Apple Studio Displays

Apple Studio Displays

Thanks to ordering the VESA mount option, I’m too late to the party to do a spec review, but I want to address the mood in the room. The internet sure went on a hot take rampage with these displays, didn’t they? There was a lot of disappointment and exasperation flying around. Here’s why I think a lot of the frustration is futile.

Retina is Everything

Apple has long since spoiled us with gorgeous displays that shielded our delicate eyes from those horrible, horrible pixels. If you’re committed to the Apple ecosystem, you likely haven’t had to subject yourself to less-than-perfect text in years.

For those of us with jobs (programmers, writers, accountants, etc.) that require us to be in front of our displays for long periods, crisp text and clean edges in our UIs help reduce the strain put on our eyes. I don’t have anything scientific backing up that claim; I just know that I would get headaches staring at low PPI screens during Apple’s transition to a full Retina lineup. I couldn’t mismatch screens with different pixel densities because it would fatigue my eyes.

So, forget the speakers, chip, and the, ahem, webcam, and let’s agree that the name of the game here is an actual 5K Retina display. If you can settle for lower pixel densities, then these Studio Displays were never going to be for you.

The Market

Before the Apple Studio Displays release on March 8th, 2022, if you lived in the United States, you had a single choice if you wanted a pure 5K display that ran well on a Mac: the LG 27 Inch UltraFine 5K. That’s it!. To reiterate, I’m not a hardware guy, but the lack of available options tells me that these must be hard and expensive to produce without the market demand to justify the cost.

For me, this is where the rubber meets the road. People can complain about the lack of ProMotion, needing more nits, or local dimming, but Retina is the ball game, and Apple is only the second player that’s even bothered to show up.

I never progressed any further in my decision to purchase twin Apple Studio Displays. What’s the point? The only other option is a monitor that came out in 2016, and it’s only $300 less expensive. Honestly, the LG and Apple displays are both expensive, and I’d rather rock the first-party option. Competition, or the lack thereof, is a very real innovation barometer, and there’s not much going on in 5K land.

Could Apple have done more? Most likely. Is anyone else doing better? No. It seemed like the majority of the negative reviews were clamoring for the largest possible margin of victory rather than just taking the “W” and going home satisfied with the nicest display in its category.

In the End

(🎶 it doesn’t even matter. R.I.P. Chester)

The displays are great! The text is clear and allows me to work for long hours. I needed more screen real estate than a laptop could provide, so these puppies do the trick. They fulfilled a need I had, and I’m not concerned with all the noise generated along with their release. If you’re looking for a Retina display that works well and lives up to Apple’s design standards, feel free to take the plunge.

My Setup

Computer desk with laptop
Every story has a beginning

Boxes for VESA mount arms
VESA mount arms

VESA arm pieces
VESA arm pieces

Computer desk with VESA mount arms attached.
Fitting the arms. I’ll need to adjust once I get the displays.

Apple Cinema Display Boxes
Time to unbox the Apple Studio Displays

Two Apple Studio Display boxes.
Twins, how cute!

Apple Studio Displays on their arm mounts.
Test fitting the displays on the mounts.

Apple Studio Displays with covers off.
Made sure to peel off the covers REAL slow.

Dual Apple Studio Displays
Dual Apple Studio Displays

Apple Studio Displays at a different angle.
I’ll still play with the positioning a little, but they’re mostly where I want them at this point.

Written by Matt Haliski
Consumer of tacos