Blog Post

Sorry Apple Cinema Display, Your New Cousin Is a Cheaper Date

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

cinemaview_24I don’t think I’m alone in visiting the Apple (s aapl) Cinema Display official product page every now and again and saving carts for later filled with LED goodness, even though I never intend to cash out because I can’t afford to. Apple’s displays are sexy, functional, and of tremendous build quality, but that price tag is a little beyond my monitor budget, so I’ll usually end up opting for a Dell (s dell) that’ll give me the same real estate for far less dough. Plus, I’ll often look for something smaller than 24 inches, since I rarely do graphics-intensive work that requires a larger screen.

Recently, I’ve been looking for a second monitor for my Mac mini since the Mini DisplayPort hook-up is just sitting there empty, and I’m often inclined to play video games and watch TV at the same time, despite the question of whether I can actually enjoy either activity while doing so. New company CinemaView looks to have come along at just the right time. They recently announced a new line of LCD displays designed just for Macs, at a price that won’t break the bank, and with a Mini DisplayPort connector cable out of the box.

That’s not all. It’s actually a combined 1.2-meter Mini DisplayPort/USB/3.5mm mini-stereo composite cable, so you can make use of the three powered USB ports on the rear of the display, and the built-in speakers. And with aluminum construction and Apple styling, you’re basically getting the closest thing to an Apple Cinema Display you can find without actually buying one.

According to the company, the displays were created because they were tired of using “plastic junk” from companies like Dell and Samsung but wanted a lower cost option to Apple. Modesty clearly isn’t the company’s strong suit, as you can tell from this quote from the site’s FAQ:

Q. Are these just copies of Apple’s displays?

A. No. Frankly, we think our design looks better than Apple’s. We think our component and materials selections are superior. And, we think our tilt mechanism (patent pending) and Aluminum base design are sexier than Apple’s.

Without seeing the thing in person, I can’t make any assertions regarding these displays and how they compare to Apple’s on the sexiness scale, but they do look better (and more functional) than the Samsung Touch-of-Color I recently picked up as a gift for my girlfriend, which is a fairly good-looking monitor. Three models are available: a 19-inch for $299, a 21-inch for $399, and a $24-inch for $499. The ship date is currently listed as some time before Sept. 1, but you can reserve one now at their web site, with no obligation to buy.

12 Responses to “Sorry Apple Cinema Display, Your New Cousin Is a Cheaper Date”

  1. Sea of plenty

    I’m all for alternatives. It just so happens I dont understand companies which do not try to improve anything (except price perhaps). By the way my previous post the word thief was supposed to spell “thier”, but when I read it, the latter seemed more correct.

  2. I love the idea even if i don’t entirely trust it. You think the cinema displays are expensive in the states, try 1500 bucks for one in Australia. I know that there is an exchange rate difference but even so, it is still a hell of a mark-up.

  3. Unless Apple has changed their suppliers, their Cinema Displays use IPS panels. From reading the specs. on the CinemaView models, it does not appear that these monitors are using IPS panels. If you are doing color-critical work, IPS panels are highly sought after, so I do not believe this is an apples to apples comparison, if you’ll pardon the pun. You can say what you want about style and design, but for my needs, its all about the panel. And for the record, I use an NEC monitor with and IPS panel.


  4. Frankly, the marketing stuff is ridiculous to me:

    – Why say they’re not a copy of Apple’s displays when it’s OBVIOUS they are?
    – Why call your competitors “crap” right there in your FAQ?
    – Why claim a “rebellious, against-the-grain move toward wider, black bezels”? Apple did the black bezel thing, do you think making it a bit wider is somehow innovative?
    – Whenever a company claims they can’t sell in retail stores for whatever reason, it’s frequently just hiding the fact that they couldn’t get in.
    – Why bang the high-quality drum when you’re not using an in-plane switching (IPS) monitor in the 24″ model like Apple does?

    In fact, why right a FAQ that treats your potential customer like an idiot? I guess that’s what bothers me most. Doesn’t mean it might not be a decent product, but we won’t know that for six months so all we have now is their marketing fluff, and it’s kind of silly.

  5. The price isn’t too bad but I wonder about the screen quality. The Dell’s may be plastic but some of them are pretty decent quality wise and the ones with multiple inputs are nice.

  6. Richard Lomas


    Umm, are you serious?

    Big Box retailers are notorious for major stipulations to bring in products. That part of the company’s story I completely believe.

    Why is everyone so overly concerned? Once they’re released, they’ll get reviewed and we’ll see. The pricing seems quite fair actually. Apple is the one who’s charging absolutely as much as they possibly can. Just because there might end up being a less expensive alternative doesn’t mean it’s automatically no good.

    Kudos to Apple for being able to charge what they want, but I’m certainly interested in some alternatives that might be a bit more fairly priced, yet still attractive and functional.

  7. Sea of plenty

    With all the cool designers in the world, they had to pick..well …none!
    What a waste. At least thief goal was right, and im sure they will sell some, but face it, its a bad copy.

  8. Gemma Campbell

    Also there is prob a very good reason why you can’t get hold of these in any normal well known store – eg apple/bestbuy etc – and I doubt it is for the reasons he gives (that it would increase the cost)

  9. Gemma Campbell

    I would be very cautious about buying this. Have heard that they are made by someone who was not only in jail before for fraud but also has a bad history of selling dodgy products (see appleinsider forums)…