Remind me again why anyone would pay $600+ for an Apple Cinema Display…

I once again question the disparity of Apple’s monitor/display market compared with that of other LCD manufacturers. Aren’t consumers and businesses concerned that Apple is ripping them off when it comes to buying a good quality display?

Take for instance Apple’s 20-inch “Cinema Display” (which is quite misleading since there’s nothing “cinema” about it). It’s specs are pretty much par for the course (except for the 16ms response time which is actually below normal standards). 700:1 contrast ratio, 1680×1050 native resolution, etc, etc. In fact, the only feature that makes it special in any way is the touch sensitive controls on the side. Monitors containing USB and Firewire ports are available from other manufacturers as well. The kicker? It’s $599 + tax.

On the other hand, take a look at the new ViewSonic VA2626W 26-inch LCD display with HDMI, DVI, and VGA inputs plus a pair of 2.5 watt stereo speakers, a 800:1 typical contrast ratio (meaning you could probably get better in optimal conditions), and the winning feature: full 1080p HD support. It’s native resolution is 1900×1200, which is actually above the standard HD specs (therefore you get a little more letterboxing than you would on a standard HDTV) and a very low 5ms response time. All this for a price of $529 (MSRP is $650, but expect retail price to be $100 lower). You could buy two of these and be just $150 over the price of Apple’s 23-inch display. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

So do yourself a favor and get a monitor that will save you money, perform better, and is still stylish enough to pair with that silver Mac you’ve got sitting on the floor.

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