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Old Dec 28, 2012, 03:50 PM   #1
schaibaa
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Thunderbolt display too high res for my wife

Hello everyone,

I got my wife a new rMBP and thunderbolt display for Christmas. The retina display looks great, and she's enjoying everything - however most things on the TBD are simply too small.

We've tried non-native resolutions but the quality is lower than we'd like. I understand that technically there's no problem to solve here, but are there any suggestions? This seems like a perfect way for the technology built in to the rMBP (pixel manipulation) to help out here.

Thanks
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 03:52 PM   #2
MisterKeeks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schaibaa View Post
This seems like a perfect way for the technology built in to the rMBP (pixel manipulation) to help out here.

Thanks
If it was Retina and 2x the resolution, things would be exactly the same size.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 05:03 PM   #3
Ccrew
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Buy her glasses?

Trade her in for a younger model as an upgrade?
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 05:09 PM   #4
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Set the TBD to run at 1280x720 HiDPI mode... A pseudo-retina display at a size your wife might find more reasonable.
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 05:20 PM   #5
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You'll probably have to return the TBD and get another screen in a lower resolution at the same size, so another 27" LCD in 1920x1080 resolution:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_st?bb...opularity-rank
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Old Dec 28, 2012, 06:49 PM   #6
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Leave the resolution alone and on any screen where she wants to zoom in (effectively enlarge the fonts) hit Command, Option, and the + keys. To zoom back out...use the combo with - key instead of the + key.
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Old Dec 29, 2012, 11:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schaibaa View Post
Hello everyone,

I got my wife a new rMBP and thunderbolt display for Christmas. The retina display looks great, and she's enjoying everything - however most things on the TBD are simply too small.

We've tried non-native resolutions but the quality is lower than we'd like. I understand that technically there's no problem to solve here, but are there any suggestions? This seems like a perfect way for the technology built in to the rMBP (pixel manipulation) to help out here.

Thanks
There is no pixel manipulation equivalent in the TBD to fix this. Is it primarily text that is too small for her? You might be able to address that on an app by app basis.

For example, I use the Safari extension Quickstyle to display a larger font on some sites. You can set it up to make all sites show a larger font if you like.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 06:34 AM   #8
potatis
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Or sell the TBD and find a used 24" ACD instead.
It's 95ppi instead of 110ppi on the TBD.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 09:11 AM   #9
Fishrrman
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Like your wife, I also find today's "high resolution" displays difficult to view at their native resolutions. The younger posters to this forum simply cannot comprehend why we older folks complain about such things -- but someday most of them will understand.

My suggestion for you and your wife:
Consider buying one of the "medium-resolution" large displays. By "med-rez", I mean a display that measures 27" diagonally, but still has the -resolution- of a 24" display (1920 x 1080):
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-s2740l/pd

The example above is an IPS display with a pixel size of .311 -- the individual pixels are considerably larger than those on the Thunderbolt display.

Yes, this means a lower resolution and the youngsters reading this reply will complain that "it looks grainy" to them. But it will look clear and readable to your wife at the native resolution.

The price on the Dell monitor above is very reasonable, as well.

My only complaint with it is that it's a "glossy" style display (edge-to-edge glass). I prefer "matte" displays, as there is less glare. But isn't the Thunderbolt display "glossy", as well?
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 09:51 AM   #10
KylePowers
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Move the monitor closer to her.

Alternatively, move her chair closer to the monitor.

That may sound facetious... but seriously, have you tried that?

Cheers
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 09:58 AM   #11
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Like others have said, your best bet is to get a different monitor whose native resolution matches the pixel density you (or she, I guess) find comfortable to read.

But I don't think I understand the other part of your post (pixel manipulation?). Apple's "retina" displays are effectively twice the resolution in both dimensions. Normally, this would make everything appear half the size while enabling you to fit twice as much on the display.* But instead, when using a Retina display, OS X (and iOS) effectively double the size of text (making it look sharper since you shouldn't be able to see individual pixels any longer) and using hi/double-resolution images if the app as provided them (in which case it should also look better) or just automatically scaling the normal-resolution ones up to twice the size (in which case it will look effectively the same as it would on an ordinary display).

So if your display, such as the TB display, is not Retina, there's really nothing that can be done. If Apple made a Retina TB display, you could probably get away with changing it to a "non-native" resolution between the normal and fullest density Retina setting, but I haven't tried this personally so I'm not sure how it would turn out. I suspect it would at least be better than running an ordinary monitor and non-native resolution since with greater pixel density you're less likely to see blurring and whatnot if the pixels don't line up exactly after scaling. But of course it doesn't matter with the external display since you can't do this with the current hardware.


*Actually, I'm not sure that's mathematically correct since the total number of pixels is the horizontal times vertical resolution and doubling both does not double the total number but actually does more depending on the aspect ratio, but it still makes sense intuitively to think of it the simpler way.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 04:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tredstone View Post
Set the TBD to run at 1280x720 HiDPI mode... A pseudo-retina display at a size your wife might find more reasonable.
Is this actually possible?
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 05:21 PM   #13
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Yes. It's not natively enabled in OSX but there's a few apps in the app store that can 'unlock' the option in settings. The Air Display program (free) that's used to broadcast a second screen to ipads can also enable it. 1280x720 obviously isn't the same usable space as native panel res on a 27", but it's not far off from the resolution of a 13" mb pro and the HiDPI makes it extremely crisp.
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Old Dec 31, 2012, 05:22 PM   #14
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You need to upgrade.

