Studio Display review roundup: From 'delightful' to 'unusable'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2022
The first reviews of Apple's new Studio Display are beginning to appear, and this one monitor has earned everything from raves to despair, and all points in between.




The Studio Display is seemingly shaping up to be one of the most divisive products Apple has made. The first reviews from technology journalists, consumer experts, and Mac specialists, could be about three or more different monitors.

There are raves, such as The Independent, where the UK national newspaper says that the Studio Display is a "delightful collision of beauty and practicality," and "everything we've been waiting for."

It notes that this "stunning display" is also surprising for "just how much extra there is" in it. In particular, The Independent believes the speakers and camera, plus the ports on the display, "are similarly delightful."

The Verge, though, would take exception to every word of that. "Nothing to see here," says the publication's headline. "A 5K iMac's panel, six speakers, three mics, and one terrible camera."

"[The] Studio Display's headline webcam feature works so badly that it's virtually unusable," says the publication. "The real issue is that $1,599 is a lot of money, and here it's buying you panel tech that is woefully behind the curve."

Few reviewers are taking anything but extreme views of the Studio Display, but Tom's Guide is the closest to having a middle opinion.

It says it's a "great monitor," and that it "packs a gorgeous 5K screen, excellent camera and fantastic speaker system." But it does note that "if you plan to use it with non-Apple computers the Studio Display loses a lot of its value."

"Despite its onboard A13 Bionic chip it's pretty helpless without a computer to drive it," continues the review, "and if that computer isn't running macOS or iPadOS you'll have a hard time using the Display to full effect."

As with all reviews, Tom's Guide does touch on the price of the monitor. But perhaps it's Macworld that has the best take on this, calling it "Apple monitor for everyone else (who can afford it)."

Although Ars Technica also nails it with "an Apple monitor where '5K' doesn't describe the price." The publication notes that it's "Apple's most affordable display, but it's still nearly $2,000."

"Whether it's worth the price all depends on what you need and what you want," it continues. "If you need a production display but don't have the money for a Pro Display XDR, the Studio Display fits the bill."

"If you are a general user who makes the occasional videos in iMovie, and does some light photo editing or other creative work, you'll enjoy the Studio Display," says the review, "but you can save a few dollars by going with a non-Apple display."

DPReview also focuses on the "steep price," although it then "grudgingly" admits that "Apple has created an excellent monitor."

"A monitor that is, in fact, worth every penny of the $1,600 asking price," continues the review, "even if that money is being spent on features that most creatives could live without."

And the UK's pithy Daily Express newspaper rounds it all up with this: "if you can stomach the price, this screen is a dream."

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,313member
    This whole subject is analogous to cars. Some people appreciate the benefits of luxury vehicles, others look at any car as transportation only. So anything with four wheels that rolls is fine. Then there are those that only compare basic specs like HP and 0-60 speeds with no thoughts about look, feel and refinement. Buy whatever you like and fits YOUR value standard.
    edited March 2022 jas99omasouMplsPjony0Detnator
  • Reply 2 of 22
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 3,094member
    The Ars Technica review is quoted as:

    "If you are a general user who makes the occasional videos in iMovie, and does some light photo editing or other creative work, you'll enjoy the Studio Display," says the review, "but you can save a few dollars by going with a non-Apple display."

    OK, I'm fine with the premise. But exactly which non-Apple display is a competitor? Which 27" 5K UHD thunderbolt display with a comparable camera and speakers competes with this new Apple product? And how many is "a few dollars?"
    jas99waveparticleomasouAlex_Vscstrrfrob53tenthousandthingsjony0Detnator
  • Reply 3 of 22
    As soon as I read some reviews were calling it unusable the first name that popped into my head was the Verge.

    This magazine is filled with anti-Apple sentiment that it’s probably subscribed to by Putin.

    All of their Apple coverage is biased against Apple. I’ve hardly ever read anything positive about Apple from them.

