Why is the powerbook display so dark?

apFeLgELiEbTer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 19, 2004
6
0
Greetings all! This is my first post!

I am seriously considering buying a 15" powerbook after demo'ing several pc notebooks and realizing that everything I wish they were, the macintosh platform is when it comes to design and functionality.

I went to the nearest apple store this weekend to check them out. All-in-all, I was impressed, but one major disappointment was the display--why is the powerbook display so dark? I observed that it is close to half the brightness/contrast of the imac and cinema displays. I asked a trendy associate about this and huffed, "that's just the nature of the beast". Nature of the beast?! Even with the brightness all the way up, I could not comfortably read the screen in a normally-lit room.

I can understand the power savings of cutting down the brightness while running on battery power, but why can't the display be up to spec with the desktops when plugged in? I expected that the powerbook lcd would be equal in quality and brightness to the cinema display when put side by side. Are they not the same lcd after all?

Has anyone else observed this or care to discuss?
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
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They're not the same as the Cinema displays. They're the same as the OLD displays before they went Aluminium. This doesn't apply to the 12" PB, of course, but it's the case for the 15" and 17" PB.

Yes, they're not bright enough, but on my rev B 12" PB, it's even worse than the current 12" PB!! I have some trouble seeing it when sunlight is pouring down on me, but in a normally lit room, it's fine. It does take a minute for the pixels to warm up after coming on from SLEEP. The newest 12" is supposed to be better, but it's still not good. Now it's about the same as the 15" and 17". Of course, many laptop LCDs aren't the greatest, although I have seen some amazing displays.

But you're right.....the displays should ALL be replaced with better ones. I'd rather pay another $50 or whatever for a system with a better display if that's what it would take for Apple to do so. If we could just cover the cost of the better LCD (which wouldn't be much money), this wouldn't hurt Apple at all.

And the display on my rev B 12" Powerbook has washed-out colours. I'm not sure how they look compared to the newest 12", 15", and 17" models, since I've only seen them in stores, but I wish they used better displays, period.
 

Westside guy

macrumors 603
Oct 15, 2003
5,384
2,207
The soggy side of the Pacific NW
That's odd. I have a Powerbook (Rev A 15" AlPB) and I think this thing has the brightest screen I've ever seen on a laptop. When I read the subject line for this thread, I thought you were having some technical issue! :D

I have no problems reading this even out in sunshine (unless there's glare coming off the screen, of course).
 

cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
I've got the 12-inch rev C, and i agree a bit.
But i think the display is better on the rev c than the rev b.
Anyway, indoor i think the display is great, but outdoor its too week.
Anyway no lcd displays are great outside..

btw, you did press F2 to make the brightness max?
 

zelmo

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
5,490
1
Mac since 7.5
yellow said:
My 15" AlPB screen is quite bright as well.. it does a fantastic job of draining my battery.
Agreed. I haven't taken my PB out shopping to compare screens with other models on the market, but the screen sure seems bright enough to me, even sitting in my kitchen with the sun streaming in.
 

apFeLgELiEbTer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 19, 2004
6
0
cluthz
btw, you did press F2 to make the brightness max?​
Yes, everything was definitely set to its highest setting on the software level. In fact, the brightness of the all the powerbooks and ibooks were at the same level of brightness, which I observered to be about half the brightness of the desktops.

earthtoandy:
the new line of powerbooks will have better lcds for sure i cant wait​
Any predictions on when the next generation of powerbooks will be released? I am kind of surprised that they updated the ibook line, matching the mhz with the powerbook, but did not bump the powerbook line. I am basically going to stand at the ready to buy my powerbook as soon as an update comes, but I won't wait any longer than Christmas. What are the chances that the powerbooks will get a speed bump, etc before Christmas?
 

stevehaslip

macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2004
657
0
The Ocean Floor
i know you want the best you can get, afterall you are spending alot of money. But remember that they are laptops, i think they are pretty good for a laptop screen and ok for normal conditions.
 

Mechcozmo

macrumors 603
Jul 17, 2004
5,215
2
My Rev. C 12" PowerBook kick's my friends laptop's screens ass. I can use it on only one bar of battery power, but he is forced to keep his at near 40% to see it, and just barely...This screen is a really good screen. The Apple Store computers, BTW, are ususaly a few generations old and they just change the signs next to them. :eek: :D :p Just check the System Profiler on that...

I am really impressed with the screens, actually. Maybe that screen was just turned down and you didn't notice? (F1 and F2 keys to change it)
 

MacNeXT

macrumors 6502
Jun 21, 2004
258
0
My old Powerbook Wallstreet has a dim display too, compared to wintel laptops. It's perfectly comfortable when I work inside though, but it's a problem when I'm outside and it's sunny.

It could be due to age, it's about 4 or 5 years old. Some screens suffer from broken back lighting, but I don't think mine does.
 

crazzyeddie

macrumors 68030
Dec 7, 2002
2,790
0
Florida, USA
My Powerbook Titanium display is very bright and my friends brand new AlBook is equally as bright. The display in the Apple Store could be dim because it runs so much and they use a TON of lighting in those stores, so it seems dimmer than it actually is.
 

crazy norwegian

macrumors newbie
Oct 12, 2004
11
0
My 17" Al "brand new" PB lcd screen is very bright, brighter than my NEC monitor sitting next to it.

