What you need to know
- Snazzy Labs has a Pro Display XDR review out.
- The video covers thoughts on the display as well as those of a professional colorist.
- It's hard to tell whether it's a favorable review, or not.
Quinn Nelson of Snazzy Labs has reviewed the $4,999 Apple Pro Display XDR with a video now up on YouTube. It runs for almost 14 minutes and is well worth a watch, even if the thought of buying a $4,999 monitor is enough to bring you out in a cold sweat. Then you can let me know whether Nelson likes the thing or not.
That's because it's difficult to tell, and that's the monitor's issue, not his. More on that in a minute.
See, while PCMag has already shared its thoughts on the display, it's interesting to see a second opinion. And again, while PCMag's review shared tons of data that suggests the Pro Display XDR is up there with the best, Nelson's review didn't quite back that up.
Throughout the review – and it included the $999 stand, by the way – I got the feeling that Nelson really wanted to like the monitor. But it has its issues. Viewing angles appeared to be surprisingly bad, impacting color reproduction towards the edges of the screen, for example. That's something I see on my Samsung 4K monitor here. But it cost less than 10% of the price Apple charges for the Pro Display XDR so, you know. There's that. And if you're doing pro graphics work on a pro display, you don't want to have to move images and video to the center of the screen to be able to do it.
Contrast is also an issue, with Nelson providing an example I've heard before. If you're looking at a star field you'll see bloom around each star because the 576 full array local dimming zones just can't keep up. That's just the way LCD technology works and unless Apple goes OLED or dual-layer LCD, that's the way it's going to stay.
But this brings us to the problem. Apple's Pro Display XDR sits smack bang in the middle of nowhere. It's a pro display that doesn't cost $40,000 which is good. But it doesn't perform as well as those $40,000 displays in some key areas – PCMag's figures notwithstanding. And it's too expensive to be used by people who don't need a pro display, like you and me. So who is this thing for?
As Nelson suggests, it could just be those people who are what Apple would call "pro users" but don't quite need the quality provided by the hugely costly competition. Apparently the Pro Display XDR meets production requirements specced out by Netflix, which is interesting. So if you're making something for streaming online, this monitor is good to go.
But really, Apple made this because it could. As the 2013 Mac Pro showed us all those years ago, Apple isn't beyond making something because it can. Not necessarily because it should.
Oh, and make sure you watch the video. It's pretty cool!
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