15" Al PowerBooks... screen has a lot of side-to-side variation?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by nagromme, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Do 15-inchers sold in recent months have screens that vary a lot from side to side?

    I just sent my year-old PB in for service at the last minute... it had the white-spot thing just slightly, and I wanted a new screen "just in case" it got worse.

    Three days later (not bad!) it came back, and the brand-new screen is brighter, if anything--and still NO dead pixels :)

    BUT... my old screen was better in one way: it had VERY little side-to-side variation. Right side seemed just very slightly brighter if paid attention. You could stand WAY to the side--or above or slouched low--and the screen looked almost like normal! I've never seen an LCD in a laptop even close to that good. I could slouch or lean on my elbow to one side and not have to re-orient the screen. I could share with other people and they all could see great. I could look really close to it too, and not see any odd effects.

    The one I have now loses all those benefits. It has a lot of variation if you move your head. Move a bit to the left (or up) and everything "fogs" lighter. A bit to the right (or down) and everything darkens--and dark colors solarize into an oily rainbow. And just looking at any screen, the right side seems a lot brighter than the left--and the bottom a lot brighter than the top. I look at the bottom right of Safari's metal edge, and the top left, and it's a BIG difference.

    I know Apple uses multiple different models of 15" display, and I can get used to it--most laptops are like this in some way, and maybe I've just been spoiled--but... IF THIS IS NOT NORMAL, I have 3 months to send it back again :) A hassle, but I've been working off my iPod while it was away, and I can handle that for a another 3 days if I might get an even better screen.

    So to help me decide if I have an issue...

    1. Does your AlBook 15" look a lot brighter in the bottom-right than on the top-left? 2. And if you put your face 6 inches from the screen, do dark graphics (like in a game or dark desktop pic) start to go weird colors in the top left? 3. And how old IS your 'Book?

    (Maybe Apple just scrapped that "nicer" model screen because it was unreliable, and now they're using a "better" model with poorer viewing angle.)

    Many thanks! I'm not sure if I'm hoping this is normal or not :) I really don't like it at all... but sending it off is a pain too.

    PS, that anodized Al is something else. I cringed to see the CompUSA folks who sent it off grinding it around upside down on a gritty counter to check the serial number in the battery hole. But not a single scratch! My PB looks brand new after a year.
  2. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002

    Also... look at a full black screen (like the Computer Name screensaver)... is the black even remotely dark and even across the display? Lean in close, especially.

    I just tried that and I've got MAJOR light areas--even, not blotchy (NOT the "white spots")--and a deep dark diagonal band. It darkens the top left (the ONLY real black area), or else it's like a dark banner from bottom-left to top-right, depending where I hold my head. If I hold my head close, the black diagonal band is pretty small. The rest of the screen does NOT have a good black. My old screen had a decent black overall--this will be VERY distracting in games with dark rooms. (And I see it even makes black text look faded towards the bottom right. Just a bit, but easily noticeable.)

    Houston, I think we have a problem! It's weird... it seems like it's not a defect, just a poor-quality overall screen. Very different from the original one. (More like a 12" PB ;) )

    Is this common?
  3. aussie_geek macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2004
    Sydney Australia
    Better than ever

    I just looked at mine using a little app called PiXel Check V1.2 .

    I only decided to run it again because of this post. When I first ran it (a few months ago) I did notice there were some areas of the screen that were not illuminating evenly when all black pixels were switched on. However, after running it just now I was surprised to see that the screen is more evenly illuminated than before!!

    Maybe the LCD screens have to wear in or something... :confused:

  4. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    I've noticed, and heard other say, that a little black variation can change from instance to instance too. Temperature? Breaking in? Bulb warming up? Beats me. Me old screen had some small variation of that kind.

    But THIS new problem is not uneven and does not vary so far--it's like a perfect, distinct gradient from black (top-left) to washed-out gray (bottom-right), along with darker colors shifting a lot when I move my head.

    I'd call it barely within what I think ANY company would sell--and far from the excellent quality of my first screen... until the white spots appeared.
  5. betsbillabong macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2004
    I have a brand new 1.5 15" powerbook - I think the screen is fine. I didn't notice the banding you were discussing, unless it's subtle and I just haven't noticed. I ran the Pixel test too, and everything seems fine. Knock on wood! I would take it to an Apple Store, if possible, and show the people at the Genius Bar what's going on.
  6. nagromme thread starter macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    It's not subtle--it's AWFUL for certain screens with medium-to-dark details (white's not so bad). Sometimes you CANNOT find any viewing angle that makes the whole screen look remotely normal. And I will be showing it to Apple, as they've asked me to do.

    Some people have gotten new screens over this issue, and I intend to be one of them :) In fact, I haven't heard of anyone being refused a new screen over this. I think Apple is--sometimes (recently?)--using some really bad-quality screens for repair. Made by Samsung just like the one you get with a new PB, maybe even the same model, but BAD. That may not be intentional cost-cutting, it may be just a "bad batch" or bad installation, or who knows what.

    But it shouldn't just be the "squeaky wheels" like me who get it addressed. If it has happened to more than a handful of people--and my research suggests it may have--then Apple should be contacting people who had replacement screens. They should describe this new issue, and offer a new screen WITHOUT waiting to see if they get "caught."

    And maybe they will. The scope of this issue might only now be reaching that point. As of now, when I post about this in various forums, it doesn't seem at all hard to dig up other people who have the exact same issue from a recently-replaced screen.

    Don't settle for it! Remember, the replacement screen has its own 3-month warranty! And even after that, if you're the victim of a known Apple mistake (they SHOULD have never let these out the door), you have a case you can make to them. Polite but 100% firm wins the day.

Share This Page