Best Windows laptop screen for photo editing?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by marc_rochkind, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. To focus my question, I'm not asking about processors, RAM, SSDs, graphic controllers, ports, price, or anything else other than the screen. Also, not interested in Apple hardware.*
    Anyone know of a laptop with a screen comparable to better desktop monitors? I have a Dell UltraSharp U2515H 25-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor, which is not the best (it's not the one Andrew Rodney is always recommending), but it works for me and it way better than the laptops I have. My guess is that 2017 laptops might include one or two with suitable screens.
    I'll be using a hardware calibrator, perhaps the one I use now or maybe a new one.
    * I am a Mac OS X and iOS developer with many apps on the Apple stores, and have found Apple to be a horrible company to work with, as have many other developers. So, in my retirement, I don't want to use an Apple computer.
  2. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    The Dell xps 15 comes with a matte screen rgb monitor that is very popular with photographers.

    Or this?! A laptop with 3 screens that fold out. It's kind of amazing and I wonder why no one has though of this before. This new Razer has each panel at 4K for a total of 11520 x 2160 and in 100 percent Adobe RGB coverage. Intel Core i7 6700HQ, GTX 1080 (8GB GDDR5X VRAM), 32GB 2133 MHz RAM.

    The Asus ROG series often have laptops with ips panels that do 98% or better RGB. If budget isn't a factor, I'd look as these over Dell. With dedicated gpu with 8gb of vram, 32 or 64 gb ram, the specs are impressive and more powerful than any iMac or laptop from Apple for $2800
  3. Thanks, Eric. Will check these out.
    ericm likes this.
  4. The latest 15.2" 4K UHD notebook screens look nice and the bigger notebook is enticing. I've been using a 13" 3200x1800 notebook for three years for Lightroom work while traveling. I find lowering the resolution to 2048x1152 gives me the best text readability. I would get the biggest screen available if you are going with UHD.
  5. The Microsoft Surface Pro have pretty terrific screens, they're maybe not strictly notebooks and not exactly cheap, but they sure use very nice LCD panels.
    There used to be mobile workstations with wide gamut displays, not sure if there are still some around. Only if you have cash to burn, though, and a good back.
  6. The only problem with Surface Pros is their lack of dependability. My Surface 3 went nuts on me when I was in Patagonia last year. Almost wrecked my trip when Even Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots got caught on video throwing his Surface against a bench on the football field last year.
  7. I wonder if anyone has used the Surface Pro and calibrate it. How accurate it is after calibration. I am considering the Surface Pro 4 for traveling. Not so much for editing but to check my photos before it's too late to re shoot. I like it because it's the tablet and turning the screen instantly changes the orientation from landscape to portrait so that my photo would fill the screen. Besides it's a 3/2 screen it would display my photos full screen. A 16/9 screen would have too much empty space.
  8. Bebu, most reviews measure the screen as-is, and from those I read the screen of the Surface Pro 4 comes out very good, except the white point that would be quite a way off - a normal calibration would take care of that. Surface Book looks to be much the same, and for the OP could more interesting as it's closer to a normal notebook (at a serious cost, still, though).
    Note that I do not own a Surface, so I won't comment on the reliability, though anekdotes also won't paint a complete picture on that.
  9. I own a Surface Book and find the screen crisp and accurate. I use it for a variety of tasks including photo editing while on the road. I've also found it more able to handle video editing (I have the version that comes with a stand-alone graphics card) than my trusty Dell desktop. A couple points to make in all honesty: First, reliability is always in the back of my mind. My first Surface Book quit after a month. Luckily, Microsoft gave me a new one and it's now been eight months without issues. Secondly, while the screen resolution is great, I sometimes dock the Surface Book so that I can use the "real estate" offered by my much larger, although lower resolution, Samsung monitor that normally connects to my desktop.
  10. To add a bit more to my needs: For 99% of my work, even work with photos, screen accuracy is irrelevant. (For example, when entering captions, or ordering prints). Only when I'm soft-proofing does the screen really matter and, as I'm a fine-art photographer, my volume is very low. (Maybe 30 - 40 shots per year will get printed.)
    And, the work will be done in my own trailer, not in motel rooms, coffee shops, or friends' houses. So, I'm seriously thinking of taking along my desktop monitor.
  11. In general, two problems are nearly unavoidable with laptop screens. The intensity varies strongly with the angle of incidence, and the screen brightness is variable, adjusted according to viewing conditions, often automatically. The latter is subject to calibration, but the first is the nature of laptop screens, partly for semi-privacy in public domains. The screens can be color calibrated, but the consistency of this calibration remains questionable.
    I have been a life-long user of PC, desktop and laptop, only recently venturing into the MAC world. The Retina screen on my new MacBook Pro is the first which has little dependency on viewing angle. and can easily and accurately calibrated with an X-Rite Display device. Furthermore I can calibrate an iPad for accurate display with the same device.
    I avoid making color adjustments in a laptop, or at least reserve these adjustments to Lightroom, where they can be easily reversed or modified later. In addition to general capture and sorting, I use a mobile computer mainly for backing up images to disc (BD), and stitching panoramas or HDR photos if I have the time. That reservation may change as I get to know the MacBook.
    ericm likes this.
  12. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Reflections annoy me too much. The Macbook Pro has a high-gloss screen and I wouldn't even consider doing photos on it. It's bad enough ansering email and watching Netflix on it. There's better matte pannels in Wiindows laptops that are also RGB
  13. @Edward: Is this angle problem still there with IPS screens?
  14. The angle problem is the same as desktop monitors. The degree depends on the type of LCD used. With OLED (which I haven't seen a monitor of this type) the angle problem is no more.
  15. I haven't found reflections a problem with glossy screens. My previous laptop and desktop monitors have had matte screens, so I was somewhat skeptical in the move to Apple. However I do not have any problems whatsoever with reflections. I work under subdued background at my desk, and seek a similar environment when mobile. In both cases, a slight change in screen angle is all that is necessary. The extra clarity is a welcome benefit.
    If I were to work at Starbucks, with my back to the windows, i'm sure there would be a problem. Fortunately it is not my custom to sit with my back to the door in any establishment, much less work without a semblance of privacy. Nor am I obliged to use a public WiFi network. I have an LTE phone connection when needed.
    I do not currently own an IPS display, including my two Apple devices. I understand that the viewing angle has less effect on brightness and color than TFT screens, and that the issue is eliminated with OLED technology. In theory, desktop monitors have the same viewing angle limitations, except that laptop screens seem to deliberately reduce off-angle brightness, probably for privacy enhancement. You can buy nearly transparent overlays which further restrict the viewing angle to about 15 degrees. A person in the next seat on an airplane sees a dark screen. (These cannot be legally used on license plates to shield them from overhead red light or speed cameras.)
  16. I have a MacBook Retina 2013 (late) with a glossy screen. As laptops go, it's quite good for photography. I find the glossy screen helpful. Matte screens just scatter reflections, but they are still there.
    My screen is calibrated using iOne Display and it works well for photography. Not quite as nice as my Eizo display, but quite useable on the road. Viewing angle is good enough with the IPS display.
    And, Apple has been good about fixing problems, at no charge. They replaced my screen last summer as the anti glare coating began flaking off. Out of warrantee. Good luck with that from most windows companies...
    But, if I wanted, I could just run Windows on the Mac, so don't discount entirely this choice.
  17. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Most welcome, Marc. How did you make out, did you get anything?

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