Are there any PC laptop displays as nice as the MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by No Regrets, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. No Regrets macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2011
    I've never had a Mac yet, but one of the things that draw me to purchasing a MBP is the quality of the screen display. The colors look rich and vibrant and sharp to me and this is with just the normal resolution 15" MBP.

    Are there any PC laptops that have simalar displays as this? If so, I haven't seen any yet.
  2. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    The 2012 Lenovo range seems to have very good displays (announced at CES)
  3. TheJing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2011
    Somewhere in Europe
    I don't know about how colors appear but there are laptops with way better resolutions.
  4. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2011
    I'll have to take a look them. The few 2011 Lenovo's I've seen didn't compare, but maybe the 2012's are better this year.


    It's the rich, vibrant colors that I am after. Not only that, but with the MBP, the colors do not seem to wash out as much as the PC screens when looking at them from an angle.

    I'm not really interested in the higher resolutions as the font appears to be much too small for my eyes.
  5. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    The standard screen on my work supplied T420 is especially crap. It's the worst laptop screen I've seen on a Lenovo/IBM since a 2004 model T42. The day they dropped the optional Flexview IPS screens was a sad day.

    Shame they won't let me use my MBP instead...
  6. Neon01 macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2011
    The Dell Precision M6600 (business class) laptop has a FullHD IPS display (all current Macbooks use TN panels) that's far superior to anything available on a Macbook right now. Also, I've read that the Dell XPS Studio XPS 16 has a tremendous RGBLED display that's almost without compare in a laptop. Supposedly the new HP Radiance displays are very nice too, but I don't know if they're actually better

    One note - if you're a big fan of 16:10 display aspect, there's virtually nothing available on the PC side anymore. I believe HP makes a Powerbook (business class) laptop that has a 1920x1200 display, but that's about it. Dell discontinued theirs with the M6500. I hate 16:9, so I currently own a Mac...
  7. bdodds1985 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 18, 2011
    I think the high end HP (I just laughed) Envy design is stolen from the unibody. Same looking screen and body and you can get the same resolutions. As far as quality I doubt it.
  8. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2011

    Well, I went to our local Best Buy tonight to take another look at their computers, both PC and MBP's.

    All I can say is that the MBP's screens are just soooo gorgeous compared to the PC counterparts. Also, I went onto some of my favorite forums that I tend to visit quite often and found that on both the standard 15" and the hi-rez 17" that I was able to zoom in on the printed word making the font easier for me to read! I really liked this aspect alot!

    Also, when viewing some of the photos on the dpreview photogragher's forum...I was able to expand the various photos to fill up the entire screen. I loved this alot too.

    In some of the other threads I've had on this forum, people recommended for me to pursue the 17" for photo editing purposes as the extra resolution giving me more real estate would be a great benefit. I was hesitant because of all the time I spend on various forums....I felt the font would be too small for me, but now that I found that you can enlarge the font, it is no longer an issue for me.

    I think the 17" MBP will be the one for me. Best of all, it really isn't any more heavy than my current 15" PC laptop!
  9. jamezr macrumors G4


    Aug 7, 2011
    I have this Dell XPS 15z it is awesome.....8 hours of battery life....
  10. slapple macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2008
    That's good information. I didn't know there were any IPS laptop displays right now. I wonder if the next MBP will have IPS, if the retina display rumors are true.

    I also like 16:10, which is why I got a MBP.
  11. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    The 2012 Lenovo x220 also has a high quality IPS panel.
  12. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    Professional laptops with the higher end configuration generally do. Most mid/high end Windows laptops will have higher resolution displays even if colour, contrast and viewing angles are less impressive. Some people consider that to be an improvement anyway and I don't think they are entirely wrong. has very thorough display tests, you might be interested in a checking out their reviews.
  13. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    Anandtech says it best ...

    "Apple uses a very high quality, high contrast panel in the MacBook Pro, and it’s one of the most noticeable advantages the MPB has over the PC notebook world. It just adds to the high quality feeling that the MBP practically exudes—it’s like Apple thought of everything to make it more enjoyable to use. I really wish other manufacturers would put in the money and effort into speccing their systems with high quality displays.

