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MacBook Pro 15-Inch 2017 - 2019 review


Review of the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch Retina display of 2017/2019

Published on July 15, 2017   |  Updated on March 08, 2020


MacBook Pro Apple laptop display since at least 2012 have become correct enough to consider making a start on photo editing on them or on connected shooting, once calibrated of course. But what are the DCI-P3 panels of the new 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro worth? Well, I'm not going to keep you waiting any longer: the DCI-P3 panels of the MacBook Pro 2017/2018 or 2018/2019 are simply the same level as the Eizo CS2420 monitor tested on this site recently (as on MacBook Pro 13 inches). This is incredible!

Even at Apple, even with the previous generation of panels on the MacBook Pro 2015, even with IPS panels, it was only a question of making the panels acceptable to start retouching your photos in the train on the way back home. The panel of the previous MacBook Pro was correct but was already a nice surprise knowing that we have come a long way when it comes to display on laptops! And that's the least we can say! Apple has therefore just performed, in this historical context, a small miracle with its new panels called DCI-P3 since 2016. Here is why... 


In a few words...


MacBook Pro 15-inch

From $2,349.00

Certainly a glossy panel is very flattering in certain circumstances (videos, Internet) but can be a brake for photo retouchers... and it's a shame because for the rest, Apple succeeds in placing in its recent MacBook Pro the best panels on the market quite simply, the level of an Eizo ColorEdge, no less! - Read my conclusion  

  Other prices...  
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CDN$ 3,699.00
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From £2,249.00



Introduction to the 15.4-inch Retina display on MacBook Pro 2017/2018/2019

In the 2012s, Apple introduced IPS panels (whose angle of vision does not influence the vision of the image), which are still relevant because they are still available on their website if you buy the old Retina model and it was already in itself a revolution in the world of laptops. When they added the high definition called Retina at Apple, it became clear to everyone that these screens could perhaps be used for something other than surfing the Internet. Photo retouching and connected shooting became possible. However, my review of this MacBook Pro 2015 showed that we were rather at the level of a "good" screen which was already in itself good news! Apple has just introduced a brand new generation of panels with the same definition as before but with an expanded gamut, the famous DCI-P3. 

  Technical specifications
  15.4" MacBook Pro Average price: from $1,999.00
Panel size
15.4-Inch 16:9 - 2880 x 1800 - 220 ppi
Display technology
IPS white LED - New glossy panel
  Uniformity check No
  Gamut DCI-P3, 100% sRGB
  Certifications No
500 Cd/m2 / 1650:1 measured
LUT table
10 bits
  Response time -
Screen size
13.7 x 9.4 x 0.6 inches
  Border widths 8 mm
  Calibration software No
  Connectivity 4 x Thunderbolt 3.0
  VESA compatibility No
  Shading hood No
  Warranty 1 or 3 years with Apple Care - Apple USA

What's in the box...

The screen is sold with:

  • The power cord... of course, even at Apple's!

The bulkiness and perceived quality

The screen has a 15.4-inch panel. The screen has rather thin edges that will promote a multi-screen working environment!


As for the perceived quality, it is superlative, as always with Apple to such an extent that all the world's production is always comparable to Apple!

The 15-inch MacBook Pro display and its Retina panel

1 - Definition/resolution - Apple Retina panels for MacBook Pro therefore use white diode IPS technology, which allows the same vision to be displayed regardless of the angle at which it is viewed. This is the opposite of the panels usually found on laptops, which often use TN panels. These panels are also Retina, i. e. high definition in the Apple language. The definition of the 13-inch is still 2560 x 1600 and that of the 15-inch is 2880 x 1800. This represents 227 ppi, which means that these are values that are only accessible to the 4K universe. The image is therefore particularly pretty and "shaped", especially since by a trick of displaying MacOS from El Capitan, the images are displayed in "larger", as if the screen were in a resolution of 1680 x 1050. It's really very beautiful and the pitch is perfectly invisible.

2017 and 2019 Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch USB-C Connectors

2 - The DCI-P3 gamut - The Retina panel of the MacBook Pro 2017 or 2018 now features the DCI-P3 gamut, 25% wider than the famous sRGB. This is always the case if you like to work with very saturated colors.

3 - The panel and its anti-reflective coating - New - The Retina panel on MacBook Pro 2017/2018 is still a brilliant panel unlike the previous generation but with an anti-reflective coating that seems very effective. Well, with a glossy panel, it will still depend a lot on your lighting environment.

The connectivity

If you want to connect another monitor you will have to do so with the new Thunderbolt 3.0 connector. All definitions and frequencies are therefore accessible without limitations!

2017 and 2019 Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch USB-C Connectors

The ergonomics (see pictures above)

The ergonomics of laptop screens is by definition absent or inappropriate here.
As for the screen settings, they can only be made in brightness on the keyboard or in the System Preferences > Monitor. Very light but finally not at all embarrassing.


2019 Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch preferences monitor



What is the Retina screen of Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch after calibration with the i1Display Pro worth?

So I calibrated a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro 2017/2018/2019 with my i1Display Pro sensor. These are the P3 panel models. 

BEFORE CALIBRATING your Apple laptop - It is essential to first disable two display options on your MacBook Pro if you want to properly calibrate your Apple laptop. To do this, go to "System Preferences > Energy Saving" then "System Preferences > Monitors":

  • Disable the energy saving option of lowering the brightness of your screen when you are not connected to the power grid,
  • Disable the "Automatically adjust brightness" option.


Préférences moniteur du MacBook Pro 15 pouces Apple de 2017 avec l'i1Display Pro

Uncheck "Adjust brightness automatically" in "System Preferences > Monitors" of your MacBook Pro 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019.


