15" standard vs. 15" hi-res

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by M-1, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. M-1 macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2010
    I need some opinions as I cannot for the life of me make up my mind on whether to get the 15" standard or hi-res screen. Forget all the talk about Anti-glare vs. Glossy screens, I'm talking strictly resolution here.

    The fact that my local apple store won't display any of the hi-res models is beyond me, but what can you do. I have been highly considering to just buy a hi-res model, but I keep trying to tell myself not to spend $2k+ without seeing it first.

    My main concern is obviously whether things might overall be a little too small to be practical on a 15" screen. I know it would be readable, but the point is, is it actually comfortable to read and work on after extended periods of use... Sure one can zoom & increase the size of web pages with 'cmd +' but that can only do so much and isn't this the kind of thing that creates more hassle than should be necessary?

    I've looked at the hi-res 17" at the Apple store to get an idea for the hi-res 15" and my impressions were that things were definitely crisper but naturally tinier. I found it quite alright to get around but certain things did bug me, like I definitely felt it necessary to scale up websites, Mail app font is too small, Garage Band effects/plug-ins windows seemed quite small, context menus same story etc... But I guess overall it worked well for the 17" considering the larger screen. So how does this carry over to a 15" with a smaller screen? Calculations suggest that the 17" mbp has 133ppi while the hi-res 15" mbp has 128ppi. That makes it very similar in pixel density suggesting that things would appear almost the same or more specifically that the 15" should even be slightly larger... But is this reallllly the case!?

    l guess right now I am leaning a bit more towards the standard res 15" as I somehow feel like the resolution of 1440x900 is the sweet spot for a 15" and better suited overall. But then again I do recognize the superior quality in the 1680x1050 hi res resolution and like the idea of having more pixels :p I just don't know whether it works for the 15". I mean if you want more things on screen isn't that where external monitors come into the conversation as the proper solution?

    I just don't know what is the right choice. I'm sure if I got the hi-res screen I would eventually get used to it, but at what cost? I'm worried it'll be something I have to get used to rather than getting used to if you get what I mean.

    So if some of you guys could care to share some of your thoughts between the two screens it would be of great help! Especially those who've already spent some time in front of their new hi-res mbp. Also if anyone could post up some more comparison photos and or screen shots that would be great too. Thanks!

    Wow, really sorry about the lengthy post :p
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
  3. M-1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2010
    True, there are already quite a few posts on this matter, but they're somehow speaking of the different screens in general and comparing the anti-glare vs. glossy finish amongst other things. I want to keep this thread as specific as possible on the pixel density/resolution matter... But I suppose I could have just contributed in the existing threads rather than creating another one... So I apologize for that... But again I just want this to be more on the topic of the 15" screen resolution!
  4. biposto macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2010
    I had a 15" few years back with standard resolution, changed to a 17" with 1920 res and now i got back to a 15" with standard resolution.
    I agree with everything you say, for me the 17" with the high res was kinda making my eyes tired and the zooming and adjusting browsing and some apps was for me the reason to go back to the standard resolution and i love it.
    Good luck with your decision

    Ps the new MBPs are fantastic :)
  5. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    I played with the high res and it is well worth it. That is the one I am getting.
  6. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    I have an 08 15" MBP and I will say that the screen is pretty much begging for a slight increase in the resolution. In my opinion, the jump up to 1680x1050 is absolutely perfect. If I were to replace my 15" MBP, I would absolutely and without any hesitation get the hi-res, matte screen on it.
  7. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The jump was a good move by Apple. I would have wanted 1920x1200, but unfortunately I don't think many other people would have wanted that.
  8. PandaOnslaught macrumors regular


    Feb 22, 2010
    i own the new MBP HD glossy, and the resolution is just right, any larger, and i probably wouldnt be able to read anything, its great for multitasking, i really think you would enjoy it.

    ps my eyesight is fairat best
  9. M-1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2010
    The funny thing is I agree that @ 1440x900 the 15" mbp could use a resolution bump... but somehow the next step up @ 1680x1050 just seems that little too much for a screen of that size... I mean its somehow a slight rule of thumb that 1680x1050 are meant for screens 17"+ but i totally get why ppl would want it on a 15"... this is where I'm trying to decide if maybe I just need to give it a try...

    If only snow leopard supported resolution independence! Do any of you believe Apple will actually implement resolution independence in the near future? That would almost make the hi-res a no brainer and a good decision in future proofing the thing. But if it that takes 2-4 more years to implement I'd rather not wait and take that chance.
  10. tim100 macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2009
    I had a 17 inch c2d and it was the best looking screen I have ever had but the text was so small.I have bad eye sight and I was always getting eyestrain.
  11. M-1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2010

    1920x1200 on a 15" screen!?!? lol you're crazy! That would require some serious magnified vision without resolution independence. Haha wow :D


    Yeah that's what I'm worried might happen if I use the 15" hi-res... I know it will look great but I'm worried about the amount of eye strain it'll cause in the long term... I mean I stare into a computer screen for at least 8 hours a day and I could imagine a higher resolution display would only accelerate any of those long term effects... It just wouldn't be worth it...

