Most LCD displays nowadays have an LED backlight. If fact, they are also called LED screens, although their panels aren’t LED. Eventually, many LCD displays with an LED backlight will be superseded by a mini-LED backlight. For years, the rumor has been that Apple would be among the first to offer mini-LED backlight in its displays, be it on a MacBook or an all-in-one iMac computer. That will certainly happen, but it will no longer be first. The very first laptop to reach the market with mini-LED is the ≈US$3k MSI Creator 17 and I am ecstatic to report that its mini-LED backlight is thankfully matte! Ahead I’ll describe its specs and let Dave Lee demonstrate it to you in his embedded video.
Mini-LED is not to be confused with OLED, which is a different technology with different strengths and weaknesses.
Above, David Lee’s video.
Benefits of the mini-LED backlight over standard LED backlight in an IPS display
To reitérate what I wrote in the introductory paragraph, most current high-end displays called “LED” actually have an LCD panel with an LED backlight. The distinction with new mini-LED does not change the LED part, but it does change the backlight. Here are the main mini-LED benefits:
- Much higher brightness
- Much higher contrast ratio
- Better color accuracy
Part of these benefits are derived from the fact that the mini-LED backlight has local dimming, which allows it to have much darker blacks than what has been available with standard LED backlights, although not as dark as with OLED. OLED is a different technology which has other benefits and weaknesses.
The above image (courtesy of David Lee’s video) demonstrates the difference today. This will change as soon as Apple updates its displays to include micro-LED backlight. The facilitates:
- AdobeRGB 91%
- DCI P3 at 100%
…all without the flicker associated with OLED.
The mini-LED display in the MSI Creator 17 is matte!
I was so happy to see that the mini-LED display in the MSI Creator 17 is matte!
This is not only noticeable in David Lee’s video, but is also confirmed on the manufacturer’s spec sheet online and the partial screenshot embedded above.
I recommend Windows 10 LTSC over Windows 10 Pro
Even though the MSI Creator 17 comes with Windows 10 Pro, if I were to purchase one, I would prefer to format the drive and install Windows 10 LTSC instead, for all of the reasons I covered in this 2019 article: Windows 10 LTSC: better for production & sanity than Home or Pro, illustrated above. The lack of ≈5GB of bloatware in Windows LTSC (but present in Windows 10 Pro and Home) is only the beginning of its advantages.
Of course, i would first determine whether any provided apps from MSI are critical. If they were, I would determine whether they are downloadable or otherwise included in independent media. If, I would back them up in advance.
Apple’s timetable for mini-LED?
I am not aware of exactly when Apple will begin substituting mini-LED, but I do thing it is inevitable to happen soon in many of its devices, from smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop models. It might even begin to happen as soon as June 22nd, 2020 at WWDC.
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