Apple Studio Displays

What good is a revolution in computer design if your computer is paired with a beige monster? Apple doesn't just sell computers -- it also sells elegantly designed monitors. With the introduction of the Power Mac G4 Cube and the refined Power Mac G4, Apple has also upgraded their 15-inch Flat-panel LCD and 17-inch Flat CRT displays.

The 15-inch Flat-panel LCD has a new, lower price of $999 -- down from $1,299 -- and styling similar to that of the 22-inch Cinema Display. The monitor itself, in terms of image quality and overall look, hasn't changed much. (See Reviews , August 1998). Color images are still beautiful, and grayscale images have no moirŽ patterns. The 15-inch Flat-panel LCD also maintains the native resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels. Image quality is always best when set to the native resolution, but in this case, the other settings actually cause images to appear somewhat distorted.

Unlike the original 17-inch Studio Display, the new model features a true flat CRT, which is easier on the eye. (See Reviews , October 1999). The new 17-inch CRT also has a striking new design that makes it look like something from the 1950's or something engineered by Disney's Imagineers. It now has a translucent back end, identical to that of a new iMac, which allows you to see the innards of the monitor.

Both new monitors incorporate the new Apple Display Connector (ADC), which reduces cord clutter. The ADC carries the video signal, USB, and power from your computer to the monitor. Surprisingly enough, the connector is only about an inch-and-a-half wide. The single cable also allows for easy setup; the plug simply snaps into the back of your new G4 or the bottom of your G4 Cube. Because of the ADC, however, the new monitors are compatible only with the latest model of G4s, and at present, there is no third-party solution.

If you plan on putting your CPU under your desk, the power button on the front of these Apple displays will come in handy since the new Apple keyboard does not have a power button. The lights on the displays also throb in tandem with the throbbing light on the machine when the computer is asleep. Though not an important feature, the effect is aesthetically pleasing. The 15-inch Flat-panel LCD has no physical buttons, but rather "hot spots" located on the front. By holding your finger over either the power/sleep icon or the monitor control icon, you can activate that feature. Just so that you don't accidentally trigger the wrong command, the hot spots light up when you pass your finger over them.

These displays are the perfect compliment to the four new G4 machines, especially the Power Mac G4 Cube. Their elegant design, unique features, and easy setup will please even the pickiest of users. The price drop on the 15-inch Flat-panel LCD also makes it a serious competitor in its category. The LCD uses the entire 15-inch surface while the CRT has an actual viewable area of only 16 inches. So, the difference in viewable area between the two displays is just slightly less than one inch.

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