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


View All Comments

  • Johnmcl7 - Thursday, January 15, 2009 - link

    I didn't say it was for *nix, that's why I said *nix applications which still use the middle mouse button in other operating systems. There are many times when there isn't space for using a mouse, hence it's a laptop.

    As for keyboard shortcuts, they're not faster when using a mouse as it means a break from the sequence rather than just clicking with the mouse that's in use anyway
  • themadmilkman - Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - link

    Why don't you head to a store and try it? It's much more intuitive than you give it credit for. Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - link

    There was a time when cars were changed and tweaked every single year, often for purely aesthetic/emotional reasons. That is no longer true. The average enthusiast car shopper is no less spec-conscious than PC geeks. And likewise the majority, and especially in the high-end/luxury market (Lexus, Apple) that is composed less by knowledgeable enthusiasts and more by people craving a certain image or experience, tend to shop based upon style, price, or other easy-to-understand factors. Reply
  • headbox - Saturday, October 25, 2008 - link

    wrong. If people were "spec-conscious" about what they drive and getting performance was priority #1, then we'd see thousands of motorcycles on the freeways instead of dozens. You can spend $8,000 and get a motorcycle that is faster than any car made, gets 50 mpg, and can still carry a few bags of groceries.

    People buy nice cars because they can afford it and like the aesthetics.
  • RaynorWolfcastle - Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - link

    Just a note, but I've read elsewhere that under Windows, the graphics on the MBP always use the 9600 chip; I'm sure this accounts for part of the difference in battery life (assuming you ran the OSX tests using the integrated 9400 video. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - link

    The Windows vs OS X battery life tests were done on a MacBook Air so discrete GPU has no effect. Reply
  • jonmcc33 - Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - link

    Maybe you should test the power settings with Vista on Power saver setting? My Latitude D610 lasts over 3 hours with Vista. I wouldn't use Balanced unless it was plugged into the AC adapter. Reply
  • Calin - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    What about testing under XP? Reply
  • jonmcc33 - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    Nobody cares about Windows XP and it would be REALLY bad to compare to the latest Mac OS X product. Reply
  • BushLin - Tuesday, October 28, 2008 - link

    I don't see why, XP isn't a limitation on anything useful unless you were just talking about the eye candy of OS X... See how many businesses still supply their laptops with XP rather than the junk they're supplied with because they're not tethered to Microsoft like the manufacturers. Reply

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