All new MacBooks from Apple now use pixel-dense screens with high brightness and True Tone technology for a richer viewing experience. Even the 2020 MacBook Air uses a Retina Display, but it lacks DCI-P3 colour gamut. However, it can go brighter than the screen on the MacBook Pro, but only while running Windows.
The new MacBook Air, which was unveiled earlier this year, features a Retina Display that uses an IPS LCD panel and QHD resolution (2560×1600 pixels). While these specifications are similar to that of the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s screen, Apple promises higher brightness levels and wider color gamut on the 2020 MacBook Pro. However, you can still push MacBook Air’s display to go past MacBook Pro’s display brightness.
According to NotebookCheck’s testing, the 2020 MacBook Air’s display is capable enough to reach brightness levels of as high as 550 nits. Yes, that’s 50 nits brighter than the MacBook Pro’s screen. However, that’s only possible when the laptop is running Windows 10. The publication reports that despite higher brightness, the contrast ratio remains stellar, at 1,200:1.
While the MacBook Air’s display seems to be performing better than when running macOS, it is possible that Apple limited the screen’s brightness at a software level to improve color accuracy. The report states that the new MacBook Air’s screen has higher color accuracy when running macOS.
The publication reports that its team tried CalMAN software and a color calibration monitor when running Windows 10, but macOS was still found to be more accurate. However, it was also said that the color accuracy difference between the operating systems was minimal, and most users won’t be able to notice the difference between the two.
One thing that you need to understand is that not all display panels are made the same. They all have slight differences when it comes to maximum brightness level, contrast ratio, and color accuracy. However, they can all be tuned to attain a mean brightness level and color accuracy. Apple could be limiting the brightness of the MacBook Air so that all customers get the same advertised brightness of 400 nits.
Another possible reason for limiting the MacBook Air’s display brightness could be related to battery life. The laptop’s battery life could suffer a lot when the display reaches a brightness of 550 nits, and the company wants to hit specific numbers when it comes to battery life claims.
The Cupertino-based brand could also be trying to maintain a gap between the MacBook Air and the more expensive MacBook Pro. A brighter display could be more attractive to a lot of users than the wider color gamut. So, if Apple doesn’t limit the MacBook Air’s display at 400 nits, a lot of potential MacBook Pro users could opt for the cheaper MacBook Air.