    I’d refuse to accept their review as anything but pure drivel.
    jas99williamlondonscstrrfviclauyycgilly33jony0
  • Reply 4 of 22
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,128member
    eightzero said:
    The Ars Technica review is quoted as:

    "If you are a general user who makes the occasional videos in iMovie, and does some light photo editing or other creative work, you'll enjoy the Studio Display," says the review, "but you can save a few dollars by going with a non-Apple display."

    OK, I'm fine with the premise. But exactly which non-Apple display is a competitor? Which 27" 5K UHD thunderbolt display with a comparable camera and speakers competes with this new Apple product? And how many is "a few dollars?"
    LG's (possibly soon discontinued as Apple dropped it) 5K display is really the only alternative. It doesn't have a webcam or speakers to compete, but it's also 3/4 the price.

    Not everybody wants a webcam or needs speakers* like that - it really depends on the use case.

    * I suspect a lot of professional editors are going to use monitors or professional headphones rather than Apple's speakers.
  • Reply 5 of 22
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,007member
    For me personally it is a “meh” product.  For those who need it’s capabilities it is probably a great product.   I know my 2017 intel iMac 5k has the best looking and color correct screen I own.  

    But size and real estate matter more to me at my age and with my workflow.  Even though it is a 5k machine, my 4K screens show more physical real estate ( can show bigger windows) with all screens set to their highest res.   Apple uses the extra 5k to not make you desktop bigger, but to make it sharper, perhaps clearer and “better looking”.  

    For me personally I’d rather have the larger work area. 

    I replaced my 27” 4K screens with 32” 4K screens as they are also easier on my old eyes.  At full 4K desktop the text is not small and hard to read.  Even better are the 40” 4K tv monitors I hooked to my work MacBook Pro and my personal iMac.  Same amount of usable space and large enough to be able to easily read stuff without eye strain. 

    I’d be more impressed if Apple’s new screen was 32”. 
    edited March 2022 williamlondondarkvader
  • Reply 6 of 22
    stompystompy Posts: 409member
    eightzero said:
    The Ars Technica review is quoted as:

    "If you are a general user who makes the occasional videos in iMovie, and does some light photo editing or other creative work, you'll enjoy the Studio Display," says the review, "but you can save a few dollars by going with a non-Apple display."

    OK, I'm fine with the premise. But exactly which non-Apple display is a competitor? Which 27" 5K UHD thunderbolt display with a comparable camera and speakers competes with this new Apple product? And how many is "a few dollars?"
    Right, where's the answer to the next obvious questions? I don't know if you're looking for an actual answer, if so this roundup might help?
  • Reply 7 of 22
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,475member
    "I’m sitting in front of a window. The webcam is just not very good, y’all." - The Verge
    Yeah dude sitting in front of a window will give you a flat image, the camera doesn't have any shadows to work with. This happens on all cameras.
    But then again, it may need a firmware update?
    edited March 2022 scstrrfmacplusplus
  • Reply 8 of 22
    SEonlineSEonline Posts: 6unconfirmed, member
    The LG 27in is the only competition and I don't think at $300 less it's a better value. I'll rather have the Mac Studio Displays dolby atmos capable speakers, 12mp camera, 100nits more of brightness, 3 array mics, faster 10GB USB-C ports, and the ability to charge my MacBook from the display over saving that cash. Not to mention I think it looks way nicer. 
    williamlondonAlex_VscstrrfTheObannonFilebbhjony0
  • Reply 9 of 22
    omasouomasou Posts: 602member
    mknelson said:
    eightzero said:
    The Ars Technica review is quoted as:

    "If you are a general user who makes the occasional videos in iMovie, and does some light photo editing or other creative work, you'll enjoy the Studio Display," says the review, "but you can save a few dollars by going with a non-Apple display."

    OK, I'm fine with the premise. But exactly which non-Apple display is a competitor? Which 27" 5K UHD thunderbolt display with a comparable camera and speakers competes with this new Apple product? And how many is "a few dollars?"
    LG's (possibly soon discontinued as Apple dropped it) 5K display is really the only alternative. It doesn't have a webcam or speakers to compete, but it's also 3/4 the price.

    Not everybody wants a webcam or needs speakers* like that - it really depends on the use case.

    * I suspect a lot of professional editors are going to use monitors or professional headphones rather than Apple's speakers.

