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johnhackworth
Aug 5, 2011, 10:59 AM
Hello everyone, long-time lurker, first-time poster.

I'm currently deciding whether or not to replace my Alu MacBook Pro with a MacBook Air. To that end I went to my local Apple store to take a look and get an idea of whether I could live with the screen size of the 11".

Anyway, I noticed that the screens on the demo machines all had the brightness set way up at maximum. When I knocked the brightness down to 50% the screens became (to me) far too dim to use without straining my eyes. This is important since in order to get reasonable battery life (esp from the 11") it seems that the brightness needs to be turned down. The perceived dimness of the display could be a consequence of the brightness of the environment - i.e. a brightly-lit Apple store or it could be that the screen is genuinely too dim at 50%. Therefore the question I'd ask is which is the most likely explanation?

Also, if you own an Air do you find its screen usable at 50% in your home, on trains, on airplanes etc?



DeusInvictus7
Aug 5, 2011, 11:17 AM
Testing brightness at the store isn't a good test because of how bright it is in the store. For normal indoor use, 50% works very well for me. I rarely feel the need to make it brighter, unless I'm outside during the day or if I'm watching a video clip or something. Otherwise, it stays at 50% or even lower. If I'm using it before bed, it's normally at 1 bar of brightness.

Jaha527
Aug 5, 2011, 03:57 PM
Hello everyone, long-time lurker, first-time poster.

I'm currently deciding whether or not to replace my Alu MacBook Pro with a MacBook Air. To that end I went to my local Apple store to take a look and get an idea of whether I could live with the screen size of the 11".

Anyway, I noticed that the screens on the demo machines all had the brightness set way up at maximum. When I knocked the brightness down to 50% the screens became (to me) far too dim to use without straining my eyes. This is important since in order to get reasonable battery life (esp from the 11") it seems that the brightness needs to be turned down. The perceived dimness of the display could be a consequence of the brightness of the environment - i.e. a brightly-lit Apple store or it could be that the screen is genuinely too dim at 50%. Therefore the question I'd ask is which is the most likely explanation?

Also, if you own an Air do you find its screen usable at 50% in your home, on trains, on airplanes etc?

I've been pondering the same dilemma. I'm going to use my prospective MBA almost entirely for university word processing, researching and browsing. I therefore don't want to buy the 11" only to find I can't put up with the size of the screen. I went into the Apple shop for a look that was so long and hard that I started annoying the Apple Shop assistants and the other customers. To no avail. I've not arrived at a conclusion.

The Catalyst
Aug 5, 2011, 04:46 PM
I usually run at 50% (give or take a notch) while I'm at home watching TV. Seems more than bright enough when your in a standard lit room, one or two lamps on. Only time I crank it up is if I'm somewhere bright and or out of the house.

jclardy
Aug 5, 2011, 04:52 PM
I am currently running at about 1/3 brightness on the 11" and it looks fine to me. I am in a room with no lights on but lit by windows and sunlight.

I have only had it for one day, but I have found full brightness to be too bright.

The Apple store isn't really a good testing environment as it is very bright in there.

scupking
Aug 5, 2011, 05:06 PM
I can tell you this on my 2010 13" MBP I hardly ever go past 50% brightness other wise it gets to bright for me.

bp1000
Aug 5, 2011, 05:42 PM
50% is perfect for a daylight lit room

If the sun is beaming in 100% does the job and at night when its dark, even with a lamp on the very lowest brightness setting is perfect.

The auto brightness ambient sensor does a brilliant job.


Never found a situation where the screen hasn't been bright enough. Anything over 50% in an average room is too bright for my eyes.

johnhackworth
Aug 6, 2011, 06:59 AM
Thanks everyone. On reflection I think that anywhere which has lighting which requires me to crank up the brightness will also have power for the computer. Therefore I think that I'm likely to pick up an MBA - probably the 13". I think that the 11" may be a little small for my poor tired old eyes ;)

KPOM
Aug 6, 2011, 07:32 AM
I'm on a plane right now (early morning flight). At 50% it's great even when there is some indirect sunlight. Most of the time it's been around 25%. BTW, I have the 11" i7, but I used to have a 13" Core 2 Duo model. I like the 11" better on planes, but you can't go wrong with either model.

reputationZed
Aug 6, 2011, 07:36 AM
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I'm typically between 10% and 50% brightness, but I'm not using my MBA in overly bright environments.

