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In a follow-up to my previous post on the best laptop screen – MacBook Pro 15″ LED backlit screen, I’ve discovered why the laptop screen is quite different in displaying the same photo as compared to something like a Samsung SyncMaster 206bw which I use as my secondary display.

It comes down to screen gamut [pronounced gammet], or how many colors a display can accurately represent. For example, a black and white display has less gamut than a color CRT with a dead electron gun, which in turn has less gamut than a fresh new Apple MacBook Pro LED screen.

Viewing a dedicated display like the Samsung side-by-side with any laptop screen, will make the laptop screen look “washed-out” in terms of color, simply because the laptop screen cannot produce as many different colors. At extremes you’ll have one color replace another, for example, light reds replacing what should be orange hues (which is the most notable deficiency in colors of the MacBook Pro LED screens).

This doesn’t mean the MacBook Pro LED screen is bad, it’s actually the best in terms of color gamut amongst all of the previous Apple laptop screens.

For a more in-depth discussion of color gamut on the MacBook Pro 15″ LED displays, check out these posts from James Duncan Davidson and Rob Gailbraith.