27 Gennaio 2022
Why I’m skipping the iPhone 13 for the MacBook Pro 2021.
And so I got the iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro Max — which earned their spots on our best phones rankings — in back to back years, and felt happy. The result was one of the best TV values we’ve ever seen, and Samsung and LG were clearly paying attention, as they both have new mini-LED TVs on the way this year. Behind the LCD panel is one of several backlighting options, producing the light that makes the TV screen glow. The best TVs right now : What’s the difference? On that walk, I love to find a hole in the fence and position the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s sensors and take a photo in the Halide app, which provides RAW photos, which feature less of Apple’s computational powers.
Along with color and contrast, brightness makes a huge difference in how well a TV can display an image. : Early rumors, leaks and what we want to see Plus: Apple just fixed a zero day flaw — so update right away. TCL introduced its first mini-LED TV back in 2019, but the 2020 TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) refined the technology and brought it to an affordably-priced TV. That once meant fluorescent lighting, but modern TVs use smaller, more efficient LED backlights. It took four years for Apple to change course, when it released the 16-inch MacBook Pro in 2019.
But I’ve started to realize that the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s cameras are still wowing me, even a year later. You can get a more detailed explanation of mini-LED technology in our guide Micro-LED vs. With that came the Magic Keyboard and the butterfly-switch went extinct. Mini-LED may seem like a relatively small change, but the technology offers real improvements to LCD-based TVs. The MacBook Pro I’ve been waiting for is expected this fall.
Our TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) review named the affordable smart TV an Editor’s Choice in part because its mini-LED backlight delivered superior dimming and brightness control, and it still sits near the top of our best TVs list as the best TV value on the market. Year of the mini-LED TV: Samsung, LG and TCL getting this huge upgrade. This local dimming is one of the driving factors behind the introduction of HDR formats, with LED brightness capable of reaching levels higher than past fluorescent-lit panels, with more controlled backlight.
Here’s our quick overview of which TVs will feature mini-LED in 2021, why mini-LED is such an improvement over traditional LCD sets, and why this mundane sounding technology is one of the most exciting developments for TV shoppers in years. Something on the level of the MagSafe charging from the iPhone 12 line (I love my MagSafe Battery Pack), like the rumored Touch ID, or always-on screen, but the big word about the new iPhones is that everything is simply better. I don’t need the iPhone 13 because the iPhone 12 Pro Max is still impressing me. The result is a combination of lighting tech and media formatting that makes for deeper shadows, brighter highlights, and more vivid color.
On basic TVs this backlight might take the form of edge lighting, which rings the screen with LEDs, or full array backlighting, which uses a matrix of LED lights to provide consistent backlight across the screen, and more premium TVs feature full array with local dimming, which breaks up that lighting matrix into separate addressable zones. And it’s going to get a flat-edge design to match the current iPhones and (most of the) iPads. The iPhone’s performance for me had basically plateaued, to the point where I had only one real request for Apple. During the end of the pandemic, I finally paid off my credit card debt. The lack of any really-new features is something that’s helping me wait.
Yes, phones are flashy and great, and we rely on them. The answer is yes, but you don’t have to. Yes, for me, everything else was great or good enough.
One of the biggest advancements in TV design to come to the forefront during CES 2021 is mini-LED, the extra-tiny light-emitting diodes used in the backlights of some of the latest and greatest smart TVs. 2021 is shaping up to be the year of the mini-LED TV, as Samsung and LG join TCL in using mini-LED backlight technology to make TVs better than ever. I will always believe, and you can’t shake my faith in this, that tapping a keyboard or anything near the keyboard, can happen without intent. After introducing mini-LED to its 8-Series TVs in 2019 and to the award-winning 6-Series Roku TV in 2020, TCL is introducing TCL OD-Zero , a new implementation of mini-LED that eliminates the gaps between the mini-LED backlight and the LCD panel.
I have a bonkers-big iCloud Photo Library, with 140,661 photos and 3,648 videos at the time of writing. At this point, I had a strong case of Goldilocks-syndrome about the next MacBook I bought. And back then we didn’t know about the words "butterfly-switch." The thinner key mechanisms introduced in 2015 with the 12-inch MacBook proved to be so controversial for their reliability that a class action lawsuit and a repair program emerged from the ashes of outrage. Measuring about one-fifth the size of a standard LED light, Black Clothing Accessories mini-LEDs are seriously tiny. Going forward, unless you’re on the tightest of budgets, we will definitely be recommending that shoppers opt for mini-LED when it’s available.
