PC Magazine: 3 out of 5 stars for Apple’s 30-inch Cinema HD Display

“Attractive from a distance, the Apple Cinema HD 30-inch display turns out to have feet of clay on closer inspection. It is indeed an expansive and impressive LCD monitor, but its limitations cause it to fall short of the superlative claims made by Apple. It may well be good enough for your needs, but make sure you buy it with your eyes open,” PC Magazine writes in their review of Apple’ flagship monitor.

PC Mag lists as Pros: “High resolution with small pixels for a fine image. Dual-channel digital interface.” And lists as Cons: “Limited viewing angle. Moderate smearing on moving images. Requires special graphics adapter (priced at $500 to $600).”

Full review here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
PC Magazine reviews Apple iMac G5: ‘5 out of 5 stars, unparalleled execution should attract would-be PC buyers – September 21, 2004
PC Magazine reviews Apple Power Mac G5 Dual 2.5GHz: 4 out of 5 stars – September 23, 2004


  1. A comparison to other such products would be useful (IBM has such a dual-DVI display) in term of performance and price.

    What I don’t understand is why they couldn’t have hooked up their PC to this. It IS a standard’s based display for heaven’s sake.

    Anyway, the comments are valid. The display is extremely huge to view in its entirety close up. However, one likely has FCP controls on one side, and the image on the other – does smearing come into play when only a portion of the display is used (vs running a DVD window through the whole display)?

  2. A couple of quotes from Mr. Poor:

    �This is a remarkable and attention-grabbing display, based solely on its size and fine resolution. Its limitations won’t affect users buying it for the “wow” factor, but the 30-inch Cinema HD display is not well suited for the professional graphics market for which it is targeted.�

    �Based on our observations, the target audience will be disappointed with the panel’s performance. We noticed significant hue changes�especially with dark shades�with horizontal viewing angles as small as 45 degrees off center in the horizontal plane.�

    I have read several comments/complaints about color (hue) problems with the 23� Cinema Displays. Anybody think there might be production problems with the LCD manufacturer?? Who is making the LCD panels for Apple now? LG or Samsung in Korea? Somebody else in China or Japan? Just curious.

    If Apple expects people to spend around 3 grand on a monitor, people should be able to expect it to be *perfect.* If there are production/manufacturing problems, Apple had better get them solved quickly, otherwise they’ll end up having to spend a butt-load of money to avoid a class-action lawsuit like they did with the iBooks (Logic Board Replacement Program).

    Apple, if there is a problem with the new monitors, get it fixed NOW before it gets any worse.

  3. For a display of this size and price, it should have:

    1) More connectivity options such as 2 DVI inputs, S-Video, and Component video

    2) A longer standard warranty

    3) AppleCare extended warranty should be available without having to buy a computer at the same time

  4. I’m quite happy with my 30″ display. Yes, expensive, but unbeievable sharp and fast and no smearing at all on moving images.

    However, its design is dumb, ponderous and very ugly.

  5. Regarding Johan’s comment on the his 30 inch monitor being dumb, ponderous, and very ugly.

    Wow! Eye of the beholder… I haven’t seen the 30in in real life yet, but I’ve seen the 20 and 23 inch… As far as monitors go, Apple’s design, to me, is by far the most clean, simple, and elegant… way in front of the competition. I’m not saying that it couldn’t be better, but it’s the best design that exists so far (compared to what I’ve seen).

    But, I dunno, maybe you’re a fan of bulky bases, ugly colors, and buttons, cables, and jacks all over the place.. I’ll take elegant, and functional any day, which is why I’m such a big Apple fan.

  6. I looked for comparisons. Well, there really isn’t one. We have a product review in a category where there is currently only one product. I can’t really complain about the review other than it makes no attempt to explain the 30″ display is practically in a category itself. The only thing remotely similar is a even higher resolution LCD display made by IBM and ViewSonic that’s 22″ not 30″. If only I had the cash for that….


  7. I read the article and feel that the review is inadequate. Here is my reasoning as a real expert in imaging:
    1) He failed to specify what card he was using and with what optimizations on the adapter. He lists two and they could very easily be the cause of his performance issues.
    2) He did not specify if the monitor was calibrated. Even though the display is an LCD panel, it still has to be calibrated professionally… if you are going to use it in a professional setting. These calibration profiles are then loaded on the graphics adapter.
    3) He clearly states that he is not using his standard evaluation software because it doesn’t run on a Mac. And his explanation of what he used is extremely vague.
    4) The evaluation as a whole seems rather elementary. I cannot see how he can justify his conclusions to a professional audience.

    On a personal note, I have seen the display at the Apple stores. Yes, you do have to stand back to have the entire display in view, but the purpose is not to have everything in view. The large display is to avoid having 2 monitors side by side to create the layout. If you split the price of the display in half, and toss in the price for a graphics card that handles dual displays, you can reach the conclusion that the price for the 30″ Cinema display is justifiable.

  8. I’m glad MDN put those other references showing that they’re not in any way anti-Apple. I’m more tempted to take this at face value.

    Accurate colour is known to be a problem for flat panels. Pros concerned with very colour are going to be using CRT. But for something like FCP, colour doesn’t matter because they’d be using a professional video monitor for that part of the job. For photographers and graphic artists, it’s probably more of a problem.

  9. I have a 30″ Display and a 6800 GT, I can say is AWESOME!!! especially with Marine Aquarium Screensaver running as my desktop using Backlight2 (from versiontracker.com)

    I get two reactions from PC people when they see it.

    Intense jealously and anger or

    Awe and many compliments.

    Sure it’s not cheap, it’s a new product, as demand rises price will fall.

    There is one drag, you need to install Cursor Zoom System Preference pane to make the pointer bigger as it gets lost on such a big display.

    Gaming performance is about equal to a 23″ and a ATI 9800 Pro SE, eventually faster video cards will come and games etc will be even faster.

    Yes you can use a 6800 GT or Ultra with any DVI monitor.

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