Backlight Bleed on 5k iMac - Worth repairing?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MediumCool, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. MediumCool macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2015
    #1
    Hi all,

    I’ve noticed whenever I’m on a black screen or watching a letterboxed film that my 27” Retina iMac has some backlight bleed at the top/right of screen. I’ve included a couple of photos below - one taken with the screen at full brightness and the other at about half brightness. I’ve had a look online and it seems I’m not the only one with this problem as many others have come across the very same issue (to varying degrees) on their machines. From what I can gather it seems that most, if not all, Retina iMacs have some amount of backlight bleed as it’s symptomatic of LCD technology. Regardless, it’s very distracting whenever you’re watching a wider than 16:9 film or playing any games that have a lot of dark scenes. Heck, you’re even drawn to it when the machine is booting up and it’s just downright annoying to see such a beautiful 5K screen tarnished by this ugly anomaly. Considering I’ve payed top dollar for a full spec unit it’s very disappointing to say the least.

    I spoke to the reseller that I bought mine from and they said their service department is happy to order in a new screen and swap it out. This is something that I’m considering doing but I thought I’d first get some opinions on the matter here. Do you think the bleed is so bad that it warrants a changeover? To those of you with 5k iMacs how bad is the backlight bleed on your machine? I’m a little hesitant about going through with it as I’ll probably end up with a replacement screen with worse bleed than what I originally had! The reseller said that Apple quality control is very good and that I’d receive a perfect screen but unfortunately I’m *very* dubious of this claim.

    Also is there any chance that when the repair agent puts the machine back together after doing the job that it could end up getting dust, and who knows what else, trapped between the screen and the front glass? If this were to happen it could end up looking worse than the original bleed issue! I suppose that opening up an otherwise perfectly good iMac to the elements can't ever be a good thing... has anyone here had any bad experiences with sloppy repair jobs?

    Look forward to hearing back with any opinions on what I should do.

    Thanks in advance!
     

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  2. marzfreerider macrumors member

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    Jun 13, 2014
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    Canada
    #2
    I would of returned that before the 2 week period was up, looks horrible and unacceptable for the amount of money you paid for it. How long ago did you get it? If you do take it in for service, take pictures of the whole computer for documentation incase of damage caused by them. When you take it in to them be clear you want it back clean. Ask them to make sure their is no dust or dirt behind the screen. When you pick it up, inspect it there to make sure everything is to your satisfaction, if not say something. I've had to take computers in before for issues and for the most part they were good. Only once did I leave it to be cleaned properly, behind the screen was dusty and had smudge marks on it. Good luck.
     
  3. Dirtyharry50 macrumors 68000

    Dirtyharry50

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    #3
    If you bought AppleCare, depending on where you are you can call Apple for in-home (or office) service to replace the screen. I went through this multiple times with a 2011 iMac that had heat issues affecting the screen until ultimately they opted to just completely replace the entire system with a brand new 2013 iMac.

    During all that fun and multiple component failures I had three screens damaged and even the glass took damage as well. Twice it was replaced in my home and they did a very good and professional job of it. There was no marks, smudges, dust, etc. However, due the underlying heat issue the replacements melted down too. The third one never did get replaced. Instead I got the new system mentioned which has been completely trouble free for nearly a year now.

    So, I wouldn't worry about the screen being replaced. You paid good money and want it replaced so that's that. If they screw up, don't worry. They'll just have to fix that too until you are satisfied and if they ultimately can't fix it to your satisfaction, you can ask for it to be replaced after multiple attempts to resolve the same issue.

    The moral of this little story is buy AppleCare if you don't have it already to fully protect yourself for three years. Currently it is selling for about $125. on Amazon.com which was where i bought it last time myself and will again.

    If you can live with this until you get your AppleCare and register it, then in very many cases in the US at least, you can get on-site service which is nice. It allows you to verify on the spot that the repair is satisfactory. I found I did initially need to insist on this which is documented in the AppleCare agreement though. They tend to initially encourage you to travel to a local store which I wasn't up for doing considering the distance. I got on-site both in central Massachusetts and in a relatively rural area of North Carolina. I was in both cases nowhere near an Apple store.

    I hope that's helpful. You should absolutely have a screen you are not happy with replaced. The nice thing I found is they wanted me to be happy and the process was painless. They went out of their way to make things right for me.
     
