Apple Studio Screen Review | creative block
The Studio Display launched alongside the new Mac Studio, with both products aimed at creative professionals. While the Mac Studio handles the computing side of things, the Studio Display – which, as the name suggests, is a companion product to the Mac Studio – is the display. As our buying guide to the best monitors for photo editing shows, a good monitor is an essential tool for creative professionals, especially those who work with visual media, and the competition is tough.
Apple is no stranger to making professional-grade displays, though. Not only has it outfitted products like the MacBook Pro, iMac, and iPad Pro with best-in-class displays for years, it’s also manufactured high-end displays, such as the Apple Pro Display XDR. . So while the Studio Display announcement was a bit of a surprise, it also makes sense. With the 27-inch all-in-one iMac computer discontinued, and no likely successor for some time, there’s a general feeling that the Mac Studio and Studio Display are going to be the alternative.
Whether or not that will happen will be unclear for some time, but the Studio Display offers some unique features which, together with Apple’s experience in making professional displays, mean that many creatives will consider purchasing this display. .
Studio Display: Price
Apple’s latest monitor for creative professionals, the Pro Display XDR, has garnered a lot of attention for its incredibly high price tag of $4,999 / £4,700. Fortunately, the Studio Display is a bit cheaper than that, but with a starting price of $1,599 / £1,499 it’s still a very expensive proposition.
There are plenty of 27-inch monitors out there that cost a fraction of what Apple is asking with the Studio Display, so this is a screen that has to seriously impress to justify that price.
One of the biggest criticisms people have of Apple is the fact that sometimes there are hidden costs associated with its products that are usually included in the price of competing products, and that’s true with the Studio Display. While the Studio screen Is Comes with a stand (shouldn’t be surprising, but Apple didn’t include one with the more expensive Pro Display XDR), it only lets you adjust the screen by tilting it. You can also choose to swap out the stand for a VESA mount, which is useful if you want to wall mount it or already have a stand, but many other monitors come with both options, making the Apple’s forced choice between the two. little tight.
If you want to adjust the height of the monitor – why don’t you? – then you’ll have to pay an extra $400/£400, a pretty substantial extra cost for something that, again, comes free with most other monitors.
You can also configure the Studio Display to come with nano-textured glass, which helps eliminate glare and reflections. The model we’re reviewing here doesn’t feature that, and the screen is very reflective, sometimes distractingly so. That means the nano-texture option may appeal (and it certainly works well on previous devices we’ve tried with), but it will cost an additional $300/£250.
This means that an already expensive monitor can quickly become even more expensive.
Studio display: characteristics
As the price suggests, this isn’t your standard monitor, as Apple has packed it with some great features, many of which you’ll probably find very useful (although whether or not they justify the higher price is another matter altogether). case).
Unusually for a monitor, the Studio Display comes with a built-in webcam and a set of studio-grade mics. These days we rely more and more on video calling, whether it’s talking remotely with colleagues, giving presentations to clients, or simply keeping in touch with friends and family, it It is therefore extremely important to have a high quality webcam and microphone. So the fact that Apple has included a webcam in the Studio Display is definitely a selling point, especially for people who work remotely.
The webcam is enhanced by the inclusion of the A13 Bionic chip. This is a feature included in iPhones and iPads, and it brings smart functionality to the Studio Display. As for the webcam, the A13 Bionic offers a feature known as “Center Stage”, which uses artificial intelligence to keep you centered when using the webcam – even if you’re moving around (we found the somewhat scary feature when we reviewed the 11-inch iPad Pro M1). The A13 Bionic also helps improve low-light performance.
The A13 Bionic also works with the Mac Studio’s built-in speakers to deliver special sound through Dolby Atmos. While it doesn’t rival a physical Dolby Atmos surround sound setup (with speakers placed above you, as well as around you), it does deliver an impressive level of sound you wouldn’t expect from built-in monitor speakers.
You can also use Apple’s virtual assistant Siri with the Mac Studio, giving hands-free voice commands, which is a nice touch, although not everyone will find it so useful.
