The Verge: Apple Studio Display A Confounding Miss

Good to see that SDR displays are finally being recognized as outdated tech by reputable reviewers. The Verge had this to say about Apple’s Studio Display:

“The real issue is that $1,599 is a lot of money, and here, it’s buying you panel tech that is woefully behind the curve. Compared to Apple’s other displays across the Mac, iPhone, and iPad lineup, the Studio Display is actually most notable for the things it doesn’t have.

Let’s start with the backlight. In general, the best modern displays create true blacks by cutting all the light coming from the black parts of the screen. There are several ways to do this, and Apple itself uses different tech across its high-end products to produce true blacks in various ways: OLED screens on the iPhones, advanced local dimming on the Pro Display XDR, and Mini LED display backlights on the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro. 

The Studio Display has… well, it has none of that. It’s a regular old LED backlight that lights the entire screen all the time, and the darkest black it can produce is basically gray. In normal use in a well-lit room, it looks fine enough — LCD displays have looked like this for a long time now — but if you’re watching a movie in a dark room, the letterboxing will look light gray. There are $379 TVs with more advanced local-dimming backlights than this.

The Studio Display is also notable for being an SDR display, with no HDR modes to speak of. Apple’s high-end iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops all support HDR, but the Studio Display tops out at 600 nits, and Apple doesn’t offer an HDR mode in the software at all. Again, this comes back to the ancient backlight tech: true HDR requires local dimming, and the Studio Display doesn’t have it”.

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