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Old Dec 5, 2012, 07:07 AM   #1
ahbdesign
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Thoughts on iMac Display

I currently have a MacBook unibody (late 2008) and its started to show signs of aging. Downgraded back to snow leopard and its smooth as but I was very keen to get an iMac. And I was more excited to learn about the 'upgraded' screen.

I had a play with the last gen iMac last week in the store and the screen seemed very nice. And today I got a chance to play with the new iMac and boy it's a beautiful looking machine. Supremely thin and elegant. However, the screen didn't jump out at me as anything special. This is strictly speaking about the 21.5". It's good but it just seemed like it lacked sharpness.

I then jumped onto the MacBook Air 13" and everything seemed super sharp. And don't even get me started about the retina mbps. They outshine pretty much everything.

I am now very confused as to what I want. I can get an iMac , MacBook Air or 13" rmbp. I thought the new iMac screen would help me settle it but its just confused me more.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 07:20 AM   #2
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Your first question to yourself should be "Do I need a desktop or laptop?" Yes, you can use a MacBook Pro or Air on a desk, but at the expense of a much smaller display (unless you buy a separate monitor) and other ergonomic compromises. Similarly, there are tradeoffs between the Air and rMBP, I chose the 11" Air last year because I wanted the smallest, lightest computer that would run OS X.

As for the display, I thought that the 21.5" iMac that I looked at was at least as good as the previous gen, probably a bit better because of the lower reflectivity. It's certainly very good, and I wouldn't consider its quality as a major differentiating point.

Last edited by Roller; Dec 5, 2012 at 07:26 AM. Reason: Added part about display
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 08:34 AM   #3
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However, the screen didn't jump out at me as anything special. This is strictly speaking about the 21.5". It's good but it just seemed like it lacked sharpness.
Good eye. It's the same screen as previous generation, just laminated to the case. But honestly, it's a decent screen. The problem is we are all now jaded by our Retina screens to the point everything else looks like crap. Just gotta wait for the technology and lower cost of the larger panels to catch up.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 08:42 AM   #4
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Good eye. It's the same screen as previous generation, just laminated to the case. But honestly, it's a decent screen. The problem is we are all now jaded by our Retina screens to the point everything else looks like crap. Just gotta wait for the technology and lower cost of the larger panels to catch up.
Glad I haven't gotten (or even played with) a retina MBP yet! I think the iMac displays are great. I cringe to think what a "retina" resolution would require graphics wise on a 27" iMac! Yikes!

Anyways, like you said, the panels in the new iMacs are the same. They are just closer to the glass. I didn't spend any time with the one at the store, so I can't wait for my 27" to come in early January!
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 11:22 AM   #5
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I went from the 2007 20 inch model to a 2012 21.5 inch model and the screen seems similar in quality. The lamination process or whatever, glueing the thing together I think doesn't make a noticable difference, to me anyway. But I loved the iMac screen before and this one is again very good and I would not have chosen a retina screen had it been offered at an additional cost.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 02:49 PM   #6
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So for a consumer desktop display or monitor, what is the best display you can buy and how does it compare to the new iMac display?
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 07:54 PM   #7
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Good eye. It's the same screen as previous generation, just laminated to the case. But honestly, it's a decent screen. The problem is we are all now jaded by our Retina screens to the point everything else looks like crap. Just gotta wait for the technology and lower cost of the larger panels to catch up.
Yea I know it's a decent screen and retina has spoiled us all. I just expected it to seem better than the previous gen.