Kavrocks
Aug 6, 2011, 08:33 AM
My brightness is currently 1 above being dark and I find it is very easy to see the screen.

christophermdia
Aug 6, 2011, 08:44 AM
I use my MBA normally at 30% brightness....in rare cases I use it above 50% but this is not common at all for me anyway....

3bs
Aug 6, 2011, 10:51 AM
Yeah I'd say 50% would be bright enough. I never go much higher than that on my 11"

onthecouchagain
Aug 6, 2011, 12:16 PM
Wow, I must be the only one that keeps the brightness pretty high. About 3 or so notches from max. I can't use it any lower.

jackyyeow
Aug 6, 2011, 12:18 PM
Depends on your room lighting. For regular florescence light tube in bed room, 5~6 bars of brightness is plenty, and that' about 40%~45%.

amitdoc2b
Aug 6, 2011, 12:42 PM
Wow, I must be the only one that keeps the brightness pretty high. About 3 or so notches from max. I can't use it any lower.

I use it at full brightness, way too dim to be acceptable anywhere less than 5 notches from the max.. Ideally it should be 2 from the max or full brightness for me.

clyde2801
Aug 6, 2011, 01:54 PM
I use it at full brightness, way too dim to be acceptable anywhere less than 5 notches from the max.. Ideally it should be 2 from the max or full brightness for me.

If I turned mine all the way up, it would scorch my eyes and irradiate me...I'd be a blind George Hamilton after half an hour.

2IS
Aug 6, 2011, 02:53 PM
Considering Apple stores are lit about as brightly as a the sun, testing it there hardly resembles real world usage unless you're going to use it outside in the sun most of the time.

Abstract
Aug 6, 2011, 06:10 PM
I'm sitting in a dark room, and the brightness is at 30%.

If I was sitting in a well-lit room, I'd probably use the laptop at 60% brightness.

jclardy
Aug 6, 2011, 06:38 PM
I used mine in the passenger seat of a car today. I could see everything fine on full brightness then and it was fairly sunny. That was the highest I have had to turn it up.

Also, remember the 11" air has the highest pixel density of all Apple computers, so text at the same font size will be physically smaller on the screen compared to other machines.

turbotoes
Aug 7, 2011, 09:18 AM
I just let the ambient light sensor do it's job, and it does it very well, IMO of course:)

KnightWRX
Aug 7, 2011, 09:26 AM
I just let the ambient light sensor do it's job, and it does it very well, IMO of course:)

That would work if the MBA had one. ;)

Am I the only one that mostly uses the MBA at 1 notch of brightness ? (just above the screen being shut off ?).

KPOM
Aug 7, 2011, 09:52 AM
That would work if the MBA had one. ;)

Am I the only one that mostly uses the MBA at 1 notch of brightness ? (just above the screen being shut off ?).

There is one on the 2011s.

fletch33
Aug 7, 2011, 05:01 PM
using the new 11" with LG screen i keep it set at 5 of the 16 brightness settings which is well under 50% and it works great for most light conditions for me.

johnhackworth
Aug 8, 2011, 09:09 AM
Well, the die is cast. I've just ordered a 13" i7. Thanks for the input guys.

turbotoes
Aug 8, 2011, 12:57 PM
That would work if the MBA had one. ;)

Am I the only one that mostly uses the MBA at 1 notch of brightness ? (just above the screen being shut off ?).

As the OP was talking about buying a 2011 MBA, which does have an ambient light sensor that is what I was referring to :confused:

misterneums
Aug 8, 2011, 01:09 PM
I personally cannot use the screen at full brightness. It hurts my eyes...

blairh
Aug 8, 2011, 01:36 PM
Anything lower than 75% brightness (12/16 bars) forces me to strain my eyes. I'm 31 yrs old by the way and wear glasses or contact lenses. I have no other eye problems. So when people say they use it at 50% brightness or lower, I'm very surprised.

mickier
Aug 14, 2011, 04:58 AM
For me, I find that after I dim the screen, it appears to "bloom" back partially - so I find that I am very happy most of the time on only one bar brightness...

