In March 2022, along with the new desktop Mac lineup “Mac Studio”, a brand new Mac genuine display “Studio Display” appeared.
The Studio Display is a 27-inch 5K Retina display developed by Apple. Featuring a mid-frame compatible camera and a 6-speaker system, it’s great that it can be used with a desktop Mac just like an iMac. It can also be used as the home screen on MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs.
This time, I bought the Studio Display at the same time as the Mac Studio, and it took about a week to replace the 27″ iMac I’ve been using.
In this review, not only the basic parts like the usability of the Studio Display, but also more ideas to discover and use than I thought possible, so I want to introduce them too.
· Mac Studio Review. Will the new heavyweight desktop Mac M1 Max / M1 Ultra replace the 27-inch iMac?
“Studio Monitor” Reviewer Specifications
Studio Display offers a variety of display types and stand options.
This time I bought the cheapest combination of “Standard Glass” + “Adjustable Tilt Stand” at 199,800 yen (tax included).
As a more advanced option, if you choose “nano-textured glass” with less screen reflection than standard glass, or a stand that can adjust not only the tilt (tilt) but also the height, the price will vary, so buy it. Be careful in this case.
There’s also a VESA mount adapter for mounting on a monitor arm for the same price as if you opted for the standard “Adjustable Tilt Stand”. Once purchased, the user cannot change it later, so it is best to double-check how to install it in your home environment when purchasing.
I bought it as an iMac replacement and thought a “tilt-adjustable stand” would suffice, so I bought it.
With this Studio Display, the current lineup of Apple monitors is the Studio Display and Pro Display XDR released in 2019.
Let’s check the design now.
“Studio Display” is a true Apple external monitor for Mac and iPad. Since it has built-in speakers, a microphone and camera, and a screen, it has the appeal of building a simple environment with just this without installing other gadgets.
Featuring a 27″ display with 5K resolution, it’s the perfect size for your desktop. Thanks to the full-screen design with narrow borders up, down, left, and right, watching movies and TV shows is quite immersive.
The shell design also adopts the flat design that is the mainstream of recent Apple products. A really cool design, just put it on your desk. It’s not inferior to the high-end model, the Pro Display XDR.
Speaking of the 27-inch 5K Retina display, the 27-inch iMac that was discontinued the other day has a display of the same size and resolution. The 27-inch iMac has thick bezels and a solid “chin” below the display, so it’s a slightly dated design in a modern age when bezels are commonplace.
On the other hand, this Studio Display gives the impression of being slim and simple. Of course, it’s not the successor to the 27-inch iMac, but that model is no longer on sale, and the only product that will accept 27-inch iMac users is the Studio Display in the current lineup. At least in terms of design, it’s one of the ideal form factors that 27-inch iMac owners can only dream of.
|27-inch iMac||studio show|
|high||51.6 cm||47.8 cm|
The main body measures 47.8 H x W 62.3 x D 16.8 cm and weighs 6.3 kg (with the standard stand). It’s a size smaller than the 27-inch iMac, and instead of a stooped back, it’s a thin, veneer-like design, so the body doesn’t stick out too much, and you can use your desk spaciously.
|24-inch iMac||studio show|
|width||54.7 cm||62.3 cm|
|depth||14.7 cm||16.8 cm|
* 4.48kg for 8-core GPU
Compared to a 24-inch iMac. Since screen sizes can vary, the Studio Display is still wider but surprisingly the same height and depth. This is probably because the Studio Display doesn’t have a “chin” section below the display on the 24″ iMac.
The thickness of the display itself is about 1cm for the 24″ iMac, about 2cm for the Studio Display, which is a bit thicker. The reason is unknown, but it may be related to the heat dissipation structure and the size of the installed speaker unit.
There are countless holes on the top and bottom of the screen. It appears to be mostly a heat-removing vent, and when you bring your hand close you can confirm that a slight wind is blowing. Also, the sound from the built-in speakers seems to come from here.
The length from the bottom of the monitor to the desktop is approximately 11.5 cm. You can’t put anything too high, but if you’re using a Mac mini or Mac Studio, it’s easy to put in.
