Review After Apple’s hoo-ha about the Thunderbolt port on its newest Macs and MacBook Pros, it’s great to finally have something to plug into it. But I began testing this monitor with tainted expectations: less ‘OK show me what you can do’ and more ‘oh lordy, yet another locked-in connectivity standard’.
It ended with tainted love.
The 27inh Apple Thunderbolt Display looks and feels just like the 27in (non-Thunderbolt) Apple Cinema Display. It’s like a sawn-off 27in iMac. And like both these other products, the sheer visual quality of the screen is absolutely outstanding.
No really, the visuals are as perfect as I’ve seen on any pro-class display anywhere - ever. They are sharp, contrasty, easy on the eye, accurate. Tilting and swivelling the display on its perfectly smooth-moving stand causes no deterioration of what you see.
Even more ports
In fact, the visuals remain usable from the most oblique angles: the only way you’d be unable to make out what’s on-screen would be to turn it round so you’re facing the back.
The back is revealing, though. In addition to the plug-in power cable, moulded in to the case at the rear is a pair of daisychain cables: one MagSafe power cable and a Thunderbolt pass-through cord. These enable you to power a MacBook Pro or Air with the MagSafe - effectively powering the computer from the display - while mirroring or expanding the laptop's video capability.
The array up close
Thunderbolt is designed to carry more than video, of course, and so the connection here also carries data to support the display's hub of ports: three USB 2.0, one Firewire 800 and an Ethernet socket. Also provided is another Thunderbolt port, so you can continue daisychaining additional Thunderbolt peripherals.