The Pro Display XDR landed on my desktop a few days ago, and I’ve spent enough time with it to gather some early first thoughts about Apple’s high-end monitor. As a former 27-inch Thunderbolt Display owner, I’ve been pining for a modern replacement for it for years, but is this the answer? To answer all your questions, we wrote Apple Pro Display XDR Review in full detail.
The Pro Display XDR may be a beautifully designed display that’s made primarily out of glass and aluminum. In terms of looks and feel, I can’t consider a better-looking display with better build materials at any price point. It screams premium.
Apple says that the lattice pattern on the rear of the professional Display XDR increases airflow, functions as an enormous conductor while facilitating airflow, and reduces weight within the process. It also happens to match an equivalent pattern found on the Mac Pro, but sadly I’ll never see it, because of the way I even have the display positioned on my desk up against a wall.
Adjustable Pro Stand
From the very beginning, the Pro Stand has been the butt of jokes regarding its price. At $999, it’s not cheap, and some will argue that it’s way overpriced. Given Apple’s history, it’s safe to say that the Pro Stand is indeed overprice
With the professional Stand, build quality is of no concern. The beautiful stand is formed out of a solid block of aluminum, allowing it to confidently hold the professional Display XDR, totally barren of wobbles while your fingers, unrestrained, crash against the keys on your keyboard.
Automatic Portrait Mode
In cooperation with the professional Stand, the professional Display XDR has another hidden dress up its sleeve: It automatically senses its orientation and adjusts the image on the fly.
On lesser displays, you’d have to venture into System Preferences > Displays to manually rotate the picture. With the Pro Display XDR, it just works, and saves you time in the process.
One of my biggest complaints with the iMac Pro is its large bezels, to not mention its large bottom chin area. Compared to the 5K display within the iMac Pro, the professional Display XDR looks far more modern, because of its small 9 mm symmetrical bezels that wrap round the all-glass exterior.
32-inch display 218 PPI
The Pro Display XDR features an outsized 32-inch (diagonal) display with an equivalent 218 PPI because the 27-inch iMac. It’s a desktop-dominating display with plenty of on-screen real estate to effectively work on multiple apps side by side.
One of the foremost noteworthy features of the professional Display XDR is its 6K resolution. With a native resolution of 6016 x 3384, this is a true 6K display.
But it’s the default pixel-doubled “Retina” resolution that creates the professional Display XDR special in my eyes. When running at the default 3008 x 1692 resolution, a real 2x mode, on-screen assets, and text are tack sharp, large enough to be usable, with more on-screen real estate in comparison to the 5K display found on the 27-inch iMac.
Extreme Dynamic Range
XDR stands for Extreme Dynamic Range, which may be a combination of technologies, namely brightness, contrast ratio, and color, that make this display competitive with far more expensive displays.
For starters, the professional Display XDR features a sustained 1000 nits of full-screen brightness for top dynamic range content, with support for up to 1600 nits of peak brightness where necessary.
Combined, of these areas help to designate this display as high dynamic, or in Apple marketing terms, Extreme Dynamic Range capable.
And I can tell you, it shows, especially when you witness contrasting bright colors in motion. When watching HDR content via the TV app, or maybe when viewing the built-in Drift screensaver above, the contrast was so impressive that it kind of felt just like the image was slightly raised off the display, lending it a 3D look. It’s hard to explain without looking at it in person, but it’s impressive.
Apple’s Pro Display XDR utilizes 576 full-array local dimming zones, with a precision timing controller for modulating those zones alongside the 20.4 million LCD pixels. The result’s a display that’s ready to produce extreme contrast including a significantly less blooming effect when light areas are right next to dark areas on the screen.
Blooming is that glow you see around bright items, like a mouse cursor, on a dark background. When compared to plain off-the-shelf monitors, the professional Display XDR performs admirably.
Apple includes quite few different reference modes within the display preferences for the professional Display XDR. These reference modes are pre-calibrated profiles for different workflows and production environments.
Users can switch between references modes right the fly within display settings, or via a handy shortcut within the menu bar.
These modes allow you to modify , as an example , between the professional Display XDR mode with 1600 nits peak brightness, or the quality Apple Display P3 mode, which provides you brightness that matches the iMac at 500 nits.
Works with many Macs and iPad Pro
Finally, the professional Display XDR isn’t only for users with a Mac Pro, but it works with a spread of Macs at full resolution. Some, just 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
The Pro Display XDR is expensive, and for a lot of users, over the top. I think that Apple must consider making a “lower-end” display somewhere in the $2,000-$2,500 range, which I think a lot of Mac users would quickly jump on.
But if you’re fortunate enough to be ready to allow this display, and your line of labor allows you to place it to good use, then I’d say, by all means, a minimum of visiting your local Apple Store and check one call at the person.