    The LG UltraFine 5K Display 27MD5KL has a webcam and speakers AND NO POWER BRICK.

    I didn't replace my LG Ultrafines w/the Apple Studio displays b/c other than the speakers (have stereo pair of HomePod minis), camera and other tweaks. They appear to be an Apple repackaged LG Ultrafine screen. I'll wait for TB4 ports.


    edited March 2022 darkvader
  • Reply 10 of 22
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 3,094member
    stompy said:
    eightzero said:
    The Ars Technica review is quoted as:

    "If you are a general user who makes the occasional videos in iMovie, and does some light photo editing or other creative work, you'll enjoy the Studio Display," says the review, "but you can save a few dollars by going with a non-Apple display."

    OK, I'm fine with the premise. But exactly which non-Apple display is a competitor? Which 27" 5K UHD thunderbolt display with a comparable camera and speakers competes with this new Apple product? And how many is "a few dollars?"
    Right, where's the answer to the next obvious questions? I don't know if you're looking for an actual answer, if so this roundup might help?
    Thanks, and yes I was sort of looking for that. I have an HP 4k display that is connected to an aging 27" iMac. The idea is to replace the iMac with an M1 macmini + UHD display; and then keep the HP one as a second monitor. Indeed, the query turns to what exactly is a competitor to this new Apple product. And I concur the answer to that is your use case. Dunno if I "need" speakers in the display, since I've used external ones for a long time now. How good are the ones in the Studio Display compared to...a competitor? I also need a web cam. The external ones suck....but so does the one on my iMac. 

    Maybe AI could...you know...do a review themselves. I suspect that may be in the works if/when etc etc...
    stompymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 22
    Alex_VAlex_V Posts: 225member
    I remember, back in 2014, when Dell first announced the precursor to this display, the original 5k 27" monitor made by LG or whoever. The usual plastic-fantastic thing. At the time you could order it for $2000 bucks for delivery a month later, I think it was. One week later Apple launched the 27" Retina iMac, with basically the same screen, glass front not plastic, plus computer motherboard, 8GB ram, 1TB HDD, in a stunning aluminium enclosure, complete with wireless keyboard and mouse for $1999, available to purchase right away. As a hobby-photographer I couldn’t get mine fast enough. I still use it every day.
    scstrrfwilliamlondongilly33
  • Reply 12 of 22
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,212member
    The LG is the only real 5K alternative. I think the Apple display is worth the extra in comparison.

    The question is, does a home user like me really need 5K @27 inches, or is a quality 4K display at half the price enough? I suspect it is.
    edited March 2022
  • Reply 13 of 22
    xbitxbit Posts: 391member
    I can’t remember if it was Engadget or The Verge but they summed it up perfectly - if you want a 5K monitor then this is the one to buy. If you’re less fussy about resolution then there’s cheaper and better options out there.

    I am fussy about resolution so I’ve ordered one. Hopefully Apple will sort out the webcam issues. Seems such a waste if all of that computing power can’t produce decent results.
    williamlondonbala1234Alex_V
  • Reply 14 of 22
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,435member
    omasou said:
    mknelson said:
    eightzero said:
    The Ars Technica review is quoted as:

    "If you are a general user who makes the occasional videos in iMovie, and does some light photo editing or other creative work, you'll enjoy the Studio Display," says the review, "but you can save a few dollars by going with a non-Apple display."

    OK, I'm fine with the premise. But exactly which non-Apple display is a competitor? Which 27" 5K UHD thunderbolt display with a comparable camera and speakers competes with this new Apple product? And how many is "a few dollars?"
    LG's (possibly soon discontinued as Apple dropped it) 5K display is really the only alternative. It doesn't have a webcam or speakers to compete, but it's also 3/4 the price.

    Not everybody wants a webcam or needs speakers* like that - it really depends on the use case.

    * I suspect a lot of professional editors are going to use monitors or professional headphones rather than Apple's speakers.

    The LG UltraFine 5K Display 27MD5KL has a webcam and speakers AND NO POWER BRICK.

