PCMag Tests Apple's Pro Display XDR Color Accuracy and Brightness, Says It 'Does Exactly What It Sets Out To'

Apple's Pro Display XDR, priced at $4,999 without a stand, is designed for professionals who need a reference monitor. It may seem expensive, but comparative to other reference monitors, it's an affordable choice.

PCMag this week published its full review of the Pro Display XDR, doing a deep dive into its color accuracy and HDR capabilities.

prodisplayxdrworkflow
The Pro Display XDR is meant to be used by creative professionals such as photographers and videographers, which means factors like color accuracy, gamut coverage, and sustained brightness are important.

In Adobe RGB color gamut testing, relevant for content creation tasks, the Pro Display XDR had what PCMag says is an "excellent" result of 96.7 percent coverage. Comparatively, the Pro Display XDR beat out the Acer Predator X35, the ASUS Rog Strix XG438Q, the Dell U3219Q 4K, and the Razer Raptor 27, which are other displays PCMag has tested, but that's not a surprising result as these comparison displays are more affordable gaming-focused monitors.

prodisplayxdradobergbcolorgamut
The Pro Display XDR didn't fare quite as well in sRGB gamut testing, where monitors normally get close to 100 percent coverage, but it still hit a respectable 94.3 coverage. sRGB is not a focus of the pro community, which makes this result fairly inconsequential.

In a DCI-P3 color gamut test, which highlights how well a monitor is able to display movie and tv content in editing apps, the Pro Display XDR saw 98.7 percent coverage, beating out all other monitors including the Alienware 55, which scored the second-highest in PCMag's testing at 96.5 percent.

When it comes to brightness testing, with a DisplayHDR 1600 test, the XDR was able to display content at a peak burst of 1,561 nits, just under Apple's 1,600-nit rating. SDR brightness reached 499 nits, and the black levels were super low, at 0.04. PCMag says that's the lowest it has seen outside of OLED displays.

prodisplayxdrbrightness
In color accuracy tests, the Pro Display XDR also excelled. Color accuracy is measured using delta E (dE) and a lower number is better, representing an accurate representation of the color it's aiming to produce. Monitors under 1.0 are "top tier" monitors, but the Pro Display XDR scored below that.

More records broken. In the industry of content creation, any monitor that scores below a 1.0 dE is considered top-tier, but the Pro Display XDR isn't content with just winning here, it has to command the lead. In these tests, which I ran through all three color-space presets we tested above (sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3), the lowest score achieved was just 0.68 dE--and that, achieved with no calibration required.

There were some downsides to the Pro Display XDR. There's no option for changing color capabilities on the monitor itself, and using it requires macOS, so there's no way to use it without a Mac. There's also no way to calibrate the colors, but Apple says that calibration options are coming sometime in the future.

The site was impressed with the add-on $999 stand for the Mac Pro given its nice, shiny look and its smooth counter-balanced arm, but ultimately felt that it was a bit over-engineered and overpriced, saying that it "didn't need to be" so far ahead of a typical (and much less expensive) monitor stand.

In a nutshell, PCMag believes that the Pro Display XDR successfully does what it was meant to do, offer up "reference-quality production capabilities" to those who work on Macs. "The Pro Display XDR is a beautifully made, well-designed, hyper-accurate content creation monitor that--say it with me now--'just works,'" reads the review.

For those considering a purchase of the Pro Display XDR, PCMag's full review is well worth checking out.

Related Roundup: Apple Pro Display XDR
Related Forum: Mac Accessories

Top Rated Comments

confessJason Avatar
17 months ago
Not even 120hz. Useless for real professional work like overwatch.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ksec Avatar
17 months ago

Haven't seen any reports of display defects yet, which is great. Apple has had a history of display defects (probably not their fault entirely, mostly the factories of the manufacturer) such as yellowing, pink hue, uneven backlight, left/right fade and so on.

If there were such issue on this product it would probably be known by now considering its target market. Hopefully this level of QC is carried over to their lesser displays.
For its price, the non-uniform of backlight to me is a defect. That is suppose to be a grey background.



