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All-Pro LCDs Part 2

In Practice

The Apple Cinema left us with mixed impressions. We'll start with the negative side: Photo retouching probably isn't an area where this monitor will show all its potential. The too-high black level and the absence of temperature adjustments disqualify it pretty quickly for that task.

Forget gaming, too. If you're a fan of RTS or World of Warcraft , the Apple Cinema might do for you. But if you like a steady diet of blowing bad guys away, you'd better look elsewhere. This screen was playable, but remanence was very perceptible.

On the other hand, office applications look great on this monitor. If you love your Excel spreadsheets, the 1920 x 1200 resolution should make you very happy. And if you do a lot of word processing, the wide format will let you display two pages of text side by side comfortably. But let's be honest - buying a 23" Apple monitor to work with Word is just a tad snobbish, wouldn't you say?

Fortunately my Linux workstation has a DVI output, so I tried a little CAD on the Apple Cinema. It was nice enough, but the added value compared to a Dell 2004FPW is not really enough to justify the extra money you pay. If your CAD work isn't limited to creating 2D plans and 3D color rendering interests you, the Apple Cinema might begin to look like a better choice. Architects and landscapers, for example, should be very happy with it. But in my area (circuit design), the Apple Cinema gave me nothing I don't get with a 2004FPW.

Now we get to video. The panel did prove fast enough to display fluid video. But the real disappointment was the horizontal viewing angle. If the image was bright, it remained visible even from a fairly wide angle. But with dark images, a few degrees to one side and the blacks started to look reddish. This was a huge disappointment, because otherwise the Apple Cinema 23" had a lot going for it as a video monitor - the right format, good contrast and ideal brightness for video.

Conclusion

This is the first time we've tested an Apple monitor, and frankly I expected better. The colors are beautiful, the design and build quality are exceptional, but the video performance falls short and the ergonomics are questionable. And at a price of $1,500, you can't forgive that much.