Colorist: MacBook Pro XDR Display Is Cheap Walmart Trash

In a forum thread about the new MacBook Pros, sleazy BMD contributor and colorist Marc Wielage compares Apple’s marvelous new Liquid Retina XDR miniLED display to dime-store garbage, saying, without a hint of irony:

“I can add to this discussion by saying I got the new MacBook Pro M1 Max about 3 days ago and it’s been great so far. Hands-down the fastest laptop I’ve ever owned. Terrific keyboard, amazing sound (for a laptop), and the screen is fantastic… but not good enough for color correction. It’s like a really nice $500 consumer TV: great, but uncalibrated. As a GUI screen, it’s clear and sharp and detailed: the native resolution is 3456×2234, which takes some getting used to”. [italics added]

Seriously, Marc? It so happens that Techspot just published the results of their exhaustive testing and quite unsurprisingly found Apple’s display to be among the very best on the market for content creation. The display boasts an astounding 10,216 LED sources divided into 2,554 local dimming zones (the reader might recall that our ancient Asus ProArt PA32UCX had a paltry 1,152 zones and the MSI Creator 17 laptop sported just 240) and is capable of a peak brightness of 1,600 nits. Techspot’s measurements show that the display covers 99% of the DCI-P3 color space, which they explain “also means perfect sRGB coverage, so if you’re designing web content, creating SDR videos, or working with wide gamut HDR videos then Apple is providing you the tools to do that”. The reviewer, particularly impressed with the machine’s OOTB factory calibration, especially when compared to Windows laptops, beams “Where the display is extremely impressive is in its color calibration, and this is helped significantly by macOS doing a much better job of color management than Windows. The various color profiles included by default work across far more apps in macOS than they would on Windows and this is one area where Windows needs a bit of an overhaul”. This pretty much echoes what BenQ ambassador Art Suwansang spoke about in the calibration tutorial we covered only a few days ago.

When it comes to HDR, the reviewer exclaims “I measured a contrast ratio of slightly over 50,000:1. This is right where you’d want performance to be for HDR content, contrast ratios of 50,000:1 worst case and up to 1,000,000:1 or greater in other situations. Apple are meeting all the recommendations for performance that I’ve heard when speaking to HDR, calibration and mastering experts. This performance also destroys basically any other LCD based monitor I’ve looked at before. On the standalone monitor side, it’s virtually unheard of right now to see LCD zone counts higher than a couple of thousand.” Summing up, the author writes:

“Now comes the ultimate question: is this the best laptop display ever, as Apple claims it is? That will depend on your perspective. Evidently, if you’re buying a high-performance laptop for gaming then no, but the MacBook Pro is clearly not suited nor aimed at gamers. But if we put that aside and ask about the best display for content creation and productivity, we think Apple has a solid claim to that throne”.

With a peak brightness around 900 nits brighter than our LG CX, over 1,500 nits brightness on a 50% window, no automatic brightness limiter (ABL) and no risk of burn-in, it goes without saying that we can’t wait to get our hands on the new 16” MacBook Pro with XDR display.


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