Best Monitor for Surface Pro Book: Top 7 Review

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:

  • U2312HM
  • U2212HMt
  • U2414Hb
  • U2412Mb
  • U2412Mc
  • 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.

Best Displayport To DVI Adapter For Microsoft Surface

There's been some confusion regarding the Microsoft Surface and external displays. The problem stems from a little symbol no one notices above the mini Displayport. If you look closely, there’s a symbol of a D with a P inside of it and two plus signs to the left of it. Not all mini Displayport to DVI adapters and hubs support DP++. It’s important to know what you’re dealing with before you buy an adapter.
 
Some cheaper adapters will accept your monitor cable and plug into the Displayport yet refuse to display anything on your external monitor. It's not a flaw in your device or your monitor; it's a simple case of not reading the fine print. Typically, this shouldn't be an issue for you if you're using a Microsoft Surface since it supports DP++ unless it's an older Surface.

Comparison Table

That said, before you buy an adapter, check your port or your device’s technical specifications to ensure it supports DP++. If it does, any passive adapter will do the job. If for some reason it does not support DP++, you’ll need to look into the more expensive active adapters. Make sure it has two plus signs next to the DP. There's a DP, and a DP++ and DP require an active adapter to use it with DVI or HDMI.

Active adapters use special hardware and chips to convert the signal into a form that will display on monitors that accept HDMI or DVI connections. If you plan to use more than one external monitor or projector, you’ll need an active adapter since it’s unlikely the video card in your device supports more than one external monitor.

As we mentioned before, check your device but it's highly likely you can get by with a passive adapter. A passive adapter doesn't need special hardware or chips to transmit video and sound if your device supports DP++. If you're hooking it up to an older VGA monitor, you may still need to use an active adapter. Microsoft recommends using an active adapter, but it's often unnecessary.

If your device has the DP++ logo near the mini Displayport, any active or passive adapter should work correctly. If it has no logo near the port or just a DP logo, opt for an active adapter. You'll find active and passive adapters in our list below. If for any reason your new passive adapter doesn't work even if you have the DP++ logo, fall back to Microsoft's advice and get an active adapter.

We’ve done most of the research for you and found the best active and passive adapters available. Our focus is adapters that convert from a mini Displayport to a DVI connection. We ignored the price of these adapters since most are inexpensive. We chose the adapters on this list based on the quality of the product and customer opinions above all other data.

How Do I Know Which Adapter I Need?

Image via pixabay

The adapters on our list are designed to connect to the DVI cable connected to your monitor or projector. Some older smart televisions may have a DVI connection as well. If you plan to use a TV as your external monitor, you probably need an adapter that converts to HDMI instead of DVI. Otherwise, you may need an adapter to convert your signal a third time to go from DVI to HDMI.

However, some older monitors and TVs still use VGA which is usually blue and has 15 pins or 15 holes for pins, depending on which end of the cable you’re on at the moment. We don't recommend that you use a mini Displayport with VGA since the VGA cable will likely degrade your video signal. You can do it, but you probably won’t like the results.

The connection our list focuses on has 24 pins or pin holes along with a big plus sign on one side that's surrounded by four additional pin holes or pins. Older DVI ports and cables may not have the plus sign on one side and won't work with most of the adapters on this list. They'll either have the plus sign and two pins or pinholes, or they may have a single slot instead of the plus.

Use your favorite search engine and find some images of display cables and ports to compare your connections to before you buy anything. We want you to make sure DVI is what you need before you waste a lot of time with the wrong hardware. It can be easy to confuse the different cables and ports if you don’t have a lot of experience with them.

The Best Displayport To DVI Adapters

This list contains a mix of passive and active adapters. In the past, active adapters require more parts to construct which usually increases their price. However, most adapters are easily affordable, so get an active adapter if you aren’t absolutely positive your device supports DP++. It may cost a few more dollars, but it will save you from the stress of trying to figure out why you can't get it to work.

StarTech Mini DisplayPort To DVI Adapter

252 Reviews
StarTech.com Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter - Active Mini DisplayPort to DVI-D Adapter Converter - 1080p Video - mDP or Thunderbolt 1/2 Mac/PC to DVI Monitor Dongle, mDP to DVI Single-Link (MDP2DVIS)
  • ACTIVE MINI DISPLAYPORT TO DVI ADAPTER: Mini DisplayPort 1.2 (HBR2) to DVI-D (digital only)...
  • HOST COMPATIBILITY: Active video converter supports mDP/mDP++ source including Thunderbolt 1 & 2...
  • INCREASE PRODUCITIVTY: Connect a DVI monitor or projector, or add a second display to your...
  • SCREW LOCKING DVI: Mini DisplayPort to DVI display adapter supports DVI screw locking cable to...
  • EASY TO USE: With no software or drivers required, the Mini DP to DVI converter works with any OS...

