Is it still worth it to buy a used thunderbolt display in 2016?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jockgrammer, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. jockgrammer macrumors newbie

    jockgrammer

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    Aug 14, 2016
    #1
    I'm currently looking to buy a used one for about $350. But was wondering if the tech is really old and I could just add a couple more to buy a new non apple display that is around 2014-2016 model.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #2
    The only difference in newer current tech, is 4K or a wider colour gamut. If those things matter to you, look elsewhere.
    If not then used is the way to go. Way overpriced from Apple for older tech.
     
  3. jockgrammer thread starter macrumors newbie

    jockgrammer

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    Aug 14, 2016
    #3
    Ah. Thanks.

    Nope, I don't really want 4K as of this moment since my hardware doesn't seem to keep up. I am doing some design work but the resolution should be enough.

    Just wondering if I'm getting my money's worth for this tech for this amount of money.
     
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #4
    So not sure what the going rate in your area is, but most better 27" monitors will set you back more than $350. Just check for hot spots and dead sub pixels (bright colour spot) or dead pixels (black spot). A solid grey background tends to work best for spotting those issues.
     
  5. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #5
    Probably - if you just wanted a comparable 2560x1440 screen.

    However, the TB display also offers some unique "docking" features that you won't get elsewhere:
    - Magsafe power supply (you may need a Magsafe 1-to-2 adapter, but its still nifty)
    - Half-decent speakers & microphone
    - Built-in webcam
    - Gigabit Ethernet
    - Firewire connector (sill useful if you have FireWire kit)
    - USB Ports - these are "first class" ports with their own controller, not a hub but they're only USB 2, no USB 3
    - Thunderbolt daisy-chain connector (but only Thunderbolt 1, not 2 - may limit the speed of downstream devices)

    ... all with 2 wires (magsafe & thunderbolt) to your laptop.

    Its the last 3 points - particularly the USB2 - that made Apple's $1000 retail price a joke, but at $350 I'd consider it. You'd need a 3rd party display + a Thunderbolt Dock to get similar functionality (and then you'd need 3 mains sockets instead of 1).

    Theres a couple of LG thunderbolt displays that do give you USB3 ports but not the other features.

    Negative points:
    - if you don't have a laptop, I wouldn't bother because the docking features are less useful.
    - Won't work with the 12" retina Macbook
    - Mac (or a very few PCs with Thunderbolt) only & only one at a time: no chance of plugging in PCs, consoles etc. Most 3rd party displays have several inputs you can switch between - usually 2 or more from HDMI, DVI, Display Port, VGA.
    - If you're waiting with bated breath for the new MacBook Pro, I'd avoid: if (as anticipated) they go for TB3 you'll need a $100 TB3-to-TB1 adapter.
     
  6. robvas macrumors 68020

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    #6
    I really enjoy mine and it will last for a while. I say do it
     
  7. rdas7 macrumors regular

    rdas7

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    #7
    The Apple Thunderbolt Display is really two devices in one.

    As @theluggage mentioned above, for one thing you're getting the screen - which is a color accurate 27" IPS 2560x1440 panel.

    The second device is the Thunderbolt dock. When it was first released, the Apple Thunderbolt Display was one of a kind. Companies like Belkin, OWC and Elgato have since released standalone dock devices, which offer similar functionality. The key benefit is that by connecting one Thunderbolt cable from your computer to the dock/display you can transmit video, usb, ethernet and firewire. The Thunderbolt Display has several of these ports on the back.

    So, in answer to your question: if you're looking to the Apple Thunderbolt Display for its accuracy, then the price is competitive for a color-accurate IPS 27" 2560x1440 panel (such as those from NEC or LG).

    If color accuracy is not a primary concern, then you might consider cheaper panels, in conjunction with a standalone Thunderbolt Dock.

    I have owned a Thunderbolt Display for the past few years, and find it a crucial component to my setup and workflow. I can highly recommend it.

    For what it's worth - I believe the Apple Thunderbolt Display has recently been discontinued by Apple, indicating there may be a newer version to be released, likely incorporating the forthcoming Thunderbolt 3 standard.
     
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #8
    If not describe the Thunderbolt Display as colour accurate. That's just marketing and the Apple myth I'm afraid.
    Much more accurate screens out there. Then and now.
     
  9. rdas7 macrumors regular

    rdas7

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    #9
    This comprehensive, independent review from Anandtech has an in-depth examination of the display and concludes the Thunderbolt Display as "professional grade":

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4832/the-apple-thunderbolt-display-review/5
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #10
    Comprehensive and independent? If not agree with that, but then wide Color gamut, uniformity, age backlight correction and fully calibrateable monitors aren't for everyone.
    Give me an Eizo, NEC or BenQ (all with matte screens) any day of the week.
    Unfortunately the leanings see an :apple: logo and think it must be better for professional creatives.
    Sadly that was the case maybe 10 years ago.
     
  11. rdas7 macrumors regular

    rdas7

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    #11
    Yeah I agree 100% with you on that. Prices for decent Eizo and NEC are way more than the Thunderbolt Display, and they don't include the Thunderbolt hub features.

