Are you looking to buy Apple’s XDR but wondering if it’s the right display for you? In this review, we will try and answer that question. Launched just before the holiday season, on December 10, 2019 – the XDR has gained both popularity and unpopularity – for valid reasons.
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The XDR comes with a 32 inches retina display coupled with 218 PPI pixel density. The display can get super bright at 1,000 nits and peaks at 1,600 nits, making it one of the most brilliant displays out there in the market. It has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio coupled with what Apple likes to call XDR (Extreme Dynamic Range).
XDR is Apple’s refined version of HDR (High Dynamic Range), which makes that content displayed extremely pleasing to look at. It has a 10-bit color depth, which means that it can display more than ten million colors.
It also comes with a P3 color gamut. Apple claims the display to be extremely color accurate, and as expressed by the professionals that have extensively tested this display, the claim appears valid. The panel uses LEDs to create "true-to-life imagery." Using 576 blue LEDs instead of white, it produces extraordinary contrast.
Treated with a reflective layer that reduces glare, Apple still manages to provide a 180° view on the XDR Display. However, many users complain that this claim does not hold up. While viewing the display from extreme angles does not make it completely unusable, it certainly makes the display appear darker.
If glare and reflection are something you care about, then Apple also has a matte coating version, which further reduces glare, but you will have to pay extra for it. All the processing in the display is done by the Apple-designed timing controller (TCON) chip, which helps make it snappy and responsive.
The unboxing experience of most displays is quite dull. Apple products, though, are known to have one of the best unboxing experiences. We think the Apple XDR Display deserves its own separate unboxing category. Apple’s dedicated department, responsible for making the unboxing experience stand out from the competition, does not disappoint.
The XDR comes in a plain white box with the name of the display along with the Apple logo. Once you open the box, there are a few more boxes. These boxes contain the two-meter braided power and a thunderbolt cable. They also include the manuals and a few of Apple's famous stickers. The box can be shifted from each of the sides, which makes room to take out the display.
This is, without a doubt, one of the best display unboxing experiences available for monitors right now.
The XDR display is square and boxy with a modern looking bezel-less design, which makes the display a marvel to look at. The design is especially useful when you’re going for a multi-monitor look. The back has multiple holes at the end, which helps in ventilation and makes the monitor virtually silent.
There is a port for supplying power through the included power cable. With that comes a Thunderbolt 3 port as well as 3 USB-C ports. The other parts of the display are made up of a low carbon aluminum giving it a sleek look.
The display is made to fit flush with the Mac Pro as both of them share the same color pallet, build and have the similarly designed holes at the back for thermal management.
Apple is known to use premium materials in its products, and sure didn’t disappoint here. This is one of the best-built displays in the markets and you will be amazed by its build quality. If you’re buying the XDR display, it’s likely that you'll also have one of the supported Mac devices and probably use it for professional work. In that case, the XDR provides very high color accuracy to ensure that your work can be carried on perfectly.
Like we mentioned before, the XDR’s bezel-less design makes it a marvel to look at. It also makes the transition on dual displays feel smooth and so this will be a perfect option for a workstation setup. It also has one of the brightest displays, which nullifies any visibility problem even if you like to work in super bright conditions.
Coming in at around $5,000 though, this display is not cheap. However, consider that it was built with professional users in mind and that a professional display might cost more than $20,000. With that in perspective, the price point starts feeling reasonable in comparison.
One of the best parts of any Apple product is the excellent customer service that comes with it. If there is ever anything wrong with your XDR Display, you can go to the Apple Store and they are always there to help. Not only that, but it also comes with Apple Care, adding further to the security of your display.
When you buy this display, you’ll need to attach it to a stand or mount it on a wall. You can use a VESA attachment, but the display does not have a built-in VESA slot. This forces you to buy a $200 magnetic VESA attachment, or if you’ve got the money, the $1,000 Apple magnetic stand (yikes!).
While the XDR comes with a few useful ports, it lacks others like USB-A or HDMI, which makes the usage of this display very limited. Moreover, the display is only compatible with a few limited devices, which means if you own an older Mac or a non-Apple device, then you’re out of luck.
The Apple stand, which costs $1,000, might seem extremely overpriced in a world where stands can cost less than $30. Still, Apple is somewhat justified in making the price so high. The Apple stand has no competitors because the features it offers are unlike any of the others on the market.
It is made up of the same low-carbon aluminum as the display, so the build quality is premium as always. The stand is magnetic and snaps to the back of the XDR. The magnets in this stand are strong and of high quality. One of the most exciting things you can do with this stand is to turn the XDR from landscape to portrait. It can also be lifted by 5.7 inches or tilted by 5 to 25 degrees. This helps to adjust the setup precisely to your liking.
However, these features are limited to this stand, making it a luxury item. If you want to save a few bucks, then you can get a VESA adaptor, and a VESA supported stand, which will cost you almost four times less. But if you have got the money for it, this stand is highly recommended.
Who Is The Apple XDR Pro Display For?
The big question is who should buy this expensive piece of technology?
The Apple XDR Pro Display is not for the average perso,n as you can buy much better displays for the price. Gamers should also stay away from this, as the screen is capped at 60 Hz – extremely unsuited for gaming.
Instead, the XDR is for the tiny niche of people who own a Mac which is supported by this display and have professional work specially related to color accuracy. For these people, this display cannot be beaten, and they can even buy two of them to get an ideal dual monitor experience.
The most basic version of the XDR display costs $5,000. Still, if you want to go for the matte coating version with nano-texture glass to avoid glare, then you’d have to pay an extra $1,000, making the total cost $6,000.
Besides this, there are a few add-ons like the VESA mount adapter, used to hook up your monitor to a VESA compatible stand, which costs $290, or you could buy the $1,000 magnetic stand, which further brings up the total cost. So close to $7,000 is what you might end up spending.
This display is compatible with the following Mac devices, running macOS Catalina 10.15.2 or later.
- Mac Pro (2019) with MPX Module GPUs
- 15-inch MacBook Pro (2018 or later)
- 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)
- 21.5-inch iMac (2019)
- 27-inch iMac, (2019)
- MacBook Air (2020)
- 13-inch MacBook Pro with four Thunderbolt 3 ports (2020)
- Any Mac model with Thunderbolt 3 ports paired with Blackmagic eGPU or Blackmagic eGPU Pro
Alternatives to the XDR Display
If you’re looking for something other than the XDR, your options are somewhat limited because professional-grade displays aren’t as widely manufactured. Here are two options that we think are an appropriate substitute for the Apple XDR Pro Display.
Eizo Coloredge Prominence
The Eizo Coloredge Prominence is a direct competitor for the XDR display. Priced at $31,000, its features and targeted demographics are very similar to the XDR. It fixes the lack of ports issue with two display ports and 2 HDMI ports, but you lose the true beauty of the display as it has thick bezels. This is a 4K display, but in other specifications, it pretty much goes toe to toe with Apple’s display. MacInfo recommended!
Asus ProArt PPA329C
The Asus ProArt comes in at around $1,000 with a high-quality stand included. While it lacks the peak brightness and 6k display of the XDR, it makes up for it with more ports including HDMI, USB A, and thunderbolt, as well as a lower price tag. This display, along with Apple’s XDR display, has genuinely shaken the market of professional displays, and both of them are a solid buy right now.
This Apple XDR Pro Display is revolutionary. Even though this display is only for professionals and costs a significant sum of money, the technology behind it is extraordinary. Like any other device, the XDR does come attached with a number of cons, but in this case, the pros easily outweigh them.
If you think this guide helped, let us know in the comments!