Last update on 2021-10-20 at 10:10 / Affiliate links / Images / Prices / from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can order this Displayport to DVI adapter on Amazon for $10.67. It supports 1080p resolution and DP++ along with Intel’s Thunderbolt technology. It supports a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200. It’s a passive adapter, so make sure your device supports DP++ before you purchase this one. It’s a bargain for the price and works with any device that has a mini Displayport.

Rankie Mini Displayport To DVI Adapter

3,351 Reviews
Rankie Mini DisplayPort (Mini DP) to DVI Cable, Thunderbolt Port Compatible, Gold Plated, 6 Feet
  • The 6 feet cable connects a Mini DisplayPort with Thunderbolt TM port enabled computer to a monitor...
  • The gold-plated conductors resist corrosion and increase connectivity. The inner braided foil...
  • Supports resolutions up to 1920x1200 or 1080P (full HD)
  • The low-profile connector does not block adjacent ports. The ergonomic tread is easy to plug and...
  • Suitable for Extended Desktop or Mirrored Displays. customer service from Rankie

Last update on 2021-10-20 at 10:10 / Affiliate links / Images / Prices / from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can order this adapter from Amazon for $8.99. It supports 1080p and up to 1920 x 1200 resolutions. It's a passive adapter, and owners report it works perfectly with their Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and newer models. It supports Intel's Thunderbolt but not the newest Thunderbolt 3 technology. If that's a concern, it's probably best to skip this adapter and get a different one.

Cable Matters Mini DisplayPort To DVI Adapter

364 Reviews
Cable Matters Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (Mini DP to DVI) in Black - Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 Port Compatible
  • Lightweight and portable Thunderbolt to DVI adapter for connecting a Mini DisplayPort (Mini DP or...
  • Transmits video from computer or tablet to monitor display; DVI to Mini DisplayPort cable supports...
  • Low-profile connector does not block adjacent ports on your computer; Mini Display to DVI adapter...
  • Gold-plated connectors resist corrosion, provide rigidity, and improve the signal performance of the...
  • Compatible with Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro; Microsoft Surface...

Last update on 2021-10-20 at 10:10 / Affiliate links / Images / Prices / from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can order this adapter from Amazon for $9.99. It supports full HD video and resolutions up to 1920 x 1200. It’s a passive adapter, so your device must support DP++ if you want good video quality while using this adapter. One benefit this adapter has over some of the others is the plug that fits into the mini Displayport is small and won’t block neighboring ports.

Cable Matters Active Mini DisplayPort To DVI Adapter

251 Reviews
Cable Matters Active Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter (Active Mini DP to DVI) Supporting Eyefinity Technology
  • Lightweight and portable Thunderbolt to DVI adapter for connecting a Mini DisplayPort (Mini DP or...
  • DVI to Mini DP adapter transmits video from computer or tablet to monitor display; DVI to...
  • Gold-plated connectors of the Mini Display to DVI adapter resist corrosion, provide rigidity, and...
  • Active Mini Display Port to DVI adapter support AMD Eyefinity Multi-Display Technology and Nvidia...
  • Compatible with Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro; Microsoft Surface...

Last update on 2021-10-20 at 10:10 / Affiliate links / Images / Prices / from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can order this adapter on Amazon for $16.99. It supports the same HD video and resolutions as the preceding adapter from Cable Matters, but this one is an active adapter. It's small and won't get in your way or block other ports. If you aren't sure whether or not your device supports DP++, we suggest getting an active adapter like this one or the next one on the list to be safe.

Foinnex Active Mini Displayport To DVI-D Adapter

90 Reviews
Active Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter/Converter,4K Thunderbolt to DVI for Surface Pro 6 5 4 3,Mac,MacBook Pro,Air,Surface Book,Surface Dock,Docking Station,AMD Eyefinity Gaming Video Up to 6 Displays
  • 【Active Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter】FOINNEX Active Mini DisplayPort to DVI Single Link...
  • 【Compatible with Surface Dock】Active Mini DP to DVI Adapter with active chipset supports...
  • 【Support AMD Eyefinity Technology】Active Thunderbolt to DVI converter supports AMD/ATI Eyefinity...
  • 【Resolution up to 4K】Transmits high-definition video signal from your laptop to DVI...
  • 【Compatible Devices】Microsoft Surface Pro 6 5 4 3, MS Surface Dock, Docking Station, Surface...

Last update on 2021-10-20 at 10:10 / Affiliate links / Images / Prices / from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can order this mini Displayport adapter on Amazon for $15.88. It supports full 4K Ultra-HD video and resolutions up to 3840 x 2160. You’ll need a monitor that supports those resolutions as well. It is an active adapter so that it will work on any device with a mini Displayport regardless of the type of technology the device supports.

