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Old Oct 23, 2008, 02:55 PM   #1
nemein
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So... about that Macbook screen wash-out

I was just over at my local Apple store and got the chance to see for myself if the screens between the MB and the MBP/MBA were really that different.

Here is what I tested - I opened all 3 computers' Safari and went to a website that was completely black (I used Blackle for this test). The blacks for the MBA were the darkest, but quite similar to that displayed by the MBP - a really, really dark hue, you don't see a "glow" at all. The blacks were dark enough to look like the screen's been turned off. For the MB, the blacks looked worst than my 2.5 year old Dell Inspiron - upon closer look the blacks were almost greyish. This "black" screen probably could have lit up a pitch-black room enough to see in. Its like the 3.5 edition of "Darkness" in DnD compared to the 3rd edition. Okay, bad analogy.

My question is would this condition be at least partially fixable through calibration, or if this is a permanent hardware difference between the lines? This is a deal breaker for me - I wanted to change computers because 1) my 17" Dell is too large and 2) my Dell's screen sucks. I'm not going to buy a new MB if the screen turns out the same or worst than my Dell's aging LCD.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 02:58 PM   #2
Eidorian
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I use a custom display profile on my MacBook right now. You might want to look into making one.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 02:58 PM   #3
w00tini
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its not fixable completely. between my macbook air and my aluminum macbook, there is a big difference that i cannot totally squash by tweaking any settings on the macbook.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 03:18 PM   #4
NC MacGuy
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Agreed. The display is the glaring problem with the new MB's.

Had Apple given it the Air's panel, it'd be a home run.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 03:20 PM   #5
PresentACat
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Agreed. The display is the glaring problem with the new MB's.

Had Apple given it the Air's panel, it'd be a home run.
Is it THAT bad? I have one on order.
Am I going to look at it and think "That is at least average notebook quality" or am I going to be hankering for my old laptops screen?
Is it a case of looking bad in comparison to excellent screens, or just being awful?
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 03:23 PM   #6
mattnxtc
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Originally Posted by PresentACat View Post
Is it THAT bad? I have one on order.
Am I going to look at it and think "That is at least average notebook quality" or am I going to be hankering for my old laptops screen?
Is it a case of looking bad in comparison to excellent screens, or just being awful?
I actually look at them most days when I go by apple on my lunch break...It is a pretty noticeable downgrade between the air and the MBP.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 03:25 PM   #7
gwmac
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Originally Posted by PresentACat View Post
Is it THAT bad? I have one on order.
Am I going to look at it and think "That is at least average notebook quality" or am I going to be hankering for my old laptops screen?
Is it a case of looking bad in comparison to excellent screens, or just being awful?
I think sometimes it is like listening to the high fi guys. There comes a point in high end high fi that one becomes more interested in the quality of the sound than the music they are listening to.
I bought one of the 2.4Ghz alubooks for my daughter and I thought the display was fabulous - but I make do with my 2.0Ghz whitebook (I love it really, I'm going to run it into the ground for the same reason I buy my BMWs new and sell them after 100,000)
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 03:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PresentACat View Post
Is it THAT bad? I have one on order.
Am I going to look at it and think "That is at least average notebook quality" or am I going to be hankering for my old laptops screen?
Is it a case of looking bad in comparison to excellent screens, or just being awful?
It can be that bad...just make sure not to look at a MBA/MBP screen after you receive it or you'll be pretty miffed. I love my MB but the screen really isn't great TBH. I also have an Air with me and i REALLY considered returning my MB and sticking with the Air but the Air has been giving me Kernel Panics and i cant be bothered to start fixing it so i'm returning the Air and sticking with the MB

Will probably get an external display or an iMac sometime later on

The only reason im still using the MacBook is because i calibrated the screen and came up with a decent profile which somewhat mitigates things
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 03:35 PM   #9
DaveOZ
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I received my new MacBook yesterday. I have been using a MBPro 17 with LED HD screen plugged into ACD 24" at work and Air as portable. I found having 2 computers was a pain and the 17" was too big to lug around. I'm hoping the new MB will serve as my only computer.

So far I am happy.

1. It's just as fast as my MBPro so all good there.
2. The screen is not as good as either of the other 2, a bit blurry BUT after playing with calibrations and getting the tilt angle right is is quite usable. I'll give it a week.
3. I'm not sure if it's just my imagination but the new MB does not not seems to drive my ACD24" as crisply as the old MBPro. I'll give it a week.
4. Viewing angles are crap compared to the Air but this doe not concern me as I always sit in front of it.
5. It is obviously heavier than the Air but not much bigger. I'm very happy with it's portability.

I really hope this works out because it is the ideal setup for me and I have other plans for the 17" and the Air.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 03:50 PM   #10
iCries
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Went to a store today and watched both the new Alu MB and the MBP and I also watched the air.

My god. The Macbook screen is utter crap if you ask me, the difference between it and the MBP screen is like day and night, thats a deal breaker for me, I was going to get the Macbook but now I'm going for the low end MBP.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:20 PM   #11
NC MacGuy
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The new MB display is better than last MB generations. It's still subpar if you compare it to the Air or MBP's.

If you're getting a MB and you don't have a MBP or MBA or are upgrading from an older MB, you probably will think it fine.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:24 PM   #12
theoski
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I agree it is crap. Even with the best profiles it is blurry. Not acceptable for prolonged use.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:27 PM   #13
Jalbuke
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I agree it is crap. Even with the best profiles it is blurry. Not acceptable for prolonged use.
New Macs, same old crap!
Do we have a taste for suffering?
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:30 PM   #14
PresentACat
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I agree it is crap. Even with the best profiles it is blurry. Not acceptable for prolonged use.
Blurry? I hadn't heard this before......

