$1900 Studio Display Review — But Why?!
Nearly six years now, a cinema display a thunderbolt display, whatever you want to call it just take the 27 inch 5k imac and delete the mac part or the lg 5k ultra fine and delete the lg part seriously anything anything that isnt 6k for 6k and apples Gone and done it finally, but at the same time, somehow upset a very loud, very vocal handful of tech heads who not only never wanted it, but who also dont seem to understand why the people who do want it do want it. Ive been using the pricier nano texture version on loan from apple for almost a week now, so let me explain: no, there is too much. Let me sum up. If youve used a recent 27 inch, imac or imac pro 5k ultra fine or even a 24 inch imac, then the studio display is just a slightly better version of those panels and ill get to that slightly part in a hot take minute. But why does that even really matter so much to some people? Well, its 5k and not 4k, because at 218 ppi thats dense enough that at a normal viewing distance, most people cant readily discern the individual pixels anymore and its also native 2x resolution, which means all those pixels fall precisely on grid, because no matter how good apples Display scalers are and theyre pretty damn good pixel, perfect designers and anyone with especially snobby vision really will notice, display scaling in pixels falling off grid.
They will look for it, they will find it and they will send liam neeson to kill it. So, yes, 4k. At 27 inches would be scaled and thats anathema to apples, fussiest customers, the ones who, if you tell them to just get 4k or a gaming, monitor you might as well be telling them to just get a windows pc, because the mac nerd heart wants what the Mac, nerd heart wants and having to settle for 4k or a gaming monitor or even an ultrafine low. These last many years is how that mac heart broke to begin with thats, also, why its not just the studio display being p3 wide gamut, but that is individually color calibrated at the factory to match all of apples. Other p3 displays and meticulously color managed through apples. Entire imaging pipeline, so what you shoot on your iphone or process on your ipad or macbook will exactly match what you see on your studio, display and thats. Why some pros really do insist on using apple gear to begin with? Now, while the pipeline is 10 bit internal, i believe its still rendering out to a physically 8 bit panel, using spatial and temporal dithering to represent that full billion color range, which is a bummer, but i believe, thats, how all apple panels work and most commercial panels Too, for that matter, because physical 10 bit panels are still kind of rare and kind of expensive, especially at scale where the studio display is better than both the imac and the ultra fine is brightness 600 nits versus 500 nits, which doesnt sound like a huge difference.
But its still a really welcome one. It is lcd, though, with an led backlight, so its not hdr or high dynamic range for that it need oled like the iphone or mini led like the latest ipad pro or macbook pro, and those can be up to 1000 nits, sustained, sometimes 1200 to 1500 peak. Even so, the studio display is still sdr or standard dynamic range, well, technically, edr or extended dynamic range, because lcd lobby rhetoric aside, which yes, is somehow an actual real thing apples been doing a ton of work for a ton of years to provide, as close to An hdr experience as they possibly can on lcd sdr displays its why they pull from the hdr source for tv plus, shows or use the hdr tone map of dolby vision videos shot on iphone. So, yes, absolutely, the blacks are still kind of dark gray and the whites can only still get so bright, so it ends up being better than strict sdr, but just still nowhere near full on hdr and it doesnt have any of the reference modes for apples. Hdr displays either only the sdr ones, which is also a bummer, a huge one to me personally, but its arguable. How many people outside dolby and jonathan morrison really are all in on full hdr workflows at this point anyway, and at 5k, that would add a fair chunk to the price tag. So my guess is apple, stuck with sdr for the studio display as a bridge to keep the bill of materials down.
So it really could be the spiritual successor to the thunderbolt display the one everyones been asking for and well get an updated mini, led pro display. Xdr at the higher end, some point in the not so distant future and thatll be for everyone who really is all in on xdr, i mean even beyond the 6k now the studio display is also locked at 60, hertz and doesnt have the up to 120 hertz Adaptive refresh rate that apple markets as promotion, the one that came to the ipad pro in 2017 and the iphone pro and macbook pro in 2021, which yes, absolutely 120, is better than 60. hell. I would take 480 in a heartbeat if it was physically possible, but in this case its less about cost or segmentation and more about just the limits of the implementation, because 5k is a lot of pixels. So many pixels when apple first took the imac to 5k. They had to build their own custom timing, controller or t con just to do it so the two streams they were stitching together, wouldnt occasionally tear right down the middle, but they could only do that internally, at least back then so we gained 5k but lost target Display mode which i think a lot of us, still lament and would seriously love to have back to this day, but even today, 5k still is just a lot of pixel still so many and the current display port 1.
