Yes, I know. The Apple Studio Display is aimed at an extremely small set of Mac users desperate to see their Mac display elevated to 2x magnification over 4K while retaining all of its prior proportions and whatnot. I don’t care. If I had $1,800 to spend on a monitor, you can be sure that I’d easily take this incredible Porsche Design AOC Agon Pro PD32M Monitor ahead of anything Apple sells any day of the week. Let me tell you why.
I’ve been fortunate enough to use the PD32M for a few weeks now, and in that time I have been blown away by this monitor’s ability, design, features, energy consumption (admittedly in a bad way), quality, and more.
Announced earlier this year, the PDR32M is a meeting of AOC’s Agon gaming department and Porsche. Yes, car Porsche, the one that makes the 911.
Porsche and AGON by AOC teamed up in 2020 to create the PD27, which is a 240Hz gaming monitor, and now this is the sequel.
Let's run some numbers
When it comes down to the PD32M's specs, it's certainly impressive. It boasts a 31.5-inch display, an incredibly unique design, 4K resolution, 144Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, HDR, mini-LED, HDMI 2.1, USB-C, a remote control, and more.
On paper, the PD32M is an absolute beast, hence the massive price tag. But despite the priciness, I have to say that using it in the office has been a dream. Let me tell you everything I love about it and what you will too.
A vast feature set and a stunning display
Firstly, the PD32M’s design is just incredible. It feels like it has been built to withstand a large explosion. While this makes it quite heavy, the build quality of the monitor is absolutely unparalleled. It has headphone brackets that extend from either side of the monitor. I also love how slender the top and side bezels are, which really reduces any distraction from the main event: the picture quality. The PD32M's stand alone is fabulous — made from shaped aluminum that’s designed to look like the spokes of a car. It's also extremely secure and very easy to attach to the monitor itself, with no screws to speak of. Once attached, the monitor can be rotated to portrait in either direction, height adjusted, and tilted left and right (Apple would charge you extra for that).
Plugging it in is a joy thanks to this dexterity and all of the PD32M’s ports. It has two HDMI 2.1, a DisplayPort, a USB-C port, four USB-C 3.2 slots, and a headphone jack.
Once you’re all plugged in and set up, you’ll be blown away by this monitor's performance. The HDR is so bright that looking at the sun in Sea of Thieves actually hurt my eyes in real life. I was absolutely blown away by the monitor’s responsiveness, color, and peak brightness.
If you need it, the PD32M also has G-Sync and FreeSync support, Display HDR 1400, and three other HDR settings for gaming, pictures, and movies. In fact, one of the best things about this monitor is just how many settings there are. There are so many different modes and settings that the monitor is almost a bit daunting. In the short time I had it I didn’t have a chance to get into the weeds too much, but there are even game modes for different types of games (racing, RTS, FPS), different levels of brightness, the four aforementioned HDR modes, local dimming, and more.
Navigating all of these settings is seamless thanks to one of my favorite PD32M features: the remote control. Every monitor should come with a remote control, and this one is great (though it requires batteries), letting you navigate the menus with ease. It also has preset buttons that can cycle through the previously mentioned game modes. My only gripe is that they can’t be programmed; that would have been a dream.
This monitor can be used by absolutely anyone but it has shined for me as an office-use monitor that doubles as a gaming screen for both PC and Xbox Series X. It will also work tremendously well with your best Mac thanks to its USB-C connectivity but might be overkill given its heavy gaming focus. As someone who needs a monitor for both work and gaming, I’ve been overjoyed to use the PD32M, if only for a limited time.
All this, but...at what cost?
Of course, a monitor this expensive does still come with some quirks. As I said, the settings can be a bit overwhelming, to begin with, but that just takes time and patience to overcome. The remote is tremendous but doesn’t always work the first time around. The monitor also has a couple of unnecessary features, like how the RGB lights on the back don’t really give out much and the logo projector casts a logo onto the stand that seems a bit gimmicky.
The monitor I received for testing also had a bit of a buzz on the audio channel, but this is likely just a fault with my particular model.
The main drawback is the price — $1,800 is a lot to splash on a monitor for anyone, and there are plenty of gaming monitors that are quite capable and won’t break the bank to this degree.
Another con is that the PD32M uses a terrifying amount of energy. I’ve not done any testing, but it has a 329W power supply and an EU energy efficiency rating of G, aka the lowest possible score.
Well worth the price
Other than these discrepancies, the PD32M is magnificent in almost every way. It supports full 120Hz 4K gaming on Xbox Series X and up to 144Hz through PC in 4K, if you’ve got the resources to run games that hot that is. Apple’s Studio Display might be good value to the niche 5K user market it's aimed at, and it's certainly the best monitor “in its class,” but to me, the PD32M proves that if you really insist on spending this much money on a monitor, then an all-singing, all-dancing gaming number like this with more refresh rates, ports, and everything in between is the way to go. The PD32M is available directly from Porsche here.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9