Anything as good as an Apple Cinema Display?
May 5, 2009 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Which monitor would you recommend in place of the Apple Cinema Displays which are too expensive??

I just got a 15" Mac Book Pro and love it...but I'm feeling like I need a +20" monitor for the work I do and to watch movies. That 24" Apple Cinema Display look awesome, but I can't afford $899.
posted by stevyb to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: By the way, I don't do graphics stuff or anything...mostly work with multiple text documents
posted by stevyb at 9:41 AM on May 5, 2009

I bought two Acer widescreen monitors for less than the price of one Apple display (under $300 each I think). I like them a lot; my only qualm is that the height/tilt isn't adjustable at all.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:44 AM on May 5, 2009

I just ordered one of these. I hear the quality is excellent and it's currently being offered at $219+tax with free shipping.

Btw, I do a lot of photo-editing and graphics stuff, as a point of reference.
posted by arishaun at 9:48 AM on May 5, 2009

Here is a 24 inch Dell for $249.
posted by mattbucher at 9:48 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Not sure if it's still true, but for the past few years the Dell 3007WFP used the exact same LG LCD panels as the Apple Cinema Displays.
posted by Benjy at 9:50 AM on May 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you don't do graphics then just get pretty much any large monitor you can - shop by price. The ACDs use S-IPS panels (just like the Dell WFPs) that are much more accurate, with a larger viewing angle than TN screens (all the cheap ones).
posted by jedrek at 9:52 AM on May 5, 2009

I picked up a Samsung T240 on sale for $299 (canuckian) and I couldn't be happier with it. I use it mostly for gaming.
posted by utsutsu at 10:04 AM on May 5, 2009

Anandtech has a constantly-updated monitor thread. Link

But since you're just working with text docs, following their guidelines isn't too necessary. Basically you want a cheap panel from a decent manufacturer that preferably has swivel/tilt/rotate.

On the lower end I'd recommend something from Acer. You can pick up a 22" for as little as $180.

A little more expensive are Samsungs and Dells, but often they use better panels, so that may be worth it to you, particularly for color reproduction, viewing angles. These would start more like $240 and up.
posted by JauntyFedora at 10:05 AM on May 5, 2009

I have a Samsung Syncmaster 2433BW that I have no complaints with. $250-300 at Newegg. Very good reviews there too.
posted by smackfu at 10:05 AM on May 5, 2009

FWIW, the previously linked Dell 2209WA is an E-IPS panel, quality is good.

Also, the new LED ACDs are LG H-IPS panels. The HP L2475W would be a better match, however they arent cheap ($600+)
posted by wongcorgi at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2009

I've got a Dell 2405 (a few years old at this point), and I just bought my folks a 23-inch Acer. Dell makes good LCDs, and regularly has 'em on big sale (follow sites like bensbargains and slickdeals). The Acers are much beloved on Newegg, and seem to offer a very good price/value proposition.
posted by box at 10:13 AM on May 5, 2009

Another vote for a Samsung SyncMaster T240.
posted by peacheater at 10:26 AM on May 5, 2009

I own one of the original Apple Cinema Displays and later replaced it with a slightly larger Dell which also has additional USB ports and other card slot ports. Super happy with it, and the prices are now much better than what I paid for mine several years ago.

I just cover up the Dell logo with a sticker to keep my Mac cred!!
posted by kuppajava at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2009

Grab the latest issue of Consumer Reports. They have monitor recommendations in it. I remember the Apple Cinema screen got their top reviews, but they rated several others that were almost as good for less than half the price.
posted by geeky at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2009

I love my Samsung Syncmaster 2493HM. It's a 24" with a beautiful display for a reasonable price. I paid 300$ CDN, and they're even less now I believe at your big box stores. I'm sure you could find it cheaper online as well.
posted by WilliamWallace at 11:44 AM on May 5, 2009

Dell 2208 WFP sitting on my desk works well with my MacBook Pro. Some of the built-in settings (white balance, etc.) can be optimized for Mac use - simple as selecting the pre-set profile in the monitor menu.

Bonus is that it includes a USB port and optional speakers. I now have my mouse, and several other USB things plugged in through the monitor's USB hub, so I only have to connect two things to my MPB to get it plugged in at my desk.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:49 AM on May 5, 2009

I went through the same thing — wanted an Apple, couldn't stomach the price — so I got a Dell instead. The one I have is a few years old now, so you'd want to read the reviews and figure out what panel technology is being used in the current ones, and which ones get good reviews for sharpness/gamut/etc. They vary year to year. (I actually ended up buying the previous-year's model from Amazon Used because it got much better reviews than the one Dell was currently selling.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:50 PM on May 5, 2009

I just bought a 24" Samsung 2433BW Display. It's a TN+ panel, which means that you gotta look at it pretty much straight on, rather then from above or below (though it looks great from the side), but it's reasonably priced, and looks lovely. It's hooked up to a 13" MacBook.
posted by SansPoint at 1:40 PM on May 5, 2009

Mac user/wanted a Cinema Display/got a Dell 2408 WFP instead and extremely happy with it. As others have pointed out, there are a ton of different ports on the monitor for everything from USB to audio out to media cards--I use this last feature all the time to just plug the card in my digital camera in directly rather than having to have another cable around. And the Dell monitor swivels to portrait mode which, in theory, would be very useful. For something. Maybe.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 2:05 PM on May 5, 2009

Vertically-scrolling shooters, that's what that's useful for.

I guess it'd be good for (print) page designers and stuff, too.
posted by box at 3:07 PM on May 5, 2009

I have a 24" Dell monitor which I'm extremely pleased with. Be sure to obtain 1080p Planet Earth episodes to watch on it!
posted by losvedir at 5:04 PM on May 5, 2009

In my opinion, there currently is nothing "as good" as the current 24" LED Apple Cinema Display. There certainly are less expensive monitors available and any of the ones recommended above should be fine for your needs, but... unless you're really desperate to buy a new monitor now, I'd advise you to wait a bit. Apple pulled the 20" ACD from their store a few months ago and rumors have been swirling that a refresh is on the horizon.

I'm not brand loyal in the least when it comes to hardware; I've owned NECs, Mitsubishis, Samsungs, Apples, and Dell monitors and they've all had their strong points. However, sometimes I think it's best to save a little longer and get the best you can afford: in this case, the LED Cinema Display. Doesn't matter whether you go for the 24" or the rumored 20" or 22", but get an Apple. Even if you're not a graphics guru, the monitor is arguably the most important piece of hardware on your system because you're staring at it all day long. Your eyes will feel the difference at the end of the day between staring at a TFT, PVA, or an H-IPs screen.

You have an amazingly well-engineered notebook that will likely last you many years. If that were me, I'd want the best display I could afford and to not have to buy anything else for a good long time. In my opinion, the LED technology, built-in iSight camera, and the fact that the monitor functions as a charging station and hooks up perfectly to your current Macbook make it worth the extra money.

JauntyFedora posted one of the most informative links around from anandtech which will bring you up to speed on the differences between the various types of displays. Read through the primer and ask yourself what features you absolutely must have and which you can do without; then you'll be in a better position to decide which monitor will be best for your needs.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 7:36 PM on May 5, 2009

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