By the way, the Studio Display would be a different size with a stand that not only adjusts the tilt but also the height, and a VESA mount adapter. Please see the table below for detailed dimensions.
|Stand (tilt adjustment)||Stand (tilt/height adjustment)||VESA installation|
|high||47.8 cm||Minimum: 47.9cm
|width||62.3 cm||62.3 cm||62.3 cm|
|depth||16.8 cm||20.7 cm||3.1cm|
The screen can be tilted up to 5 degrees forward and up to 25 degrees backward. If you actually tilt it to the maximum angle, it will look like the picture above, so use it by tilting it to your liking depending on the work environment and the height of the chair.
Above is the back view of the Studio Display. A large Apple logo is placed above the stand so you can feel it’s a real monitor.
The case is made of aluminum, which complements other Apple products. Especially with the silver shell Mac mini and Mac Studio have a high affinity.
The stand part has a hole through which the power cord is pulled out. By the way, unlike the 24-inch iMac, the power cord doesn’t come off the main unit, so the cable can get stuck during installation and take some time. It might be a good idea to carry the cable with the monitor.
All onboard ports are concentrated on the left side of the back. From the inside, the Thunderbolt 3 compatible USB-C port x1 and USB-C port x3 4 ports are all installed. Connect to the device using Thunderbolt 3.
The Thunderbolt 3 port supports output up to 96W, so you can output your screen while charging your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is tough, but the 14-inch MacBook Pro can charge close to full speed.
The specifications of each port are as follows. By the way, other ports such as HDMI port and Display Port are not installed.
|port name||number of ports||Specification|
|Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port||1||For host upstream (96W output)|
|USB-C port||3||Downstream peripheral connections such as storage (up to 10Gb/s)|
A center frame compatible camera is mounted on top of the screen. Plus, it has a microphone and speaker so you can make video calls even with a Mac connected.
The screen size installed in the Studio Display is 27 inches diagonally. 5K high resolution at 5,120 x 2,880 pixels (218ppi). The screen ratio is 16:9 and the screen brightness is up to 600 nits.
Since it’s 5K and 27 inches, the work environment is expansive and easy to use. Even with just one monitor, it’s quite possible to have multiple windows open and multitasking.
Compatible with wide color gamut (P3), True Tone technology that automatically adjusts the screen’s color temperature based on the surrounding environment, and screen specifications familiar from Apple products such as Mac and iPad. There is also an automatic brightness adjustment function.
When I actually connect the Mac Studio and output video, it still displays photos and videos just fine because it’s a 5K monitor. The large 27-inch screen allows you to enjoy movies and other content to the fullest, and the colors of photos and videos are correctly expressed, making it ideal for editing work. The accuracy is the same as the 27-inch iMac. 24-inch iMac
The only pity, though, is that the Studio Display doesn’t support HDR. If you’re particular about HDR support, you’ll have to buy another genuine Apple monitor, the “Pro Display XDR”. Note, however, that the Pro Display XDR doesn’t have a camera or speakers, so you’ll need to buy a webcam or external speakers if necessary.
Also, I chose glass as normal this time, but if you’re concerned about reflections, you can work more comfortably by choosing “Nano Textured Glass”. The amount will increase by 43,000 yen, but if you need it, please select it as an option when purchasing.
The surprising appeal of the Studio Display is the good sound quality of the built-in speakers. On the bottom of the Studio Display, there’s a 6-speaker system with a forced-scan sales subwoofer that’s also used in the 24-inch iMac.
The 6-speaker system consists of four forced-scan sales woofers and two high-performance tweeters for Dolby Atmos and 3D audio. You can experience high-quality music that you can’t imagine coming out of the monitor.
I really heard voices. As for the trend of the sound, the bass is clear and the sound comes out firmly in the mid-to-high range, so you can enjoy a powerful and vibrant sound overall. There are still limitations compared to external speakers, but at this level of performance you seem to be able to fully enjoy content where sound is important, such as movies.
The 24-inch iMac also has a 6-speaker system, but when you compare the sound, you’ll find the Studio Display produces a clearer and more comfortable sound. There may be differences, such as the size of the installed speaker units.
Finally, I compared it to the HomePod (discontinued), which offered the best sound quality in Apple’s audio products. Since the HomePod is a product that is very particular about sound, it can produce faithful sound in any range of high, mid and low. The soundstage is wide and the sound spreads fluffy around the subject, but on the other hand, the Studio Display has an image of the sound coming straight from the tablet, and I was under the impression that the sound spread was a bit subpar…as expected, it didn’t seem to match the HomePod.