    I wonder though, even if text is smaller to read... could the crispness & clarity from the finer pixels counter that effect? Meh too scientific lol
  12. tim100 macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2009
    no. i loved the screen but the small text hurt my eyes. i have bad eyes and you can't blow up all text. i know some people on here will say that the small text is ok on the eyes but for me I have bad eyes and have a hard time seeing text that is not on top of my face.
  13. davige macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2010
    I had the same agonizing dilemma about standard vs. hi-res on the 15". I also want anti-glare but that's not the main issue. Would the hi-res text be too small for my old eyes? I use bi-focal computer/reading glasses for computing and sit about 1-1/2 to 2 ft. away from the screen. I went to a couple of Apple Stores today in LA looking for both to compare side-by-side. I also compared text on a standard 13" vs. hi-res 15" and found it more pleasing on the 15". Then, I went over to look at the iPads and realized that its native text is even smaller than any laptop computer and it didn't bother me. So, the answer for me was 'Yes, the hi-res is fine'. If it hadn't been, I was ready to get standard and add an anti-glare film but I was not disappointed in the text size of the hi-res. I'm sort of glad that they don't offer the anti-glare in standard res or I may have regretted pulling the trigger before I actually compared them in person. BTW, I was also a fan of the black screen border but now after seeing it in person I actually like the silver trim of the anti-glare. It's very sleek in a retro kind of way without being too PC-ish. Hope this helps and you are happy with whatever decision you make.
  14. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    I know windows doesn't really compare well with resolutions with OS X because text is normally bolder and bigger in OS X. But my last dell laptop had a 15.4" screen with options for I think 1280 x 1024, 1680 x 1050, and 1920 x something. I went with 1680 x 1050 and it was really good. Plus there is a matte option for the macbook 15" pro, which will make everything softer and easier to read. I high recommend 1680 x 1050 matte.
  15. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    same for me 1440 x 900 perfect for a 15" ... higher resolution is meant for 17" monitors, I agree.

    I'll never understand the acceptance of tiny text on a computer screen ... great for photo / video work and entertainment but I read a lot on my computer and I'm not into eyestrain any more than I'm into constantly resizing fonts.

    I wish Apple offered an AG option for the 1440 x 900 screen, they'd of had my money by now.
  16. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Jan 20, 2010
    That's because, for some of us, the text doesn't seem tiny! On another computer of mine, it has a pixel density very similar to the hi-res 15" MBP screen and I found it to be quite perfect.
  17. cmparrish macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2010
    I would go for the 1680x1050, that's what I got. I can't imagine running anything bigger like 1440.
  18. M-1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2010
    Thanks for all your replies! It has been very helpful, although I get the feeling that there may be a bit of bias in that a majority of those on this forum have opted for the higher resolution... nothing wrong with that... just my observation. I suppose it speaks a lot for the higher res.

    After reading your replies, it definitely appears that the higher res is the popular decision but I'm still on the fence. I keep thinking I want the higher resolution, but am still bothered by the difference in scaling.

    I wonder if this is another thing worth noting... in how some of us work differently on a desktop. For instance, I like to be able to have say two documents side by side... but I hardly do this... I generally work on one window/application at a time and I'd like to believe that using 'spaces' helps in organizing and separating different tasks... but I haven't been able to use it much yet to know whether I'd actually use this feature much and find it practical...

    I generally also like to maximize my windows and again am just worried that there will be too much excess/unused empty space... I mean lets face it, things like web pages aren't optimized for high resolution screens... I want my content to fill up the screen, but with the higher res that means having to always enlarge everything to fill out that extra space...

    Ughh decisions decisions! My gut is telling me to go for the standard res, but opting for the higher res just seems like the a logical thing to do since it has 'more pixels'... lol

    So the majority of you hi-res owners believe it's all good?
    I'd still be interested on some more opinions on how you feel it has been working around your desktop... like do you feel you are enlarging a lot of things? Is it becoming a chore? Are there applications you feel you wish you could enlarge but can't? Is the added screen space really that useful and worth it?

    I guess the ultimate question here for me is whether with a 1680x1050, can one enlarge and make things appear like on a 1440x900 screen without much fuss and without degrading the quality/sharpness?

    This sucks... I want to be with my new mbp already... lol
  19. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    But what suits YOUR needs, and ignore the others... it sounds a lot like you'd rather have larger on screen fonts/etc, so the normal screen should work just fine. I have a late '08 1440x900 glossy - for almost everything, its been totally fine. The only time I've ever found a want of more resolution is when editing photos, but for day-to-day (since I'm not always editing photos) the lower resolution is just so much easier on the eyes.
  20. pawo macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2010
    Im still debating between the two aswell, I checked them out last week. I went in thinking I would prefer the glossy because of the black boarder, but the silver trim on the AG didnt look bad at all.

