LG 5k died, Studio Display long-term reviews

Hi all,

I’m looking to see on this forum, what people think of their own Apple Studio Displays after a few months. I know, the price is absurd for a display that was basically released in 2014 or 2015, that the camera leaves a lot to be desired, and that the power cable is almost perfectly affixed to the display. But for those that have purchased it, what do you think from a build quality and reliability perspective?

In 2017, I purchased the LG 5K Ultra fine. It has actually served me relatively well, though it hasn’t been problem free. The USB ports are basically useless and I’ve had a single burnt out pixel. That being said, it still mostly worked and the 5K was glorious. As of yesterday though, the display is constantly flickering and seems to be dying a painful death. Given some of the design flaws though, I don’t feel like it’s worth throwing good money after bad and sending it for repairs (sketchy assembly of the Thunderbolt port, unreliable USB ports). So I’m left considering either a new version of the LG 5K (bleh) or the Studio Display (:moneybag::moneybag::moneybag::moneybag:).

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I have Studio Display and a 5k Ultrafine side by side. I really like the SD, it’s just like the old 27" iMac’s display. Nice colors out of the box, bright, with little to no bleeding. The stand looks nice and it feels solid.

My LG’s colors always seem a bit off to me. When I first got it I had to download an app to do a firmware update to fix it because it was really warm. When it’s turned on with a black screen you can tell because there is so much light bleed. And the stand shakes when I type. I do quite like its display, but I don’t like its stand at all.

I like the SD a lot better for the stand and build quality alone. I think the SD has a nicer picture and better color as well, but I don’t think it’s that much better.

I am not sure the SD is worth the price I paid, I have the version that moves up and down as well, but I do really like it and I am glad I bought it.

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I had the LG 5k for about a year before the Studio Display came out. I ordered it the day it came out, so I’ve now had it for almost 6 months. I think the picture quality is pretty close to the LG, but the physical display is much better. The LG stand is wobbly junk. The SD camera is really as bad as people say, so I just use the camera on my MacBook Pro instead. Overall it is a better display and I’m glad I bought it, but if you don’t want to spend the extra money, the LG is a good price for pretty close to the SD display quality. I still use the LG in another room and don’t really feel like it is a big step down (until I touch it and the wobbly stand comes into play).

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Thanks both. I should add that I’m looking to get the VESA mounted option which is another downside of the Studio Display where you must choose the stand at purchase. I guess I have some more research to do, and saving as well :smiley:

I think the Studio Display is a glorious monitor. Sure, it might be overpriced, but it’s wonderful to work on. If mine broke, I would instantly buy another one.

I would probably get the Studio Display. I have the LG and the Apple displays side-by-side. They are pretty similar if you’ve eliminated most of the potential points of difference, though. To do that, you have to VESA mount them, use the LG calibration tool, use an external webcam, use headphones or a headset, keep the brightness lower than maximum, and don’t do much USB passthrough. Each of those things is better on the Apple display.

Plus, as mentioned, the Apple display has a nicer-looking form factor. It also has a nicer VESA mount with better screw holes. And Apple support is better.

So, you have between three and nine reasons to get the Apple display over the LG display, depending on how you use your monitors.

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This seems to be the main problem people have with the Studio Display. Notwithstanding folks who want a decent camera on their monitor, I think they’d sell like hot cakes if the price was a third less.

I had a 2015 27" iMac which, in a moment of madness, I gave to my wife and began my ‘laptop life’. As much as I like the laptop screens, I have been missing the iMac screen ever since I gave it up a few years ago. I still see it on her desk and, until I got my SD, I was regretful every time I did.

Having come from a “less than fine” LG 4K thing (not the Ultrafine range) that got terrible bleed issues that were getting worse over time, the first few days of SD use were glorious. Now, every so often, I realise I am no longer “blown away” by the display. But then I realise that it just means it’s doing its job so well that I never think about it.

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It’s an excellent display that’s not as inaccurately priced as you would think. Far better than the LG displays, and the built-in speakers are better than the iMac Pro’s.

If the display had HDR like some folks want, it would cost double.

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Two things worth checking before giving up on current display - maybe you already have.

  1. Try a different Thunderbolt 3 cable. 2. Make sure there is no wifi router near the display. Early LG 5k models lacked shielding and wifi interferes with display.

I own 2 Studio Displays. I have one with the fixed height stand sitting on a desk shelf, and one on a VESA mount monitor arm.

The SD is definitely overpriced; there is a real Apple tax here.

I continue to have trouble with sound output on one of my SDs and not the other. I have tried the “trick” of unplugging everything from the back of the monitor, disconnecting from power, and waiting a few minutes, and replugging, to no avail. I have not upgraded the firmware as when I try to do so from Software Update I get an error that I am not connected to the internet. Since I am demonstrably connected to the internet, and I have found no help for this error message on The Google, I have been stuck. Eventually when I upgrade the version of MacOS hopefully this will work.

The camera actually does not look all that bad to me, and I have had no complaints in Zoom or Webex meetings, but maybe everyone just assumes I normally look bad, so…

I find the display to be the best I have used, and I am extremely happy with the display quality, which is pretty much what I had prior to Apple Silicon when I was using an iMac Pro.

