How bad is the screen on the MBA 11?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by wolfpackfan, May 8, 2015.

  1. wolfpackfan macrumors 68000

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    Cary, NC
    #1
    I really need a laptop badly for some upcoming trips we are taking. Right now I have a 2011 Mac mini, an iPad mini and a iPhone 6. On these trips though, I will need to do something I can only do on a true OS X device. Right now my only solution is to use Parallel Access on my iPad mini back to my Mac mini, but that really isn't that user friendly. I have been flirting on and off for several years getting an MBA, but never quite pull the trigger because of my perception that it has poor screen quality. So really how bad is the screen? Would it be much different from what I see on my Mac mini (1600x900)? I really can't justify going with anything more than the basic MBA 11. Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. nefan65 macrumors 65816

    nefan65

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    Apr 15, 2009
    #2
    I have the 2015 11", and the screen is quite good IMO. I have read from others that if you're doing high end video, and/or photo/art work that it's not the best due to the color/calibration, etc. But I don't do any of those, and I find it fine for day to day use.

    If you can get to a store to take a peek, I would. Best Buy, Apple Store, etc. I use it for mail, web, documents, spreadsheets, basic photo editing, music, and the occasional movie and see no issues. It's a great little machine, and very portable. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
     
  3. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    #3
    The problem with the screen is the low quality TN display. Colors appear washed and of course the screen is not retina.
    If the display were IPS and not TN, then the MBA would be much better.
    You can get used to the display, especially if you calibrate it.
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

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    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    You will have to decide for yourself, I doubt that you will get a consensus here. But I have no problem with the screen on my 2013 11" MBA. I previously had a 2011 13" MBA, but am really happy I switched to the 11". I am not interested in the retina MB, don't see how having more pixels on a screen this size would be an advantage and the 11" MBA is thin and light enough for me.

    I have the i7/8gb/512gb model and it's a powerful little machine that I use for Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro and other powerful software. It's my primary machine and I will be keeping it for a few more years.
     
  5. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030

    Ulenspiegel

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    #6
    No problems with the screen at all.
    No need to have more pixels on a 1366x768 screen.
    Anyway, as others suggested take a look at it in a store.
     
  6. RUGGLES99 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 9, 2015
    #7
    I'm a professional writer and I just bought a new 2014 base ii" for $720 from Best Buy. My eyes are not great, but I have absolutely no problem with the screen.
     
  7. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #8
    There have been a lot of posts about calibrating screens recently. To my knowledge nobody is really doing any actual calibration, i.e., using color meters or swatches to make the displays more accurate by objective standards.

    So far I haven't been convinced that the laptops ship with poor calibration in the first place.

    Of course you can fidget with calibration settings to give the screen more subjective contrast or saturation, but to what end? Sure, some images might look subjectively better to you in some cases, but do you really want to be looking at inaccurate images on purpose?
     
  8. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    #9
    The MBA display is being produced by LG and Samsung. Especially the LG panel has washed out colors and needs calibration. The Samsung display doesn't.
    Google it and then compare the difference before and after calibration. I wish Apple used only Samsung panels in the MBA..

    or look here: http://theultralinx.com/2013/03/macbook-air-hack-screen/
     
  9. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    Location:
    Brasil
    #10
    I feel more comfortable with my Late-2009 Macbook than with a 13" 2015 Air. The viewing angles seem better in the former than the latter. Maybe it has something to do with the glossy coating on the Macbook comparing to the matte coating in the Air, but don't know.
     
  10. David58117 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 24, 2013
    #11
    It looks a bit washed out and viewing angles aren't as wide as the screen on the retinas.

    But will you really care?

    I find I prefer my 11" air over my 15" rMBP. I adjust to the screen pretty quickly (there is definitely a difference..), and actually do more reading on the air than I do the retina. The 11" air is just such a great laptop,..

    Highly recommend it, especially with all the sales going on.
     
  11. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030

    Ulenspiegel

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    #12
    I fully agrre with you as I have the same experience.
     
  12. venom600 macrumors 6502a

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    Los Angeles, CA
    #13
    I made the mistake of looking at the 11.6" Air right next to a new 12" Macbook and frankly, after that the screen looked atrocious. Washed out, pixelated, and low res... the difference was even apparent to my 68 year old mother.

