big jump in price from 4k to 5k. why?

rcrez

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4K monitors are plenty and around the $300 price range. To go to 5k it's looking at $1000 or higher for similar physical display size but more pixels.

Why is that?
 

Nobu

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It's a 27% increase in pixels per inch (given the same phisical display size), and 66% increase in total pixels, regardless. It's a pretty huge jump, and they probably have a similar yield to what 4k displays had when they were new -- not very good, in other words.

https://www.sven.de/dpi/

Screenshot_2022-11-21-19-44-44-42_ffb2f5e1b976ff98cfc94f359fbce8de.jpg
Screenshot_2022-11-21-19-45-12-83_ffb2f5e1b976ff98cfc94f359fbce8de.jpg
 

kasakka

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Lack of panels really. There's only a few 5K+ panels made and Apple is the primary user. The Apple Studio Display is an overpriced display that doesn't perform much better than a typical 4K IPS panel that costs much less.
 

Liver

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is the LG Ultrafine 27 inch 5k monitor the one to get, assuming you just had to get a 5k monitor?
 

Westwood

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Lack of panels really. There's only a few 5K+ panels made and Apple is the primary user. The Apple Studio Display is an overpriced display that doesn't perform much better than a typical 4K IPS panel that costs much less.
Company my wife works from home for shipped her an Apple 5k monitor. I hate Apple as much as the next guy, but that monitor is pretty freaking sweet.
 

mjoeTW

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probably price discrimination, people that buy 5K are usually professionals as almost all consumers will prefer 4K as most content is 4K.
 

Aurelius

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Why do you want/need 5k pixels anyway?

Higher pixel density, and it's particularly useful for content creators. You can watch or edit a 4K video without losing detail in windowed mode, and it's helpful for photography and image creation as well.

Don't get me wrong, 4K is fine for many people, but having used a 5K iMac for years... yeah, it'd be difficult to go back.
 

kasakka

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Company my wife works from home for shipped her an Apple 5k monitor. I hate Apple as much as the next guy, but that monitor is pretty freaking sweet.
The problem is that it's basically a monitor that should be about 700 euros but sells for nearly 2000. It wasn't long ago that about 2700 euros bought you an entire 27" 5K iMac. The only things the display has going for it are 5K res, high brightness for SDR and Apple's design. It would be a laughable product at its price point if it was not 5K.

The above 4K category is such a complete shitshow that I could buy four 144 Hz 4K IPS displays for the price of one 60 Hz, single input 5K Apple Studio Display.
 

Westwood

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The problem is that it's basically a monitor that should be about 700 euros but sells for nearly 2000. It wasn't long ago that about 2700 euros bought you an entire 27" 5K iMac. The only things the display has going for it are 5K res, high brightness for SDR and Apple's design. It would be a laughable product at its price point if it was not 5K.

The above 4K category is such a complete shitshow that I could buy four 144 Hz 4K IPS displays for the price of one 60 Hz, single input 5K Apple Studio Display.
ah, yea I can't speak on cost. Wife didn't pay a dime for it. She was hired and a few days later all this Apple stuff showed up. Its not "her's", its belongs to her work, but the screen is pretty nice.
 

Aurelius

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The problem is that it's basically a monitor that should be about 700 euros but sells for nearly 2000. It wasn't long ago that about 2700 euros bought you an entire 27" 5K iMac. The only things the display has going for it are 5K res, high brightness for SDR and Apple's design. It would be a laughable product at its price point if it was not 5K.

The above 4K category is such a complete shitshow that I could buy four 144 Hz 4K IPS displays for the price of one 60 Hz, single input 5K Apple Studio Display.
It's $1,599 and includes a solid webcam (now that the firmware is sorted), actually-good speakers and a Thunderbolt hub with 96W laptop charging, so I wouldn't say it's without value. But yes, you're partly paying for the Apple design.

