Mac Studio and Studio Display reviews

Looks like the embargo on Mac Studio and Apple Studio Display reviews dropped this morning.


One tidbit from Jason’s review that I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere:

The old 27-inch iMac was already a little too low for my tastes; this display is even lower.

Definitely validates my decision to go for the adjustable height stand.

I found this bit hilarious:

For 15 years, I’ve used an auto-switching power strip in conjunction with my desktop computers. When the computer turns off, the power strip automatically turns off many other devices—powered speakers, USB hubs, you name it.

The Mac Studio, even with its powerful M1 Max processor, freaked the power strip out. It kept clicking between on and off states because the Mac Studio uses so little power compared to a traditional computer that it dips below the power strip’s threshold.


Joanna Stern’s opinion of the Studio Display is “meh”

Since I am a laptop person who generally uses a second monitor, the Studio Display seemed like the home-office dream of dreams: a beautiful 5K, 27-inch screen that transforms into the ultimate videoconferencing hub. It has a 12-megapixel webcam, six stereo speakers and an A13 Bionic processor (the one found in iPhone 11 models) to enhance camera and audio performance.

Even with all those smarts, the Studio Display turns out not to be a very smart buy. The webcam consistently made me look like I was the star of a ’90s home video and the display quality was often indistinguishable from older, more affordable options.

Apple’s $1,599 Studio Display vs. Other Monitors: You Won’t Get What You Pay For - WSJ (Note: $paywall)


I am both disappointed and relieved. I was counting on the webcam to be great. On the hand, since my lg ultrafine has been working well, I had little reason to upgrade.

I had high hopes for a built in apple webcam powered by an IPhone chip. Clearly everyone at apple is using the logitech webcam with their PRO XDR display.

This seems like a pretty obvious slip up.

Here’s a link to the written Verge review of the Display. And… yeah, it’s pretty damning!

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Since my wife now relies on Web Conferencing the “only” thing that would have validated the Studio Display pricing was if the Web Cam was next level. I would have seriously considered it had it wowed.

That’s $1600 saved and i’m embarassed that Apple dropped the ball on this.

This, from TheVerge, is the nail in the coffin

“It’s $1,599 and adjusting the height is another $400”

When I first saw the Studio Display on the Apple Store site I thought I must be misunderstanding what I was seeing. But, yep:

$400 premium for a piece of really expensive metal.

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Yes, I noticed that too as the measurements became available online. Roughly 2,5" or 6,3cm lower according to my ruler. That expensive stand is one option, but I am now also considering a high-quality VESA arm that can probably be had for less than half the extra cost. It will be some time until I can put in the order, so hopefully the webcam will be patched by then.

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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. On the plus side: No one could see my frizzy hair.

Joanna is priceless. She finds the best ways to explain tech problems (especially her legendary review of the MacBook butterfly keyboards: Appl Still Hasn’t Fixd Its MacBook Kyboad Problm).


Ars Technica has the cleverest title:

Something else I don’t think we knew before: according to Ars the power cable on the Studio Display is non-removable.

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The Wall Street Journal is not impressed:

Apple’s $1,599 Studio Display vs. Other Monitors: You Won’t Get What You Pay For

The sharp new monitor makes a good case for people who are all in on Macs, but the screen doesn’t stand out against competitors and the webcam is bad … The point is, our monitors should do more for us. Hooray for Apple catching onto this. Boo on Apple for charging $1,599 for tech that doesn’t measure up to the marketing.

Ars has the best explanation I’ve ever read for why Mac users want a 5K display:

To help offset that downside and take advantage of Retina screens’ additional density, Apple also added “scaled” display modes to Retina Macs. These scaling modes increase the apparent resolution of your Mac’s screen; Apple no longer needed to offer both a 1440×900 and a 1680×1050 display option for the MacBook Pro because you could scale its screen to look like a 1680×1050 screen, with only a minor loss of detail. The GPU would draw your desktop at 3360×2100 and then scale it down to 2880×1800 to match the native resolution of the display panel. Many MacBooks, including the old 12-inch MacBook and some more recent Air and Pro models, actually shipped using a scaled display mode out of the box.

But one person’s “minor loss of detail” is another person’s “unacceptable loss of detail,” and that’s why some people (particularly those doing graphics and publishing work) don’t like using 27-inch 4K monitors with their Macs. Compared to a 5K iMac, you either lose usable desktop space by running the monitor at its native, non-scaled 3840×2160 resolution, or you give up some detail by using a scaled 5K display mode.

With a native 5K display, that trade-off doesn’t exist, and that’s why some Mac users want there to be at least one good option available to buy. Enter the Studio Display.

It’s worth reading the whole review, which @chrisupchurch already linked to. Good writing.


It even makes me a bit concerned about the adjustable height stand still not getting it high enough. I think there’s less than 5" of vertical variability with that stand.

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It’s the same camera as the MBP so it’s definitely software.

I believe it’s actually the same camera as on iPads with Center Stage. But yeah, we’ve seen good results from this hardware elsewhere, so I figure it’s a bug.

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I built a stand that is only 4” higher than the base iMac, and that’s a fair bit too high for me (and the iMac is too low by a fair bit). 5” is a lot of wiggle room. I think you’ll be alright.

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I think I may go VESA mount as well.

It is frustrating that VESA mounts are built to order and you can’t go back and forth like most monitors lol.


Seems like they’d better get the (software) camera fix out there quickly. Otherwise this thing is going to be stuck with that reputation forever.

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Related to the camera reviews, does anybody know if the Pro Display webcam LG made will work with the Studio Display?