The first thing you notice about Apple’s latest 17-inch monitor is the look: it sports the same curvy, translucent industrial design seen in the new G3 Power Macs. But don’t let the pretty facade fool you. The monitor offers top-notch display quality at a decent, though not rock-bottom, price.
The 17-inch Apple Studio Display is based on Mitsubishi’s Diamondtron aperture-grille CRT, which features a 0.25mm dot pitch. Aperture-grille tubes typically offer sharper image quality than shadow-mask CRTs, and this model is no exception. Screen quality is excellent, with crisp text and great colour rendition.
With a 16-inch viewable area, the monitor supports resolutions of up to 1,600-x-1,200 pixels (although it’s best suited for 1,024-x-768-pixel display). It offers a relatively modest 60Hz refresh rate at the maximum resolution, but you can boost this to 85Hz at the default resolution to avoid flicker. Push-button controls let you set brightness and contrast; they also allow you to access the on-screen menu system to set colour temperature, horizontal and vertical positioning, and other options.
The monitor – which at first glance resembles a blueberry iMac – is clearly designed as a companion to the new G3 systems. In addition to sharing their colour scheme, it features a broad, three-legged tilt-and-swivel stand that can’t sit comfortably on Apple’s older desktop Macs.
Apple says that it has certified the monitor to work only with its Power Mac G3 systems, both the original models and the new white-&-blue designs. However, because the 17-inch Studio Display is a multisynchronous monitor with a VGA connection, you should be able to use it with any Power Mac model as long as you have a Mac-to-VGA adaptor. For example, Macworld Lab was able to use the monitor with a Power Mac 9500 equipped with iXMicro’s Ultimate Rez graphics card.
This 17-inch CRT is one of three new monitors Apple is selling under the Apple Studio Display brand, the others being a 15-inch LCD and a 21-inch CRT. The 15-inch Apple Studio Display features a white-&-blue colour scheme and a £699 price tag, but is otherwise identical to the £899 LCD monitor Apple introduced last year (HHHHH/9.2; ‘See Flat’, October 1998). Macworld covered the 21-inch CRT, which sports a similar industrial design, in the March 1999 issue. (It was rated HHHHH/9.0).
This Apple Studio Display is certainly not the cheapest 17-inch monitor you can buy, but it offers crisp text and images, excellent colour rendition, and easy-to-use hardware controls without breaking the bank. Owners of older Mac systems may run into technical support problems because of Apple’s official specs, but if you use a Power Mac G3, give it a good look.