Screen brightness hype on new MBP's?

MBX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 14, 2006
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Hey, I noticed so many saying the new MBP's have much brighter screens. Even those reviewers on YouTube saying how amazing and much brighter it was.

When I checked them out in the Apple store and now that I own a nTB MBP 13'' myself I don't see such a drastic increase in brightness.

Next to my 2014 Mb-Air it's not such a huge increase when I have it at full brightness.

So what gives? Because I was expecting having to put my new MBP's screen much lower for the same max brightness on the Air but it's not like it at all. More like only 1-2 notches lower :(
 

Sanpete

macrumors 68020
Nov 17, 2016
2,123
839
Utah
The 2014 MBA can have a pretty bright screen, measured at 342 nits in one review, though others measured lower. Even so, you should notice a clear difference at full brightness. Huge? I don't know about that.

You should also notice a clear improvement in contrast, which is more useful in most settings.
 

jerryk

macrumors 601
Nov 3, 2011
4,853
2,400
SF Bay Area
Take both outside. The new units are pretty readable. In comparison, my 2015 rMBP 15 washes out in any direct sunlight.
 

Brookzy

macrumors 601
May 30, 2010
4,747
4,722
UK
An explanation I wrote a few months ago regarding brightness confusion on the new MacBook Pros - the third point is relevent here. :)

A few things are going on here, to optimise battery life, and keep brightness proportionate to the ambient conditions:
  • The brightness scale is now logarithmic. A one-notch jump at high brightness levels will cause a greater increase in brightness than a one-notch jump at low brightness levels.
  • The brightness scale is relative to the ambient brightness. In darker conditions, this allows more fine-tuning of your preferred screen brightness - the exception is that 100% stays at 100%, hence the jump you are seeing from 90% to 100%.
  • 100% isn't really maximum brightness: much like iPhone 7, the "boost" brightness (from 300 to 500 nits) is not user-adjusted but instead is automatic for situations like direct sunlight. 500 nits is positively blinding in a dimly-lit room. Thus you can only achieve peak brightness with automatically adjust brightness turned on, and when in direct sunlight (or equivalent).
 

Brookzy

macrumors 601
May 30, 2010
4,747
4,722
UK
Has anyone tested this?
Not empirically, but I have experienced it visually.

(DisplayMate have the numbers for the iPhone 7, however:
Even Higher Automatic Peak Brightness

On the iPhone 7 the Maximum Screen Brightness can go much higher when Automatic Brightness is turned On, so that users can’t permanently park the Manual Brightness slider to very high values, which would run down the battery quickly.
[...]
When Automatic Brightness is turned On, the iPhone 7 produces up to an impressive 705 cd/m2 (nits) in High Ambient Light, where high Brightness is really needed – the Highest Peak Brightness for a Smartphone for any Average Picture Level APL, including Full Screen White.
)
 
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lambertjohn

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2012
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Hey, I noticed so many saying the new MBP's have much brighter screens. Even those reviewers on YouTube saying how amazing and much brighter it was.

When I checked them out in the Apple store and now that I own a nTB MBP 13'' myself I don't see such a drastic increase in brightness.

Next to my 2014 Mb-Air it's not such a huge increase when I have it at full brightness.

So what gives? Because I was expecting having to put my new MBP's screen much lower for the same max brightness on the Air but it's not like it at all. More like only 1-2 notches lower :(
I agree. Put my wife's 2016 Macbook Pro 13 NTB next to my 2015 Macbook Pro 15, and I can barely tell the difference in screen brightness. Only when both computers are set at their highest setting, can I see a slight increase in the brightness on her 13". Still prefer my 15" over hers any day of the year!
 

MBX

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 14, 2006
1,701
331
It's true that it's brighter and better contrasts outside especially.

But the reflections/ glare on the MBP's compared to the matte screen on the MB-Air make it very hard to see.

Such a shame there's no more matte screen option.