Pick of the crop: Is It Worth It?

Apple's slim-line computer monitor makes work sexier, says Susannah Conway

WHEN A six-year-old boy recently passed his GCSE exam in information technology after just five months of study, I could see the writing on the wall. Joystick-kids and techno-babies are born with a mouse in their hand and computer technology is speeding ahead so fast, I wake at night in a panic, fearing I'm missing out.

I have a computer, of course. It sits quietly in my spare room - a glorified calculator with a fat unwieldy keyboard and a box-shaped monitor that takes up the majority of the desk. So when I heard about the new Apple Studio Display (rrp pounds 1,060), a slim-line monitor that sits on your desk like apicture frame, I rushed out to the shops to give it a test run.

The ASD comes with two stands: the picture-frame stand is the grooviest, with a single insectoid leg balancing it, resembling something out of Bladerunner. The tilt and swivel stand looks like an inverted bottle-opener and is nearly as big as the screen itself. Once the keyboard and hard- drive are attached (the ASD is both PC and Mac compatible) the whole kit starts taking up valuable space - when hard-drives are the size of staplers, then we'll be talking progress.

At just over a grand, the monitor costs as much as a basic computer package. The screen is encased in trendy translucent blue plastic that is light years away from the boring beige of a standard screen. The images produced are sharp and crisp with such amazing luminosity they brought on a headache until I figured out where the brightness control was.

The Apple Studio Display won the "best buy" award in the recent LCD trials in MacUser magazine. Keith Martin, technical editor of MacUser says: "It had the best image quality and it handles multiple resolutions well. Within three years they will become one of the standard monitors used - when the price drops closer to the cathode-ray tube's price. They're perfect when you need more than one monitor on your desk."

The bottom line is, these funked-up monitors are worth buying if you've got the large wad of cash needed to do so. They're not as flat as you'd think but they're still preferable to the Stone-Age box that's taken over my desk, and they leave you more room around the keyboard to put all those Post-it notes and cute personal memorabilia. The ASD looks about as sexy as a compute monitor can, and when the price is less stratospheric, I'll consider buying one.

The future generation "gets" this new fangled stuff better than we do. The day is coming when classroom lessons will be replaced by virtual reality teachers teaching our children from flat monitors hanging on the walls of their bedrooms. And be warned, technophobes, that day is nearly here.

Apple Response Centre: 0870 6006010

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