Studio Display review: An Apple monitor where “5K” doesn’t describe the price

By | March 17, 2022

Enlarge / Apple’s Studio Display. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Ever since Apple released the $5,000-and-up Pro Display XDR in 2019, rumors have persisted that the company was also planning a more affordable screen to fill the same niche as its Thunderbolt Display. You could connect the Pro Display XDR to a MacBook Air that costs one-fifth its price, and Apple always went out of its way to mention that M1 MacBooks were technically capable of driving its 6K display resolution. But it wasn’t exactly an appealing value proposition.

Enter the new Studio Display. With a design that strongly recalls 2011’s Thunderbolt Display and a name that harks back to its late-’90s namesake, the display is tailor-made for anyone who wanted the 5K screen from the dearly departed 27-inch iMac without the computer that was attached to it.

It’s certainly not for everyone, and at $1,599, it’s not the first external display I’d recommend for all Mac owners (especially people who tend toward the cheaper Mac mini and MacBook Air end of the spectrum). But as its enthusiastic reception from several Ars staffers suggests, it will find an audience by virtue of being a 5K Apple-branded monitor, and its design and features are a solid step up from the 5K LG UltraFine display that Apple has sold for the last few years.

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