RANT: what the hell is Apple doing with its MBP displays?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by PDE, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. PDE macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    I decided to get my 17" MBP display replaced today, hoping that the replacement will have more even backlight so that, at the very least, things look the same regardless of where on the display the window happens to be. I don't have much hope that I'll get a good display, especially not after having had time to look at the other 17" displays at the Apple Store, all of which were pretty poorly illuminated. Anyway, great service from the apple genius.

    Here's my rant. After leaving the store I walked in to a COmpusa and went first to look at their Apple laptops, then to the PC laptop section so that I'd have the MBPs fresh in my mind when I looked at the PCs. They had Sony, HP and Toshibas and ALL of them- even the cheapest one - had very evenly illuminated displays, no 'grain' and all better viewing angles than the MBPs. I've seen this before, but I checked again today just to confirm. I opened black and white solid colored desktops to look for bleeding and uneven brightness - couldn't see any at all. Then I opened desktops with pictures to look at the viewing angles. Except for one machine (a small Sony), they all had good horizontal viewing angles with very little colorshift. Nothing like the one-inch head movement color shift of the MBPs...

    I want to know WHY it's like this? Seriously: how can Apple continue to churn out laptops with displays that are so obviously poor??? I can come up with three possible scenarios:

    A) They just chose the cheapest displays they could find, regardless of quality. If this is the case, they must have actively looked for the worst displays since most other PC laptops, including the cheapest, seem to have higher quality displays. Honestly, I'd be satisfied with any of the displays saw there and I'm picky.

    B) There is a manufacturing problems with the displays used. This is very unlikely given that Apple uses four different manufacturers (AUO, samsung, chimei and LG) for its 15 and 17" models. All the displays used have unique problems.

    C) Something with the design of the display bezel is messing with the displays during the assembly process, causing uneven brightness. I doubt the grain can be caused by anything else than a manufacturing flaw during the coating process, but maybe the backlighting can be affected by how the displays are handled and assembled into the bezels?

    I can't think of any other explanations - any thoughts? It's a disgrace that Apple is producing such great laptops with such terrible displays. For those who don't agree with me - just go into a computer store and compare what they have with what you have....I'm not talking Dells here, but rather: HP, Toshiba, Acer, Compaq, Sony.
  2. hotboiled macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2006
    same here
    I am mad :mad: :mad:
    mine is going back next week
  3. PDE thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    And, from Apple's website - complete reality distortion:

    "Promote your ideas on the MacBook Pro’s dazzling display. An aggressive ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics processor under the hood coupled with up to 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM powers the mobile visual studio you’ve been waiting for. Retouch color, edit on location, video conference with colleagues: Do it all, anywhere.

    Everything is illuminated
    MacBook Pro makes your ideas more enlightening, with a sharp, high-resolution screen. See blacker blacks, whiter whites, and many more colors in between on a brilliant 15.4-inch, 1440-by-900-pixel or 17-inch, 1680-by-1050-pixel digital display. Enjoy a nuanced view simply unavailable on other portables."
  4. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    Perhaps "nuanced" is code for uneven backlighting. ;)
  5. PDE thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    Yess! that's what they meant: there is nuance in the way individual colors are displayed....depending on where you place them on the display. Whites can be crisp and pure one corner, gray in another, and vanilla somewhere else - your choice how you want it to look depending on your mood that day.
  6. toddster63 macrumors newbie


    Dec 31, 2006
    Sunny California Coast
    On the other hand, the glossy display on my MacBook is even, no graininess, and is dazzling. Noticably nicer than my friend's new $3K Sony laptop, also with a glossy display...

    I assume you're talking about the matte screen on the MBP...?
  7. mick4394 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2006
    Flyover country
    I've thought for years that Apple goes on the cheap when it comes to their notebook displays. The three iBook displays I've owned have been noticeably dim compared to PC counterparts. My Macbook's display is better than any of the iBook's, but it still has a warm up period that it goes through when waking up that I've never dealt with on PC laptops.

    I really think that Apple needs to get their act together when it comes to these displays. Compared to Dell, HP, Sony and others, Apple is running far behind.

