capsule review

Apple 20-inch Cinema Display

In Apple’s revamp of its display line, it did away with the wide, translucent cases, the proprietary ADC connector, and the under-$1,000, 17-inch model. The new line comes in three sizes—20-inch, 23-inch and a huge 30-inch model. Each model features a wide-screen display with a slim aluminum bezel and uses a standard DVI connector. We recently got a look at the new 20-inch model and we liked what we saw.

The first thing you’ll notice when looking at the Apple 20-inch display next to other 20-inch displays is its different shape. Apple’s widescreen design is both wider and shorter than most 20-inch LCDs. 20-inch monitors typically display 1,600 horizontal pixels and 1,200 vertical pixels. The widescreen design of the Apple monitor allows for an additional 80 horizontal pixels, but 120 fewer vertical pixels. This is a great format for watching widescreen movies or for keeping application palettes open next to your document.

The 20-inch cinema display was able to accurately produce clean, legible text in a variety of fonts and fonts sizes. The display boasts a 170-degree viewing angle, and we didn’t notice any color shifts when looking at the monitor from extreme angles. This basically means that when a co-worker sits next to you, they’ll see the same image that you see. The colors in our standard Macworld test image were accurate, but weren’t quite as saturated and stunning as the 2003 Editors’ Choice-winning NEC 2080UX.

Also, though Apple has switched from its proprietary, all-in-one ADC connector to a standard DVI connector, this display still helps lessen desktop cable clutter. One end of the new cable is permanently attached to the back of the display, and the other end splits off four ways to connect to an external power brick, the DVI connector on your Mac, one USB and one FireWire 400 port on the back of your computer. It’s not quite as elegant as the previous ADC-based design, but because this display uses standard connectors, PowerBook as well as PC users can use the display without buying an expensive adapter.

Jury Tests

Viewing Angle Excellent
Color Fidelity Excellent
Text Quality Very Good

Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable

Specifications

Size 20 inches
Native Resolution 1,680 x 1,024
Connections One cable connects to DVI, USB FireWire, and power.
Viewing Angle 170 degrees
Brightness 250 CD/m2
Contrast Ratio 400:1
Dimensions (wxhxd) 18.5 inches x 16.1 inches x 6.8 inches
Special Features One-cable design helps reduce clutter; widescreen.
Warranty 1 year

Macworld’s Buying Advice

The Apple 20-inch Cinema Display may cost a bit more than other 20-inch LCDs, but the new slim aluminum case, great image quality and standard digital connectors will have more folks lining up to buy this uniquely designed display.

Apple 20-inch Cinema Display
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