I'll admit that it makes the most sense for someone like me — I'm going to need to replace my iMac at some point, and my options are to either 'settle' for 4K and cobble together accessories or get a Studio Display and basically recreate what I have with another Mac. That's pretty tempting.
 

kasakka

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It's $1,599 and includes a solid webcam (now that the firmware is sorted), actually-good speakers and a Thunderbolt hub with 96W laptop charging, so I wouldn't say it's without value. But yes, you're partly paying for the Apple design.

I'll admit that it makes the most sense for someone like me — I'm going to need to replace my iMac at some point, and my options are to either 'settle' for 4K and cobble together accessories or get a Studio Display and basically recreate what I have with another Mac. That's pretty tempting.
Well, the webcam is already shown to be crappy, built in speakers in any display cannot hold a candle to actually good speakers and the TB hub is pretty limited in what it can do afaik. Doesn't allow for example daisychaining displays if I am not mistaken. It's like it was meant to be an iMac and then Apple decided that nope, let's just sell it as a display. It's honestly a weird product. It even has a freakin' iPhone chip built in just for the webcam. I don't think there's any way to spin it as good value.

BOE seems to be making new 5K 27" and 6K 32" 60 Hz panels next year so I am hoping those end up in some other manufacturers devices at a more reasonable price point. Those are fantastic resolutions for desktop use if you don't mind giving up basically everything else for the high res.
 

Aurelius

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Well, the webcam is already shown to be crappy, built in speakers in any display cannot hold a candle to actually good speakers and the TB hub is pretty limited in what it can do afaik. Doesn't allow for example daisychaining displays if I am not mistaken. It's like it was meant to be an iMac and then Apple decided that nope, let's just sell it as a display. It's honestly a weird product. It even has a freakin' iPhone chip built in just for the webcam. I don't think there's any way to spin it as good value.

BOE seems to be making new 5K 27" and 6K 32" 60 Hz panels next year so I am hoping those end up in some other manufacturers devices at a more reasonable price point. Those are fantastic resolutions for desktop use if you don't mind giving up basically everything else for the high res.
The webcam quality problems were the result of... unfinished firmware, frankly. I don't know why Apple shipped the Studio Display in such a rough state. It's still not the best camera, to be clear, but with Center Stage and all it's certainly better than some. The speakers won't replace a good dedicated setup, but all the reviews I've seen indicate that they're good enough that you might actually be happy if you were otherwise going to buy a basic 2.1-channel system. Beats the hell out of those dinky 2-4W systems you frequently find in monitors, I understand.

It is a weird product, and I do hope more brands make 'plain' 5K and 6K monitors. But there is an audience for it, at least if you don't need to daisy-chain monitors to save ports. And let's face it — outside of this, the market tends to be dominated by unspectacular 4K screens and overkill 6K/8K monitors aimed at video editors and CAD users.
 

Roflcopter_Down

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Bit OT but...
Any reason not to get the Apple or LG 5k monitor? It seems the best for work/writing. Or any comparable alternatives?
 

kasakka

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Bit OT but...
Any reason not to get the Apple or LG 5k monitor? It seems the best for work/writing. Or any comparable alternatives?
  • Price.
  • Pixel response time is even slightly worse than 60 Hz should have.
  • Single USB-C input so can't be connected to more than one computer.
  • No HDR support.
  • The stand option thing is absolutely ridiculous. No reason to buy anything but the VESA mount model.
Apart from 5K and high brightness, it's a pretty mediocre performance IPS display overall. IMO there is nothing to warrant its price tag. At the time when I bought my Samsung G70A 4K 144 Hz, I could have bought 4 of them for the cost of one Apple 5K over here.

You could look at the LG Ultrafine 5K models for less money. Same res, would perform similarly for desktop use but no Apple design.
 

Roflcopter_Down

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  • Price.
  • Pixel response time is even slightly worse than 60 Hz should have.
  • Single USB-C input so can't be connected to more than one computer.
  • No HDR support.
  • The stand option thing is absolutely ridiculous. No reason to buy anything but the VESA mount model.
Apart from 5K and high brightness, it's a pretty mediocre performance IPS display overall. IMO there is nothing to warrant its price tag. At the time when I bought my Samsung G70A 4K 144 Hz, I could have bought 4 of them for the cost of one Apple 5K over here.

