When Apple announced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Mini LED backlight earlier this year, I knew it was time to upgrade from my 2018 model. And I wasn’t disappointed. The improved brightness (especially when watching HDR movies) and higher contrast made the purchase worthwhile, although iPadOS continues to disappoint and disappoint in other ways. It’s a wonderful screen that makes me want to use iPad wherever I can instead of my laptop.
As a reminder of what the Mini LED is, there are thousands of tiny LEDs behind the screen – much smaller than those on conventional TVs or LCD screens – which allow for more precise backlighting. In turn, this leads to deeper black levels and all of the other benefits mentioned above. Apple’s iPads and MacBooks already had excellent displays with accurate and wide color reproduction. But Mini LED takes its display quality to the next level. Add to that a smoother 120Hz refresh rate, plus all those glorious ports, and you can see why people are excited and these machines are already way out of stock.
But at least with the iPad Pro, this transition to Mini LED was not without its drawbacks. And with the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros now adopting the same Pro Display XDR (Mini LED) technology, it’s worth checking out if these same drawbacks have appeared on Apple laptops.
Dieter touched on one of the issues, fulfillment, in his review. Particularly if you’re using iPad Pro in a dark room, sometimes you’ll notice a halo of light around bright objects on the screen when they’re surrounded by a black background. This is an inherent trade-off with full local dimming, and while it does bother some people, I’ve rarely found it boring when using the iPad Pro. Regardless, I think sometimes it’s worth dealing with for the other brightness and contrast gains you get.
Still, blooming might prove to be more frustrating on a fully loaded $ 6,000 laptop designed for professional editing work. I’m curious to see if Apple has made any adjustments to reduce the problem on its newer MacBook Pros.
The other downside to Apple’s iPad Pro Mini LED display is shading. As the new iPad reached buyers, people noticed a faint shadow running along the edges of the screen. This shadow is not one of those things that is present on some iPads and not others: it is visible on every 12.9-inch iPad Pro M1, because it has to do with the design of the Mini LED system. . While most of the panel has superb uniformity, it falls over the edges where the gradation areas fade away. Like the bloom, it’s something I don’t pay much attention to personally – my eyes are usually focused closer to the middle of the screen, where everything looks good.
These edge shadows can also be seen on Apple’s premium Pro Display XDR monitor. Overcast developer Marco Arment described them as “the really big downside” of the screen. Again, this is something that could be a bigger irritation on an expensive and professionally marketed laptop. Maybe Apple found a way to make the backlight work a little further away from the bezels to avoid such an obvious drop in brightness.
The pros of the new MacBook Pro displays should easily outweigh the cons. They’re brighter and sharper than ever before with the same striking HDR reflections as the iPad Pro. But if you’re a sticker for the little things, it might be worth waiting for the reviews to come out to see if Apple has made any improvements to its brand new display technology.