Apple Cinema Displays

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After working for years on big clunky displays, we decided the time had come to order replacements for the ancient CRT 20 inch Cinema Display displays we use in work. After a careful and rather thorough research into LCD displays we finally decided upon the 20 inch Apple Cinema Displays. Not only did they look nice, but when compared against other widescreen alternatives they were the better performing and surprisingly cheaper displays.

Keep in mind that im not a professional reviewer and the images were taken on my mobile phone, don't expect a lot from this article, these are just my personal opinions on these displays.

There were some concerns initially that the displays would not function with the existing graphics cards in our pc's (we were not connecting these up to a mac since my eMac would not support the native resolution of 1680 x 1050) and finding information about which cards were able to power the displays was extremely difficult (the apple support site was no help here), however eventually we stumbled upon a forum somewhere where someone else had some success with the same cards we have.

First Impressions

The ControlsWhen the displays arrived we were shocked at how damn pretty they looked. No buttons on the front of the display made for a very cleen and sleek exterior. The only adjustment buttons on the displays are on the side of the screen, with simply a brightness up and down control and a power/standby button.

The display was easy to connect to the computer and I especially liked the way that the Firewire and USB inputs were along the same cable as the DVI connector, only splitting into seperate cables at the very end. This made it easy to avoid cable clutter.

Turning the display on however was a bit scary, as all the display showed was a black screen... It turns out that the display is unable to show extra-low res screens such as the BIOS post and Windows boot screen on some cards. A little bit annoying really as making any changes to the BIOS or starting Windows in safe mode requires plugging an older, yet more capable monitor into the computer. After searching the net for some sort of support (again) it was assumed that this was something you were expected to live with...

The Full Picture

All of the above concerns were forgotten when the display finally kicked in... I don't believe I have ever seen such a crisp, clear image on a computer display before. I have a Sony 21 inch disaplay which I use for work in the house and that display, although good comes nowhere near the sheer clarity of the Apple Display. My jaw, literally dropped.

Of course there's the fact that you are now working in a widescreen format, not quite a 16:9 but more so than a traditional display. This of course means that in such apps as Fireworks, Photoshop, Dreamweaver etc, your toolbars have their own dedicated screen space, leaving you a nice large area for your standard 4:3 work.

This also means lots of room for my ObjectDock, which I prefer to use rather than Windows Explorer, although fixed-width websites sometimes look a litte odd with all the white space on either side of the site, but since I prefer working without having my windows maximised, this isnt really a problem, my browser window is set to a window of 1024x768 normally.

Finishing Up

All in all, other than a few minor concerns I am incredibly impressed by the suberb quality of these displaysNext to my Emac. The best thing of all is that Apple have since lowered the price of the displays on their website to compete with Dell's latest offerings which makes these displays even more of a bargain at only £549. The lack of monitor controls is not important. Most graphics drivers come with their own calibration tools which are largely un-necessary on LCD displays anyway.

The lack of BIOS access and Boot Screen is quite annoying, although im assured that a graphics card update will rectify this. If only Apple would post a list of supported graphics cards on their support site.

Just in case you missed it, you can buy one of these beauties from the Apple Store by clicking here.

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