If you’re looking to purchase the best Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll look over the best that the market has to offer in this department and we’ll also try to figure out what it takes to make the right decision when buying this kind of adapter. This may seem like the kind of product that doesn’t really need too much forethought but you need to be careful because if you make a poor decision, you could end up with a lot of disappointing signal error messages. You might also be interested in our articles about the best wireless hdmi transmitters and receivers and the best usb to ethernet adapter.
Thunderbolt is the name of the technology that completely transformed the obscure DisplayPort connection. It’s both fast and convenient as it managed to combine DisplayPort, PCI Express, as well as DC power into a single outlet. With the era of Mini DisplayPort gone, it’s now time to embrace the HDMI technology for handling your high definition connections. This is why you need an adapter for keeping up with the newest technological standards.
You’re probably wondering what are some key aspects that a great Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter should have. These are as follows:
Before you check what the market has to offer, it’s recommended to consider the resolution you plan to run through the adapter. You need to get an adapter that’s compatible with the resolution signals from your display and in case you’ve got a display with a high refresh rate, you need to make sure that the adapter can handle it as well. This aspect is only relevant if you want to go beyond 1080p resolutions though.
2. Active vs Passive
Is the adapter that you consider an active or a passive model? The main difference is that active adapters come with an integrated chip for dynamically converting the signal. You’re required to get an active Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter in case the connected device doesn’t support Display Port dual-mode.
The last thing that deserves some consideration is the design of the adapter. This is more related to functionality rather than the look of the device. If the connection is too bulky for example, you might experience a problem as it can block other device slots. The best type of design for this kind of adapter is usually a simple and sturdy one with low-profile connectors.
Now that you have a rough idea of what it takes to analyze before buying a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter, let’s take a look at the best products in terms of cost-effectiveness. The following selection contains reviews of the products that stand out due to their superior construction quality and overall performance.
One of the best options on the market is hands-down this model from PNY. It’s a Thunderbolt Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter which promises uncompromising full 1080 HD video quality and superb HD surround sound. This is an excellent accessory for any MacBook and even for Mac Mini.
The most striking feature of this adapter is how easy it is to use. Just find the Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt port on your device and plug the adapter in. After that, you only need to connect it to the HDMI input jack of the display that you want to use.
As long as your Mini DisplayPort comes after April 2010 you should also enjoy audio transmitting. Whether your Apple computer has a Mini DisplayPort or a Thunderbolt port, it should work just fine. Some of the supported models are MacBook Pro and MacBook Air and remember that only recent Mac models come with the needed port for this adapter.
Another added benefit of this adapter is that it also works with the Microsoft Surface Pro. The iPad Mini isn’t compatible as it requires a different connector. The picture/video quality is very good and the adapter is fairly solid in terms of construction. Even if you use it daily, you shouldn’t have any reliability issues with it.
If your Mac computer lacks an HDMI port, there’s hardly a better option when it comes to both cost-effectiveness and performance than this PNY adapter. As long as you treat it well, avoiding excessive bending and rough pulling, this Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter should last you for a considerable amount of time. All things factored in, this is a highly recommended product for its abilities.
- Compatible with 1080p resolutions
- Full HD audio
- Ideal for Mac users
- Passive adapter
- Sturdy construction
A particularly reliable solution if you want a more durable Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter is this model from Ivanky. It promises a superior level of stability, excellent high-definition transmission, and a sleek, rugged design. Let’s see with some more details what is this unit capable of.
One of the standout features of this adapter is clearly the durability. The nylon jacket that envelops the cable should prevent the number one issue that you can experience with this type of devices which is a faulty connection. This problem can arise from excessive bending of the cable but thankfully, this model allows for more than 15,000 bendings without any such troubles.
To complete the sturdy impression, the manufacturer also enhanced some construction elements. The case is made of a premium aluminum alloy and the Thunderbolt connector uses an advanced integral molding for consistently stable connections. This adapter could also be a portable accessory for a laptop as it has a very slim design.
What about performance? The transmission is done in an efficient manner thanks to the upgraded chip solution which combined with the professional multiple shielding and the reliable gold-plated connectors will offer a solid high definition experience. Some of the available operating modes are the mirror and extend modes. It will also deliver an uncompressed audio output.
Those that worry about compatibility will be satisfied to know that the adapter should handle virtually any device with a Mini DisplayPort or Thunderbolt port. Besides various Mac devices, it’s also compatible with Microsoft’s Surface Pro including the Surface Pro 4, and many ThinkPad models.
While the maximum resolution is 1920 x 1080, this is an excellent solution for most people looking for a reliable Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter. Overall, this unit from Ivanky can be considered an excellent option that sets itself apart by making use of high-quality materials to offer a truly satisfying high definition experience. It’s portable, performant, and the cost is reasonable too.
- Professional multiple shielding
- 24K gold-plated connectors
- Slim and compact
- Nylon braided jacket
- Accurate data streaming
The UGREEN adapter can lend a hand to computers that lack the right ports for connecting to a monitor or an HDTV. It comes equipped with both HDMI and VGA outputs and supports full HD resolutions at 60 Hz. Expanding to a larger display can be done at a reasonable price so let’s take a closer look at this Thunderbolt to HDMI/VGA adapter.
When it comes to user-friendliness, this adapter deserves some credit. It’s extremely easy to use as it won’t require driver software to operate. Plug it in the Mini DP/Thunderbolt port of your compatible laptop and then plug the HDMI or VGA cable from your display into the adapter. There’s no extra cable included so you’ll need to either buy one or use one that you already have.
