Display Analysis Indoors

The glossy issues don't apply nearly as much indoors since you don't usually have a sun in your room, thus our focus turns to viewing angle. With the previous generation MacBook the poor viewing angle of the panel kept me from really recommending the notebook. You couldn't tilt the screen far back enough to get a good viewing angle with the laptop in a plane for example.

The first noticeable change is that you can tilt the screen back a lot more on the new MacBook and MacBook Pro, helping to alleviate some of the viewing angle issues on the MacBook (the Pro still uses a much better panel with significantly better viewing angle).


The old MacBook Pro (back) vs. the new Macbook Pro (front)


The old MacBook (back) vs. the new MacBook (front)

The new MacBook panel is definitely improved in general; while it's not perfect the LED backlight helps a ton. Here's a comparison between the new MacBook and the old one:


The new MacBook (right) doesn't look as washed out as the old MacBook (left)


The old MacBook (left) isn't as bright as the new MacBook (right)

Now here's an interesting comparison, let's look at the old MacBook vs. the old MacBook Pro:


The old MacBook Pro (left) vs. the old MacBook (right)

Straight on we see warmer colors on the MacBook Pro (left) but at this angle everything looks fine. At a more ridiculous angle you can get an amplified picture of the problem with the old MacBook:


The old MacBook Pro (left) vs. the old MacBook (right)

Both of these displays are at full brightness, but the MacBook (right) is hardly visible. This is clearly an extreme case but even at smaller angles you still notice a lot of washout on the old MacBook's display. Now let's do the same comparison with the new MBP and MacBook:


The new MacBook Pro (left) vs. the new MacBook (right)

Head on we see the same differences in panels, the MacBook Pro has much warmer colors than the MacBook. Let's see what happens if we go to a more extreme viewing angle though:


The new MacBook Pro (left) vs. the new MacBook (right)

The MacBook gets a bit darker but nothing near as bad as what we saw with the old MacBook, showing the sort of improvement that Apple has made this generation. The new MacBook finally has an acceptable display. While I wouldn't consider the old MacBook because of the display, the new one is improved enough that I'd actually be ok with it. I've written most of this review on the new MacBook and while the old one would've frustrated me by this point, the new one was just fine.

The MacBook Pro does offer some definite benefits in low light viewing however, let's take a look at black levels when watching a movie:


The new MacBook Pro (left) vs. the new MacBook (right)

Here everything looks ok, but let's go to a more extreme angle and cut the lights off:


The new MacBook Pro (left) vs. the new MacBook (right)

Both screens are quite visible in reality at a normal viewing angle, but the MacBook Pro is definitely better.

Oh No, It's Glossy My Biggest Gripe: No Standard SSDs
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  • MacMatte - Sunday, June 21, 2009 - link

    For those of you who insist that Apple brings back the matte screen option, please leave a comment at http://macmatte.wordpress.com">http://macmatte.wordpress.com - it's a website solely focused on the issue of bringing back the matte screen. See the number of pro-matte comments already at the MacMatte website. Reply
  • drbrady63 - Thursday, June 18, 2009 - link

    I am trying to identify if a new macbook pro 13" would be adequate for editing with Final Cut Express, and for that matter, Final Cut Studio. Unfortunately, it has a 5400rpm hard drive and that is not good for editing. But, I wonder if an optional ssd would be fast enough??

    I would use the 13" for more mobile work and dock it with a larger monitor for more involved editing work.

    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    Dan Brady
    Reply
  • richmoffitt - Sunday, November 09, 2008 - link

    This is an uneducated guess, but I'm pretty sure that Quartz works in ways similar to X11, where changing graphics drivers requires a restart of the window manager.

    You're right though -- this is only a software problem and can hopefully be fixed in the near future (if it's a big enough issue for their user base anyway).
    Reply
  • scipi - Monday, October 27, 2008 - link

    Hope the quality of the components is better than the first gen MacBook Pro's. Mine is on its second H/D, gone through 2 logic boards and now needs a third, this time outside of warranty. Wont be buying another Apple again which is a pity because OSX is great. Reply
  • Zebo - Saturday, October 25, 2008 - link

    Vista is bloated resource hogging junk - You should have tried the OS many of use still use - Windows XP for battery life. I get over 4 hours on my R31 thinkpad with winxp pro.
    Reply
  • Ronbo13 - Saturday, October 25, 2008 - link

    You photos comparing the glossiness and reflection on the screens was not fair, though. Please notice that the laptop on the right (the new MBP) is reflecting a portion of wall that has direct sunlight shining on it, and the laptop on the left is reflecting stuff that's in shadows. So even if the screens were equally reflective, the one on the right would show tons more reflections.

    Come on, people. Normally you guys pay more attention to details. That's just sloppy.
    Reply
  • ioannis - Saturday, October 25, 2008 - link

    nop, you are wrong. Both of them reflect stuff that have direct sunlight. Notice Anand's reflection for instance, or the wall on the left hand side of the old MB and the wall on the right hand side on the new one.

    I'm referring to this:
    http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/mac/MacBookPro...">http://images.anandtech.com/reviews/mac/MacBookPro...
    Reply
  • Enrox - Saturday, October 25, 2008 - link

    Anand, why don't you test Vista installing it on the new MacBook Pro without using Bootcamp, you need to wipe out the drive and create a MBR partition and use Vista x64 SP1 (it supporta EFI), the only thing you need to know is that at startup you have to press the Alt key and manually select the Windows disk in order to boot from it, beside that everything else seems to work just fine with the Vista native installation (tested on a white MacBook Penryn 2.4 GHz 4GB ram).
    It would be very interesting to see if you get the same exact battery life numbers bypassing Bootcamp.
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    Until Apple stops being so shady, I won't have anything to do with them. Reply
  • aos007 - Friday, October 24, 2008 - link

    I have brand new Vaio Z laptop and I can get 5 hours battery life IF I disable Vista sidebar. It does not matter whether there's no widgets running, it seems to use 10-15% of CPU time no matter what. This translates into a big loss of runtime - I'd get 3.5 hours versus 5. Unfortunately, I like Sidebar as there are some useful widgets, as well as for eye candy so I feel Vista is crippled without it.

    So the question is whether you disabled Sidebar during Vista testing? I am guessing not since it runs by default and if so, that may be part of your answer.
    Reply

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