MacBook Pro Glossy Displays Suck Says Top Photographer

I remember the days where if you wanted a great display for using Photoshop, you bought a Mac display or used one of Apple’s Pro quality notebooks. Those days appear to be over according to Rob Galbraith who is one of Canada’s top photo journalists and a published expert in digital photography. According to him, the glossy display on the MacBook Pro are no longer at the top of the food chain. His review starts off on a positive note:

Starting on a positive note, the display quality is comparable to what we’ve seen before in earlier editions of the LED-backlit MacBook Pro 15 inch. Screen brightness is impressively even, as is black and white photo rendering, while overall colour accuracy is decent. Deep shadow posterization, a common laptop screen problem, is present but kept to a minimum. The only significant colour error is in reds and oranges, which are considerably skewed in both hue and saturation and really don’t look right on this display. Secondarily, and far less noticeable, are slight yellow and blue shifts in open shadows.

But it starts to go downhill from there:

And as long as the ambient light is subdued. The glass sheet in front of the screen is about as reflective as it could be, which means that in a coffee shop, on an airplane or even a typical office, the glossiness is either a minor irritant or a major distraction, depending on the surroundings and your tolerance for screen reflections. During testing we used the late-2008 MacBook Pro 15 inch in all three environments, and that was enough to conclude that it’s not for us. This is not the first glossy laptop display of this size we’ve used, but it’s by far the most reflective.

He goes on to say that:

For the longest time, Apple laptop displays ruled the roost around here. With very few exceptions, going back to the days of the PowerBook G4, portable Macs were considerably more colour accurate than any of the dozens and dozens of PC laptops we’d profiled during workshops and on-site training. The difference between Apple gear and everybody else’s was stark. Thanks to Lenovo, however, and Apple’s decision to standardize on the glossiest of glossy screens (only the soon-to-be-shipping MacBook Pro 17 inch will be available in what Apple calls an “antiglare” version), Macs are no longer at the top of the laptop display heap in our minds.

I’ve been saying for a while that Apple has made a huge mistake by going to glossy displays. They have an option on the 17″ version to put a “anti-glare” display on that model. But no such option exists on the 15″ or on the MacBooks. The fact that a company called TechRestore has a service that allows you to swap the display for one that isn’t reflective shows that Mac users don’t want glossy screens.

I wonder when Apple will finally clue in on this and ditch this once and for all?


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