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View Full Version : Switching from MBP to MBA - question regarding resolution




onthecouchagain
Apr 26, 2011, 04:24 PM
Hi, I post here and there at the MBP forums. I recently purchased a 13" Pro 2011, and I'm finding the low resolution a little bothersome. After momentary use, my eyes begin to hurt and strain a bit. I wear glasses and recently updated my prescription so I don't believe it has to do with my actual eyesight.

I've been mulling over switching to an Air for a number of reasons, namely the hi-res screen and the portability. I'm discovering the Pro is a little overpowered (minus the hi-res screen, of course) for my needs, and would be okay with the Air's specs, especially if I decide to wait until the rumored refresh this June. Given this, I feel portability and the hi-res screen will benefit me more.

However, doing some research, I noticed a higher resolution screen means the texts are smaller, and I'm afraid smaller text may be counter productive to my eye issues. Do you 13" Air owners have issue reading texts? Do you feel you have to enlarge or zoom in often? I write (MS Word) and browse/email often. Or is the high resolution screen so sharp that small text aren't a problem? (And yes, this is assuming the resolution doesn't change with the refresh).

Anything you guys can shed a light on would be great. Appreciate it.



onthecouchagain
Apr 26, 2011, 09:53 PM
Anybody?

BigBeast
Apr 26, 2011, 10:05 PM
I like my MBA. No problems with eye strain here. Definitely less strain that my Hi-Res MBP. Also, just a quick outward pinch using the multi touch trackpad increases the font/icon size for most programs. You should be fine.

RealScience
Apr 26, 2011, 10:08 PM
I've never heard of lower resolution causing eye strain. If anything, maybe the resolution is still too high? I prefer the higher resolution of the MacBook Air myself (smaller pictures and text, more content in the same 13" screen), but I have no vision problems. Before you spend money on a different computer, I would consult your eye doctor for suggestions on how to make computer use easier on your eyes, or try these tips from the Mayo Clinic (see the second section, titled Tips for computer work):

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/eyestrain/DS01084/DSECTION=lifestyle%2Dand%2Dhome%2Dremedies

There are plenty of other tips out there, just do a web search for "reducing computer eye strain".

onthecouchagain
Apr 26, 2011, 11:15 PM
Thanks for the answers, you two.

The lack of screen real estate is one of the things I lament about my 13" Pro; everything just feels cramped when I start opening more programs. If reading the smaller texts is not an issue for 13" Air users, I think the switch will be safe. I will wait and see what the Air refresh brings...

If any other 13" Air owners want to chime in, I'd love to hear more.

torbjoern
Apr 26, 2011, 11:41 PM
Thanks for the answers, you two.

The lack of screen real estate is one of the things I lament about my 13" Pro; everything just feels cramped when I start opening more programs. If reading the smaller texts is not an issue for 13" Air users, I think the switch will be safe. I will wait and see what the Air refresh brings...

If any other 13" Air owners want to chime in, I'd love to hear more.

I think you will love the 13" Air - especially because of the extra pixels. Try one and you will see. I went from a Unibody MB 1280x800 to my 13" MB Air, and the increase in screen real estate (27 %) blew me away. I could finally use spreadsheets on my notebook without feeling cramped.

onthecouchagain
Apr 27, 2011, 09:04 AM
I think you will love the 13" Air - especially because of the extra pixels. Try one and you will see. I went from a Unibody MB 1280x800 to my 13" MB Air, and the increase in screen real estate (27 %) blew me away. I could finally use spreadsheets on my notebook without feeling cramped.


That's excellent. And how was it reading the smaller texts? Did you have any problem or find yourself leaning in to see everything?

Psilocybin
Apr 27, 2011, 09:43 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

You can easily zoom with a pinch of the trackpad

French
Apr 27, 2011, 10:02 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

You can easily zoom with a pinch of the trackpad

+1...I have pretty good eye sight but being able to zoom in on some websites has been helpful.

torbjoern
Apr 27, 2011, 10:28 AM
That's excellent. And how was it reading the smaller texts? Did you have any problem or find yourself leaning in to see everything?

