The Surface Pro offers everything you need from a workstation on the go, but the 12.3-inch PixelSense display is a bit too small for everyday work.
Whether you intend to set up in your home office or at your work desk, you’ll find your Pro transformed when you attach an external monitor. A monitor allows you to multi-task and takes some of the strain off your eyes while doing so.
What’s the best monitor for a Surface Pro book? We break down our top picks right here.
How We Made Our Decision
Here’s the truth about buying an external monitor for your Surface Pro: not any monitor will do.
You need a monitor that maintains the high native resolution of your Surface without giving you technical trouble. It dramatically limits your options; though, you don’t need to spend a fortune.
We kept our list limited to the monitors most compatible with the Surface.
Best Monitor for Surface Pro Book: The Top 7
Our search for the best monitor for a Surface Pro Book turned up seven incredible results. We listed the results according to the need we think they serve best. Keep reading for the full seven.
Best Monitor for the Matching Apple: Dell U2719D 27-inch Monitor
The Dell U2719D offers a stunning picture in an extra-large size. Not only does it boast a whopping 27 inches, but it leaves the bezel behind. The picture you get is huge and feels like it could naturally run on forever.
We like this monitor because it’s so easy to set up. It connects to your Surface with a regular HDMI cord, but you can choose the DisplayPort if that suits you better. The monitor also adds five USB-A 3.0 ports, which Surface users can appreciate.
Those who own the monitor say that they use it as an alternative to their Apple products. Those who use an Apple Thunderbolt display at the office but want something more budget-friendly for their home workspace find that this monitor does the job without compromising on quality.
The sRGB profile offered by the Dell U2719D pairs perfectly with Apple Thunderbolt and Macbooks, so you can easily swap in your Surface ProBook for home use.
Best Value for Dual Monitors: Dell P2715Q 27-inch HD 4k Monitor
Need to double up on your monitors? Try the Dell P2715Q 27-inch Ultra HD 4k Monitor set.
Specs on the monitors are impressive. One of the problems encountered with Surface compatibility is the inability of monitors to keep up with the graphics. The Dell P2715Q keeps up and then some.
The monitors come with 3840 x 2160 resolution, a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 350 cd/m2 brightness. They also feature 1.07 billion colors, and it comes color-calibrated from the factory. It’s a monitor virtually built for the Surface.
We like these monitors because they’re also generally compatible for use. They feature both HDMI (MH) inputs and a mini DisplayPort. You also get in-plane switching technology (IPS) and both a DisplayPort input and output. Dell topped the monitors off with four USB 3.0 ports.
Other features include 178/178 viewing angles and 9-millisecond response time.
The package includes:
- two monitors
- one 12-outlet surge protector
- two super-high performance two-meter HDMI cables
- one deluxe cleaning kit
Best Budget Monitor: ViewSonic VX2457-MHD
Many of the monitors that match Surface’s visual and technical requirements can be expensive. But you don’t need to splash out to get a monitor that works.
The ViewSonic Vx2457-MHD is a 1080p gaming monitor with HMDI and DisplayPort capability. ViewSonic markets the product as a gaming monitor thanks to several features including AMD FreeSync technology for smoother frames, Blue Light Filter to make it easy on the eyes, and pre-set customizable visual modes for MOBA, RTS, or FPS gaming.
We like the monitor because of its price and because it offers a choice that others don’t: the option to scale down.
The monitor comes in 22-inch, 24-inch, and 27-inch sizes, so you don’t need to walk away with a mammoth screen if it isn’t what you need.
Best for Photographers, Graphic Designers, and Image Experts: LG 34UM94-P
The LG 34UM94-P competes with the Dell U2719D, but it’s best for widescreen work.
The monitor offers 34-inches of space and eliminates the need for a dual screen in some cases. Its key features include:
- WQHD (3440 x 1440) IPS display
- Screen Split 2.0
- sRB 99 percent
- Thunderbolt 2.0 (2)
Everything about the monitor caters to professional-level graphics. It offers a pixel area 1.8 times larger than a 21:9 monitor and 2.4 times of what a Full HD 16:9 monitor offers. The addition of IPS allows users to see it at any angle, making it perfect for detail-oriented minds or teamwork.
You can buy the monitor with and without Thunderbolt 2.0. The Thunderbolt input/output ports offer speed for transfers. You’ll get 22-gigs-per second in both directions. The lightning speed is four times faster than the typical USB 3.0 ports found in other monitors.
The spec that truly speaks to professionals is the sRBG coverage. It offers over 99 percent coverage of the sRGB spectrum. If you need highly accurate color, then few, if any, other monitors beat the LG 34UM94-P.
Other fantastic features include LG’s FreeSync, which suits gamers. Screen Split 2.0 makes multitasking simple and gives you 14 options for resizing windows and screens.
Best Budget Multi-Screen: HP 345495 Z27n G2
The HP 345495 Z27n G2 is a sleek 27-inch display monitor known to work well with Surface models of all types. HP touts it as offering features like:
- Integrated color calibration
- Uninterrupted multi-screen tiling
- USB-C ports
Its basic specs are also impressive. The monitor boasts 16:9 aspect ratio, 2560 x 1440 resolution, a 3-sided micro-edge bezel, and DisplayPort compatibility.
