Apple LED Cinema Display

Apple's first desktop display boasts great styling and some innovative functions.

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Apple LED Cinema Display
  • Apple LED Cinema Display
  • Apple LED Cinema Display
  • Apple LED Cinema Display

Pros

  • Great styling

Cons

  • Output is very poor indeed by professional design standards

Bottom Line

Even if you own a new MacBook Pro and you’ve got around $1500 to spend on an LED monitor, we can't recommend this disappointing display. The Apple LED Cinema Display looks great, and provides power to Mac laptops, but it suffers from output quality and works only with the very latest Mac laptops.

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Following the addition of well-received LED screens to its laptops, Apple's first desktop display — the Apple LED Cinema Display — boasts great styling (as you'd expect) and some innovative functions.

However, the Apple LED Cinema Display is wholly unsuited to the needs of creative professionals.

The 24in Apple LED Cinema Display isn't a replacement for the now-defunct 23in Cinema Display. It's aimed purely at owners of Apple's latest MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro laptops (including the just announced 17-inch model), as its only input is a Mini DisplayPort.

Owners of other laptops (including older Mac laptops) are left out, as are those working on desktops. We're not against the principle of a monitor purely for laptop owners — but limiting the Apple LED Cinema Display's use to three models seems pointless.

It's not even as if Apple is taking advantage of DisplayPort's capability to output 10-bit per colour video.

The odd thing about Apple's use of DisplayPort is that the Apple LED Cinema Display's output is very poor indeed by professional design standards. The glossy display might make Hollywood movies look great in dimmed lights, but for creative work — whether print, video, animation or interactive — it just provides annoying glare.

We measured the colour gamut using the same process as the monitors in our recent group test of pro-level monitors, and found the Apple LED Cinema Display to have a far smaller gamut than any other LED monitor we've looked at. It would be unimpressive on an inexpensive LCD display too. Colour depth and accuracy were also mediocre.

One nifty feature aimed at Mac laptops users is the inclusion in the Apple LED Cinema Display of a MagSafe connector (as Apple's calls its innovative magnetic power cable that's designed to stop you kicking your laptop onto the floor if you catch your foot on the lead), so you can leave your power cable in your bag.

This would be great for owners of older Mac laptops too, if the choice of connector didn't prevent you from using the Apple LED Cinema Display with them.

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