Several months ago, Apple launched their new display called “Apple 24” LED Cinema Display”. A display especially designed for one specific Group users: laptop users who want a lager display at home or at their office. I wanted to do a practice test.
What to expect?
Before each review, I made up a list of my expectations and what function I want it to show me. At the same time I make a list of the positive points of my current display. My expectations are related to build quality, durability of used materials, comfort in use, possibility to adjust the height, the brightness and calibration possibility, etc.
Like all other Apple products, this display comes in a pure white box with a large picture of the display and the words “LED Cinema Display”. When opening the box, the “Apple-mood” stays at my side: at the top you can find a small box with all papers in it: manual, warranty specifications and anti-dust tissue. After removing the top protection, we can see the display for the first time, still well protected! I take the screen out of the box and remove every plastic to protect the screen. There he is: 24” large and a beautiful design! The 2 cables delivered with it are also taken out the box.
Connecting the new display
Connecting this display is easy! There’s one cable for the power and one to connect your computer. At the end of the connection cable, you’ll find 3 connections: 1 MagSafe connector, 1 USB port and 1 Mini Display port. On a normal display you’ll have 4 cables connected to the display, here you’ll have just 2. Typically Apple, an eye for design. Nice!
This display is designed to connect your laptop, which will be just in front or next to the display. If you don’t buy it to connect your laptop, you’ll experience very quick, that the cables are a bit short to connect all the way to the floor, like my Mac Pro. You can connect both when computer and display are one above the other. But, like I mentioned above, this display was designed for the laptop user who wants a large display.
This display wasn’t made for the professional photographer or graphic employee, who wants to calibrate his display. So I won’t test this part at the bottom. This display doesn’t have any possibility to adjust colors individual or all together nor contrast. The only thing you can do is to calibrate your screen (if you want to do it) automatically with your X-Rrite or Datacolor calibration mouse. You can do a calibration mode on your Mac in the system preferences / display / color, but if you don’t possess this specific knowledge, you’ll mess up your display completely! Still again, this display wasn’t made for the professional photographer or graphic employee, who wants to calibrate his display, but for the laptop user who just wants a large display.
The nicest surprise was the integration of a MagSafe-connector. With this cable, you don’t need to use your separate laptop charger anymore. The cable will charge your laptop, even when the laptop is shut down!
The second part of the cable has a USB2.0 connection. When you connect the cable in your laptop, you can use the USB hub at the back of the display. There are only the USB ports, there’s no Firewire port. To test these ports, I connected a wired keyboard, my Wacom tablet and a external disk. All were detected within several seconds and worked perfectly. The USB cable (connected to your laptop) has 2 other functions. The integrated iSight camera will work as well as the integrated sound system. You can close your laptop while working; all your documents will be saved to the laptop.
Mini Display connector
The third and last part of the cable has a mini display connector. This type of display connector replaces the really old VGA or slightly newer DVI connector. The quality of the mini display is slightly superior to the DVI, but the connector is a lot smaller; in a laptop every mm counts. The only disadvantage is that only the last Apple laptop serie has that connection type. If you have none of these, you won’t be able to connect the display. You’ll find companies like “Atlona” who have designed products to solve this issue. You’ll find more info on their website.
Size and resolution
The display has a gorgeous design and doesn’t use a lot of space. With 48x58x20cm space, you’ll have enough. The 24” display has a 60cm wide diagonal active display and a resolution of 1920 x 1200px.
View angle / Brightness / Contrast / Reaction speed
With a view angle of 178°, you can look at the display with an extreme angle without loss of sharpness or changing colors. The display is also extremely bright, personally too bright at 100%. I decreased the brightness to 75%. Contrast is about 1000:1 which isn’t great but still good enough. The reaction speed is 14ms! This is slow. Gamers and film fans will not buy this display.
The display has a glossy or brilliant top layer. It seems to be positive for the sharpness of the colors, but if you work with colors day in day out, you don’t want to see your colors change due to a glossy layer. If this all isn’t enough, the display is almost a mirror in an office with plenty of light. Very annoying! Personally, I do hope that they launch a “mat-version”!
The display rolled over from -5° up to 25°, still it is strange that Apple doesn’t modify their displays to adjust the height. The ergonomic rules are really important with these large wide displays, especially when you work more than several hours each day. The major rule is to keep the distance to your eyes more than 50cm. The first time it will feel a little strange, but you’ll get used to it and your eyes will appreciate it as well. To determine the ideal height of the display, is a little more difficult. When we follow the official ergonomic rules, I need to be on a comfortable chair with my feet flat on the ground and my knees in an angle of 90°. I need to have a supported straight back (by the chair) and look straight forward. The line of my eyes and the top of the display need to be equal. Now you will work correctly. Everything seems overacting but when you work 8 hours (or more) in the same position, you need to sit correctly. You can slide the display easily above. I need to justify that the maximum height isn’t that high. Tall people will need to search for a solution to place the display higher. I needed to look for a solution the put my display 15cm (!!!) higher.
“Led” is a true hype these days. Everybody starts to buy led lamps, led TV’s and now even led computer displays. Apple doesn’t want to miss that train. Their “green image” is really important. Without going too technically, you have to see that Led’s produce the same images as before, but with less power and the maximum brightness available from the start.
For about 849 euro, this display is yours. That’s a lot of money for a display! Apple does sell it as a green display with a lot of extra functions as a USB hub, sound system, webcam and genius cable system. You’ll pay also for the brand and brand design. Can this justify the price?
Personally, I think that the target group could be interested, but do they want to pay a lot for a display these days? I do hope it for Apple.