Apple’s external display situation remains a hot mess. They offer a mismatched 24″ LG screen, an ugly 27″ LG screen with inconsistent build quality and no glass above the LCD panel, and a $6,300 (CAD) 32″ “pro display” with an “optional” $1,300 stand. To make matters worse, this $7,600 setup was outshone this week by the new 13″ iPad Pro, which offers a much better backlighting system with 2,596 local dimming zones. The pro display offers 576.
I followed that up with:
I’ve been complaining about this display problem since 2019, and I don’t want to complain about it for much longer. If somebody who works at Apple somehow ends up reading this, here’s a note for you: it would be easy for you to fix this. Tear the computer out of the iMac and sell me just the screen. I (and I am sure many others) will give you up to $2,000 for this product. This is easy money for you. Please take it.
Finally, in the year of our Lord 2022, Apple sells a 5K, 27”, first-party display with 218PPI and a factory-calibrated P3 colour gamut. In Canada, it starts at $2,000. (Did somebody at Apple read my blog post?)
I’ve seen a lot of reviews that compare the Studio Display to other monitors. “There are lots of cheaper options that are just as good,” is the common thought.
There are not.
If your priority is 5K resolution at 27”, with a PPI of over 200 pixels, you really only have one other option: the LG Ultrafine. It’s the option Apple previously sent Mac users to. I owned one, and it’s definitely not great.
The stand is wobbly. Sometimes the monitor doesn’t turn on, or flickers on and off until you unplug the laptop and plug it back in. It creaks when you adjust the height, and it wobbles and vibrates every time I hit a key on the keyboard (I’m a loud typist).
The LG Ultrafine is $1300 USD ($1,750 CAD), and one thing not included in that price is reliability. (It shares that theme with the butterfly keyboard.)
In fact, that monitor/laptop combination was so bad that I sold both and bought an iMac Pro instead, relegating myself to primarily work at a desk for the past few years. I have a MacBook Air — a machine that love — but I use it exclusively when I’m away from my desk. Before I work on it, I have to spend a lot of time syncing git repos, server databases, raw photos in Capture One or Lightroom, and creative assets like font files before I can get to work. I really miss having a single computer with all my stuff on it, all the time.
So I ordered a Studio Display the minute they were available, along with a 16” MacBook Pro with M1 Max. My display should be coming sometime in the next couple weeks, and the laptop arrived a week ago.
I’ll have more thoughts to share on both products later, but for now I just wanted to say I put my money where my mouth is. Dear Apple: thanks for listening.