  4. MediumCool thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2015
    #4
    marzfreerider:
    Yeah I would've returned it before the two week period was up but I really needed my iMac at the time for work not to mention I really didn't notice how bad it was until that 2 week swap over period was over. I've now had it for about 4 months.
    I had a look online soon after and saw that people were also getting pretty bad screen bleed with their 5K iMacs so I then convinced myself that there wouldn't have been much I could've done anyway as a swap over would've just garnered another faulty screen.
    Thanks for your advice re: taking photos etc. I will definitely do that.


    Dirtyharry50:
    Sounds like you had a real crappy time with your own faulty iMac! Applecare is something that I've been meaning to get and sounds like the best way to get Apple on board to fix the issue. At the moment I don't have it and Apple said that they can't help me and that I have to deal with my reseller for a replacement. So my understanding is that the moment I register with Applecare I no longer ever have to deal with my reseller? That sounds pretty good to me if it's the case - I can definitely live with the issue until then. The screen is an eyesore, and you are right, I paid big money for this and should have something without such a terrible fault.



    Are there any 5K iMac owners out there that might want to chime in with their own experiences? Have you noticed similar backlight bleed on your screens and had it either replaced or swapped out for a new one? How did it go for you guys?
     
  5. redheeler, Apr 20, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015

    redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #5
    Feel free to check out these other threads:

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1836551
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1824558
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1822185
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1814524
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1810560

    Here's one that also deserves a mention: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1845999
     
  6. MediumCool thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2015
    #6
    Thanks a bunch for the concise compendium of threads that you've put together redheeler! It's plain as day to see that I'm not the only one that's had the backlight bleed problem with their iMac. I guess until Apple finds another way of lighting their LCD panels edge bleed will always be a problem for those savvy enough to notice it. I wonder how bad most iMacs are across the board? Luckily most people just don't notice the issue or perhaps do but just don't care. I on the other hand find it very distracting.. it's something that can't be unseen once you've spotted it. Anyway, hopefully most people with these beautiful 5K panels don't have any issues.
     
  7. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    Mar 29, 2008
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    Seattle
    #7
    Every 5K panel has bleed. The question will be how severe is it? If you're really bothered by it, by all means get the screen replaced, but don't be under any illusions that your next screen will be perfect. It'll just be "different." I chose not to drive myself crazy with my 5K's screen issues personally. It's a slippery slope I went down with my 2012 iMac.
     
  8. MediumCool thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2015
    #8
    I hear you loud and clear WilliamG!

    There's a part of me that agrees with your stance and I just try to tell myself the bleed ain't that bad and I should just learn to live with it - after all you only really notice it 5% of the time. Then there's that part of me that thinks, well it's still under warranty so I might as well take my chances and see if I can get lucky on a replacement screen that might have little to no backlight bleed.

    So obviously you too have some bleed on your 5K? How bad is it on yours when comparing to the photos I posted? I take it you had the same issue with your older iMac but never got it resolved in the end. All those threads here on this matter sure don't build my confidence in Apple's quality control. Thing is that I've checked out display units at a couple of retailers and none of those units seemed to have bleed on a black screen with brightness way up.
     
  9. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    Seattle
    #9
    You won't see backlight bleed on display units because of the bright ambient light. In a bright room, my 5K iMac has no bleed at any brightness levels. In a dark room with the brightness cranked, it can be bad if you're displaying dark/black material - especially near the top of my screen. Is mine as bad as yours? Well, maybe not "quite" as bad, but probably not far off. You seem to have just one really noticeable area, whereas mine has quite a few of those noticeable areas, though, though potentially mine are all not quite as bad as the one area you have. See? It's a trade-off...

    I'd say if you could get another system sent to you so you could compare both and send one back, I'd go for it. If it involves someone having to take apart your new computer, I'd be hesitant. I agree - that 5% of the time it IS annoying, but after a while you'll tend to not care. You'll notice, but not care.

    Nobody can make the decision for you - but I definitely understand the frustration. I'd just been through too much BS with previous iMacs to want to bother fighting the limitations of LCD tech anymore.
     
  10. MediumCool thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2015
    #10
    Thanks for getting back to me WilliamG.

    I know what you mean about backlight bleed not being noticeable in brightly lit showrooms like Apple stores or other consumer electronics vendors. I think it really comes down to the degree of bleed on a screen and whether it'll show up regardless of the ambient light in a room. For example with my screen since the bleed is pretty strong in that one spot it'll still show slightly even when my room is flooded with bright light. I can shine a lamp on the screen and still see it on a black background! Having skimmed through those threads that redheeler posted I came across photos of your screen and noticed that even though it was in a couple of spots it didn't have the extreme concentration of bleed that mine has hence why it doesn't show up in the same sort of lighting conditions. So yeah, I know what you mean about the trade off of having light bleed, but spread across different areas and at various consistencies. I think it's pretty safe to say that it's unavoidable with the current LED technology that Apple is using for their screens. Once this technology changes only then will backlight bleed be a thing of the past.

