OPINION: Now the Apple Peek Performance event is over and the dust has settled, it’s time to recognise that the Studio Display is just too expensive for what it’s actually offering. The 5K resolution is great, but with plenty of missing features, I can’t help but wonder if Apple is pushing it this time.
The Apple Studio Display launched alongside the new Mac Studio and is now the company’s second external display option, behind the Pro Display XDR that launched back in 2019.
And at the time it felt like a great move; finally an Apple monitor that doesn’t cost over £4000. But once you take a step back and look at the specs, the price just isn’t justifiable.
To start with, the Studio Display costs £1499 or £1794 if you want it with Nano-textured glass. And it will cost another £400 if you splash out and choose the ‘Tilt-and height-adjustable stand’, as the defualt stand can’t be moved up or down. You also don’t get the choice of having both a stand and the VESA adaptor either, so you will have to pick one and stick with it forever.
So taking the highest estimate, you could be paying £2149 for your monitor, and that’s assuming you don’t need anything else for your setup, such as a new PC.
Apple may explain away the high price point by saying that this monitor has a 5K resolution, which is a lot better than most other desktop monitors provide. But when you consider the use case for the Studio Display, Apple could have lowered the 5K resolution to squeeze in more consumer-friendly features, like a Mini LED panel, ProMotion or even a FaceID camera.
Looking at monitors from other brands, the Huawei MateView comes in with a 4K-busting resolution (3840×2560), and the Acer ConceptD CP7 follows with another 4K display.
Before we even look at the other features of these monitors, we know that they both cost less than the Studio Display, with the MateView coming in at under £600. Seeing as it’s for mainstream use, I wouldn’t expect the MateView to be overflowing with features, but it comes with decent colour accuracy and vibrant imagery, all for a fraction of what the Studio Display costs.
But maybe you want a beefed-up machine that can handle all the colours of the rainbow? The Acer ConceptD monitor offers superb colour coverage, ensuring that the images you’re working with are presented accurately. You can now find this monitor for around £700 from third-party sellers, again making me question why I would splurge over two grand on Apple’s latest offering.
The Studio Display is relying heavily on that 5K resolution to justify the price, which is a bit of a head scratcher since most content you’ll be working with probably won’t support that high pixel count. And with a limit of 600 nits and no HDR support in sight, I feel like Apple really missed a trick here.
For comparison, the Pro XDR has a peak brightness of 1600 nits, with a consistent level brightness of 1000 nits, and a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. It takes the price up massively, but it feels more justified for a product with such impressive specs.
The Studio Display, meanwhile, sounds to me like a lot of other monitors on the market and lacks key Apple features like FaceID, which would suit mainstream productivity and creative consumers better. As I watched Apple’s launch event a small part of me almost considered what it would look like to own the Studio Display, but as time went on it’s clear that you can find similar specced products out there (albeit with a lower resolution) that offer far better value.
I can’t say I don’t appreciate a new Apple monitor on the market, but I would like the Studio Display a lot more if it was more affordable. It’s absolutely bizarre that the cheapest Apple Studio Display is even more expensive than the base 24-inch iMac.
All in all, the Studio Display looks promising but underwhelming, with a price that isn’t justified by the specs. And the most frustrating thing is, if Apple had lowered the pixel count, added a couple of extra features and reduced the cost, I really think it could have been onto a real winner with the Studio Display.
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