I suspect I'm not going to find it nearly as bad as some people are making out.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:35 PM   #15
theoski
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The sad thing is that if that screen was sharper it would be a beautiful machine.
13 inch. Perfect size for me. Runs VMWare like a champ. Temp always at 60. Never hear a fan. Quicktime h264 totally mind blowing.

I am always laughing at my co-workers who use PC. When they do anything their fan kicks in and hard drive goes crazy. Each time I say. Oh oh. Reactor meltdown. Hahaha.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:40 PM   #16
NC MacGuy
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I just had a thought - I have a nice brighty MBA and a washed out new AlumiBook. They are essentially the same size and design for display and lid. Hmmm. If they could be swapped I'd have an awesome machine! Really.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:47 PM   #17
sammy2066
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I got my new MacBook today, and the display sucks just as I had expected it to. I want to know if APple is sourcing the MacBook displays from multiple vendors. If so, I will return this one and try getting a better one.

Here's the details on my MacBook.

Manufacturer: 00000610
Model: 00009C89
Serial Number: 00000000
Manufacture Date: C3B1A800

This is my dad's hard earned money, and I cannot compromise on a display this bad in an already overpriced computer like the MacBook.

So please post your display details ASAP.

Cheers,
Sam
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:47 PM   #18
Doublewire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PresentACat View Post
Blurry? I hadn't heard this before......

I suspect I'm not going to find it nearly as bad as some people are making out.
I concur.
I saw the Aluminum Macbok in the store for the first time with no comparison, no MBP or anything and I didn't notice anything. If it is as awful as you all are making it out to be, I think I would have noticed. I think you're just comparing it to the MBP and saying it sucks.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:47 PM   #19
GUILTIE
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Im not a hifi person but the screen oesn't bother me. It's certainly not as good as the MBP or AIr, but if you don't look at them side by side it's not bad. The vertical viewing angle is ****, but with a good screen calibration its fine for me. Of course this is my first Mac and first laptop actually, so I don't have much to compare it to besides seeing the other laptops in the apple store.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 04:53 PM   #20
GUILTIE
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Originally Posted by sammy2066 View Post
I got my new MacBook today, and the display sucks just as I had expected it to. I want to know if APple is sourcing the MacBook displays from multiple vendors. If so, I will return this one and try getting a better one.

Here's the details on my MacBook.

Manufacturer: 00000610
Model: 00009C89
Serial Number: 00000000
Manufacture Date: C3B1A800

This is my dad's hard earned money, and I cannot compromise on a display this bad in an already overpriced computer like the MacBook.

So please post your display details ASAP.

Cheers,
Sam
I looked on the system profiler but couldn't find this info. Where is it at?
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 05:00 PM   #21
sammy2066
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I looked on the system profiler but couldn't find this info. Where is it at?
You need to go start ColorSync Utility in Utilities. Then select your display profile form the left bar and double click open it. Then scroll down to number 13, and you will see the information.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 05:00 PM   #22
apolloa
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@Sammy2006 -- as said try calibrating the screen to see if it helps you?


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Originally Posted by Doublewire View Post
I concur.
I saw the Aluminum Macbok in the store for the first time with no comparison, no MBP or anything and I didn't notice anything. If it is as awful as you all are making it out to be, I think I would have noticed. I think you're just comparing it to the MBP and saying it sucks.
That's EXACTLY what I did. My sister is thinking of buying my now last gen Mac Book Pro but I'm trying to convince her to go for a new Mac Book as it's just as fast or faster and smaller and will fit her needs much better for what she will use it for. So I have told her to go and look at the screens herself, because everyone has different eye's.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 05:05 PM   #23
sammy2066
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@Sammy2006 -- as said try calibrating the screen to see if it helps you?




That's EXACTLY what I did. My sister is thinking of buying my now last gen Mac Book Pro but I'm trying to convince her to go for a new Mac Book as it's just as fast or faster and smaller and will fit her needs much better for what she will use it for. So I have told her to go and look at the screens herself, because everyone has different eye's.
Hey,

I've been trying to calibrate this damn display since I got it. I'm just very spoilt when it comes to hardware. I might have a hard time trying to put up with this monstrosity of a display Apple decided to put in a beautiful computer like this. I feel I'm not getting the right contrast and the display is just too washed out. I think the one I saw at the store was a better display than the one I have. I just want to make sure that there are/ are not other better displays that Apple is using.

Cheers,
Sam
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 05:25 PM   #24
apolloa
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Oh sorry Sam. Hmm, I have no doubt they use a couple of manufacturers as they always have and when you make them in mass amounts your not going to rely on one supplier of screens. A quick google shows nothing though on the subject.
Maybe give it a week and see how you go? If it's a stock machine take it back and request to see the screen of the replacement before taking it away? Or have a look at the LCD panel codes of the screens in the display machines to see if they differ?
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 05:32 PM   #25
NC MacGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammy2066 View Post
I got my new MacBook today, and the display sucks just as I had expected it to. I want to know if APple is sourcing the MacBook displays from multiple vendors. If so, I will return this one and try getting a better one.

Here's the details on my MacBook.

Manufacturer: 00000610
Model: 00009C89
Serial Number: 00000000
Manufacture Date: C3B1A800

This is my dad's hard earned money, and I cannot compromise on a display this bad in an already overpriced computer like the MacBook.

So please post your display details ASAP.

Cheers,
Sam
I have a 9C89 model also. I downloaded Eldorian's profile and his comes up as a 9C5E. Both manufacturer 610.
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