Will Apple’s Mini LED MacBook Pros avoid the the iPad Pro’s downsides?


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When Apple announced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Mini LED backlighting 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 movies in HDR) and superior contrast have made the purchase worthwhile — even if iPadOS continues to underwhelm and disappoint in other ways. It’s a wonderful screen that makes me want to use the iPad wherever I can instead of my laptop.

© Image: Apple

As a refresher of what Mini LED is, there are thousands of tiny LEDs behind the display — much smaller than those in conventional TVs or LCD displays — that 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 MacBook already had excellent displays with accurate, wide color reproduction. But Mini LED takes their display quality to the next level. Add a smoother 120Hz refresh rate on top of that, plus all those glorious ports, and you can see why people are excited and these machines are already heavily backordered.


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But at least with the iPad Pro, this transition to Mini LED didn’t come without any downsides. And with the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros now adopting the same Pro Display XDR (Mini LED) technology, it’s worth tracking whether those same downsides have come along to Apple’s laptops.

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Dieter addressed one of the issues, blooming, in his review. Particularly if you’re using the iPad Pro in a dark room, you’ll sometimes notice a halo of light around bright objects on screen when they’re surrounded by a black background. This is a tradeoff that’s inherent to full-array local dimming, and while it bothers some people, I’ve rarely found it annoying in my time using the iPad Pro. Either way, I think it’s occasionally worth dealing with for the other gains you get in brightness…