Review: 27″ LED Cinema Display


I used to be a notebook guy.

In college, I carried a Titanium PowerBook with everywhere I went. I upgraded to a MacBook Pro, which I used for years.

Now, I’m a desktop guy. We have a 24“ iMac at home, and at work, I use my 15” MacBook Pro in clamshell mode almost all the time. I had an older 23" Cinema Display at work, with an Apple Extended II keyboard and Magic Mouse[1. The same input rig I have at home on the iMac.] hooked up as well.

Now, I am using a new 27" LED Cinema Display. And holy crap, it is awesome.

The Display

While I opted for the matte display on my Mid–2009 MacBook Pro, I don’t mind the glossy finish on this display. Like at home, I have no light sources behind me, so I am not contending with any reflections. That said, if I were, the backlight on this thing is bright enough to overcome just about anything, including my retinas.

The LED Cinema Display clocks in at 2560×1440, which is stunning. I have so much room, it is a little mind-boggling. The pixels are crisp and clear, and this particular display doesn’t seem to have any dead pixels. Colors are vibrant, with dark blacks and bright highlights. While I know once I start churning out a lot of print materials again after the New Year, I’ll have issues with colors, for all other purposes, this display is simply gorgeous.

I also like the black edge-to-edge glass. While the bezel is pretty thick, it is nice to have a clear line defining the edges of the display, keeping me from looking past my display in the corners.

The Cables

Using an old Cinema Display meant having some really unfortunate cable clutter, not to mention a big power brick hiding somewhere on the desk.

The new display uses a single power cable, like the iMacs. No power brick in sight.

Using a newer MacBook Pro meant I was using not only a FireWire adaptor, but a video adaptor as well with my old display. Using Mini DisplayPort all the way around is so much cleaner.

My absolute favorite part about the new cabling? An integrated MagSafe connector. My power adaptor is living in my bag from now on.

I do miss having FireWire ports on the back of the display, but the addition of a third USB port is nice.

The Extras

Having a built-in iSight camera is very nice, since clamshell mode means no access to the camera.

The built-in speakers are loud and have much more low-end power than I was expecting. They smoke the speakers in my iMac. The mic built into the top of the display seems a tad better than what is in my MacBook Pro, but on par with my iMac’s.


Honestly, I don’t have much bad to say about this thing. I do wish it had a power button, like the older models did. When I leave my MacBook Pro on my desk, I like to cut the power to the display. Instead, this model follows the settings set in System Preferences. I know I can change set my display to sleep via Energy Saver settings, but I still would like a button.

While I miss FireWire connectivity and could live with a little less glare and more realistic colors, I like the 27" LED Cinema Display. I really do.