Reading small text is fine. I haven't caught myself leaning in, but I sometimes have to "pinch out".

foulmouthedleon
Apr 27, 2011, 10:49 AM
I went from a 2010 13" MBA to a 2011 13" MBP and the one thing I really miss is the screen and the added resolution. Unfortunately the backlit keyboard, ability to change/upgrade my SSD and RAM outweighed it.

If the resolution is the only thing you're concerned with, go for the MBA. While it's not that much of an increase, it feels like it. The images and text are much more crisp and I don't recall any eye strain when using my MBA. Also the "glossy" scren isn't nearly as glossy as the MBP, so you don't get near as much glare.

Beanoir
Apr 27, 2011, 10:58 AM
Its funny you should bring this up actually.

When I moved to the MBA I started getting real headaches from eye strain. It was recommended by my optician that I limit the amount of time each day for the first few weeks in order for my eyes to become used to the much smaller text size.

Needless to say that I now have no issues with it, but a higher res screen on a smaller physical screen size will of course mean the eyes need to stretch their muscles (hence the headaches) that bit more to focus on the smaller text. You'll either get used to it or you won't (depending on your own eyes) and if not then you'll have to lower the screen res.

onthecouchagain
Apr 27, 2011, 11:03 AM
Interesting. Thanks for all the feedback. It'll factor into my decision this Summer.

I think i could easily get a cool $1,000 (or more?) on Craigslist for my Pro even if I sell it in June.

Onimusha370
Apr 27, 2011, 11:28 AM
no problems reading text on my air, and seeing as the pinch out feature is so well implemented, you shouldn't have any issues. the 13 inch MBA is a brilliant computer, you'll love it

Kafka
Apr 27, 2011, 12:14 PM
I personally moved from the 13"MBA to the 13"MBP because of that issue.
My eyes aren't too bad and I didn't get any headaches, but still, reading on the higher res was not too comfortable for me. I zoomed in pretty often in safari and numbers.
The extra space was very nice though...

In any case it seems to me that an higher pixel density will make your problem worse.

onthecouchagain
Apr 27, 2011, 01:04 PM
I personally moved from the 13"MBA to the 13"MBP because of that issue.
My eyes aren't too bad and I didn't get any headaches, but still, reading on the higher res was not too comfortable for me. I zoomed in pretty often in safari and numbers.
The extra space was very nice though...

In any case it seems to me that an higher pixel density will make your problem worse.

This is precisely what I am afraid of. Why might a higher resolution, i.e., a screen with more detail, sharper images, sharper texts, make it harder or more of a strain to see/read? Is it only because the texts are smaller?

Beanoir
Apr 27, 2011, 02:05 PM
This is precisely what I am afraid of. Why might a higher resolution, i.e., a screen with more detail, sharper images, sharper texts, make it harder or more of a strain to see/read? Is it only because the texts are smaller?

Well the higher res means that they can fit more detail on the screen by effectively shrinking the text etc because because it wont look pixelated and will give more space. Now thats fine on a large screen, but when it comes to the MBA and other netbooks, particularly the 11" MBA, the screen size is physically quite small, so the detail is shrunk even further in order to maintain the same ratio and high res. Difficult to explain and maybe somebody could do better than me.

Its fine generally as it's perfectly readable and makes for a nice amount of usable real estate on the screen, but it does encourage squinting, even for somebody with 20/20 vision.

Vantage Point
Apr 27, 2011, 02:39 PM
I have a real problem with eye strain. One tip is to set a minimum font size in safari so you will not have to pinch out so often. Remember, The higher the resolution, the small the same font size will be.

Kafka
Apr 27, 2011, 03:55 PM
Is it only because the texts are smaller?
Well everything is smaller, but it becomes a problem when it comes to text.

klaze
Apr 27, 2011, 04:05 PM
I had a white macbook before getting my 13 air(2 weeks ago). I was also worried about the smallest text sizes because of the higher resolution. The text is smaller but not by much. You may not even notice the difference, but you will definitly notice how much clearer it is.