    One thing I've noticed is that if I apply pressure to the back of the screen where the bleed is I can invariably lessen the degree of light spillage. Pinching it will pretty much "block" the light bleed from coming through, so obviously the problem is that the screen vs backlight construction is not uniform. I would have thought that rather than swapping out the screen for a new (& potentially worse) one that the Apple repairer could somehow "seal up" the problem areas so that the bleed is gotten rid of. Obviously I'm just stabbing in the dark here as I'm not a technician and have no idea if my theory holds any water -- just an idea. I haven't watched an i-fixit teardown of the 5k iMac yet to see what it all looks like on the screen front but I'd be curious to know if what I'm saying is at all possible? I'm guessing it's probably just a case of once the screens are put into the cases there's nothing that can be done to repair backlight bleed other than a full replacement.

    Thoughts anyone?
     
  11. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    Seattle
    #11
    The glass and LCD pane are fused to gather already. So there's not much to do about that. It's not a particularly hard thing to do a screen replacement, but you'd have to trust that they won't cosmetically damage something, or break something inside etc.

    Again, nobody can make the decision but you.
     
  12. MediumCool, Apr 23, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015

    MediumCool thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2015
    #12
    That's interesting. So when you say the screen is fused to the glass are you talking about the whole front of the iMac? i.e. just the part with the black bezel or does it also include the bottom aluminium bit where the apple logo is?

    If this is the case I wonder if a technician can somehow attach this "naked" screen to a power supply beforehand a check to see if there is any backlight bleed on it. That's certainly one way of confirming whether the replacement is worth going ahead with!
     
  13. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #13
    Just the front glass with black bezel.
     
  14. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    #14
    There's no way a tech will be able to do that.
     
  15. iPhisch macrumors 6502

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    Indiana
    #15
    FWIW, mine looked kind of bad out of the box with a black screen but 4 months later the backlight bleed is gone. I have the floating apple logo with black background as a screen saver and I can't see any backlight bleed when I walk into the room with the lights off.
     
  16. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    #16
    Unlikely for it to be gone. You've probably just gotten used to it now, as most of us have, or you have your brightness set very low.
     
  17. iPhisch macrumors 6502

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    #17
    You are incorrect. I just cranked the brightness to max and initiated the black screensaver with the room light off. The bright yellow blotches that were present in the corners and below the camera are gone.
     
  18. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    #18
    Hrm. Well, that's the first I've ever heard of that happening...
     
  19. iPhisch macrumors 6502

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    #19
    The same thing happened with new iPhones when they first came out. My iPhone 4 in particular. They were fresh off the plane and it was like the glue wasn't dry yet. After the screens were heated up after being on for a while the inconsistencies evened out and they looked fine. It's that "early adopter glow."
    Now my iPad 2 was just awful and you could manipulate the bleed by pressing on the glass. That one got returned.
     
  20. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    #20
    Well, my iMac bleed hasn't (and none of mine ever have) changed since day one. That's all I can say!
     
  21. parkp81 macrumors member

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    #21
    Here is my iMac Retina, for your reference if it helps. Brightness was turned all the way up with all lights off.
     
  22. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    #22
    I can clearly see bleed, though... Bottom right corner seems to be the only area without bleed. Center is noticeable, and especially top left?
     
  23. parkp81 macrumors member

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    #23
    Ignore the one I first posted. Here is one with full brightness in a completely dark room with a black background. How's that look to you?
     

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  24. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    #24
    The bleed is fairly obvious to me, though it's clearly one of the better panels out there. I'd be curious to see how it looked when you got it. :)
     
  25. MediumCool thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2015
    #25
    Wet glue eh? That's the first I've ever heard of something like that occurring, but I guess anything is possible. The bleed on my iMac is far more severe than parkp81's and it certainly hasn't diminished in the 4 months that I've had it. Apple have really dropped the ball when it comes to quality control re: this screen bleed issue. If the screen was just properly glued to the the front bezel to begin with we wouldn't have to deal with this shoddy problem. I keep on hearing that backlight bleed is to be expected with LED tech but considering that there are panels out there without it makes it unacceptable. There should have been more attention paid to the final stage of the assembly to avoid this problem - pure and simple. I had to return my iPad air a bunch of times before I got one with no bleed and those previous units looked shocking. I won't even get started on dead pixels.. suffice to say that every iPad I've owned has had at least one, sometimes two dead dead ones!
     

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