Is the ThunderBolt Display worth the money?

I love my 13" non-retina MacBook pro and I'm curious if the the Thunderbolt display is worth the money. I don't care about the glare as I will be looking out a window so the sun won't reflect on it. I produce music and an extra display would be of huge help. My concern is, is it reliable? I really don't care about height adjustment or anything but is it a quality-built monitor that will last a while? I have a 19" Dell Monitor but its having problems and I would like to upgrade to something better. I am also a school student and I guess it could help with research papers and such.

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7 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    I'm in the very same situation as you.

    The Apple Thunderbolt Display is a very capable display, but it's starting to show it's age unfortunately.

    The USB Ports are 2.0 (not 3.0), it uses the old generation Thunderbolt ports (not Thunderbolt 2) and has considerably more glare/reflection than the new iMac screens.

    For the premium price that Apple charges, I would wait for an update.

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  • I am in agreement with the answer left by Vlado K from Leura. The display, though worth every penny when I got it when it was originally released (Fall 2011) is not worth this premium today, IMO. If it was about 25% to 40% less, yes. But not the full cost for what is essentially a 3 year old display.

    I just ordered a new display from a competitor, a 30" Monoprice Display for a little more than half this cost (but with higher resolution). While I don't believe Apple has abandoned the display market, waiting over two years to update their only display offering is just inexcusable. This should have gotten an update last fall, when the new tapered-edge iMacs were introduced, updating not only the case but also updating the ports (USB3), magsafe, etc.

    At least while everyone was waiting for the new Mac Pro there were other Mac choices to work with. Apple gave us one display and forgot the whole division existed.

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  • LITERALLY UNUSABLE if you have a Macbook Pro. Works for 15 minutes-30 minutes then the graphic card gets overloaded (my educated guess anyway because no one at the genius bar has been able to help in the least). At the "overload" point any video and audio becomes choppy to the point of utter frustration. Unplug the thunderbolt display and suddenly the problem disappears. The Thunderbolt display should have it's own graphics processor but alas it seems most of the 1k you spend on it goes into aesthetics.

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  • If you're looking for a good quality monitor it's a good purchase. As a docking station, however, it doesn't support USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt 2 so you'd be buying yesterday's connectivity at today's prices.

    (If you want it, buy through the "certified refurbished" section of the Apple website and save about $200. I wouldn't pay full retail for this display given the age of its design)

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  • You can definitely get a similar display for less money. And as a student, that's what I'd recommend. Especially since this is an old model. If it had Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 connectivity, then it would be worth it. But if you just need a display, save your money and shop elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of apple products, but I don't have an unlimited budget...

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  • I bought this as a monitor / docking station for my Macbook Air back in 2012. for the past three years, it has definitely been worth the money. However, this is 2015 and now there are other option on the market that support thunderbolt 2, have more resolution etc.

    However, in summary, it is still working GREAT for me and I have no plans of replacing it anytime soon.

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  • Not until they update it to USB3, no way!

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