While these features are nice to have, none of them seem essential. There’s also the fact that you’ll need to use a compatible Mac or iPad to use them. If you have a modern Apple device, that’s probably not a problem, but people with older Macs and MacBooks that can’t run macOS 12.3, or anyone using a Windows 10 laptop, for example, won’t be able to use them, which is a shame.
Studio View: Design
The Mac Studio’s design is reminiscent of last year’s 24-inch iMac, but without the color scheme. Being a professional product, it only exists in one color: silver. Still, it looks smart and will fit right in with your other Apple products.
As you’d expect, it’s sleek and minimalist, with straight edges, and that makes us think how nice it would have been to see a 27-inch iMac in this design. Maybe in the future, that’s what we will have.
As we mentioned before, we had the standard screen without nano-texturing, and especially when it’s off you can see how reflective the screen is. Along the top of the screen are vents to keep the Studio Display cool, and on the back are the ports.
This is where the Studio Display’s minimalist design arguably goes too far, because rather than a range of inputs we’d usually see in a monitor, like HDMI and DisplayPort, there are just four USB-C ports. , and only one of them is actually the entrance.
If you plan on plugging in a MacBook or Mac, that won’t be a problem, and a nice feature is that the Studio Display will also charge your device while it’s plugged in, saving you the hassle of having an extra cable cluttering up your desk. The other USB-C ports allow you to plug in peripherals, essentially turning the Studio Display into a USB-C hub, which is handy, especially if your device doesn’t have many ports.
But, if you have a device that uses HDMI for its video output, which many laptops and desktops do, you’ll need an adapter, which isn’t included.
It should also be noted that the power cable is fixed to the Studio Display, rather than removable, and this may have implications for its installation in certain locations.
Studio View: Performance
The Studio Display offers a decent level of performance with bright and vivid image quality, and viewing angles were particularly good. If you want a monitor to show a lot of people your work at once, it’s useful, although the screen’s glossy finish meant annoying reflections were an issue.
But the Studio Display’s performance didn’t impress us, which is a shame considering the high asking price. The lack of HDR (high dynamic range) support is baffling, to be honest, with cheaper monitors that support it. Not only does this make images more vibrant and can also help with color accuracy, but many movies and TV shows are shot in HDR. If you’re a video editor who works with HDR footage, which many will be, you won’t be able to see the HDR effects on the Studio Display.
This omission will instantly make the Studio Display less appealing – or downright unviable – to some. The Studio Display also has a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz, and while that’s pretty standard, there are a growing number of monitors that support higher refresh rates, such as 120Hz and higher (see our guide of the best gaming monitors for some options).
The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models both feature ProMotion technology, which offers adaptive refresh rates of up to 120Hz, resulting in a much smoother experience. The MacBook Pros also offer HDR and increased contrast thanks to their mini LED technology, which makes the performance of the Studio Display a little lackluster. It’s really strange that if you have a new 14-inch MacBook Pro and you plug it into the Studio Display, the image quality will be worse.
Image quality isn’t bad by any means, but it doesn’t quite reach the heights we’ve come to expect from Apple, and especially for displays at this price point.
Webcam quality also came under scrutiny. While we found it to be fine – but not outstanding – in brightly lit situations, many people noted that the quality can be quite poor. Apple said it was a software issue and a fix is in the works. Although not a deciding factor, it is still disappointing.
Should I buy a Studio Display?
The Studio Display is an interesting product from Apple, but we think it’s a bit of a miss. The lack of HDR and high refresh rate support is a knock, and the limited port selection means this is a monitor that won’t appeal to many people. If you are a video producer, in particular, we do not recommend this screen. Try one of the best monitors for video editing instead.
Image quality is decent, but for the best effect you’ll need to invest in the nano-texture display. The added AI features are nice, but not essential, and they only work with modern Apple devices.
If you’re a content creator fully invested in the Apple ecosystem, we can imagine the Studio Display being a decent investment, as long as you have the cash. For others, however, there are better alternatives.
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