The black levels just can't hack it
The Achilles Heel That Keeps Apple’s $5,000 Display From Being Truly Pro-Grade
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Alongside the resurrected Mac Pro, the recent Apple Pro Display XDR is the trillion-dollar company’s latest bet to make inroads with actual, literal professionals in the video production space where prices that seem exorbitant to you and me, are actually remarkably reasonable by comparison to the traditional equipment. But as an extremely in-depth analysis from HDTVTest reveals, it can’t quite hang with the big boys.
The major flaw of Apple’s Pro Display XDR as a professional tool ultimately comes down to black levels. Compared to typical pro-grade reference monitors, Apple’s display is fairly inadequate at displaying deep, inky blacks in close proximity to bright whites. The result is that, in scenes where this is required, you get more of a deep gray, with a glow that bleeds over from the lit spaces into the black. This makes it impossible to tell if a bloom effect in certain parts of a video is an element of the footage, or an artifact specific to the display itself.
You can see the effect clearly in the side-by-side comparisons about eight and a half minutes into the video, after a whole bunch of detailed color analysis.
Now while this is certainly a weak point of the Pro Display XDR, there is at least one huge mitigating factor to note: price. While the $5,000 price point Apple’s screen may seem sky-high to you, it is pretty darn cheap compared to the going rate of the reference-quality Sony BVM-HX310 monitor it is being compared to here, a screen so expensive that you will be directed to request a quote from authorized dealers if you try to find the price online. (Think five figures.)
So is the Pro Display XDR trash? No, of course not! But is it the world’s best pro display? Only if you are down to make compromises on account of its price.
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