    This one doesn't have a power brick either. The webcam and speakers are worse in the LG, for the record.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    xyzzy01xyzzy01 Posts: 135member
    eightzero said:
    The Ars Technica review is quoted as:

    "If you are a general user who makes the occasional videos in iMovie, and does some light photo editing or other creative work, you'll enjoy the Studio Display," says the review, "but you can save a few dollars by going with a non-Apple display."

    OK, I'm fine with the premise. But exactly which non-Apple display is a competitor? Which 27" 5K UHD thunderbolt display with a comparable camera and speakers competes with this new Apple product? And how many is "a few dollars?"

    Why limit yourself to that specific size/resolution? And thunderbolt? Displayport over USB 4.x works just fine, and it's not like most/anyone has actual thunderbolt hardware...

    Also:

    The speakers are irrelevant - it's OK that they exist for OS warning beeps and the occasional playing of a youtube video, but anyone who cares even a tiiny bit about sound is going to be using headphones and/or external speakers.

    The camera so far seems to be a failure based on the reviews, although I'm pretty sure Apple will get that fixed.

    So far, calling it a 27" imac without a mac seems like an apt description.

    I've got one of those 2020 imacs, and while I love that screen, when I eventually replace it I'll probably get a studio with a non-Apple screen - just plain bigger, or maybe one of those ultrawide screens.
    darkvader
  • Reply 16 of 22
    bbhbbh Posts: 134member
    mike1 said:
    This whole subject is analogous to cars. Some people appreciate the benefits of luxury vehicles, others look at any car as transportation only. So anything with four wheels that rolls is fine. Then there are those that only compare basic specs like HP and 0-60 speeds with no thoughts about look, feel and refinement. Buy whatever you like and fits YOUR value standard.
    Absolutely !! I drive  a Porsche Macan. To me, the "upscaleness" of it is worth every penny it cost. My buddy is totally happy with his Ford. Tomato, tomahto. I totally don't need it, but the "Mac experience" is kind of a hobby with me. When the dust settles, I'll probably replace my 2019 souped up 21" iMac with a Studio and the Studio Display. I'm sure they will fix the software issue with the webcam by then. 
  • Reply 17 of 22
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,105member
    I bought a new top of the line 2020 iMac knowing Apple silicon was right around the corner.  I did this knowing that by the time I’m ready to retire it, Apple will have had 5-7 years with Apple Silicon.  

    I’m excited to see where Apple Silicon will be at that point.  These are all 1st-gen products and it’s pretty amazing for sure.
    bala1234williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    As soon as I read some reviews were calling it unusable the first name that popped into my head was the Verge.

    This magazine is filled with anti-Apple sentiment that it’s probably subscribed to by Putin.

    All of their Apple coverage is biased against Apple. I’ve hardly ever read anything positive about Apple from them.

    I’d refuse to accept their review as anything but pure drivel.
    Their Mac Studio and iPad Air reviews this week were both positive.
    xyzzy01
  • Reply 19 of 22
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 1,146member
    As soon as I read some reviews were calling it unusable the first name that popped into my head was the Verge.

    This magazine is filled with anti-Apple sentiment that it’s probably subscribed to by Putin.

    All of their Apple coverage is biased against Apple. I’ve hardly ever read anything positive about Apple from them.

    I’d refuse to accept their review as anything but pure drivel.

    Putin uses XP.


    And using a bloodthirsty ethnonationalist dictator who is currently in the process of invading a country and committing war crimes as in any way comparable to a website that tells the truth about a ridiculously overpriced Apple monitor with issues is beyond offensive.  Stop.
    williamlondonxyzzy01beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 20 of 22
    60Hz IPS LCD Panel.  No Mini LED.  No OLED. Not capable of HDR or ProMotion.  Fancy camera that doesn't work properly (Apple says they'll fix it in a future software update).  Can't even do simple variable refresh rate. Basically, old ass panel tech in shiny new package.   Starts at $1600 and goes up from there.  If the 5K is the be-all-end-all, okay I guess.  I just couldn't see myself paying $1600 for a 60Hz LCD panel.  For those who see value in it, I ain't mad atcha.  To each his own.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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