Attachment Image
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
17 months ago
PCMag believes that the Pro Display XDR successfully does what it was meant to do

Which of course is to separate people from $6k of their money.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ksec Avatar
17 months ago
Not too sure how PC Mag explain that as "Does Exactly What It Sets Out To"

Not Really the "Reference" Monitor most people or video professionals refers to. Honestly I dont think anyone even expect it to be, but many expect it to be close, and it is not. But still a damn good Monitor.

Edit: ( Images not mine )



Attachment Image
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
toph2toast Avatar
17 months ago
From the graphic posted, it doesn't look like the Pro Display XDR beat the Dell U3219Q 4K in the Adobe RGB color gamut testing.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
17 months ago

It seems it’s a step below what’s required for mastering. I’m not in the industry, but I know mastering monitors are very expensive. How much would you have to pay for a 30+ inch mastering monitor?

And a related question, are there uses for a very accurate monitor that’s not mastering quality, and sells for $5 to 7K? That will determine the success of this monitor. I know there are uses outside the film/video industry, but I’d be interested in hearing your take as someone in that industry. If it misses the mark and isn’t something pros want/need, that’s not good.
Seems the XDR would be perfect for those who aren't mastering the video, but reviewing mastered content. There are people who need to view the content but don't need to view it on a $30K monitor. If 10 people need to see the product as it's making it's way down the assembly line, but don't have a hand in the mastering process, 10 XDR's make a lot more sense than 10 $30K monitors. Those 10 people still get the benefit of a high quality color accurate monitor that can double as a standard monitor for their everyday uses.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

General Music and AirPod 3 Feature

Rumor: Apple to Announce Third-Generation AirPods and HiFi Apple Music Tier on May 18

Thursday May 13, 2021 10:32 pm PDT by
A new rumor suggests that Apple will announce the third-generation AirPods and the recently rumored HiFi, or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, on Tuesday, May 18, via a press release on its website. The new rumor comes from Apple YouTuber Luke Miani who shared the alleged exclusive news with the AppleTrack website. According to the YouTuber, Apple plans to release the next-generation AirPods...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Fires Newly Hired Ex-Facebook Product Manager Following Revelations of Past Misogynistic Comments

Thursday May 13, 2021 12:10 am PDT by
Apple has fired Antonio García Martínez, an ex-Facebook product manager and author of the controversial book "Chaos Monkeys," following public and internal calls for removal and investigation due to past misogynistic statements, The Verge reports. Apple hired Martínez earlier this week to join its ads team, however, comments that Martínez made in the past sparked condemnation from users...
imac m1 blue isolated 16x9 500k

M1 iMac is Up to 56% Faster Than Prior-Generation High-End 21.5-Inch iMac

Wednesday May 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Apple's M1 iMacs are set to start delivering to customers next week, and ahead of the official launch day, benchmarks for the machines have been showing up on Geekbench, likely from reviewers who are testing them. It will come as no surprise that M1 iMac benchmarks are right on par with benchmarks for the M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, coming in with an average single-core score...
2021 mbp hdmi slot 3d

2021 MacBook Pro Leaks Confirm Returning MagSafe and Ports

Friday May 14, 2021 3:06 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming MacBook Pro models are expected to feature a number of major changes such as larger display options and powerful new Apple silicon chips. Among the more surprising updates to this year's MacBook Pro models is the return of three ports that have been missing from the machines for over five years. Expected to come in 14- and 16-inch sizes, the 2021 MacBook Pro models are...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
google photos

PSA: Google Photos Unlimited Storage Ends Next Month, Here's How to Export Your Pictures to iCloud

Thursday May 13, 2021 5:26 am PDT by
For as long as it's existed, Google Photos has offered free unlimited storage for uploading images at a reduced yet good enough quality for most users. From June 1, 2021, however, all photos and videos uploaded to Google accounts will count against users' cloud storage. If you've been relying on Google to back up your media library, it may be time to move that content elsewhere. This article...
AirTag in Envelope Feature 2

AirTag Used to Successfully Track a Mailed Package Across the UK

Wednesday May 12, 2021 8:44 am PDT by
An Apple customer in the United Kingdom has successfully used Apple's Find My network to track an AirTag as it was being sent by mail to a friend in a completely different city. Outlined in a blog post at Intego, Kirk McElhearn said he taped an AirTag to a piece of card, wrapped it inside a small bubble envelope, and then sent it on its way. Kirk lives in the small town of...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...
prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...