Mac Studio + Studio Display review

₹ 4,33,300

(Mac Studio + Studio Display + Magic Keyboard + Magic Trackpad + Magic Mouse)

Without a shadow of a doubt, even before anyone can start using (or reviewing in this case) the Mac Studio and the Studio Display, there is a sense of awe and wide-eyed glee that is hard to contain. From the promise of speed to the experience of unboxing the individual components, Apple has ensured that when you bring home one of these computers, it’s almost like reliving all the great visuals you may have seen in the keynote.


The packaging is meticulously designed, perhaps with the same care and detail that the engineers have shown in crystallising the M1 Max architecture. In totality, the Studio Display and the Mac Studio feel more cohesive in design than any other “pro” level Mac in recent years. 
Shockingly, it also boasts the smallest footprint! No bigger than a short stack of Mac Minis, the Mac Studio still manages to look fresh and purposeful, and that’s mainly down to the front panel connectivity now.


There are a pair of USB-C ports and an SD-card slot right there, without the need to crane your neck or twist your body just to plug in the loot of the day…thank you, Apple! But there’s more to like and frown about, because, like most flagship Apple devices, this one isn’t without its share of controversial spec and design choices. 
For instance, why is Apple still persisting with the term “magic” for the mouse and keyboard when there’s really not much magic remaining in either of them. The mouse is essentially a seven-year-old design that still needs to be charged upside down and the keyboard costs almost ₹20,000 and still isn’t backlit! Needless to say, their pairing process and intuitiveness are of the highest order, with Touch ID available for seamless logins or payments and dedicated keys for Focus, Siri and page scrolling.

But of course, in the overall scheme of things, these trivialities don’t matter, do they? The showstopper here is, of course, the M1 Max chip that lurks inside the dense Mac Studio. It ushers in a whole new era of Mac computing that promises to change the way professionals manage their workflows. Add the 27in Studio Display, and it all makes for a delicious looking desktop that is true to Apple’s ethos. Simple, yet powerful.


Now that the optimisation of most productivity apps to the Apple M1 system architecture is complete, the M1 Max under the hood of this Mac Studio can focus on flying. You can still rely on Rosetta 2 to translate the occasional Intel-compatible app if you need to and it works seamlessly, without ever glitching or throwing a tantrum. If you’re a Mac fan, by now you’ve already memorised the benchmark scores against Intel for CPU and NVIDIA for GPU, so let’s skip to the good part. Every app you double click on – be it as basic as Apple Music or the more power hungry Adobe Premiere Pro or InDesign – opens faster than an Intel-based Mac. But, not a whole lot quicker than the M1.

If you’re upgrading from an M1, the differences will show themselves more readily with GPU intensive tasks like exporting a batch of ARW files or rendering a 4K video file. For most tasks, an everyday MacBook Air M1 won’t be far off, so preempting your power requirement is critical before falling for the bait.


If you’re going to invest in the hype, you should show commitment all the way. The Studio Display might be asking for a lot, but the upgrade to the Nanotexture glass is simply worth it. It blocks off all glare from overhead office lights or direct sunlight hitting your workspace. It’s not an HDR panel, but with 600nits and fantastic colour accuracy, we couldn’t complain. 
This is where things get a bit tricky. While for most users, yes even power users, the Studio Display is a window into the multiverse with its 5K resolution and P3 colour gamut, not having HDR could mean altering your video editing workflow. And since the iPhone 13 Pro boasts of a full Dolby Vision pipeline, it’s just baffling why their top monitor won’t support Dolby Vision.

What it lacks in curves though, it makes up for in brains. Armed with an A13 Bionic chip, it manages to make the six-speaker system sound wider, crisper and punchier than anything we have heard from a monitor this thin. It also supports Spatial Audio and though the actual benefits of immersive audio are impossible to appreciate when the speakers are firing downwards onto your desk, the sound has clarity and depth that could ward off that separate desktop speaker purchase. Unless you want to use a DAW to mix hip/hop or house music.

The Studio Display also gets an all-new 12MP camera setup, which thanks to that A13 SoC, now supports CentreStage so it tracks your face if you’re distracted by items around your Zoom call. The resolution is better than previous iterations, and with a recent update, it manages exposure levels for the background pretty well. It’s not the best out there with low-light noise and general lack of crispness (compared to the iMac 24), but it is an improvement. The three-mic array captures OK-ish sound, so there’s no reason to fall for the “studio quality” jargon here, but use the magic “Hey Siri” words and it will now also respond to your mundane requests.

