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New MacBook Display is Horrible

49769 Views 195 Replies Latest reply: Sep 2, 2009 8:32 AM by pictogram RSS
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HopingForHelp Calculating status...
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Oct 18, 2008 5:59 AM
I just got my new Aluminum MacBook last night, and it's going right back for refund this morning. The LCD is far inferior to my 1st generation MacBook display, and it's actually one of the worst displays I've seen on a modern notebook computer. I've been an Apple owner since I bought an SE/30, but Apple has screwed up badly here, and I find the new MacBook nearly unusable. (Please note, my current MacBook has a glossy screen; that level of glossiness is not the issue here.)

The issues:

1. The whole screen has an icky blue cast, and nothing in the display calibration settings will fix this. My old MacBook has a much more pure and natural looking white. I think Apple needs to work more on the LED back-lighting (or maybe they cheaped out on the MacBook LEDs).

2. The blacks on the new display are washed out. This is obvious on the start-up animation (with the multi-lingual "welcome" animations against the Leopard nebulae in space). It's not just an issue with black images, however, this propagates to everything looking less crisp. And it's not an issue of adjusting brightness or screen angle. In fact, if you try to adjust the screen angle to get some reasonably good blacks, you get parts of the screen where you have a metallic or posterized effect. I saw this in the store displays as well, but I didn't realize that it would occur under normal viewing angles vs. extreme situations.

3. Colors are not vibrant (nothing compared to my 1st generation MacBook). By not vibrant, I mean that different hues of blue, for example, are not distinct from one another. When I open Word, the splash screen has four different blue colors in the "feather" shape at the top right. On the old MacBook the blues are distinctly different and colorful, on the new MacBook they are much closer in hue and more dull. I think this is a result primarily of issues one and two above, but it may also have to do with other aspects of the inferior LCD on the Aluminum MacBook.

4. The new MacBook screen should be called "mirrored" not "glossy". My 1st generation MacBook has a glossy screen. It's good. I rarely have an issue with visible reflections from it. The new MacBook is a constant battle. One major problem is that the screen needs to be pushed farther back to get reasonable contrast, but this angle directly reflects ceiling lights at the user. It's also so significantly more reflective than the previous glossy screen that it picks up windows and floor lamps and everything else a lot more easily. It's a mess.

I hope this helps other folks avoid my mistake in seeking to upgrade from an existing MacBook. The new one is not any faster in day to day use (3D rendering excepted), and it has crippling issues with the display.
Aluminum MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • TerriZeee Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
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    Oct 18, 2008 6:14 AM (in response to HopingForHelp)
    I noticed this too when I went over to the Apple store.

    The Pro's screen was a bit better in color and in contrast but the reflections of the overhead lights in the glass that covers the screen made it very difficult to use.

    I just hope that the 17" isn't also ruined in the next update.
    17" Macbook Pro and many others, Mac OS X (10.5.5), 17" Powerbook, 12" Powerbook, Black Macbook, Mac mini, 15 Macbook Pro, iPhone...
  • Fwiler Calculating status...
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    Oct 18, 2008 12:14 PM (in response to HopingForHelp)
    You have described the display perfectly. Unfortunately it is something I will never be able to overlook. It is so incredibly bad, it's embarrassing. I have not found one person that likes the display that has used my MacBook. I can overlook colors not being perfect, or the glare from the screen. But the contrast and viewing angles are so bad, that even looking straight on there are places all over the screen that are washed out. I hope they change the display to match the Air
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.5), Late model 08
  • lewisg12 Calculating status...
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    Oct 18, 2008 12:15 PM (in response to Fwiler)
    i have both the air and the new alu macbook....there identical.
    iMac 2.66, Macbook Air 1.6, Alu MacBook 2.0, iPhone 3G, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • lenn5 Level 4 Level 4 (2,530 points)
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    Oct 18, 2008 2:43 PM (in response to HopingForHelp)
    You know I thought the same think when I bought my ipod touch the day after the original was first released. Then Apple released a firmware update and it solved most if not all the contrast/color issues myself and others were having.

    iMac Core Duo 1.83/2gig, Mac OS X (10.5.5), PB 12"/768ram, iPod Touch, Airport Extreme N
  • JNFilms Calculating status...
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    Oct 18, 2008 5:09 PM (in response to HopingForHelp)
    I disagree completely. I'm a pro editor and color corrector and this computer's display is far superior to the previous white macbook that I had. I made a video, putting the new aluminum macbook through it's paces. I do mention in the video that with the screen brightness turned all the way down, it is a mirror, but when working outside in daylight, in a brightly lit room, or in a dimly lit room the screen gives me no issues.
    MacBook5,1, Mac OS X (10.5.5), MacBook Aluminum
  • araboston Calculating status...
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    Oct 19, 2008 9:38 PM (in response to HopingForHelp)
    I also am having problems with the new aluminum Macbook's screen. I just bought one of the new machines and I can definitely say that the colors seem washed and there is kind of a blue hue to everything. It's pretty annoying.

