Test your aluminum iMac if it has a good or bad display
Added 2008-4-1: Apple being sued over iMac display quality!
“Dazzling displays: Your photos, movies, and games will come to life in rich, vivid color thanks to the new glossy widescreen display on every iMac. …delivering greater performance for everything from enhancing photos to playing games and more.”
This is how Apple describes the displays in the new aluminum iMac. But there seems to be a vast difference between the marketing promises and reality. Users affected by bad iMac displays report their experiences as follows (these are just a few excerpts out of dozens of statements in Apple’s own discussion forum):
“I’m a PC-to-Mac switcher and purchased a 24” imac about a month ago and returned it for a full-refund due to the obvious gradient.”
“I’m writing this as someone that is now on their fourth (!!!) iMac. [..] At first I thought it was great, and then I started going nuts because I could of sworn the left side of my screen was a different brightness and color than the middle and right side of my screen.”
I bought my new iMac 2.8 GHz 4 gig Ram, which I got running today […] and saw the obvious issue which has plagued so many machines of my type as well as the 20” ones written about in this forum.”
“I got a replacement for my 24inch also, and it is even worse than the first one, a bigger gradient and a lot of yellow at all corners… So this one is going back also… Big disappointment.”
“I just picked up the new 20” iMac today, to replace my old Core Duo 20” iMac, and when I got everything booted and got to the Desktop I noticed the icons appeared to be faded. I did a side by side comparison with my old iMac and the icons on my old iMac were very Bright in color compared to my new iMac.”
“Same thing with me; bottom of the display seemed washed out; icons in Dock were washed out; could not even hardly see the TextEdit icon in the Dock!”
“I went to the Apple store on Regent Street tonight, to return my silver imac 20” because of colour fading (darker at top of monitor). While I was there I ran a test on 3 of the 20” imacs and got the same result. The Apple guy agreed. This is in no way conclusive, but the 3 20” Imacs on display downstairs at RS and my own had the same problem.”
“I’m truely dissapointed in Apple! After reading the posts about the screen problems i decided to do some research in some local apple dealers. After being in 4 shops i came to the conclusion that the gradient issue is on all 24” models, including brown shades (first i thought it was fingerprints but then after taking a closer look it turned out to be in the screen!!!) The 20” panels are of a horrible quality, only if you sit straight in front it’s oke,as soon as you change the angle of view colors cha nge.”
“My 24” 2.8 Ghz iMac has a very noticeable vertical gradient on the display, where the left third side of the screen is much brighter than the remaining right side.”
Use the test on this page to see if your aluminum iMac display suffers from the same “washed-out” or gradient problem that has been reported in several Apple related discussion forums. Many users report a disturbing, vertical gradient in the 20” iMac display and a horizontal gradient and a yellowish tint in the 24” display. There’s also substantial backlight-bleeding in both models. The backlight-bleeding problem is only visible in dark background situations, i.e. while watching a DVD movie with dark scenes (which probably every movie has).
To spot the iMac’s uneven display lighting in a store with overhead lighting and lots of reflecting lights in the glossy panel may be near to impossible if you don’t know where/what to look at. Backlight bleeding is even harder to see in store conditions.
See here for more 20″ iMac photos with explanation.
A bad 24” display usually has a brighter left side and sometimes has a yellowish tint in all corners (the display on the image below doesn’t have the latter problem):
Select the type of iMac you’re currently looking at:
A new tab or window will open. Make the browser window as large as possible and compare the two grey areas. If those grey areas and the white text in those areas look identically bright to you – congratulations, you just may look at an aluminum iMac with a good display! If one area is brighter than the other or the white text is not as visible/bright as on the other side something may be wrong with your display. Please call Apple for assistance.
- Youtube video of a 20″ iMac with a bad display
- Discussion about the washed out 20″ iMac display (locked by Apple after 24’000 views)
- Discussion about the irregularities in the 24″ iMac display (more than 30’000 views)
- Examples of a washed out 20″ display
- Another user reports a bad iMac display in his blog
- Appleinsider reports problems with off-color LCD displays in Alu iMacs
- iMac display dilemma with user feedback
- Apple silent on display issues
- Apple is censoring posts about gradient problems
- Some very good LCD test patterns
Some pictures on this page were taken without permission. Thanks go out to silvermac and Peter Mars, I hope you don’t mind :-)