I am overall very happy with the SD despite the above glitches, but it does require that you accept the “Apple tax.” In the same way, I am way happier with my new MBAir M2 than with my work issued WinTel laptop (although there isn’t really a comparison when you compare Apple Si vs Intel and MacOS vs Windows for me, the former being objective comparisons and the latter personal preference), so I pay the tax to have an MBAir and not a much cheaper WinTel laptop.

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I’m surprised to see so many people coming in and saying the screen has a huge Apple tax. I would say the “Apple tax,” if there is any at all, is merely the difference in price between the LG 5k and the Studio Display 5k.

The SD looks more expensive than other 27" displays, but it’s got a wider colour gamut than most, it’s not built out of plastic, and—most importantly—it’s 5K instead of 4K. There are no other displays on the market at this price that do what it does. If you were willing to sacrifice the aluminum, you could look at the LG, but many folks have had issues with the LG’s reliability over the years (as you’ve learned).

Displays are a funny thing. I bought a TV that was 10x the price of most of my friends’ televisions. It’s bigger than most of their TVs, sure, but what I was paying for was OLED technology, colour accuracy, and good response times for refresh rates during movies and video games. So a friend of mine might say I paid the “brand name tax,” but I didn’t: I paid for the additional value of this product compared to theirs.

I’ll also note that, just like the SD, friends or family who are over never say “my TV/monitor is nicer than this and I paid way less.” In the case of the Studio Display, it’s “Wow! This is really nice!” Because it is.

I’m not saying the Studio Display is perfect. But if you want thousands of zones of local dimming with HDR capabilities and a nice stand at a Retina resolution, you get closer to the XDR pricing. That’s true for gaming monitors with those features too.

I mean, we all pay “Apple tax” for iPhones and don’t seem to mind.

Anyway, my ten cents (because I’ve clearly opined for more than two cents of time) is that the Studio Display is an excellent display that feels a little expensive for what it is, but I would not be willing to sacrifice anything it offers to get it cheaper.

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To me, the articulated stand is the part that is way overpriced.
The store is down at the moment, but as I recall, the articulated stand is $400 more.
Same for the XDR display.

I did try a different cable but I completely forgot about the wifi router interference and that is something that has recently changed. I’m going to try this later tonight. You may have just (temporarily) saved me $2000 CAD. :crossed_fingers:

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I do think there is an Apple tax here (and I guess I’m the one who brought it up) because I do think the monitor is overpriced. I also do think that Apple can/should have done a better job with the built in camera. This is a premium monitor built with some premium components, but also some clearly budget level components. I also support the opinion that the base monitor stand is shortchanged at this price point. I would also point out that the iMac had a similar display and had ability for the end user to change from the built-in stand to the VESA mount (albeit with a kit costing about $100). That technology could have been built into this monitor, I would think.

I also agree that there is really no other screen available to challenge this screen other than the LG 17” 5K - and I am assuming the screens are equivalent, which I do not know. That is why I spent the money. You do get what you pay for.

Perhaps by analogy: There is also a Tesla tax. There are other electric cars, some with better functionality than the Tesla, for less money. They are arguably a better value for the dollar. However, (IMHO) there is an elegance to the Tesla that is lacking in those lower-cost options, so if you want what the Tesla brings to the table, you pay for it. I don’t own an EV, but if I were purchasing at this point, I think I would be less happy with the lower cost alternatives even though I would be very happy with the cost savings. YMMV, and that’s why it is best for all of us that there are options.

I am very happy with my Studio Displays despite the cost and my problems with the sound (if it doesn’t get fixed with the firmware update I may have to make a Genius Bar trip), and so for me it was worth the extra cost, and I am fortunate that I was able to make room in the budget for two of them.

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I closed my eyes and ordered a Studio Display. Yes it’s overpriced, but there really is nothing else better out there. Make sure you upgrade the firmware if you get one.

My take would be that it lives up to the initial reviews. I like mine and wouldn’t go back, although I wish it had a built in ethernet port.

The Studio Display is the best monitor I’ve ever owned. Looks great sounds great. I’ll never spend enough to get the Pro Display XDR , but it’s more than enough for me.

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I’m happy to report that the wifi issue seems to have been the cause. I’m still not ruling out a Studio Display, but I can stretch this monitor for a while longer which is great.

Thanks everyone else as well for your input! I like @adx’s strategy. Close eyes, hit “Buy”.

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For writing code it is simply the very best display that I have ever used. It produces absolutely wonderfuly sharp and clear text and allows me to see lots of it at once. There are also no distracting colour variations across the screen.

The camera is “fine”, but definitely the most lacking feature. Everyone I ask tells me that I look just fine to them.

I spend a lot of time looking at my primary display, and to me the quality of what I see is worth the money that I paid :slight_smile:

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I would second this entirely. I’d also add that, while the Studio Display’s camera is suboptimal, it is shockingly better than many others I see people using on calls. Apple should do better with their cameras, but they could also be doing worse.

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