Many of the best laptops for photo editing now come with a USB-C port. It's an extremely versatile connection that is all the more useful now that it's the standard connection type for the latest Apple Macbooks.
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Using a single USB-C cable, not only will the best USB-C monitors replicate (or extend) the screen of your laptop, they can also transmit data. This means they can act like a USB hub, so you can plug other USB devices – such as keyboards, mice and external hard drives – into the monitor, and your laptop will be able to use them.
Some of the best USB-C monitors for photo editing will also charge your laptop when it's plugged in via USB-C – so you won't need a separate power supply for your laptop. However, not every USB-C monitor supports this, so make sure you look out for the USB Power Delivery feature before you buy.
• See also: Best monitors for MacBook Pro
Here’s our pick of the best USB-C monitors for photo editing right now...
Best USB-C monitors in 2021
Dell produces an extensive range of high-quality UltraSharp-series screens aimed at enthusiast photographers, but we reckon the U2720Q is the pick of the bunch if you're after a USB-C display. Color fidelity is nothing short of sensational, as this monitor will display 99% sRGB, 99% Rec. 709 and 95% of the DCI-P3 color spaces, as well as being factory calibrated to a Delta-E deviance of less than 2. The 4K (3840 x 2160) pixel resolution is super sharp over the 27-inch screen screen size, while DisplayHDR 400 certification ensures excellent highlight and shadow rendition. Oh, and don't forget the 90W USB-C power delivery, meaning even a power-hungry laptop can be powered directly from the monitor.
This monitor may be a bit pricier than the an entry-level budget screen, but it offers far better specs at what's still a very reasonable price. 100% sRGB and 100% Rec. 709 color space coverage puts this display up there with some of the best specced screens on the market, as does the out-of-the-box color accuracy of Delta-E <2. USB-C Power Delivery of 65W isn't class leading, but it's enough to power most typical modern laptops, and there's even a pair of speakers inside. The only potential drawback with this monitor is its resolution. 2560 x 1440 is some way short of 4K, but it's crisp enough over the 27-inch screen size, so don't let this be a deal-breaker unless you simply must have a pixel-less 'Retina' effect.
This is another excellent USB-C for professional photographers, mainly thanks to its incredibly accurate colors. It covers 100 per cent of the sRGB color space and an almost-unparalleled 99 per cent of the huge Adobe RGB color space, plus the monitor will even remind you when it's due to be calibrated. It has a high quality stand that's super-stable and it allows the screen to be flipped into portrait mode, which can come in handy if you're editing photographs in that orientation. Its USB-C connections enables up to 60W Power Delivery, plus there are two USB Type-A ports and an SD card reader - useful if your laptop lacks or is short on these. This isn't a cheap monitor, but the price you pay is fair given the incredible color accuracy and image quality.
The LG UltraFine 5K USB-C monitor is the best USB-C monitor for photographers looking for extremely high (above 4K) resolution. Its 5120 x 2880 resolution offers 14.7 million pixels across a 27-inch screen. Photos are breathtakingly rich in detail, vibrant and lifelike, with 218 pixels per inch and a 60Hz refresh rate. It’s aimed at Mac-users, with four Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C ports on the back. Of course, any laptop with a USB-C port is supported, but be warned that it doesn't have any other video inputs, so if your laptop doesn't have a USB-C port, this minimalist monitor won't be for you.
Usually top monitor specs will cost top money, but not here. Ok, you're not getting a 4K screen, but for less than £400/$400 this screen has quality IPS screen technology that translates to supreme image quality with reliably accurate color, contrast and viewing angles. There's also the all-important USB-C connectivity that can transmit video, sound and up to 60w of power over one cable, while regular HDMI and DisplayPort sockets are also present to maximize compatibility with non-USB-C computers. Just be sure to pick this VG2755-2K model with its 2560 x 1440 screen res. A plain VG2755 can also be had, but this version makes do with a lower Full HD 1920x1080 resolution, which we reckon is a little too low for a 27-inch screen, as it can make for a slightly pixelated image.
If you're after an ultra-wide USB-C monitor to make use of that wider screen size (so you don't need multiple monitors on a desk, for example), then the LG 34WP65G-B is definitely worth considering. It's more affordable than other USB-C monitors on this page, mainly because it doesn't support USB Power Delivery, and it has a lower resolution. This means images will look slightly more pixelated than they would on a higher resolution screen, especially as this display is so large, but IPS LCD display technology ensures consistent color and contrast, regardless of viewing angle. 99% sRGB color space coverage further enhances this monitor's appeal for photographers, as does the DisplayHDR™ 400 certification, verifying the decent 400-nit max brightness.
HP's Z-series monitors are designed for professional environments, but this 24-inch Z24N G2 is still a great choice for home use. You get uncompromising quality control, like factory color calibration, as well as HP's Zero Bright Dot Guarantee, where HP will replace the screen if even one pixel fails. The 1920 x 1080 Full HD screen resolution isn't exactly headline-grabbing, but it's enough to give you a crisp image on a screen this size. More important is the panel's IPS technology which makes for 99% sRGB colour space coverage, wide 178x178-degree viewing angles, and a real-world viewing experience that'll really display your photos at their best. Naturally, USB-C connectivity to your laptop is also present, though don't expect it to charge your laptop in a hurry, as power over USB is limited to a paltry 15w.