MacBook (Santa Rosa) display: Poor contrast ratio?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Reason077, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. Reason077 macrumors 68000

    Reason077

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    #1
    Just purchased a new 2.2ghz (white) MacBook.

    So far I'm pleased with its speed, quality construction, and whisper-quiet-ness. However, the display seems quite poor compared to my current mid-2006 (black) Core Duo MacBook.

    • Contrast ratio seems poor. Comparing the two MacBooks side-by-side, and at the same, straight on, viewing angle, black areas of the screen (such as Front Row, or a black Terminal window) are quite noticeably greyish compared to the '06 display. Also, black text on white backgrounds tends to look a little less black/crisp.
    • Default color profile seems much too "bright" to me. It is skewed greatly towards bright colours, making everything look too bright and washed out. It reminds me of some of the earlier LCD iMacs which also had this issue. So far, however, I'm finding it very difficult to calibrate the screen to work around this problem. After using the built-in calibration tool (in expert mode), and following through the steps as I would on any other mac, everything becomes far too dark. I'm not sure if perhaps this is a driver issue with the new X3100 GPU, or whether its a fundamental problem with the display.
    • Native white point is much cooler (more bluish) than the '06 MacBook. Not necessarily a bad thing, but interesting.
    • Viewing angle (particularly vertical) is not great, but this has never been a strong point of any MacBook display.
    • On the "bright" side: Brightness is ok, although not noticeably brighter than the '06. Also I have observed no flicker at all, which has been an occasional problem with my 2006 model.

    I'm considering returning it, mostly due to my disappointment with the screen, but also because I've been unable to convince myself that white is as nice as my '06 black model ;). But, I'm interested to know if anyone else has made similar observations. Is this a common problem or did I just get a "bad Apple"?

    Is it perhaps possible that this is a driver issue, or even that black MacBooks ship with better quality screens than the white models?!
     
  2. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
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    #2
    I have a Santa Rosa currently in Anchorage AK in transit to me while I'm still working on my previous version macbook. I hope the screens aren't too different. You've got me worried.
     
  3. sundayx macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #3
    I was in the computer store at my university today and I thought the MB screens were too bright for some reason. Tried other color profiles but the native is the best color production. Interesting.
     
  4. jonassons macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #4
    I'm afraid the screen are crap

    My wife bought a macbook prior to the santa rosa updrade. The screen was fine and had great colors. I bought one just after the upgrade and the colors were truly awful. The contrast is washed out and there seem to be less colors.
    I belive that the viewing-angle is worse as well.

    It seems like the charges against apple about advertising great screens when they in fact are really bad are true.

    I've tried to fi it by calibrate the screen after my wifes color-calibration and that helped a lot, even though the colors just arent as crispy and nice. I feel like returning my computer in wait for something better, but it will cost 10% in restocking fee, which is really unfair, since apple didn't inform that they had altered the screen that much.

    It might as you say be some driverproblem, but I don't think so.
     
  5. maximus06 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #5
    Ahh very interesting, me too. The odd thing is that 24 hours ago UPS showed it as being in "Louisville, KY". Now that is gone and its "back" in Anchorage. Im wondering what the hell is going on.
     
  6. smadder macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2006
    #6
    It's the software...

    I called Apple support on it b/c I was haviong similar problems. I have Vista installed on a boot camp partition with the latest intel X3100 drivers. It is beautiful to look at (but man I hate using it - have to for work), in terms of picture quality. This really leads me to believe it's unrefined drivers for Leopard that's the problem. Even if it is hardware, they will inevitably put out a firmware update, but it's gotta be the drivers. The support technician agreed and said that the issue is being worked on right now.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. Diversion macrumors 6502a

    Diversion

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #7
    I've been talking about the poor contrast on the new SRMBs since their release.. I had a non-SR MacBook 3 weeks before the SR release and the screen looked so much nicer. I'm going to say that Apple chose poorly when they contracted out these recent LCDs for the SRMB.. I doubt this is a driver issue at all, poor quality LCD screen is what this is. Still, it's not horrible in comparison, white and blacks just don't look as crisp, dark, vivid or clean as the previous MacBook I owned. I'd imagine that you would find various makes and revisions in LCDs used by Apple in all of their machines considering all notebook manufacturers tend to use 2-3, sometimes 4 different makes/manufacturers to produce the LCDs for their notebooks. I wish Apple had higher standards when it comes to build quality.

    Jay
     
  8. Diversion macrumors 6502a

    Diversion

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #8
    To rule out driver problems I also installed Windows XP under boot camp and the whites look yellowish in WindowsXP as well compared to my previous MacBook.

    Jay
     
  9. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    totally cool
    #9
    I got both my macbooks side by side right now, with the same color profile. The new one (santa rosa) looks more purply blue in the highlights. In the older macbook (the 2.16ghz) the colors to have a better white point and the colors are truer.