    The contrast ratio of 516:1 is chart topping, even higher than the excellent RGB-LED backlit screen in the Dell SXPS 16. It’s orders of magnitude better than basically any other thin and light or ultraportable notebook we’ve tested recently. Think about the same maximum white level as the Adamo, but with the black levels of something with half the brightness. I officially love this screen, even with all the super glossy stuff going around. (For the record, I still hate Apple for not offering the MacBook Pro 13” with a matte screen, but they could always make me happy and offer it as an option on the Sandy Bridge variant. I’m not holding my breath, though.)

    There are of course other LCDs that can achieve higher contrast ratios, like the RGB LED panels in Dell's Precision M6500, HP's DreamColor offerings (i.e. EliteBook 8740w), and perhaps a few others. We've also seen plenty of decent panels in larger notebooks like the ASUS G73Jh, Clevo X7200, MSI GX640, etc. The problem is, few if any thin and light laptops have decent contrast, and those that do it with a 360nit maximum brightness are even harder to find. Also note that the MBP13 Anand tested under OS X scored even better than the results from this Win7 unit, but that may simply be variation among panels. The difference between 600:1 and 500:1 isn't all that striking; usually you need at least 50% more contrast before it becomes noticeable, and once you reach 1000:1 the only change is typically in fractionally darker blacks.

    Color accuracy is pretty good, as is the color gamut. In fact, the MBP has one of the best color gamuts we’ve seen on a 13” notebook. But here’s the takeaway from all this: the MacBook Pro is one of the only small notebooks with a decent display. I’m not going to say it’s the only one, since I haven’t tested all of them (and the Sony Z still exists), but of all the notebooks we’ve been through, it’s by far the best one. I really wish more PC manufacturers would “get it” and spec their notebooks with higher quality displays, or at least offer a better screen as an option."
  14. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    The problem is that BestBuy has a lot of cheap PCs on display, while it's almost impossible to find a high-end PC-notebook like e.g. the HP Envy or a Lenovo Thinkpad T520 with upgraded screen.
    To some extent this is even true for MBPs at bestbuy, since you don't get to see the high-res anti glare options. Large Apple stores are the best option to at least see all different MBP screens.

    For other brands, you will have to rely on external reviews to find models with good screens. I like

    From a 17'' MBP matte review at the above site:
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I like Lenovo and Sony, though sony is quite over priced.

    I hear a lot of good things about the build quality of Lenovos
  16. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    Lenovo - it's the best Windows laptop I've ever used. I've gone through quite a lot of different laptops because I consult to various companies and they all use different hardware. It's the only one I was sad to give back.
  17. Neon01 macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Hyperbole much? These are obviously the words of a person (I understand that you're quoting someone here) that does not understand the meaning of "orders of magnitude". In every other metric, the XPS 16 is at least mid-pack among several Macbook models, and in gamut it blows them out of the water (on account of the RGBLED, no doubt):

    Contrast ratings are almost completely worthless anyway unless you spend a lot of time using your laptop outside. What you really want to know is the black level rating, gamut, and color fidelity. Max brightness levels (the other end of the contrast equation) are somewhat superfluous nowadays, since brightness is supposed to be set to 120cd/m3 for calibration, and most modern displays are capable of going to well over 275cd/m3. I tend to prefer a little more brightness, so I calibrate to 150cd/m3, but the fact remains that overall contrast ratio isn't the be-all-end-all yardstick to gauge display quality. tests panel brightness distribution, a metric for which Macbooks usually rate about average. Here's an example:

    Don't get me wrong, Macbook displays are better than 95% of other laptop displays out there, but I wish they would switch to an IPS panel - the viewing angles on the Macbook are decent at best.
  18. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Sure! Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc... all have great laptops with amazing screens! Just don't expect to find them at places like Best Buy, which caters to mom and pop who can't tell Adobe Photoshop from MS Paint.
  19. Neon01 macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2011
    lol! So true! Even the Macbooks are strictly base models.
  20. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    I can't fault the T420 other than for two things.
    1) The crummy screen now 16:9 rather than 16:10. Image quality is much worse than the previous T410, hopefully the HD+ option is better.
    2) Daft placement of the optical drive eject button. Many times have I opened my bag to find the tray popped open.

