The Experience

I’ve been using a 30-inch for nearly as long as they’ve been around in the consumer market. And I went the multi-monitor route before then. I find that I’ve got enough windows open that need interacting with to fill up a single 2560-pixel wide desktop pretty well, but move to two smaller panels and my desktop usage just isn’t as efficient. I end up having one monitor that’s largely unused except for a couple of applications and another monitor that feels way too cramped. Balancing between the two just never worked well for me, so a single high resolution display made the most sense.

The problem with the 30 is that it’s just huge. It’s got an awesome resolution but I find that it’s more of a pain while gaming, particularly in first person shooters. I end up sitting too close and the display is almost too big.

Moving to the 27-inch panel I noticed several things. The display is much more compact. It doesn’t feel too small, and it doesn’t feel too big. Dare I say it’s just right. The change in aspect ratio is strange but not a deal breaker. Admittedly I wasn’t doing too much with the extra 140 lines of resolution I had on the 30” display.

The display feels a bit sharper than my old 30. The pixel density has gone up 8% from ~101 PPI to ~109 PPI. If you felt text was too small on a 30-inch panel, things aren’t going to get any better here. As a side effect of the display physically being smaller, I can actually sit closer to it than I could with the 30-incher without feeling like I’m being totally overwhelmed by panel.

Viewing angles are great. The IPS panel works its magic as well as you’d expect.

The backlight honestly takes the most getting used to. My 30-inch display is the original Apple Cinema HD display from 2004 and it used a CCFL backlight. The white LED backlit 27-inch panel just seems too cool, even when properly calibrated. The whites are very bright, but they feel a bit too harsh for me. If I dim the display then the rest of the colors get too dim as a result, I can’t seem to find a happy medium. I hear the situation is near perfect with RGB LEDs but Apple and most other manufacturers still use WLEDs for their backlights. You’ll see the impact this has on color gamut later on in the review. I spend most of my time in front of a CCFL backlit screen, but if you’re used to something LED backlit it’ll be a less of a shock.

I feel like there are two significant features missing that ultimately prevent this from being a truly great monitor: a RGB LED backlight and 120Hz support. The former makes the shift from a CCFL backlit LCD more of a tradeoff. The latter is just wishful thinking at this point honestly, but after Brian’s experience with the ASUS 120Hz panel I want it.

The rest of the package works relatively well. I’m happy with the webcam image quality and the integrated mic seems to work well. I love the convenience of the integrated MagSafe power connector and mini DisplayPort is a nicely compact interface, unfortunately these two features only matter if you happen to have a notebook that can take advantage of them.

The New Cinema Display Color Quality


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  • ijhammo - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    nicely put Targon Reply
  • geok1ng - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    At $999 this display is a bit overpriced.

    The low-end 27" iMac starts at $1699, featuring core i3 530, 4GB DDR3, Slim DVD, 1TB HDD, Radeon 5670 mounted on a notebook LGA1156 mobo.

    This hardware costs more than $470 on newegg, and the miniDP on the iMac can receive external video sources ( not to mention a possible hack to directly mount the iMac display externally).

    It would solve the main problem showed on the review: the self fulfilling prophecy that this display will only be used with Macs.

    The ideal Imac for hacking is the $1999 i5 + Radeon 5750. For another $1000 you get the very same display coupled with a valid mid range hardware all-in-one.
  • Cattykit - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    Nice assumption but I doubt if it really is the case.

    What I recall is that when this S.Korean company introduced one of their IPS monitors in U.S a few years ago, they increased price about $300 (compared to S.Korean price) and people went crazy for it as it was considered very cheap compared to what was availbe in the market.

    Being interested in that, I did a breif research on IPS monitor market in S. Korea. What I found out is that a. there are so many feature packed IPS monitors b. they are much cheaper.

    Of course, LG - the IPS pannel maker - is a S. Korean coporation and that should explain the difference in market situation. However, what's interesting is that all other products that came from S. Korea - Samsung, LG, and even Hyundai automobiles- are cheaper in U.S than in S. Korea.

    After all, I couldn't figure out why IPS monitors are so much more expensive in U.S, not to mention lacking availability.

    P.S: After writing this, I did a simple search of IPS monitors on S. Korean electronics site. Keep it mind below are only a very small representation of hundereds of monitors in the S. Korean market. Last time when I did throughout research, it took me days and days.

    27" 2560 x 1440 IPS for $420 (sales tax included),
    26" 1920 x 1200 IPS for $500 (built-in HDTV tuner, speaker, PIP, D-SUB, HDMI, Component, DVI, RF Antenna, Tilt Swivel)
    30" 2560x1600 IPS for $620.
  • numberoneoppa - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    Because this is a high-density IPS panel. It's really not too outrageous a price. Reply
  • andy o - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    I'm more annoyed that they are going for 16:9 in even the highest-resolution computer displays. There is no reason for it, you're only losing desktop space. Reply
  • xype - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    Seeing how most applications have their palettes and settings in a column (either to the left or to the right of the main working space), I don't see how a wide ratio is a problem? Also, the ratio has nothing to do with the amount of pixels you can show—if you want higher pixel count, you want higher pixel count. If you want a ratio that's more of a square, you want that. If you just want a taller screen at the same width, go with one of the 30" ones. Reply
  • LordanSS - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    I'll base my response on the fact that I am a computer gamer.

    For that kind of stuff, perhaps a LCD like this might be overkill... and considering the very slow response time of 12ms, might not be good at all, as you can find many TN panels around with a quarter or less response time (GTG) compared to that.

    Anyways, the vertical loss of pixels is an issue for several games, specially ones with customizable UIs, where you can move around windows and whatnot. MMOs come to mind. Those missing pixels, in this case, do make a big difference in your viewing area.
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    Customizable UIs generally have the ability to put menus on the side, but true "gamers" would rely on a better keyboard than the onscreen interface.

    As xype has said, it's pixel count that you want. 27w" is the diagonal width, which would have the same vertical pixels as a 20-21" monitor at 4:3.

    BTW, if height is what you're after, you can rotate your monitor to 9:16 instead, it's only a matter of switching a setting in video preferences, but wider field of view is actually more important for gaming, especially in FPS, but also in MMORPGs.
  • Strunf - Thursday, September 30, 2010 - link

    "but wider field of view is actually more important for gaming, especially in FPS"
    That is if you play "flat" FPS where everyone is at the same level, if you play FPS where players can be on top of buildings and what not the height becomes a very important factor, 16:10 is for me the best ratio available... also a 16:9 doesn't necessarily have a wider field of view than a 4:3, both could have the same horizontal resolution while the 4:3 would have a higher vertical one.
    I really don't get how the 16:9 is becoming the norm when its not a progress for gamers on the contrary...
  • crimson117 - Tuesday, September 28, 2010 - link

    MS Word 2007 has the menu at the top of the screen, not to the side. Reply

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