Is it just me or is the MBA screen better in quality then the MBP?

waloshin

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Oct 9, 2008
3,182
69
It seems like the panel used in the MBA has better blacks and better viewing angles?
 

jeremyshaw

macrumors 6502
Oct 29, 2011
340
0
It seems like the panel used in the MBA has better blacks and better viewing angles?
It definately has a higher contrast ratio. If talking about the 13" models, the MBP has a higher color gamut. But in the end, both are TN panels. Very good TN panels, but TN panels nevertheless.
 

PBG4 Dude

macrumors 68030
Jul 6, 2007
2,774
1,997
I think the higher PPI makes images and text much crisper on the MBA screen. Not as stark as comparing an iPhone4/4s screen to an iPad for example, but the 13" MBA has the same resolution as the 15" MBP display.
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,386
62
It is probably just you. Tested Notebooks show similar contrast as all the other MBPs. Viewing angles aren't bad (for TN) but color space is really poor not even sRGB properly. In colors it is just there with the cheapest crap of Win Notebook Panels on one level.
Brightness uniformity is also quite bad considering such a small panel.
Quality wise I would say the MBP screens are definitely better but the resolution of the 13" is MBP is poor.

Usually there is always a +/- 10% difference. If your MBA is one with the best contrast among them and the MBP you compare it too one of the lower edge. Colors will still be the same though. Glossy vs. Glass might appear to show more contrast in some lighting conditions if the former has a little AR on it.
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
I must be honest, I have the 13" Air and the 17" MBP. It's almost impossible to tell the difference, and I think it's probably the concentration on the smaller screen that makes it look a tad sharper.

I fiddled with the Pro's screen settings, put them side by side and you really can't tell the difference, at least I can't.
 

lowercasej

macrumors newbie
Aug 25, 2011
17
0
Kingston, Ontario
I personally find the Air displays to be awful in every way (contrast, viewing angle, richness of colour, backlight uniformity) compared to the Pro displays - but that's me. Goes to show what really matters is personal preference.
 

ericrwalker

macrumors 68030
Oct 8, 2008
2,812
3
Albany, NY
Yes the MBA screen does look better than the MBP. I am guessing the next update of the MBP they will put a better screen on it.
 

jspaladin

macrumors newbie
Aug 4, 2011
14
0
Currently South Korea
The Air also has a better resolution (I think).
Apparently there are two types of Air screens: Samsung made and LG made. I have the LG screen in mine. I read that the LG drivers have funky colour settings and that you can download a new colour scheme for it. Let me find the link quick....and... here.

I just followed those instructions and it made mine look a lot better (As much as I can tell - Im mildly colorblind).
 

lolwut89

macrumors member
Jan 13, 2012
50
0
The MBA has a resolution of 1440x900 (13") and the MBP has a resolution of 1280x800 (13") so yes, the MBA 13" will look more crisp.
 

FuNGi

macrumors 65816
Feb 26, 2010
1,112
28
California
The Air's have higher PPI but worse contrast ratio and viewing angles. I can really tell the difference when comparing my 2011MBP high-res screen to the 2010 Air's video and photo editing. When typing and reading pdf's - meh.
 

dsc888

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2010
305
62
Boston, MA USA
I personally find that the MBA panel to be OK at best. I have a 17" MBP with the Anti-Glare option for photo editing that I have calibrated and it is much better in terms of color gamut esp. with reds and violets and evenness with gray scales.

Both Samsung and LG panels I have used seem to "crush" blacks quite a bit out of the box, uncalibrated. This simply means that the darkest shades of black simply all blend together instead of showing steps of black. This is important if you view or edit black and white pictures. But it does give a a lot of pop though.

Unless consumers demand high quality panels such as IPS on laptops, computer makers will stick with the cheapest parts that satisfies the buyer. I got my MBA as a "couch" computer and will only edit photos on my MBP or my MacPro.
 

dsc888

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2010
305
62
Boston, MA USA
I read that the LG drivers have funky colour settings and that you can download a new colour scheme for it. Let me find the link quick....and... here.

I just followed those instructions and it made mine look a lot better (As much as I can tell - Im mildly colorblind).
Thank you for the link. I tried the profile on my 13" MBA and didn't like it. It dimmed the display a bit and added contrast but it also darkened out darker grays to black. It may not affect some users. But I have a black and white wall paper and noticed it right away. And even maximizing the brightness didn't help. But I am glad you like your display more;).

The standard Color LCD profile from Apple seems to be well calibrated for a slightly warmer image. And Anand at Anandtech.com stated that there was almost no serious difference between the LG and the Samsung panels when he tested the latest 2011 MBAs. He went so far to say that the LGs actually had better blacks but dimmer whites. It's all a trade off. I'm just glad that most panels now don't have dead or stuck pixels.

BTW, the IPS panel in Apple's 27" Cinema Display is made by LG as is the 17" TN panel in the MBP that I have. I love them both. Accurate colors and very good color gamut.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
It seems like the panel used in the MBA has better blacks and better viewing angles?
Definitely much worse viewing angles. The screen looks washed out if you are viewing from anything other than the perfect angle. Anandtech mentioned the same issue in their review.
 

