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The Best at a Price
on December 19, 2010
No one is fooling themselves here. We're all aware this isn't a value priced monitor or a best bang for the buck item. But as of Nov-Dec of 2010, this is one of the best out there for pure picture quality.
It's regrettable that Apple currently elects to have only one choice for monitor size, but it IS an excellent size for any professional who is looking to shell out a grand. For some reason, IPS panels (the panel technology behind this display) have maintained their higher prices in this resolution/size range. Usually Apple's products command a bit extra for what you get, but compared to the rest of the market, they're actually setting right with everyone else.
If you're a PC user and are looking for a comparable monitor to this one, consider Dell's UltraSharp U2711. It will have the connections you need without needing an adapter to get the mini display port working.
If you're looking for the budget version of this monitor, look up HP's ZR22w 21.5-inch S-IPS LCD Monitor. Not quite the size or resolution, but you could afford two of them side by side for less than one of these.
If you're a gamer on a budget, don't even consider this monitor. The 12ms rating on the Apple monitor won't cut it for the First Person Shooter aficionado. Try Samsung's P2450H.
But if you're a graphics professional and/or love the minimal design of this monitor (and I DO think looks count for something, as shallow as that sounds) and have a mini display port on your computer, this is an incredibly attractive option.
Depending on what you work on everyday, you may or may not like the aspect ratio of this display. It's 16:9 rather than the previous 16:10 other monitors had. This is better for some applications (It works well for my 3D work with stuffing all the palette boxes to the right of my modeling windows, and having doubled up web windows while browsing) but not as good for others (Microsoft Office seems to be more crowded due to less height). 16:9 is definitely a better ratio for watching movies, no question.
Setting up the monitor on a Mac Pro Nehalem 8 Core was easy. There was one small firmware update required to fix an audio glitch that took all of 2 minutes. (Went to software updates control panel, ran the update, restarted, done.) Here's the link on that one...
I ran a calibration with my gretagmacbeth monitor calibrator and it actually had to change very little. Gray was an almost perfect 6400k out of the box and spot on 6500k after calibration. It was slightly greenish/yellow initially but looks perfect now.
The built in iSight camera works as advertised, and the built in speakers aren't too bad. (You'll want a stand alone audio system if you're looking for any real bass output, but the speakers on this display are every bit as good or better than what you'll find in a typical flat panel television in this size.)
I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't bring up the finish of the monitor. Yes, it's glossy. This monitor replaced my previous 20 inch matte display from Apple I had for years and like all debates, there are pros and cons to this. Here's my quick and dirty take on the debate...
MATTE VS GLOSSY
- When staring at dark images, you won't see any reflections
- Doing photo touch up work for long periods of time aren't as tiring (think 4 or 5 hour stretches)
- They're harder to keep clean. WAY. HARDER. ^_^
- Smaller text is actually harder to read due to the diffusion effect needed to make a matte screen.
- Recycling your monitor is probably not going to happen
- Smaller details like tiny text is easier to see
- Easier to keep clean
- Colors pop more
- If you don't have a light controlled room, or have a strong light source directly behind you... you'll be staring at your handsome (or gorgeous) mug all day long.
- Eye strain might set in just a little sooner
Which one is more color accurate? Honestly, every professional test I've seen leans towards glossy (Despite the parroting that continues in some circles that matte is king.) The thing is, the difference between the two is small enough that you should let your preference of screen type make the decision.
OVERALL MONITOR CONSIDERATIONS
- No longer has a bulky power supply brick on the outside of the monitor. I've read one review that says the heat off the display is quite noticeable as a result. I have to respectfully disagree. I'm typing this in a room that's 67F with 21F outside and I can't feel ANY heat off it unless I put my hand an inch or two away from the monitor.
- Great color uniformity right out of the box.
- Built in iSight camera
- Great resolution
- Pricey, duh
- Cord length could be an issue. If Apple would've make it even 18" longer, that would've accommodated a lot more situations. For my use, (tower below monitor under a desk and slightly to the right) it worked just fine.
- Limited connection options
Overall I have zero buyer's remorse in putting this monitor on my desktop. It looks great on or off, leaves my desk clutter free, and lets me do my work more efficiently than before. If only it was just a little cheaper... :-)