However, the Studio Display, which is supposed to be a display, is in some sense abnormal compared to the HomePod, which is a high-quality speaker. It can be highly appreciated for its extreme performance as a speaker with a built-in display. The Studio Display is also recommended for sound quality, as you can create a very luxurious music environment by syncing with HomePod or HomePod mini via AirPlay and playing music.
By the way, when playing a piece of music that supports spatial audio on the Studio Display, the sound going down is spread horizontally and the flat sound becomes a bit stereoscopic. If you use Apple Music, listen to spatial audio compatible music on the Studio Display.
The Studio Display has an “A13 Bionic chip” built into it, which is also installed in the iPhone 11 series, and has a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera at the top of the display.
The camera supports a “center frame,” which automatically places moving objects into the frame through machine learning. It’s already a familiar feature on the iPad, but it’s now available on the Mac by connecting it to the Studio Display. The central frame can be used for FaceTime video calling and compatible video calling apps like Zoom.
With the help of a friend, I actually checked the quality of the camera over a FaceTime video call. The center frame worked well and I didn’t seem to get out of the frame as I walked around the room.
However, when I view the video during a call, there is noise throughout. Originally, the number of pixels of 12MP is the same as that of the front camera of the iPad series, which should look good, but the picture quality seems to be obviously inferior to the iPad series.
In this regard, Apple seems to be aware of this issue and will fix it in a future update. It looks like we’ll have to live with image quality a bit until the update is delivered.
Also, regarding the sound during calls, there is less noise thanks to the built-in microphone supporting directional beamforming, which seems to provide clear sound that is easy to hear.
I think it’s possible to distribute podcasts with this built-in mic, but if you want to distribute narration, it’s best to bring in a full-fledged external mic. Check the sound quality of the built-in microphone first, and consider purchasing an external microphone if necessary.
Behavior when connecting an iPad or Mac
When outputting your Mac or iPad’s screen to the Studio Display, use a cable to connect the Mac or iPad’s Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port to the Thunderbolt 3 port on the back of the Studio Display.
The Thunderbolt 3 interface of Studio Display also supports 96W power supply, which is a specification that can output the screen while charging at a high speed. Even when connected to the Studio Display while not fully charged, the screen can be extended without issue.
The Studio Display comes with a Thunderbolt cable for connection, so you don’t need to prepare it separately. However, the bundled cable is 1 m long, so if you want to output video from a Mac that is farther away, consider preparing a longer cable or changing the location of the Mac.
The Studio Display itself doesn’t have a power button, and if you plug your Mac or iPad into an outlet with the power cord that’s connected to the console, the screen will automatically show up.
The 3 ports other than the Thunderbolt 3 ports are normal USB-C ports that you can use to connect peripherals and devices to a connected Mac and more through the Studio Display.
You can use it like a hub by connecting it to the port on the Studio Display side instead of the port on the Mac itself. If you connect peripherals that you only use when using an external monitor, you should be able to start working smart.
Is it possible to connect to a Windows PC/Game console?
The Studio Display is designed to output video through the built-in Thunderbolt 3 port, and has no HDMI port or Display Port.
Modern Macs are basically equipped with Thunderbolt 3 ports that support video output, so no problem, but is it possible to connect devices other than Macs?
First, I checked my Windows PC and I was able to output video on my Windows PC with Thunderbolt 3 ports without any problems. Even a PC without Thunderbolt may be able to output to a screen if there is an adapter that converts to USB-C.
However, keep in mind that some features, such as midframe and True Tone technology, are not available when connected to a Windows PC, so they can only be used as an extended monitor when connected to a Windows PC.
In addition, although some PCs can output images once, they cannot be stabilized afterwards, and compatibility may be questioned. In that sense, using this product as an external monitor for a Windows PC is arguably unrealistic.
First, firmware updates also require a connection to a Mac, so even if you’re using it as a monitor for your Windows PC, that’s assuming you have a Mac too.
Maybe some people want to connect consoles like PS5, Xbox Series X|S or Nintendo Switch to Studio Display.
Since these consoles basically output video through the HDMI port, they can’t connect directly to the Studio Display connected through the Thunderbolt 3 port.
If you want to output the video of the game console, you can use the HDMI to USB-C adapter, or you can use the capture board to output the video.
At present, few manufacturers have confirmed the operation of Studio Display with HDMI→USB-C conversion adapter, so if you want reliable output, it is recommended to use a capture board.
