Fancy getting yourself one of those shiny new Apple Studio monitors to go with your new Mac Studio or Mac mini? Join the club. Apple knows how to make attractive and usable products, but it also knows how to charge. So you get what you pay for. Maybe, but some alternatives are worth exploring.
In the case of an alternative to the new Apple Studio Display, I came across the Alogic Clarity 27-inch 4K monitor with HDR capability and a design that looks like Apple’s Studio Display and may even have a few advantages over the kid from Cupertino. Okay, so the Alogic isn’t 5K, like Apple’s screen, but 4K with 3,840 by 2,160 resolution at 60Hz is more than enough for most of us and the great news is the Alogic Clarity sells for half the price of Apple’s screen.
Let’s begin by taking a brief tour around the Alogic Clarity 27-inch to see precisely what’s on offer here. The Clarity has one of the best stands I’ve seen on a 27-inch monitor. It looks like the Apple Studio Display’s stand and has every movement you could want. There’s a height, tilt and swivel adjustments, plus a brilliant lateral movement that enables the screen to be swung left or right so you can show something to a colleague. Unfortunately, to get even basic adjustments with the Apple Studio Display, you must shell out an extra $400. The Clarity is also easy to use in portrait or landscape mode as it can be easily swiveled through 90 degrees and includes a built-in gravity switch for switching modes.
Around the back of the screen is an array of inputs, including a couple of HDMI ports, a single DisplayPort, and a USB-C port delivering data, video and power delivery up to a very useful 90W. In addition, the Clarity also has one USB-B and two USB-A ports so that it can work as a USB hub for things like wireless keyboard dongles. Finally, there’s a headphone jack and two 5W speakers built-in, so you could even use the Clarity as a TV by plugging an Amazon Fire TV Stick into one of the HDMI ports, which can be powered using one of the Clarity’s USB-A ports. The speakers aren’t bad at all, considering their size, but they are no match for the sophisticated 12-speaker array that the Apple display offers.
The Clarity looks almost as slim and pretty as Apple’s Studio Display and its designers have pulled off a clever trick by taking a leaf out of Apple’s book. The back of the monitor is curved like an old-style iMac, making it look slimmer. Unless anyone were to peer around the back of the Clarity monitor, they’d think it was a wafer-think monitor like Apple’s.
In terms of dimensions, the Clarity measures 565mm tall, 624mm wide and 220mm deep. It’s certainly small enough to sit on a small desk. The construction feels good and although the screen is relatively light, the stand adds to the overall heft and keeps everything solidly anchored to the desk. The Clarity can also be VESA mounted if you don’t want the stand.
Now let’s look at the screen quality. Alogic has opted to use a high-quality IPS panel with LED backlighting and Pro Display XDR localized dimming across 24 zones. In addition, if required, there’s an auto-brightness adjustment and various settings can be configured using the Clarity’s on-screen display. The screen also uses QLED (Quantum Dot LED) technology for a brighter and sharper image.
When it comes to color spaces there’s a choice of standard, SRGB, DCI-P3 and Adobe. The screen comes with a calibration certificate and the specs quote 100% SRGB, 97% DCI-P3 and 99% Adobe color gamut coverage. I’ve no reason to disbelieve those figures; even straight out of the box, the colors were pretty good. However, I think proper color calibration for the room where the screen will be used would be a good idea.
Alogic claims the Clarity has a contrast ratio of a whopping 1,000,000:1, which is way higher than the 1,200:1 offered by Apple’s Studio Display. However, I’d take that figure with a pinch of salt, but there’s no question that the Clarity is a bright and punchy panel that looks great. Regarding brightness, the Clarity has 400 nits, while Apple’s 5K display claims 600 nits. With a refresh rate of 60Hz, the Alogic matches the Studio Display on that score.
The Clarity’s screen surface is shiny, making it much easier to wipe clean. Some graphic designers prefer to use matte screens for reduced reflections, but, in my experience, the advantage in terms of fidelity is outweighed by them being a pain to keep clean without smearing. A glossy screen does appear a bit more contrasty, but that can be alleviated using the Clarity’s built-in contrast control. The Clarity doesn’t offer settings for adjusting the individual color channels manually, but I would suggest that if using the Clarity for color-critical applications, buy a DataColor Spyder monitor calibrator and cut out all the guesswork.
There’s little else to say about the Alogic Clarity 27-inch 4K monitor. It’s powered by an external power brick and sports a fashionably thin bezel, although it has a thin, dark frame around the edges, so you don’t get the slick borderless look that some monitors offer.
Verdict: The Alogic Clarity 27-inch 4K monitor is a worthy competitor to Apple’s Studio Display when you consider it is half the price. The design is clever and its physical adjustments are superb. There’s no reason to have a crick in your neck with the Clarity because it’s so adjustable in every direction. The screen’s image quality is impressive and if you’re happy with 4K resolution, then the Clarity is a great screen. There is no built-in microphone or 12mp webcam like the Apple display, but you can always pop a third-party webcam on top of the Clarity, such as the affordable Alogic Iris AO9 I reviewed recently. If money is no object, you might want to go for Apple’s Studio Display, but for many users, the Alogic Clarity 27-inch 4K monitor is a great partner for the Mac Studio or Mac mini and it’s a reasonable price. Recommended.
Pricing & Availability: The Alogic Clarity 27-inch 4K monitor is available now in USA, UK, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Finland, Ireland and Denmark. It costs $799.99 / £700 / €840 / AUS $899.95.
- Model ALOGIC Clarity 27F34KCPD
- Size: 27″
- Resolution: 3,840 X 2,160
- Aspect Ratio 16:9
- Panel Technology IPS
- Contrast ratio 1000:01:00
- Viewing angle 178°(H) / 178°(V)
- Colors supported 1.07B
- Full lamination: Yes
- 24 Zone local dimming: Yes
- Ambient light sensor: Yes
- QLED technology: Yes
- Built-in colorimeter: No
- Brightness: 400 cd/m2 typical 600 cd/m2 with HDR on
- Delta E <2: YES
- Refresh rate: 60Hz
- Response time: 5ms grey to grey – Fast mode 12ms grey to grey – Normal mode
- Color spaces: Adobe RGB: 99%, SRGB: 100%, DCI-P3: 97%
- Interfaces: 1 x DP 1.4, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x USB-C Upstream Port (DP1.4) 1 x USB-B Upstream Port, 2 x USB-A Downstream Ports, 1 x Audio Line Out
- Speakers: 5W speakers x2
- Laptop charging: USB Power Delivery up to 90W
- Display position adjustments: Tilt, Swivel, Pivot
- Height Adjustment: 150mm
- VESA mounting: 100mm x 100mm
- Dimensions: 624mm (W) x 220mm (D) x 565mm (H)
- Weight: 7.6kg