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Apple LED 24in Cinema Display User Feedback/Notes
Posted: Feb. 10th, 2009
Reports last Updated: April 23rd, 2009

This page is in response to some reader questions not answered at Apple's product page and specs and typically not seen in early reviews on the web. I'm looking for feedback from users of the (new last fall) 24in LED Cinema Display. (How satisfied with the display/image quality, features, etc and also a question on the length of the attached cables, which isn't noted on apple's pages that I can find.)

24in LED Cinema Owner Feedback/Notes: (later reports first)
If you're using an Apple LED 24in Cinema displays, let me know your opinions/observations, etc. (For those also running Windows under VM, please include info on version you're using - Fusion v2, Parallels v4, etc. and Windows version (XP or Vista))

(April 22nd, 2009 - follow-up to his earlier report below on color shifts)
"Final note on this story (March report below) - I got the display replaced under AppleCare. The new one is perfect.

Hugh's earlier report from last month follows:

(Mar. 16th, 2009 - updated w/iSight/Mic comments)
"I just got a new Mac Pro (2 x 2.26GHz, Radeon 4870) and matching 24" LED Cinema Display, so I thought I would provide some feedback for the community...

After a couple of days of use, I started getting the dreaded 'color shift' this morning. I've had the monitor on full brightness, as I'm using it in a fairly bright room, and I read that some people had avoided the problem by reducing their brightness. I tried, down to 50% brightness, and was still getting the shifts. Usually it shifts for about 3 to 5 seconds, then back to 'normal'. (It briefly becomes slightly warmer in color, then switches back to the normal setting. It's plain to see in white areas, as they become slightly yellowish for a few seconds. It's subtle, but very noticeable, and happens at any time, even if you are currently typing or moving the mouse. It would drive you insane if you were working in a color-sensitive application, such as photoshop.)

I found that by clicking on Displays in System Preferences, it immediately shifts back, which makes me wonder if there's a problem with the ICC profile handling in 10.5. I have an occasional issue with my MacBook Pro, where it forgets the calibrated profile I set up for it, and just opening Displays in System Preferences always makes it switch to the correct profile. It's an issue that has affected me long before the new LED-backlit display was released.

I reset the PRAM and SMC, and checked the mini displayport connection on the Radeon card, and so far I have had exactly 1 shift in about 7 hours of continuous use, with the brightness set to full. Before that it was every 30-40 seconds. I don't know whether to be glad it seems fixed for now, or worried that I won't be able to reproduce the problem and get the display replaced, only to have it fail again later. If it comes back I will make a video showing the problem. Fingers crossed that it is a software issue....

Apart from that, I really like the new display. I wanted a new 30", but decided I couldn't wait any longer :)
The cable is a little short. With the Mac Pro on the floor beside my desk, I have to put the display a bit closer to the end of the desk that I would prefer. If only Apple had made it possible to replace the data cables, rather than hardwiring them to the display! That, together with the color shift, are my only complaints.

(I asked if he'd tried the builtin iSight and Mic.-Mike)
Works fine. I have used it with iChat, Skype, and Photo Booth. Those functions are driven over the USB connection and are independent of the graphics card. Displayport can potentially carry digital audio like HDMI, but the Apple display sends audio over USB too.

The Mac Pro is a joy - I haven't had this much satisfaction from a Mac since the IIfx came out (woot! 40MHz!!).
I tried Geekbench, and I got an overall score of 11908 (detailed scores: http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/118496).
Given that my oldest Mac still in daily use is a PowerBook G4 800MHz with a Geekbench score of 462, I am pretty happy that I will get good use out of the new Mac Pro :)
Regards, Hugh
PS: I mailed you about a year ago about a weird problem I was having with display corruption on my MacBook Pro. I just remembered that I never mailed you about how the problem was fixed. Turned out to be a faulty power brick, which accounts for the machine working ok when booted on battery power. Somehow the fluctuating voltage from the power brick was screwing up the graphics subsystem on the laptop..."

(Feb. 12th, 2009)
"I really like my 24" LED Cinema Display. I have had no problems whatsoever. I would not hesitate to buy it again or to recommend it to my closest friend.
After reading what the other responders have said, I still can NOT find fault with mine. I am using it with a new (Unibody) 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with 4GB SDRAM. I simply plugged the Cinema into my MBP, not following any particular guidelines, shut the lid and started computing.

When it goes to sleep it awakes almost immediately with the first touch of the keyboard. BTW, I use a Kinesis Freestyle keyboard which is plugged into the Cinema and a Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 v.2 with the USB device plugged into the Cinema as well.

One of the pluses of having the built-in power supply in the Cinema is that I can leave the MBP's power supply and power cord in its carrying case ... I only need it on trips away from home.

The Cinema, after calibration, is very bright with excellent contrast and color. And the built-in speakers - for built-ins - are good. They will not equal good stand-alone speakers, but they are better than any built-ins I've heard.

I have not tried the built-in camera (iSight) yet ... that's for another day.
I do not know what Apple could have done better on this first time LED Cinema Display. As I see it, they got it right!
-Walton H."

(Feb. 11th, 2009)
"I've had my LED Cinema Display since Christmas (using it with a Unibody MacBook Pro 2.8ghz, 4gb RAM and a late '08 SSD MacBook Air.)

  • The display is gorgeous.
  • The built-in MacBook power supply is sheer genius.
  • The speakers sound pretty good for built-in speakers. (others said they were tinny)
  • The system detects whether the laptop display is open or closed and comes up accordingly - even repositioning icons to fit the different screen resolutions and remembering desktop pictures assigned to each display.

