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Retina Display MBPs have 20% lower brightness than non-retinas?

21272 Views 39 Replies Latest reply: Nov 28, 2013 5:21 PM by Tokadub RSS
  • Rudick Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)

    This is a quote from a post on the Yahoo Group, Epson Wide Format.

     

    > And are the current Datacolor products able to calibrate such displays?

     

    Yes, the Spyder4 is working very well with the Retina display. It measures its color accurately, produces good white balance on screen, and a very smooth, precise tone response correction (gamma, its usually called). Quality, well mannered displays tend to be good candidates for calibration, unless they use exotic technology, or aim for an extreme gamut.

     

    The Retinal display is a standard gamut display (meaning close to sRGB), uses the most common new backlight technology (White LED Edgelights) and appears to be an IPS screen (meaning the valves that control how much light comes through use In-Plane Switching). IPS offers a wide viewing angle without a lot of color change or brightness change. All of these things lead to a very well mannered, predictable, calibratable display.

     

    Whats unique about the Retina display is its resolution, and calibration is resolution independent. Making the filters and valves that small is certainly high tech, but beyond that, this is a good, general purpose graphics display, with deep blacks, manageable colors, and a reasonable brightness range. Mine is about 280 candelas/m2 at full brightness, which is enough for use in well lit environments, while dimming nicely for use in color managed editing environments (studios and hotel rooms for the most part, in my case).

     

    This is the first laptop display that I have been comfortable doing advanced image editing on. Not just a first peek at the RAW images, but actual Lightroom adjustments that will be the final image edits, and transferred with the images to my studio machine when I get back there. This eliminates redundant effort, and allows me to send out corrected high resolution files to clients the evening after a shoot, instead of days later.

     

    While the gamut, the viewing angle, the deep blacks and lack of reflectance on this dislay are superb, it is the resolution that takes your breath away. After an hour or two working on it, looking at the older Unibody MacBook Pro that spent yesterday set up next to it was like looking back at a Titanium Powerbook running OS 9. Text looks like it was rendered with a dull crayon, in comparison!

     

    C. David Tobie

    Global Product Technology Manager

     

    Datacolor

    5 Princess Road

    Lawrenceville, NJ 08648, USA

    www.datacolor.com

  • flat earth Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    OK- I am standing in the Apple Store using their WIFI.  My 17" mid 2010 hi res MBP is side by side with a 15" MPB retina.

     

    Before I reveal my opinion about the two displays, I should explain why brightness is so important to me.  I use the MBP as a backup to my main navigation computer in the pilot house of an ocean going boat.  The pilot house is so bright that I need a very bright display to be able to read it.  Most dedicated marine monitors are acordingly brighter than standard computer monitors.

     

    OK side by side comparison:   The 17" MBP is slightly brighter... emphasis on slightly.  The contrast of the retina display more than makes up for brightness issue and makes the 15" retina MBP maybe even slightly more readable in the store environment.  Even despite my need for a very bright display, this computer would work just fine.  I think that brightness is a non-issue.

     

    NOW, if they would just make it in a 17"!!!

     

    Phil

  • kayjh Level 1 Level 1 (135 points)

    Thanks for the update Phil. It is really helpful. I'm sure many people will get caught up in the statistics (20% less brightness), but what matters most is how the screen appears to users and how readable it is in various lighting conditions. As I wrote earlier, I assumed the reviewers would have commented on a screen without enough brightness as one of teh main selling points of the new model is its display.

  • calbryan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I can confirm this to be a real issue. Just got my new retina MacBook Pro, and though I love the extra detail the pixel density provides, it is immediately mitigated by not being nearly bright enough.

     

    I thought I was in the minority on this, but this thread proves otherwise. This review (http://www.extremetech.com/computing/130819-analyzing-the-macbook-pro-with-retin a-display) confirms that the brightness was decreased 20%. In my opinion, the previous brightness level was barely enough. Now, it is simply inadequate.

     

    Anyone have a command line way of raising the default brightness?

