First impressions of the Apple Studio Display have now been shared by select media outlets and YouTubers, providing a closer look at Apple's latest standalone display. Reviewers praised some aspects such as the display's built-in speaker and microphone setup, while others felt that "the Studio Display in its current state is a confounding miss."

apple studio display the vergeImage via The Verge

Priced starting at $1,599, the Studio Display is Apple's first new external display since the 2019 Pro Display XDR. It features a 27-inch 5K Retina display with up to 600 nits brightness, P3 Wide color, True Tone, one Thunderbolt port, three USB-C ports, a built-in A13 Bionic chip, a three-microphone array, a 12-megapixel f/2.4 Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage, and a six-speaker sound system with support for Spatial Audio.

An angle-adjustable stand is included in the price of the display, but for an extra $400, there is a tilt and height-adjustable stand, and a VESA mount adapter option that lets the display be used in portrait or landscape orientation. There is also a $300 upgrade for nano-texture glass that minimizes glare in workspaces with bright lighting.

Design

Reviewers generally admired the slim, all-aluminum design of the Studio Display. Gizmodo's Phillip Tracy highlighted the Studio Display's passive cooling design elements and criticized the display's rubbber feet:

On the top are vent holes for passive cooling; the rear panel got warm during my testing but never reached concerning temps.

Like those on the Mac Studio, the Studio Display's rubber pads failed to keep the monitor planted to my wooden desk. It slid around as I inserted or disconnected cables from the rear I/O.

Display Quality

CNBC's Kif Leswing felt that the display quality was adequate but unimpressive:

The picture quality on the Studio Display is good, but it won't blow you away. I like that text is nice and sharp thanks to the extra pixels, so people who read on their computer for hours per day might want to consider it. And while it might seem expensive, it's a lot less than the Pro Display XDR Apple also sells, which costs $4,999 before you add in the $1,000 stand.

The Verge's Nilay Patel criticized the Studio Display's lack of HDR and ProMotion:

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. Compared to Apple's other displays across the Mac, iPhone, and iPad lineup, the Studio Display is actually most notable for the things it doesn't have.

[...]

The Studio Display is also notable for being an SDR display, with no HDR modes to speak of. Apple's high-end iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops all support HDR, but the Studio Display tops out at 600 nits, and Apple doesn’t offer a HDR mode in the software at all. Again, this comes back to the ancient backlight tech: true HDR requires local dimming, and the Studio Display doesn’t have it.

The Studio Display also only offers a 60Hz refresh rate, which is both bog-standard and also woefully behind Apple’s other top-tier products like the iPhone 13 Pro, iPad Pro, and MacBook Pro...

Tracy was similarly disappointed at the lack of true blacks due to the Studio Display's LCD panel:

Keep in mind that this is a standard IPS panel so you won't get the perfect black levels found on an OLED screen nor do you get HDR support for greater contrast. I placed the HP Spectre x360 16's OLED display side-by-side with the Studio Display and my eyes were drawn to the laptop. Blacks on the monitor looked dark gray in comparison, and the colors didn’t have the same wet paint-like saturation to them as those on the Spectre. I also wouldn't use the Studio Display as a gaming monitor considering the measly 60Hz refresh rate. That's standard for a screen of this resolution, but part of me was hoping Apple could find a way to add ProMotion.

The specifications of the display were consistently flagged as disappointments by reviewers given the Studio Display's price point.

Microphones and Speakers

Patel praised the Studio Display's built-in microphone and speaker setup:

Let's start with the good stuff: the mic and speakers sound great. Really, really great. You can adjust the three-mic array to do voice isolation or not in Control Center, and you'll sound as good or better on calls as any conference mics I've ever heard... The speakers are loud and deep, and while I am not entirely convinced that spatial audio in music is anything but a gimmick and even less convinced that anything like "spatial" audio can be produced by a stereo speaker system located in front of you, Apple is certainly processing its heart out here — if you play an Atmos clip you'll hear some dramatic swooshing about, which is always fun. These are the best built-in speakers I've ever heard.

TechRadar's Matt Hanson praised the microphones, but found the Studio Display's support for Spatial Audio less impressive:

The spatial audio support was less impressive. We tried a few tracks in Dolby Atmos and didn't really feel like the sound was coming from around us. Virtualized surround sound is always a challenge to get right, and can never compare to physical speaker setups, and that's true with the Studio Display, unfortunately.

Tracy likewise lauded the speaker setup, saying that "the sound quality is better than anything I've ever heard out of a monitor." TechCrunch's Brian Heater said that while the microphone setup is marketed as "studio quality," for users "planning to do much more than just webconferencing, I'd recommend plugging an external mic into one of the aforementioned ports."

Camera

A major area of concern among reviewers was the built-in 12-megapixel camera. Patel said that "the Studio Display's headline webcam feature works so badly that it's virtually unusable."

Apple has a long history of producing amazing images with 12-megapixel sensors and A-series chips, and for some reason this thing just looks awful.