    IBMs best laptop IMO was the T40 series. I'd be very happy with the T420 internals in a 14" T40 chassis with a 4:3 1400x1050 Flexview screen.
  21. dusk007, Jan 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012

    dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    There are so few decent screens used in notebooks one can name them almost exhaustively.

    The MBP uses good TN Panels which makes for decent screens. They aren't amazing by any measure it just that around 95% of notebook screens are complete crap.

    The best and most expensive are IPS Panels which can only be found in Workstation Notebooks.
    Thinkpad w series, Dell Precision the big one, HP Elitebook w

    high Gamut screens have a higher color range and are in a way also better than the MBP screens but also TN Panels.
    Dell XPS 15 is the cheapest among them (with its 200 $ option)
    Samsung X900 (the expensive version)
    Sony Z
    and a others and older models that aren't sold anymore.

    Next there are many screens that are equally good to the MBP screen and can usually easily be recognised by resolution alone.
    Pretty much all 1080p Panels regardless of size offer the same contrast and Panel qualities. Most are not as bright and Color Gamut is sometimes worse, sometimes the same, sometimes better than a MBP.
    768p Panels are except two very small version always crap. They only build crap in this cheap category.
    900p (1600x900) Panels are usually crap too but there have been a few exceptions like the old Elitebook 8560p. I only know of 2 exceptions in the last 2 years.
    *crap: means bad contrast, poor colors and often terrible viewing angles.

    In Conclusio there are Notebook with good or even better displays than the MBP but they are very few in numbers and usually not nearly as cheap as some people think PC notebooks are supposed to be.
    For good buy 1080p.
    For better buy one of the high gamut notebooks that you can count on one hand.
    For best buy a workstation for 4000 bucks.

    Lenovo used to use decent screens in the old T61 but like most of the industry they only use crap panels now save those really expensive ips stuff. Since the TX00 Series that has been the same.
    One cannot go by brand anymore if looking for good screens, only individual series. Even Sony now sell 90% cheap crap panels the only difference being some useful AR coatings.
  22. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010

    I'm glad Apple went away from things comparable to the old white macbook screen on their 13" models. Just adding to your points, contrast ratio is not what's important there. If anything 1000:1 is annoying, but manufacturers like to feed us this crap. If the tones scale well from white to black, it results in a better viewing experience than you would get from increased contrast. Also the speculation on panel variation is correct. They vary considerably. It's a reality of mass production.

    I haven't taken a color gamut reading on the macbook pro. I should look at that test as many colorimeters used (unless of course they have something like a spectrophotometer there) don't read LED backlighting accurately. Just saying it's big isn't saying much. If the gamut of the macbook is a better match to an sRGB or Adobe 1998 standard, or even one of the broadcasting standards, that is much more useful than a gamut which exceeds them in some areas yet lacks in others. I'm saying this from the standpoint of viewing video content or photos on the computer.

    I could go on. Apple may have a vastly superior display setup there. It's been stated before that a display implementation isn't solely based on panel quality. Anandtech is judging them in a weird way though.
  23. greenmeanie macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2005
    My sons HP Envy that he added better options too when ordering looks fantastic.
  24. Neon01 macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2011
    Refurb M6600s from Dell with a full 3 year on site warranty can be had for $1500 with core i7, Firepro M8900 video card (the professional version of the blisteringly fast Radeon HD6990M card), 8GB of RAM, a FullHD IPS panel, and excellent cooling and upgradeability (both CPU and GPU are slots and can be updated).

    The ONLY reason I didn't buy one over my Macbook was the fact that I was looking for a 15" model, not a 17", and they are a little thick (though still relatively trim at 1.3" thick and 7.7 lbs)
  25. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Well 4000 buck was more of an estimate as to what you may easily pay for these workstations that sell with all extras for more than 6000 bucks.

    Still 1500 is really cheap. The new ones here in Europe have 500€ just for the always optional IPS upgrade and that goes on top of 1500€ base price. You actually end up at 2100€ before you add even more than the 250GB default HDD.
    It is new but still I guess the refurb uses the same CPU thus that must have been an amazing deal.

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