Mac32

Suspended
Nov 20, 2010
1,263
452
I'm actually not that impressed by the MBA screen. I'm very happy that Apple chose a less glossy screen on the MBA than the MBP glossy.
However, the colour contrast is a bit disappointing on the MBA, and also the MBA screen has a rather harsh, cold quality to it. F.lux. does help, but it should not have been necessary.
Hopefully Apple will improve the screen with the next generation of MBAs, since the update last year didn't improve the screen quality.
 

gentlefury

macrumors 68030
Jul 21, 2011
2,848
0
Los Angeles, CA
Definitely much worse viewing angles. The screen looks washed out if you are viewing from anything other than the perfect angle. Anandtech mentioned the same issue in their review.
Did you get a bad one? Mine is sharp and crystal clear with vibrant colors always. I know there are 2 manufacturers for the panels, LG and Samsung...maybe you got the bad one (I would think LG)
 

dsc888

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2010
305
62
Boston, MA USA
Did you get a bad one? Mine is sharp and crystal clear with vibrant colors always. I know there are 2 manufacturers for the panels, LG and Samsung...maybe you got the bad one (I would think LG)
I doubt he got a bad one. TN panels are notorious for poor viewing angles. It's just the nature of the beast. I've used both the Samsung and LG panels and they are pretty close. Again, Anandtech confirmed the fact that both manufacturers are pretty close. Differences may come down to individual panel variations and calibration issues.

Both panels are capable of decent colors once calibrated by the user with any of several available hardware colorimeters such as the Spyder 4 or the i1 Display. I set my LG panel to D55 (5500Kelvin) as I don't like the very bluish 6500K look with an old i1 Display and the colors are pretty realistic...just not vibrant like that of the MBP or the 27" Apple Cinema Displays.
 

gentlefury

macrumors 68030
Jul 21, 2011
2,848
0
Los Angeles, CA
I doubt he got a bad one. TN panels are notorious for poor viewing angles. It's just the nature of the beast. I've used both the Samsung and LG panels and they are pretty close. Again, Anandtech confirmed the fact that both manufacturers are pretty close. Differences may come down to individual panel variations and calibration issues.

Both panels are capable of decent colors once calibrated by the user with any of several available hardware colorimeters such as the Spyder 4 or the i1 Display. I set my LG panel to D55 (5500Kelvin) as I don't like the very bluish 6500K look with an old i1 Display and the colors are pretty realistic...just not vibrant like that of the MBP or the 27" Apple Cinema Displays.
I manually calibrate all my displays using the calibration tools that come with mac.
 

WardC

macrumors 68030
Oct 17, 2007
2,726
213
Fort Worth, TX
They are raw panels without glass, and they do not have antiglare coating. Also the ppi is higher than with your standard MacBook Pro, so yes, images WILL look better, sharper, and probably more vibrant on the MacBook Pro screen, but a High Resolution Image on a 17" MacBook Pro is something you really can't achieve on the small, low-resolution MacBook Air displays (compared to the 1920x1200 that the 17" MBP can do). So those large(r) MacBook Pro displays will still be the preferable choice for hardcore image editors.


The text also does seem sharper and more crisp on the MacBook Air displays, but this is also a PPI (pixel-per-inch) issue because with the MBA you have higher pixel density.

Trust me, I have all of 3 of them so I know.
 

gentlefury

macrumors 68030
Jul 21, 2011
2,848
0
Los Angeles, CA
They are raw panels without glass, and they do not have antiglare coating. Also the ppi is higher than with your standard MacBook Pro, so yes, images WILL look better, sharper, and probably more vibrant on the MacBook Pro screen, but a High Resolution Image on a 17" MacBook Pro is something you really can't achieve on the small, low-resolution MacBook Air displays (compared to the 1920x1200 that the 17" MBP can do). So those large(r) MacBook Pro displays will still be the preferable choice for hardcore image editors.


The text also does seem sharper and more crisp on the MacBook Air displays, but this is also a PPI (pixel-per-inch) issue because with the MBA you have higher pixel density.

Trust me, I have all of 3 of them so I know.
I watch 1080p movies on my MBA all the time and they look so crisp I sometimes just stare at the images not really paying attention to whats going on.
 

theSeb

macrumors 604
Aug 10, 2010
6,963
91
Poole, England
Did you get a bad one? Mine is sharp and crystal clear with vibrant colors always. I know there are 2 manufacturers for the panels, LG and Samsung...maybe you got the bad one (I would think LG)
I have the Samsung panel. If you use the MBP and MBA screens side by side, the difference is obvious. Read the anandtech review if you don't believe what I am saying.
 

2IS

macrumors 68030
Jan 9, 2011
2,937
433
Did you get a bad one? Mine is sharp and crystal clear with vibrant colors always. I know there are 2 manufacturers for the panels, LG and Samsung...maybe you got the bad one (I would think LG)
No he just has higher standards than you in this regard.
 
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