Monitors for the Rest of Us

Monitors for the Rest of Us.

Ok folks, gather up your flame throwers, and start boiling the oil. I’m about to to say some things which will certainly cheese off some of you. Let me explain some some things first: I consider myself to be a hard-core Mac user, and I don’t apologize for this. You shouldn’t either. Now, here at home, I proudly use my TiBook, sitting up on its Griffin iCurve stand. I run it just like a full size desktop, with an Apple keyboard and cordless mouse. All fine and dandy, yes? Hey, it works for me. But on the job? My main machine is a Sawtooth G4, with a Dell seventeen-inch LCD monitor connected to it. And you know something? I like it just fine.

Now, I’m just a technician, and under the hierarchy, I don’t have the purchasing power of an engineer or scientist. No, I have to make do with hand-me-down stuff. I grabbed this seventeen-inch Dell monitor as soon as it became available, thankfully getting rid of a big, noisy Sony CRT monitor that was nineteen-inches, heavy, and just plain huge. I think my worktable was groaning under the weight. So, the clarity of this LCD monitor is nice, and the color is suburb. It boasts a much nicer selection of resolution choices, although I generally just leave it at 1280 x 1024. And I’ve noticed something else: Lots of people at my place of business and elsewhere are using their Macs with LCD monitors from the likes of Dell, Sony, Samsung, and ViewSonic.

There is nothing wrong with Apple monitors at all. They are made for some of Apple’s favorite customers, including graphic artists, moviemakers, and professional photographers. As far as price, well they are a little steep. (I know, you could make that statement about Macs in general, but that’s another subject, which I won’t address today.) For the modern world, you want an LCD monitor of at least seventeen-inches. (CRT monitors are clearly on the way out. Does everyone agree?)

The Apple store lists the seventeen-inch Apple studio display at a price of $699.00. Not too bad, I guess. Hmm, but wait a minute, Dell lists their nineteen inch ultra sharp at $611.10. And that one rides up and down on its pedestal, giving you a nice height adjustment. The twenty-inch Dell Ultrasharp is shown for $809.10. Another case of “Hmmm”. Interestingly enough, Dell lists a very nice ViewSonic, model VG900b, for $620.96. It measures nineteen inches. I’ve worked with ViewSonic products before, and they seem to put out a good monitor. So right now, if I had just purchased a new G4 or G5 tower, the ViewSonic is one model I would definitely consider.

Another company that recently entered the computer monitor market is Sharp. Now, I like Sharp’s product line. Everything they make, from microwave ovens, to their pricey line of Aquos flat-panel televisions, is well designed, thought out, and manufactured. Their model LL-T19D1 nineteen-inch monitor lists at $749.00, when purchased directly from Sharp. Major houses such as PC connection probably sell it for a lower price. This is another model that would make my short list. I have been told that Sharp manufactures their products themselves, as opposed to contracting out. If this is so, I say good for them.

Some of you may be screaming “Traitor!” at this point. No, just someone who knows what works for him. The new Apple twenty-inch monitor is presently listed at the store for $1299.00. It’s a dandy monitor, very well designed, along with the twenty three-inch model, listing for $1,999.00. Ouch! Of course, if your name is Steven Speilberg or George Lucas, you no doubt own the ultimate, that being the new Apple thirty inch monitor ($3,299.00 ). Awesome, it is! (In my best Yoda voice) Oh, don’t forget the Nvidia Geoforce 6800 Ultra DDL graphics card, which this monitor requires. It lists at the Apple store for $599.00. As I said, if you happen to be Steven or George, you surely own these already. Heck, you probably own several.

But what if you are not Steven, or George, or a graphic artist? What if you are not a professional photographer or someone who designs magazine layouts? Apple’s monitors are great for all of these people, probably the finest. But for the rest of us? No, I neither need or want a monitor that expensive, which has features I will not need or use. All I would want is a simple, no-nonsense nineteen or twenty inch LCD. The closest I come to intense graphics is painting up some alien landscapes with Bryce. I’m not very good at it, but it sure is a great wintertime activity.

So, do I think that Apple should introduce a line of lower cost monitors, in standard nineteen inch, and twenty-inch sizes? No, of course not. Apple should keep doing that it’s doing. The market for good, less expensive LCD monitors is already well served by all the companies I’ve mentioned, and lots of others.

If you’re a graphics pro, magazine layout person, or a George Lucas Wannabe, by all means, buy that Apple monitor, and knock yourself out. But, if you’re one of “the rest of us” consider a monitor from another company. It won’t hurt, and it doesn’t make you “anti-Mac” in any way.

Are those villagers with torches I see, running around my apartment complex?

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