Originally posted by Mac+Damn, it does look nice... and btw, Messiah: you've got a 23"HD display, I thought everything in comparison would be a distant second! (Nonetheless, that's good praise for the 20"iMac screen, I guess.)
Sorry - quite a lengthy post!
Well now, Mac+, there's an interesting thing. I've been thinking about this a lot recently.
I was blown away by the difference between the 20" and the 23" when I first got it. There was nothing like it at the time, and the 20" screen was indeed a distant second. In fact, I had actually owned a 20" briefly and returned it for the 23" that I have now. But the problem is, that you get used to the 23" and start taking it for granted.
When I used to use a 21" CRT monitor, I ran the Finder with the icons set at 32px (same as OS 9). If you set the 23" ACD at 32px, the desktop can display a whopping 140 icons comfortably. But, the problem is that it isn't very comfortable on the human eye, and it takes you forever to find what it is you are looking for. Because of the pixel density being so high, the icons are pretty hard to make out so you either end up squinting, or bringing the monitor closer to your face (which kind of defeats the old flat panel/desk space benefits). So you have to ask if you are actually buying more "usable" screen area at all.
It's not simply a case of setting the 17", 20" and 23" ACDs at 32px and then sitting them side by side and marvelling at how much more you can cram on the 23". That is how I originally compared the screens, but it turns out it's not as simple as that. You'll find that running such a high res. actually starts to slow you down.
As a result, I've set up OS X so that all the icons are either 48px or 64px. At 48px you still get 120 icons, and at 64px you get 100 - still pretty impressive. It means I can quickly identify images and files from their icon previews, but it also means that I am effectively reducing the usable screen area. Now, nobody in their right mind would keep 140 icons on the desktop, but even with 20 or 30, the effect is the same. It still takes you a second or two to find what it is you are looking for. So you have to ask yourself the question - do you really need such a big desktop if you're never going to use it?
On a daily basis, I use a 22" ACD at work, and I also have access to a 20" ACD. The 20" actually has more usable space than the 22". I haven't tried playing around with the icon settings, but I bet you if I were to set the icons to 48px on the 20", I wouldn't notice much difference in effective screen area to the 23" with 64px icons.
The only benefit is that all the palettes are smaller, which is a great help in apps like Illustrator. The page you're working on is no longer hidden behind layers of palettes, and you can quickly scoot around.
I'm not sure if the 20" iMac uses the same screen as the 20" ACD, but what I can tell you about the 20" ACD is that it is definately brighter than the other ACDs and the pixel response rate is far higher. It is without doubt the best "quality" screen I have ever experienced - by a long shot.
But the real benefit that the iMac's 20" screen has over the other ACDs, is that you can adjust it's height. At 6'4" I really appreciate that.
I truly think the 20" iMac is an unbeatable package. It's tremendous value for money for what you are actually getting. For another £150, I could have bought a complete system with SuperDrive instead of just the 23" display on it's own. The 23" isn't that much better!
When somebody with a 23" ACD and a 1.8GHz G5 looks at the 20" iMac and is blown away, you know it's got something going for it!
As for the fact that the 20" iMac doesn't fall over - it's just more proof that they [Apple] are drip feeding us. They obviously had the ability to stick a 20" panel on it from day one, and they've simply been milking the market. They've managed to get the sales from two or three waves of top end buyers (the original 15", then the 17" and now the 20") rather than just release the 20" on day one.