Here’s my review of a brand spanking new MacBook 2.4Ghz Core Duo 2 with 2GB memory, 160GB HDD, and Superdrive. Overall I’m very happy with the size, weight, craftmanship, OS, and performance. I’m comparing it to a 3+ year old PowerBook running the PowerPC 1.67Ghz chip. This machine blows that machine out of the water in every way but one. The display.
Now, to be fair the MacBook display doesn’t look all that bad to me when you’re just using it as a laptop and viewing the built-in 13″ screen. It’s not great, but not something I’d complain about. Hook up your MacBook to an external display though and you’re in for a very nasty surprise. It looks so bad running on my 22″ Samsung SyncMaster 225BW and my Sony 17″ LCD that I’m considering taking my new MacBook back and exchanging it for either the MacBook Pro or the 20″ iMac for $200 more (my MacBook cost $1,299, the base iMac is $1,499 and the base MacBook Pro is $1,999).
What I see on my external display is extremely bad pixelation of graphic images such as photos on iPhoto or on web pages (logos, fonts, images, etc.). It’s like seeing a highly optimized jpg file from a 1999 bannner ad gone wrong. Here are some example high resolution pictures of the display’s dithering problems I found on Apple’s forum. Here’s the forum thread where people are reporting all sorts of unexpected problems with build quality (inconsistency) poor display quality and pixelation like I talk about.
Frankly, I’m stunned that Apple has botched the implementation of the Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144MB of DDR2 SDRAM so badly. You don’t read about these problem with other Wintel Machines with the same video card.