You could look at the LG Ultrafine 5K models for less money. Same res, would perform similarly for desktop use but no Apple design.
Value and 60hz aside. Think it be better to buy a 4k with better colors?
I have c1 oled and 240hz monitor for recreation. I haven’t seen many newer 4k panels irl. 5k panel is indeed like 5yrs old, lg one has lots of qa issues like backlight bleed (and color bleed), seems like a crapshoot panel lotto. I’d guess with Apple, panels are a+++ ones with better backlight, processing, glass etc. dunno if it’s cult of Apple not leaving as critical reviews, like people do about the lg 5k, there are two and slightly newer one slightly better, allegedly. I had a cheap 4k 27” and it wasn’t terribly sharp after looking at MacBook Air screen. Hoping 5k would deliver for sharpness when writing, coding or editing video, but yeah color doesn’t seem spectacular.
 
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kasakka

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Value and 60hz aside. Think it be better to buy a 4k with better colors?
I have c1 oled and 240hz monitor for recreation. I haven’t seen many newer 4k panels irl. 5k panel is indeed like 5yrs old, lg one has lots of qa issues like backlight bleed (and color bleed), seems like a crapshoot panel lotto. I’d guess with Apple, panels are a+++ ones with better backlight, processing, glass etc. dunno if it’s cult of Apple not leaving as critical reviews, like people do about the lg 5k, there are two and slightly newer one slightly better, allegedly. I had a cheap 4k 27” and it wasn’t terribly sharp after looking at MacBook Air screen. Hoping 5k would deliver for sharpness when writing, coding or editing video, but yeah color doesn’t seem spectacular.
If you are using MacOS for your work, the issue is largely MacOS itself. It uses a very naive form of scaling. Just "target res x2 -> downscale to native". Running a 5K at its default a "looks like 2560x1440" setting is integer scalable so it looks nice and sharp. Do the same on a 4K and you end up with fractional scaling (integer scaled would be 1920x1080 which is too large UI/text and too little desktop space) which has some additional blur to it.

Note that you would run into this same issue if you use some other scaling setting on a 5K Apple display or the Macbook Air. The higher PPI mitigates it to some degree but it's there.

Windows handles scaling just plain better. I work all day with the afore-mentioned 28" 4K screen using MacOS and it looks fine 🙄 but whenever I fire up my desktop PC and go to for example this very website, it's clear that Windows gives sharper looking text rendering at the same scaling level (4K scaled to "looks like 2560x1440" or 150% scale).
 

enc0re

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If you are using MacOS for your work, the issue is largely MacOS itself. It uses a very naive form of scaling. Just "target res x2 -> downscale to native". Running a 5K at its default a "looks like 2560x1440" setting is integer scalable so it looks nice and sharp. Do the same on a 4K and you end up with fractional scaling (integer scaled would be 1920x1080 which is too large UI/text and too little desktop space) which has some additional blur to it.

Note that you would run into this same issue if you use some other scaling setting on a 5K Apple display or the Macbook Air. The higher PPI mitigates it to some degree but it's there.

Windows handles scaling just plain better. I work all day with the afore-mentioned 28" 4K screen using MacOS and it looks fine 🙄 but whenever I fire up my desktop PC and go to for example this very website, it's clear that Windows gives sharper looking text rendering at the same scaling level (4K scaled to "looks like 2560x1440" or 150% scale).
I think it's more nuanced than that. I'm with you that Windows scaling will give you better results in the 130-180 DPI range that is common with larger 4K displays. However, I would argue that macOS gives you better results than Windows when connected to a HiDPI (PPI>200) display.

Anandtech did a deep dive on how Apple went "Retina" ten years ago. It's long and if you're only going to read one page, this is the one. But the whole review is a fascinating read.