Wife 2.0 will be less problematic and you will get another 18 months out of her, according to Moore's Law.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 08:40 AM   #15
MeFromHere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schaibaa View Post
Hello everyone,

I got my wife a new rMBP and thunderbolt display for Christmas. The retina display looks great, and she's enjoying everything - however most things on the TBD are simply too small.

We've tried non-native resolutions but the quality is lower than we'd like. I understand that technically there's no problem to solve here, but are there any suggestions? This seems like a perfect way for the technology built in to the rMBP (pixel manipulation) to help out here.

Thanks
I don't personally know how/if this works, but I bookmarked the thread in case I need to try it when my new iMac arrives:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1512189

This supposedly enables additional screen options.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 08:24 PM   #16
schaibaa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMo View Post
Like others have said, your best bet is to get a different monitor whose native resolution matches the pixel density you (or she, I guess) find comfortable to read.

But I don't think I understand the other part of your post (pixel manipulation?). Apple's "retina" displays are effectively twice the resolution in both dimensions. Normally, this would make everything appear half the size while enabling you to fit twice as much on the display.* But instead, when using a Retina display, OS X (and iOS) effectively double the size of text (making it look sharper since you shouldn't be able to see individual pixels any longer) and using hi/double-resolution images if the app as provided them (in which case it should also look better) or just automatically scaling the normal-resolution ones up to twice the size (in which case it will look effectively the same as it would on an ordinary display).

So if your display, such as the TB display, is not Retina, there's really nothing that can be done. If Apple made a Retina TB display, you could probably get away with changing it to a "non-native" resolution between the normal and fullest density Retina setting, but I haven't tried this personally so I'm not sure how it would turn out. I suspect it would at least be better than running an ordinary monitor and non-native resolution since with greater pixel density you're less likely to see blurring and whatnot if the pixels don't line up exactly after scaling. But of course it doesn't matter with the external display since you can't do this with the current hardware.


*Actually, I'm not sure that's mathematically correct since the total number of pixels is the horizontal times vertical resolution and doubling both does not double the total number but actually does more depending on the aspect ratio, but it still makes sense intuitively to think of it the simpler way.


Yeah the idea would be running the monitor at native resolution but have the GPU do the scaling.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 11:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeFromHere View Post
I don't personally know how/if this works, but I bookmarked the thread in case I need to try it when my new iMac arrives:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1512189

This supposedly enables additional screen options.
This worked flawlessly on my TB display. I still enjoy the way I had it more but this is a great alternative to those who are vision impaired and still want a stunning resolution.
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Old Jan 1, 2013, 11:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbmagnet4 View Post
This worked flawlessly on my TB display. I still enjoy the way I had it more but this is a great alternative to those who are vision impaired and still want a stunning resolution.
This does not work with a Retina MBP.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 12:39 AM   #19
tredstone
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Originally Posted by calderone View Post
This does not work with a Retina MBP.
Huh? The rMBP has HiDPI enabled as the default resolution.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 01:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tredstone View Post
Huh? The rMBP has HiDPI enabled as the default resolution.
For an external display of course.
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Old Jan 2, 2013, 01:35 AM   #21
yensteel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishrrman View Post
Like your wife, I also find today's "high resolution" displays difficult to view at their native resolutions. The younger posters to this forum simply cannot comprehend why we older folks complain about such things -- but someday most of them will understand.

My suggestion for you and your wife:
Consider buying one of the "medium-resolution" large displays. By "med-rez", I mean a display that measures 27" diagonally, but still has the -resolution- of a 24" display (1920 x 1080):
http://www.dell.com/ed/business/p/dell-s2740l/pd

The example above is an IPS display with a pixel size of .311 -- the individual pixels are considerably larger than those on the Thunderbolt display.

Yes, this means a lower resolution and the youngsters reading this reply will complain that "it looks grainy" to them. But it will look clear and readable to your wife at the native resolution.

The price on the Dell monitor above is very reasonable, as well.

My only complaint with it is that it's a "glossy" style display (edge-to-edge glass). I prefer "matte" displays, as there is less glare. But isn't the Thunderbolt display "glossy", as well?
Fishrrman, that's a very good suggestion! There's certainly a demand for lower resolution but quality displays, and it's good that it's being fulfilled with this.

Schaibaa, try out the hdpi mode and let us know if it works . The older 24 inch apple display may be also a good choice, since the pixel density is lower than the 27 inch version.

Like Rmo said, retina displays does make alternative resolutions feel more crisp, since the pixel blockiness is less noticeable. For the retina display of the MacBook pros, it looked fine when it's in a non-native resolution. However, it may be a long while until apple would even consider adding that upgrade for the external display.

Last edited by yensteel; Jan 2, 2013 at 01:41 AM.
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