Along with the launch of the Mac Studio, Apple released a new monitor to go with it and called it Studio Display. Like most other external monitors, you can connect it to any modern Mac you own with a single USB-C cable.
At first glance, the Studio Display looks like Apple’s flagship Pro Display XDR, while costing a fraction of the price. But does that mean spending the money on a new Apple Studio Display is a worthwhile investment? Probably not for most people, and here’s why.
6. The studio screen is too expensive
We were quick to point out that the Studio Display costs a fraction of the price of the Pro Display XDR, but that still doesn’t mean it’s a bargain, due to various reasons we’ll get to shortly. Apple charges $1,599 for the Studio Display, which is quite pricey considering the screen is targeting the mainstream market.
If you want to save some cash, there are cheaper alternatives, like LG’s UltraFine 5K display, which costs $1,299 for similar specs. Sure, you’re not getting Apple’s top-notch build quality, but most people don’t care much about a monitor’s build quality anyway.
And if you’re ready to upgrade to 4K resolution, you have plenty of options, like the 32-inch Samsung Smart Monitor M8 for $700. At less than half the price of the Studio Display, you not only get a bigger screen, but also a monitor that doubles as a smart TV.
Think of this point as an extension of the price of the Studio Display we just talked about. The worst part about the Studio Display and its exorbitant price is that you don’t even get a height-adjustable stand with the base model; you are limited to incline.
This feature is optional and costs an additional $400, which is unheard of for a consumer monitor. The Studio display sits a little lower on the desk, so if you’re looking to sit upright, you might want to get the height-adjustable variant or settle for the VESA mount adapter option for the hook onto a third-party monitor arm. .
So, are you one of those rare desktop computer users who would drop two grand on a height-adjustable monitor?
4. The built-in webcam is poor
Apple’s Studio Display houses the same camera hardware as the 2022 iPad Air and 2021 iPad Pro models, allowing it to support the Center Stage feature. So we can expect the camera quality during video calls to be just as impressive, right? Well, not quite.
Unfortunately, the Studio Display’s built-in 12MP webcam is worse than those iPad models, with muted colors and grainy video, especially in low light. It also looks softer overall, but that’s mainly because of the cropped stream from the ultra-wide camera, which is needed to accommodate Center Stage.
We don’t really know why the quality is so bad; it might have something to do with the older A13 Bionic chip handling the processing, unlike the iPad’s M1 chip. Apple apparently fixed this issue with a firmware update, but you’ll need a Mac running macOS Monterey version 12.4 to update the Studio Display.
3. There is no HDR support
If you were expecting HDR capabilities just because you spent nearly two grand on a monitor, prepare to be disappointed. Unlike Apple’s flagship Pro Display XDR, which boasts a maximum brightness of 1,600 nits, the Studio Display is a standard monitor that maxes out at 600 nits. While that’s respectable brightness levels for SDR content, it’s not good enough for an ideal HDR viewing experience.
While there aren’t any 5K HDR monitors yet, you can find plenty of HDR-capable 4K monitors for less money if you’re willing to sacrifice some pixels. For example, the Alienware AW3423DW is a 34-inch ultrawide monitor, with a cutting-edge QD-OLED panel that offers 1,000 nits of peak brightness for just $1,300.
2. It uses IPS panel instead of mini LED
Let’s develop the last point we just talked about. We called the Studio Display a standard monitor, and that’s because it uses a regular IPS-style panel, which has been around for years. In fact, it uses the same panel as the 27-inch Intel iMac that Apple killed off in early 2022.
Since the newer MacBook Pro models use a Mini LED display, we would have really appreciated the same panel in the Studio Display. It seemed like the practical choice for Apple, since Mini LED would also have brought HDR support, but that’s not what we got.
If you hook up your 14-inch or 16-inch MacBook Pro to the Apple Studio Display, you’ll be disappointed that it can’t deliver the same black levels and brightness as the Mini LED panel. But that’s not all; let’s talk about the refresh rate.
We are heading towards a world of high refresh rate screens, from smartphones to televisions. Although Apple has been quite late in the high refresh rate game, the high-end models of the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro all have 120Hz screens under the ‘ProMotion’ moniker. of the society.
Unfortunately, Apple’s new $1,600 monitor doesn’t have ProMotion support. In 2022, most other brands wouldn’t dare to sell a 60Hz monitor in this price range to mainstream consumers.
Anyone considering connecting their iPad Pro or M1 Pro MacBook Pro to the Studio Display will be disappointed, as it’s easy to spot the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz. After adjusting to 120Hz, everything on the Studio Display will appear choppy. Also, don’t forget the gamers who were excited to use the Studio Display as a gaming monitor for their Windows PCs. It will put an end to these dreams.
Apple’s Studio display is far from perfect
The Studio Display is unlike any other, but unfortunately it targets a niche market. It’s definitely not for most traditional desktop users. Of course, it’s the perfect companion if you get a new Mac mini or Mac Studio, provided you can afford it. But beware of any gaps.
Apple over-engineered the internals of the Studio Display, but those costs could have gone towards a better panel to match 2022 standards. The lack of features like HDR or a high refresh rate display will be a deal breaker for the vast majority of people looking for a new monitor.