Buyer Beware: Nano-Texture Softness 🍦

I just received my 2020 iMac with the Nano-texture display and set it up side-by-side with my current 2017 iMac.

The decreased sharpness of the nano-texture panel is –insane– and I am shocked at how little you hear about this… I have heard some people say, “oh it’s a little bit softer when you are looking at white text on a black background but you get used to it”, etc. But the difference is so stark that it doesn’t feel like it’s a 5K or even a 4K display.

The glare reduction is amazing, and the screen does have a ‘magical’ look to it because of it, but the softness is potentially intolerable.

I work primarily with graphics that go to print and my display faces two big windows which honestly did present glare issues while I was working – but now the softness is its own issue…

It’s very difficult to take pictures of the difference with an iPhone camera so I will be taking some w/ a DSLR and adding them to this post.

Very disappointing, I might even return the iMac and get the same config without the nano-texture… Going to sleep on it…

Maybe I should have known better and went to see the displays at the store first, but, you know: the virus, different lighting, different settings, etc. so I thought it would be too hard to see side by side.

For anyone thinking of getting the nano-texture, sadly: buyer beware. Definitely go see it in person first.

Here are two links to high-res photos (1/20s exposure time, f/8, ISO 100, on a tripod) I took of the full screens. Semi-empty desktops with the same wallpaper, both displays on same stock iMac color profile:

(Will continue to edit my post and add more images as I take them, just wanted to put this up there quickly – these were taken with a DSLR manually-focused to be as tack-sharp as I could get in each picture)


I’m not sure I understand what softness means. Do you mean anti-alias?

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This is very interesting and thank you for the photos. I’d like to see this in person at a store at some point.

Is it possible to get the look you want by changing reference modes? I’m deeply ignorant here but I assume they would have some effect on that subpixel rendering as well as the color.

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At first when I read this I thought that you meant that since the anti-glare treatment is done by etching the glass, touching the screen was sharp.

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Oh I meant the lack of sharpness in the display. It’s a result of the physical screen itself, not any kind of processing going on behind the scenes… I sit in softness agony as I type this.

I calibrated the screen when I got it, with the “real” calibration (hold Option when you click to calibrate to access more adjustments) but there is nothing I could do there to add any ‘sharpening’ effects.

And I think you can only change reference modes on the ProDisplay XDR, not on the iMac…

Haha! If this were the case I wouldn’t even be mad about the other kind of sharpness, I would think it’s so cool that the screen was sharp to the touch that I’d just keep it and invite everyone over to show them…

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The first quote sounded like nano-texture is insanely sharp, thus the confusion this has caused.

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Instead of telling the world to beware you should first determine if you got a bad display.

Because if you check out the video reviews it looks like your problems are not normal.

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Yeah it’s certainly something I’m going to look into tomorrow with Apple, but the chances of something being wrong with the display are extremely low…

I purchased the nano-texture without seeing it in person based on both of those videos you posted, and many more – plus a bunch of articles…

Maybe you’re right, because I cannot understand how the softness I’m seeing wouldn’t be mentioned in a big way by the early reviewers.

I will report back tomorrow when I hear from Apple on whether there are ways I can test it at home. If I can’t, I will see if I can get to an Apple store sometime in the next couple of days with it.

If it is a defect, I’ll heavily edit or delete my post, if not: I’m doubling down on this damn thing! :grin:

Marques especially is a straight shooter, and he doesn’t hesitate to ding Apple for mistakes.

And he knows monitors - he does 4K video editing regularly and owns a new Mac Pro with the new matching monitor.

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FYI AppleInsider posted a review and states it’s “notably less sharp” than glossy iMac screens


The Computer Clan made a video yesterday regarding the 2020 iMac and pointed out the softness.

I decided to share this topic with them.

They also said a bunch of stuff on Twitter, so you might want to go and check that out too.