    Point is, the screen is fine as long as you never, ever look at the retina display in a 12" Macbook.
     
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #14
    What you're saying doesn't contradict anything I said.

    I wouldn't trust myself to simply look at a display and be able to tell if the colors are accurate or not. The LG might appear washed out but still be calibrated as accurately as possible given its display technology. Or maybe the Samsung display has colors that are inaccurately saturated.

    ----------

    Indeed. The screen is only one part of a laptop. Granted, it's an important part, but if you're trying to get work done (or just surf Facebook) then how much does the screen matter as long as you can clearly make out text and graphics on it?
     
  14. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    #15
    The MacBook Air is really a great laptop. The only thing that is bad about it is the sub par display. It used to be ok, but so many years after its original release, Apple should have improved it. There are people that care about having a great display, and others that don't.
     
  15. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    Jul 1, 2004
    #16
    It's absolutely the worst screen in the world. Imagine taking a screen door and shoving dog poo into the screen and then look outside during a sunny spring day. Oh, but shove needles in your eyes first, and have hundreds of angry bees stinging you. That's almost as bad as the display on the Air.

    If you want a real display that runs off of unicorn tears collected by Sir Jony Ive himself in a diamond-encrusted golden chalice, then look at the retina display. I'm serious, you press the power button and you don't get the boring old startup chime, no sir. It's freaking angels singing the halleluia freaking chorus.

    :rolleyes:

    (I have an 11" Air. The screen is fine.)
     
  16. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030

    Ulenspiegel

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    #17
    Pixelated? Actually you saw the pixels on the MBA screen?
     
  17. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

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    Shanghai, PRC
    #18
    I's also like to see that. I am writing this on my beloved 11" Air (2013) and no matter how close I bring it to my eyes I can't see pixels. I am not saying it is the best screen in the world but it is more than adequate.
    So to the OP: Don't get scared by the retina fetishists!
     
  18. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68030

    Ulenspiegel

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    #19
    I am glad I am not the only one who is unable to see pixels on the MBA, but can easily identify the retina fetishists.
     
  19. mattopotamus macrumors G5

    mattopotamus

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    Jun 12, 2012
    #20
    If I did not dock when I get to work, I could never use the 11" as my daily driver. I do have very good vision and while it is usable, I do not think it is good for my eyes.

    Retina screens have spoiled us. My phone, my iPad, my TV, etc. are all very high resolution screens. Every time I grab the 11" air my eyes "feel" the effects.
     
  20. SSD-GUY macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 20, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    #21
    OP, I have perfect 20/20 vision and can tell you, even though I own an 11' Air and a 13' rMBP, I have no problem going back and forth between them.

    The 13 rMBP is sharper and has better colours, but for what I use my 11' Air for, which is typing notes in lectures, finishing essays on the train etc, it is perfect. I have played about with lightroom on it and it handles it fine performance wise, but the colours aren't as good as my 13 rMBP.

    Therefore, if all your doing is browsing, text, watching videos etc, this machine is the perfect size!
     
  21. Shanghaichica macrumors 603

    Shanghaichica

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    UK
    #22
    I have the 11 inch 2014 air and I don't find the screen to be an issue at all. Text is legible and clear. I don't do video/photo editing so I don't need a super high resolution screen. I have an iPad Air 2, iPhone 6 plus and iPad mini 3 all with much better screens but I don't find it an issue switching between any of them and my MBA.
     
  22. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #23
    The drama and hyperbole surrounding the MBA screen quality would be quite comical if it didn't sway the uninitiated into avoiding buying one. My only advice to someone considering a MBA is to take no one's word for it and see one in person.

    I have a 2014 4GB/128GB 11" MBA (bought it June 2014) absolutely love it and easily the best mobile notebook I've owned.
     
  23. Isamilis macrumors 6502

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    Apr 3, 2012
    #24
    Don't forget to calibrate, which is a must for MBA IMO. I saw many MBAs have washed screen & overall looks poor, while the owners don't aware that they can improve the color just by calibration.
     
  24. RUGGLES99 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 9, 2015
    #25
    So dont look at the 12 retina.
     

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