  • stevejobsfan0123 Level 7 Level 7 (30,490 points)

    I do not know where the reviewers got that information. I am at an Apple Store right this very minute, and am comparing. I set my background to the same as theirs so the screen will look identical. And I notice absolutely no difference. Have you done any comparisons yourself? I avoid placing trust in websites as much as possible, and in this case I have an opportunity to do the tests hands-on. Seeing is believing, and all.

  • calbryan Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    While I appreciate your enthusiasm, your dismissal of my review is amusing. You are at an Apple Store under their artificial lighting; I have been using the product non-stop (minus a few hours for sleep) for over 24 hours. Trust me, there is a major, very noticeable decrease in brightness. The review simply confirmed what I immediately noticed.

     

    When setting it next to my MacBook Air directly after initial startup, I was shocked that the brightness was restricted to the degree it was and how much brighter the Air's screen looked. I figured I would give it a day, thinking it would get better or I would get used to it, but after almost two full work days with this machine, I don't know if I can keep it if I can't increase the brightness.

     

    Yes, seeing is believing.

  • GTCA Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Okay, I absolutely don't see it.  When I read this post I got an old MBP 15" out of my son's room, a small difference, the nod goes to the MBP Retina.  Then, I compared it to a much newer solid aluminum case 13" MBP; this time the nod goes to the newer MBP retina decisively.  I could not compare it to a 2011 15"MBP since my daughter has it out of town.

     

    The only time I ever have used my new MBP retina with the brightness wide open is when I was in an Atlanta Bread Store restaurand that was heavily lit and had some morning sun.

     

    Sitting in my lit office or living room, I usually have screen brightness where four or five blocks are gray.  At half brightness, it is still completely acceptable.  Wide open in that lighting the MBP Retina is uncomfortably bright.

     

    Didn't have time to go through all the posts in this thread, but unless I have an unusually bright sample, the new Pro Retina packs a very very bright screen.

     

    When I bought my MBP Retina last Tuesday, they weren't even on the floor yet, bought it sight unseen.  Quiet a crowd at the set up table.

  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,500 points)

    kayjh wrote:

     

    A dirty grey background from a lower brightness setting wouldn't help things for me. This might be solved by better blacks and higher contrast ratios (which is what a very bright white background does with respect to black print).

    Subjectively that might be the case, but objectively when an LCD backlight is at max brightness its white background is far exceeding the brightness any paper could ever reach. That is why serious calibration always occurs at a brightness well below max or else it can never actually match paper. If there is a contrast issue with dimmer brightness, it would only be because of a weaker black than ink can achieve. But increasing brightness never helps that with LCDs because blacks only become blacker at a lower brightness level.

  • Jarz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I really just want to know if I'm going to be satisfied with the MBP-R. It'll be my first Apple computer. I don't think brightness should be an issue.

  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,500 points)

    Jarz wrote:

     

    I really just want to know if I'm going to be satisfied with the MBP-R. It'll be my first Apple computer.

    If you need speed more than space, if you really need that screen, and you have money to burn, and you don't mind the missing Ethernet port, optical drive, Firewire port, upgradeability, etc. then maybe it is the computer for you.

     

    As for me, a dedicated Mac user of many years, I would not be happy with the Retina MacBook Pro. Not this one at this price. Maybe next year's specs at this price. For my needs, the older model (still sold) is better all around.

  • kayjh Level 1 Level 1 (135 points)

    I guess I'm a bit vision impaired. As we age, we need more light to read, which is why I find newspapers in lower light a difficult read. I've gotten used to the very high contrast of my Apple products (iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone. It is much easier to read from those devices than paper. If the new MBP-R is not beight enough an dthe "paper" looks greyish, I may strain more than I am used to, to read. If that is the case, I'll return it, but a cheap Dell laptop and wait it out until the issue is addressed (or not). After that I'll give the Dell to an employee to use. I guess I'll know more once I see the MBP-R at the Apple store (hopefully before mine delivers in 3 - 4 weeks).

