Engadget reviews Apple’s new Studio Display: ‘For Mac-loving eyes only’

Apple earlier this month unveiled the all-new Studio Display which features an expansive 27-inch 5K Retina display, a 12MP Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage, and a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system with spatial audio.

Apple's Studio Display
Apple’s Studio Display

Devindra Hardawar for Engadget:

It’s a bit brighter than the 5K iMac, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same 27-inch screen we’ve seen for years. To make up for the lack of modern features — like the faster ProMotion refresh rate and Mini-LED backlighting we saw on the latest MacBook Pros — Apple stuffed in an A13 Bionic chip to drive its webcam and speaker features. It’s not exactly a smart display as we’d define one, but it’s certainly smarter than most screens. Unfortunately, the Studio Display’s high $1,599 starting price makes it out of reach for everyone but the Apple faithful.

MacDailyNews Take: “Out of reach for everyone but the Apple faithful?” Now, there’s some presumptuous, baseless bullshit.

What’s truly maddening, though, is that Apple is seemingly oblivious to the display market in 2022. If you want a height adjustable stand, for example, you’ll have to shell out an additional $400 at the time of purchase. (This is the same company that priced the ProDisplay XDR’s stand at $1,000, don’t forget.)

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, we won’t. We also won’t forget that Poor Devindra is very price-sensitive, as he’s already made abundantly clear. Maybe Poor Devindra should ask Engadget for a raise so he can afford some real tech?

Making height adjustment cost extra on such an expensive monitor is simply inexcusable.

MacDailyNews Take: 🤣 Is this supposed to be satire? ‘Cause it’s coming off that way.

And if you want Apple’s nano-texture glass option, which helps to reduce reflections in bright environments, be prepared to spend an additional $300. Putting that screen technology along with a height adjustable stand brings the total cost of the Studio Display to $2,299. Sigh. That’s just hard to stomach when I also have Alienware’s QD-OLED 34-inch ultrawide monitor on my desk — it’s pretty much the ultimate gaming screen, with a 175Hz refresh rate, 1,000 nits of peak brightness and actual HDR compatibility. And when compared to the Studio Display, the Alienware QD-OLED is practically a bargain at $1,299.

MacDailyNews Take: Ok, gamer.

I get it, the Studio Display isn’t made for me.

MacDailyNews Take: Miracles do happen.

And really, it’s not meant for anyone who’d consider a non-Apple product. It’s a monitor built expressly for the company’s devotees — the sort of user who demands a 5K screen that can accurately render MacOS, and who scoffs at the cheap plastic frames that plague the competition.

MacDailyNews Take: More presumptions from Poor Devindra who seems really, really worried that other people can and will buy Apple Studio displays while he stares at his plastic “ultimate gaming screen” connected to some crappy Windows PC.

Despite my frustrations with so many aspects of the Studio Display, it’s still a very nice looking 5K LED screen. Its wide P3 gamut support allows colors to pop off the screen, which is particularly noticeable when working with high-resolution photos. The Studio Display isn’t technically an HDR screen, but it can still take advantage of the wider color range from HDR streams. Its 600 nits of brightness was also more than enough for my dimly lit office — that’s a good thing if you’re planning to use one right by a sunny window…

Naturally, the Studio Display also looks and feels like a premium Apple device, with a smooth aluminum case and an attractive design that’s striking from every angle. Around the back, there’s a single Thunderbolt 3 USB-C connection that can charge a MacBook Pro and deliver audio/data at the same time, along with three USB-C ports for accessories. So sure, Mac-heads may be overpaying a ton, but at least they’re getting a very usable monitor that’ll last for years.

MacDailyNews Take: $1,599 divided by 4 years is $399.75 per year. $1,599 divided by 5 years is $319.80 per year. Outside of Poor Devindra’s little world, these are not huge costs for what Apple’s Studio Display offers or for the people who will buy them in droves.

I don’t blame Mac fans for being excited about the Studio Display. When you’ve been stuck in a figurative desert for years, you’d be grateful for any kind of salvation. I just wish Apple was as devoted to its loyal followers as they are to the brand. Mac users are used to paying a premium, but they still deserve a screen with modern technology and a stand that can reach eye-level without a pile of books underneath.

MacDailyNews Take: Because they can tell the difference between a highly sophisticated mechanism versus a cheap plastic tube sliding up and down a shaky post, Mac users will get Apple’s tilt- and height-adjustable stand which has a counterbalancing arm that allows for 30 degrees of tilt as well as 105 mm of height adjustment and makes the Studio Display feel weightless, move effortlessly, and stay exactly where it’s set.

They won’t be piling it on a stack of books like some cheapskate gamer with his Windows PC dreck attached to his “ultimate gaming screen” who doesn’t understand that Mac users have far, far better TCO than does he and who wouldn’t recognize quality industrial design if it ran him over.

Poor Devindra shouldn’t have been tasked with “reviewing” products that are clearly out of his league.

See also:
• Ars Technica reviews Apple’s new Studio Display: ‘True 5K, there’s no competition to speak of’
• Wired reviews Apple’s Studio Display: Accurate and sharp; really, really nice

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12 Comments

  1. Speaking as someone who uses an Onn second monitor that he got for less than $100 with a MacBook Pro that he got for almost $3,000 – yes, $1,600 is a lot for a monitor.

    I get it – you get what you pay for. And I don’t doubt that this display is a very high quality display. But as someone who mainly does (the non-artistic side of) game development and music production, I don’t necessarily need the fanciest, sharpest display, so I stretch my dollars in other ways.

    I mean, the MDN takes can pick apart the review six ways until Sunday, but remember, we live in the United States, where the dollar still holds a lot of dominance over our lives.

    1. That’s what’s so great about the new Apple Studio Display.

      Everyone who thinks this is expensive (understandably, a lot of people) have a million options out there. Soooo many monitors in all shapes, and sizes, and resolutions, and brightnesses.

      And now, for the first time in a long time, people who use their MacBooks, Minis (and now Studios!) to do high-quality image-making work have a great option directly from Apple.

      I got a decade out of my last Apple monitor. That’s cheap at any price.

      1. disposableidentity, I agree, except for one thing. There are NOT a “million” options out there for people that want a 5K display. I know of only one option. That’s why I ordered a Studio Display. The additional $300 is worth it to me.

          1. Even a not-bright, not-accurate, no-options 5K monitor is not easy to find. Other than Apple and LG, what are my options for a 5K monitor of ANY quality or at ANY price? There are certainly MANY options for 4K or lower resolution, and many of those are in the $300-$400 price range. But 5K, not so much.

            1. I ordered one for the same reason John, there just aren’t really any options for a 5k monitor out there and since I am more than happy with the 5k display in my current iMac, I think I will be equally happy with the Studio Display which is apparently arriving Monday.

              I spent quite a bit of time looking into what I was going to do for a monitor before Apple announced the Studio Display so it didn’t take much thought for me to decide to order it.

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