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Will OLED be a noticeable difference in upcoming MacBook Pros?

NJRonbo

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jan 10, 2007
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Patiently waiting for the 16" MBP to be announced this fall.

So far it seems promising if it has a scissor-type keyboard.

The other thing I was hoping for, which probably won't appear, is an OLED screen.

Something like that may not happen until a 2020 refresh. Maybe not even then.

Is it worth waiting for an OLED screen? Will it be that much better than the current LCDs?
 

MrGunnyPT

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Mar 23, 2017
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Yes obviously due to the deeper colours and true blacks.

However we don't know if it will happen... for the daily pro user it's better an LCD display due to the burn in..
 
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leman

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Oct 14, 2008
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Currently shipping OLED laptop screens are now inferior to currently shipping MacBook Pro displays in most key parameters such as brightness, gamut, color accuracy and power consumption. The OLED displays do have better contrast and deeper black levels.

So it’s impossible to answer your question since we don’t know what kind of hypothetical panel Apple would use. When iPhone X came out, Apple used exclusive new Samsung OLED panels (that Samsung wouldn’t even use in their own flagship devices since they were too costly), and those were significantly better than anything else at that time. Maybe they would be able to pull a similar truck with a laptop. Who knows.
 
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JPack

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Mar 27, 2017
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Currently shipping OLED laptop screens are now inferior to currently shipping MacBook Pro displays in most key parameters such as brightness, gamut, color accuracy and power consumption. The OLED displays do have better contrast and deeper black levels.

This is the correct answer.

OLED is inferior to LCD in terms of color gamut and brightness. LCD is thicker than OLED which is why manufacturers prefer the panel in smartphones, but for iPad and MacBook, LCD is still preferred for quality.
 
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cap7ainclu7ch

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2010
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Thats pretty much all you need to know. OLED just isn't as good as we think for a laptop. Not enough color accuracy for professional work and very variable when it comes to energy consumption. There's a reason why Apple didn't go OLED for the professional monitor they just announced. Modern LCD's are surprisingly good and as beautiful as OLED can look at times, it has some serious drawbacks for the use case of a computer display.
 
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lec0rsaire

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Feb 23, 2017
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Patiently waiting for the 16" MBP to be announced this fall.

So far it seems promising if it has a scissor-type keyboard.

The other thing I was hoping for, which probably won't appear, is an OLED screen.

Something like that may not happen until a 2020 refresh. Maybe not even then.

Is it worth waiting for an OLED screen? Will it be that much better than the current LCDs?

I do not see OLED happening at all. There are two issues: cost and burn-in. A 13” MBP with OLED display would not be less than $2000 base. People already complain about pricing. Then there’s burn in which is guaranteed to happen with static UI elements all over the place on a desktop OS. It’s fine for phones that are replaced every 2 years but I really doubt Apple is going to want to put up with tons of complaints from people asking why the display on their 6 month old MBP is messed up. They already have a big recall with keyboards. I doubt they want to start replacing tens of thousands of displays.

Why does burn-in happen? OLED stands for Organic LED. This means the organic materials decay. In addition the blue subpixel degrades much faster than green and red. So overall lifespan is much shorter than LCD.

As for whether it’s better? Definitely. It delivers the highest picture quality on the market today period. It is the true successor to CRT and plasma. I highly recommend an LG C9 or Sony A8G/A9G for your living room. But for a notebook LED LCD is still the better solution for the next few years until new tech arrives that won’t be suffer from burn-in.
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This is the correct answer.

OLED is inferior to LCD in terms of color gamut and brightness. LCD is thicker than OLED which is why manufacturers prefer the panel in smartphones, but for iPad and MacBook, LCD is still preferred for quality.

Perhaps currently at small sizes but for TVs OLED beats any LED LCD in every single area except peak brightness. Even then this is a nonissue because of the superior contrast due to perfect black.

The main problem for a computer is burn-in and of course cost. It doesn’t make sense to go with something more expensive and less reliable when customers aren’t complaining about LED LCD.
 
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dusk007

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Dec 5, 2009
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An other issue is also power consumption.
For TVs it makes not as much of a difference and you can use oled on a developer notebook (like mine) where everything is using some sort of dark mode. Yet for normal usage like web browsing black text on white, oled has worse battery life than 4k LCDs.
The new XPS OLED is quite poor in battery life.

It may still be preferable for people running mostly dark modes but I don't see this becoming mainstream.
Currently shipping OLED laptop screens are now inferior to currently shipping MacBook Pro displays in most key parameters such as brightness, gamut, color accuracy and power consumption. The OLED displays do have better contrast and deeper black levels.
This is not true. Look at the comparison of the new DELL OLEDs. MacBook Pro displays wash out (colors) at high brightness levels while oleds stay colorful. Gamut of OLEDs is better period and it stays the same on different brightness levels while it does not on the current MBP displays.
But Displays could still get better if they used Qauntum dot tech like on the Samsung TVs. So these aren't the peak of LCD tech yet.

I also think that some quantum dot enhanced LCD panels are the best solution for next gen LCDs Notebooks. No burn in, high brightness and efficiency. Contrast really isn't as important (as in good enough with 1000:1) as on a TV, where you watch movies in dark rooms.
Colors would be on par.

I am curious though how battery life on a OLED developer notebook is when you are on dark mode settings in editors and such.
 
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NJRonbo

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Jan 10, 2007
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Thanks for the input, guys. Great reading and I understand why Apple probably won't move to OLED despite the rumors they possibly are.
I'm waiting for microLed, far superior to oled

How far away are we from that technology possibly being incorporated in MacBook Pros?
 
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leman

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2008
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Look at the comparison of the new DELL OLEDs. MacBook Pro displays wash out (colors) at high brightness levels while oleds stay colorful. Gamut of OLEDs is better period and it stays the same on different brightness levels while it does not on the current MBP displays.

That is possible, but I haven't yet seen an in-depth review of the Dell's OLED panel. The "first look" offered by sites like notebookcheck and ultrabookreview point out some banding issues with grey tones, but thats about it. From the spec perspective, Dell's panel looks much more impressive than an average laptop OLED: 400 nits brightens and DCI-P3 are great features. But I still would like to see proper tests. Maybe you can point me to a source or two if you saw something?
 
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