Thunderbolt Display?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by GalileoSeven, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. GalileoSeven macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2015
    Recently I've transitioned away from a Mac/PC setup, to full on Mac (with a mid 2011 Mac Mini as the centerpiece). For a couple of years now, I've used a 21.5" Asus monitor (VH222H) and it's been quite the stalwart. Most of my use centers on web browsing, word processing and video watching, though I've been toying with the idea of getting photoshop (am into photography and currently use it on a Windows 7 machine at work).

    I've been thinking about getting a bigger display though and after researching the selections at my retailer of choice, I keep coming back to Apple's 27" Thunderbolt Display (the MC914LL/B specifically - closest comparable choice would be the Dell P2715Q). I'm not concerned with the bells and whistles, nor am I a 'pixel perfectionist', so this seems to fit the bill. I read through some of the reviews on Amazon and became aware of some of the issues which naturally gave me some pause (don't plan on hooking anything up to this, but the connection issue and then one with the speakers 'crackling' are most applicable to me).

    Thoughts or opinions?
  2. SpinalTap, Jan 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016

    SpinalTap macrumors regular


    Sep 25, 2003
    Bournville, UK
    As a serial Mac Mini owner, I bought a 'refurb' Thunderbolt Display from the AppleStore 6 months ago (and the UK Store was selling them again this past week).

    I haven't experienced any issues with this display since I bought it.

    As a spectacles wearer, when I used my former Apple 20" Cinema Display, I had to wear SolaAccess 'computer' mid-distance spectacles to view it properly. Since I changed to the much higher-resolution Thunderbolt Display, I've been able to dispense with my SolaAccess spectacles altogether. I'm perfectly content to view my newer display with my regular Nikon multi-focal spectacles without issue.
  3. Algus macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2014
    I really like mine. Great monitor. When I bought it, it was a decent price for a 1440p monitor with lots of extra bells and whistles. I use mine on a Mac Mini but one thing I like is that I can charge my Macbook with it as well (gotta use an adapter since it has older MagSafe 1 on it)

    Problem is it hasn't been updated in many years and Apple is still selling them for $1000 new. $1000 can buy you a monitor with a MUCH HIGHER resolution than 1440p. Solid 4k monitors can be as cheap as $500 now. If you can buy a refurb or find some other way to save a lot of money, it is still a nice monitor.

    Glare issue was biggest complaint I heard. I live in Phoenix and the sun hits my Window about 2:00 PM and shines bright until between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM (depending on time of year) I have not had issue with the glare from this being to much for the monitor.
  4. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2014
    I love my Thunderbolt display at work, but decided against buying one privately to use at home. As @Algus mentioned, it's ridiculously expensive today, compared to what you actually get for your money, unless you can get a refurbished one. Where I live, the latter isn't a viable option (no official refurb market in my country).
    Important to know:
    - Most 1440p IPS displays will use the same or very similar display elements.
    - The fact that Apple manufactured the TBD does not mean that it will lack backlight bleed.

    If you want a screen that goes well with your mac, and if you're content with the "docking" you get via the Thunderbolt cable, then the additional cost may be worth it, but there are very few practical reasons to spend the extra money today.
  5. ZolakJHS macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2008
    Wake Forest, NC
    I also have a Thunderbolt display that I picked up when it first came out. Its a great monitor, but not $1000 great, or even $750 great. If you can get a deal on one used its not a bad idea to hook up to a Mini, otherwise get something else.
  6. GalileoSeven thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2015
    Thanks for the input all, after doing some research I've come to much the same conclusion as some of you regarding the cost/benefit. There are definitely other options out there that I'll be researching from here on out, but at this point - without a hefty price cut (unlikely), one of these displays doesn't make too much sense.
  7. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Its a great product - its just a ridiculous price. $1000 made sense back in the day when 2560x1440 displays were rare and expensive, but these days you can get a comparable panel from Dell for a fraction of the price.

    I'd consider a second-hand one if I wanted it for an older MacBook and wasn't worried about USB 3 support, but wouldn't pay full price unless I really didn't care about money. Plus, in your case, you're using a desktop Mac so the built-in MagSafe and docking features that are the Unique Selling Point of the display are of limited use. Even if you do want docking, you'll have more than enough change left over from a Dell or similar to get a Thunderbolt dock - which will also add USB3 capability to your Mac.
  8. dalailaptop macrumors newbie


    May 23, 2003
    Yeah, I agree with folks on price vs features being out of whack.

    I switched last month from a thunderbolt display after 2 years to a Dell UltraSharp U3415W. It was only $750 at Amazon and it's 3440 x 1440, about 25% more pixels and all in very usable extra width. The 21:9 format is very helpful and the screen is gently curved and non-glare to ease eye strain. Despite being 34" vs 27" the framing is much smaller so it doesn't overwhelm my desk despite the extra inches. It's also completely cool vs the Thunderbolt which was like a space heater. The stand is so functional (reaches higher, tilts and rotates) I ditched my ergotron monitor arm which had been necessary for the thunderbolt display because my desk is a powered sit/stand setup…

    The only draw backs are that volume and brightness are not controllable from the keyboard. It's also not pixel doubled like a retina-style 4K but wanted extra real estate not extra sharpness. Combined with Window Tidy which is a fantastically designed screen organizer I feel like my new setup is so much better for working. Overall I've been really pleased despite being really reluctant to put anything Dell in my office.
  9. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    I've had my TBD since mid-2012 and have yet to experience any issues at all. It just works.

    You do get what you pay for. I am aware that the tech is somewhat outdated, but the display itself is gorgeous.

Share This Page