    Many is the time I've strolled through a Best Buy, caught a glimpse of a Sony laptop, and wished to transplant the display to my Macbook.

    Sorry, though, here I am complaining about my MB display and its little problem, which is nothing compared to the MBP problems.
  8. PDE thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    Yeah, the macbooks have the best displays of the bunch, even though viewing angles could be much better. But, generally, I'd take the macbook display over the MBPs any day.

    What I can't understand is where apple even gets these crappy displays, ginve that everybody else seems to be using good quality displays? I mean, it must be hard to get poor displays these days, no?
  9. mick4394 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2006
    Flyover country
    You know, as bad as Apple displays can be, it could be worse. My dad has an Averatec notebook that he got at Sam's. It's a great little machine, other than the entire row of dead pixels that went out right after his warranty expired.

    That's what he gets for popping for the Sam's special, I guess. It was a hell of a deal, but it came at a price.
  10. NewSc2 macrumors 65816

    Jun 4, 2005
    Orange County, CA
    It's not that bad guys. I have a Macbook and a MBP, and yes, the MBP is slightly grainy, but the overall screen quality is so much better. Sharper resolution, way brighter contrast.

    There's a slight bit of grain but there's even grain on my Dell 2005FPW compared to my Macbook. It's only barely noticeable when you look for it, and really only appears on white backgrounds. I attribute it to the smaller pixel size compared to the Macbook's screen.

    Same with the uneven backlight -- the Macbook's screen is so much smaller, there's bound to be slight deviations in backlight here and there. For me there appears to be a dark arc 1" from the right side, and the bottom right centimeter is darker too. The only time you can tell is on the white startup screen. It's really hard to tell on regular use.

    What bothers me more is the smaller viewing angle on the Macbook, the smaller size (I got headaches trying to edit audio on the Macbook), and the lower contrast. 1/4 contrast on the MBP is equal to 1/2-2/3 on the MB.

    I used to own a 17" PB, with the same resolution as my current 15". I'm still amazed how much my 15" MBP feels like my old 17"
  11. Cybix macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2006
    Western Australia
    I'm surprised there are issues, is this a C2D revision issue?

    My rev A, week 10 MBP is flawless, the screen is well lit all over, no dark shades, great viewing angles, no grain what so ever... it's just sweet.

    It does have a very subtle 'whine' which i believe all Rev A's have.. but I can live with that..

    glad the screen is excellent. It's a true pleasure to look at and use, esp compared to any desktop flat panel I use regularly...

    mmm :D
  12. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    Yes, not problems here. PDE has been doing nothing but Apple bashing - no credibility at all. MS is turning up the heat with the extremely poor showing of Vista. Anything and everything that can be done to discredit Apple is being done. No conspiracy theory. They have been busted for hiring bloggers like this. Well documented and all that. Most of this is purely fabricated. Others highly embellished. I have noticed many 'dormant' posters coming out of the woodwork with tales of terror and woe.
  13. GITANAJAVA macrumors regular


    Feb 3, 2006
    Have ibrik, will travel.

    Slow your roll, SMM. :eek:

    Check these posts by PDE, http://forums.macrumors.com/search.php?searchid=5202016. When I read through PDE's posts (which by the way are at a higher daily average than my own), I read the concern, comments, & yes, an occasional rant, of any Apple user who wants the best quality and user-friendliness, who may have a bit of an axe to grind -- for any number of possible legitimate reasons -- about monitor display, and could hardly be characterised as an Apple basher. Do I enjoy his/her tone? No. As they say in 12-step programs, don't confuse personality with principle: people come to a forum in all shapes (noobs, frequent flyers, pros, developers), in all tones from smarmy to smart, some are needy and demanding, and some come to help and guide. With a bit of respect, plus a lot of teasing and chat, most of us are here to learn how to make our Apple experience better and to contribute comments and ideas to make the Apple product better.

    An American mate of mine says this, "I don't agree with what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it." ;)
  14. jaguarx macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2003
    I'm sorry, anyone that criticises Apple hardware with its many documented flaws is being paid by microsoft? Might want to lighten up on the kool-aid there mate, paranoia is a treatable condition you know.

