Is The Touchbar Supposed to Be a Tad Blurry?

ashortuse

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 10, 2017
2
0
Picked up a maxed out 15" refurb from Apple today and immediately notices that the touchbar is not as sharp as I thought it would be. It's not terrible looking by any means but I thought it would be "retina" sharp especially since it's OLED. Probably being a little OCD here but it being a refurb and all I want to make sure everything is in working order. Other than that no issues so far, will need to keep an eye on thermals and battery life.

Thanks
 

turbineseaplane

macrumors 603
Mar 19, 2008
6,185
9,204
I agree with you - I don't think it's supposed to be blurry, but rather it was a cost decision honestly.

It's a bit disappointing, no question. You'd think it would be TACK sharp, at least on the 15" high end/high cost model. I find that it really stands out in comparison to the text on the keyboard keys themselves.

Hopefully v2 (if they insist on keeping TouchBars going) has haptics and better resolution.
 

ashortuse

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 10, 2017
2
0
I agree with you - I don't think it's supposed to be blurry, but rather it was a cost decision honestly.

It's a bit disappointing, no question. You'd think it would be TACK sharp, at least on the 15" high end/high cost model. I find that it really stands out in comparison to the text on the keyboard keys themselves.

Hopefully v2 (if they insist on keeping TouchBars going) has haptics and better resolution.

Yup, it's quite odd that no reviewers talked about it, you would think they would. It's not game changing and I don't think there really is a good reason to waste more pixels but it would make it much more pleasing to the eye.
 

zen

macrumors 68000
Jun 26, 2003
1,713
471
That's kinda weird, given the Touch Bar is OLED. Should be sharper than LCD, shouldn't it?
 

Daranx

macrumors regular
Sep 16, 2016
218
72
London
Probably a new feature for the next revision of the MBP; Retina display TouchBar.

I guess it was a tradeoff between more pixels (with sharper image) and power consumption. It doesn't bother me much, but what does bother me is that I can't find a way to adjust the brightness of the TouchBar, unless I'm missing something?
 
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MrGuder

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2012
2,890
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Anytime Apple releases a new feature or product they never give all the cake away there are always revisions to make it better next year. It's a marketing trick just like car sales to keep buyers coming back.

You think Apple doesn't realize it's blurry or that they could have made it better the first time? Of course they know.
 

Super Xander

macrumors 6502
Nov 6, 2016
266
99
Denmark
I am agreeing with you. I think it is advertised in the way that you cannot see the individual pixels from a normal distance. But that said, the screen reminds me of some of the first generation OLED screen there was a little blurry at the same way.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,400
15,597
I agree with you - I don't think it's supposed to be blurry, but rather it was a cost decision honestly.

It's a bit disappointing, no question. You'd think it would be TACK sharp, at least on the 15" high end/high cost model. I find that it really stands out in comparison to the text on the keyboard keys themselves.

Hopefully v2 (if they insist on keeping TouchBars going) has haptics and better resolution.
I don't think it's blurry, to my eyes it looks like the glass covering it has a "matte" texture to it that gives that appearance.
 
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fuzzystig

macrumors newbie
Aug 28, 2012
7
6
I don't think it's blurry, to my eyes it looks like the glass covering it has a "matte" texture to it that gives that appearance.

This is exactly what it is, I think the display Is plenty sharp, its just got a matte screen over it.
 
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aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
3,336
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Serbia
That's kinda weird, given the Touch Bar is OLED. Should be sharper than LCD, shouldn't it?

No, OLED has nothing to do with sharpness - it's just how the image is displayed (organic diodes in OLED screens vs Liquid Crystals in LCD). If anything, I remember how OLEDs used to be less sharp on phones because most of them (at least those that I saw) used a pentile subpixel scheme. But that's beside the point. They do offer better contrast than LCD, though.

As for sharpness - it's comes down to resolution and the subpixel scheme. You can make a high-res or low-res OLED screen just like any other.

The Touch Bar has a slightly lower resolution - most likely to reduce battery usage, and - perhaps even for performance reasons (it is run by a separate ARM chip). Either way, I think it looks quite fine. I love how it matches the rest of the buttons visually.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,072
34,163
Boston
That's kinda weird, given the Touch Bar is OLED. Should be sharper than LCD, shouldn't it?
Its not the display technology but the resolution. I suspect for cost reasons Apple did not opt for an OLED display with a high pixel density. I'm not knocking Apple on this, but just making an observation.

Tbh, when I saw the TB in the apple store, I didn't really even notice it was less sharp then the display. I'm sure if I owned one, I might be more cognizant of it.
 

aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
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Its not the display technology but the resolution. I suspect for cost reasons Apple did not opt for an OLED display with a high pixel density.

Apple almost certainly didn't choose a lower res screen for cost reasons (does ANY decision they made for the MBP look like cost-saving to you?) - but for battery life and performance of the ARM chip driving the display. I believe they made a compromise between aesthetics and performance.
 
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EnesM

macrumors 6502
May 7, 2015
447
246
I only saw it in a store, but yeah, that thing looks blurry as **** compared to the screen above it.
Yep. Another small detail never mentioned is that the background that is supposed to be black is sort of grayish. It reminds me of iPhone 3G display :)
 

Brookzy

macrumors 601
May 30, 2010
4,873
5,108
UK
I agree that it looks relatively blurry.

Yet weirdly, it has about the same pixel density as the main display, but doesn't look as sharp.
 

MrGuder

macrumors 68030
Nov 30, 2012
2,890
1,880
I noticed it was blurry the first time I used it, we still don't know how much current it draws off the battery by being on. I really think Apple should incorporate a setting such as high low and off. While off turns it completely off it will come back for quick uses and then quickly turn itself back off, while the esc key stays on all the time. I think Apple tried to create a happy medium by giving it a low res cast and just the right amount of brightness but I still think there is huge room for improvement thus the reason they didn't make it perfect the first time when we know they could have.
 

zen

macrumors 68000
Jun 26, 2003
1,713
471
No, OLED has nothing to do with sharpness - it's just how the image is displayed (organic diodes in OLED screens vs Liquid Crystals in LCD). If anything, I remember how OLEDs used to be less sharp on phones because most of them (at least those that I saw) used a pentile subpixel scheme. But that's beside the point. They do offer better contrast than LCD, though.

As for sharpness - it's comes down to resolution and the subpixel scheme. You can make a high-res or low-res OLED screen just like any other.

The Touch Bar has a slightly lower resolution - most likely to reduce battery usage, and - perhaps even for performance reasons (it is run by a separate ARM chip). Either way, I think it looks quite fine. I love how it matches the rest of the buttons visually.

Its not the display technology but the resolution. I suspect for cost reasons Apple did not opt for an OLED display with a high pixel density. I'm not knocking Apple on this, but just making an observation.

Tbh, when I saw the TB in the apple store, I didn't really even notice it was less sharp then the display. I'm sure if I owned one, I might be more cognizant of it.

Thanks for the answers! I've been playing a lot on my wife's Samsung phone, the screen of which completely blows me away, so I got my wires crossed!
 

aevan

macrumors 68040
Feb 5, 2015
3,336
4,438
Serbia
Yep. Another small detail never mentioned is that the background that is supposed to be black is sort of grayish. It reminds me of iPhone 3G display :)

It is intentionally grayish because of the matte finish, so it matches the rest of the keys on the keyboard.
 
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