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Apple Pro Display XDR review

 


The Apple Pro Display XDR Display review

Published on February 10, 2020   |   Updated on February 20, 2020

 

At the beginning of 2020, Apple is releasing its new high-end display, whose features are aimed, a priori, at video editors. Moreover, Apple clearly wants to position it as a reference screen for this profession. Its finish is obviously superlative, but what about the quality of its panel? Is it also intended for photographers? In a nutshell, what can you expect if you invest $7,000: the best display in the world for everyone or a reference display for video editing?


When Apple brings out a new display, it naturally has a great deal to offer in terms of finish and perceived quality. It's obviously beautiful. Having this screen on your desktop won't go unnoticed... especially by your customers! Now, who is it for? In view of the technical characteristics, clearly to video editors: its 32-inch panel with thin edges displays the DCI-P3 gamut (between Adobe RGB and sRGB), record peak brightness (1600 cd/m2 and 1000 cd/m2 in "normal" mode) to such an extent that it will be necessary to buy the latest i1Display Pro PLUS sensor to calibrate it at maximum brightness, HDR 10, HLG or Dolby Vision. However, this much brightness is completely useless for photographers who print their prints at home! On the other hand, to watch your favorite series after image processing it will be perfect. Remains to be seen what this magnificent display with its shiny or nano-textured panel "as they say" is as excellent for these different uses as the case is beautiful?


 
 

In a few words...

 

Apple Pro Display XDR

$4,999.00

I have just finished my complete test of this magnificent screen and my conclusion is quite different from my first discovery of the glossy copy in the Apple shop in Saint-Germain-des-Prés: apart from the unflattering viewing angle on an IPS panel, everything else is simply excellent. So this panel is not free of blooming either, which will not fail to bother some video editors when they work in HDR, but this screen is 5 times cheaper than the reference monitors. So it's a product you'll fall in love with - Read my conclusion  

 
  Apple Pro Display XDR Nano-textured  
 
$5,999.00
 
   

 

 

Introduction of the Apple Pro Display XDR

Here are to start with some illustrations of this absolutely beautiful screen... but with real bias in its design, perhaps to the detriment of ergonomics...

Apple Pro Display XDR and the Mac Pro   Tilted Apple Pro Display XDR
Apple PRo DIsplay XDR Rear monitor   Apple Pro Display XDR Connections
   
  Technical specifications
  Apple Pro Display XDR Average price: $ 4,999 and $ 7,200
Panel size
32 inches 16:9 - 6016 x 3384 - 218 ppi
 
Panel technology
IPS miniLeds on 576 zones
  Antiglare coating Glossy or nano-textured panel
  Uniformity check No
  Color space 99% DCI-P3 measured
  Brightness maxi SDR 500 cd/m2 - 467 cd/m2 measured
  Brightness maxi HDR maxi 1600 cd/m2
  Contrast 1 000 000 : 1 measured
  Compatibility HDR HDR10 + HLG + Dolby Vision
 
Certifications
No
 
Look Up Table
10 bits
  Response time 5 ms
 
Screen size
Panel : 71,8 x 41,2 x 2,7 cm / 28.3 x 16.2 x 1.1 inches
  Edge thickness 10 mm
  Calibration software No
  Connections TB 3.0 + USB-C
  VESA compatibility Yes (specific to Apple)
  Hood No
  Warranty 1 year - Apple USA
  Company apple.com
 
 

In the box...

The monitor is sold with :

  • The power cord... of course!
  • A ThunderBolt 3.0 cable
  • Watch out! No stand - You have to choose it as an option.

Note on the contents!  Attention, this Apple display is sold without stand. You have to choose either the stand (called Stand at $999.00 or the VESA wall mount adapter at $199.00).

 
Apple Stand for the Apple Pro Display XDR and VESA
   
 

Size and perceived quality

The display has a 32" panel and is 71.87 cm/ 28.29 inches wide (the panel is 70 cm/ 27.55 inches wide). It is therefore a rather bulky monitor that does not especially favour a multi-screen work environment, but is it useful with such a screen size? Having said that, placing two XDRs next to each other is not inconceivable as the edges are really thin.