  • The Connector "fanout" has a few drawbacks: The power connector is a right-angle connector like the one on the MacBook Air. While this makes using it with the MacBook Air more convenient, when you plug the connector into a MacBook Pro, the "natural" configuration of the power connector covers the gigabit ethernet port. With it plugged in the other way, it has a tendency to get knocked off if you move the computer. In addition, on a MacBook Air, you need to run the cables to both sides of the computer, but they are all the same length - leaving you no graceful way to run the cables.

  • In a dual-display configuration there is no easy way to control the brightness of the external display.

  • There is no way to turn the monitor off if you are running background tasks (like a Time Machine backup) Even if you turn the backlight brightness all the way down, it's still faintly lit.

  • There is no way to use ONLY the MacBook screen if you have the monitor connected. You have to remove the display connector or the monitor will come on.

Those few things aside, I would highly recommend the LED Cinema Display to anyone looking for a second monitor for their Unibody MacBook.

(he later wrote)
I forgot to mention that I have run XP Pro under Parallels 4 on the monitor with no problems whatsoever. World of Warcraft on the LED Cinema Display does not suffer from the dreaded MacBook Pro display crash/sound loop problem, either.
-Lou F."

(Feb. 11th, 2009)
"I use a new 24" LED Cinema display at home, and have a slightly older 23" at work. Both work great connected to my MBP, and the unified connector cable on the new Cinema display is a real space saver. Just a single power connection is the only thing hanging off my desk.

I usually run the 24" Cinema with my laptop open on a stand, and it works just fine this way. You can see very obviously the difference in quality of the 24" Cinema and the MBP built in LCD screens-the Cinema is _much_ higher quality.

There are a couple of issues, though:

1) The 24" Cinema doesn't seem to charge an iPhone when connected via USB if the laptop isn't connected, since the monitor goes off.

2) There seems to be a color-shifting problem on some 24" Cinemas when running at full brightness. There's a lot of discussions on Apple's Support board, and they seem to indicate that newer models of the display don't have the issue, but I haven't had a chance to get mine exchanged via AppleCare yet.

Here's the Apple Forum links:

  • Screen Flickering Horizontal Shift
  • New Cinema Display Colour problems

    I'll be sure to update you on the progress of AppleCare when I have a chance to get the monitor serviced.
    Incidentally, I wound up with a new LED Cinema display and new 2.8Ghz MBP because I had to have my top case replaced 4X on my 1 year old previous generation MBP. Apple finally just offered me a new machine. I did lose some work days, but at least I've got a new laptop, and I love the new hardware (I think the unibody machines are better in almost every respect than the previous MBPs).
    -Dana S."

  • (Feb 10th, 2009)
    " Both my wife and I are running Apple notebook set-ups with the new 24 inch LED displays, me with a new MacBook Pro and my wife with a new MacBook (both 2.4 GHz). The monitor is very bright and clear. Color reproduction seems good if a bit saturated. Fonts are clear and crisp at all point sizes. I agree with the poster who said the speakers are tinny but we both are running other sound systems, me a Logitech and she a Bose, using the notebooks' external audio connections. Neither of us have any real problems with reflections due to windows being behind the units and lights overhead being out of the way. I had considered both factors before buying these units. We have not used the iSights yet, so I can't comment on them.

    We both run Windows XP SP3 under Fusion 2.0 and we have no problems in any configuration (windowed, full screen, or Unity). We also both also use the notebooks for video playback using iTunes and the picture is gorgeous, especially running "HD" TV shows like Battlestar Galactica.

    We both run our systems with lids closed and our only gripe with the units is how the notebooks react when allowed to go to sleep. It differs depending on whether the notebooks are powered up with power from the display connected or not. I've found the MacBook Pro to be better behaved in this configuration than the MacBook. I've also found that the best way to start the notebooks-lid closed-is to connect everything up before power-up, hit the power button, close the lid, slide the notebook into place, and let it boot. That's opposed to the Apple Knowledge base article that says to power the notebook up first, let it boot to the first screen, and then close the lid. It seems like there are a lot more "hangs" when you do it that way and the machine tries to go to sleep.

    The cable length from the rear of the monitor to the ends of the cable plug-in's is roughly 42 inches. From the cable split point (the point where the three cables emerge from the one large one) is about 11.5 inches. I didn't measure the length of the cable from the rear to the floor (and the power hook -up).

    Let me know if you have any questions I might be able to answer.
    -Andy F."

    (Feb 10th, 2009)
    "I received my new (unibody) Mac Book Pro 15.4" and 24" LED display last week. Impressed, is the single word to describe the package. I initially was concerned about reflection from the glass display before I turned it on. Once on I have never noticed any reflection. The picture is clear & sharp, much better than my old 20" Cinema.

    One concern I have is the length of the mini power & communication cables from the LED Cinema. I occasionally do video presentations at meetings, etc. and sometimes the Mac must be located more than two or three feet away from the monitor.
    (I asked about length of the LED cinema cables)
    3ft for the LED Cinema to the Mac triple line and 6ft or so for the power cord to Cinema.

    Also I just sold my 20" Cinema because of connection concerns of the old to the new mini set up. I am sure Apple or a third party will offer an extension and improved cables for various hook up requirements.
    For now, bottom line - 5 Apples.
    -Norm L."

    (Feb 10th, 2009)
    "It's a decent first try at a monitor with built-in camera & speakers though Apple has much room to improve. The speaker's audio quality is rather tinny and low volume. The reflective display is very distracting, too. I also seem to have a problem running VMWare Fusion while the monitor is connected. My Windows XPp VM keeps crashing with the monitor connected (it doesn't seem to matter whether the VM is displayed on the 24" monitor or the mbp display. The Windows XPp VM is rock solid when I don't have the 24" monitor connected, though.
    -Jeff K."

    A later mail from another owner above noted no problems with Fusion 2/Windows XP in any display configuration.

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