OMorc 3-in-1 Mini DisplayPort To DVI VGA HDMI TV Adapter

You can order this adapter hub on Amazon for $13.99. It's a passive adapter, and it supports full HD and resolutions up to 1920 x 1200. It's a little off scope for this list since it also features HDMI and VGA ports. We felt that including it might help some of you if you have a DVI monitor at home and an HDMI monitor at the office. This adapter frees you from needing multiple adapters.

A Few Notes On Resolutions

Image via pixabay

Resolutions may be confusing since we have a dozen new acronyms or other ways to describe them these days. For most of us, an adapter, monitor, and video card that supports full HD and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 are all we'll need to enjoy videos or games. That sentence is what confuses most people since it says full HD then mentions a resolution which is basically the same thing.

IBM started this mess by trying to get other manufacturers to conform to their standard CGA color graphics technology. It seemed fair to them since they invented it. However, everyone wanted to be first and kept pushing the limits of video. That’s not a bad thing since it’s likely the reason we have ultra-high resolutions and crystal-clear video images today.

The next problem is something like 1080i and 1080p. The letter behind those numbers simply means one is using an interlaced scan and the other uses a progressive scan. Interlaced scanning is slowly dying off, and it's only still around because it's cheaper to manufacture devices that support it. They also don’t apply to computer monitors regardless of what the box says.

It all comes down to pixels. The number of pixels packed into the screen determines its resolution. So, a screen that supports resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 means it’s capable of displaying 1920 pixels across the screen horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically, not that it only has that specific number of pixels. Common resolutions and their acronym counterparts may look like this:

  • 720p: It is technically HD, and its resolution is 1280 x 720

  • 1080p: It is full HD, and its typical resolution is 1920 x 1080

  • 2K: This one is still 1080p only with a wider screen, and its resolution is usually 2048 x 1080

  • 1440p: It sports a resolution of 2560 x 1440, and it’s typically what you find on monitors marketed to gamers

  • 4K: This one is Ultra-HD or UHD, and its resolution is usually 3840 x 2160

  • 8K: It is Full-HD, or FHD and its resolution is 7680 x 4820

Your Adapter Buyer’s Guide

Image via pixabay

If you've determined your device supports DP++, any adapter on our list will work. Their prices are close enough not to matter much, and they all work with Microsoft's Surface device. We do caution you to make sure your device supports DP++. We might have mentioned that a time or two, but it's critical and might get a little extra push from us.

That said, based on customer opinions, the Cable Matters Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter is the best overall passive adapter. Some Microsoft Surface models have the SD card slot close to the mini Displayport, and bulky connectors might get in the way if you try to use the SD slot and the adapter at the same time. It's unlikely you'll experience this issue, but it's worth noting.

We like the Foinnex Active Mini Displayport to DVI-D Adapter as the best active mini Displayport to DVI adapter. It supports 4K Ultra-HD and a wide range of screen resolutions. Since it’s an active adapter, it will work with any device that has a mini Displayport. It also supports many of the new gaming technologies related to video, provided you have the correct monitor.

Many of you may have different monitors at home or the office that you regularly connect to your device. For instance, you may have a DVI monitor at home while your office monitor uses HDMI. You can get away with only buying one adapter if you opt for the OMorc 3-in-1 Mini DisplayPort to DVI VGA HDMI TV Adapter. It’s a hub that features DVI, HDMI, and VGA ports.

Honestly, unless you need 4K Ultra-HD support or higher than standard resolutions to work, any of the adapters on our list will do the job. If you want to take advantage of 4K Ultra-HD or resolutions above 1920 x 1200, you’ll need to ensure that your device’s video card supports them, and you have a monitor that supports them as well. Many devices don’t support these resolutions as of this writing.

Conclusion

Extending your Microsoft Surface to a TV or external monitor will increase your productivity and make watching videos more enjoyable, but you need the right gear to get you to that point. Before you buy anything, triple check your device to make sure a Displayport to DVI adapter is what you need and determine if you need a passive or active adapter.

Surface Pro AIO “Cardinal” releasing in October?

Hey everyone, we have news that a new Surface Pro AIO line will be dropping soon.

The Surface AIO which has the code name of “Cardinal” is finally hitting selves next late October!

An interesting thing about the Surface AIO Cardinal, is that is it designed to turn your desk in to a “studio”. Not quite sure what that means but I am guessing it will turn your table in to a functional tablet PC that is running Windows 10 at the very least..

Noting that it will be available in three sizes:

  • 21 inch
  • 24 inch
  • 27 inch

It is my guess that Microsoft is supplying the consumer with a new product for this year since the Surface Pro 5 and the Book 2 has been pushed back to Q1 of 2017.

The Surface Pro AIO Cardinal gives us an idea of what the Surface Hub might feel and it may as well be the consumer version of it.

Leave a comment below if you are interested in purchasing the Surface Pro AIO.