   
APPLE Pro Display XDR + Stand
   
 

As for the perceived quality, it is simply perfect. The best finish I've seen in my tests so far...

The Apple Pro Display XDR screen and its new generation panel

There's a lot to be said about this panel...

1 - Definition/resolution - This is a 6016 x 3384 pixels IPS panel, so 6K. It's unique early 2020. Its resolution is 218 ppi. It is also a 10-bit display which is not without consequence on the graphics card needed to feed this ogre! At the first impression, it is a superlative display.

Apple Pro Display XDR panel definition

2 - Panel technology - The backlight is an oxide based TFT, i.e. mini-LED (?!) based. This is a "classic" technology. There are 576 mini-LED blocks. This represents areas of 32 x 18 pixels that will not help, a priori, to reduce the blooming in HDR video (the halo around the light sources as shown in the picture below compared to a very high-end monitor ... much more expensive) as confirmed by Juan Salvo in his test:



© Juan Salvo


Of course, in pictures, this "problem" doesn't appear at all, not even when you watch a non HDR video. It is absolutely necessary to have HDR content to highlight this phenomenon. We'll talk about it again in the conclusion...

Note on the angle of vision! IPS panels are known to offer a viewing angle without any noticeable change in brightness in the gigantic image... which paradoxically is not observed on this screen. It is indeed very sensitive to our positioning and darkens the opposite side noticeably. So be careful if you look at this screen with several people

3 - The panel, its anti-glare treatment and the anti-reflection treatment of the glass - This display can be purchased in two panel finishes :

  • A glossy glass ($4,999.00),
  • A nano-textured glass ($5,999.00) avoiding reflections as much as possible and requiring a specific cloth, sold with the display, to clean it.

The glossy panel without anti-reflective film on it, as on the iPad and other iMac Retina, is indeed glossy but the anti-reflective treatment of the glass is particularly effective, especially in a dark room. I did my test in a shop and I don't think I've ever seen such an effective anti-reflection treatment. It's very nice to display a web page or a video but a little less pleasant to retouch photos. For photographers, especially those who do softproofing, you'll probably have to turn to the nano-textured panel that limits - a priori because I haven't seen it - reflections. However, according to what I have seen on the Internet, reflections are, with this treatment, very diffuse indeed. It therefore seems to be effective.



Nano-textured processing of the Apple Pro Display XDR display panel.
Nano-texture glass - Nano-textured processing of the Apple Pro Display XDR display panel.


That said, the panels - so before the glass - can also receive a film called Anti-Glare Coating, which sometimes gives a very slightly textured, slightly grainy look to the screen, especially when displaying a blank page - randomly, the Apple site! -. This more or less diffused treatment or film is more or less granular and therefore more or less visible. For several years I've been checking screens, it was less and less visible, and that's why I was very surprised to notice it on the shiny panel presentation copy of the Paris shop... while I found it very discreet on the copy of the Bimp shop in Clermont-Ferrand. On this copy, I found the silkiness and finesse of the panel of the iMac Retina 27. Is there a difference in treatment according to the serial numbers? I'm going to look into this question..

4 - Brightness - One of the most important technical characteristics of this panel is of course its extreme brightness as it can reach 1600 cd/m2 peak when watching an HDR video! At its maximum "normal" lighting, i.e. in SDR mode, the brightness of this panel is already 500 cd/m2. This is very comfortable because the maximum I measured on the Asus PA32UCX was 600 cd/m2 and I assure you that in a dark room, it is too bright. No wonder that the contrast is announced at 1,000,000:1, but the contrast depends mainly on the depth of the blacks of the panel, which here is not an OLED panel. So I can't wait to test it on this criterion as well... Read my test below!

5 - Homogeneity with its 576 mini-LEDs - To my great surprise, this large screen treatment or film is more or less granular and therefore more or less visible. Indeed, if you place yourself just in the axis of the panel, in the center, then the angles will appear slightly darker, as on a "vulgar" TN panel. This is quite surprising from an IPS panel. Is there a difference in treatment according to the serial numbers? I'm going to look into this question...

Finally, note that the 576 miniLeds are used on this screen not to control its uniformity but to use the HDR technology in video. Indeed, the brightness of an area can be increased punctually (up to 1600 nits or cd/m2) in order to reinforce the contrast but as we have seen above (§ 2), these areas are still too large not to avoid the blooming phenomenon. This will in no way interfere with its photo use.