    Websites/itunes/all sorts of other stuff seemed easier to read on the standard res.. but when I switched over to the standard res version after using the hi-res for a while the menu bar looked huge! (in a bad way) Someone mentioned it looking like a computer for kids.

    I would love the anti-glare but feel the 1440x900 will be alot easier on my eyes in the long run. I cant make up my mind... Ill be visiting the apple store again real soon to check them out again.
  21. M-1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2010
    My dilemma is that I do plan on using my mbp to run programs such as Logic Pro for producing music quite a bit and Adobe Photoshop for editing images... So it would suggest that the higher res would suit my needs and be the right choice.

    That and my vision is pretty good, so I wouldn't necessarily need larger fonts and such. I can live with smaller fonts, my eyes may hate me for it in the long term but I have no problems reading them... but again I'm just unsure that a resolution of 1680x1050 is optimal for a 15" in terms of how things are presented... E.g. all those excess white borders on web pages, smaller photoshop palettes, smaller plug-ins for editing EQ in logic pro etc.. they all just scream to be enlarged one would think lol.

    Ultimately I need to make up my mind soon. If only my Apple store would have them on display I could make a proper assessment on the spot and not have to discuss it in a thread like this... but here I am lol
  22. Mrmyeah macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2010
    Hey! I ordered the high res and am typing on it as we speak. I ordered it the Tuesday it came out and it arrived this morning.

    I am wondering if I made the right decision. It is causing some SERIOUS eye strain. My old MBP was the 2006 first Core2Duo model, so things are very different for me. The menu bar on top is VERY small in terms of font and from what I've read, that setting cannot be changed.

    I watched a standard iTunes program and you notice the lack of HD VERY QUICKLY. iTunes HD is nice, but again, you see way too much grain. The picture is almost too clear for the content. If the content was 1080p, it might be a different story, but with no BluRay capabilities, I think you might be better off with the normal model.

    My mindset was for an extra $100, why the hell not. But if you have to wait (what has now become) 5-7 business days, I dunno. I think if I had to re-do it, I'd probably just opt for an in store model.

    Also, there are some kind of defects within the display. Five small bubble-like things under the screen. I'm gonna take it in when I get a sec.

    Keep in mind, i'm technically challenged, so I probably don't have a clue as to what I'm saying, lol. This is just my opinion, that of a causal user. iPhoto does look spectacular, though.

    On a completely different tangent, I long for my 2006 keyboard, I hate these black chiclet keys. Ugh.

    Anyways, best of luck, I'm sure you'll enjoy the computer, whatever configuration you decide to go with. I'm being *very* nitpicky with my comments. My only real disappointment is the bubble things behind the display glass.

    Cheers, M.
  23. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    My experience is the same. Here's to hoping Apple never discontinues the 1440 x 900 screen ... wish it had an AG option.
  24. diablo2112 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2010
    I've read the various responses here and tend to agree. We all had to make a similar decision. In the end, I went with the hi-res and am happy about it. For one thing, on the rare occasion that I find the text small, it's a simple pinch/zoom gesture on the trackpad to fix (e.g., one hand) which is no harder than any other trackpad usage. No need to hold command+ or anything like that.

    Also, I think resale on the hi-res 15" will be considerably higher than the standard. Reason is down the road, if someone wants a used MBP 15", the prior generation will honestly be a better buy if you're comfortable with the 1440x900 resolution. 1680x1050 will only be available in this generation, and that will help resale considerably. Not that resale is a huge issue if you're paying a premium for a new computer, but thought I'd mention it since it hasn't been brought up.

    I look at it this way. The tyranny of choice. Choice is almost always good, and in the end, there's no wrong answer. You have to pick something for yourself. It's only the anxiety of wondering if the other road would have been better, and that's an anxiety we bring on ourselves. There's enough to worry about in life to add stress over what basically is a very positive issue. My god, prior generations would die for the technology we now use everyday. We're basically living in a Star-Trek world, and that's something to celebrate. So, trust your own judgement, and it will work out. There is no wrong answer here.
  25. M-1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2010

    I envy the fact that your store displays them. lol. If one Apple store can show them why can't they all? It's really annoying!

    I hear what you're saying about things suddenly looking big when looking at the standard 15"... I had that same experience after playing with the 17" for a while... But it wasn't much different in the way of when I moved from the 15" to the 17", thinking everything was a tad too small... Obviously our eyes adjust and get used to what we are looking at but I agree it was an odd feeling where the 15" suddenly looked bigger and less crisp but then after re-opening applications and viewing the same web pages again it just felt right if you know what I mean... the 17" @ 1920x1200 obviously had the finer quality but the standard 15" had everything appearing in a scale that felt right and optimal for that screen...

    Wow, I think I've nearly made up my mind... Optimal scaling vs. finer quality... hmm lol

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