Studio Display review: The Apple display we need, but with an ‘old BlackBerry’ webcam

After a busy week of Apple news, we’re now taking a closer look at Apple’s all-new Studio Display. With a 5K resolution at 27 inches and a price of $1599, the new Studio Display is (mostly) well received by reviewers – but one thing you’ll have to acknowledge is the lack of competition in this segment.

Studio Display Reviews

write for six colors, Jason Snell explains that the new Studio Display is a “welcome return” for Mac users. Snell explains that while you can find cheaper and bigger monitors on the market, the Studio Display is the sweet spot for Mac users:

Are there cheaper monitors? Sure. Are there larger monitors? Yeah. But the Studio Display is perfectly suited to modern Macs. There are definitely new frontiers for Apple to exploit here – I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a high dynamic range version of this display in a year or two, for a hefty price – but a 5K display at 27 inches is not not tired; it’s tried and true.

I can quibble about the $400 upsell on the adjustable stand and a little roll my eyes at Apple overrating the quality of its speakers and microphones. Still, the fact remains: if you have a Mac and want a good external display, there’s finally an obvious answer. Welcome home, Apple Studio Display. Never leave again.

Gizmodo has some thoughts on the IPS panel inside the Studio Display:

Apple has calibrated this panel well so that the white balance and colors are accurate from the start. It’s just very pleasant to watch. I flipped through those 4K wildlife videos you’ve probably watched on the back wall of a Best Buy, and the crisp detail and vivid colors looked phenomenal. Viewing angles are excellent, and in my opinion, Apple went goldilocks size for a work/gaming monitor by going for a 27-inch screen.

One of the coolest features of the Studio Display is its built-in webcam, which supports Center Stage, among other features. The edgehowever, was not impressed with the quality of this camera:

The bad part is that I have no idea what’s going on with this webcam. Apple has a long history of producing amazing images with 12-megapixel sensors and A-series chips, and for some reason this thing just looks awful.

In fact, it looks awful in good light, and downright wretched in low light. I tried it connected to the Mac Studio and on my MacBook Pro running macOS 12.3, and on both machines it produced a grainy, noisy image with hardly any detail. I’ve tried it in FaceTime, in Zoom, in Photo Booth, in QuickTime – you name it, it’s the same sad picture quality. Turning off the Center Stage feature that follows you around the room doesn’t help. Turning portrait mode on and off doesn’t help.

Complaints about the webcam have also been substantiated by other reviewers. write for The Wall Street Journal, Joanna Stern compares the quality of the camera to an “old Blackberry”.

Yet Apple’s camera consistently produced grainy, washed-out images. There were so many missing details in some shots that it reminded me of the camera on my old BlackBerry. On the positive side: no one could see my frizzy hair.

For confirmation, I again brought additional eyes. I recorded webcam footage on the Studio Display (12 megapixels), an iPhone 11 Pro (12 megapixels), a 14-inch MacBook Pro (2 megapixels), and the LG 5K monitor (2 megapixels). I shared frames with a group of colleagues, not saying which ones were from whom. The group was unanimous, ranking the Apple Studio Display webcam dead last. Naturally, the iPhone came out on top.

More Studio Display reviews:

Studio Display How-To Videos

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