6 - HDR compatibility - This panel is compatible with the latest HDR standards: HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, but, as we saw above, its 576 miniLeds do not prevent, far from it, the phenomenon of blooming.

7 - The gamuts - This panel "signs" its video orientation by its largest gamut, the DCI-P3 and not the Adobe RGB which is more suitable for photographers. This gamut is halfway between the very well known Adobe RGB (for photographers) and the universal sRGB.

10-bit color deth of apple Pro Display XDR

Connections

It is particularly simple but high-end because it includes the ThunderBolt 3.0 and USB-C. It is of course perfect to send 6K streams, possibly in 10 bits and HDR, to this screen, you will just need to provide a graphics card at the height and especially well ventilated because on the Radeon 580 of my Mac Pro the fans were running at full speed to keep it cold.

 

Apple Pro Display XDR Display Connections


Display edge thicknesses

They measure only 10 mm so we are dealing with a display with sharply reduced edges! This favours multi-display, but do we necessarily need a 32-inch, 6K screen? (Read : my advice for choosing a photo monitor).

Ergonomics

At Apple, the hardware is often very beautiful but it is often to the detriment of ergonomics. However, let's not be too difficult with Apple about this display but I did notice this in the shop: it is possible, contrary to the iMac, to move the screen up or down 12 cm but the screen doesn't keep the same distance from the wall since it doesn't "stupidly" slide along the stand but pivots on an arm (so two axes - picture below). However, we could find ourselves in the situation where the screen is at the right height but is a little too close. Not perfect on this point even if many of you might not suffer from it or might find that I'm quibbling. You won't necessarily be wrong!

Apple Pro Display XDR Ergonomics


As for the screen adjustment buttons, they are non-existent! Everything will be done in Menu Apple > Preferences > Monitors.

 

 

What is the Apple Pro Display XDR display worth after calibration with the i1Display Pro PLUS?

First of all, I calibrated this display with the best current sensor in a simply excellent price/performance ratio: the i1 Display Pro + i1Profiler software (version 3.2.0). This makes it possible to compare this display with other displays on the market. Then I calibrated with the excellent SpyderX Elite sensor to measure the real gamut.

BEFORE CALIBRATING your Apple display - It is essential to first disable a display option on your Apple Pro Display XDR display if you want to calibrate it properly. To do this, go to "System Preferences > Monitors" and uncheck the "Adjust Brightness Automatically" option:


Monitor Preferences for Apple Pro Display XDR

Uncheck "Adjust brightness automatically" in "System Preferences > Monitors" on your Mac computer (Mac Pro, iMac, or MacBook Pro).


I chose the following screen settings:

Note! As on Apple laptops or iMacs, there are no settings on this screen and very few options accessible from the computer.

  • Color space: Native so DCI-P3 (No options)
  • Gamma: Native (2.2) - No choice
  • Color temperature: 6500K
  • 90 cd/m2 160 cd/m2 (Adjustment is made from the computer).

And as target values in the i1Profiler 1.8.0 software in advanced mode...

  • Display technology: white LEDs,
  • D65 or possibly a little less if you want a slightly warmer screen.
  • Luminance: 90 cd/m2 or more depending on your main use (printing at 80 cd/m2, web at 120 cd/m2 and video at 160 cd/m2) and obviously the brightness of your room,
  • Contrast: Native for web or video or 287:1 for those who print a lot but ultimately it will depend on your paper,
  • Gamma at 2.2
  • ICC standard: V2 to avoid problems of incompatibility with some image viewing software (images too dark), and of course V4 if you know what you are doing.

Objective data: what does the final report say after calibration?

a) Final calibration report - At this stage, we will check the color temperature reached by the panel as well as the level of its blacks and finally its contrast ratio at 90 then 160 cd/m2 :

 

Final report after calibration of the Apple Pro Display XDR with the i1Display Pro at 90 cd/m2

 

Once calibration is completed at 90 cd/m2, the color temperature of the white point reached is 6518K and the luminance of the black is 0.0 cd/m2, so perfectly black. The measured native contrast is therefore infinite. For video, one cannot do better and it will be easy to calibrate one's screen with another depth of black in order to reduce the contrast for softproofing in good conditions.