When I try to use the “GENKI ShadowCast” I have, I successfully output Nintendo Switch video to the Studio Display. Since it’s a capture board, rather than outputting video directly to a monitor, it will be a format for projecting video through dedicated software on the Mac, but playback itself has been confirmed to be done without issue.
However, since GENKI ShadowCast can only output up to 1080p @ 60fps, you can play the highest quality with Nintendo Switch, but not with PS5 and Xbox Series X|S, which can output 4K. If you want to play higher quality Gaming, you should buy another product that supports 4K output, but it would be wiser if you didn’t bother buying another monitor.
・ GENKI ShadowCast Review | Play games like Nintendo Switch on your laptop screen
Which monitor from Studio Display looks good?
Currently, I’m working in a triple display environment where the Mac Studio’s main monitor is the Studio Display, and the LG’s 27″ 4K monitor “27UD58-B” x2 is combined as a sub-display.
The current work environment is a temporary set of monitors at home, and I’m thinking of seriously looking for compatible monitors to build a solid work environment.
As a first step, I searched for external monitors currently on the market that seemed compatible with Studio Display. Then, it feels like a good match for the 28.2-inch 4K display “Huawei MateView” sold by Huawei.
The reason is that Studio Display doesn’t support HDR, while MateView does. Basically, when using Studio Display as the main, you can use MateView for viewing when viewing HDR compatible content.
In addition, in terms of screen ratio, the screen ratio of Studio Display is 16:9, while the screen ratio of MateView is 4:3. Like horizontal content, 4:3 is characterized by the ability to present vertical content in a broad way, so you should be able to play to your strengths and work efficiently.
Lastly, the MateView also has a lot of wireless features, like wireless charging and Bluetooth connectivity, and it’s appealing to extend the Mac Studio and Studio Display environments. If you want to reduce costs, you can choose the “HUAWEI MateView 28 Standard Edition” that does not support wireless functions.
My only concern is that the MateView doesn’t support VESA mounts and I can’t use the display arm. You may need to use both on both legs, or you may need to mount the VESA mount adapter on the Studio monitor and attach it to the monitor arm so that only the MateView stands on your leg.
If you find a monitor that looks good other than the MateView, I’d appreciate it if you could give us your opinion in the comments section.
Bottom line: It may be a display married to Apple, but its performance is recognized
It’s been about a week and a half since I got my Mac Studio and Studio Display.
I actually use Studio Display. Although there is currently a problem of low camera image quality, considering that it will be resolved through updates in the future, I think the overall image quality is still good.
I especially like the slim design and 27-inch screen size. It fits perfectly on my desk, doesn’t go to waste, and I can work spaciously with the screen size I’m used to with a 27-inch iMac. Because it’s genuine, you can’t miss the point that it’s compatible with Mac mini and Mac Studio.
However, the part that many people might hesitate to buy is that Studio Displays tend to be Mac/iPad-only monitors. A Windows PC with a Thunderbolt 3 port is nearly impossible to connect, but since you can’t connect a game console directly, it’s difficult to operate it as an external monitor that can be used for any purpose.
I think if the Studio Display had an HDMI port or even a Display Port, it would be a near-perfect monitor, but that’s not realistic as it would have to consider supporting devices other than Apple products. this is possible.
High prices are also a bottleneck. The cheapest is around 200,000 yen, which is more expensive than some Macs. Especially now that the 27-inch iMac is no longer available, if you buy a Mac Studio and Studio Display as a replacement, your budget will be almost double that of the 27-inch iMac itself. Considering features like 5K high resolution, high picture quality, and high-quality speakers, I don’t think it’s expensive, but 200,000 yen per monitor should be reasonable.
Based on these, I wonder if Studio Display can be recommended for those who value compatibility between Apple products, and more specifically, those who are considering consolidating their desktop environment with Apple products. The initial investment will be large, but once you’ve purchased a Studio Display, you can save money by replacing your mothership Mac every few years.
Personally, I would recommend Mac Studio as a companion to Studio Display. If you want to take it outdoors and at home, the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are recommended. If you work from home alone, you probably own a Mac mini.
It’s pretty much a Mac-only monitor, so buying it might mean marrying Apple, but it’s a performance endorsement. If you’re going to buy an Apple product, it’s worth more than what you paid for.
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