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Apple 27" Cinema Display

Apple has released the new 27" Cinema Display for sale. I stopped at an Apple store today, but none were available for about a week, so I can’t report directly on it, but it’s probably the same as the iMac 27".

On the positive side:

  • There is a MagSafe charger handy for a laptop;
  • It has built-in speakers, a nice plus. But I like a decent speaker anyway.
  • Built-in microphone and iSight camera (watch out for video conferencing!).
  • The price is right ($999).

The price is right, but what about the hidden costs?

  • Can your neck handle it all day? The display is cute and hip and very Steve, but cannot be adjusted in height for proper ergonomics.
  • Can your eyes take it all day? The glossy screen is gorgeous under the right conditions, but look at your co-worker picking his nose behind you when he thinks you’re not looking; it’s a mirror, so plan on adding black shirts to your wardrobe.
  • No color calibration built in, so plan on paying extra for a device that tweaks the video card in 8 bits instead of actually calibrating the monitor in 10/12/14 bits, like the NEC 27" display. Classic form without function, though Apple’s one-size-fits-all profile for the display is pretty good.
  • Print-matching is just not a good application for this monitor. I don’t consider it a good choice for any photographer looking to make fine-art prints, and a number of New York pros I’ve discussed this with are in agrement that glossy and prints do not mix well.
  • There is no way to turn the screen vertically on its own, which is my favorite orientation for such a display for wonderful web viewing (enlarged). Form trumps function at Apple; hip is in; functional is not. But you can spend about $249 for a wall adapter and $39 for an adapter plate for the display, plus I hope you’re good with carpentry tools for attaching the mount to a stud in the wall, assuming you have a wall handy. Want to relocate the display? Have fun. With the NEC 27" display, just turn it vertically in seconds.

Anyway, it’s a great display at a great price, but not for everyone.

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