Macbook air 2011 screens still poor?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by aibo82, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. aibo82 macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2010

    I was considering purchasing a 13" macbook air but I see some users are reporting and returning them due to the poor display and viewing angles.

    Is the screen really that bad? how does it compare to a macbook pro?

    I was going to get the top end one the i7 256mb ssd version does this have the samsung SSD?

    Thank you
  2. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    I think the screens are great. They generally have a bit less color saturation than the MBP, but they have a higher resolution. I've never had an issue with the screen.
  3. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030


    Jun 11, 2011
    I got a perfect macbook air display first try- I did not even bother checking which type i had because i am satisfied with it.
    In terms of viewing angles they are ok. The MBP is a little better

    You have a 60-40 chance of getting a samsung ssd to toshiba. (approximatley) it is not mb also it is GB.
  4. Brandon0448 macrumors 6502


    Aug 2, 2011
    Anchorage, Alaska
    The display on the 2011 MBA is great and it always has been.
  5. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    Love my display on the 13" MBA
    Very happy with the quality
  6. deafgoose macrumors regular


    Oct 20, 2011
    Since when were the MBA screens poor?

    I have an older model and its perfect.
  7. johnhurley macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    Some people are returning any single apple product for any conceived or imagined reason.

    That's just the way some of the apple buyers roll.

    The macbook air 13 has ( in my opinion ) a superior screen to the macbook pro.
  8. nebrot macrumors regular


    Oct 25, 2011
    北京 (Beijing)
    I got a US i7 Air with 256 Gb SSD (German, living in China) and I'm very happy with my screen. I cant compare it with a Pro, coz I never owned one, but compared to my Windows Notebooks it is way better. Important for me is that it has no pixel failures or lightleak that some other users mention. Mine is perfect, not a single pixel failure and smooth black's and white's. By the way I found out due to cureosity that I have an "LP" screen, which is said to be the LG-Phillips. I was worried very much in the beginning, coz people said it MUST be an LTH (said to be Samsung) screen, but it turned out to be my overreaction, caused by posts here. The screen is amazingly thin and has no flaws and pictures look great.
    In terms of Samsung SSD, there are older posts about the SSD speed which are of same nature. Theroretically the Samsung is faster, but many doubt that you will ever notice it. Even if you get a Toshiba you will be surprised about the responsiveness of your Air. It seems though that if you go for the i7 with 256 Gb the chance is high you get a (SM) Samsung SSD. You may check older Posts from around August/September. As said, after using my Air for weeks and being very happy with it, I checked both screen and SDD due to cureosity. It got LG screen and Samsung SSD - should I be happy or not? Well, I am very much happy, due to the fact that I was before I checked it and because it is a nice hard- and software package.
  9. Mr.Awesome macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2010
    The screen is inferior to the pro. If it's not a problem for you to have false colors and you are not doing any graphical on it then it's okay. A regular user will just say it's fine but someone who know what color should be were, will probably return it.
  10. Buildbright macrumors 6502a

    Aug 25, 2011
    People always blow things out of proportions. The screen is great and the colors are good. Its not a $1000 graphics monster but come on if you are doing heavy color sensitive graphics work on one without an external display you are nuts. The screen is great there is a lot of Air hate because of the people who already own a Pro. I prefer my Macbook Air to my last Pro.
  11. Mr.Awesome macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2010
    An extensive work on colors requires indeed an external monitor. Though, the truth is that if you watch a movie on your air while you are on a plane (for exemple), it will look better on your iphone (even a 3GS). Blacks are not back enough, contrast is poor ... Add to that the fact that the screens are apparently of different qualities depending on the manufacturer ...

    It's not hate, it's disappointment. I would love to love it and exchange my Pro with one but I just can't. I would use it two days and I would have to return it because of that. Sure it is just me, but obviously it's not only me so I think the screen quality is something you really have to be ok with before buying such an expensive machine.

    The following screen sums it all (Poor colors, light leak at the bottom as if it was a 1998 PC ...). Definitely not Apple quality to me :(

  12. lowercasej macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2011
    Kingston, Ontario
    I recently returned my 13" Air due to the display, but mainly because I found the (relatively) high resolution and poor contrast were giving me eyestrain. I find the lower resolution, better quality display on the 13" Pro to be much easier on the eyes. That's not even to mention the poor viewing angle, colour accuracy, and backlight uniformity. It's not's ultimately what your eyes are comfortable using, but I'd still strongly recommend spending some time using one in a store - ideally comparing with the Pro - before making a decision.

    Some people will say, "just plug it into an external display", but who wants a laptop with a display you don't want to use?
  13. WytRaven macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2009
    Orbiting Mercury
    Guys just remember the Air is a budget product. It's an entry level laptop. You can't expect awesome screens at this price point. If you look at an iMac or a 30" Cinema Display and are expecting the same you will be disappointed.

    The rez is great on these screens but the first one sent to me had such bad viewing angles and such bad response time that I felt the screen was not up to spec even for a budget TN panel. The replacement I received is significantly better than the original so I am confident my assessment was correct.

    Even with what is now a properly functioning screen there is still no doubt that this is a budget screen which is fine for what it is but calling them "Awesome" is just not true.

