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Customer Review

16 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Most expensive mirror on Amazon..., 17 April 2014
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This review is from: Apple 27" (68,58 cm) Thunderbolt LED Cinema Display (Personal Computers)
This was a huge disappointment.

First let me say I am a longtime Mac user and supporter. Since the late 90s my upgrade path has always been with Apple products, so when I was ready to replace my old 23" Apple Cinema display, the new-ish Thunderbolt displays seemed the logical choice.

I was running it on a late 2011 15" Thunderbolt MBP with OSX Lion.

Very excited when it arrived, of course, and it looked wonderful sitting on the desktop... until I turned it on, that is.

First thing I noticed, within a few seconds the fans on my MBP started up full power and wouldn't stop. Within a couple of minutes the casing around the Thunderbolt port was hot to the touch and there was a faint whiff of hot plastic in the air. I never got anything like this with my previous cinema display. I think its due to the power flowing through the Thunderbolt port. I understand that the MBPs are apparently designed to run hot, but this means the noisy cooling fans must run too - and I work in music production, so I need a quiet environment. Not going to work for me. But I'd be surprised if anyone would be willing to put up with the constant racket. It's really been a terrible decision from Apple to abandon Firewire connectivity on their MBPs. The pro-world still runs on Firewire connections, for peripheral hardware and external drives. These laptops are called MacBook Pros after all. Understandable if they dropped FW from the standard MB and Air, but from the Pro? By all means run Thunderbolt and FW side by side, but to drop FW and then tell people they can run all their connections through one little port, which in fact doesn't really work (due to the excessive heat generated and related fan noise issues) seemed like commercial suicide.

But even worse than this, and the major design flaw with these monitors, is the ridiculous glossy screen. Make sure you don't have any light source behind you, or anywhere nearby that will reflect off the screen, and even then if you are watching video or gaming with any kind of dark or low-light scene you will find you're simply staring at your own face reflected back at you in the glossy black mirrored surface.
This is less of a problem with the glossy screen laptops, as they tend to be positioned below line of sight, but these big displays usually sit opposite you at eye level, so consequently there you are, staring back at yourself.

It's a truly terrible piece of ill-thought out design, and a major fumble from Apple not to offer these displays in a matte screen option. This is a perfect example of style over substance, and I really despair at the direction Apple seem to be taking with their products lately. For professional photographers, designers, programmers or music producers, who spend all day in front of their screens and need as clear a view as possible these displays are virtually unusable - and who was it who supported and kept Apple in business through the lean times? Exactly those same people who Apple are now ditching in favour of the casual home user who just wants something that looks cool to keep their photos and mp3 collection in.

On the other hand, if you're the sort of person who loves to sit and stare at themselves in the mirror all day, this product may suit you. Perhaps Apple are correctly identifying their customer base after all? If so, then I stand corrected. Good luck to them. But for everyone else I have to recommend that they steer clear, at least until Apple ever bring out a matte screen version.

This is the first Apple product I have ever returned, and its very disappointing to have had to do so, as I really did want to love it. I will have to look elsewhere for a usable monitor, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, so Apple must be losing out here, both on sales and longterm customer loyalty. As if they could care.

Thanks goodness for Amazon's no fuss returns, so they get a star. And Apple get one star for good looks and a pinsharp screen, but as for the rest, it's (hopefully) back to the drawing board. Save your money and avoid.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Apr 2014, 16:56:47 BST
G says:
Don't let this review put you off!
I have had one of these since Christmas, so have used it for some time now and it is a fantastic screen. I have a Dell U2311H display next to it as a second monitor and I used to think that it was good, but the apple screen is MUCH better (clearer / brighter / better colours) than it, let alone the built in camera / speakers / USB all from one cable.

Finally, with reference to the comments about being a mirror, it is when its off, but when it is on it is fine, and I live in Cyprus so trust me it is bright here! I have a large window right behind it and to the right, no issues at all with reflections so as for "virtually unusable" all I can say is that it is so good I am thinking of getting another one to replace the Dell as I no longer like using it because it looks so bad next to the Apple display and I'd not be doing that at the cost of these displays if it was unusable.....

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2014, 12:51:25 BST
nicholas_b says:
Hi - Thanks for your comment but I really don't think you have addressed any of the issues I have raised.
Yes the screen is a black mirror when off, as you have agreed. But that means its also basically a black mirror when you are viewing dark (e.g. night-time) scenes during a movie or gaming... I suggest you try it and see if I am correct. I did not claim that the reflection effect was a problem when surfing the web, looking at pages/windows with a white background or other general use.
My point about the Thunderbolt port running hot and triggering the fans still stands, and I am not the only one complaining about this issue as a quick google search will confirm. I believe my rant about Apple's attempt to integrate Firewire with the Thunderbolt port being a huge mistake for professional users is also a valid point, although it is only my personal opinion.
Anyway thanks for your time and I hope you continue to enjoy your Apple display.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Sep 2014, 13:16:47 BST
Hi Nicholas, just out of curiosity, what screen did you buy in the end? I've used two 22' iiyamas for the past few years. As these are ok, I wanted to get a larger all in one screen with a better res on it. ALso in music production so I need a something that doesn't trigger the fans as you mention. I'm not looking to use TB as I am still stuck in FW thankfully!

Posted on 20 Feb 2015, 15:01:42 GMT
AJ Graham says:
Preface: I use this Apple 27" LED monitor in an office environment which is lit using horrible strip lighting, connected to my late 2012 Macbook Air 13" (no upgrades). At a previous employer I also used a 2012 27" iMac which has an identical glossy screen and the same screen characteristics. I have a very high sensitivity to light, my screens are always run on the minimum brightness to stop me getting chronic migraines and eye-strain.

You are correct that the screen is very glossy and in most well lit rooms you'll see a fair amount of reflection when the monitor is set to low brightness levels. While this is mildly annoying sometimes it's far from awful. If you have the monitor on mid-high level of brightness you'll see almost no reflection unless you're looking at very dark coloured material on the screen.

On your note about your MBP working very hard and running hot when connected to the screen I can't see this as the screens fault. I use the same screen with a Macbook Air from the same year as you, and has a notably worse specification than your laptop and I can do a lot of design and web dev work and the fans won't start up once during a whole day. Obviously though if you're doing a lot of processor or graphical intense work your laptop will heat up and the fans will start. The standard resolution on these screens is close to double that of a laptop screen so it's moving double the number of pixels so it does put more stress on a computer when doing like for like work.

I agree that a matt screen would be better as the glossy screen is there as glass has to be used for the rimless housing of the screen. It's still a good screen though.
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