Thunderbolt Display vs Dell U2713H/U2713HM?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by tangfj, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. tangfj, Jan 12, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013

    tangfj macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2008
    So last night I was at BestBuy looking to use up some gift cards and ended up buying a Thunderbolt display to use with my new 27" iMac... the people at my BB actually price matched for me to Fry's so I ended up saving $200 + my gift cards. I know I got a very good deal but I think it may have been an impulse buy.

    I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the Dell U2713HM or U2713H? I was eyeing those before getting the TBD mostly because of the USB3 ports and ability to connect non-Apple devices (I have my work laptop/etc that'd be nice to connect).

    So... does anyone else have any experience with both monitors that could chime in with pros/cons of each? I'm really considering selling the TBD on eBay and getting a Dell but not sure if it'd be the right move or not.
  2. ybz90 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 10, 2009
    The panels are identical, the Apple build quality is superior, the design aesthetics are superior (though this can be up to one's tastes), and it has a TB dock built in.

    Since Dell, HP, etc are not really any cheaper, in my opinion there is no reason to get one over an Apple display. In my eyes, the only options are Apple for the build, design, and features, or an off-brand Monoprice/Korean monitor for the price. Other US-based brands are a bad combination of high price and low features.
  3. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    There isn't anything superior about Apple's build quality in displays at a general level. It's impossible to do a perfect brand to brand comparison, as Apple's line is always quite streamlined. NEC has displays that are significantly better in many ways, yet they also carry budget models. Dell's top models may be a better buy for some users than the thunderbolt display, but I hesitate to call it a foregone conclusion This is one of Dell's semi-budget displays. It didn't completely replace the U2711. Eventually we'll see Adobe RGB displays go to LED too. NEC started that trend in 2005. At that time it cost $6k. Anyway either is a decent option.

    I expect Apple to update the thunderbolt display to be similar to the current imac, but it will probably be a few months. My best guess is mid year. Right now the imacs are in short supply, presumably due to their panel lamination process. I don't expect it to change while they're still tied up that way. They'll also have to certify a third party chipset to provide usb3. If they intend to update the mac pro, they'd need to certify usb3 there too. Ivy bridge E5s do not provide it.
  4. pinchu71 macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2008
    You can find a extensive review of dell u2713h here:

    Is far better color reproduction than Apple thunderbolt, thanks to his rgb led ilumination system.

    Also The Light mate coating Is superior to The horrible mirror surface in Apple monitor.
  5. slideworks macrumors member


    Mar 2, 2010
    North Carolina
    I had been wondering about this same thing myself for the last few months now. I had been using a Dell 2209wa with my MBP for 3 years and really needed some more real estate. I loved the dell but hated the AG coating. I loved the look of the ACD but wanted more than just a thunderbolt connection. When Dell released the 2713hm it seemed like the perfect solution. I waited to read the reviews and argue back and forth with myself and finally bought one.

    I am typing this on the new monitor as we speak and could not be happier. The AG coating is perfect! Colors reproduction is every bit as good as an ACD and I can use with more than just my Macs. I highly recommend this monitor if you are on the fence.
  6. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Horrible mirror surface? The wife and I have zero problems with the ATDs we got for Christmas. No reflection problems.
  7. pinchu71 macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2008
    Old discussion glossy vs mate monitors. But the fact is the glossy monitors are not suitable for professional works like photography.
    Don't get me wrong, love design and quality of ATDs, but yes, glare with glossy surfaces is a real problem, and force to choose the location of monitor with care. (same case with laptops)


    The new 2012 imac has new anti glare coating, and the new lamination process reduce the glare of this still glossy finish. Guess that an inminent renovation of ATDs will incorporate this feature.
  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    The other vendors are much cheaper because they negotiate and have sales. I paid $510 for my Dell U2713HM.

    The anti-glare on this display is sublime. I've always hated the grainy looking finish of most non-glossy displays, but this one is very light. It definitely isn't glossy though either.
  9. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    Whilst the ATD's are expensive (and use the same LG panels as the Dells).

    If you add up the price of the Dell display, plus a thunderbolt "dock" - they'll probably be around the same as the ATD. I'm a fan of the ATD simply because they look awesome and provide 1 cable docking :).
  10. whdigital macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2011
    I pondered this very same comparison and ultimately chose the Dell U2713HM for two reasons: 1) I need to hook up both a PC and a Mac, and 2) With a sliding door behind me, I need some kind of anti-glare coating.

    TB would be cool, but not a deal breaker for me given the above issues.

    Just bought the Dell on Amazon for $649 and it's on the way to me!
  11. JD92 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 14, 2005
    EDIT: Sorry, misread the model number the OP was comparing the Thunderbolt Display to.
  12. tangfj thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2008
    thanks for the replies guys... I've thought it over a while and I think I'm going to stick with the TBD. Even though I can't connect my pc/etc it's not a dealbreaker. I'll just have to use my work laptop separately. The main reason for keeping the TBD is resale value and demand. I have several Dell monitors that I'm trying to sell now (2709w, 2408wfp, and 2407wfp) and I'm finding it difficult to find people interested in buying them. When I look on ebay and see postings for used TBD's there is almost always bidding activity, which is a good sign. Even on older cinema displays I see people easily selling those online or on CL.

    Anyway, long story short, keeping the TBD and selling all my old monitors hopefully!
  13. MJL, Jan 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

    MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    There are some misgivings with the Dell U2713HM regarding uneven backlighting. I've just bought the U2713H which is a wide gamut display and is supposedly sublime in that regard.

