MBA Screen Usability at 50% Brightness

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by johnhackworth, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. johnhackworth, Aug 5, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011

    macrumors member

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    #1
    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?
     
  2. macrumors 68020

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    #2
    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.
     
  3. macrumors newbie

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    London
    #3
    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.
     
  4. macrumors 6502

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    Dec 4, 2009
    #4
    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.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    jclardy

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    Oct 6, 2008
    #5
    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.
     
  6. macrumors 6502

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    #6
    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.
     
  7. macrumors 65816

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    #7
    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.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 5, 2011
    #8
    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 ;)
     
  9. macrumors G4

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #9
    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.
     
  10. macrumors 65816

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    #10
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    I'm typically between 10% and 50% brightness, but I'm not using my MBA in overly bright environments.
     
  11. macrumors newbie

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    May 12, 2011
    #11
    My brightness is currently 1 above being dark and I find it is very easy to see the screen.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    christophermdia

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    #12
    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....
     
  13. 3bs
    macrumors 603

    3bs

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    #13
    Yeah I'd say 50% would be bright enough. I never go much higher than that on my 11"
     
  14. macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #14
    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.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

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    #15
    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%.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 25, 2008
    #16
    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.
     
  17. macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #17
    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.
     
  18. 2IS
    macrumors 68030

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    #18
    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.
     
  19. macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    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.
     
  20. macrumors 68020

    jclardy

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    #20
    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.
     
  21. macrumors regular

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    #21
    I just let the ambient light sensor do it's job, and it does it very well, IMO of course:)
     
  22. macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #22
    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 ?).
     
  23. macrumors G4

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    Oct 23, 2010
    #23
    There is one on the 2011s.
     
  24. macrumors regular

    fletch33

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    #24
    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.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 5, 2011
    #25
    Well, the die is cast. I've just ordered a 13" i7. Thanks for the input guys.
     

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