Just got new MB - screen question

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by NYU02, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. NYU02 macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    I just picked up a new MB an hour ago and notice that the bottom half of the screen is brighter then the top. Is it just my imagination or is this common. You noticed more with on certain backgrounds then others.

    If not normal, what do I do?

  2. sammy2066 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 3, 2007
    It's normal. The screen has a very bad viewing angle that causes this illusion.
  3. isonoise macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2008
    Since I knew I was getting a 24" external display, I very much wanted the smaller MacBook (as opposed to the Pro). I brought a couple of my favorite and familiar photos to the store (on a thumb drive) to load up full-screen to compare both displays. The sales guy was surprised by the side-by-side (as was I). The difference in color and contrast wasn't mild, it was staggering. Those things, and the phenomenon you're describing, had me going with the Pro. (But, man, I'm still extremely envious of the smaller size, and the one pound less weight. If the MacBook had the Air's display, I'd have the MacBook, too.)

    To answer your question briefly: From what I saw at the store, what you're describing is also what I saw, and it seemed to be due to the sensitivity of the screen to viewing angle changes. That is, the screen seemed so sensitive to viewing angle changes that there was a very noticeable shift even in the angle change from the still eye's perspective.
  4. NYU02 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
  5. isonoise macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2008
    No, absolutely not. Being new to Mac, I initially thought the same thing--that the two screens were simply different sizes of the same screen. Again, I'm not exaggerating when I say the differences between the two are staggering.

    Just from what I saw in comparing them side to side, the colors were far nicer on the Pro; and the contrast ratio is (I'm guessing) far far better. As for viewing angle, the Pro is definitely more forgiving in that respect, too.

    It seemed the store I went to had all the screens set to the desktop with that "Aurora" background image, and most of the people who were shopping were just opening browser windows, and doing other things that didn't necessarily show the differences in screen quality. Again, I brought my own images on a thumb drive so that I could get a comparison that worked for me, and told me a fuller story than "Aurora." I encourage anyone shopping for these two laptops to do the same.
  6. nope7308 macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Since the MB is considered a 'consumer' notebook, Apple went with a lower quality display. From a business perspective, it makes perfect sense... from a consumer perspective, you (and me) feel cheated.

    I actually started with a (defective) MBP, but then changed to the MB based on size/weight. I was aware of the screen quality (it's really quite noticeable), but for my purposes, it wasn't a huge problem (I will use an external display at home). I also find the MB display is somewhat 'washed out', but this can be compensated for via a colour calibration profile (available on this website).

    I don't knock Apple for going with the cheaper display, but they really should make that information more available to the consumer so they can make an informed decision. Just my $0.02...

    And in case you're worried, you get used to the viewing angles quite quickly (approx. 2 weeks).
  7. mac.by.jake macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Very helpful explanations. I've noticed this exact thing on my wife's iBook. I knew it was a viewing angle thing because we watch shows on her laptop and mine (a MBP) and we have to switch her's around more. Nonetheless thanks for the explanation. :apple:
  8. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
  9. VSMacOne macrumors 601


    Oct 18, 2008
    I can notice this on mine only slightly. How obvious is it on yours? Have you tried to calibrate it with a Screen Profile? I would look at some other screens in the store, and if yours is worse, Apple will replace your laptop for free...
  10. NYU02 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2007
    I returned the MB. How much better is the MBP screen? do I get the air? but I'm worried about the lines issue.

  11. isonoise macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2008
    I wasn't exaggerating when I posted the following:

    I do suggest you do the following:

    I did not do this with the Air's screen, but it seemed pretty clear to me the Air had a nicer screen than the standard MacBook.

    Good luck with your decision, NYU02.
  12. gr81mgbgt macrumors regular

    Mar 18, 2008
  13. freebooter macrumors 65816


    Feb 24, 2005
    Daegu, South Korea
    I had the old MacBook and sold it because the screen viewing angle was so attrocious. I mean, there was NO viewing angle that displayed even illumination. Unbelievable! Useless for viewing/editing photos (my hobby) and movies.
    I'm disappointed to hear the new MB has the same, terrible problem. Good lord, these machines are not cheap--especially where I live--and there's no way that Apple should be foisting a clearly lousy screen on their customers while charging as much as they do. No new MB for me although I could use one. Apple's product strategies really turn me off these days. They better start offering more value or they won't fair well in the coming depression.
  14. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    It is not an illusion. It is actually there.
  15. pyramis macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Palo Alto, CA
    I experienced similar quality issues when I upgraded from a 2007 MBP LCD screen to an early 2008 MBP with LED screen. Both were glossy screens, but the difference in color, evenness of illumination and viewing angle were staggering. The LED screen felt like a huge drop in quality. Sure, it's way brighter and draws less battery, but I'm a photographer and my beautiful photos look washed out, and solid desktop backgrounds are mottled and unevenly lit.

    On top of that, I was cursed with the yellow-bottom-third-of-screen problem and have exchanged it twice now -- waiting on my third screen now.

    I'm hoping the unibody Mac screens are an improvement, but I'm stuck with this one for another couple of years.
  16. isonoise macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2008
    You had to ask! ;)

    My Hewlett-Packard LP2475w arrived today. I set it up, plugged it in, and saw distortion, snow, flashing pixels...that lasted for a minute, and then total snow. It is repeatable--in fact, I can't get it to not screw up like that.

    I called Apple Support, and they acknowledged it as a recognized problem without a current solution, and she e-mailed me a link to this thread.

    I have since posted this thread over at the Apple Support Forums, after seeing that this was more common than I was hoping to find it would be.

    Oh, so to answer your question: I'm happier with my MBP's built-in display than I am with its (lack of) ability to drive an external display.
    Okay, pyramis, this is disappointing for me to read. Given what might be a unibody MBP problem driving external displays, I was considering going with the current MBP 17" with matte LED-backlit screen. (Though it's not unibody, and not as well spec'd as the unibody MBP, I'm thinking it's more tried and true.) I'm guessing the 17" MBP's screen is similar to the screen you're dealing with. Have you seen similar issues with the matte version of your screen, assuming you've seen the matte version of your screen?
  17. pyramis macrumors member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Palo Alto, CA
    I haven't done that comparison. However, I did note in my forums research that the yellowing problem was far more common on glossy screens than matte screens. I also have an unfounded hunch that the glossy coating contributes to screen-angle/uneven-illumination problems. That said, the 17" is a higher res screen, right, probably built to higher standards, probably by a different manufacturer with a slightly different process, so... I'd recommend going in to the store with your fave photos in hand and doing more side-by-side comparisons with MBP 17" and unibody MBPs. And, it may sound crazy, but I recommend comparing identical models as well, with your photos and with a solid white or light grey desktop. I didn't believe at first that there could be variation, but seeing is believing. :(
  18. archipellago macrumors 65816

    Aug 16, 2008
    I still don't get it....

    Apple use a average quality screen...charge a massive premium for the whole unit.... and still people buy them!!!!

    I sorta got it when I thought Apple was 'premium' quality...but clearly it isn't

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