2 protocol, the one supported by thunderbolt 4, just Cant handle 5k 120 hertz at the same time. So, while im super curious, what apple will do with the next xdr display ill only be expecting 5k, 6k 7k at 120 hertz? If and when we see it also like the 27 inch imac, but unlike the lg ultrafine apples, offering a nano texture option for the studio display for an extra 300 bucks, its. What ive been testing for the last week and while its inarguably better than the traditional anti glare coatings, which really just gunk up the crispness and clarity of the display? Its still not as good as the non nano texture option, the normal option and its just way. Fussier to keep clean, so if you arent stuck in a studio or a location where you cant control the glare, i would still stick with the normal option, but taken all together. The studio display looks as good as any standard dynamic range display can possibly look. Basically, six star raid, boss, lcd and all wrapped up in an all aluminum aluminium apple enclosure, thats. Halfway between the 24 inch imac and the 32 inch pro display, xdr, even including smaller versions of the vent holes, because while it doesnt need the massive thermal management system of a reference monitor, it does need to pull the heat off. That big backlight. And i really like the industrial design in general, its simple, elegant, sturdy and obviously built to last, basically the complete entire opposite of the lg ultrafine, of which ive owned three or four now and had the wi fi interference issue on the first one and the display Muck up issue on the second or third one, pretty much why everybody who wanted these panels back with apple, wanted them back with apple.
To begin with about the only thing i dont really like is the default stand option its incredibly well engineered for what it does. Obviously, but it only does one thing tilt back and forth: not up and down, never mind around which, yes sure has been exactly a limitation of all recent imacs and non xdr apple displays as well, but the ultrafine does provide exactly that full range of functionality and From the company that had the god mode of adjustable stands way back in the day with the second generation pixar style, imac itd be all shades of considerate to just give the people more here, especially with so many of us stuck at home now for so long, Where we cant just plunder, dunder mifflin office supplies to stack underneath it anymore. No, now we have to use discarded. Amazon boxes stuffed inside each other like animals, and you can replace the basic stand with a visa. Mount at no extra cost or a height adjustable stand for an extra 400 at the time of purchase. But you really have to do it at the time of purchase because you cant swap them later like at all, which also seems hella weird from the company who made changing watch bands eight times a day. A thing ports are the same as the ultrafine 5k as well, and previous generation apple displays one thunderbolt to connect to your mac and charge it if its a macbook up to 96 watts, as well as three usbc to plug in and charge all your accessories and Peripherals up to 10 gigabits per second and not gon na lie.
I would love all caps, love more and faster ports here, but that would mean extra. I o controllers inside so extra cost, which not even the pro display xdr has and apple seems just perfectly content to have those live on the new macbook pro and mac studio. Now, anyway, with that single upstream thunderbolt, you plug it in route it through the cable management circle on the back. Yes, you do have to route it through. That then connect your mac and thats. It quick and oh so clean, but yeah pretty much everything everyone who just wanted a new cinema display thunderbolt display a 5k imac without the mac and lg ultra fine in an enclosure, thats actually fine, with slightly better than imax brightness, even if slightly worse than the Ultra fines adjustable stand all gift wrapped and delivered in a bead blasted, aluminum apple box, something simply no other vendor has been willing or able to provide a literal commander, sinclair level hole in the markets. Mind filled finally, but quad major, but apple didnt, even stop there. They also added an a13 bionic the system on a chip from the iphone 11, which, depending on how you look at it, might just seem all shades of overpowered, underutilized or kind of both, because worst things. First, the webcam, which has been the subject of a brouhaha from reviewers who actually managed to file on time, unlike me, but i was getting the mac studio review up so make sure you watch that and hit subscribe for way more.
But the gist is this: the camera hardware is the exact same 12 megapixel ultra wide angle, paired with the a13 image signal, processor or isp that you can find on the current ninth generation ipad same ultra wide. This is the latest ipad air as well, albeit they have the m1 isp, which is based on the a14 or one generation. Newer silicon and the reason for going ultra wide is to support center stage apples name for the pan and scan zoom in and out technology that uses the neural engines and machine learning to recognize and lock onto one or many faces in the frame and to keep Them in the frame, even as they move around or come in and out of frame and its great for facetime and webex and zoom for kitchens and living rooms, even office conferences. If and when you have people back in the offices to actually conference but its also. A real compromise, because megapixels or pixel quantity have never really mattered as much as pixel quality and ultra wide cameras stuffed into ultra thin. Enclosures never tend to be as good as even lower megapixel non ultra wides, so basically youre trading, selfie integrity for video call capability, which is fine. If you consider center stage worth that sacrifice and not so fine, if you dont now normally apple counts on the isp. The image signal, processor and computational photography and videography to make the camera hardware do more than the optics themselves would normally allow and thats how the ipad 9 still gets pretty good selfies out of the exact same spec, but on the studio display.