You have several options for linking up including HDMI and DisplayPort. Other connectivity features include VGA and three USB 3.0 hubs.
People who buy this monitor love the look. It’s sleek without looking futuristic.
However, you may find issues with it. You could argue that while the specs beat low-priced monitors, the picture quality might not justify it. Additionally, some bemoaned that the USB C isn’t what they expected. The monitor doesn’t come with a C to C cable, but the monitor nags users about using HP-certified cables when they do buy one.
Best Basic Monitor: AOC I2267FW
The AOC I2267FW fills a gap in the market for a solid budget monitor that’s compatible with Surface Pro books.
This multi-purpose monitor is perfect for gamers on a budget and for photo/video editors who need a second workstation or who don’t yet have the budget for one of the 4K or extended frame monitors. It offers a crisp display and a refresh rate of 5ms.
We like the AOC because you can easily buy three of these without breaking the bank, which makes it perfect for multi-taskers who don’t need the entire world of color available to them.
The monitor is 22-inches and offers 1920 x 1080p IPS as well as standard ports like DVI-D and VGA.
If there were a big downside, we would say it is the lack of HDMI port.
While fixing the issue requires only an HDMI to DVI-D adaptor, it is one more thing you have to buy. However, if you truly are on a shoestring budget, then the monitor does everything it needs without the bells and whistles you don’t need yet.
Two issues that come up are the stand and the frame. Some find the stand to be poorly made, resulting in a wobbly movement.
Customers should also note that it is frameless but not borderless and feel that the distinction is helpful if the issue is important you.
All in all, the AOC I2267FW offers great color and speed.
Best 2K Monitor: BenQ SW2700PT
The BenQ SW2700PT claims to be a photographer monitor with features designed specifically for professional and aspiring pro photographers. It is a 27-inch monitor with 2560×1440 QHD resolution. Its photographer features include 99 percent Adobe RGB and IPS technology for the most accurate color resolution available.
The 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution makes it a full 2K monitor with four times the resolution of a Full HD display but without the extra bells and whistles of 4K. In our opinion, 2K offers enough to see all the fine detail for photography, but videographers might still opt for full 4K.
You can purchase the monitor in several different specs including 24, 27, and 32 inches. The photographer’s version is the 2560 x 1440, but if you find there are features you want in a different resolution, you can also buy 1920 x 1200 and 3840 x 2160.
We find the biggest selling point of the BenQ SW2700PT is the built-in hardware calibration. According to BenQ, hardware calibration helps you make adjustments to the internal image processing chip without changing other settings on the graphics card output. Calibration creates consistent displays.
BenQ calibrates every monitor in the factory for performance.
Other features offered include:
- Advanced Black & White Mode
- Hotkey Puck
- Shading Hood
- Eye-Care Technology
There is no doubt that the BenQ is a quality monitor. The lighting is even, and the color rendition is accurate.
Some who purchase this monitor chose it because they wanted an upgrade to a 2K or 4K monitor without having to update their graphics card.
Connecting to an External Monitor: What Surface Owners Need to Know
Some of the best monitors currently on the market pair perfectly with the Surface Pro, but you still need to make your decision carefully.
Because choosing a monitor is highly personal and depends heavily on what the use for the monitor is, there’s no set of specs that we consider to be essential for every user. Instead, we’ll show you the bare minimum required and discuss some of the issues associated with choosing an incompatible or even semi-compatible monitor.
Maximum Requirements for Connecting to a Surface
The maximum requirements for a Surface Pro 4 depend on the processor you choose.
If you choose a Core M processor, you can use one or two external displays. Connecting one display offers a max refresh rate of 60 Hz and a max screen resolution of 3840 x 2160. Two displays come with the same resolution and max refresh rate of 30 Hz.
Are you using an i5 or i7 processor? Connect one display and see a max refresh rate of 60 Hz and a max screen resolution of 4096 x 2304. Two displays limit the max refresh rate to 30 Hz.
Issues Faced With Incompatible Monitors
The Surface became an indispensable product a few iterations into its life, but it comes with a series of problems.
The number one problem people have appears to be with connecting their surface to an external monitor. Issues abound, and some of the more common tend to be technical:
- Apps fail to scale
- Text appears blurry
- Monitor turns on and off
- Tablet display causes problems
Buying from the list of monitors from the list above solves most of those problems because either Surface owners or Microsoft provided the recommendation.
If you don’t choose one from the list, double-check Microsoft Support’s official list of unsupported monitors.
Most of the unsupported monitors are Dell. Models on the list include:
- U2515Hc (both FW A01 and FW A00)
- U2913Wm (FW A03)
Microsoft also provides a full list of monitors supported by the Surface. You can connect directly to the Surface or with the SurfaceDock. Microsoft also checked DisplayPort-capable monitors for compatibility.
Find the full list here.