Why are you forced run display at maximum resolution?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by saintforlife, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. saintforlife, Mar 17, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2011
    So on my new MBA when I try to reduce the default (highest) resolution down from 1440 X 900 to 1280 X 800 or something like that, why do things like fonts, icons etc. start to look like crap? Text especially starts to look very blurry. Even though the highest resolution makes everything looks very sharp, some of the text is too small for me to read comfortable and I'd like to run a slightly lower resolution.

    I am a first time Mac user and on my Windows laptop, when I lower the resolution, I don't see icons or text at the top of the menu bar like - File, Edit, View etc. degrade as much as on my Air.

    Does Apple 'want' people to run at the highest resolution always and forces things to look bad when you lower the resolution? Is this like a feature or something on Macs? Anybody else have a similar problem or am I just imagining things?

    I love everything else about the MBA so far. Wouldn't trade it for any other computer or tablet at this time.
  2. macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    That's generally what happens on LCD displays. At anything other than native resolution, they have to kinda make up some of the images, which ends up looking kinda lousy. The effect is likely amplified by the already high resolution and how sharp it makes the display look. Definitely not apple's intention
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2011
    That sucks. Any chance the next gen OS Lion will be resolution independent like Windows?

    The 1440x900 resolution of the new MacBook Air 13.3" screen is simply too high, making everything way too small and straining on my eyes.
  4. macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    It's really not the OS. My screen is 1280x800, and looks great, it's simply a matter of running the screen at a resolution lower than native. It will look bad no matter what the OS does, as 1280x800 does not divide evenly into 1440x900. My suggestion is if it really bothers you that much, you could exchange it for a 13" MBP, which is 1280x800 native and will look much better at that resolution.
  5. macrumors member

    Feb 21, 2004
    If you just want bigger text, can't you just adjust the text size in Finder? ⌘J with the desktop selected will allow you to adjust the font and icon size, same shortcut in any finder window will allow you to make similar adjustments for folders and make all folders use the new settings as default.

    That won't change the text size in bar at the top, maybe you could use screen zooming in the Universal Access tab of System Preferences.

  6. macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2007
    I've had a MBA 13" for a week now and I also feel the native resolution for text too small as I'm coming from a 1997 Macbook Pro 15". I think I'm getting use to it slowly, but still in two minds whether to return it for a new MBP 15" or go back to using my old MBP 15" (but it's getting long in the tooth), until they revamp the MBP 15" without DVD drives and slimmer.

    You could try also dimming the brightness to reduce eye strain so the whites are not glowing white and change preferences in things like safari to not allow text to get smaller than 12 at least.
  7. macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    Now, look, you don't question why Apple do things. You accept and love it!

    Shun the non-believer! SHUN!


    In all serious, I think it's the text smoothing that makes it look fuzzy outside of native resolution. I'd leave the resolution itself alone and adjust text as per suggestion from heyadol and HiddenGem.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2003
    Some screens scale worse than others, it depends on the exact adjustment being made and other factors but ALL LCD screens will look blurry and it has nothing to do with the OS whatsoever. LCD screens are fixed-pixel displays. The screen is ALWAYS 1440X900. When you run a lower resolution, it has to be stretched to 1440X900. Like blowing up a photograph from a low-resolution camera to a poster.

    You're right, a resolution-independent OS is the answer. If you know that much, I'm surprised you didn't know that all fixed-pixel displays get blurry when scaled. Windows 7 is better than OS X in this department, sad but true. But it's not perfect and my guess is Apple is waiting for a really, really good, polished, resolution-independent interface.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Feb 7, 2008
    I don't really know the reason, but it's true that reducing the resolution in my high res 2010 MBP, actually makes everything look like crap. My 17" PC, which does not have a supergood resolution to begin with, does a much better job when changing resolutions.
    It really does not bother me. Actually I love the screen and the sensation of space you get from it.
  10. macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Lion might just bring resolution independence that will fix this. It is sad that Windows has this figured out forever and OS X doesn't. I have to believe with Apple that they're quickly wanting to learn how trouble make retina displays possible and yet make all users happy no matter how big they want their system fonts and icons and such to look. I really think when Apple put the high resolution screens in the 15" MBP and both MBAs that they finally learned resolution independence has to be in OS X. I fully expect it to be in Lion this Summer.
  11. macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2010
    How much smaller is 1400 x 900 than the 1280x800? I'm planning to get the 13 MBA, but I already feel that my current resolution of 1280x800 is already small on my white macbook.
  12. macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    persevere - you'll get used to it.
    only took me a couple of hours.
    now when I look at the missus' MB screen res at 1280x800 it seems gay
  13. hfg
    macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    Just run down to the drugstore and get some cheap reading glasses ... for me at the distance I normally have the screen, the "1.25 or 1.50" magnification ones make a world of difference. :cool:

    Measure the distance to your screen as you normally hold the Air, then try reading something with small fonts at that distance with different power glasses to find the one right for you ... then get a frame you can live with at that power.

    Otherwise ...
    change the resolution to the least fuzzy you can stand,
    zoom the font with "command + or _",
    or zoom the screen with "CTRL scroll".
  14. macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2005
    I wish it could be this big native like on my 27s :D

  15. macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2010
    native resolution means each pixel is displaying a true resolution.

    lower the resolution on an LCD and you now have multiple pixels representing a general area. things tend to blur. That's normal for all LCD and pixel based displays.
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    New York
    the answer is simple, increase your dock size and increase your icons/font. You can also pinch to zoom in safari ect.

    Same res, bigger everything.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2003
    It's all math. Most (all?) monitors use a fairly simple linear scaling algorithm. Therefore, it'll always degrade to crap. But how bad the crap is depends on how nicely the numbers fit together. For example, 800X600 won't look nearly as bad as 1024X768 on a 1600X1200 display. That's why Apple went all the way to 960x640 instead of a more typical 800X480 for the iPhone 4. I have an 800X480 LCD phone - it's already sharp enough to not see individual pixels for more than a couple inches away (Samsung phones that resolution don't count due to the Pentile Matrix). But original iPhone apps would look like crap.
  18. macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    there seems to be lots of adverts on the 'net to help me increase my dock size, but I haven't bought any of them - they look like a scam to me :D

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