iMac Display vs. Retina MacBook Pro Display

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MICHAELSD, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #1
    Since I never take my rMBP with me (only my iPhone), I'm trying to work out a scenario that's more cost-effective that'll give me more power at my desk. Since the iMac is the only desktop with actual graphics power for under $2k from Apple, this is my only option unless I go the other route that I forget if I can mention on the forums. But I surprisingly couldn't find the answer to this: how does the iMac display compare to the display on the rMBP in terms of color and contrast? I wouldn't mind giving up retina for a screen that's better otherwise if the iMac was a little cheaper but it barely makes sense to buy a iMac over a rMBP.
     
  2. inhalexhale1 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 17, 2011
    Location:
    Ridgewood, NJ
    #2
    Hi!

    I frequently jump back and forth between my 27" Thunderbolt Display, and my rMBP 15" (Samsung Screen). While the rMBP screen does look better in every way, I never switch back to my TB and loath what I see. For me, its a noticeable difference, but not aggravating or game-breaking. Especially if you value a much bigger screen, more power, and storage.
     
  3. wmy5 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    Location:
    upstate NY
    #3
    In terms of PPI (pixel per inch), iMac's display is not even close to rMBP's. The difference is huge. However, if you can live with a non-retina display like me, you will be happy with a iMac.

    In terms of other aspects, such as contrast ratio, color gamut, etc. iMac's display a little bit better than rMBP. You can find benchmarks on websites such as Anandtech.
     
  4. Justin L Franks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    #4
    Yes, the PPI of an iMac is certainly less, but you also need to consider the fact that most people view a desktop display from a much further distance compared to a laptop.

    At typical viewing distances, an iMac comes very close to the definition of a Retina display -- not being able to discern individual pixels.
     
  5. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #5
    Got a great deal on the iMac I would want. Frustrating deciding since I might regret giving up the rMBP's display. Don't need the portability though.
     
  6. mavere macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    #6
    Anandtech had a podcast earlier where Anand discusses his (not yet published) experience on the new 2013 iMacs.

    Apparently, the display quality is absolutely phenomenal.
     
  7. jjhoekstra macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    #7
    Based on my own experience, the retina screen makes reading a pleasure. I just spend a few days setting up a new iMac (21") and I although the screen is amazing, I must say that I was slightly annoyed by the fuzziness of text, especially smaller fonts. So I would say if your main use is more graphical, go for the iMac, if your main use is reading/text creation/programming, go for the rMBP. But the difference is not big, either one is at least great!
     
  8. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #8
    Text is the biggest difference from a distance. Honestly not sure whether to sell my rMBP; it's still a trade-off here.
     
  9. X-Ravin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    #9
    Yeah the iMac is going to far less sharp, but it is still a great screen. The 27" has about 10% more PPI than a standard 24" 1920x1200 monitor, not to mention the color gamut and accuracy as well. Sure, you'll notice looking straight from the retina screen to a normal screen. But in about 10 minutes your eyes will be used to the lower PPI again. At least for me that's how it goes.
     
  10. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #10
    Touch decision. I can get a $400 discount on the iMac I'd want and probably sell my rMBP for ~$1900. :confused:
     
  11. mrmarts macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    #11
    I own a 15" macbook retina and i got a iMac 27" on order, in answer to your question yes there is a difference. Your best option is to go your local Apple store and try one that way you can experience the difference everyone here is talking about.

    I personally feel that older iMacs 2008 - 2011 were less pixelated than the late 2012 and 2013 models which fused the screen to the glass. When i was at the store buying a iMac it had the Apple homepage open with that lovely promo of the 5C, the words are dotty compared to when I view it on my macbook retina at home or even my older 2009 iMac.

    That said it is like when you have been accustomed to iPhone 4 or 5 and you are trading it off for your younger brothers 3GS. But do not get me wrong the colour and contrast on the new IMac make up for any of these small shortcomings hope this helps.
     
  12. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    #12
    Obviously rMBP display looks sharper and has better readability but somehow I like the color on 27" iMac or Apple display better. It seems more natural and has wider color gamut than any MBP display. MBA has the worst display of all though. I really like the contrast and accuracy on the 27incher despite the pixel is not quite as dense as retina MBP.

    Maybe it's just my eyes and personal preference but hey that's why I bought it at the first place, no? :D
     
  13. TrollToddington macrumors 6502

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    Feb 27, 2011

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