New MacBook Pros Have Up to 3x Brighter Displays for HDR Content

Apple's new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are equipped with improved "XDR" displays with mini-LED backlighting. Impressively, both new MacBook Pro models have up to 3x brighter displays compared to the previous-generation models, although the increased brightness is likely limited to HDR content.

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The new MacBook Pro models achieve up to 1,000 nits sustained full-screen brightness and up to 1,600 nits peak brightness, according to Apple's tech specs, whereas the previous models were listed as having up to 500 nits of brightness. In line with Apple's Pro Display XDR, though, it's likely that the increased brightness is limited to HDR content, as the Pro Display XDR is limited to up to 500 nits of brightness for SDR content.

pro display xdr 500 nits sdr
Here is how Apple describes the display:

The best display ever in a notebook features Extreme Dynamic Range and a million to one contrast ratio. HDR content comes to life in photos, video, and games — with refined specular highlights, incredible detail in shadows, and vibrant, true-to-life colors. Each display is factory calibrated and features pro reference modes for HDR color grading, photography, design, and print production.

Apple also said the new MacBook Pro displays have an impressive 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and support for one billion colors.

Like the iPad Pro, the new MacBook Pro displays feature ProMotion, allowing for an adaptive refresh rate between 24Hz and 120Hz. This can result in smoother appearing content while scrolling, watching videos, and playing games.

The display improvements are part of several upgrades to the new MacBook Pro, alongside next-generation Apple-designed M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, up to 10 hours longer battery life, the return of an HDMI port, SD card slot, and MagSafe, and more. The notebooks can be ordered now and will begin arriving to customers and launch in stores October 26.

Update: Apple has since confirmed that the new MacBook Pro displays indeed have a peak brightness of 500 nits for SDR content.

Related Roundup: 14 & 16" MacBook Pro
Related Forum: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

keco185 Avatar
7 weeks ago
I want 1000 nits for regular content. Why limit it at 500? That would be so useful for viewing content outside.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
7 weeks ago
That’s impressive! Craig’s face about to look 100% brighter! Brightness up 100%



Attachment Image
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Return Zero Avatar
7 weeks ago

Can only scratch my head over "1600 nits peak with 39% screen coverage (XDR)". Marketing BS reached a new level.
I'm confused as to what you think is wrong with this claim. This is how HDR specs are almost always presented and measured. There is always a peak number for highlights (often multiple numbers for variously sized highlights/windows) and a sustained full-screen number.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
splitpea Avatar
7 weeks ago
What if you don’t want more brightness? I’m already desperate for a dozen more levels between the lowest brightness and blackout on my 2019 MBA for evening use. Whereas “not bright enough” has never been a problem.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Antes Avatar
7 weeks ago
Hopefully there won’t be an issue with blooming like on the M1 iPad Pros...
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kalafalas Avatar
7 weeks ago
I hate that SDR is still limited to 500nits on all of apples miniLED displays, I was really hoping this would be the first computer I wouldn’t have to squint at outside. Especially now that their 13 pro OLED can do 1000nits for SDR. Guess I’ll have to wait another couple years :(

Especially considering HDR content on macOS is nearly impossible to find. I really hope all the streaming services port their iPad apps to mac ASAP
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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