Apple provides two of the most compelling — and most expensive — displays for Mac users looking to create a simple and functional desk setup. For nearly three years, the Pro Display XDR was the only modern offering from Apple in the monitor market. That all changed at Apple‘s ‘Peek Performance’ event in March 2022, when the all-new Studio Display was unveiled as an outstanding option with compelling features. What’s more is that the Studio Display undercut the Pro Display XDR by thousands of dollars. Both monitors are designed with specific users in mind, and there’s more to the story than the large sticker prices tied to the two screens.

The company’s Pro Display XDR was released in 2019 alongside the completely redesigned modular Mac Pro, with both catering to professionals in the audio and video production industries. Even so, people were flabbergasted by the device’s $4,999 sticker price, which is far more than most monitors on the market. However, since the device is made for professionals, the value equation is different. A professional investing in the Pro Display XDR figures to benefit financially from the addition to the device if it improves the quality or efficiency of their work. For that reason, the Pro Display XDR was actually a viable option for professionals vying for the best display technology on the market.

Related: 2021 MacBook Pro Liquid Retina XDR ProMotion Mini-LED Display: Explained

Interestingly, some of the most confusing differences between the Studio Display and the Pro Display XDR have nothing to do with the display itself. Rather, the add-ons associated with the monitors vary in features and in cost between the two devices. Both the Pro Display XDR and the Studio Display come with two finish options: standard glass and nano-texture glass. However, the price difference is astounding. The Studio Display’s nano-texture add-on costs an additional $300, while the same add-on costs an additional $1,000 on the Pro Display XDR. Similarly, the Studio Display offers the choice between a stand or a VESA mount adapter, and that option is included in the $1,599 starting price of the monitor. On the Pro Display XDR, though, the stand isn’t included. It’s an additional $1,000 for a Pro Stand, and an additional $200 for a VESA mount adapter.

The Pro Display XDR Is The Superior Monitor

If a buyer is looking for the most impressive display technology on the market, the Pro Display XDR is the superior option. It’s a 32-inch, 6K Retina display that has a feature the company calls ‘extreme dynamic range,’ or XDR for short. The Studio Display is the value option, as its 27-inch, 5K display holds up with some of the best consumer offerings on the market. In a side-by side comparison, even average users will notice a difference between the Studio Display and the Pro Display XDR. The latter is rated for an astronomical 1,600 nits of peak brightness and 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness, while the former is rated for 600 nits of brightness. The two displays are similar in terms of color accuracy: both the Studio Display and the Pro Display XDR support the P3 wide color gamut, with over one billion colors supported.

While the Pro Display XDR is far and away the best monitor made by Apple, almost no one should actually buy it. The display’s premium features are best suited for workflows that demand high brightness and color accuracy, such as photo editing, video editing, and color grading. Most users will never need to use those features, and thus the $4,999 to nearly $7,000 sticker price is a non-starter for the average consumer. Thankfully, the Studio Display is Apple‘s best consumer display since the Cinema Displays of old, offering the potential to turn any Mac into a serious productivity workstation for a palatable cost.