    It's like I said: the Apple Thunderbolt Display is really 2 devices in one. So whether it's suitable for your needs depends what your priorities are. It still is great value for money though. With the fall in price to the $600-700 mark, it's a decent option.
     
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #12
    It's still a great Screen, if it's what you want and you can afford it why not.
     
  13. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #13
    I don't think there's any basis for saying the TB Display's display quality is any better than you'll get with, say, a $700 (new - I'm sure there's deals to be had secondhand) Dell Ultrasharp, or comparable. Its also (very) glossy which personally I don't mind but is a deal-breaker for many.

    The more expensive Eizos and NECs seem to be mainly about color accuracy and calibration which may be essential for some users but is irrelevant to many (and a wide gamut display is more of a liability than an asset unless you're running a colour-accurate workflow - with the possible exception of the pre-calibrated-and-configured displays in the new iMacs).

    Yes, the docking features are unique, but they're compromised by their age (USB 2 only, I'm assuming the TB-through doesn't support TB2 and the MagSafe needs an adapter for the current MacBoook Air/Pro and might not work at all if the new MacBook Pros switch to USB-C).

    Also, 3rd-party screens have advantages like support for non-Apple devices (usually with several switchable inputs) and USB-3 hubs (which may be more useful to you than the USB2 controller in the TB display).
     
  14. Larry-K macrumors 68000

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    #14
  15. loby macrumors 6502a

    loby

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    #15

    Same here. For $350 it sounds like a good deal depending on how old it is and the condition. Depending on the setup you have, if you don't have 4k hardware, then why not? I have had a Cinema Display (liked) before getting the thunderbolt display (sold it to buy a thunderbolt display) and could not be happier. I would still be using the Cinema Display if I did not buy the Thunderbolt display.

    Not sure if Apple will invest in a new updated monitor, for other companies can produce cheaper monitors than Apple would probably put out and the quality is excellent and may not be worth the trouble for Apple anymore.

    Now if Apple would do something again with the monitor (like adding a GPU in it or something wild), then an Apple monitor would be worth looking into, but cost vs. quality, there are plenty of good monitors out there now.
     
  16. iPaintCode macrumors regular

    iPaintCode

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    #16
    I picked up a barely used 27" Apple TB display used for a few trade shows off craigslist (I know I know, but was actually legit). I debated waiting it out or getting a 5k iMac but due to finances that wasn't an option. With that said I feel I made the right decision, as a web developer/designer I need a non retina screen as well. There are better screens on the market with wider color gamuts, 4K+ and better i/o offerings but the TB display still holds up well. One of the main reasons I decided to get the TB was the aluminum housing, they're built like tanks and most other monitors I looked at were mostly plastic, felt cheap and stands that seem to wobble. I wish Apple upgraded the i/o and introduced the new form factor but we can't have it all.

    Mac hardware is a 3rd class citizen under the reign of Tim Cook.
     
  17. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    For 350, it's debatable.
    LG has a comparable 27" display (27MB85Z) that has TB2 and allows daisy-chaining. Apparently. Anyone got success with that?
    It's cheaper than the Apple TBD, but not much.
     
  18. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

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    Arizona
    #18
    This is a great monitor and is still my primary display. The principle argument against the thunderbolt display over the past couple of years was that it had older technology but was still being sold at a massive premium of $1000. Laughably it had to use an adapter to plug its MagSafe cable into the newest MacBooks.

    I'd buy another one for $350 probably if I knew it was in good repair. However, when I did buy my second display I went with this: Dell U2715H. No Thunderbolt but dual HDMI input. Firm build construction, designed to rotate (so I can set it vertical if I am so inclined) and Dell's signature nonexistent bezels (stands out very much compared to the aged Thunderbolt Display).

    Looking like my particular model has been moved along by Dell and is just an old stock reseller screen now (only bought it in January from them LOL) but my point is shop around because other vendors are selling some great displays with newer features than the Thunderbolt Display.
     
  19. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

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    #19
    I bought my Cinema LED Display for the past few years, and it has performed as expected. I like the look, and fit of it, matching all the other mac products in my office. However, thats just me.

    I would say the TB Displays are very good displays, and yes they are worth it.

    On the other side comparable Dell monitors with the same IPS screens are still just as expensive. Its really up to you, what you buy, but if I was to go non-Apple... it would be with a Dell IPS Monitor.
     
  20. ValiumEater macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2015
    #20
    No. Not unless you can get it for under $500 anyway. I got a 34" ultra-wide LG display with Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 connections in addition to DisplayPort and HDMI for under $700. Far better than the $1k Apple Thunderbolt Display.
     
  21. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

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    #21
    lots of good point in the comments so far. it was never a great monitor, especially with the highly reflective gloss finish and glass.
    like many Apple products, their monitors on the used market have held too much value. $350 is quite low so it's either a good deal or stolen property?

    one thing to be aware of, as LCD monitors age, they can yellow. my thunderbolt display has a touch of this. I would expect, as time presses on, more and more of these will end up in the same situation. this is also why I gave up years ago looking at 30" Cinema displays. Time takes them all down.
     
  22. TSteyn macrumors newbie

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    Sep 11, 2016
    #22
    I have used Samsung monitors with my Macbook Air for a few years, connected via Displayport. Solid, runs cool and compatible with power management, etc.
     

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