Apple Pro Display XDR is the ultimate monitor for Mac users who are looking for the best possible image quality and HDR performance. While it has impressive specifications that no conventional PC monitor can match, it is also prohibitively expensive for regular consumers. Apple’s Retina Displays have been impressive, but does the Pro Display XDR’s price justify its high quality?
The Studio Display may take the Pro Display XDR’s place in Apple’s lineup, which differs in terms of specifications, so the price difference between the old and new models may be justified. On top of that you have the wonderful Nano-Texture Glass.
32 inches 16:9 – 6016 x 3384 – 218 ppi
IPS miniLeds on 576 zones
Glossy or nano-textured panel
99% DCI-P3 measured
Brightness maxi SDR:
500 cd/m2 – 467 cd/m2 measured
Brightness maxi HDR:
maxi 1600 cd/m2
1 000 000 : 1 measured
HDR10 + HLG + Dolby Vision
Look Up Table:
Panel : 71,8 x 41,2 x 2,7 cm / 28.3 x 16.2 x 1.1 inches
TB 3.0 + USB-C
Yes (specific to Apple)
1 year – Apple USA
Apple’s Pro Display XDR boasts a distinctive, avant-garde aesthetic that’s sleek and sophisticated, but has received mixed reviews from reviewers and users. The monitor has a silver finish that matches Apple’s products, so it is slightly resistant to scratches and aging. While the monitor has no bezel, it still has panel borders that are almost unnoticeable during everyday use.
As a large monitor with a lot of metal in its build, the Apple Pro Display XDR is quite heavy. Although the cabinet is thin despite having a full array inside, it’s not ideal for wall mounting since it needs to be able to breathe. Since the monitor runs quite hot, especially when it is pumping out HDR imagery, this cheese-grater design on the back also serves as passive ventilation.
When it comes to the Apple Pro Display XDR’s build quality, there is no question since Apple has always been good in this regard with all of their products. It doesn’t flex nor feel cheap, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a cosmetic flaw in every nook and cranny of the chassis. The separately-sold stand doesn’t wobble, but when you see its $999 price tag, your head will spin.
Apple Pro Display XDR does not have any buttons on its chassis, so the only way to turn it on or adjust its image settings is by connecting it to a Mac Pro or MacBook Pro. However, Windows PC and laptop users won’t be able to use the monitor as they don’t have the same system design as MacOS. Since it is intended only for Apple users, and since a large segment of the design industry is already using the brand, many will have to turn to alternatives like the Asus PA32UCX.
Considering its price, we’re annoyed by the Apple Pro Display XDR’s lack of a stand. Alternatively, you can purchase a VESA mount for around $199 or purchase it separately for $999. Although the parts are made of metal with excellent quality and precision, they feel like a money grab, considering that at five grand, they won’t hurt the Pro Display XDR’s profitability.
The Apple Pro Display XDR is equipped with Thunderbolt 3.0 and three USB-C ports, which are typical of Apple’s computer products. TB3 ports provide 96-watts of power, so they can safely charge the top-end MacBook Pros while receiving their signal. Although USB-C is becoming more common nowadays, many would have liked more flexibility for the high price that you have to pay.
Adding speakers to the Apple Pro Display XDR would have increased its value per dollar ratio. Now that Apple owns Beats Electronics, it should not be difficult for them to create great sounding speakers for their products. The package doesn’t have a high priority for entertainment, but high-fidelity audio would be perfect since it’s a capable display for HDR movies as well.
We are almost there with the Studio Display, which is a new product but not yet readily available. You can purchase the monitor right now, and it will be available on March 18. Pro Display XDR hasn’t been out that long, having been released at the end of 2019.
The Pro Display XDR’s initial price tag was much higher than the Studio Display’s, and it hasn’t decreased since then. There is more than one variant available for both monitors, which can raise the price.
In terms of pricing, there is a very wide difference between these two monitors, but it is unclear whether Apple is expecting the Studio Display to take the same place in its lineup as the Pro Display XDR. Both of these monitors differ in terms of specifications, so the huge gap between the older model and the newer model may be justified.
Among the upgrades is a height-and-swivel mount for the Studio Display, which adds height adjustment to the monitor’s 30-degree swivel in its base configuration and raises the price by $400. You can also pay an extra fee to receive nano-texture coating on your monitor, but Apple has not yet revealed the cost.
Pro Display XDR can be purchased with standard glass for $4,999, but you’ll have to pay $5,999 for nano-texture glass. Both the Pro Stand and the VESA Mount Adapter are sold separately for $999.
Apple Pro Display XDR features a 32-inch IPS panel with Oxide TFT technology that has a stunning 6016 x 3384 resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, and an unspecified response time. The 500 cd/m2 backlight has a sustained brightness ceiling of 1000 cd/m2 and a peak brightness of 1600 cd/m2, as well as a 1000000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. VESA has not certified this model, but due to these specifications, it is referred to as an HDR 1600 monitor.
