Apple Thunderbolt Display

Apple’s Thunderbolt Display is hands down the most gorgeous display the company has ever built. Only the 30-inch Cinema Display can compete but then mostly because of its awesome size rather than picture quality and expansion.

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Published: Sat 10 Dec 2011, 11:57 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:02 AM

That the Thunderbolt Display also essentially works as a docking station for your portable Mac just makes it that much more attractive.

We’re familiar with the physical design by now. It basically looks like an iMac but without the empty space below the display, where the Apple logo goes on the computer. There’s also the same stand as the iMac and many of the same connections on the back.

Those connections is what really makes the new model special. The display has three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one gigabit Ethernet port, and one Thunderbolt port. That’s all very nice but the one that makes the magic happen is of course the Thunderbolt port.

Of course you need a Mac with a Thunderbolt port but that is any current Mac except the Mac Pro. Once connected the display works almost like a docking station, giving you access to the extra ports. The Thunderbolt technology also gives you the option of daisy-devices, meaning connect one Thunderbolt device to another one. So, with a portable Mac, for example, you can connect to Thunderbolt Displays. There’s also a FaceTime HD webcam in the Thunderbolt display, which you can use for video conferencing and more.

The display also has a built-in MagSafe connector with which you can charge your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air without the need for a separate charger. That’s incredibly convenient.

There’s also a 2.1 sound system capable of pumping out 49 watts of sound. It’s not a replacement for a good stereo system but for a computer display it’s really good.

But it is a display after all and as such it is gorgeous. This is a 27-inch 16:9 display with 2560x1440 pixels. It is a very bright LED display with vivid colours, fast responsetime, and extraordinary brightness. It only comes in a high-glossy model, which is going to annoy some users. In the office where I tested the display, I had to take a bit of care how I positioned it so I could avoid the worst of the glare from windows and lights.

Except the glare I see really only one downside of the Thunderbolt display: it does get really hot on the underside, especially on the left side. It’s hot enough that I would worry about placing certain items too close, and that shouldn’t really be the case with a computer display.

But all in all that’s a small issue with what’s otherwise an excellent display. For Dhs 4,699 it’s certainly not cheap but if you have a Mac with Thunderbolt port, this is the display to get.

Magnus Nystedt @mnystedt

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