In typical Apple fashion though, the Studio Display adjusts for angle and tilt with utter precision that is impossible to find anywhere else. Adding functionality, it also gets a total of four ports, three USB-C and a Thunderbolt 3 that can even charge devices. A minor quibble here is that the power cord is now fixed to the display and although 2m long, a detachable one would just be easier for transportation. 
Like most Apple products, the Mac Studio is a sealed unit so you’re stuck with the config you buy. But regardless of whether you’re running a basement crypto mining farm or updating your resume on Google Docs, it barely gets noisy enough to invade your deep thinking process. Our test sample had the M1 Max with the 10-core CPU, 24-core GPU and 16-core Neural engine and although it was the “base” in the Mac Studio range, our video editor had only smiles to show after his 16-hour shift and churning out three edits at the end of it. 
Exporting ARW files from a Sony A7 camera to the Mac Studio was a speedy affair, but even more impressive was opening all 143 files simultaneously in Lightroom. At roughly 85MB per file, the M1 Max managed to process and open the entire folder in less than 6 seconds! The typical desktop publishing workflow that I have of Adobe InDesign, Lightroom, Photoshop and Bridge never gave a reason to complain or encounter the rainbow wheel.

The fan never kicked into noise levels that got disturbing nor did the Mac ever hang arbitrarily. Everyone will find their comfort zone with the Mac Studio, even if it's simple tasks like opening Music, WhatsApp, Calendar apps with a few tabs on Safari for good measure. Of course, you could do all that with a MacBook Air too, but the joy of having apps open instantly and the gorgeous 27in display makes the mundane seem enticing. 
The solid 12.3.1 version of MacOS Monterey ensures that everything keeps ticking like a well-oiled smoothie machine and with the latest iPadOS release, you can even use Universal Control in all its glory, which means you can use both screens with a single mouse and file sharing as easy as drag-n-drop from one screen to another. 
Regardless of power, the I/O remains generously similar. After years of making Mac fans yearn for the basics, Apple has taken the altruistic approach with four Thunderbolt, USB-A, 10Gbps ethernet, HDMI and a headphone port. Collectively between its Thunderbolt and HDMI ports, the Mac Studio can drive up to five simultaneous 4K displays!
It’s ironic that while most cutting-edge games are developed on Macs such as this Studio, Apple’s own gaming ecosystem, especially on the newer M1 SoC remains embarrassingly weak. Sure, you can max out an Arcade game or use Rosetta to translate an older title, but nothing that will bring every core of the Mac Studio to its knees, because the big-name titles don’t exist for MacOS with M1 series SoC.


As a packaged desktop, the Mac Studio + Studio Display is undoubtedly the stuff of dreams. But living with it for a few weeks does raise more pragmatic questions. Do I really need this much power for my tasks? Wouldn’t it just be wiser to buy a third-party display for less than half the price and with better specs? 
The truth lies within and if your workflow involves design, music or video production, it’s impossible to not be wowed by the effortlessness of the M1 Max and how easy the Nano-texture display is on the eyes, even in the worst lit conditions. It’s a computer that you want to get back to, even despite its minor misgivings like the non-backlit keyboard, non-HDR/non-120Hz screen and non-expandable memory. This is Apple doing what it does best – make all the essentials so good that you learn to ignore the frills.

Stuff Says

The Mac Studio + Studio Display outshines everything else in power and performance, but not in specs sometimes. A true powerhouse that will be a trailblazer.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Abundance of ports and SD-card reader!

  1. 27in Studio Display has superb resolution and anti-glare

  1. Performance is noticeably faster for demanding tasks

  1. Sound from the Studio Display is unbelievably good for a monitor

  1. Next to impossible to upgrade once bought

  1. Studio Display lacks HDR or Pro Motion support

  1. No backlight on the keyboard, costly

Screen size: 27in
Resolution: 5120 x 2880
Brightness: 600nits
Processor: Apple M1 Max
Memory: 32GB
Storage: 512GB
Connectivity: Thunderbolt x 4, 10GB Ethernet, USB-A x 2, USB-C x 2, SDXC, HDMI, 3.5mm
Dimensions (WHD): 7.7 x 3.7 x 7.7in
Weight: 2.7kgs