The list of compatible devices can extend from just Apple computers to many others such as the Microsoft Surface Pro, and various laptops from Lenovo, Dell, HP etc. The performance is fairly nice considering that the adapter accepts resolutions of up to 1920 x 1200 and there’s support for mirror and extend operating modes.
The construction of this adapter gives off a quality feel thanks to the materials used. To deliver superior performance, the adapter offers triple shielding of ground wire and for preventing EMI interferences, it comes with a braid and aluminum foil. The adapter is capable of sending both audio and video to a compatible HDTV or monitor and it will deliver a smooth transmission.
It’s a lightweight unit, ideal for travel when you need a solution for your presentations. Keep in mind that you can only use one of the two ports, HDMI and VGA, at a time. This is pretty much everything that you need to know about this UGREEN adapter. It’s a great device to have if you need a way to connect external HDMI or VGA displays to your laptop which only supports Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt.
- 2-in-1 video adapter HDMI and VGA
- 1900 x 1200 maximum supported resolution
- 60Hz maximum
- Lightweight and portable
- Support for Mirror and Extend modes
A more inexpensive adapter comes from Cable Matters. This unit is designed to be as lightweight and space-saving as possible. Some of its most appreciated features are the gold-plated connectors and the reliable performance as the adapter promises a superb video and audio transmission quality.
The video resolution can reach a maximum value of 1920 x 1200 and in terms of audio support, you can enjoy a solid sound quality on up to 7.1 channels. It allows for watching protected content due to the HDCP compatibility. This adapter is not a bi-directional model so it will only be able to make the connection to a display with HDMI.
It has a wide variety of applications and it represents a great solution for both the living room or an office. There are lots of uses for this adapter if you own a laptop which lacks an HDMI port. You can stream video on a larger screen or extend your workspace to another monitor. It’s also a solid device for broadcasting presentations in the classroom.
What’s nice about this model’s connector is that it offers a non-blocking design. If your space is quite limited near the Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt port on your laptop, you can definitely appreciate this. The connector also comes fully gold-plated and has a molded strain-relief design to reduce the risk of breaking after intense usage.
Besides the low-profile connector head, it’s worth mentioning that the treads are easy to grip. This will increase the long-term durability and it simplifies the process of plugging and unplugging the adapter on a regular basis.
A solid adapter in all regards, this unit from Cable Matters is worth considering because it works exactly as advertised. The transmission is stable and the price is very decent considering the construction enhancements which make it a durable solution. An ideal buy for anyone who needs HDMI connectivity for their laptop equipped with a Thunderbolt port.
- Low weight and portable design
- 1920 x 1200 maximum supported resolution
- Low-profile connector
- Ergonomic and durable design
- Gold-plated connectors
The 3-in-1 adapter from OMorc looks like a solid choice if you want a more versatile model. This unit is a Thunderbolt to HDMI, DVI, or VGA adapter that comes in a portable form factor. Only one of the three outputs can be used at a time but that’s to be expected.
The adapter can be connected with ease to the Mini DisplayPort of your Mac computer or to a Microsoft Surface Pro or a ThinkPad X1. Then you can easily enjoy the benefits of an HDMI connection and with the help of a cable, you will be able to use a high definition display with ease.
It’s nice to see that there’s also support for DVI and VGA inputs in case your display has only these types of connectors. In terms of audio performance, you can enjoy a high-quality sound output as long as you use a compatible iMac and MacBook Pro. The more recent models shouldn’t have any issues.
The vertical frequency range of this device is standard as it supports screens with 50/60 Hz. When it comes to resolutions you can expect a reasonable quality of maximum 1080p. The adapter is available in two color variants, black and white. It’s designed to be easy to carry if you need it during travels and the construction quality is also solid for the cost.
Considering everything about this Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter, it can be said that overall the product is worth the money. There are some slight drawbacks such as the bland design which doesn’t make it a very attractive choice if you’re in a more professional setting. This is a non-issue though. The adapter works as expected and that’s all that matters in the end.
- Supports HDMI, DVI, and VGA
- Only one output works at a time
- Compact and lightweight
- 1080p maximum resolution
- Solid compatibility with older Macs
We’ve reached the end of this article and now it’s time to present the last adapter that seems to have great potential. For an affordable price, this little device from Rankie will allow you to make more connections thanks to its HDMI functionality. This low-profile adapter offers a lot for its cost including wide compatibility and gold-plated connectors.
A reliable connection needs a well-built adapter and in this case, there are many great enhancements to ensure a stable connection. One area where most adapters can fail is around the connectors. The ones from this unit are gold-plated and should be able to resist the corrosion that could eventually appear with cheaper models.
The connector is designed to maintain a low profile so as to not be a hindrance when you need to connect other cables next to where the adapter’s connected. For extra long life, the molded strain-relief design should be a handy addition.
The transmission stability is ensured by the robust construction of the adapter which has been designed to withstand repeated plug and unplug. The form factor is also very compact as the adapter can fit with ease in a pocket to be carried anywhere you need it. It’s a good choice for those who frequently travel.
One area where this model seems to get things right is when it comes to compatibility. It can be used with any laptop or device that has a Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt port and it can transmit to any HDMI-enabled screen. You will need an additional HDMI cable if you don’t have one laying around already.
Whether you need it for your Microsoft Surface or to be used with a Mac laptop, the Rankie adapter could be a decent purchase. It works fine and it doesn’t have any particularly special features. You will get the optimal resolution for your content at a solid cost. This is a recommended product.
- Ideal for Mac computers and Microsoft Surface Pro
- Supports video resolutions of maximum 1920 x 1200
- Low-profile connector
- Corrosion-resistant connectors with gold plating
- Easy to use