We have been using it for over a week and think it is a terrific choice for film and photo pros who don’t mind spending a lot of money and want a Mac desktop that will last for years.
It’s hardly the computer for folks who want to browse the web and watch Netflix, though, with a starting price of $1,999 that doesn’t include a screen. The $699 Mac Mini is a better fit for them.
It’s Apple’s first consumer-facing display since the Thunderbolt Display, which debuted in 2011 and was phased out in 2016. You might think of the Studio Display and Mac Studio as successors to Apple iMac Pro, discontinued last year.
Benefits of Mac Studio:
The following are some of the benefits of having a Mac studio:
- The Mac Studio is well-designed and compact. It’s functional, with plenty of ports for plugging in anything. It’s formed like an aluminum brick, with a diameter of 8 inches and a height of 4 inches, and it’s tastefully lifted a few millimeters off the desk for ventilation. We put the model through its paces with Apple’s M1 Max chip, the company’s second-fastest processor.
- It boasts plenty of valuable connectors, unlike Apple’s laptops before last year’s models: two USB-C ports and a reader for SD memory cards like cameras on the front, four USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, an Ethernet port, and an HDMI port on the back. Without a dongle, most people will be able to connect anything to it.
- The Studio Display’s visual quality is adequate but not exceptional. We enjoy how the extra pixels make the text crisp and sharp, so folks who read on their computers for hours might want to think about it. While it may appear pricey, it is far less expensive than Apple’s Pro Display XDR, which costs $4,999 before adding the $1,000 stand. This is for video professionals that want a 32-inch screen with a larger, brighter display and more accurate colors for their work.
- The differences between Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Cisco Webex meetings were obvious. My vision was brighter and clearer than before, with less low-light noise. Apple’s Center Stage feature, which rotates the monitor’s camera to keep me on the screen even while fidget, impressed us.
- Although audiophiles will likely prefer separate studio monitors or headphones, the six-speaker system is superb. However, the built-in speakers are enough to listen to rock or pop music or watch movies. Because many monitors lack built-in speakers or cameras, these are welcome additions.
Drawbacks of Mac Studio:
- The user cannot upgrade the Mac Studio. It’s “modular,” Apple explains, referring to the fact that the screen isn’t built-in. Power users, however, cannot add additional RAM, graphics cards, or disc space, unlike high-end Windows workstations.
- It also means that any upgrades you desire must be done at the time of purchase, which can cost up to $2,400 for 8 terabytes of storage and $400 for more RAM. Those are expensive add-ons to an already high-priced PC.
- The Mac Studio has a headphone jack in the rear, but it would be more valuable if it were directly next to the USB ports on the front.