The MacBook Pro 2021 screen is fantastic – and here’s why

The MacBook Pro 2021 screen has a completely new technology: mini-LED. A laptop screen has never been so good, and we’ll explain why.

Traditional screens

Since 2007, MacBook screens have been lit by LED lights, and this technology hasn’t changed significantly since then. It means that along the edges of your screen, just below the layer of pixels, there are LED lights that give your screen its brightness. This technique has always had one major drawback: the contrast is quite limited.

Suppose you are watching a movie with black bars at the top and bottom of your screen. Even though the pixels in those bars are black, they are still illuminated by the LED lights. As a result, they always appear a bit grey/blue instead of really black.

MacBook Pro 2021 screen: mini LED display

The MacBook Pro 2021 has a completely new kind of screen that counteracts this problem. This is a so-called Liquid Retina XDR display. This is a typical Apple marketing name: the underlying technology is actually called ‘mini-LED’, and you will also find it on the iPad Pro 2021.

With mini LED, instead of LED lighting along the edges of your screen, you have a whole grid of LED lights behind the display, divided into zones. These zones can be turned on or off individually.

Are there black bars in the picture? Then the lighting in that spot goes out, but it stays on where the film takes place. This makes black really black. But even if, for example, you have shadows and highlights in the picture at the same time, the lighting can be dimmed for the shadows, while it remains fully on for the highlights. This gives you a beautiful contrast, especially with films and series with HDR (High Dynamic Range).

Much higher brightness

An additional advantage of mini LED is the improved screen brightness. Because there are many more LED lights, the screen becomes a lot brighter. For example, the previous MacBook Pro had a maximum brightness of 500 nits, and that is now no less than double with 1000 nits: super bright. This allows you to use your MacBook Pro 2021 even in bright sunlight!