The Pro Display XDR landed on my desk a few days ago, and I spent enough time with it to collect some initial thoughts on Apple’s high-end monitor. As the previous owner of the 27-inch Thunderbolt display, I have been looking for a modern replacement for years, but is that the answer?
Watch our unpacking and overview as I consider the main features of Pro Display XDR in our practical video procedure.
The Pro Display XDR is a beautifully designed screen primarily made of glass and aluminum. In terms of look and feel, I can’t think of a more beautiful display with better building materials at any cost. He screams high end.
Apple says the trellis pattern on the back of the Pro Display XDR increases airflow, functions like a giant heat sink while easing airflow and reducing weight in the process. It also happens to be the same model as the Mac Pro, but unfortunately, I will never see it, thanks to the way the screen is positioned on my desk against a wall.
Like the Mac Pro, the Pro Display XDR comes with braided cables, which are of very high quality. Included in the box is a braided power cable with an active Thunderbolt 3 cable 2 meters long to connect to a Mac or an eligible eGPU.
With braided cables, there should be fewer tangles and less overall wear compared to normal rubber-wrapped cables.
Video: main features of Pro Display XDR
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Adjustable Pro Support
From the very beginning, the Pro Stand has been the subject of jokes about its price. At $ 999, it’s not cheap, and some would argue that it’s way too expensive. Given Apple’s history, it’s safe to say that Pro support is indeed too expensive, but it’s Apple we’re talking about, and that shouldn’t be a surprise.
But from someone who has reviewed many monitors over the years, I’m happy to pay the price for finally getting decent build monitor support. I am tired of all the shaky aluminum and shaky plastic mounts that have supported almost all the monitors that have slipped on my desk in the past five years.
With Pro support, build quality is no longer a concern. The beautiful stand is made from a solid block of aluminum, which allows it to confidently hold the Pro Display XDR, completely devoid of oscillations while your fingers, without restraint, break against the keys of your keyboard.
The Pro support perfectly matches the build quality of the Pro Display XDR. The little details, like the chamfered edges inside the cable routing opening, make me happy.
But the most impressive of the Pro Stand is its counterweight system. It allows you to effortlessly adjust the tilt and height of the Pro Display XDR with one hand. And even at its maximum height, the Pro Display XDR resists oscillations well when typing – impressive, indeed.
The stand is capable of tilting the monitor by +25 or -5 degrees, and this is done effortlessly. The same goes for the height adjustment, the support being able to move the screen from a total height of 120 mm to 60 mm in each direction.
And the nice thing is that once the display is set, it stays exactly where you left it. There is no wobble or movement, and there is no uncertainty.
Pro support has the ability to rotate the Pro Display XDR 90 degrees to display the screen in portrait mode. This requires the user to slide the locking mechanism to the back of the unit which sits under the counterweight arm.
What is particularly cool with the rotation, which again demonstrates the acute sense of detail of Apple, is that the lock remains in the same place and in the same orientation, whether the display is in portrait mode or in landscape. This makes it easier for the user, especially when adjusting the rotation from the front of the screen, because the lock is always in the same place.
Likewise, the cables are positioned so as not to twist or be stressed when the screen is rotated. Cables drop gracefully through the opening in the base of the Pro mount as they run to their destination.
Related video: main features of Mac Pro
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Automatic portrait mode
In cooperation with the Pro Stand, the Pro Display XDR has another thing hidden in its sleeve: it automatically detects its orientation and adjusts the image on the fly.
On small screens, you need to venture into System Preferences> Screens to manually rotate the image. With the Pro Display XDR, it works and saves you time in the process.
One of my biggest complaints with the iMac Pro is its large glasses, not to mention its large lower chin area. Compared to the iMac Pro’s 5K screen, the Pro Display XDR looks a lot more modern, thanks to its small, symmetrical 9mm frames that wrap around the glass exterior.
32 inch 218 PPI screen
The Pro Display XDR has a large 32-inch (diagonal) screen with the same 218 PPI as the 27-inch iMac. It is a dominant display on the desktop with lots of screen space to work efficiently on multiple applications side by side.
Standard glossy glass vs nano-texture glass $ 999: I saw the two screens in person side by side, and although I really see the benefits of nano-texture matte display, I prefer the glossy display, because the colors have more pop and the text appears more clear to me. Coupled with the fact that I can largely control the lighting in my environment to reduce screen glare, and the fact that I can save $ 999 in the process, this makes sense for my use case.
Apple’s fully laminated screen has only 1.65% reflectivity, so even the glossy screen does a good job of eliminating glare. Admittedly, standard glass cannot in any way, neither in form nor in form, compete with nanotextured glass which defeats light, so if you work in demanding environments, it might be worth considering.
One of the most remarkable features of the Pro Display XDR is its 6K resolution. With a native resolution of 6016 x 3384, it is a true 6K screen.
But it’s the default “Retina” resolution doubled in pixels that makes the Pro Display XDR special to me. When running at the default resolution of 3008 x 1692, a true 2x mode, the screen and text resources are remarkably sharp, large enough to be usable, with more space available. screen compared to the 5K display found on the 27-inch iMac.
This means that you can easily view a 100% full 4K image, as shown above, when editing in Final Cut Pro X. Unlike the iMac 5K screen, the Pro Display XDR offers more than enough headroom. maneuver to interact with the different panels of the application while watching 4K in full resolution.
Extreme dynamic range
XDR stands for Extreme Dynamic Range, which is a combination of technologies, namely brightness, contrast ratio and color, which make this screen competitive with much more expensive screens.
