LCD screen quality of 13.3" rMBP decreased from model to model

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tqbinh, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. tqbinh macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2016
    In recent time, I have in my hand various 13.3" Macbook Pro Retina:
    - Two of Late 2012 model (one MD212 and one MD213)
    - Two of Late 2013 model (both are ME866, one with i5 and another with i7)
    - Two of Early 2015 model (both are MF840)
    Also I have Surface Pro 3, Thinkpad T440s with AUO FHD Touch IPS panel, and Samsung ATIV Book 8 with AUO AHVA (IPS clone?) FHD Touch model. Hackintosh is installed on T440s and ATIV Book 8.

    By comparing them side by side, my rating for their LCD, using Late 2012 as baseline, are follows:
    In term of contrast: Late 2012: 100%; Late 2013: 90%; Early 2015: 75%; Surface Pro 3: 95%; Thinkpad T440s: 85%; ATIV Book 8: 75%.
    In term of color quality: Late 2012: 100%; Late 2013: 85%; Early 2015: 75%; Surface Pro 3: 85%; Thinkpad T440s: 75%; ATIV Book 8: 70%.
    In term of grainy (crystalline effects): Late 2012: 98%; Late 2013: 100%; Early 2015: 100%; Surface Pro 3: 100%; Thinkpad T440s: 90%; ATIV Book 8: 60%.
    My conclusion is that 13.3" rMBP model have worse quality with new model being released, especially the gap from Late 2013 to Early 2015 model (I don't have Mid 2014 model). Within each model, the quality is consistent.
    Did you observe the same tendency?
  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    How exactly were you measuring all these things and how many computers were in your sample? What about the recent MBP models? The external reviews pretty much agree that the current Mac lineup has some of the best screens in the industry, with top of the line brightness and contrast figures.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Couldn't disagree with you more having used a 2010 (same screen as 2012) 2013 2014 and 2016 they have clearly got better over time in just about every metric.
  4. project_2501 macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2017
    Does apple send specially manufactured models to reviewers .. and substandard ones to retail?
  5. tqbinh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2016
    I didn't measure, I compare them visually side by side.
  6. lambertjohn macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2012
    Then your measurement is subjective to your eyes and no one else's. Now, if we clone your eyes and pop them into every other skull on the planet, then your opinion would be valid. But until that happens, you're not me and I'm not you. I happen to love the screens on the new MBPs. Best I've "seen" in a long time.
  7. tqbinh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2016
    I don't ask nor want you to agree with me. I just ask people for their SUBJECTIVE opinion.
  8. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68030

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    Why be subjective though? There is equipment that will objectively measure brightness, contrast, and color space coverage capabilities (ie 98% sRGB coverage).

    There is no need for subjectivity when measuring monitor quality. Did you even calibrate the monitors so they displayed their best available output? There are colorimeter hardware/software packages available starting around $200 that will measure and help calibrate the screens to produce their best output. Did you use one on your monitors?
  9. tqbinh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2016
    Thank you for replying. There are numerous measurement results available on internet, for example, at However, the measurement results are not very consistent (in my opinion) so they only can tell, say, 70-80% of the truth. Moreover, I use my eyes for work with Mac, but not those colorimeters, so what my eyes tell me is the most important. Also, some "parametes", such as grainess, can not be measured by instrument at this moment.
    One year ago, I have one Late 2012 and one Late 2013 rMBP. I decided to sell the Late 2013 one because the LCD is inferior to the Late 2012 one. Now my Late 2012 one is aging, so I am in search for its replacement, but sadly, didn't not find any suitable model with equal LCD quality.
  10. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2008
    The 2017 rMBP 13" has a brighter screen and P3 color support. I've had many earlier rMBPs (including 2013) and the 2017 is clearly a better screen. If that is what you are looking for then just buy one.
  11. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    They are not consistent because there are different panels with different properties, and the conditions under which the measurements are made are also different. Of course its important that you actually feel comfortable with using the screen, but then the provocative title of your thread is a bit uncalled for. Not to mention that it can confuse users or potential buyers. The fact is that you have no objective evidence to make this kind of statement.

    Besides, if something looks good to you eyes, doesn't mean that its actually good. Many people prefer OLED screens because they look more vibrant, even though that is often achieved by oversaturating the colours and messing up the original material. Same with equaliser use in music.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 21, 2017 ---
    The screen quality of the 2016 and 2017 models is superb and surpasses the 2012 retina model in every way. The 2012-2015 models used the same display (actually, the same set of displays, sourced from different manufacturers).
  12. tqbinh, Sep 21, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017

    tqbinh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2016
    Yes, I agree with you. It can confuse people if they do not read my first post carefully. Is there a way to change the title?
    I opened this thread because I am tired of searching replacement for my MD213. If people have the same experience as mine then I will stop searching, just keep my old one. The 2016-2017 models are out of my scope because they are of different construction and at a different price level.

    About instrumental results, I also agree with you regarding various panels (i.e. Samsung vs LG panels in rMBP) used under the tests lead to inconsistent results. But I don't know why people are in truth so much to these results instead of their own eyes. Let's take, for example, an easy parameter such as the contrast ratio: the colorimeter measures white and black values in an absolute dark room (otherwise it can not measure low black value) and then calculate the contrast ratio as white/black, but in a real working environment, there is a reflection of light from panel and make this contrast ratio worse (because of higher black value), and the reflection ratios are different across models, this makes real contrast ratio do not match to the number in paper. I experiences this problem with my Late 2012 rMBP and the Samsung ATIV Book 8. According to, the measured contrast ratio of rMBP is 836, and of ATIV Book is 1017. But in reality, they are in different leagues: the ATIV Book have (visual) contrast of just about 50-60% of rMBP in a light office room. I am picky about screen quality and use only laptops with IPS screen from the old good time of IBM Thinkpad T42p Flexview back in 2005 until now, so my eyes are not so amateur to confuse about screen quality, though I am not a professional too :)
  13. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    I disagree and I think many of the "screen issues" with the MacBook Pro is, and sometimes has historically been, far more subjectively perceived than actual (it's not that out of the ordinary for someone to return a MBP with "screen quality issues", and when a technician tests it the screen turns out to be brilliantly consistent...)

    Certainly, some individuals have wound up with individual Apple laptops that have screens that are of poor quality, and unacceptable for such a pricy machine - I do not wish to belittle those who had to go through that experience; BUT, as a general rule, most Apple screens I see are outstanding, brilliant, consistent, and class-leading (and I see a lot of Apple displays...)

    The LG panel on my 2014 MacBook Pro (arguably considered inferior to the Samsung offering) is outstanding - minimal bleed, great color quality/reproduction, and text looks outstanding on it. The many 2014 and 2015 MBPs I've helped customers set up look consistently great. The 2016 and 2017 screens are even better. And, for that matter, my retina MacBook screen (which is inferior to the MacBook Pro) is quite possibly the most consistent and near-flawless screen on any system I have ever owned.

    In recent time, Apple has been joined by some other hardware Makers that also offer spectacular displays (the Surface Pro and Surface Book are two examples) - but that doesn't mean Apple's quality and consistency here has fallen.

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12 September 21, 2017