 

Final report after calibration of the Apple Pro Display XDR with the i1Display Pro at 160 cd/m2


At 160 cd/m2, the color temperature of the white point reached is even more faithful to 6496K and the luminance of the black is still 0.0 cd/m2 so perfectly black there again despite the almost doubling of the luminance. The control of the black on this panel by Apple is thus particularly impressive because it is not an OLED panel I remind it. The measured native contrast is always infinite.

2 - Delta e or the precision of color display at 90 then 160 cd/m2 :


Delta E after calibrating the Eizo CG319X with the i1Display Pro

 

The delta E (2000 Standard) figures are really excellent and even exceptional at 160 cd/m2. This screen is therefore playing in the same yard as the Eizo CG319X, my reference!

Now the uniformity tests in luminance and color temperature :

1 - Uniformity in luminance - It's hard to do better! Eizo just does a little better at very low luminances.

 

Luminance uniformity at 255 after calibrating the Eizo CG319X with i1Display Pro


2 - Uniformity of the white point :

 

Color temperature uniformity after calibration of the Eizo CG277 with i1Display Pro


In color temperature, it's also spectacular: less than 1.0! On a 32'' it's simply incredible...

3 - Gamut - Measured with the Datacolor SpyderX Elite sensor

 

Apple Pro Display XDR's gamut

 

This panel covers the TV "video" gamut so DCI-P3 at 99%, Adobe RGB at 88% and sRGB or Rec 709 at 100%... This is of course a slight handicap for photographers who work for print and makes this screen lose a bit of versatility. On the other hand, those who work exclusively for social networks where sRGB reigns supreme notably on Youtube, Instagram and the like, then they won't care!

 

 

What about my subjective data: what does my eye see?

Even before starting the calibration, it is immediately apparent that the factory calibration looks excellent. The pixels are indeed very discreet (on my test copy) and the definition is superb. This is truly a "Class" screen and display.

After the calibration of this magnificent screen, I would like to make a few really important remarks:

  • If I hadn't liked at all the very slightly grainy pixels on a white background of the copy I saw in Paris because of the anti-reflection treatment (glossy panel as during my test), I was not at all bothered on my test copy from the Bimp store in Clermont-Ferrand (which I thank again!) so check it out again if you want to.
  • The panel, although with IPS technology, is very sensitive to the way you are positioned in front of it. If you're positioned correctly in front, in line with the screen, the edges will already appear a little darker and what can you say if you look at the screen from the side: the opposite edge will really be darker and colder. This is the weak point of this screen... which won't bother you if you're always alone in front of it all the time!
  • Watch out for the graphics card! The Mac Pro equipped with the Radeon 580 was blowing up and many of us suspected that the graphics card was not properly ventilated. On the other hand, I didn't notice an identical phenomenon on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, so it's strange and I have to investigate...
  • About the well-known blooming that will only interest videographers who watch or work in HDR: to have a better monitor on this criterion - because all the others reach qualitative heights - or monitor than this Apple display, you'll have to spend a lot of money on top of it! That's why I'm going to give an excellent mark to the quality/price ratio of this screen. It does indeed bring a little more versatility to the Eizo CG319X thanks to its infinite contrast without compromising on the quality of the color display.

As far as the good points are concerned, you can't miss the incredible luminosity of this panel for surfing on the Internet or watching a video. It's flattering and immersive to say the least! Videographers will appreciate, photographers who like to make their prints much less... but it's up to them to calibrate this screen at 80 - 100 cd/m2! Finally, note that the tester Juan Salvo has compared the blooming of this screen with a reference monitor at $45,000 and this is not flattering for the Apple screen ... which, by the way, costs much less.

If you're a photographer and more specifically a photographer who prints often, then I think an Eizo CG319X is more appropriate and video makers who need to control their budget could look at the very good Asus PA32UCX with its unbeatable price/quality ratio and finally those who are looking for a perfect video oriented screen will need to have a solid bank account because to do better than this Apple screen you'll have to spend at least four times more.