Basically, in typical Apple fashion, when choosing the tradeoffs in transitioning to HiDPI, it went with the "fuck legacy" approach.
 

kasakka

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Basically, in typical Apple fashion, when choosing the tradeoffs in transitioning to HiDPI, it went with the "fuck legacy" approach.
Same Apple that keeps hanging on to HDMI 2.0 capabilities, Lightning connector and having external monitor support that works in a shit way in general. The display that works at 4K 144 Hz on my PC refuses to output anything over DP and HDMI only works if I limit the display to HDMI 2.0 capabilities from its OSD. The higher end your display the more likely you are to run into problems if it's not Apple's own model.

I am not confident Apple even uses the approach shown in Anandtech's 2012 article anymore. If you open System Information you can see that the display is reported as 2x target resolution, so for example for a "looks like 2560x1440" option it's reported as 5120x2880 even though you have a 3840x2160 display connected.

Someone on MacRumors forums found that the new M1/M2 displays behave differently depending on if you have a M1/M2, M1 Pro or M1 Max model. The Pro/Max models offer more scaling options for 5120x2160 40" ultrawides for example than the regular M1/M2 does. Apple also limits the frame buffer to 8K which is used despite these being "virtual" resolutions rather than physical ones. This might mean that actual 8K display might behave in a weird way regarding scaling.

This leads me to believe that Apple may have moved to a more straightforward system that just uses an upscaled rendering res which is then shrunk down. Maybe they believe this works just fine since most apps nowadays are retina capable.

In any case using the same 4K display on Windows 11 vs MacOS, Windows 11 just looks better.
 

Roflcopter_Down

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Just want to shill -- bought the Studio Display refurb (cheaper than used, still overpriced). It is phenomenal. M1 Mba works so well even with only 8gb ram. Webcam isnt as bad as reviews say but I do have natural light. The speakers are impressive; depending on how music is mastered, I don't always use the big amp and passive speakers sitting next to it.. The jump from 4k is yuge even running it at the 2x 'Retina' scaling, since text can be scaled down in browsers and some other software if necessary. Previously ran Macbook at 1x with EasyRes but now I enjoy luscious text and real estate. It feels like an ultrawide without the awkward head moving. And maybe its just novelty but has made doing work more enjoyable and efficient.

I've hardly used my Windows rig since; even installing Premiere on my Mac. Sadly the Studio Monitor does not have HDR, so its awkward for editing HDR video, like from iPhone. I have to use phone or oled TV on Windows to edit HDR.
When I bought the laptop I had a 27" 4k monitor but yes with 2x scaling it was frustrating to use.
 

enc0re

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Seeing the 5120x2880 resolution reported for a larger 4K display is exactly key for understanding the macOS approach to HiDPI. Pardon me for starting from basics here. Displaying an OS is different from a movie because the size of text and interface elements matters. Both Windows and macOS were originally designed with a specific PPI in mind so that everything would be the right size: 96 PPI for Windows and 109 PPI for macOS.

10 years Apple decided to make macOS HiDPI, using their marketing term “Retina”. For desktop displays this means 218 PPI, a convenient doubling. But macOS doesn’t simply 200% scale everything on a HiDPI display. Instead macOS goes into HiDPI mode, with a whole separate set of assets for all interface elements. They actually use the extra pixels. So while macOS might say “looks like 1440p” when running on a 5K monitor, if you are looking at a 12 megapixel photo, the photo is being rendered at 218 PPI. It is actually showing you those 12 MP where on a 1440p monitor you would only see about 3 MP depending on how much space your interface is eating up.

So macOS now has two modes, one that looks normal “Windows good” at 109 PPI and one that looks fucking great at 218 PPI. Go checkout Apple displays at an Apple Store if you haven’t had the chance. It’s like looking at an iPhone screen.

