Apple rarely publishes sales figures for specific models of the products they offer, but I have to imagine that they shipped at least a few thousand of its two Apple LED movie displays (24-inch, 2008 to 2010, and 27-inch, 2010 to 2013). . Based on the number of people who have arrived and want to connect to a USB-C equipped MacBook.
I’ve bought a number of adapters and cables that can take the mini display of an LED movie display (not a Thunderbolt) and convert it into something that goes over USB-C in a compatible chain that lets you connect to a USB-C equipped MacBook. My experiment shows three affordable and effective options, as well as a reasonable alternative to a full-featured USB-C dock that requires only a simple adapter.
Apple has created multiple generations of its displays: the first used DVI (in single-link and dual-link flavors); Second, mini displayport; Third, Thunderbolt 2. I’m interested in the second connector type here, the Mini DisplayPort, which is different from the Thunderbolt 2, although both standards use the same connector type. (You can find some options for DVI, but we decided not to test them because of the small number, display quality, and usable age.)
Note that Apple says that its Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 adapter does not work with displays and mini-display displays, including Apple LED movie displays. The Thunderbolt adapter will not work. All you need is a USB-C to Mini DisplayPort Adapter 7
Although there are different types of USB-C docks on the market that accept external video, almost all of them have only one HDMI jack, and let’s say a male HDMI adapter is not available from a female mini-displayport. (Make no mistake and order one of the female HDMI adapters from the male mini-displayport on the market.)
I searched across Amazon, product manufacturers sites, and other retailers for potential adapters, read reviews, and settled on four adapters to test. Some of the tested adapters quickly go in and out of stock, so I offer a few options.
To chase, the clear winner in features is the Mini-DisplayPort adapter from UPTab USB-C ($ 35). Its secret weapon? A pass-through USB-C power jack.
For more information:
How to add a second screen to your Mac
How to connect two or more external displays with Apple Silicon M1 or M2 Mac
If you’re looking for a full-scale USB-C dock, look for one like the CalDigit USB-C dock. I’ve discussed this below and in a separate review, but it does have HDMI and a full-size display jack and only requires a sub-$ 10 mini-display female to full-size display male adapter to work with an LED movie display.
Not everything works perfectly on the USB-C with the Apple LED movie display, but it’s a very close match. I tested on a 27-inch model.
With just a mini displayport adapter plugged in you will find the following with the tested products:
- External 1440p (2560 × 1440 pixel resolution) display
- External audio via display speakers and audio volume control from laptops
- Power (but not data) on the USB 2.0 ports on the back of the display
The only drawback seems to be a small line of pixels missing in the upper right corner of the display when connected via the Caldigit dock, but it is almost unnoticed.
The missing part, however, is the brightness and USB 2.0 data passthrough. I didn’t find the default brightness level confusing or bright, but it’s a very distinct judgment.
You need to use a USB-C-to-type adapter to plug in the monitor’s USB type, and then you can control the brightness via a keyboard, touch bar, or display system preferences pane, as well as plug in a keyboard, mouse. , And other low-data-speed devices.
A built-in iSight (640 × 480 pixel resolution) plugged into USB enables the camera and microphone, which is unnecessary for mic and facetime support on a Mac laptop.
For a MacBook Pro, using USB 2.0 means dropping two ports to get brightness and other features: a mini-display port for the adapter and a USB plug for connection. However, if you use a USB-C hub or dock with more than one type of port, it can take care of that problem.
What to buy
I found four distinct options that worked perfectly well.
Mini-DisplayPort adapter from UPTab USB-C. This UPTab adapter has the great advantage of supporting pass-through USB-C power. It seems to be interestingly made and built tightly. The $ 35 price tag may seem exorbitant compared to adapters and cables that cost $ 10 to $ 15, but come with a cost of engineering and components for a watt-level power pass-through used to charge a Mac laptop.
For a MacBook owner, the power port is extremely useful, allowing you to use the adapter without increasing the power. However, if you use the laptop’s single USB-C jack, you’ll be stuck if you want to connect another USB device, such as a wired keyboard or mouse, an external drive, or SD card reader.
Itanda Type-C adapter. Strongly crafted, attractive, the anda 20 Itanda is probably the best choice for a MacBook Pro owner. It is cheap and occupies a port compactly.
A pair of adapters. If a direct adapter, such as Itanda, is not available and you want an alternative that works exactly the same in my test, you can pair two adapters.
I’ve tried both the Mini-DisplayPort Male to Female Adapter from Cable Matters DisplayPort ($ 9) and the Mini-DisplayPort Adapter from StartTech DisplayPort ($ 6.50) to the DisplayPort 4K Adapter from Benfei USB-C ($ 15 when I bought it). Both Cable Matters and the Startech adapter accept the male mini-displayport connector from the Apple display and have a male full-size displayport plug. It plugs in with Benfie’s female displayport jack, and then plugs into a MacBook or MacBook Pro via Benfie USB-C.
21.50 or $ 24 together, both more expensive than Itanda, but I had no problem getting the same crisp performance and support.
Some readers have tried a more complex option, involving a female-to-female inline mini displayport adapter, but given the two-adapter option, this is no longer necessary.
Why not HDMI? You may ask why I didn’t try some kind of HDMI situation, where I converted the Mini DisplayPort to an HDMI plug or adapter jack and then plugged it into the HDMI port available on various USB-C docks. I tried a few variations of it, and it didn’t work, although the fate of others was different.
DisplayPort is a video standard that works on its own proprietary connecting styles (DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort) and can be embedded as a data standard within Thunderbolt 2, Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C. Although the displayport can also be routed via an HDMI cable — HDMI’s own standard — it doesn’t seem to be able to survive the transition with multiple adapters and an Apple LED movie display.
The only reason to ask for this option is if you have a dock without an additional USB-C data port that can pass the displayport and has an HDMI jack.