That trio of enhancements just might make LG’s new QNED TV line the best LCD based TV on the market, but we’ll have to get it in for testing to be sure. It’s the exact opposite of how I have been an iPhone user for the last few years. But it’s at a point where I’m still pleasantly surprised by what it can do. But it’s not a path I wish I didn’t feel forced into. Samsung plans to bring the new technology to it’s premium 4K and 8K TVs this year with the Samsung Neo QLED line.
And it still probably can. The other reason I have is because I expect I will spec-out (or kit-out, as my UK-based colleagues say) that new MacBook Pro with a big, roomy SSD, with more RAM and the fastest CPU option Apple offers. The answer I give that voice, to shut it up, is simple.
Why not both the iPhone 13 and MacBook Pro? I have to use a butterfly-switch MacBook Pro for work, and is shallow keys are so displeasing for me to use that I only use it with external Bluetooth keyboards (even on work trips, I bring keyboards). It’s why I turn "tap to click" off on every new device I test.
But before it got that bad, the butterfly-switch spread to all the other MacBooks. Finally, TCL is the only company offering mini-LED TVs that already has mini-LED sets on the market. But that machine seemed possibly too large for me. That the iPhone 12 Pro Max can capture that much detail of the water rippling at night, and all of the colors and details in the far-background, impresses me. Finally, after Apple spent the last nine years making great iPhones, it’s restoring features to the MacBook Pro we haven’t seen since 2015.
The smaller LEDs illuminate a smaller portion of the screen, and can be clustered more closely together, allowing for zones that are limited to a mere handful of pixels rather than sections of the screen that might measure several inches square. Mini LED promises significant improvement over this development, allowing for a much higher number of discrete dimming zones. If you want to wait for a similar mini-LED set from Samsung or LG, you will need to wait until those TVs launch this spring.
TCL’s existing mini-LED designs will continue to sell throughout the new year, with the 2020 6-Series 4K sets continuing on as the prime 4K offering in the new year. Apple’s big September event rolls around, and they show off how much better the cameras are. As TVs have evolved over the decades, the technology used to put moving pictures in our homes has changed dramatically.
Why? Because I made those modifications to my 2012 MacBook Pro, and that’s helped it last so damn long. And as you might expect, that ginormous set of assets would lead to a long loading time when I tried to access my photo library from any app, such as Instagram or Discord.
I’d held out long enough to where Apple was finally giving us the keyboards that felt great and (apparently) don’t have reliability issues. Oh, and on top of that, there is also a rumor of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s amazing mini-LED display tech coming to the MacBook Pro as well. You can only stretch a budget so far.
But photography was the sort of feature where I always thought — especially with low light situations — that the iPhone could do better. This is all to say, do not sleep on the 2021 MacBook Pro. But if the leaks are true, this is the MacBook Pro that will have been worth waiting for. Should you hold out for a mini-LED TV? We’ve loved Samsung QLED TVs in the past, so we’re excited to see how the new models are improved with the new tech.
You will pay a little more for mini-LED-equipped TVs in the coming months, but probably not a lot. The result should be not only slimmer TV designs, but also an even better implementation of mini-LED. Here’s a night-time example from my last walk: Should you hold out for a mini-LED TV?
Manufacturers bet big on mini-LED TVs. And in daylight, it’s even better: These zones can be brightened or dimmed independently, with brightness mapped to match the bright or shadowy portions of the screen for a more dynamic picture. Throughout the process of this comparison that I’ve had in my head since the iPhone 13 was announced, I’ve thought "hey, why not just buy both?" If these leaks — which keep coming and seem mighty real — are true, then Apple’s marrying its excellent new speedy Apple Silicon (the M1X chip is rumored) with all the features we loved in 2012 to 2015. My lust to get a new iPhone happens the same way every year.
Using the same laptop for nine years creates both a testament to reliability and a need to upgrade. Though older cathode ray tube and plasma technologies and current OLED TVs are self-immissive (producing their own light), since the move to LCD panels, the majority of TVs on the market have required a separate backlight as part of the TV display. So I could stand to keep waiting. At this stage in my life as an iPhone user, its photography is the thing I always thought could get better.
Illumination and brightness is a key factor in making a great TV picture. Those laptops feature speedy Apple Silicon M1 processors. But you know what hasn’t truly grabbed me by the collar and impressed me?
