Why is the bezel so wide?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by macbook123, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Just saw the MBA in the store for the first time and the one thing that immediately surprised me is its thick bezel. Much thicker than the MBP and thicker than the MB even. What could be the purpose of that? I mean it can't be necessary for the inbuilt isight, as the other two Apple laptops have that too. I was thinking it would make sense for an ultra-portable to squeeze as much functionality as possible into a small space. So why not either 1) keep the 13.3 inch screen and make the footprint of the laptop smaller (which could still easily accommodate a full size keyboard) while all space is efficiently used, or 2) increase the screen size to 14 inch while keeping the footprint at what it currently is (I'm just roughly guessing that it could accommodate a 14 inch screen)?

    Any ideas for why Apple chose this wide bezel?
  2. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2007
    No one on this board can answer this question... why not ask steve?

  3. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Well, perhaps others will have an idea. I thought there may be some technical reason for this (like there being bits of hardware squeezed next to the screen), or some design reason, like wanting to look retro like laptops from long time ago?

    Anyway, I don't want to sound negative as this really seems a supreme laptop. Just the bezel surprised me a little.
  4. macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    The top (screen) portion of the MacBook Air needed to be at least as wide as it was because the bottom (keyboard) portion needed to be that thick to accommodate all the electronics in it while keeping the notebook as thin as it is. Whether the screen size could have been increased to match better...I have no idea. There may be lots of electronics stuffed into the bezel, too...but I haven't seen enough pictures of that area to tell. If anyone knows about this on the MacBook, that would tell you, because the regular MacBooks have the same bezel. The only one that does is the MacBook Pro. My guess is that if they could realistically increase the screen size without increasing the overall size of the notebook, they would have. But I don't know if they could, and if they could, I don't know why they don't.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006
    i think it's drawn from the ipods
    it's also a good way to make it look and feel "smaller" than it really is
  6. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    Good points. Could it be that the footprint needed to be as big as it is because of all the electronics in there, but that the major screen manufacturers make 13.3 inch screens, not 14 inch ones? So they had to go with the wider bezel for reasons of lack of supply?
  7. macrumors 68030

    Nov 18, 2006
    I figured it was for support/stability of the screen since it's so paper thin. Needs some structure. While I don't mind the thickness on the top/bottom - it would've been nice to slim down the sides/width of footprint a tad.

    My husband has a Toshiba R500 and the screen literally bends. Apparently it's designed to deal with that. The display on that is appalling btw.
  8. macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Yeah, I vote structure. Probably has to be wider to prevent easy breaking/bending issues.
  9. macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2007
    I didn't look at the parts break-down too closely, but could another incentive to have left the bezel wide be related to the airport antenna?
  10. macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2008
    I don't got no gripes with the wide bezel... I guess it kinda makes the MBA look old-school, but old-school is hot these days, innit? Think about the whole the '80s revival: Transformers, RBK Pumps, fluoro, 9-inch high-heels for chicks, people making the switch to Mac again...

  11. macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2008
    Saitama, Japan
    Bezel-less screens are possible...

    With Apple’s plan to move onto aluminum, glass and LED screens for all their products, is it not possible for Apple to go for bezel-less designs (of course barring the iSight and other sensors which, I suppose, could go at the bottom near the name or :apple:)? I saw a concept design on here somewhere from another maker and it looked awesome.

    I think that bezel-less screens are the future of laptop design. Are some big-screen TVs not going this route?

    The bezel on the current MBA (apologies if I offend anyone) looks a little 80s-ish in my opinion... :eek:
  12. macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    maybe to differentiate between lower and higher end models. Even though the Air isn't that cheap, it still isnt 'pro' performance wise
  13. macrumors member

    Mar 22, 2007
    I am not sure, but I'd assume that the macbook and the air use the same screen. It makes tons of sense for the company to use the same screen so they can get more of the same parts from a company and not have to have four different sizes of portable screens going around. That is my guess. If they need the size to fit everything in the bottom, it makes sense to use a screen they are already using.
  14. macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2004
    Haha structure. Its aluminum people. My bezel is 1/4 as thick on my plastic thinkpad.