    On another more important note: These two Dell's do not have PWM control of the backlighting. PMW can in sensitive people cause health issues e.g. migraine, epileptic attacks etc. This was for me the main reason to retire a one year old U2412M.
  14. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    IF you can not sell the old monitors, give them to a 501-C3 (non-profit) organization for a tax credit. Examples are Goodwill, Salvation Army, churches..etc.
  15. cinema5D macrumors newbie

    Oct 12, 2011
    Having late 2012 iMac with u2713hm and u2713h.
    Both are not compatible. Imac is sending a signal that causes heavy ghosting on the dells with green traces. U hardly realize it on standard settings but once you calibrate the monito this becomes very apparent. Its freaky and no usable support from Dell as always.

    These monitors always freak out with Apples when calibrated. I wonder why theres so little info on these issues anywhere. Ive had 3 u2713hm replaced and tried with 3 different Macs. I also couldnt stand the crosshatch issue. I was hoping the u2713h would solve the ghosting issue as well but it does not...

    Any info and help appaciated. I read that its some sort of Apple signal that the Dell monitors cant interpret right.
  16. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    Can you give us a source for your claims!?

    And where do you provide real information?
  17. ChumpyD macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2012
    I have been debating this issue for awhile now. Both monitors look great. I think what is going to win me over is the one cable dock of the ATD. Though having the option of hooking up non-macs to the monitor would be nice..i looked around and all I have anymore are Macs. :)
  18. dma550 macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2009
    I agree, one cable dock makes it worth it, and, don't forget apple devices seem to have much better resale value. I am also finding it hard to get rid of even nice 24" panels when I move on, I generally recirculate them through the house and ebay (for $20) the least desirable one in the house, or better yet, take it to Salvation army for a $50-100 tax write off ;)
  19. Action macrumors member

    May 1, 2008
    Both the 2713HM and 2713H are defective by design.

    The 2713HM has a "cross-hatching" pattern (interlocking diagonal lines) visible on light backgrounds.

    Both units emit a high-pitched whine that changes tone based on what colors are on the screen. This is most noticeable when changing between light and dark backgrounds.

    And lastly, given the current state of Dell's lax quality control, you'll likely have to go through several replacements to get a unit without horrendous backlight bleed, tinting, or uniformity issues.
  20. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    I wish dell would put speakers in their monitors. I realize that not everyone would want this but at least one model would be cool. Getting rid of external speakers is just one more step in my quest for a minimal setup. I dont need million dollar sound. just good enough for youtube and so i can hear movies.

    that dell sound bar looks hideous when attached to the monitor.
  21. cocacolakid, Feb 14, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013

    cocacolakid macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    I had a Dell U2713HM for almost a month and finally returned it and bought a TBD instead.

    After a little over 2 weeks with the Dell my 2012 mini lost it's video output. The Dell had nothing to do with the issue, however, at no point did the Dell feel like a $700 monitor. The picture was good, not great. The TBD has a nicer picture. I know it's supposedly the same IPS panel, but the TBD has a nicer picture IMO. Also, the menu on the Dell is maddenly over complicated to be frequently changing inputs. There is no dedicated input button. If you're only using one computer on the Dell, that's not an issue, but if you have multiple devices hooked up it's a major PITA. You can use multiple Macs on a TBD as long as a) they each have TB and b) you use a TB cable from the TBD's 2nd TB input and just unplug the TB cable from the Mac you're not currently using. The TBD will detect which Mac is currently hooked up and use that.

    The only plus I liked about the Dell was the matte screen didn't reflect anything, where you can see lights and windows reflecting in the TBD.

    And the speakers on the TBD are fantastic. The camera is nice but if you don't use it often, which I don't, it's not a must have feature. But I will say that I added a Seagate TB adapter for an external drive and the TB speeds to transfer large files is insanely fast.
  22. MJL macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2011
    I've had the Dell U2713H for a little while and love the screen.

    However..... I am running Windows 7.

    Perhaps there are no good drivers for OS X - I had to fiddle with the Dell menu before it worked properly.

    For only a few dollars you can buy from Dell a soundbar with speakers that clip to the bottom of the screen.
  23. LC155 macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2012
    I'm running a U2713H next to an ACD. Bought the Dell mainly to test.

    Good points about the Dell:

    None of the reflections
    The AG (for what it is) is the best I've ever seen on a monitor. You have to try very hard to see the coating against whites, and I'm comparing this against the ACD.
    Factory calibrated (properly - Apple's calibration sucks, it's far too blue)
    Wide gamut LED backlight (for those of you who need it)
    Excellent sRGB emulation

    Bad points:

    Some glitches with the USB hub
    Backlight bleed (never seen it on an ACD)

    What would I say? If you're intent on getting a monitor with a matte coating, make it the dell. However, wait a bit for future revisions. There are some firmware issues and they will most likely be corrected and fixed in future revisions.

    As for the screen? Well, the colours are pretty damn close most of the time. Reds/pinks are more vibrant on the ACD, and of course, being glossy, blacks are much deeper. Right now I'm not sure which I prefer. If the ACD had a little less reflections, so I could stare at details in blacks better without being annoyed, then it would be perfect. I might hold onto the ACD though, wait to see what apple does (if they don't update the ACD with the new design and just phase it out I will be pissed) and if they do, then sell the ACD and grab the new design one. That anti reflective coating will probably pretty much make it perfect!
  24. jburrows500 macrumors regular


    Jan 26, 2007
    Hells Kitchen NYC
    As a third alternative.. has anyone purchased a refurbished thunderbolt display? I see them on apple this morning for $829 with original release date of sept 2011. I wonder if apple gets them back and puts in a new panel before sending them back out. Anyone buy a refurbished one and if so what has been your experience. Thanks.
  25. tekboi macrumors 6502a


    Aug 9, 2006
    Well, honestly this was a good decision in my book. Nothing goes better w/ the iMac than the TBD. Both aesthetically and feature wise. It has a dock connector AND it just looks aesthetically pleasing.

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