    I love Apple machines. I own a Mac Pro, a 12" Powerbook, a 23" cinema display and an upgraded cube and I've used them since the LCII, I wouldn't give up OSX for the world. I went to look at the Macbook Pro C2D 15" in-store as a powerbook replacement to see if the display issue was a as bad as people were saying and it is. They look bloody horrible, I cannot believe anyone who works in anything visual can fail to notice the grain. These are not cheap machines, they are meant to be for professional work, including professional visual work and for that they are not adequate, they aren't even passable. The macbook screens, side by side are far, far better. There are plenty of good screens out there, why Apple can't get this right I don't know.
  15. AdeFowler macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2004
    My 15" PowerBook is approaching 3 years old and its display is as good as the day I got it – I've always thought it was fantastic. But last week I helped a friend (pro photographer) set up his 17" MBP. The glossy screen blew me away; I still can't believe how stunning it was.

    I'm not accusing anyone of trolling; just saying that they're not all bad.
  16. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    My week 13 MBP CD is incredibly grainy, but has even illumination.

    It's weird since I first heard about grain with the C2D, but mine's been grainy for almost a year now!

    Sadly, I had to leave my 2405 at home when I went to Europe for a semester. (That display was just too great...)
  17. iW00t macrumors 68040


    Nov 7, 2006
    Defenders of Apple Guild
    Well let me share my journey:

    1. I was freaking ****ed off at the piece of **** display that comes with a A$3500 laptop. I'm obviously used to better for less.
    2. Emailed Steve! That's right! Did it do anything? Not really but it did get me quite a fair bit of polite phone calls and emails.
    3. Subsequently I sent it in to a service centre because I am still not convinced.
    4. 2 weeks later it came back with a note saying display is normal.
    5. I don't even care anymore.
    6. Come think of it this crap screen is a lot nicer than my housemate's 2 year old HP laptop's. Well as long as it is better than a screen it is not the worst screen in the world I suppose.
    7. Kinda coming to peace with this screen.
    8. I have already have the money sitting in the bank for a new MBP.

    No one knows for sure, all we know is for the C2D revision Apple added AUO as one of the suppliers for the screens.

    Yours may be affected too, but ignorance is bliss :eek:

    I am not really looking forward to the next revision anyway since it seems like they are going to have weakly saturated colours anyway. Here's to hoping that at least they have wider viewing angles.
  18. Eric374 macrumors 6502


    Sep 25, 2006
    Wichita, Kansas
    I have a week 52 MBP 2.16 C2D with the matte screen, and it's absolutely perfect. No matter how hard I try to see what everyone else claims to see, it's just not there. And, I eat my carrots too, so it's not bad eyesight.

  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location

    ALL LCD displays require a warm-up period where they get brighter after 5 to 20 minutes of use. Colour accuracy is better on a warm LCD as well.

    That's not an Apple problem. It's an "anybody with an LCD from any company"-type problem.

    The only thing I hate about my MacBook is the viewing angle. It's not even wide enough to get even tones and colours if you compare the middle of the screen with the top.

    I looked at a MBP today with no graininess. :) I even hunted for it.
  20. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    uneven brightness has been discussed before, i guess nobody has solution, and we now kind of getting use to it already. :p
  21. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I'm a huge fan of Apple products and generally tend to come to their defense.

    That said... the MBP displays are, at least in many cases, pathetic. I realize that not all of them are, but my MBP is on its 2nd display (first one was replaced a month ago), and while the first on was horrific (started out OK, then developed dead pixels and grey "spots"), this one is pretty bad too. Not clear, not even, grainy... just disappointing. It isn't the logic board either, as that was also replaced (why oh why couldn't they just give me a new one?). And I've had many Apple displays, laptops, etc., so it isn't unfamiliarity with the product lines. These displays are simply sub par. As I said, some apparently aren't, and maybe most aren't, but I've had two bad ones in a row. The home MB's screen - when viewed straight-on, as it's got terrible viewing angle issues - is much clearer, and it isn't just the matte/glossy difference.