    I just can't win. I tried to upgrade the old macbook to get the extra ram I needed, not the screen is crooked on the new one. Frak!

    Also the transparency of the drop down menus seem to be more in the new macbook. I can see more thru them than in the older macbook. I'm not sure what the reason for something like this would be. Could it be the newer graphics card?

    The older Intel GMA 950 vs. the newer Intel GMA X3100
     
  10. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
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    #10
    Well I had to test it.

    [​IMG]

    And what looked different on the separate computers looks the same on the single computer. Of course. :rolleyes: duh

    What its turning out to be is possibly the viewing angle. Whereas looking directly at the santa rosa macbook the transparency seems to be about 60% looking straight into the screen. On the older book the transparency looks to be about 75%. For example I cannot read my own screen name on the older macbook. However, if I tilt the screen away from me I can begin to see and able to read my own screen name thru the drop down menu. Should I surmise that the viewing angle is better in the older macbook? Or that the santa rosa has a better contrast ratio?
     
  11. Jschultz macrumors 6502a

    Jschultz

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #12
    I'll tell you this much- my girlfriends acer asipre laptop has a better screen than my macbook. Her blacks are much deeper, and it seems her color pops ALOT more. I went from a 17" powerbook to this, imagine my surprise. Oh, the backlight bleed is pretty noticeable on my macbook when the screen goes dark/black.
     
  12. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
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    #13
    [​IMG]

    The santa rosa in #1 and #3 definitely has a blue purply tinge to it. David's color profile, to me, seems somewhat muddy in the shadows. The color lab I use provided me with a color profile I like and thats what is in #3 and #4. I like #4 but #1 and #3 have this blue glow in the highlights that bug me a little.

    Thanks to ~David for letting me use the color profile. It was certainly better than anything in the system.
     
  13. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #14
    Are you able to share the color profile that you've made?
     
  14. ~David macrumors regular

    ~David

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #15
    No problem :) Could you post that NAP profile? I'd like to give it a shot.

    Yes you can, go to Macintosh HD > Library > ColorSync > Profiles > Displays and you'll find your profiles.
     
  15. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #16
    Kinda hard when I don't have the NAP one. :D
     
  16. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
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    #17
    Sure.

    http://www.box.net/shared/hldk4hxa68

    I didn't make it tho. Its from my color lab to sync images on the screen to the prints they make.
     
  17. ~David macrumors regular

    ~David

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #18
    OH *slaps forehead* I thought you were asking if it was possible in general lol, my mistake. :p

    Thanks :)
     
  18. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #19
    I have the profile installed now but I doesn't look any different from the default one. :confused:
     
  19. Reason077 thread starter macrumors 68000

    Reason077

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    #20
    A follow-up to my original post:

    I ended up returning the Santa Rosa MacBook. Although I tried living with it for a couple of days, and in general it is a nice machine, in the end I couldn't get over the poor screen and have gone back to my '06 Black MacBook for now.

    What is the cause of these display problems? It turns out that Apple are using entry-level "TN+film" LCD panels in some products, including the MacBook and the 20" aluminum iMac.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TFT_LCD#TN_.2B_film

    TN+film panels are cheap to manufacture, but suffer from limited viewing angles, inability to display the full 24-bit color range without dithering, and backlight "bleed" which causes grey-looking blacks. Do these problems sound familiar to anyone? :rolleyes:

    Of course, this doesn't explain why the Santa Rosa display seems to have worse contrast and color reproduction than previous MacBooks which were also using TN+film panels. At this point I'm holding out hope for a new 13" MacBook Pro/MacBook Nano which will hopefully have a better quality display and not suffer from these issues...
     
  20. layor macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #21
    I returned mine too. In comparison to my ageing iBook the quality of the screen was frankly shocking.
     
  21. Tshapi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    #22
    I put the specs side by side, and they are exactly the same as the ones aleady in my blackbook
     
  22. Rotary8 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    #23
    Has anyone tried running santa rosa on Tiger OS? seems like a lot of issues have been attributed to Leopard regarding macbooks.
     
  23. dubs1856 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    #24
    looking to buy a new macbook

    after seeing this thread I am now hesitating. Is the problem with the screen worth me waiting or holding off? I currently have a titanium power book g4 1ghz that is showing its age with a pink stripe down the middle of the screen and now the battery won't hold a charge. I want to get something new and thought I had it figured out. Would I be better off with a 2.16 non SR? if I can find one?

    Thank you for your advice...

    Ken
     
  24. Dammit Cubs macrumors 68000

    Dammit Cubs

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    #25
    damn...

    I haven't noticed the color difference but now you got me thinking....

    How do I install the new profile to my macbook? The display doesn't bother me too much, I have my computer hook up to a a monitor.

    Thanks.
     

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