    The Air is meant to be a cheap (read: cheap as possible without sucking the big one) ultra-portable laptop and it fulfils that role brilliantly. Don't expect it to be something it isn't, and you will be perfectly happy :)
  14. johnhurley macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2011
    Did you even read the question from the OP?

    Entry level laptop for the 13 inch mba? ... strike 1 ...

    The screen for the mba is better and in my opinion much better than the mbp 13 at this time.
  15. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    In order to make the panel thin, some sacrifices had to be made. That's why the colors and viewing angles aren't that great in MBA when compared to MBP, though I find my display to be great for my needs though (and I have two Dell U2311H with IPS panels too). Any TN panel will look crap when compared to an IPS panel, so it's not like MBP has an amazing screen.
  16. SDColorado macrumors 68000


    Nov 6, 2011
    Highlands Ranch, CO
    Agreed. Having had a string of MBP's including my current one, I would say the screens on those are not that amazing, but certainly nice.

    I was initially disappointed with the screen of my MBA when I first unboxed it, but I found a couple of custom profiles in the thread, and find I like it much more now. While I wouldn't use the Air for photo work that was critical, I have a really hard time imagining why it wouldn't be fine for most day to day tasks. Sometimes you need an expensive and specialized tool for the job, sometimes you don't.
  17. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    I'm hoping this post is dripping with sarcasm, beacuse if not, you are one of the most delusional people I've ever seen post on a forum.
  18. clearyjp macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    Well, it is Apple's lowest priced laptop, so calling it budget or entry level isn't really that far of a stretch.
  19. Aras87 macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2011
    LOL :rolleyes:
  20. TheRealDamager macrumors 65816

    Jan 5, 2011
    It's a huge stretch. An "entry level laptop" is $300-$600. The Air STARTS at $1K and goes to $2K.
  21. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    I haven't compared directly to the macbook pro. I agree with you that it should be usable, but the standard for comparison should pretty much end at high end laptop displays. It's in a different world from a high end desktop display. Contrast ratios are pretty meaningless here. Past 300:1 or 400:1 it doesn't matter as much as people think.

    Having a display that resolves detail well from the highlights through the shadows and maintains good contrast without being turned up to a blinding white is what counts in terms of preventing eye strain. Think of it this way. A printed document is much easier to read than a bad computer display even when its contrast isn't very high. No one really likes looking at a glaring white on any display, but so many of them historically looked terrible if you took it down to a more comfortable point.

    The macbook air uses a custom part. It is a mini pci ssd that I believe is soldered into the logic board just like the ram. I haven't seen any evidence that you would ever be able to upgrade it.

    Entry level isn't really an excuse here. Apple's design theory has always been that they don't really make low end computers. Also if you look at the configuration the OP is considering, it's into 15" macbook pro price territory once fully configured. It simply isn't a budget configuration. It comes out to approximately $1700 without sales tax or applecare included. This is not netbook or temporary purchase pricing territory.

    It didn't seem that bad relative to a macbook pro. I own an Eizo CG243W. i've owned some of NEC's spectraview displays. I've worked on tons of higher end displays going back to the older mitsubishis and sony artisans. No laptop display compares to any of these. It's night and day. You really have to make a personal judgement on this. If an Apple store is near you I suggest taking a look at one. Make sure you play with the brightness for an idea of how well it will age as the backlight fades off. LED backlights do have a half life just like ccfl. They just age a bit differently (and color stability seems to be worse).
  22. LordJim macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2011
    I honestly don't understand the bad reputation that the 13-inch MBA has on here. I'm fully aware of the fact that it's worse than the MBP's screen, but mine still looks quite good. Maybe I'm lucky, but the backlight is completely even and the colors all look great. I stare at this thing for hours at a time writing papers without any eye strain (and my eyes are sensitive).
  23. Queen6 macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2008
    Putting out the fire with gasoline...
    I have a early 2008 15" MBP and 2011 13" MBA, my wife has the 2011 11" Air. The Air does have a smaller colour gamut than the MBP and viewing angles are tighter. This being said the display is not poor by any means, and the new Air`s greatly benefit from careful calibration.

    My 13" has a LG display and suffers from none of these issues, sure it`s not as accurate as the MBP, then again it`s half the weight ;)

    I agree with many others, the 2011 MacBook Air display issues are blown out of proportion; LG versus Samsung, poor quality etc, every 2011 Air I have seen has had in my opinion a more than adequate display for the intended use (ultraportable).

    Those with display issue`s simply need to return the machine to Apple to sort it out, I rather suspect the vast majority of users have no problem, and a small minority simply have unrealistic expectations; ultraportable, not graphics workstation ;)
  24. clearyjp macrumors member

    Oct 6, 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    The reality is, the Air is Apple's lowest priced laptop, therefore it's going to have cheaper components in order to meet that lower price point. It doesn't matter what price point a person configures an Air to, or if that price overlaps into higher end products. You can configure a base 3 series BMW to be more expensive than a 5 series, but you're still getting their entry level sedan.
  25. jsolares macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2011
    Land of eternal Spring
    Look harder :p, OWC makes SATA III (6Gbps) drives for the MBA

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