of the best.
But few people are lucky enough to have that kind of money to drop on a monitor.
A budget alternative would be the LG27UN850-W 27-Inch 4K UltraFine. It has great colors and it also has two Thunderbolt 3 ports for connectivity.
Price range reference:
- 💲 – $100 – 200
- 💲💲 – $200 – 300
- 💲💲💲 – $300 – 400
- 💲💲💲💲 – $400 – 600
- 💲💲💲💲💲 – $1,000+
Here are some more realistic options:
Best Monitors for MacBook Air M1:
Price range: 💲💲💲💲💲 – $1,000+
I know, I know, the Apple Pro Display XDR is kind of ridiculous, but it is undoubtedly the best monitor for any MacBook. The few people who can afford this display only have amazing things to say about it.
The most notable features of the Apple Pro XDR are it supports 6K resolution, 1000 nits of brightness, and also a Thunderbolt and 3 USB-C ports.
Here’s what one Amazon user had to say about this monitor:
It’s pretty expensive but there’s nothing else in the market anywhere close to this price which is reference calibrated, supports 6K resolution, DisplayHDR 1600 and can also connect to and charge a MacBook Pro using a single cable. – Alex
If you want the absolute best of the best, then the Apple Pro XDR is for you.
But if you don’t have that kind of money to throw around, don’t worry, there are plenty of other good options.
Price range: 💲💲💲💲💲 – $1,000+
The LG32UL950 32-Inch is one of the best monitors for a MacBook Air M1.
It’s got every feature a Mac user will need, a crystal clear 4K panel, Thunderbolt connectivity (2 Thunderbolt 3 ports), extremely accurate colors, and much more.
The only downside is it’s not very budget-friendly and costs upwards of $1,000.
If you need a really good quality monitor for work, you can’t go wrong with this one. On the other hand, if you need something for casual use, a cheaper monitor would be better.
Price range: 💲💲 $200 – $300
Now let’s talk about the mid-tier monitors. Looking for a solid 4K external monitor for your MacBook Air M1 but don’t want to break the bank?
The LG24UD58-B could be the perfect monitor for you. It’s a UHD 4K display, with a 60 Hz refresh rate, FreeSync, and LG Screen Split 2.0.
The downside? It only supports HDMI. You will need to buy a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter to connect it to your MacBook Air M1.
Price range: 💲 – $100 – 200
Currently one of the highest-rated monitors on the market. It’s a budget-friendly but modern-looking external display that can work well with a MacBook Air. It’s a 24-inch display with thin bezels, an IPS panel, HDR 10, and an sRGB gamut of 99%.
The most notable feature of this monitor is it has a 75 Hz refresh rate. 75 Hz is not much of a jump from the standard 60 Hz, but it’s noticeable and makes actions feel slightly smoother.
As for downsides, it’s not a 4K monitor, it’s a 2K or 1440P monitor. Nevertheless, it’s a good choice for people on a tighter budget. You could also buy two of these and use them in a multiple monitor setup for your MacBook Air.
Price range: 💲💲💲💲 – $400 – 600
BenQ monitors are always a good choice. The PD27ooU 27″ was designed for creatives, with a very accurate color profile, 100% sRGB, and Rec. 709.
If you do a lot of photo editing or other work that requires accurate colors, this monitor is perfect for you.
What I liked most about the BenQ PD2700U is the stand, it can rotate to a full 90 degrees, making it a great side monitor.
It does not have Thunderbolt ports, so you will need either a Thunderbolt to HDMI or DisplayPort dongle.
Those five monitors should point you in the right direction.
Can a MacBook Air M1 Run a 4K Monitor?
Yes a MacBook Air M1 can run a 4K monitor either through Thunderbolt or a Thunderbolt to HDMI dongle. A MacBook Air M1 can run a single 6K external monitor at 60Hz.
Can You Connect 2 External 4K Monitors to MacBook Air M1?
You cannot officially connect 2 external 4K monitors to a MacBook Air M1. However, with an HDMI dongle and a DisplayLink docking station, it’s possible to get multiple 4K monitors working on a MacBook Air M1.
You can read my full tutorial on how to get two monitors working on a MacBook Air M1.
Can a MacBook Air M1 Connect to a 144Hz External Monitor?
Yes. A MacBook Air M1 can support 144Hz with either a direct Thunderbolt connection or a Thunderbolt to DisplayPort dongle. When connected via a dongle, the MacBook will often be limited to 4K at 120 Hz.
As I mentioned in this article (Can you connect 60 Hz laptop to 144 Hz monitor) the same concept applies to MacBooks.
Can I Close my MacBook Air M1 and Use an External Monitor?
Yes. You can connect an external monitor to your MacBook Air M1 and close the lid, activating clamshell mode. Clamshell mode will activate as soon as you close the MacBook when a monitor is connected.
Clamshell mode is a very neat way to keep your desk clean. If clamshell mode is not working read our guide on how to fix that.
What do You Think?
What monitor do you use with your MacBook Air M1?
Drop a comment below with your suggestions.