For starters, the Pro Display XDR has a sustained brightness of 1,000 nits in full screen for high dynamic range content, with support for 1,600 nits of maximum brightness if needed.
And for standard definition content, the screen supports up to 500 nits of brightness, the same rating as that of the 27-inch iMac models.
When viewing HDR content through the TV app or elsewhere, you can certainly tell the difference in brightness between this screen and lower screens, such as the LG UltraFine screen.
The next big item on the list is the contrast ratio, with Apple’s pro-centered screen capable of an astonishing contrast ratio of 1 million: 1, which gives it an appearance that seems closer to a OLED screen. For example, Apple’s high-end LCD screen found in the iPhone 11 has a contrast ratio of 1400: 1, while the OLED screen found in the iPhone XS last year had a ratio of contrast of 1 million: 1.
Finally, the Pro Display XDR sports a true 10-bit color panel capable of presenting 1.073 billion colors, which means it has more bit depth to go with the widest range of colors made possible via the large P3 color space. .
Combined, all of these areas help to designate this screen as highly dynamic or, in Apple marketing terms, capable of extreme dynamic range.
And I can tell you, it shows, especially when you witness vivid contrasting colors in motion. When watching HDR content through the TV app, or even when watching the built-in Drift screensaver above, the contrast was so impressive that it seemed like the picture was slightly raised from the screen, which gave it a 3D look. It’s hard to explain without looking at it in person, but it’s impressive.
Apple says the Pro Display XDR offers super-wide viewing angles with high fidelity color and contrast at 89º left, 89º right, 89º up, 89º down.
I opted for the brilliant version of the Pro Display XDR, and I can attest to the fact that the off-axis viewing angles are impressive. Moving my head from side to side, up and down, the change in color and contrast was present, but it was minimal. Even at extreme off-axis angles, I could clearly see the images and text, and the colors tempered their tendency to move.
Apple’s Pro Display XDR uses 576 local full-matrix dimming zones, with a precision timing controller to modulate those zones next to the 20.4 million pixel LCD. The result is a display capable of producing extreme contrast coupled with a much lower flowering effect when the bright areas are right next to the dark areas on the screen.
Flowering is the glow you see around light elements, such as a mouse cursor, on a dark background. Compared to standard monitors, the Pro Display XDR performs admirably.
But with “only” 576 zones, there will be less backlight accuracy than on professional production screens with many more zones, which could have an effect when working with precision HDR content. Indeed, flourishing is still noticeable on the Pro Display XDR if you are looking for it, but it is considerably reduced.
Compared to almost all other consumer computer screens, most of which use edge lighting leading to extreme flowering and loss of backlighting, the Pro Display XDR blows these monitors.
Apple includes several different reference modes in the display preferences of the Pro Display XDR. These reference modes are pre-calibrated profiles for different workflows and production environments.
Users can switch between reference modes directly on the fly in the display settings or via a handy shortcut in the menu bar.
These modes allow you to switch, for example, between Pro Display XDR mode with a maximum brightness of 1600 nits, or standard Apple Display P3 mode, which gives you a brightness that corresponds to the iMac at 500 nits.
In a future update to macOS Catalina, Apple will allow users to create their own reference modes, which professional content creators undoubtedly expect.
Works with many Macs and iPad Pro
Finally, the Pro Display XDR is not just for Mac Pro users, but it works with a variety of Macs at full resolution. Some, like the 16-inch MacBook Pro, work right out of the box.
Pro Display XDR supports a resolution of 6016 x 3384 with 10 bpc on these Mac models:
- Mac Pro introduced in 2019
- 16-inch MacBook Pro introduced in 2019
- 15-inch MacBook Pro introduced in 2018 or later
- iMac introduced in 2019
- Mac computers with Thunderbolt 3 ports connected to Blackmagic eGPU or Blackmagic eGPU Pro
If your Mac does not fully support the Pro Display XDR, you can still connect it to a Blackmagic eGPU or eGPU Pro to drive the 6K screen at full resolution. The only requirement is that your Mac must have a Thunderbolt 3 port.
And the iPad Pro looking to join the fun will be happy to know that you can connect to the Pro Display XDR and use it for mirrored output, or in the case of some apps like LumaFusion, a secondary display for output. .
The Pro Display XDR is expensive, and for many users, above. I think Apple should consider creating a “low end” screen somewhere in the $ 2,000 to $ 2,500 range, which I think a lot of Mac users would skip quickly.
At $ 4,999 ($ 5,999 for the nano-etched mat version) plus $ 999 for support (smh), this screen is simply out of reach for many Apple customers.
But if you are lucky enough to be able to budget for this screen and your work allows you to use it wisely, I would say that by all means, at least visit your local Apple Store and check for one in person.
The Pro Display XDR, like all other tech products, is not perfect, but Apple has a lot here, as it should be, given the cost and time we have had to wait.
It is by far the best build quality I have ever seen on a screen, from the building materials, the backing and the panel itself. It’s just awesome, and it’s fun to use with the Mac Pro.
But even if your workflow doesn’t dictate that you use a high-end screen, image quality and build quality alone, even for mundane things like typing and browsing the web, is pure joy. I like having a perfect pixel 6K (double pixel) “Retina” resolution, which gives me more workspace than an iMac 5K. I also like the fact that this screen remains rock solid even when I hit the keys of my Keychron K2 mechanical keyboard.
I will have more thoughts in a future review of Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, share your thoughts below.
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