Apple Studio Display review: Looks and sounds great, expensive extras

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Source: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore

Apple doesn’t often introduce new monitors, let alone entirely new products. The Mac Studio Display arrived earlier this year as a companion to the well-received new Mac Studio. However, it also works well with other Macs with macOS Monterey 12.3 or later. The 27-inch 5K display has a lot going for it, from its beautiful design to its surprisingly powerful speakers. Unfortunately, it has glaring omissions that will put off some potential buyers. Which camp is yours? Time to find out in this Apple Studio Display review.

Studio Display Gallery 1

Apple Studio screen

At the end of the line : Significant downsides give this display a much lower rating than we might have expected. However, there are plenty of reasons to consider installing this display next to your new Mac Studio or another Mac.

Good

  • Easy installation
  • Wonderful design
  • Real and beneficial stakeholders
  • center stage

The bad

  • Supply issues
  • No HDR support
  • Expensive and more with extras
  • Will you need a dongle?

Apple Studio display: Price and availability

Apple Studio Display Magic Trackpad Keyboard MouseSource: Apple

The entry-level Apple Studio Display comes with a standard glass, tilt stand, or VESA mount adapter for $1,599. Adding nano-textured glass raises the price to $1,999, and a tilt and height adjustable stand adds (another) $300 to the price. The most expensive model (nano-textured glass and a tilting, height-adjustable stand) costs $2,299. Apple, Best Buy, and other retailers sell the Apple Studio Display. Unfortunately, ongoing global supply issues have caused significant shipping delays, which should improve over time.

Apple Studio display: what is good

Apple Studio Display HeroSource: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore

Announced and released alongside the Mac Studio, Apple’s new 27-inch display offers 5K with 5,120 x 2,880 pixels (218 PPI), plus a few goodies you might not expect, all in a modern design. aluminum that we expect from Apple. Unexpected extras include a 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, a three-mic array, and a six-speaker audio system with Spatial Audio.

The screen is beautiful with exceptional color accuracy, color gamut coverage, excellent contrast and a respectable 600 nits of brightness. Additionally, the Apple Studio Display offers nine reference modes, almost matching the 11 found on the much more expensive Apple Pro Display XDR. These modes offer grading and fine-tuning options, which creatives will find useful. The True Tone technology is also excellent, although some will choose to remove it to achieve accurate colors.

The screen is beautiful with exceptional color accuracy, color gamut coverage, excellent contrast and a respectable 600 nits of brightness.

When Apple launched the display, early buyers noticed significant issues with the product’s webcam and center stage. The company finally released a firmware patch to fix the image quality issues. After countless tests on my review unit, I’m happy to say that Center Stage works as expected and provides an enjoyable experience that was once only available on high-end iPads. The three-mic array is also impressive, making FaceTime calls even better, even in noisy conditions.

Built-in theater speakers score well too — for display speakers. They deliver rich sound and perform well in a pinch, but they won’t replace your wireless headphones.

What about the setup? All you have to do is plug your Apple Studio Display into your computer with the included Thunderbolt cable, and you’re good to go. Screen software updates happen automatically through macOS Updates.

Apple Studio display: What is not good

Apple Studio screenSource: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore

The Apple Studio Display has a few hiccups, starting with its limited number of ports. It only has one Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and three USB-C ports. While this might be fine for some people, others will find this limitation annoying, and it might mean adding a dongle or two to your setup. In another interesting move, the Apple Studio Display’s power cable isn’t detachable, unlike the one found on the Apple Pro Display XDR. In regular use, having a cable attached is not a problem. However, that makes moving the nearly 14-pound screen a little more cumbersome.

That brings us to two features the Apple Studio Display doesn’t have but should: HDR and ProMotion. The first is a real headache since HDR is found on iPhones, iPads and Mac laptops. Also, the display doesn’t include local dimming without HDR, which is a shame. On the latter, you’re stuck with an underperforming 60Hz refresh rate, which is below the standard set by other Apple devices, including the iPhone 13 Pro series and the 14/16-inch MacBook Pro. These offer ProMotion technology for adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz.

Also, while the display speakers are much better than others, it’s worth noting that Spatial Audio isn’t always a wonderful experience here. But, again, that’s why Apple (and many others) produce headphones.

What Apple charges for the tilt and height-adjustable stand seems excessive and feels like a cash grab from Apple.

Despite the software update, the camera doesn’t deliver the superior image quality one would expect from a $1,600 display. So maybe Apple’s long-term solution is to convince users to get ahead of the Continuity Camera coming later this year with macOS 13 Ventura for all the best Macs.

Finally, let’s talk about the price of the Apple Studio Display. My beef with the price centers around what Apple charges for the tilt and height-adjustable stand: $400. This seems excessive and looks like a cash grab from Apple. Unfortunately, this is not very surprising. The company has a history of overcharging for extras in its product line. For years many have complained about what Apple charges for adding wheels to the already very expensive Mac Pro. On the mobile front, iPhone owners have long expressed dissatisfaction with what Apple has charged for more storage, and the list goes on.

When it comes to the Apple Studio Display, at least the extras aren’t as big as the XDR display. Nano-Glass costs $1,000 more compared to $300 on the Apple Studio Display; a “Pro” stand also adds $1,000 on top of the price.

Apple Studio display: Competition

LG 27md5kl B 27 Inch Ultrathin 5kSource: LG

It might seem obvious that Apple Studio Display’s biggest competitor is the already mentioned Apple Pro Display XDR. That wouldn’t be right, though. They are very different screens, the latter being larger and more feature-rich than the new model at a price that is not comparable.

Instead, I’ll point you to a real Apple Studio Display competitor: the LG 27-inch UltraFine 5K IPS Monitor. The LG monitor is ideal for photo and video editing. Even better, LG designed it with the best MacBook in mind, because it has Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. Even better: it’s $300 less than the entry-level Apple Studio Display. However, it doesn’t have a gigantic Apple logo on the back, which might be enough for buyers to choose Apple’s display over this one.

Apple Studio display: Should I buy it?

Apple Studio 10 768x displaySource: Apple

You should buy it if…

  • Staying in the Apple ecosystem is important
  • You want center stage
  • Can’t afford XDR but want something a bit similar

You shouldn’t buy this if…

  • You are a budget buyer
  • Need a screen larger than 27 inches
  • You need a height-adjustable monitor and don’t want to pay extra.

There are plenty of pros and cons to buying the Apple Studio Display. Daily users probably won’t care as much about key omissions as professionals. But, unfortunately, many daily users will be pay attention to the price, so go figure.

3.5
out of 5








There’s more good than bad with the Apple Studio Display, a monitor that will impress the masses with its excellent design and quite impressive display. However, creatives may want to look elsewhere, as the likely necessary extras will cost even more than the already hefty launch price.

Studio Display Gallery 1

Apple Studio screen

At the end of the line : Apple doesn’t introduce new monitors often. Many heads are turned, especially by Apple’s most loyal fans, when this is the case. The Apple Studio Display is not a great product, but a very good one. If you can look beyond its limits and really want a 27-inch 5K display, it’s worth considering – if you can find one in the market to get it within reasonable time.

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