    I am happy my employer bought this one....
  22. mick4394 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2006
    Flyover country
    It's not about brightness when it's warming up. It's about how uneven the brightness is when it's warming up. None of my LCDs warm up with the dark blotches that my Apple LCDs produce.

    It's an Apple problem, not an "anybody with an LCD from any company" -type problem.

    I will say, though, this doesn't make me dislike my Macbook. I think it's a great computer. I have yet to own a computer, from any company, that's flawless.
  23. crazyworld macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2007
    update ..

    i got a mbp lastweek [ i did start threads on here, cant rmember wher..] ..th display was crap, darker on one side an blotchy.. got it replaced by appl dealer in 24hrs..[easier than waitin 2 wks 4 appl to replac it with another crap one].... is a LOT better, not quite perfect, stil a tiny bit darker on 1 corner but nowher near as noticeable, the rest smooth... th viewing angle of these displays seems quite tight cos when my head slightly to left is all balanced.. it seems important to let th machin warm up b4 judgin.. i figur this th best u can get til appl admits they r usin shoddy parts4 more profit an issues a recall replacement screens... an th way everyones moanin on here it aint that unlikely..

    now 2 see if it is much faster than a pbkg4..
  24. PDE thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 16, 2005
    First, to SMM: It's really pathetic to put me down and question my credibility for having valid criticism of Apple's current MBP displays. It's not as though I'm alone with my criticisms. I challenge anybody to compare them side-by--side the average COmpusa or BestBuy PC laptops (not dell)and tell me that the MBPs have a better display. Regardless, my frustration comes from wanting to understand better WHY Apple is using theses displays, or why these displays look worse than most of the competition. It just doesn't makes sense that a lot lesser companies are able to afford to put in good displays while Apple can't or won't. It's the one thing that should never be compromised on a portable computer. Your nasty post reminds me of people who say that putting down Bush is being unpatriotic (I'd argue that putting down Bush IS patriotic, just like criticising Apple for using poor displays is indicative of my desire to stay with the company - if not, I'd simply switch to a Thinkpad at this point).

    I don't like the displays APple is using, but I have only very positive things to say about Apple support and attempts to resolve my issues. they have literally bent over backward to help me get a laptop that has a good display. The people working to help have been stuck with the limits of the hardware they actually have - the same displays that people are complaining about. There is, however, quite a bit of variance between units so it's possible to get lucky! For those who love their first generation MBPs: apaprently they used the samsung displays which were of higher quality. The current units have the AU optronics displays...

    As I mentioned, I handed in my MBP yesterday at 11am and had a call at 5.30pm telling me it was ready! Unbelievably fast! These are my observations of the new display, which is also an LG:

    - Overall, the shifts in brightness are not as bad at all. Looking left to right, there is almost no discernable difference in brightness except for -perhaps- the left side being ever so slightly less illuminated. Still, it's fine.With a solid color background, I can see some darker blotches/areas, especially above the bright strip at the bottom. I think it's an optical illusion caused by the contrast between the bright strip and the rest. With certain darker colors, the blotches are more apparent.

    - My previous LCD did not have a bright strip along the bottom. It had slight light leakage on the right bottom and left side, but very difused. This one has the infamous thin bright strip along the bottom. It's really not that bad unless there's a darkish solid background, but it's still there nonetheless. If this somehow is related to more even brightness overall, I'm ok with the trade-off. There is also some bleeding on the top across the display.

    - This display seems brighter. The other one I kep pressing the brightness key because I wanted just a little more. This one feels perfect brightness-wise.

    Like Iwoot, I'm going to get used to the display and makes peace with it. This one doesn't annoy me in the ways the other one did and, given the current display situation, I can't ask for more than that.


    Can you tell is what model display you have? If you go to system preferences - display -colors -choose ColorLCD-click to the right on open profile and then scroll down in the new window to #13. What does it say there?

    I think you may have one of the earlier displays made by samsung 09C56? Would be interesting to know.
  25. crazyworld macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2007
    PDE.. what yours say ? mine manu 0000610, model 9c62, manu date c05dff00

    is this gonna tel us owt?!

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