- Crisp, edge-to-edge display
- Excellent brightness without motion artifacts
- USB-C video and passthrough power
- High premium for USB-C support
- Bad button arrangement for OSD
- No height adjustment, limited tilt
A 2015 or 2016 MacBook has a neat complement in the 1440p 27-inch Acer H277HU ($481 on Amazon) display. You can connect the MacBook’s sole USB-C port directly into the back of the H277HU using an included (albeit short) cable, and the H277HU acts as a second display while also charging the laptop and adds two USB 3.0 Type-A ports at the rear of the display.
The display is sharp, bright, and expansive, with its front glass extending to the top, left, and right edges. Hidden on-screen display (OSD) buttons are underneath the bottom-left edge. Testing the display with apps and with live-action and animated high-definition video, there are no motion artifacts, and the tone is rich and deep. Even with my 2015 MacBook, there was no lag, flicker, or other indication of anything but on-target performance of the 2560×1440 pixel display.
The monitor also has HDMI and DisplayPort connections, so you can use it with other computers or as an output source for an Apple TV, other player, or an HDMI-switching receiver. The built-in three-watt speakers are fine, but have about as little oomphf as you’d expect.
Unfortunately, even at its $500 MSRP, it lacks a stand with much adjustment. It has a fixed height that raises it just three inches, and has just a -5 to 15 degree tilt swing. That won’t work with some setups or will require an additional stand onto which you place the monitor.
The OSD buttons are hidden, but also irritating to find. I turned the monitor off several times because the power button is in line with the other controls and has the same soft-press action. The volume control for the display requires using the buttons; otherwise, you typically rarely need to adjust OSD.
While the H277HU has several color profiles you can select among with an Empowerment button (no joke), I found the user-selected option with very minor tweaking using OS X’s calibrator to provider better results. (With external inputs, like a streaming-media player or Blu-ray, the scene adjustment could be more useful.)
The Acer fits the bill as a MacBook monitor/micro-dock combination, but the price is about $100 above what similar monitors without USB-C cost, and the lack of height adjustment and limited tilt in the stand might put you off. If it doesn’t fit your needs exactly, more USB-C monitors are expected soon from Dell and others.