    Here's the thing though: I think it's a software issue. I say this because I see the difference in colors not only on the Macbook's display, but also on the external monitor I am using. This same monitor was hooked an older Macbook (Blackbook from 2006) and after calibrating it with that machine, the colors became very good both on the monitor's display and on the older Macbook's display. However, after connecting my new Macbook, the colors are off for both the external monitor and the Macbook's screen.

    Does anyone know how this can be fixed? Please help if you have any thoughts!
    Macbook, Mac OS X (10.5.5), New (Aluminum)
  • JNFilms Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 20, 2008 6:47 AM (in response to araboston)
    Hey Araboston,

    Unfortunately, I personally don't see what you're talking about on my machine, however I want to help in any way I can. First off, it's possible you're seeing two different problems emerge. Using the mini-display port is a different technology than the mini-dvi port of yesteryear. I know from experience, when I hook up components to my hd tv using different connections (hdmi vs. component cable) I notice a difference. With the new technology you may have to re-calibrate your secondary monitor.

    As for the laptop screen, I'd be interested to know what lighting conditions you're using your laptop mostly in. Mine worked great in all conditions, right out of the box. But, I'd like to also note that when I checked, the battery count showed a count of 7. In real world terms, that means that the battery was discharged and recharged 7 times. I'm wondering if they do some sort of in-house calibration, that was possibly missed on your machine. The best test would be to take your macbook into the apple store, set it next to a display macbook and see if yours looks any different.

    Best of luck.
    MacBook5,1, Mac OS X (10.5.5), MacBook Aluminum
  • GDBLEB Calculating status...
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    Oct 20, 2008 7:44 AM (in response to araboston)
    I have noticed a similar "blue-ness" to our brand new MB(Al).
    Try tipping the panel further back or as wide open as you can get it.
    On ours, the colors get much richer.
    This is unusual for what I think is a TN panel.
    Hopefully there will be a s/w fix.

    BTW - I have dual display working great, to an old Dell 1701FP.
    The MB adjusts on-the-fly when you plug in/out the adapter.
    MBP, MB, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • richorlin Calculating status...
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    Oct 20, 2008 9:58 AM (in response to GDBLEB)
    I'm just wondering if the people who are complaining about the new MAcbook's screen have calibrated their displays. I was also unhappy with the quality of the display out of the box. I took the time to calibrate the display using the expert mode and it was a little better. I was considering taking a hit for the restocking fee and returning it for the Macbook Pro. However, I went through the calbration process a second time and now the display is perfect. I stopped at my local Apple store today and compared the Macbook and the Macbook Pro side-by-side and the displays are idcentical except for the size and resolution.
    Macbook 13" late 2008, Mac OS X (10.5.5)
  • jeffkempster Calculating status...
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    Oct 20, 2008 10:54 AM (in response to lewisg12)
    I had both right beside each other and there is a big difference. The new macbook has less contrast, blacks are not as black and the viewing angle is not as good.

    The weirdest thing is the glossy screen. The new is really really really glossy. I dont like it, but I may have no choice. I am hoping the new macbook air uses the good screen. I will buy one of those again and hope by the time I need another computer Apple will have come to their senses about all this glossy crap...
    MacBook AIr, iMac 20", Mac OS X (10.5)
  • Everlast Calculating status...
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    Oct 20, 2008 12:37 PM (in response to richorlin)

    Can u please post your new colorprofile here so that we can download it ?

    Macbook, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • explorz Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
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    Oct 20, 2008 1:03 PM (in response to HopingForHelp)
    Same thing here. As soon as I brought up iPhoto I noticed that the black between the photos was completely washed out. I could get it to get more black, but only by tilting the screen way back. The viewing angle is horrible. Just the slightest change in screen tilt or the position of my head and the blacks wash out. What a drag. I'm taking mine back today to see what they say. If it can't be fixed to be much, much, much better then this is a no go situation for me.

    I'm amazed that Apple let this go out the door.
    2.8 Ghz 24" iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.4), Powerbook G4
  • dkwhite Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)
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    Oct 20, 2008 1:16 PM (in response to richorlin)
    This is just a matter of properly calibrating the screen. I've seen a properly calibrated new MB compared to an older MB and the difference was extreme to say the least. The old MB's colors were washed out and had a dull yellowish hue.
    DV9700T, Windows Vista
  • explorz Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
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    Oct 20, 2008 1:41 PM (in response to dkwhite)
    Oh how I wish it was just calibration. The issue is primarily about such a narrow viewing angle. The slightest shift in screen angle and the blacks immediately wash out. My old powerbook handles contrast so much better. Do I have a messed up screen, or is this standard on these new Macbooks?

    All the calibration in the world can't fix a screen with extremely limited viewing angle. Or am I missing something here?
    2.8 Ghz 24" iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.4), Powerbook G4, Aluminum Macbook
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