    Its there because they wanted to make the laptop LOOK think with the thin outer edges. Realistically they could have just cut off the thin edges and made it smaller but then it wouldn't LOOK thin would it.
  15. macrumors 6502


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    I noticed on the www.ifixit.com article where they dismantel the MBA, that it shows the screen bezel being held together with some type of adhesive/glue, not screws. It is possible that they needed a larger surface area for the glue to properly hold it together. Also, having just played with one at the store yesterday, it is very sturdy (little if any flex) so I would go with the structural support argument as well.
  16. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    No, the MBA display is LED backlight, the MB is not. But the more I think about it (and read posts on this forum) it seems that the best explanation is that the decision was simply based on non-availability of larger (e.g. 14 inch) screens.
  17. thread starter macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    It seems to me that it would be very much against Apple philosophy to sacrifice performance for design in this way. A smaller screen just to seem more '80's like? No.
  18. macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    I'm going to go with happyslayer's structural support idea. Seems to make the most sense, considering Apple's obsession with aesthetics and build quality, that they did it for structural reasons.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 17, 2007
    Camp Snoopy
    I think supply and structure were the two main reasons. Probably cheaper for Apple to buy 13.3" LED-backlit LCDs in massive bulk for MBs and MBAs and more structurally sound for such a thin LCD panel
  20. wtd
    macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    I concur - it's the LED backlight that needs the extra electronics. The MacBook Pros have them (LED backlights), whereas the MacBooks do not, and though they have a thin bezel, they have more square inches to work with, and they're significantly thicker than the MBA, so there's more cubic space behind the backlight, too.

    And if you take a look at Sony's TZ line -- with a very similar, ultrathin, glossy, 13.3" LED backlit display -- it appears they took the same, larger bezel route.

    The MBA's bezel looks slightly larger that the Sony, but I'd guess that it's still mostly the LED, as opposed to keyboard (otherwise, why not put in a 14"?) or structure.
  21. macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    I have a Sony Vaio G1 that I bought in a moment of bad taste. It's this little 12" laptop, 1kg weight, etc. The TZ is actually big compared to the G series.

    ... Anyway, it too has a LED backlit screen, but has a standard thin bezel like most modern laptops. The screen on that machine is also kaput, because the case is flexible carbon fiber. It broke itself opening, going into my bag, and well, OK, I was a bit of a klutz with wiping the screen down.

    The MBA's bezel? I'd wager it's not all electronics. It's mostly structure. The MBA feels like a vault compared to that Vaio.
  22. macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    In that case, I'm all for the wide bezel :)
  23. macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    I agree with the comments about the wide bezel being more for structural integrity than anything else. But don't forget that the lower deck of the MBA can't really get any smaller... since the top deck (the screen part) has to be the same width, the bezel becomes a necessity unless you use a different size of screen, which isn't practical for reasons already mentioned.

    Until we start seeing "slablet" computers (slab + tablet) which consist of a slab of circuitry with a glass screen sandwiched on top, we will necessarily find ourselves constrained when it comes to cosmetic features of consumer electronics devices.
  24. macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2007
    levitation . . . that's what you need

    I agree with this guy, somebody has already said on this forum that the air seems to levitate because of the tapered edges and I think this is why apple went with the extra width.

    It gives the illusion of being slimmer and their thickness boast is able to start from a crazy 0.4cm.

    considering how eager they were to make it look as slim as possible i'm convinced of this.
  25. macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    Personally, I have no idea how the screen size would affect whether the computer looks thin or not. There are four other laptops in this room around me right now, and I just looked at them, and if anything the ones with wider bezels look *thicker* unless it's just me.

    I think structual support + electronics space + availability gave Apple compelling reasons for the bezel.

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