Notebookcheck Logo
, , , , , ,
search relation.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
 

The new MacBook Pro 14 only manages 500 nits with SDR contents

Apple MacBook Pro 14
Apple MacBook Pro 14
Apple advertises the new Mini-LED MacBook Pro 14 with a peak brightness of up to 1600 nits and a sustained brightness of 1000 nits, but these values seem to be limited to HDR contents. Standard SDR contents are limited to 500 nits, which is comparable to the current MacBook Pro 13. Update: HDR measurements confirm 500 nits limitation for SDR contents

After the Mini-LED panel debuted in the bigger iPad Pro, Apple now also equips the two new MacBook Pro models (14 & 16) with these panels. The manufacturer advertises a maximum peak brightness of 1600 nits and a sustained brightness of 1000 nits. So far we thought that the peak brightness is for HDR contents and the 1000 nits is the default value for all contents since we already know 1000 nits panel from HP, for example. After we got our own MacBook Pro 14, the results are a bit sobering since the brightness seems to be capped at 500 nits for standard SDR contents.

Our analysis with the professional CalMAN software and the X-Rite i1 Pro 2 colorimeter determines an average brightness of around 480 nits, so the new MacBook Pro 14 is comparable to the MacBook Pro 13. This is hardly a bad result, but we are still far away from the advertised 1000 nits. Apple offers two display profiles (P3 1600 nits & P3 500 nits), but we get the same results with the two.

462
cd/m²
482
cd/m²
473
cd/m²
485
cd/m²
489
cd/m²
479
cd/m²
480
cd/m²
486
cd/m²
475
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 489 cd/m² (Nits) Average: 479 cd/m² Minimum: 3.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 94 %
Center on Battery: 494 cd/m²
Contrast: 48900:1 (Black: 0.01 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 0.8 | 0.59-29.43 Ø5.4
ΔE Greyscale 1.1 | 0.64-98 Ø5.6
99.3% Display P3 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
Gamma: 2.24

Still, the pure picture quality of the new Mini-LED screen is simple stunning. The black value ist extremely low at 0.01 cd/m² and therefore basically on par with OLED screens, which results in the extremely high contrast ratio. The subjective impression is great and the panel calibration is already excellent out of the box, so there are no further actions necessary and you can just start to edit pictures/videos in the P3 reference color space, which is covered completely.

CalMAN Grayscale (target color space DCI-P3)
CalMAN Grayscale (target color space DCI-P3)
CalMAN ColorChecker (target color space DCI-P3)
CalMAN ColorChecker (target color space DCI-P3)
PWM flickering at 14880 Hz (all brightness levels)
PWM flickering at 14880 Hz (all brightness levels)

Like on the iPad pro with the Mini-LED panel, we can also determine PWM flickering on all brightness levels. The frequency is very high at almost 15 kHz and should not cause problems for the majority of users, but the display of the new MacBook Pro 14 might not be the right choice if you are very sensitive to PWM flickering.

We will talk about all the other topics like the ProMotion technology, response times, and the outdoor capabilities in our comprehensive review of the new MacBook Pro 14, which will be published in a couple of days.

Update: HDR brightness up to 1607 nits

We now tested the brightness in HDR mode and can confirm that more than 500 nits are only possible with HDR contents. We can confirm Apple statements in general and the peak brightness was 1607 up to an APL of 50 (50% white/50% black) and dropped to 1163 nits with 100% white (on a 16:9 video).

However, we believe Apple should communicate that the maximum brightness for SDR contents (which will be displayed for the majority of the time) is limited to 500 nits.

CalMAN measurement of the peak brightness in HDR mode
CalMAN measurement of the peak brightness in HDR mode
The official specs do not mention the reduced brightness for SDR contents (source: https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro-14-and-16/specs/)
The official specs do not mention the reduced brightness for SDR contents (source: https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro-14-and-16/specs/)
Read all 9 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Andreas Osthoff
Editor of the original article: Andreas Osthoff - Managing Editor Business Laptops - 1402 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
I grew up with modern consumer electronics and my first computer was a Commodore C64, which encouraged my interest in building my own systems. I started working as a review editor for Notebookcheck during my dual studies at Siemens. Currently, I am mainly responsible for dealing with business laptops and mobile workstations. It’s a great experience to be able to review the latest devices and technologies and then compare them with each other.
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 10 > The new MacBook Pro 14 only manages 500 nits with SDR contents
Andreas Osthoff, 2021-10-26 (Update: 2021-10-27)