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Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display

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Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display
Image Courtesy Apple

Oct 4 2010 - For years, Apple has offered gorgeous displays that appeal to graphic designers and media professionals. Now with the availability of Boot Camp, Apple products can even be used by Windows PC gamers. The latest Cinema Display by Apple boasts a large 27-inch LED screen, built-in iSight camera, and more. But the lack of a dual-link DVI port is a critical flaw that downgrades the usability of this monitor. Overall, if you are a niche Mac user already, the Cinema Display is more Apple goodness. But for many, the Apple Cinema Display lacks necessary features to accomodate a PC gamer's needs.


  • Resolution
  • Design
  • Built-in iSight Camera and Microphone


  • Only a Mini DisplayPort
  • Price
  • Lack of an Adjustable Height Stand
  • Boot Camp Install is Needed for Windows Users


  • 27-inch IPS Panel With 2560 x 1440 Native Resolution
  • 1000:1 Contrast Ratio (Typical)
  • 375 cd/m^2 Brightness
  • 12 ms Response Time
  • 178 Degree Horizontal And Vertical Viewing Angles
  • 49W 2.1 Speakers
  • Mini DisplayPort, Three USB 2.0 Ports, Built-in iSight with Microphone, MagSafe Power Adapter
  • Stand Provides Tilt Adjustment
  • Includes Integrated Mini DisplayPort, USB and MagSafe Cable

Review - Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display

Apple Cinema DisplayImage Courtesy Apple

If you find yourself drooling over Mac screens, Apple's latest 27-inch LED Cinema Display offers the same crisp imagery with an abundance of screen real estate that can be used with both Windows and Mac computers. Although this monitor is gorgeous, there are a few features that make this display appeal to a niche crowd over mainstream gamers.

First and foremost, the Apple 27-inch LED display features the same glossy glass screen and form factor as the iMac. The Apple LED Cinema Display boasts a new ambient light sensor that detects the lighting level in a room to automatically adjust the display's brightness for optimal viewing. But while the glare isn't overwhelming on the Cinema Display, it can still become a bit problematic in overly lit rooms. However, since most players don't game in bright offices, this inconvenience is relatively minor. If you're a Windows user installing drivers is a major problem and required for some features. And although the build quality on the Apple is a plus, the lack of an adjustable height stand is disappointing.

Another downside to the Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display is that it only has a Mini DisplayPort. If you are using the display with a newer Mac, it's not a problem. And if you have the budget, there is a company that offers a dual-link DVI to mini-DP adapter if your video card doesn't have a DisplayPort, but it runs approximately $150. For a majority of gamers, though, the lack of available ports on the 27-inch Cinema Display is a deal breaker. In terms of resolution, the LED Cinema Display boasts a max resolution of 2560 x 1440 with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Absolute black levels and a contrast ratio of 1000:1 are both adequate. For comparison, another 27-inch monitor, the Dell UltraSharp U2711, is nearly identical but offers extra ports. For more information on what these terms mean, check out the About.com PC Hardware / Reviews Monitor Buyer's Guide.

Unlike the Dell display, Apple does offer some additional features such as the iSight camera and microphone that makes online chatting quite easy. In terms of sound, the Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display also comes with a 49-watt speaker system although most gamers would opt for more dynamic desktop speakers or use a headset.

Overall, the Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display fills a niche market. It combines the features of the discontinued 24-inch panel with the screen real estate of the also discontinued 30-inch Cinema Display in a less bulky package. If you are a Mac notebook user, this display is a great option. It can even charge your current MacBook via the universal MagSafe adapter. But for most gamers, there are better alternatives out there, such as the Dell UltraSharp U2711.

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