When I compare the iPhone 5 to the 4s/4, i notice a difference. It's just brighter and seems nicer. Same with the iPad mini! That air gap they eliminated seems to work wonders with the smaller devices. I just thought I'd notice a difference in the iMacs as well but so far I haven't.
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 08:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chupa Chupa View Post
Good eye. It's the same screen as previous generation, just laminated to the case. But honestly, it's a decent screen. The problem is we are all now jaded by our Retina screens to the point everything else looks like crap. Just gotta wait for the technology and lower cost of the larger panels to catch up.
Once you have a retina it's hard to go back to a standard screen. I am considering am iMac 27inch but once I put in a fusion drive its $2000. It's hard to spend that much on a non retina
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Old Dec 5, 2012, 09:38 PM   #9
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Once you have a retina it's hard to go back to a standard screen. I am considering am iMac 27inch but once I put in a fusion drive its $2000. It's hard to spend that much on a non retina
Agree 100%. I couldn't do it either. I needed a new desktop bad so I went for the entry 21" figuring it would be easiest to sell if Apple pushes out a better screen later next year. I figure they are going to have to revamp the Thunderbolt display when they announce the next pro machine & the iMac would follow.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 06:16 AM   #10
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Your first question to yourself should be "Do I need a desktop or laptop?" Yes, you can use a MacBook Pro or Air on a desk, but at the expense of a much smaller display (unless you buy a separate monitor) and other ergonomic compromises. Similarly, there are tradeoffs between the Air and rMBP, I chose the 11" Air last year because I wanted the smallest, lightest computer that would run OS X.

As for the display, I thought that the 21.5" iMac that I looked at was at least as good as the previous gen, probably a bit better because of the lower reflectivity. It's certainly very good, and I wouldn't consider its quality as a major differentiating point.
Well I've always used a laptop but am craving to use the Mac OS on a larger screen. A laptop might suit me better as I like to sit around the house but I have my iPad for that too. Hmm, I guess I'll decide in a few months
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 07:02 AM   #11
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Well I've always used a laptop but am craving to use the Mac OS on a larger screen. A laptop might suit me better as I like to sit around the house but I have my iPad for that too. Hmm, I guess I'll decide in a few months
If you don't really need to use your Mac outside the house and can use it in one location at home, an iMac or other desktop computer is the way to go. Laptops make compromises for portability, unless you augment them. And the iPad is great for casual web viewing, email, and so on.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 07:13 AM   #12
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To be realistic, Apple hasn't even managed to squeeze the retina display into their 17" MacBook Pro.....so I wouldn't hold your breath on a 21" retina imac let alone a 27"!!

Seriously, it's gonna be awhile.

Besides, the 27" iMac screen is better than 1080p! I can surely live with that.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 08:27 AM   #13
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To be realistic, Apple hasn't even managed to squeeze the retina display into their 17" MacBook Pro.....so I wouldn't hold your breath on a 21" retina imac let alone a 27"!!

Seriously, it's gonna be awhile.

Besides, the 27" iMac screen is better than 1080p! I can surely live with that.
thats what i thought too but after using a retina any other display up close you can see pixels. its like sandpaper on my eyes.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 08:28 AM   #14
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There isn't a 17-inch MBP. So the next step is the iMac 21-inch.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 07:24 PM   #15
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It's strange to me that despite a few reviews raving about the screen (and proper reviewers not just suck ups on apple's payroll like the verge) no one has come in these forums with a thread of how much they enjoy the laminated glass and minimal reflections. Maybe the panels after all are so ho hum two years ago tech that the obvious advantage of the laminated glass and anti glare coating isn't impressing people. I would have expected after all the marketing speak by Schiller about individual panel calibration that people would report back with positive feedback.... I am in the market for an imac btw, simply because of the reduced glare screen.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 08:03 PM   #16
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Went to the store to specifically check out the laminated display and left underwhelmed. There still is a gap between the glass and the LCD panel and it would have taken me a while to notice the difference if I was never told (and I usually catch those types of things). The gap was similar to the gap between the glass and LCD of an iPad. Not much of an upgrade to me (as far as the display goes).
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 08:48 PM   #17
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Went to the store to specifically check out the laminated display and left underwhelmed. There still is a gap between the glass and the LCD panel and it would have taken me a while to notice the difference if I was never told (and I usually catch those types of things). The gap was similar to the gap between the glass and LCD of an iPad. Not much of an upgrade to me (as far as the display goes).
That's extremely disappointing to read. I 've waited for a loooong time to get the imac solely for the display and I was willing to put up with apple's thinning bs for it... Are you quite sure about this? The ipad has a considerable gap which creates such double image and glare for me that I think the retina display ultimately goes wasted, but they don't claim to have laminated it to the display (as windows rt tablets, or amazon's and b&n tablets have done).