Sometimes, I actually wish that there was a dimmer setting - something between one bar and 0...

And than I often get 6 hours on the battery just doing light work and surfing (no flash installed).

Sounds Good
Aug 14, 2011, 06:51 AM
Speaking of a very bright screen...

How does the MBA do outdoors on a sunny day? Most laptop screens fail here -- what about the MBA?

Thanks.

DigitalFirefly
Aug 14, 2011, 07:04 AM
Anything lower than 75% brightness (12/16 bars) forces me to strain my eyes. I'm 31 yrs old by the way and wear glasses or contact lenses. I have no other eye problems. So when people say they use it at 50% brightness or lower, I'm very surprised.

I'm 31 also with glasses/contacts. I almost always run mine at full brightness. I'll turn it down a couple notches if I'm in complete darkness. 75% is as low as I could ever go.

franmatt80
Aug 14, 2011, 07:55 AM
Speaking of a very bright screen...

How does the MBA do outdoors on a sunny day? Most laptop screens fail here -- what about the MBA?

Thanks.

Pretty good in my opinion (sitting outside in bright sunshine, typing this with no problems :) ) Much, much better than my iPad/MBP/iPhone... Loving this screen.

Sounds Good
Aug 14, 2011, 08:25 AM
Much, much better than my iPad/MBP/iPhone...
Ahh, good to know... thanks!

onthecouchagain
Aug 14, 2011, 01:36 PM
I use my screen at near full brightness (maybe two or three notches from max) when I'm in a lit area or lit room. However, in the middle of the night in the darkness, if I'm using it, I drop the brightness down to about 50%. It's blinding at night, but in the day time, I can't use it any lower than a few notches from max. It's just too gloomy.

amitdoc2b
Aug 14, 2011, 02:15 PM
I'm 31 also with glasses/contacts. I almost always run mine at full brightness. I'll turn it down a couple notches if I'm in complete darkness. 75% is as low as I could ever go.

I agree, I actually think the screen is not bright enough if it requires me to keep it at full brightness all the time. If I needed to conserve battery I'd go as low as 5 spots below the max, but anything more than that and its like really dim and annoying. I actually find it annoying more than even 2 spots from the max, but yes.. I always keep it on full brightness.

blairh
Aug 14, 2011, 03:44 PM
Speaking of a very bright screen...

How does the MBA do outdoors on a sunny day? Most laptop screens fail here -- what about the MBA?

Thanks.

One of my favorite things about the MBA has always been the silver bezel, which allows for a glossy screen without the amazingly annoying glare/reflections of the edge-to-edge glass featured on the MacBook Pro's.

Azathoth
Aug 15, 2011, 04:44 PM
Hello everyone, long-time lurker, first-time poster.

I'm currently deciding whether or not to replace my Alu MacBook Pro with a MacBook Air. To that end I went to my local Apple store to take a look and get an idea of whether I could live with the screen size of the 11".

Also, if you own an Air do you find its screen usable at 50% in your home, on trains, on airplanes etc?

The human eye is very adaptable, so it's hard to generalise but here's my two cents.

I use a 2010 MBP15 (matte) but the screen brightness is very similar to the MBA 2011. In my bright office I need to run it at full brightness in order to prevent eyestrain.

On public transport (trains, planes) then out of the sun I can run at 70% brightness.

My home, when lit by 2 halogen 50W bulbs - moderately dark level for photo editing - which non-photo editors might regard as the light level that is suitable for a date after 9pm that gives a "bring out the wine, Pink Floyd and let's start making out". But I digress - under such conditions of light the MBP is set to 60% brightness to get 120cd/m2.

In bed - assuming there is no date - then 1/15 brightness is enough.

For classrooms, I would guess that 13/15 is the right brightness level.