Actually, it looks awful in good light, and downright miserable in low light... it produces a grainy, noisy image with virtually no detail. I tried it in FaceTime, in Zoom, in Photo Booth, in QuickTime – you name it, it's the same sad image quality. Turning off the Center Stage feature that follows you around the room doesn’t help. Turning portrait mode on and off doesn’t help.

Our rule has always been to review products based on what we have in front of us and never against the promise of a future software update, and based on what I have in front of me, I simply wouldn’t want to use this camera. The cameras on the new MacBook Pro and M1 iMac are far superior to what we're seeing here, and an iPhone front camera is even better still. I'm hopeful Apple will improve things via software in the future, but I would not spend $1,599 on this display until that actually happens.

Other reviewers generally agreed with the disappointing results from the built-in webcam, with Heater commenting:

...the image is a surprising step down from recent M1 Macs. The white balance is off and there's more image noise. My first instinct was to try to peel away a protective film I might have left on by accident, but to no avail. That's just how the image is now — a pretty huge disappointment for a monitor that starts at $1,599.

The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern agreed:

With a 12-megapixel camera and the A13 Bionic chip, it should be on par with the front-facing camera of an iPhone 11 Pro.

Yet Apple’s camera consistently produced grainy and washed-out images. There was so much missing detail in some of the shots that it reminded me of the camera on my old BlackBerry.

Tracy similarly found the camera to be "fine" but "noisy." Apple told multiple publications that improvements to the Studio Display's camera would be coming in a software update, but it is unclear exactly what aspect of the reviewers' complaints this update pertains to or when it will be released.

Stands and Nano-Texture Option

Patel noted that the "$300 nanotexture option smudges easily and is hard to clean," while Tracy criticized the Studio Display's stand options:

The Studio Display inexplicably lacks height adjustment. For that, you need to pay an extra $400 for a completely different stand. Perhaps Apple thinks some folks won't need it; whatever the case, a height-adjustable stand should be table stakes at the base price. To make matters worse, the stand options aren't interchangeable, meaning what you buy is what you get. What you can do with the standard stand is tilt the screen from -5 degrees to 25 degrees, which was more effective in providing an optimal viewing angle than I had anticipated. That said, if, like me, you need to stretch your legs and stand at various times throughout the workday, then prepare to spend extra or go with a VESA mount.

Hanson said that "it's these kinds of 'hidden' extra costs that try a lot of peoples' patience when it comes to Apple."

More Reviews

Videos

Related Forum: Mac Accessories

Top Rated Comments

jrlcopy Avatar
21 weeks ago
iJustine is so far up the Apple PR machines ass... Can't even trust a single thing she says now. Some of the footage on her screen from her over-the-shoulder shot looks like it was added in post too?
Score: 82 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GuruZac Avatar
21 weeks ago
$1599 for a non HDR or ProMotion display is a sin.
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spock Avatar
21 weeks ago
I can remember defending the "Apple tax" back when the products they released had the quality to back up the sometimes outrageously overpriced hardware. I think those days have passed, I think Apple is just getting more and more greedy with the Mac.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kylo83 Avatar
21 weeks ago
Apple conned everyone the display is old tech it’s mega over priced for what it is, get the Mateview it’s so cheap and better
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
falkon-engine Avatar
21 weeks ago
A lot of early adopters who 'sold out' initial supply will be pissed off. I'll keep my 4k 144 Hz or 1440p 165 Hz... and a $80 Logitech C930e.

And what was the point of putting an A13 in the monitor... if it doesn't have Apple TV functionality, or airplay, or whatever. $1600 for 60 Hz and subpar webcam???
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jetjaguar Avatar
21 weeks ago

iJustine is so far up the Apple PR machines ass... Can't even trust a single thing she says now. Some of the footage on her screen from her over-the-shoulder shot looks like it was added in post too?
Same with Rene Ritchie. I feel Dave2D is the best of the “reviewers”.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iphone 13 pro review the verge

iPhone 13 Pro Reviews: ProMotion and Longer Battery Life Highlight an Iterative Refresh

Tuesday September 21, 2021 6:30 am PDT by
iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will begin arriving to customers and launch in stores this Friday, September 24, and ahead of time, reviews of the devices have now been shared by several tech websites and YouTube channels. Image Credit: The Verge Key features across the iPhone 13 lineup include a faster A15 Bionic chip, camera improvements, longer battery life, and a smaller notch. The...
2022 lexus nx

Review: 2022 Lexus NX Brings an All-New Infotainment Experience With Wireless CarPlay and Built-In Apple Music