Apple’s MacBooks from 2015 to . 2020. And now that major manufacturers have turned their attention to mini-LED, new innovations built on top of these tiny diodes are already emerging. And while these laptops were more or less great otherwise, I turned my nose up, and waited. The last time I bought a MacBook Pro was a whole different moment in life as we know it: 2012.
Nearly everything, it’s safe to say, was different. So what if last year’s "better" was good enough? A smaller notch? As Shania Twain sang, "That Don’t Impress Me Much." TCL’s impressive 6-Series Roku TVs offer mini-LED backlighting for an extremely reasonable price – under $1,000 for all but the largest 75-inch model – and the improvements to the picture quality are clear.
Mini-LED: What’s the difference? , but these are the broad strokes. We can only hope that this same price-conscious philosophy is applied to Samsung and LG’s newest models, but we’ll have to wait and see. But with the iPhone 12 Pro Max (and possibly changes made in iOS 14), that ended. So, why am I looking right past the iPhone 13?
Well, it’s because of the next Apple event — just announced for October 18. This past January, the leaks came out that Apple was bringing MagSafe, HDMI and SD card reader ports back with the MacBook Pro 2021 and that it wouldn’t be so damn dongle-reliant anymore. I’m sure Samsung’s and Google’s latest phones can do this just as well, if not better.
With new mini-LED TVs on the horizon but at least a couple of months away, the reasonable question for TV shoppers to ask is whether mini-LED is worth waiting for. The smaller physical dimensions of these individual LEDs will also allow LCD TVs to be thinner than they have ever been before. LG is taking a different tack, adding mini-LED backlight to its mid-range Nanocell TVs, and updating those panels with a hybrid technology that combines Nanocell filtering and quantum dot color boosting. And, no, just to be clear I’m not going to ask someone to use their Mac as their iPhone, or vice-versa.
Samsung’s mini-LED technology includes tiny diffusers built into each mini-LED, eliminating the need for a separate diffuser panel between the backlight and the LCD. Buying both a new phone (which I know I don’t need, and may not see the difference in) isn’t responsible when you’re also buying a new MacBook Pro. The improvement to picture quality is significant, and the increase to a TV’s price is negligible, making it a must-have for TV shoppers in the coming year. Yes, the new MacBook Pro 2021 looks to be the first compelling must-buy MacBook for me in nine years.
LG is also jumping on the mini-LED bandwagon, adding the tiny backlights to several of it’s mid-range LCD TVs, which it’s calling LG QNED . But something in my head whispered "wait." These laptops were good, but they didn’t change anything but the keyboard and the processors, and rumors abounded that Apple had more daring designs in its hands. And this isn’t about buyer’s remorse. Waiting on a MacBook Pro I actually want. Most importantly, though, Apple’s apparently going to remove the Touch Bar, the OLED display strip that my fingers keep activating by accident. We expect to get more details about models and pricing in February, and estimate that the new TVs will launch in March or April.
Yes, the 2020 MacBook Air and Pro released in the fall of that year are great; I test macOS betas and other applications on them when I need to. Why I’m skipping the iPhone 13 for the MacBook Pro 2021. Samsung is pairing these mini-LEDs with its QLED quantum dot-enhanced LCD panels, and calling the new models Neo QLED, and it’s taking center stage on all of Samsung’s premium 4K and 8K TVs. LEDs in the mini range are only 0.008-inch (200 microns) across. But that’s not the only thing that mini-LED offers.
The TCL 6-Series model line will expand with new 8K models in 2021 , but mini-LED will continue to be one of the defining features of the value-focused smart TVs. So with mini-LED promising thinner TVs that look better and brighter than ever before, you’d expect a big jump in price, and to only see this new technology in the most expensive models, right? Well, that’s where mini-LED offers its best feature – affordability. Basics of Mini-LED.
I’m skipping the iPhone 13, and that’s probably a surprise to Apple, given that I’m in the iPhone upgrade program. I’ve used my upgrade opportunities each year since I’ve joined, and always found it fun to get a brand new iPhone, that’s faster and better. I’m saying that it’s time to consider the MacBook Pro as the most exciting thing Apple’s announcing this year — which almost appears guaranteed to have a spot on our best laptops list.
Primarily, this happens when I walk across the Manhattan Bridge (a way to burn calories) on my way to see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater (where I consume plenty of tasty things and undo my work).