Non-Technical Review: Cinema 27"

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by snouter, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    I bought an LG LED 23" HD monitor and brought it home. I was not feeling it. Mostly, I was not happy with the way text looked. I took it back to Best Buy within 24 hours and went and picke up the Cinema 27". I really did try to be prudent and gave the $300 option a chance.

    Looks great. Looks like an Apple product, and looks great with my 2010 MacBook Pro 17". Integrates well with the MacBook Pro. Has a charger, handles audio and consolidates and adds three powered USB ports. No firewire love.

    The build is Apple. Expensive looking, but solid. Glossy screen is flat and free of naked eye distortion at extreme angle. The stand is a substantial piece of aluminum.

    It's a 16:9 screen. 2560x1440. I would prefer 16:10, but with 1440 vertical, it's really not as cramped feeling as 1920x1080. If you go with the Dell or NEC or HP options, you will get a 16:10 display at this higher resolution. Not a deal breaker though, 2560x1440 is a spacious screen. After Effects and Premiere Pro are a joy with my MBP 1920x1200 paired up with 2560x1440. Coding has been very nice as well. Not having to scroll much is worth the price of admission.

    Display is BRIGHT. I like it. Glossy? I used to be one of those glossy haters. On a whim I bought a 2010 MacBook Pro base model with the glossy screen. Brought it home. No problems. Love it. The Apple store is the worst place to evaluate a glossy screen. At home, where you can control your lighting, I have no issues with my current set-up. The whites are bright and white, and text is crisp and sharp. I enjoy the slight over saturation that is the hallmark of a glossy screen. It is even. I don't notice any dark areas or anything other than a large, bright image.

    The size is great. It's large, but not too large. I've seen the 30" Cinema and it's nowhere near the table beast that thing is. I'm on a 4' table with my 17" Macbook Pro and I'm not feeling at all cramped or put out.

    The monitor runs fairly cool. Not as cool as my Samsung XL2370 monitors that I use with my Windows desktop - those are absolutely cool. The Cinema display gets a little warm, but it's not giving off heat. But wait, there's more! I think the monitor runs a little bit too warm, borderline hot when using the built-in mag safe charger for the MacBook Pro. Looking at the monitor, to the left of the Apple logo, on the backside, there is quite a bit of heat, even after the laptop has reached 100% charge. I have to admit, I'm a little concerned about this. I use the built-in charger, and there is really nowhere for the heat to go. There are no vents, other than the speakers which have their screen on the bottom. I don't think it's going to catch fire and burn my place down, but, heat kills electrical components, and I do worry about the long term effects of this on the monitor. For the money, I need this monitor to last a few years.

    This is as technical as I will get. I read that there are other displays from NEC or Dell or HP that cover more Gamut and are therefore more precise for "color critical work." My take on that is that this display is better than most other people's displays, and I mostly design things for screen and I am fairly certain that what I create on this screen is more than accurate enough. The phrase prosumer works here, it give 80% coverage as opposed to 110% coverage, but I feel that my reds are red, and not purple tinged, and my whites are def white. Out of the box, the monitor is a little bit cool, or blue, but I was able to fix that using the built in calibration tool on expert mode. I don't have a professional workflow and I'm not designing color critical print work. If you KNOW you need a monitor for critical work, you already know that and will probably pass on this monitor. For the other 98% of us, this monitor is fully capable of exceeding the need. I do production work on it, including websites and some corporate video type stuff, and it's not getting in the way of my work.

    I'm not going to comment much on price. I can't say I loved throwing down $1000 for this thing, but I did it, and I like the monitor. What can you do? I think there are things Apple could have done to get this monitor closer to $800 - it's not a professional color gamut, even though it's an IPS screen, which in this case mostly facilitates distraction free viewing angles. I could live without the speakers. The sound is better than my 2010 MacBook Pro 17", which has decent audio for a laptop, and not HAVING to have speakers does reduce clutter. I use headphones for more critical audio work anyhow. I hear for some MacPro users the cables are too short. This thing really was made for the MacBook Pro, and on that front, I have no real complaints about that. It's typical Apple. You will pay just a little more than you are comfortable with, but after living with the product, you don't mind as much. Apple products respect industrial design (even with the occasional shortcomings) and at the end of the day, you pay 15% to enjoy the superior materials, workmanship and pleasing aesthetics.

    I hear LED screen don't dim over time like CCFL screens do. That should help me get several years out of it. And if I do go to sell it in a couple/few years, it should still be making nice, bright images to impress any would be buyer.

    I love it and would buy it again. The pain of the price fades daily. For MacBook Pro users, it's a perfect fit. For MacPro users, def look into the length of the cables, I hear the extensions are $150, and at that point, I probably would go with the Dell or NEC or HP options. You'd never "love" the Dell or NEC monitors though. You might respect them, they might even be technically superior on some points, but you would never elicit that emotional response that Apple seems to give its electronics.

    tl;dr I'd buy this thing again. Pro users with critical color needs will prefer other options.
  2. xyzzy-xyzzy macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Huh? Are you looking at some kind of Monster cable? Take a look at the Dr. Bott mini DisplayPort Extension Pro cable for about $40. And if you don't care about audio on the mDP cable (I believe the Dr Bott cable supports mDP audio -- am I wrong?) there's tons of cheap mDP extension cables to be had (e.g., look at and I assume then you just pass the audio across the usb.
  3. snouter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Sounds good. I was just going by what I thought I had read from various MacPro users who were having trouble hooking two of these things up.

    The Bott $40 cable seem reasonable, and yeah, how does MonoPrice do it?
  4. xyzzy-xyzzy macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2010
    I assume MonoPrice sells a lot of stuff due to popularity so maybe they get volume discounts from manufacturers. At any rate, they have great prices.:D
  5. macagain macrumors regular


    Jan 1, 2002
    OP- could you please post again in a few weeks to let us know if you have sound issues :(

    I'm dying to get one of these, but I'm the sort that would get really really bothered if it had problems. So, I'm still trying to ascertain if it's hardware or software.

    Thanks in adv!
  6. evillageprowler macrumors regular


    Nov 5, 2007
    NJ, USA
    I just hooked up my new 27" ACD to my 27" iMac. I haven't used it too much yet, but so far no obvious issue like dead pixels, weird coloration, scratches, etc.

    Why did I connect it to my iMac instead of my MM or MBP? I wanted a second screen for connecting to work. Although... using it with my MBP is also possible.

  7. snouter thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    So far, no sound issues. The low end is fairly impressive for what it is. I've listened to a few podcasts, an ESPN3 football game. No buzzing, or distortion. For built-in speakers they are pretty good.

    So, far the only issue is that the sounds comes from my right side, since it's hooked up to my MBP which is in front of me. It's not really an issue, but, I notice it until I get used to it.

    But quality wise, they fall between laptop and decent external speakers. They get plenty loud, though of course, at loud levels, I'd prefer my Klipsch ProMedia 2.1.

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