Apple Pro Display XDR’s retina display features 218 pixels per inch, making it one of the sharpest desktop monitors on the market. In the past, Retina displays have been regarded as the best for clarity, and this model is no exception. With this monitor, you get a lot of virtual space and crispness, but some users might want to use scaling as a trade-off.
A key feature of the Apple Pro Display XDR is its color accuracy, with 100% sRGB, 99% Adobe RGB, and 99% DCI-P3 gamut coverage. The monitor has a deltaE average of only 0.57 by default, so most users will not need to calibrate it for its intended purpose. There are no noticeable discolorations or deviations on the screen, and the colors are sharp with just the right amount of richness.
We did not feel the need to calibrate the monitor, unlike some of the other consumer monitors on the market. However, you can still calibrate the Apple Pro Display XDR by downloading a Mac-compatible spectroradiometer and its specific calibrator program. Users will be happy with the built-in calibration on MacBooks and Mac Pros, so spending a few thousand dollars more for more fidelity isn’t necessary.
The Apple Pro Display XDR’s SDR brightness is 499 cd/2, but its contrast ratio is already more than 10000:1. As much as 1580 cd/m2 can be achieved in SDR, which quadruples the contrast ratio to around 39600:1. Even though these numbers look made up, they are part of what you pay for when you buy this monitor.
Its FALD backlight enables phenomenal image quality and HDR performance for the Apple Pro Display XDR. Once in a while, you might think it is an OLED panel since it is capable of deep blacks, but that is just its FALD backlight going to work. OLED TVs like the LG CX 48 will be a better and more affordable option if you are seeking an HDR display for entertainment purposes.
There are no noticeable deviations in the backlight spread or leaks around the edges of the Apple Pro Display XDR, indicating excellent panel uniformity. Additionally, the screen doesn’t have any noticeable clouding issues, so you won’t have to worry about the usual flaws that you encounter with regular IPS monitors. For this kind of quality, Apple probably took its quality control to new heights, so we shouldn’t be surprised if the panels used were carefully chosen.
Since it’s pixel response time isn’t as fast as the other IPS monitors we’ve seen recently, Apple Pro Display XDR isn’t designed for gaming. Normally you won’t see smudges or trailing in games like Civilization 6 or League of Legends, but fast-paced games like Warzone via Bootcamp will display some smudges and trailing. Even so, the performance of a high-end consumer display is forgiveable since it was not designed to play high-speed games outside of color-critical work.
Additionally, the Apple Pro Display XDR does not support Adaptive Sync for smoother visuals. It’s not ideal to run games at 6K since you need a lot of GPU power just to reach 60 FPS with a display like this. The input lag sits at 20ms at 60Hz, but that is acceptable since it is not designed for gaming anyway.
As the Studio Display hasn’t been released yet, all we have to go on are the specifications of the two monitors and how they compare. It’s hard to pick a winner at this point – each has its perks. In terms of pure image quality, the Pro Display XDR is likely to win.
Pro Display XDR offers a base brightness of 1,000 nits that can go up to 1,600, whereas Studio Display only offers 600 nits. Even with 600 nits, the Studio Display still places highly in any best-monitor roundup, even if not everyone needs the full 1,600 nits.
The Pro Display XDR is larger than the Studio Display, measuring 32 inches compared to 27 inches. The screen is also higher resolution and is a 6K Retina screen instead of a 5K screen on the Studio Display. Both displays have an adjustable refresh rate of 50-60Hz.
Whether the Pro Display XDR delivers a better image than the Studio Display remains to be seen, but both monitors should satisfy even the most demanding creatives.
Six parts make up this display. First of all, the LCD panel includes a compensation polarizer to reduce light leakage off-axis. On-axis reflection of the standard glass cover is 1.65 percent. Nano-texture on the cover scatters light reflections.
Behind the LCD panel is a microlens array that keeps the brightness and color uniform around the edges of the backlighting component.
A color transformation sheet containing hundreds of layers lies beneath. It converts blue light into white light.
At the bottom is a reflective diffuser plate that reflects light back into the main cavity. Apple-designed this cavity to keep light evenly distributed and to send light upwards.
This display uses 576 individually controlled blue LEDs with a reflective layer to direct light. Blue LEDs are used by Apple because they have a “simple light profile and narrow spectral peak.”
Apple uses a separate timing controller chip on the mainboard to control the LCD and LED layers.
This stack is enclosed in an aluminum chassis that acts as a heat sink to pull heat away from the LED layer and circuit board. A lattice design covers most of the enclosure’s backside to improve airflow over the internal components. Fans quietly pull cool air in and exhaust heat. Approximately 16 dBA of noise is generated by these fans, according to Apple.
It runs on 140 watts, making it Energy Star compliant.
Apple’s Pro Display XDR is an exceptionally accurate and well-built monitor at a price that’s competitive with that of pro monitors of similar quality. It’s so exquisite that swallowing the wildly excessive cost of its Pro Stand is worth it.
Check out our Nanocell Vs OLED Vs QLED & the differences review here.