How can they claim to have laminated, or bonded the screen to the glass, when they actually haven't?!?!?!
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 10:11 PM   #18
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That's extremely disappointing to read. I 've waited for a loooong time to get the imac solely for the display and I was willing to put up with apple's thinning bs for it... Are you quite sure about this? The ipad has a considerable gap which creates such double image and glare for me that I think the retina display ultimately goes wasted, but they don't claim to have laminated it to the display (as windows rt tablets, or amazon's and b&n tablets have done).

How can they claim to have laminated, or bonded the screen to the glass, when they actually haven't?!?!?!
Maybe the glass is just much thicker which gives it the impression that there's a slight gap but I don't think it's much of an improvement. That said, it wouldn't hold me back from buying an iMac if I was in the market for one (I'm not a fan of all-in-ones so I was really checking it out for the future possibility of a new Cinema Display).
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 01:44 AM   #19
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I don't miss retina display on iMac, come on, the 27" model has 109 pixels per inch against 94 from my 24" iMac, and my eyes sit 50-60cm from the screen..
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 02:09 AM   #20
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I know most of you have an ipad so do you think it's better to have a laptop or a desktop in that situation? I like the iMacs, but since it came out I've had my heart set on a retina MacBook Pro.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 02:17 AM   #21
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I know most of you have an ipad so do you think it's better to have a laptop or a desktop in that situation? I like the iMacs, but since it came out I've had my heart set on a retina MacBook Pro.
My work and college requires a big display and intensive graphics card, so the iMac is perfect, and since the iPad, I started using my macbook less and less. The iMac and iPad are the dream combo (at least for me)

If you go for the iMac, get the 27". Btw 21"iMac and 15" Macbook Pro, I'd go for the later.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 03:43 AM   #22
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I've seen several places predictions about 21'' retina desktop displays next year. Here is a link:

http://www.techspot.com/news/48165-i...tops-soon.html

This makes it likely that we'll see a retina addtion to the iMac line at some point during 2013, that is a retina 21'' iMac with a screen resolution of 3840x2160. Apple might even make a retina thunderbolt display in that size and resolution.
However, I think it very safe to assume that the 27'' iMac isn't going retina anytime soon, we have to be talking late 2014 at best here - it's a big jump from retina 21'' to retina 27''.

The big question is: do you want a smaller but crisper retina screen, or a huge 27'' screen with slightly visible pixels (though still a very HQ screen)? Personally I'm going for the 27'' iMac now, and assume it will stay "high end" for the next couple of years.

Last edited by Mac32; Dec 7, 2012 at 03:52 AM.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 06:46 AM   #23
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I know most of you have an ipad so do you think it's better to have a laptop or a desktop in that situation? I like the iMacs, but since it came out I've had my heart set on a retina MacBook Pro.
I have a 13" macbook and an ipad. I use both equally, maybe my iPad a little more. I don't feel like its the right combination; I feel a 15" screen or bigger would be fine with an iPad. A 10" and 13" are too close in my opinion.

iPad and iMac are good too, but I'm probably not the best judge of that as I haven't owned an iMac myself.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 08:52 AM   #24
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it's a decent screen. The problem is we are all now jaded by our Retina screens to the point everything else looks like crap.
Yep. I was in an Apple Store yesterday and looked at two 21.5" iMacs. Overall screen quality was underwhelming at best.

It's been my experience that smaller screens have always looked sharper. But the new iMac displays didn't look much better than the iPad Mini's that were out.

What I'm surprised about is that there have been very few posts from new owners commenting on the screen one way or another.
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Old Dec 7, 2012, 09:23 AM   #25
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I don't think we'll be seeing any 21" retina displays in 2013.
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