Tuesday November 30, 2021 11:53 am PST by
Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus are starting to roll out an all-new infotainment system with large touchscreens, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, and more, and I recently had a chance to go hands-on with one of the first vehicles to get the new system, the 2022 Lexus NX. My test vehicle was an NX 450h+ AWD plug-in hybrid priced at nearly $60,000 that comes with a spacious 14-inch main...
Air 2022 M1 Feature

iPad Air 5 Reviews: Great Value With M1 Chip at $599 Starting Price

Wednesday March 16, 2022 6:49 am PDT by
The new fifth-generation iPad Air will begin arriving to customers on Friday and, ahead of time, the first hands-on reviews of the device have surfaced. We've rounded up some of the reviews and unboxing videos below. Key new features of the iPad Air include the same M1 chip found in the iPad Pro, 5G connectivity on cellular models, an upgraded 12-megapixel front camera with support for...
nomad base one

Review: Nomad Launches 'Base One' Official MagSafe Charger for $130

Tuesday March 1, 2022 9:02 am PST by
Nomad today announced the launch of the Base One, its first official MagSafe wireless charger. For a long time, Belkin has had the only official MagSafe charging options, but that's starting to change now that third-party accessory companies are able to get Apple's Made for iPhone-certified hardware. The Base One is using MagSafe components sourced directly from Apple, so it is able to...
momentmagsafe

Review: Moment Offers Useful MagSafe Accessories for Photographers

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:55 am PST by
Moment is best known for its line of lenses designed for iPhones, but the company also makes all kinds of other accessories that are designed to improve the iPhone experience. With the launch of MagSafe, Moment designed MagSafe friendly cases and accessories that are useful for those who want to use Moment lenses or photography equipment like tripods with their iPhones. Moment's...
macbook pro 2021 verge

MacBook Pro Reviews: Fast Performance, Added Ports, and ProMotion Displays Check All the Boxes

Monday October 25, 2021 6:16 am PDT by
Apple's new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will begin arriving to customers this Tuesday, October 26, and ahead of time, the embargo has lifted on the first reviews of the notebooks across media publications and YouTube channels. Image Credit: The Verge We've rounded up more video reviews of the new MacBook Pro models in a separate story, while highlights from written reviews can be ...
mac studio size reference

Mac Studio Reviews: Faster Than a $13,000 Mac Pro

Thursday March 17, 2022 6:12 am PDT by
Apple's all-new Mac Studio desktop computer launches this Friday. Ahead of time, the first reviews and unboxing videos for the Mac Studio have surfaced, providing us with a closer look at the machine and its companion Studio Display. Performance While the Mac Studio resembles a larger Mac mini, it is far more powerful. The computer can be configured with the same M1 Max chip available for...
iphone se 3 the verge

iPhone SE Reviews: Impressive Performance in a 'Tired Design'

Monday March 14, 2022 6:28 am PDT by
First impressions of the third-generation iPhone SE have now been shared by select media outlets and YouTubers, providing a closer look at Apple's latest entry-level iPhone. Reviewers praised the device's improved specifications, but were disappointed with its aging design and lack of Night mode. The new model added the A15 Bionic chip from the iPhone 13, 5G connectivity, an upgraded rear...

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Predicted to Start With Increased 256GB Storage Alongside Rumored Price Increase

Wednesday August 10, 2022 11:14 am PDT by
Earlier today, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed iPhone 14 Pro models will be more expensive than iPhone 13 Pro models. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing, but he said that the average selling price of all four iPhone 14 models will increase by about 15% overall. While higher prices would be disappointing for customers, it is possible the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will offer increased...
iOS 16 battery percentage

Apple Limiting iOS 16 Beta 5 Battery Percentage Display to Select iPhones: Here Are the Supported Devices

Tuesday August 9, 2022 2:51 am PDT by
Apple this week brought back one of the most highly requested features from iOS users since the launch of the iPhone X in 2017: the ability to see your battery percentage directly in the status bar. Ever since the launch of the iPhone X with the notch, Apple has not allowed users to show their battery percentage directly in the status bar, forcing them to swipe down into Control Center to...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
ios 16 beta 5 battery percent

iOS 16 Beta 5: Battery Percentage Now Displayed in iPhone Status Bar

Monday August 8, 2022 10:43 am PDT by
With the fifth beta of iOS 16, Apple has updated the battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the specific battery percentage rather than just a visual representation of battery level. The new battery indicator is available on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, with the exception of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12/13 mini. It is also available on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, XS and XS Max, and...
battery percentage ios 16

Here's Why the iPhone Battery Status Icon in iOS 16 Is So Controversial

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:34 am PDT by
In the latest iOS 16 beta, Apple has updated the status bar battery icon on iPhones with Face ID to display the exact percentage remaining rather than just a visual representation of battery level, and while the change has been largely welcomed, some users are unhappy with the way it has been implemented. In iOS 15 and earlier, battery percent has not been present on iPhones that have...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
iPhone 14 Lineup Feature Purple

Color Options for All iPhone 14 Models: Everything We Know

Monday August 8, 2022 3:59 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models are rumored to be available in a refreshed range of color options, including an all-new purple color. Most expectations about the iPhone 14 lineup's color options come from an unverified post on Chinese social media site Weibo earlier this year. Overall, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro's selection of color options could look fairly similar to those of the ...