Apple's most controversial product in years has landed at Gamereactor.
Of course, the whole idea of "if you're the only one in a given field" or "if you're the best in a given field" works, so you can price products as you like. Of course, that can be a mitigating factor in certain instances, such as when B&O consistently charges three times as much for, say, a set of headphones, but that these then also have a build quality, a crispness, a clarity that can't be matched by anyone else. Does that mean the price is right? No, of course not, but again; that's a mitigating factor.
Apple's latest Studio Display is a bit of a loner in the sense that the panel has a resolution of 5120x2880, i.e. 5K, a resolution that turns out to be exceedingly rare, and is matched pretty much only by LG's UltraFine 27MD5KL-B. Thus, if you stretched a bit, you could postulate that if you're looking for 5K, this is where you'll find it, and nowhere else. At the same time, you then agree to pay £1500 for a display that isn't exactly industry-leading on any other parameter.
Already you may notice that Apple's Studio Display has proven to be a much more controversial product than the much more expensive Pro Display XDR, and this is precisely due to the eternal question of value. And in terms of value, in terms of dexterity, Apple has still managed to put together a pretty exciting display.
It's all once again in stylish, industrial aluminium. It proves once again that real design is more timeless than the technology behind it, and even if there are relatively thick screen edges, and a rather thoughtless placement of the VESA mounting point covering the Apple logo, the Studio Display is a beautifully made product, one you'll be happy to sit down at, and gawk over, every day.
This is an ad:
Yes, at first glance it sounds like romanticised Silicon Valley nonsense designed to mislead you. But at the same time, you can also see it as a challenge to the rest of the tech industry, to LG, to Dell, to Asus, to challenge the aesthetic conventions a bit, because there's miles between a mainstream "creator"-focused display and Studio Display, there just is.
It's called "Studio", as it's made for semi-professionals, so what can it do? Well, 5K resolution, of course. Plus 600 NITS brightness, 10-bit colour, 1200:1 contrast at 60Hz with TrueTone and DCI-P3 colour calibration. That means you'll have to do without ProMotion 120Hz, or something as simple as HDR.
But as far as we can understand, only a few of the semi-professionals, YouTube users, Twitch streamers, all those who work with macOS on a daily basis, actually edit in HDR, so maybe it's forgivable? If nothing else, it's primarily the resolution that matters here.
So it's for semi-pros, right? Yes, and Apple, for example, has added a pretty solid 12 megapixel ultra-wide webcam with a FOV of 122 degrees, which only further underlines this priority. It's not quite as good as the front camera on a smartphone, but as an alternative to, say, a Logitech Brio, it works decidedly brilliantly. Add to that, to say the least, fantastic speakers that use the same systems as the new iMac and play Dolby Atmos certified audio.
This is an ad:
There's also a Thunderbolt 3 port with 96W charging for a MacBook Pro, for example, and three USB-C ports for keyboards, mice - that sort of thing. The point is that these little things can add up to a pretty good hub for creative editing and processing, where web meetings, playback without headphones and relatively crisp performance all blend together.
So in that sense, the Apple Studio Display is pretty easy to recommend despite its price. If you want total consistency between OS and panel, what's the alternative? Well, the Pro Display XDR. This device is incidentally packed with features that qualify it for Pixar graphic artists, and not your semi-successful YouTube channel.
That's why Apple shouldn't let go. A higher NITS brightness would have been apt, and perhaps Apple should have given us ProMotion 120Hz, especially when considering that a MacBook Pro 14 comes with just that.