My Apple Store Visit & Display Observations

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by speekez, Nov 18, 2006.

  1. speekez macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2003
    Well, after weeks of reading the boards, I finally visited the local Apple Store, here in Manhattan Beach, CA. I've been following the threads here very closely, taking note of issues such as screen grain & uneveness, and kept those things in mind as things to look for during my visit. I realize a lot of you are not within driving distance of an Apple Store, so I thought I'd share my observations. Take them as you will.

    First, a short bit about me: I'm in the market to upgrade from a blue & white G3 tower and a Viewsonic CRT. I've never owned a laptop or an LCD screen. I've used my wife's PC laptop on occassion, but personally I've only owned Apples. I'm a nitpick by nature. I work in graphic design and photography, so I'd like to think I have a fairly discerning eye ;) I've been thinking of buying the 17" matte C2D MBP.

    The Apple store had the following in stock: matte and glossy 15" C2D MBP and a matte 17" MBP (no glossies and no C2D versions). Even though they didn't have the exact model I wanted, I took a good look at the others.


    None of the screens were as bad as I thought they'd be, at all. I was surprised and a bit delighted, maybe because my expectations had been so low. I opened neutral backgrounds, full screen white Safari backgrounds... but none of the screens were as poorly lit as the photos we've seen posted in some of these threads. YES, on all of the 15" models (both matte and glossy, and they had several on display), there does seem to be a gradual but visible drop off in brightness as you reach the right sides, particularly toward the bottom corner. Drag a white window from center screen to the bottom and white becomes off-white. I can see how some consumers consider the drop-off to be marginal, if not non-existent. Some folks may not even have it at all. And from the looks of the photos I've seen on Macrumors, some people have it a lot worse than any of the displays I saw (although, I think the camera & photo amplifies the uneven lighting).

    I will also say that on the matte 17" CD MBPs (again, not C2D) there was barely any uneveness, if any at all. The illumination on the 17" seems more even than on the 15". However, although the balance of illumination was even, I thought the 17" CD MBPs looked significally dimmer overall than the C2D 15'" MBPs (see question below).


    It seems like everyone has their own definition as to what constitues "grain" (aka "shimmer"). I think what we are talking about is the "finish" of the LCD screen. For example, open a white Safari window, move the window around... and if you train your eyes right, you'll see the finish of the LCD medium remaining static... as if a veener stands between you and the picture you are moving around. For some, the finish looks like a grain, or a shimmer. I'm typing on my CRT right now, and when I move my window around, I can even notice the finish of my glass. I think all LCDs have it, some a lot more obvious than others.

    I noticed this finish more on the 15" matte model than I did on the 17". I think it's good advice to go look at a display model if you can. 17" seems cleaner. For some, this won't bother you at all. Go take a look.


    1. Are the new C2D screens a bit brighter than the CD screens? The 17" CD MBP matte screens did not seem as bright as the 15" C2D matte screens, and both had brightness set to full. The 17" inch models looked visibly dimmer. Next week, the Apple store is suppose to get a 17" C2D display model. I'll go back and look, but if anyone knows, then cool!

    2. Aperture was installed on two 17" CD MBP. The program beachballed a lot, but the machines only had 1GB of RAM installed

    3. I compared matte and glossy 15" screens side by side, looking at the same pictures from Yes, blacks looks darker on the glossy, but the matte had a deep dark black that held it's own. I looked closely at the shadow areas in photos on both the matte and glossy. I didn't see any shadow details getting lost on the glossy.

    4. I peeked at the Apple Cinema Displays. The 20" and 30" look great. The 23" still has the pink color cast folks complained about a while back. Open up a Safari window and look at the brushed menu title bar. Pinkish on the 23". (Same when I went to Fry's Electronics)

    So, I'll probably stick to purchasing a 17" matte C2D MBP. I'll check out the displays next week.

    PS -- I also went to the local Fry's to look at their macs there. All of my observations were the same re: display quality.
  2. macman2790 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 4, 2006
    nice evaluation, i did the same thing last week, but i chose a 15" glossy
  3. speekez thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2003
    thanks macman

    enjoy your machine. i'm looking forward to getting one.

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