Apple – 20-inch Cinema review

stunningly minimalist TFT monitor
Photo of Apple – 20-inch Cinema

The specification of the Apple 20-inch Cinema TFT display gives you all the facts, but that’s a bit like saying that a bottle of Mouton-Rothschild consists of fermented grape juice; it’s accurate but not very helpful.

The resolution of 1,680 x 1,050 pixels gives a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:10 and the only input is a DVI connector, with no option of using analogue VGA. The input cable is fixed, which isn’t ideal as there is always the possibility that you may damage the cable and in this case you’d have to ship the Cinema back to Apple for repair.

Apple uses the external power adapter as a hub for USB 2.0 and Firewire 400, so you plug the cables into the appropriate ports on your PC or Mac to enable two USB and two Firewire ports on the rear of the display.

As for the rest of the specification, the brightness rating of 250cd/m2 is fairly low and the contrast ratio is 400:1 but the real surprise is the response time of 14ms which looks very slow compared to the current crop of 8ms and 4ms TFTs. However, 14ms equates to over 70Hz and we didn’t suffer any smearing.

In fact the picture looked absolutely superb, which is just as well as a PC user has very few options to adjust the image. You can turn the screen on and adjust brightness up and down and that’s the extent of the controls, which don’t even include an On Screen Display.

This aspect of the minimalist design is welcome and refreshing but we were less impressed by the lack of adjustment that is offered by the stand. You can tilt the display but you can’t adjust the height, and that’s a distinct deficiency in a screen at this price.

Cosmetically the Cinema is an absolute gem. The slender bezel is smooth and unbroken by lights and buttons, apart from a polished Apple logo in the centre at the bottom and a pinprick of a blue power light in one corner that shines when you press the Power button but remains off at other times. While we would like the stand to have more functions, we can’t criticise its looks which are stylish, understated, smart and, yes, minimalist.

Company: Apple

Contact: 0800 039 1010

Apple's Cinema display is a fabulous widescreen TFT that looks great and performs superbly. We would dearly love Apple to forget to collect its property but we know that won't happen, so we have no doubt that it is a desirable piece of kit. The big question is whether we would buy one with our own money and the answer is, "No, not at that price."