But I needed to remember it had a fn key before I got it that bright :)

crazy n
 

apFeLgELiEbTer

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 19, 2004
6
0
After doing a little more research, I see that the upper end 15" powerbook and the 17" powerbook have an auto light-sensing feature that automatically adjusts the screen brightness to an appropriate level based on the light level of the room. That is a hell of a feature!

I am glad to see that so many agree that the displays *could* be better/brighter. But it is a minor concern... it's not going to stop me from buying a powerbook either way.
 

musicpyrite

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
1,639
0
Cape Cod
Try calibrating the PowerBook's display.

I know that the default calibration for my iMac sucks, so I had to change it myself, and it is far far better looking now.
 

JeDiBoYTJ

macrumors 6502a
Jun 22, 2004
859
0
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
thats one thing I was worried about when I purchased my powerbook about a month 1/2 ago, because I noticed how dim the powerbook displays looked after coming from looking at a brand new cinema display. not really thinking about it (the display), I bought the powerbook, 15in, had the ram upgraded, then brought it home, sat it on top of my iCurve, turned it on, saw it was dim, then hit the F2 key and set it to max, and I was like WOAH now thats bright, my eyes literally widened in surprise when I saw how bright it was. Now I dont use my powerbook outdoors in the bright sunlight so I cant judge how good it is out there.

But think about this, when was the last time you saw how a real Cinema LCD Display looks in the middle of the day outside? I really doubt any of you guys bring your Cinema Display to the park to check.

Personally I feel that if my display were any brighter that the pixels would start burning in the screen, lol.
 

dav

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2004
491
9
The intense lights in the apple store beam down on those poor LCD's, and make them look dim.


Take one to a normally lit room, and it will perform great!
 

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,805
1,697
Western US
musicpyrite said:
Try calibrating the PowerBook's display.

I know that the default calibration for my iMac sucks, so I had to change it myself, and it is far far better looking now.
Second that, it's likely your display can look MUCH better then it does now with calibration (you should see both shadow and highlight detail). And I keep the brightness one click from max. Many Macs and almost every PC LCD I've ever seen have horrendous calibration (or more likely, none).
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
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I've never even thought about doing it because I was never sure of whether I was doing it correctly. If I don't, I hope there's a quick and easy way to go back to default. :eek:

Trying it now.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
Apparently, I like to see everything in blue! :(

I really don't like the brushed metal with the bluish tinge. Actually, I'm not sure if it's me not used to the setting yet, or if I really fudged it up.

I'm going to try it again, but I think I'm following the Luminescence calibration instructions incorrectly.

EDIT: After spending the last hour calibrating it repeatedly, I guess I've gotten used to the blue tinge, or lost it because I don't see it anymore. Right now, compared to the "Color LCD" setting, my LCD has a much higher contrast, the colors look less washed out although a very slight bit blue, and things appear slightly darker. I lost my old setting for "COLOR LCD CALIBRATED", so I can't even compare it to the old setting, but I think I may like this setting . Too bad I don't know about this stuff well enough to judge.
 

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,805
1,697
Western US
Abstract said:
Apparently, I like to see everything in blue! :(

I really don't like the brushed metal with the bluish tinge. Actually, I'm not sure if it's me not used to the setting yet, or if I really fudged it up.

I'm going to try it again, but I think I'm following the Luminescence calibration instructions incorrectly.
Heh, should be neutral grey! Doing it with Expert Options is tricky but it's the only way I've been able to get an acceptable calibration. There's also a utility out there called SuperCal that really works great for getting accurate calibrations, especially on laptop LCDs, where it can be tricky to get right.

Also, most monitors and panels are shipped with an extremely blue color temperature, so much so that people often think of a bluish cast as being normal for a monitor (in other words, it looks white to them, but isn't).Blacks, greys, and whites all need to have no color cast. White should look like a bright piece of laserjet paper if possible. Try holding one up to the screen and seeing how far off it is, color-wise. Also, let any monitor or LCD warm up for a while before calibrating it, and turn off light sources like fluorescents (or cover windows). The environment you calibrate in can really effect the settings.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,378
110
Location Location Location
Yeah, and apparently, so can the angle of your screen! Crap!! :mad:

Even if I try to keep my head in the same place, I feel as my screen has quite a cold tone (if that makes sense in the colour world). Unlike what you said, I think the colours on my screen appeared too warm before, not too cold. Anyway, it doesn't matter. The point is that the white in all my settings appear white. Its just that the metallic finish in Safari is noticeably cooler than before (I'm using that as my guide, as grey is such an easy thing to compare...), and I'm not sure if what I'm looking at is better or worse.

Whatever. The colour doesn't seem as washed out to me (not sure if that's true, either), but when I take a look at wood or something (wood = another good comparison point for me), it doesn't look right with my new calibration. Maybe it just takes some time for my eyes to adjust after having used my PB for the past year (?).