When it comes to choosing a display for your Mac, it is the best of times and the worst of times. By that I mean that we have a huge range of options available, but this can sometimes make choosing difficult.
A display gives you instant feedback as to what is going on inside your system. Choosing a quality display is especially important for graphic designers, photographers, artists and cinematographers.
For most Mac users, however, the choice will be easy. After all, the iMac and MacBook lines come with excellent displays built-in. Unless you already have a display that you can use, however, if you are purchasing a Mac mini or a Mac Pro, you will need to buy a display to go with it.
If you are purchasing a “headless” Mac, your choices boil down to whether to buy Apple or third-party, new, used or refurbished. Fortunately, no matter how you choose to go about it, these days you can get a stunning display at an affordable cost.
The old-style monitors used a cathode ray tube (CRT) which were reasonably inexpensive and provided a wide viewing angle as compared to the alternatives. The problem is that they were bulky and heavy! They took a huge amount of space, and because of the way the cathode ray tube works, the wider the screen, the longer the tube had to be, which added size and weight.
The modern liquid crystal display, on the other hand, takes up far less space, so it can be placed almost anywhere. In addition, the viewing angle has greatly improved over the years. Today’s displays from Apple sport LED backlighting so they require no time to warm up before reaching maximum brightness. They are on instantly and are uniformly bright. They can even be tuned to match the ambient light in the room.
Apple displays have a universal MagSafe connector that charges your notebook, a Mini DisplayPort cable and USB 2.0 ports which turn the display into its own docking station. Apple Thunderbolt Displays feature built-in Thunderbolt technology — Apple’s fastest I/O (keep in mind that you need thunderbolt devices to take advantage of this speed).
Other features of Apple displays include a high-resolution screen, a built-in FaceTime HD camera and microphone, FireWire 800 and gigabit ethernet ports and a 49-watt speaker system.
If you are tight on funds, remember that there is a wide range of third-party displays that are available, many of which are compatible with the Mac. Just check the specifications before purchasing. You can save even more money, it you can buy used or refurbished. Apple even sells refurbished options in the Apple Store; they cost about $150 less the new.
A 27-inch display is a beautiful thing to behold, and it allows you to easily view two side-by-side 8 1/2 x 11 pages on your screen at full size with plenty of room left over for the various palettes in other components of the software’s interface.
Come to think of it, this is a pretty good time to buy a display for your Mac after all!