But that leaves the question of what to do in the space between 109 and 218 PPI, such as the popular 4K 27” display. macOS goes into HiDPI mode, renders everything at 5120x2880, and then scales down to 3840x2160. Because macOS uses vector graphics, that means all display elements stay in proper proportion but you can tell it’s scaled. It’s like viewing a PDF at not-100%. Faithful, but the tiniest bit blurry. And 10 years ago when computers were having a hard time with 4K, it was a little rude (very Apple) to have them overrender to 5K.

tl;dr: 4K looks great on macOS, if it’s on a 21-24” monitor. It’s about PPI not resolution.
p.s.: the HDMI situation on macOS is bad (yet great on tvOS???). My post is way too long so I’m not getting into it.
 

enc0re

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One more thing: all these scaling issues are the reason that the Surface Studio uses a 28” 4500 x 3000 display. That’s 192 PPI, exactly twice the legacy Windows 96 PPI.

Long-term I’m hoping HiDPI displays become available for Windows as well so that we get beyond scaling issues.
 
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TrunksZero

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Seeing the 5120x2880 resolution reported for a larger 4K display is exactly key for understanding the macOS approach to HiDPI. Pardon me for starting from basics here. Displaying an OS is different from a movie because the size of text and interface elements matters. Both Windows and macOS were originally designed with a specific PPI in mind so that everything would be the right size: 96 PPI for Windows and 109 PPI for macOS.

10 years Apple decided to make macOS HiDPI, using their marketing term “Retina”. For desktop displays this means 218 PPI, a convenient doubling. But macOS doesn’t simply 200% scale everything on a HiDPI display. Instead macOS goes into HiDPI mode, with a whole separate set of assets for all interface elements. They actually use the extra pixels. So while macOS might say “looks like 1440p” when running on a 5K monitor, if you are looking at a 12 megapixel photo, the photo is being rendered at 218 PPI. It is actually showing you those 12 MP where on a 1440p monitor you would only see about 3 MP depending on how much space your interface is eating up.

So macOS now has two modes, one that looks normal “Windows good” at 109 PPI and one that looks fucking great at 218 PPI. Go checkout Apple displays at an Apple Store if you haven’t had the chance. It’s like looking at an iPhone screen.

But that leaves the question of what to do in the space between 109 and 218 PPI, such as the popular 4K 27” display. macOS goes into HiDPI mode, renders everything at 5120x2880, and then scales down to 3840x2160. Because macOS uses vector graphics, that means all display elements stay in proper proportion but you can tell it’s scaled. It’s like viewing a PDF at not-100%. Faithful, but the tiniest bit blurry. And 10 years ago when computers were having a hard time with 4K, it was a little rude (very Apple) to have them overrender to 5K.

tl;dr: 4K looks great on macOS, if it’s on a 21-24” monitor. It’s about PPI not resolution.
p.s.: the HDMI situation on macOS is bad (yet great on tvOS???). My post is way too long so I’m not getting into it.

Which is just a long way of saying that the way Apple handles it is crap. Windows and most Linux GUI's handle all of this better. The only justifications for apple being dumb about this is 1) They just do not give the desktop side of MacOS the attention it deserves and/or 2) Because they want to play up the 5k bullshit as more of an advantage than it really is.
 
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enc0re

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For me the ranking is:

~100 PPI:
Windows = macOS

~160 PPI:
Windows > macOS

~200 PPI:
macOS > Windows
 

kasakka

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For me the ranking is:

~100 PPI:
Windows = macOS

~160 PPI:
Windows > macOS

~200 PPI:
macOS > Windows
I can agree with that assessment. MacOS's more font accurate text rendering works well with high PPI.

It's just a shame that at anything above 4K you lose high refresh rate, HDR and good pixel response times while also paying through the nose for the display. I wouldn't mind that so much if we weren't talking about 2000-5000 euro products here just for increased resolution and Apple design (with their shit tier input options, no built in OSD etc).
 

kasakka

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Samsung is releasing a 27" 5120x2880 model. ViewFinity S9 (Model Number: S90PC). Before you get excited, it's just a 60 Hz model but at least it's another option and hopefully more sensibly priced than Apple's nonsense. Design looks good:

CES-Monitor-Lineup_PR_main3.jpg
 
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