  • Headwaters Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I agree with Kayjh. Apple lost a $4,000 sale to me given the dimmer display being used on the MBP-R. If Apple can get the brightness right on my iPhone 4S, why can't they do it on the MBP-R? I would give up battery life for brightness equivalent to my MBP 17". I know many users can live with the higher def., but dimmer (browner?) display on the MBP-R, but not me, and I am about as big of an Apple fan there is. Apple, please give us the option of a brighter display setting on MBP-R models.

     

    By the way, I have experienced significant tolerance issues with Apple's displays. My family has taken back 3 iPhone 4S units as the screen was brown/yellow like. I think this is part of the problem. I'm really surprised Apple doesn't have better control on this as the returns cost them a fortune. From my perspective, displays should be consistently bright and white unless a user wants to customize/calibrate the settings differently.

  • GTCA Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Headwaters said: "I agree with Kayjh. Apple lost a $4,000 sale to me given the dimmer display being used on the MBP-R."  Unless I have a MBP Retina that is atypical, the above statement is simply not true.  It just isn't. 

     

    There are four MacBook Pros in my house this Summer with two kids home from college and a teenager still at home.  Two 15"s, one 13", and my MBP Retina.  The Retina display is brighter, and that is clear to anyone looking at the machines side by side.

     

    Not trying to be an Apple advocate I just call them like I see them. 

     

    Headwaters also said: "By the way, I have experienced significant tolerance issues with Apple's displays. My family has taken back 3 iPhone 4S." 

     

    My family has five iPhones, mom, dad, three kids.  3GS, 4, 4, 4S, and 4S.  Haven't taken back jack.  We've had one copy of each generation of iPads, no issues.

    MacBook Pro
  • gaijindragonslayer Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    You still have time to send it back: i'd send it back. The reason for this problem is due to only having 1GB VRAM compared to the ugly DELL that have the same named cards with 2GB VRAM. I am sure i'll be told I am wrong but I know from long experience that Apple cuts corners so as to make the next upgrade easy. You know how the first MacBook Air was not given a backlit keyboard and 2011 there it was.

    I think it's the way Apple works and for a lot customers who only buy for Starbucks it's not going to matter. I am a content creator and not having the 2GB of VRAM and 32GB of RAM is annoying when the price of the Apple is so high.

     

    For the price this computer should be perfect and now I read of this to add to the USB 2.0 and even USB 3.0 connections problems and it's endless.

     

    The Retina screen is dull?

    You've tried adjuecting the brightness settings? Of course you have.

    Send it back. Seriously if you notice this problem now, it will really irritate you later. Call Apple and ask them how they judge this problem? Take it into Best Buy and compare it to an ugly DELL with similar hardware and if its dull SEND it back.

     

    My Windows 7 HP is much brighter than my MacBook Pros and I love my Apple hardware but then it ran Snow Leopard but now with Lion and it's dull...they are too expensive for you to Beta test them.

     

    calbryan wrote:

     

    I can confirm this to be a real issue. Just got my new retina MacBook Pro, and though I love the extra detail the pixel density provides, it is immediately mitigated by not being nearly bright enough.

     

    I thought I was in the minority on this, but this thread proves otherwise. This review (http://www.extremetech.com/computing/130819-analyzing-the-macbook-pro-with-retin a-display) confirms that the brightness was decreased 20%. In my opinion, the previous brightness level was barely enough. Now, it is simply inadequate.

     

    Anyone have a command line way of raising the default brightness?

  • Maziyar Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    OK, I went back to the store tonight to check this out again and make sure that I didn't miss this issue at first time. Here is the picture that I took from both 15-inch MBP and MBP with retina display.

    IMG_30382.jpg

    I know it's not hi-res image I just took it by my iPhone but still has a point.  Just look at the glare in MBP non-retina display. I saw anti-glare high res display and they are dimmer than the glassy ones but this one (with retina) was perfect. It's not just 70% anti-glare screen and loosing brightness the contrast is awesome.

     

    A little advice, if brightness is the only hold back it's worth to try. You don't like it, just take it back and cash your money. If there are some other concerns well you know what's best for you at the end.

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