Energy Saver for 2017-2019 Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro

Also uncheck "Darken slightly when the computer screen is running on battery power"... at least for the calibration time if you are not powered at that time.


My recommendation! Once the calibration is done, you can still check these options if you want to manage your energy consumption as closely as possible, but at least you will have a correct ICC profile.

I choose the following screen settings:

I calibrated this screen - like all the screens I test - with the best current sensor (except the superlative and very expensive Discus) in an excellent price/quality ratio: the i1 Display Pro + logiciel i1Profiler software (version 1.7.2) in order to be able to locate this new screen compared to the screens on the market. You will see that the figures are already barely believable if you remain convinced that Apple panels are only used to look pretty on a desk!

  • Gamut: no choice! (DCI-P3 by default)
  • Gamma: no choice! (2,2 by default)
  • Contrast: no choice!
  • Color temperature: no choice (6500 K by default)

And as target values in the i1Profiler 1.7.2 software... 

  • Display technology: Choose white diodes,
  • D65 or possibly a little less if you want a slightly warmer screen. (Note that at D55, the screen is really warm but not yellow like on cheap monitors),
  • Luminance : 100 Cd/m2 or more depending on your main use (printing or web) and especially the brightness of your room,
  • Contrast: Native,
  • Gamma : 2,2 – standard curve,
  • ICC norm: V2  (to avoid incompatibility problems with some image viewing software (images too dark) and obviously V4 if you know what you are doing).
  • ADC Function: enabled
  • Automatic room light control function: disabled.

And the result is?

First subjective impressions after this calibration...

Well, it's a wonderful surprise! Never seen before, even for a laptop. It is a perfect screen for any photographer who needs to retouch while on the move or take pictures in connected mode. The combination: white diode IPS panel, Retina panel, new generation P3 gamut panel really works very well, especially by displaying very subtle grayscales without any tone breaks and colours with great precision on a homogeneous panel. Never seen before in my case on a laptop, worthy of an Eizo CS2420 monitor if I can dare!

Objective data : what does the final report say after calibration?

Before switching to Delta E, it is interesting to note the color temperature values achieved and the contrast of this Retina Apple panel.


Final report after calibration of the 2017/2019 Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with i1Display Pro


My opinion: Achieving a color temperature (CT) of 6519K for 6500K requested is a nice score on a laptop screen (like for the 13-inch screen)! Note - and enjoy! - the 1650:1 contrast on a laptop as well (even stronger than on the 13-inch). You will therefore not have any contrast problems with this screen even this one does not use OLED technology.

Now, let's move on to the famous Delta E after calibration according to the 2000 standard which I use for the calibration of all the monitors on this site:


Delta E after calibrating the Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch 2017/2019  with the i1Display Pro colorimeter


My opinion! The average Delta E standard 2000 is 0.37, as on the MacBook Pro 13'' 2017/2018/2019 and the worst patch has a value of 1.11 (even better than on the 13''), well below the 2 where the eye can start to perceive significant differences! These are values worthy of high-end screens such as "Graphic Art" and not of a "vulgar" laptop. According to my tests it is a first with its little brother, the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Now the harmonization tests in luminance and color temperature:


Luminance uniformity after calibration of the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch 2017/2019 with i1Display Pro


Frankly, getting such values on a laptop screen is a nice surprise. It is therefore perfectly possible to consider working under good conditions on this screen even if 15-Inch remains small... but it is another debate that I am addressing on this page dedicated to the 4K...!


Color temperature uniformity after calibration of the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch 2017/2019 with i1Display Pro


Unlike the particularly homogeneous 13-inch, the 15-inch shows a small sign of weakness in the upper left corner of my test copy purchased in stores. However, I hadn't seen anything with the naked eye. Only my sensor noted it. Nothing serious then!




  Apple MacBook Pro 15-Inch 2017-2019  
Color fidelity 10/10
Uniformity of the panel 9,5/10
Resolution 10/10
Reflections on the panel 6,0/10
Ergonomics - -
Connectivity 10/10
Manufacturing quality 10/10
Value for money 8,0/10


  I like it very much...  
  • Exceptional Delta E for a laptop worthy of an Eizo ColorEdge screen: 0.37 average and 1.11 for the worst patch!
  • Contrast of 1650:1!
  • IPS white diode panel and Retina displaying the DCI-P3 gamut (between Adobe RGB and sRGB) on a laptop!
  • Very beautiful grayscales after calibration,
  • Really beautiful images: as beautiful as on an Eizo CS2420 screen, so we can consider photo retouching... if the size is not an obstacle for you!
  I regret...  
  • Glossy panel... but with a rather effective anti-reflective coating,
  • A homogeneity that can still be improved but it is really to detect defects because without a calibration sensor it cannot be seen. We can therefore wonder if it should be placed in the defects...
  • Certainly the 13" and 15" display "comfortable" definitions but the "visual cues" are changed because such definitions are usually displayed on 24" or 27". The 100% image is therefore not very enlarged.
  My overall rating...  
  9,0 / 10  
  My conclusion...  
  With its 13-inch little brother, the 15-inch screen is simply unheard of on a laptop. We're at the level of an Eizo CS2420, so if you're not sure whether you're looking for a MacBook Pro 2015 or a MacBook Pro 2017 or 2019 and you're doing photo editing, this may be the last decisive argument to help you choose. Simply Incredible!  
Apple MacBook Pro 15.4" 2019

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Here is my full review of the Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro Retina display 2017/2019
- Full review of the 15" MacBook Pro display
  1 - Introduction to the 15" MBP 15'' 2017/2019 display
2 - What are the 15" MacBook Pro Retina display worth after calibration?
3 - My rating and my conclusion

- My 35 full monitor reviews!
- How to choose your monitor?
- How to calibrate your monitor?


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