I Think I Regret Buying the Studio Display

When rumors of the Studio Display started coming out, I started saving money to buy one just in case. When it was announced in 2022, I immediately ordered one and got day-one delivery. I was beyond excited to replace my Dell U3818DW with a beautiful Retina display.

A little over a year later, I’ve never really felt 100% satisfied with it, and I think I’m going to switch back to my Dell…

I’ll try to explain why.

1. My Eyes

This may make no sense, but I’m starting to think the Studio Display is too good for my eyes. I have pretty bad eyes, and it’s like the Studio Display has too good of contrast or something, and it’s sometimes really hard for me to look at text—a problem since my job and a lot of my hobbies involve looking at text on my screen. Sure, I can make the text bigger, and I’ve switched to light themes instead of dark themes. But at that point, I’m bending the monitor to my will instead of using it for what it’s good at.

I also did not get the nano texture on the Studio Display. I think that was a mistake. My office is really bright. The Dell has a matte finish which works a lot better in my space. I can use dark themes on the Dell without it being washed out by window glare just fine. Not the case with the glossy Studio Display.

The Studio Display is definitely still way better for editing photos and stuff like that. But I still have my 14” MacBook Pro’s screen when I need an excellent screen.

2. Convenience

A couple months after I got the Studio Display, I built a gaming PC. I didn’t really think things through. You cannot easily use a PC with a Studio Display. So I now have 2 complete computer setups on my desk. 2 monitors, 2 keyboards, 2 mice. It’s cluttered.

The Dell U3818DW has a KVM switch built in. I can plug both computers in with one set of accessories and somewhat seamlessly switch between them. That is really nice.

Switching back would free up some space. Not only would my desk be cleaner, the Dell has more screen real-estate too. The ultrawide aspect ratio makes a lot of developer tasks nicer.

There are some downsides to not using the Studio Display though. The speakers are much better on the Studio Display. The Dell does not have a webcam and microphone built in. While the Studio Display camera is not stellar, it’s more that sufficient for work meetings and the microphone is pretty good in my experience. I’d have to put a webcam with a (probably) worse mic on top of the Dell. Not ideal, but not the end of the world either.

3. New Family Computer

This is the whole thing that got me really thinking about this. My wife brought up that she thought maybe it was about time to get a family computer for her and the kids to use. She suggested an iMac. That got every gear in my brain whirring. I suggested a Mac Mini and use my Studio Display with it as a cheaper, more flexible option. And what do you know, Mac Minis were over $100 off on Amazon right then. I ordered one.

So I’m going to do the great monitor shuffle and see how we like things. Give it a go.

Basically, I think it came down to it feeling like I was forcing the Studio Display into my life instead of it fitting in naturally. If I had a separate space and desk for my gaming PC, the calculus would probably be different. If I had gotten nano texture instead of the standard glossy finish, I also might feel differently.

Was the Studio Display an expensive mistake? Maybe. Am I glad my family will be able to enjoy it? Yes. Am I asking questions because I don’t know how to conclude this? Also yes.

We’ll see how this goes.

May 16, 2023