Top positive review
28 people found this helpful
Improving on perfection
on March 10, 2003
I'd always been very happy with my 17" Apple LCD monitor, which I'd run in a dual LCD setup with my Samsung 17" flat panel. However, as is so often the case, it died within a couple of months of the warranty running out.
Repair wasn't really an option - when the panel itself dies, the out-of-warranty repair cost is in the same league as the cost of a new one. So I had two choices - I could buy another 17", and retain my two monitor setup, or go for a larger LCD monitor and recover some desk space.
Since Apple's 17" display is getting a little elderly, I decided to go for the latter option. The Samsung replaced the CRT display on the household PC and Apple's 20" Cinema display was duly ordered.
It wasn't going to give me quite as much screen space - each of the 17" monitors had been 1280x1024 - but I'd found the differing brightnesses of the two displays distracting, and two 1280x1024 monitors are *not* the same as a 2560x1024 monitor. I figured that in practical terms, the 1680x1050 of the 20" display would give me as much usable space, plus it'd be better for watching movies on.
The monitor is, in appearance, very similar to my old 17" display. It's got the same clear plastic legs, the same touch sensitive "buttons" and power/sleep, and it's got a built-in USB hub just like the 17" had. It also requires an ADC connection, which'll annoy those who only have DVI output, but which is great if you have ADC output, since you end up with the video signal, power and the USB connection all going through a single cable, eliminating clutter.
As for the display quality itself - I can't really compare it directly with my 17" on account of that being rather dead, but other than the considerably increased size, the 20" appears to be a lot brighter - too bright if you leave the brightness up full - and to have a higher contrast. The overall result of this is that things look a lot crisper.
I've also noticed that the display sleeps/wakes more quickly than the 17" did. The 17" had a clear "warmup" period when you awoke the system, where the display would be rather dim for the first 20 seconds or so before jumping to full brightness. The 20" has a similar 2-step sequence, but it takes just a couple of seconds to go from sleep to full brightness.
Any downside? Well, there's still quite a price jump from the 17" display, you'll need a decent graphics adapter (since the display resolution is too much for the DVI output from some older cards), and it's strictly OS X 10.2 or later only.
If your Mac meets those specs though, and you want more space than the 17" display but don't feel quite rich enough for one of the really huge Apple displays, the 20" Cinema Display is an excellent compromise.