Apple Cinema Display 27"

It’s been a year since this monitor took up a sizeable portion of my desk, so I thought a look back over the last twelve months’ use.

Here’s the science part: 27in, 2560 x 1440 resolution, backlit LED display, £899 including VAT. Computer used is a MacBook Pro Retina from mid 2012, with a NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1GB graphics card.

Apple Cinema Display

The first thing to say is that this monitor is a pretty beast; of that there’s no doubt. Putting a slab of black plastic next to the lovely aesthetic of the MacBook Pro would be an error and although you’ll find cheaper displays and ones with better connectivity, you’d be hard pressed to find one that is as lovely to behold.

The metal casing is sleek and fits in with the current Mac aesthetic, while the black border around the screen isn’t overly large and doesn’t dominate. There are no buttons or controls to be seen other than the power button on the back. The only interruptions to the border are the webcam and mic at the top of the screen. The webcam lights up green when in use.

The rear houses three USB ports, an ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, a Thunderbolt port, an integrated cable to connect to a computer (more on this later) and Apple’s proprietary mains cable. The speakers aren’t bad with some body to the sound, but clearly these aren’t Mourdant Shorts.

The monitor tilts vertically, but there’s no height adjustment. To move the thing horizontally you have to move the whole shebang on its base and obviously, if you need it higher up you’ll need to buy a Stack Of Books (tm) to rest it on.

The cable from the back of the Cinema Display comprises of a combination of Thunderbolt port and a MacBook power cable. PC users will need separate power supply for their laptops/desktops and a Thunderbolt adapter, which aren’t supported by Apple. The Thunderbolt port offers power and a data bus and is used by Apple to connect peripherals.

To be frank, PC users would do as well to go for an alternative that’s cheaper and connects more effectively. There are boxes on the market that have similar levels of display quality and resolution, albeit without the Cinema Display’s drop-dead gorgeous looks. Having said that, the Display isn’t as thin at the edges as the current iMac.

With 4k and even 5k displays now available, the Display certainly lags behind the times, but for office use it’s more than adequate.

Display quality is superb with images showing with no bleed or discolouration and would be suitable for graphics and TV professionals without giving any qualms.

So, the good: display quality, looks, speakers, powers MacBooks.

The bad: arguably Mac-only, expensive, not 4k/5k.

Verdict: wait for the rumoured 4k/5k version, if your pockets are deep enough.

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