The Apple Studio Display and Realistic Expectations

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

The new Studio Display reviews are out, and the general consensus seems to be that it's a pretty damn good display with great speakers and a decent-to-terrible webcam that's getting fixed with a software update rolling out as we speak.

A few reviewers have criticized the product for having old display tech inside and not supporting things like high refresh rates (120Hz+) and HDR. A few things:

  1. 5K monitors are a hard compare since there's basically nothing else on the market. A 5K filter on Best Buy's site brings up just Apple's own displays, and Amazon lacks filters to even select anything over 4K, but the only 5K monitor I can find there not made by Apple is this guy at $1,500 and 34".
  2. High refresh rates in 4K monitors is becoming more common recently, and there are a ton of them you can find on Amazon for half the price of the Studio Display. These may be inferior in other ways (like design 🤮) but I'm seeing people suggest that high refresh at 5K is impossible at any reasonable price point in 2022. I'm not sure if the extra lift to get 5K up to 120Hz at a reasonable price is too much, but hopefully this isn't too far away.
  3. The HDR omission is indeed annoying, although I will say that my monitor advertises as being HDR, but it's the hilariously useless HDR400 spec, which is to say it's not really HDR in any meaningful way. The Studio Display gets up to 600 nits, which is notably brighter than my 400 nit "HDR" screen, so I suspect it would look even better in person than my current LG.

I haven't bought a Studio Display yet, but it seems like it will only be a matter of time. Personally, I'd love to get high refresh and full HDR support in a display, but looking at the market, I'm pretty confident that it would be well over the $1,500-2,000 price range we have today and it would suddenly be irrelevant to most of us like the Pro Display XDR.