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No idea as to recommending a low-end monitor, but I do recommend a Spyder. You can pick up a used Spyder 3 fairly cheaply, and as long as it has not been used intensively (work/education, calibrating 10+ computers monthly), it will work just fine. It will walk you through adjusting the brightness of your MBP.
Thank you. Two more questions.
Aside from the brightness, I'm presuming it will calibrate the colors on the MBP as well? How does this happen since there are no color adjustments I know of on my MBP?
Another question I have is this.... Once it is calibrated, can I change the brightness for when I use the web, of other non-photo related programs, and then just change the brightness back to its calibrated state when I am working with photos? Or once I change the brightness, the entire calibration is ruined?