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Apple Studio Display review: Bright and sharp

Apple Studio Display review: Bright and sharp

Apple Studio Display

If you want to get the best display for your MacBook or Mac, you can't go wrong with Apple's own Apple Studio Display. This 5K monitor scales perfectly with macOS's intended 218ppi pixel density design, unlike 4K monitors. What this means is that macOS needs to virtually scale up the resolution to 5K before lowering it by a scale of two for a 4K monitor. But on the 5K Apple Studio Display, this is natively scaled for a clearer image.

Quick specs

  • Normal glass or nano-texture glass
  • 27-inch 5,120 x 2,880-pixel resolution, 600 nits brightness, wide colour gamut (P3)
  • 12MP ultra-wide front camera
  • 1x Thunderbolt 3 with 96W charging, 3x USB-C downstream

The whole scaling issue is a tad technical, but you can get the gist of it above. If you're keen on a detailed explanation, head here. But really, it just works better. On the whole the Studio Display's screen is bright, vibrant, and great for video and photo editing. It comes with reference modes for different use cases, so you can use it straight out of the box for editing. It's also a gorgeous looking monitor, though you should probably spring for the better stand. The basic stand only does tilt, so you can't adjust the height. If you want to mount it on a monitor arm, you'll need to order that version instead. There are no VESA mounts by default.

Apple Studio Display
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

Unlike other monitors, there's no onscreen menu. In fact, there's a severe lack of button controls — just four USB-C ports at the back. The rightmost port supports Thunderbolt 3, which can also charge your laptop at the same time — up to 96W. The other three ports are downstream for your peripherals, storage, or networking devices, up to 10Gbps. Note that you can't daisy chain this monitor. While the display is really good, it's the six-speaker system that stands out. They do a great job of stereo sound, and also supports Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos. Studio Display also supports Dolby Vision content, which means this monitor is perfect for Apple TV+ binges.

Apple Studio Display
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

For Netflix, you get Dolby Vision, but no Atmos, and you have to use the Safari browser on Mac for 4K. On Windows, the speakers and webcam will work, but won't have macOS features such as Center Stage or Spatial Audio. Note that this requires you to use a Thunderbolt cable. If you're using a USB-C to DisplayPort like me, the audio and webcam won't work. And speaking of the webcam, it's honestly not that good. The quality is passable at best, you should use your MacBook Pro's webcam, or the excellent Continuity Camera feature which uses your iPhone's camera instead.

Honestly, at S$2,320, the Apple Studio Display may seem expensive at a glance, but you're getting a really good monitor for photo and video editing. It's also great for entertainment, especially for Apple TV+ content. However, the 60Hz refresh rate means you probably won't be gaming with this. Get the Studio Display from Shopee, Lazada, or directly from Apple.

See Also

Note: Review unit provided by Apple.

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Gorgeous, pricey, but hey, it's quality for your eyes.

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