 

 

  Apple Pro Display XDR  
Color fidelity 10/10
Panel uniformity * 10/10
Resolution 10/10
Anti-reflection glass treat. 9,5/10
Ergonomics 8,0/10
Connections 10/10
Manufacturing quality 10/10
Quality / Price ratio Photo 8,0/10
Quality / Price ratio Vidéo 9,5/10
* with colorimeter    
  I like it very much...  
 
  • The finish of this magnificent screen! The quality is truly superlative,
  • The 32-inch size of the panel and...
    Its thin edges (only 10 mm),
  • The definition is just as good and so is the resolution: 6K and 218 ppi!
  • The incredible brightness to watch HDR videos (if we forget the blooming)!
  • The precision of the colors, especially at 160 cd/m2,
  • Black at 0 cd/m2 and therefore infinite contrast,
  • Two panel finishes: glossy or satin (nano-texture),
  • The cable sheath does not roll up and, again, what a finish!
  • Ideal gamut for video editors (REC 2020, REC 709, DCI-P3),
  • Of course the screen is expensive but it has absolutely remarkable qualities so the price seems totally justified to me, especially for video use. Indeed, if, in addition to its qualities, you wanted an absence of blooming then you would have to spend 4 to 5 times more expensive!!!
  • Excellent versatile screen,
  • Truly a favorite product!
 
  I regret...  
 
  • To be balanced: the anti-reflection treatment of the panel (I'm not talking about the glass) gave a very slightly textured, grainy aspect to the pixels on a white background on the Parisian shop copy but not at all on my test copy in Clermont-Ferrand, so check it out,
  • The blooming very marked in HDR (Does not concern the photographers at all),
  • A screen not very suitable for photo retouching if you do a lot of softproofing (the Eizo CG319X is more suitable) because of a contrast that is too far from the Dmax of the photo papers (although it is easy to calibrate it accordingly but then what's the point of choosing this screen?!),
  • No Adobe RGB gamut for the photo,
  • The ergonomics of the height adjustment system that also changes the distance to the observer,
  • The most striking negative point! The angle of view that darkens the corners and gives them a cool shade like on a TN panel,
  • The P3-only gamut ideal for videographers but not for photographers,
  • No hood available,
  • The very high price of the nano-texture option: $1000,
  • And even more of his stand: $999.00 !! so much so that the proprietary VESA system seems reasonable!
  • Beware of the graphics card: do not choose the basic graphics card (Radeon 580) because it heats up a lot and the Mac Pro computer will blow hard! Curiously, I didn't feel the MacBook Pro 16'' getting warm, so I have to find out...
 
     
  My overall rating...  
  9,75 / 10 ... a favorite!  
     
  My conclusion...  
 

My senses and my calibration sensor are clear: this is a magnificent display! So, it is not without faults, but I absolutely want to weigh them up in this conclusion.

In my opinion, and after spending several hours in front of it, I think its price is correct, especially for videographers or photographers who are looking for a versatile screen, because screens that are absolutely perfect on the requested criteria cost at least four times as much. To succeed in putting so many qualities in a screen of this size and at this price - which you absolutely have to keep in mind to judge it correctly - is a feat never seen before for me at the beginning of 2020. It will set new qualitative milestones. But of course, it's a lot of money... and still a real coup de coeur for videographers or photographers looking for versatility!

Other suggestions - Videographers looking for even better value for money might look at the Asus PA32UCX and photographers who mainly print and therefore do softproofing will have to look at the Eizo CG319X even if it is a little less well finished as it has better contrast and displays the Adobe RGB gamut...

 
     
  top
 
Glossy Apple Pro Display XDR
$4,999.99
$4,999.00
-
$4,999.00
£4,599.00
-
 
     
  Nano-textured Apple Pro Display XDR  
 
$5,999.00
$5,999.00
-
$5,999.00
£5,499,00
-
 
   
 
 
Here is my complete review of the Apple Pro Display XDR
 
Complete review of the Apple Pro Display XDR monitor
  1 - Introduction of the Apple Pro Display XDR
2 - What is the Apple Pro Display worth after calibration?
3 - My rating and conclusion
 

- My 33 laptop monitor reviews!
- How to choose your monitor?
- How to calibrate your monitor?


 
 

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