There aren’t too many Pro Display XDR competitors at present, but LG has offered one of the few – and is about to add another …

The top end of the pro monitor market comprises reference monitors costing tens of thousands of dollars. Alongside these, Apple’s Pro Display XDR looks comparatively affordable at $5k, and only a handful of other companies compete in this middle ground …

Background

The TV and movie industry uses what’s known as video reference monitors. These are carefully-calibrated ultra-high-quality monitors which have no post-processing or enhancement features, so that the image is completely faithful to the source material being viewed.

What the Pro Display XDR does is bring what Apple claims is equally accurate video reproduction into what, in pro terms, counts as mid-range pricing.

There are other reference monitors in this price band, such as the Eizo ColorEdge CG319X, but Apple claims that its own offering gets closer to the quality of the 5-figure ones.

LG’s Pro Display XDR competitors

LG’s existing 32-inch pro monitor makes similar claims at a somewhat lower price, at around $4K. The company has now announced a new version of this, together with a more affordable 27-inch model.

As Engadget explains, there are pros and cons compared to the XDR.

The 32-inch model appears to be much the same as before, with features like a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, true 10-bit color, 60Hz refresh rate and 99 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color space. As before, it also conforms to the VESA DisplayHDR 400 True Black standard for OLED displays. 

The relative lack of brightness and huge contrast ratio shows the compromises and benefits of an OLED display for content creators, in a nutshell. On the one hand, with 400 nits of brightness the UltraFine OLED is barely adequate for doing HDR color grading compared to much brighter (1,000 nit+) mini-LED displays like Apple’s $5,000 Pro Display XDR or the $5,000 ASUS ProArt PA32UCG-K.

On the other, LG’s OLED display has much better contrast, perfect blacks and zero blooming because each pixel illuminates individually. That feature can give color professionals a much better idea of the true contrast in an image. So in essence, buyers have to make a tough choice between brightness and contrast, both of which are important for color work these days — particularly with video. 

The new 27–inch model offers the same specs in a smaller format, at a lower price.

The biggest upgrade over last year is that both monitors include a color calibration sensor (LG didn’t say which one), along with its LG Calibration Studio software. They also come with a monitor hood so you can better control the image depending on room lighting.

Update: This comment does make us wonder about the reported 32-inch refresh, as the existing one which went on sale in August has the option of a calibration kit.

LG hasn’t revealed pricing or availability, but we can expect the 32-inch model to be close to the $4K of the older version, while the 27-inch is likely to be somewhere in the $2-3k range. Update: B&H is showing it as $2999, coming on December 27.

Apple isn’t resting on its laurels, however. We found evidence of a new external monitor in the works with its own A13 chip and neural engine, and a leaker says this is for an upcoming version of the XDR. The company also appears to be working on more consumer-friendly 24- and 27-inch models, based the existing and anticipated iMacs.

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LG adds new pro monitors as lower-cost Pro Display XDR competitors
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