Something seems to be going wonky or just plain wrong and faces just look flat and kind of mopey, and just not what youd expect from a modern apple camera, even a center stage. Camera, which kind of reminds me of the issues we had with the iphone 10s selfie cam and its a 14 smart hdr implementation now apple says just like then theyre working on a fix now either for mac os. The studio display firmware both so well have to just wait and see how that goes, but again, its the exact same hardware as a 9th gen ipad. So theres no reason to expect or accept that itll be any worse than that ipad. The a13 is also being used for noise, cancelling for what apple calls studio, quality mics, basically the equivalent of a mid range usb podcast mic if youre in a pinch or you just dont, use one often enough to have a dedicated mic available. This is the 2022 studio display 12 megapixel webcam and studio quality mics. This is the 2020 13 inch macbook pro camera and microphone. This is the m1 13 inch macbook pro 720p webcam and studio quality microphones. This is a logitech, 920, 1080p camera and microphone. This is the logitech 4k brio camera and microphone. This is the 11 inch ipad pro front facing camera and microphone. This is the 2022 ipad air, 5, 12 megapixel ultra wide camera and mics. This is the 2021 9th generation, ipad, 12, megapixel camera and mics.
This is the 2022 studio display 12 megapixel webcam and studio quality mics. This is the 2021 16 inch macbook pro 1080p camera and studio quality mics. This is a 2021 iphone, 13 pro 4k camera and microphones. The a13 is also being used for true tone, which dynamically changes, the white balance based on ambient light temperature, so the display never looks too blue or too yellow is also being used as the always on processor for siri voice activation for those macs that dont do It natively like the mac mini studio or pro and computational sound processing for spatial audio, which creates a virtual 3d sound stage up to and including handling full on dolby atmos streams like what you hear with airpods pro airpods max or any recent macbook pro or imac. Combined with a six speaker system using four force, canceling woofers, similar to what the macbook pro uses, to make sure that the desk doesnt rock, alongside with your music and for people who dont, have dedicated speakers and want to go ear naked. It is legit. One of the best sounding apple speaker systems, yet – and at this point, thats really saying something but thats about it. For the a13 apple hasnt surfaced any home pod type functionality. That would let you pair two studio displays as a single speaker system for like an even larger wider, sound stage. So if you have two or more of them, you have to select which one you want to use for av at any given time.
Also any form of built in airplay or sidecar running on the a13, via like homeos or anything else. So if the studio display isnt already connected to another mac, you cant just stream to it wirelessly you have to go and plug in the cable which yes, hard lines are best lines. But if youre on your macbook and just dont want to bother with a chord at the moment, that would be hella cool and, like spatial audio center stage universal control. These are the kinds of uniquely differentiated features that gets apple into, or in this case, back into markets. The integration from silicon to software that gets that single, yes for every thousand knows, which, frankly, is also how apple gets to charge, what they do for people who truly believe that the value theyre providing is worth way more than the cost, which is 1600 bucks. For the base model, here 300 more than the lg ultrafine, which gets you better brightness materials, build quality speakers mics and the a13 bionic plus a way sturdier if way, less adjustable stand. Also, 200 is less than the last 27 inch imac, which had the exact same stand, but included an intel, chipset storage, way more ram and ports keyboard mouse and a chin, though i cant help wondering if, instead of an a13 apple, had just thrown an m1 into This exact same package and priced it starting at 400, more 2000 minus a buck. Even would anyone anyone just so much as blinked and probably not, even though wed end up right back where we started demanding a standalone display at less than 6k? But if you really truly do want a more capable apple display and you want it now, thats what the pro display xdr costs with a stand.
But if youre patient, if youre willing to wait, we might just get a mini, led version of the xdr. At some point in the future, even if that point is months or even another year out thats what im personally going to be doing because thats what i care about, if you dont, if you dont, even care about the quality of the enclosure, you can save a Few hundred bucks and get the less than fantastic plastic of the lg ultrafine when it comes back into stock, presumably sometime in q2, 2022 or i mean any one of those 4k gaming monitors. Everyone who doesnt get apple displays is just super happy to recommend everyone else. Get theres a metric ton of them on the market and some of them are really great. But if youve been asking for nate demanding a return of the cinema display, the thunderbolt display the imac without the mac, the lg ultra fine, without the lg. Whatever then, just go, get the studio display because apple just gave your fussy, mac nerd heart, exactly what its been demanding, which is also exactly what im doing with my new exclusive studio tour series on nebula taking you through everything i use to make these videos episode. 1, camera gear and episode, 2, mics and sound are already live and im working on episode, three lighting right now. Basically, everything all of you have been asking for basically for always, but would just never work at all on this channel, given how youtube works, but where, on nebula a bunch of your favorite educational creators, we all have the absolute luxury of making videos that dont have To be optimized for youtube at all, including bonus and extended versions of videos that i know the nerdiest most hardcore of you will totally love all ad free, sponsor free on nebula and bundled in for free when you sign up with todays sponsor at curiositystream.
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