13" rMBP: is it just me or is 1440x900 blurrier than default?

JerTheGeek

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So I have a rMBP 13" and am deciding between resolutions. I switched from an Air and kinda want to use the 1440x900 resolution, but I find it somewhat blurrier than the default. Is it just me? What exactly causes it to be blurrier? I've tried turning off LCD Font Smoothing but that doesn't seem to do a ton.
 

DeltaMac

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Jul 30, 2003
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If you set it for a scaled resolution, less than the native, then - yes, you would expect that the screen will not be as sharp as the native 2560x1600.
Most folks report that it is just fine on 1440x900, and sharper than the MBAir at the same res, as the screen itself is better quality.
You may experience some lag on scaled resolutions, compared to the native setting.
Have you tried using it at the 1680x1050?
 

JerTheGeek

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If you set it for a scaled resolution, less than the native, then - yes, you would expect that the screen will not be as sharp as the native 2560x1600.
Most folks report that it is just fine on 1440x900, and sharper than the MBAir at the same res, as the screen itself is better quality.
You may experience some lag on scaled resolutions, compared to the native setting.
Have you tried using it at the 1680x1050?
Yeah briefly, found it a bit too small for video editing though.

I don't notice any lag, just the sharpness difference. I guess it isn't that big of a difference, and the screen still looks great. The best thing is I can easily switch!
 

throAU

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I haven't noticed. Things are smaller and therefore a little harder to read (because they're smaller), but i haven't noticed it being blurry. In theory it shouldn't be anyway due to the way the scaling works (double res to 2880x1800, draw, then scale back to retina res).

I have used both 1440x900 and 1680x1050 occasionally when i need more desktop space.
 

JerTheGeek

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I haven't noticed. Things are smaller and therefore a little harder to read (because they're smaller), but i haven't noticed it being blurry. In theory it shouldn't be anyway due to the way the scaling works (double res to 2880x1800, draw, then scale back to retina res).

I have used both 1440x900 and 1680x1050 occasionally when i need more desktop space.
I'm probably just overthinking it. I'm gonna try to use the 1440 option for a few days and see if I enjoy it.
 

Samuelsan2001

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Oct 24, 2013
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Yes it is, but its not bad at all, the default is the clearest because it is scaling exactly half in each direction, for 1440 x 900 it has to fettle things a bit.
 

throAU

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^ after this thread i set my mac to 1440x900 and 1680x1050 to check, and i think the blurriness is perhaps your eyes (and mine).

if i look real close i can't see that the screen is blurred, but it is definitely less easily read.

(20 years in the computing industry for work will do that i guess)
 

Freyqq

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Everything is a little smaller due to scaling, but it is always running at the native resolution of the panel.
 

JerTheGeek

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^ after this thread i set my mac to 1440x900 and 1680x1050 to check, and i think the blurriness is perhaps your eyes (and mine).

if i look real close i can't see that the screen is blurred, but it is definitely less easily read.

(20 years in the computing industry for work will do that i guess)
Hmmm interesting, I still think it is not as sharp, but I guess that's because it isn't gonna be as sharp with everything smaller.
 

MRxROBOT

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Hmmm interesting, I still think it is not as sharp, but I guess that's because it isn't gonna be as sharp with everything smaller.
Sorry to be the bringer of bad news JerTheGeek but you're getting older. Soon 1440x900 won't look as sharp as 1280x800 then comes the reading glasses and soon enough you'll be wondering why kids play their music so damn loud :p
 
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throAU

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Sorry to be the bringer of bad news JerTheGeek but you're getting older. Soon 1440x900 won't look as sharp as 1280x800 then comes the reading glasses and soon enough you'll be wondering why kids play their music so damn loud :p
Sad, but true.

I still don't need glasses (well, maybe i do but i don't NEED them if that makes sense), but way back in the day (say, 1995-2000) i was one of the kids running 1600x1200 on a 4:3 17-19" display and wanting even higher resolution.

Not any more.
 

JerTheGeek

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Sorry to be the bringer of bad news JerTheGeek but you're getting older. Soon 1440x900 won't look as sharp as 1280x800 then comes the reading glasses and soon enough you'll be wondering why kids play their music so damn loud :p
Actually I'm only in HS so I don't think that would really be a factor; I do wear glasses but I'm nearsighted. Text is pin sharp on the 1280 setting, but isn't that fuzzy on 1440, just enough that I was wondering. I thought there was a specific reason that caused fuzziness I had heard elsewhere in other threads. I guess it's just the natural consequence of running it at a bit smaller res.
 

PTLove

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Sep 12, 2014
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It doesn't look as sharp because it isn't!
2560x1600 (the native resolution of the panel) is exactly 1280*800 cut i half. This is very important. This means that every single pixel on the screen can be represented 1-1 by simply doubling its width and height. Perfect scaling.

When you use 1440x900, this is no longer the case. A pixel cannot be perfectly computed to fit onto the pixels when running at this resolution. This means that pixels, which were previously perfectly "on-or-off", now will be dithered, such that a pixel is "75% on" or "25% on" when the scaling occurs.

The end result is it is blurrier. 100%. Its just not bad, because the pixel density is so high in the first place that the fact 1 or two pixels are not perfect is usually not seen.

This is the same reason why it used to be recommended you never run a LCD monitor at a non-native resolution. The big different today is that screens have so many more pixels the issue is much harder to detect. But its the same underlying issue.
 
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MRxROBOT

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The default setting on the 15" is 1440 x 900 but I run it at 1680 x 1050. I notice zero difference in sharpness. Perhaps there's a difference with the 13", but I would be surprised if there was as they have about the same ppi. None of that really matters though, just pick whatever your eyes are most comfortable with. I think PTLove answered your question perfectly from a technical standpoint but with these resolutions I think it's just your eyes needing to focus a bit more or maybe my eyes are so bad now that it all looks equally blurry :)
 

Kristine

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I run my 2015 13" rMBP at 1920x1200 with font smoothing turned off (entered <data>AAAPAAAACWAAAAAB</data> in last line of DisplayProductID file). I like how I can have Word open at 150% on the left side of my screen and Safari web browser (or Preview with PDF) on the right side of my screen for research.
 

JerTheGeek

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May 15, 2014
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It doesn't look as sharp because it isn't!
2560x1600 (the native resolution of the panel) is exactly 1280*800 cut i half. This is very important. This means that every single pixel on the screen can be represented 1-1 by simply doubling its width and height. Perfect scaling.

When you use 1440x900, this is no longer the case. A pixel cannot be perfectly computed to fit onto the pixels when running at this resolution. This means that pixels, which were previously perfectly "on-or-off", now will be dithered, such that a pixel is "75% on" or "25% on" when the scaling occurs.

The end result is it is blurrier. 100%. Its just not bad, because the pixel density is so high in the first place that the fact 1 or two pixels are not perfect is usually not seen.

This is the same reason why it used to be recommended you never run a LCD monitor at a non-native resolution. The big different today is that screens have so many more pixels the issue is much harder to detect. But its the same underlying issue.
That's exactly what I was looking for, thanks! And I agree, it isn't that bad. Thanks!
[doublepost=1462799964][/doublepost]Also, what exactly does font smoothing do and does it make a big difference when using scaled resolutions?
 
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