Apple Studio Display vs. Pro Display XDR: The Same, Yet Not

Apple Studio Display vs. Pro Display XDR: The Same, Yet Not

The devil’s not in the details when choosing between these two monitors, it’s right in front of your face.

A sigh of disappointment emerged from a lot of folks when Apple announced its new Studio Display at its March product launch event. Many were hoping the $1,599 monitor would be a smaller, less expensive version of its $4,999 sibling, the Pro Display XDR. And to a certain extent, it is. But it’s still left me waiting for a less-expensive model of the Pro Display XDR.

Rather than say, simply scale back the brightness, reduce the size and simplify the stand of the Pro, which would serve the same audience for far less money, Apple’s created a mainstream monitor that will likely be good enough for the larger group of creators-slash-Apple devotees. I don’t doubt that Apple’s nailed the color accuracy, but there are a lot of unknowns at the moment.

HDR vs. webcam and speakers

Aside from the size, this is the biggest “which one?” gap between the two, and the main characteristics which make them aimed at very different uses. The Pro Display XDR is a purist’s monitor, with a design and feature set geared toward content creation and nothing but. The Studio Display, on the other hand, seems like it wants to be all things to all people; on paper it looks like an iMac without the system attached or an older-generation iPad Pro, right down to having a processor inside.



Apple Pro Display XDR Apple Studio Display
Price (MSRP) $4,999 $1,599
Options Nano-texture glass, $1,000; Pro stand, $999; VESA mount, $199 Nano-texture glass, $299; Tilt-and height-adjustable stand, $399; VESA mount adapter, no extra cost but doesn’t look like it works with Apple’s stands
Size (diagonal inches) 32 27
Panel type IPS with oxide TFT IPS
Backlight type WLED WLED
Local dimming zones 576 n/a
Resolution 6K (6,016×3,384) 5K (5,120×2,880)
Aspect ratio 16:9 16:9
Pixel pitch (ppi) 218 218
Contrast 1m:1 1,200:1
Panel bit depth 10 10
Controls The display has no buttons and requires MacOS 10.15.2 in order to select reference modes; create custom calibrations, adjust brightness, Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG playback The display has no buttons and requires MacOS 10.15.2 or later in order to select reference modes; brightness; calibration
USB-C (out) 3 x USB 2 3 x 10Gbps USB
USB-C Thunderbolt 3 1 1
Accessories included 6.5 ft./2m Thunderbolt 3 cable 3.3 ft./1m Thunderbolt cable
Other features n/a 12-megapixel webcam with 122 degree field of view, six-speaker surround
Release date December 2019 March 2022

The 1,600-nit Pro Display XDR is bright enough for HDR content editing, while the Studio Display doesn’t support HDR, even for playback, as far as I can tell. (The specs don’t list HDR10 support, which is required to understand HDR data.) Yes, 600 nits doesn’t make for great HDR, but I’ve used DisplayHDR 600 displays with Windows and it’s passable.

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