A real user review of the Apple Studio Display

A real user review of the Apple Studio Display
5k YouTube Video on the Apple Studio Display

I was waiting for this announcement for a while, I've owned The LG UltraFine 5K Display before, and was using an LG 32UL950 just before switching to the Apple Studio Display. I've also long coveted the Apple Pro Display XDR but couldn't bring myself to spend that kind of cash for essentially doing PowerPoint and email most of my day.

Once I saw the announcement I immediately went and bought it, as it turns out a lot of other people were waiting for this display as well seeing the delivery dates are now well into May (at least in Belgium).

I'm also replacing an Apple HomePod Mini stereo pair and switching to using the Apple Studio Display speakers. I've had some issues with the stereo pair in the past and I like to have a minimal setup (or at least less clutter on my desk).

But the speakers were also just touted as really good, and having used the Apple 27 inch Thunderbolt Display in the past I found those speakers to be more than adequate for my day to day use. This time around the Apple Studio Display has a six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio.

Unpacking

The display arrives in a cardboard box protecting the actual packaging

As with the old models the packaging is pretty straightforward to open and close.

The screen appears to sit in the box upside down.

The display is well protected

There is one braided USB-C cable included to connect to your Mac (or Windows PC). It is pretty short and in my case on the wrong side as my MBP is next to my screen on the left.

There is a EU energy rating card included in the box, and the display has an "E" rating.

The power cable is attached to the back of the display.

I went with the standard glass option and the tilt- (non-height) adjustable stand, the tilting action is very smooth and feels very premium.

Setup

I connected the included cable to my MBP and inserted the power plug

A setup process seems be kicked off and the MBP finds the Studio Display.

As expected everything "just works". (I know it is "just a monitor" so that should be expected, but do consider this display contains an Apple A13 chip to provide some advanced capabilities).

Screen

The screen is "only" 60Hz meaning there is no ProMotion, there is also no HDR support, if you feel that is important to you just take that into account. The screen is also glossy (the version I bought) but it is not distracting at all, colors look great. The bezels are a bit bigger than the marketing shots made out to be but still look modern enough.

Brightness goes up to 600 nits and TrueTone is enabled by default, it does have auto-brightness as well.

Sound (speakers and mic)

This is a recording of the LG 32UL950 built-in speakers:

This is a recording of the Apple Studio Display built-in speakers:

Overall impression of the sound is excellent, both in sound quality and loudness.

Mic

The Display has "studio-quality mics" I can only say I used them on a Zoom call and had no complaints, so another item I was able to consolidate was my Jabra headset.

Camera

Test of Centre Stage with Zoom

After connecting the display to my MBP I got a pop-up informing you about Centre Stage.

Since Zoom is my most common app for meetings I tried it right away.

As you can see this works perfectly fine out of the box, after changing positions it takes a few seconds to readjust and center my image.

You can change the settings via Control Center

The image itself is not very good, there already seems to be a software update in the works to fix it: https://www.theverge.com/22981744/apple-studio-display-5k-monitor-webcam-speakers-review

Firmware updates

There is already a firmware update available and this is managed through regular apple software updates... since it says 15.4 I'm assuming this is using the iOS cadence.

Applying the update required rebooting my MBP which took a couple of minutes to complete.

Conclusion

For me this is a great addition to my home office, I like a minimal setup and was able to consolidate my external speakers and my webcam (and headset) in a single device. The screen itself looks and sounds very good to me.

Filip Verloy

Filip Verloy

Field CTO EMEA @ Rubrik Inc.
Belgium