Apple Thunderbolt Display

Adam Turner
4 January, 2013
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Apple Thunderbolt Display



Thunderbolt; FaceTime HD camera


Only Thunderbolt input; expensive



Apple’s flagship monitor is packed with features but falls short on flexibility.

This 27in, 2560 x 1440 monitor is blessed with a FaceTime HD camera, three USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a Thunderbolt port for daisy-chaining additional Thunderbolt devices. So it’s basically a docking station for a MacBook, complete with MagSafe charger. Perhaps it’s not a fair fight against the other monitors here, but keep in mind you’re paying top dollar for those luxuries.

Apart from the price tag, the Apple’s weakness is that the only video input is the Thunderbolt port. There’s no adaptor for older Macs, if you’re in this boat you should look to the older Apple 27in LED Cinema Display (with a Mini DisplayPort).

Either of these Apple monitors will still frustrate you if you’re looking for multiple AV inputs to hook up a PVR, Blu-ray player or games console to turn your monitor into an all-in-one entertainment centre. That’s a shame because the high-gloss display helps movies look fantastic, but all that glare is annoying when it’s time to get some work done.

If your Mac is for both work and play, and you don’t care about other AV devices, you’ll appreciate the built-in 2.1 speakers which offer the best sound of the bunch. However, the stand is disappointing – you can tilt the screen but you can’t adjust the height, swivel it or rotate it to portrait mode.

Macworld Australia’s buying advice.

When it comes to picture quality you’ll get glorious a 2560 x 1440 resolution desktop out of a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac. The LED-backlit IPS panel boasts 375 cm/d2 brightness, excellent contrast and impressive colours. Yet the Dell offers similar quality for far less money, with extra connectivity. Some might call it the Apple tax, while others see it as paying a premium for Thunderbolt and tight Mac integration.

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