Is Apples Thunderbolt Display Still Worth It?

When it comes to the Mac computing, it has almost become a fashion statement to stay linear with your devices. You own a Macbook? Youre likely to own an iPhone. But is Apples Thunderbolt display any different? В Coming at a thousand dollars, people question whether or not this display is worth it or if they should go with another. Especially considering the Thunderbolt display is vastly similar to their predecessor the Apple Cinema Display. I have used the Thunderbolt display for about a week and I have a ton of positive thoughts, as well as some negative ones. Lets get to it!


The monitor was released in 2011, so the specs are a bit outdated. It is a 27 25601440 IPS display with 178 degree viewing angle. It has three usb 2.0. (Yes, 2.0, not 3.) An ethernet port as well as a firewire 800 port. And of course it has a Thunderbolt input. ONLY ONE! (Aside from the thunderbolt plug that is attached to the monitor to which you plug your Mac into.) For a THUNDERBOLT monitor, В I hoped for more than one. В But ideally with thunderbolt you should always have your monitor at the end of your daisy chain. (Daisy chain = linking Thunderbolt ready devices together one after another) It also has built in speakers, 720p FaceTime camera with a built in mic, and a magsafe(with magsafe 2 adaptor) to connect and charge your Macbook.



When it comes to the Apple display, I believe that there is a misconception on price. Of course when you look at the price tag alone, a thousand dollars seems unorthodox. But its relevant price tag is actually fair when you compare to monitors in the same class range. That doesnt mean you wont find a monitor just as good, or even better for your bucks. Take the Thunderbolt display as a whole, a 27 25601440 IPS display В that can used as a docking station for your Macbook. We can argue that Apple hasnt pushed 4k monitors yet, but that technology is still for early adopters and sets you back thousand(S) of dollars. В P1000766

If you look at monitors in the same class, such as the Dell u2711, a key competitor to the Thunderbolt display as far as the display size and resolution goes, you can see that it was originally priced similarly to the Thunderbolt display. You can now find that monitor substantially cheaper, which is something I wished Apple did, but they never discount their products until its successor is released.

I have owned the Eizo ev2432w and upon first usage, I thought that monitor was beautiful. Colors were accurate, the screen was bright and it was a high resolution monitor, when compared to my last cheap-o monitor. However, when I got the Thunderbolt displayed, I was actually stunned by how vivid everything looked. This results from the glossy display. I was concerned about it being glossy because my previous glossy displays were terrible with reflection and glare, but surprisingly, and honestly, even when I have a lamp on my desk and my room like on, I do not see any glare. (Unless of course I am aiming the lamp directly at it as if it was under hostage.) Back to its value: I found the Eizo display on Amazon used for 300 bucks, and after I bought the Thunderbolt display, I wished I just got it first. Dont get my wrong, the Eizo was great, and I know to some, they might prefer it over the Thunderbolt display, but to me, I thought it was just the overall better monitor and at a thousand bucks I still consider it a good buy. (Minding the fact that I spent 300 dollars on a monitor, valued at 500, and still ended up replacing it.)

In comparison to the Apple Cinema Display?

Aside from the Apple store, you can find the Cinema Display at a discounted price. (Nothing substantial as Mac products tend to keep value) But with that in mind, whats different about the Thunderbolt display? Well, to be honest, there isnt much different. Which takes nothing away from Thunderbolt display because the Cinema display was considered one of the better monitors in its class. But the difference is that this monitor comes with THUNDERBOLT. And it will only work with computers that have a Thunderbolt input. I.E. The Mac line. It is not backwards compatible so you cant use it on Mac products that only have the display port. (For those wondering, you can use the cinema display with your current thunderbolt equipped Macs.)



  • Looks amazing. Ill admit, a huge selling point to me was that the monitor just looks nice on its own. You cant deny that this monitor plugged in with a Macbook just doesnt sit nicely in you brain.
  • The obvious pro would be the screen size. A large 27 25601440 is a dream to work on.
  • The colors are vibrant.
  • FANTASTIC build quality. Like most Apple products, the Thunderbolt display has great build quality and feels very sturdy. The hinge to angle the monitor never feels lose. Apple has design and built quality down to a science.
  • Thunderbolt: IT IS FAST! Apple states that it pushes speeds up to 5Gb/s which is twice as fast as USB 3.0. I personally do not care for specs. I care for actual performance, and from what I have seen is amazing. If you a patient person then sending 50gbs to your USB 2.0/3.0 HDD is fine, but when Im editing on the rush and I want to spend and move files to the HDD, I want speed. It just makes me more productive. Thunderbolt also gives you the option to daisy chain your devices. Meaning you can essentially connect your Thunderbolt HDD to your macbook, В a second Thunderbolt drive to your first, and then your Thunderbolt Monitor to your second drive. (More can be added) This eliminates desk clutter.
  • Works as a docking hub for your Macbook: It can charge your Macbook and add the ports listed above.
  • Built in speakers. The speakers on the Thunderbolt display works just like previous Apple cinema display and iMacs. It bounces its sounds to the desk and then to you. Which surprisingly sounds fantastic. And it is a huge pro because, while you may or may not find the audio on par to what you want it to be, I appreciate that Apple at least included it. I find it sufficient and it really does puts less clutter on my desk.В P1000769



  • Pricey. I know I mentioned that this monitor is a good value for its class, but for your average consumer, a thousand dollars is still a heft price tag.
  • Thick, while not mind boggling oh no my monitor is going to destroy my table thick it is relatively thick. For Apple, I wished that they finally updated this monitor so that it was as thin as current iMacs. В Nothing crucial, but if im going to pay a grand for a monitor. you В get where Im going.
  • USB 2.0. Again, this comes with it being an outdated monitor. It was released two years ago while USB 2.0 was still prevalent. But please give future buyers USB 3.0 soon!
  • Glossy display? I personally like the gloss, but for a review, Im going to label glossy as a con because most users looking for a professional monitor at least want the OPTION to buy a matte/anti glare display. Instead Apple sells one monitor and its of course glossy.
  • Only works for Thunderbolt devices.


Worth it?

  • The monitor itself is definitely worth it. That is of course if you own a Thunderbolt ready computer. If not then the display is useless.
  • If you can wait some time longer, I say wait before you purchase it. With the release of the newer Mac Pro and Thunderbolt 2, I wouldnt be surprised if the updated the display to match the current iMacs dimensions.
  • But if you cant wait, andВ If you can find the monitor at a good deal, dont hold back you will not be disappointed in this monitor. Its a fantastic color accurate monitor with unmatched build, and buying it will increase your productivity.В P1000752

Apple Thunderbolt Display

Is it still worth it?

Its 2013 and we live in an age where 4k monitors went from your Sci-Fi fantasy to your own house. However its been over two years since Apple has released an updated version. With the resolution at 25601440, can it still compete?

Rating by Len Thou: 4.0 stars

Len Thou

Len is a full time college student who enjoys creative writing, photography, and from time to time boxing. He is an ongoing contributor and publisher to the site. His motto is simply, "Hard Work."

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  • Rainbows Of White

    I dont think Apple realises this, but a lot and I mean A LOT of people are waiting for an updated Thunderbolt Display.

    A long list of very needed updates for this very old tech (2011) monitor.

    USB ports, iMac has 3.0.

    Magsafe adapter.

    Form factor, new iMac is thinner.

    Reflective screen, new iMac is less reflective.

    Thunderbolt 2 (backwards compatible) ports

    No one is going to pay $1000 for this current OLD model.

    I truly think Apple has dropped the ball on this one and there focus is elsewhere.