17 inch MBP Screen: High res makes text hard to read

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Onay, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. Onay macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2009
    Okay this is a very specific problem that I'm sure other 17" MBP users have. I bought a 17" uMPB a few weeks ago and after a fair amount of use I am started to get a bit of eye strain from trying to read the text on the screen.

    I understand that the text size (as well as palettes, other windows, etc.) are smaller because they are taking up the same number of pixels on a higher dpi screen (I believe the WUXGA MBP screen is 136 dpi). So it makes many things difficult to read.

    I have tried TinkerTool to increase font sizes, but many things in the system appear to remain unchanged and things such as dialog windows are still very small. I really want to increase the size of the text globally but there doesn't seem to be an easy solution. I would not consider lowering my resolution simply because I want to be able to view my pictures and high def videos at native screen resolution.

    Is there an easy solution to this? Please don't post things like "just zoom in by holding ctrl and scrolling" because I know that exists, but that's a workaround. Thanks ahead of time for your help.

    EDIT: These are my google findings for my problem... Haven't been much help up to this point.
  2. TsuaSai macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2006
    Well not going to post just zoom. However have you had an eye exam lately? Could be something more wrong with you and not the computer just a thought...
  3. voltare macrumors member

    May 26, 2008
    He didn't say there was anything wrong with the computer. Only that he has trouble reading the native font size...
  4. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Well to be honest, I keep my head about two feet away at most when doing things with text. I do understand your issue but even resting in my lap the res. is okay for me and my eyes. Tough to balance out screen res. vs eye strain if you are having problems but another thought would be to use some special glasses for using only on your computer that are meant for about 24" at most away from the screen.
    Hate to say it but it's really either your eyes or adjust the screen and accept the situation that the res. is too small for the size screen and your eyes ;)
    Good luck!
  5. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    This is the reason that I was swayed to picking up a 15" mbp instead of a 17." I did have the 17" hi res previous gen mbp for a while and it strained my eyes that I would get headaches from reading articles (even with making font bigger).
  6. macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006

    I don't understand the problem people are having at all! Isn't there a minimum font size setting y'all could simply use?

    Once this is set so the font has physically the same size as on a computer with poorer resolution, there's simply no excuse for eye strain because in this case the font at higher resolution will always be more legible (compare e.g. the font in a book, which is super-high resolution).
  7. Onay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2009
    Yes, but its not necessarily the resolution that's affecting the text size. Its the DPI. Because the pixel density is higher on the 17" than on the 15", then the fonts look smaller because they're both taking up the same pixels, but the number of pixels per square inch is higher on the 17", thus the text is smaller.

    I don't know of this minimum font size setting you're talking about
  8. Andrew K. macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    hold command and + key to zoom in - to zoom out
  9. DFTU101 macrumors member

    May 16, 2008
    No one-stop solution

    I agree with your comments on the display of the 17 inch MBP (great display-tiny text). There is no one solution that will increase the font and text to make everything more readable but keeping the display at 1920 X 1200. There are a couple of things that I have found to improve the text with certain applications:

    Apple Mail:
    But here's another work around if small font sizes bug you too. It adds a new key to your com.apple.mail.plist file that will govern the size of HTML text.

    1. Quit Mail

    2. Open the Terminal and type in the following:

    defaults write com.apple.mail MinimumHTMLFontSize 13

    3. Restart Mail.app and your HTML messages are readable.

    Of course you can set the point size to whatever you like. The best size is 14 for the 17 inch screen.

    A technique that might help is to change the display zoom factor for iCal with this command in Terminal:
    defaults write com.apple.iCal AppleDisplayScaleFactor 1.1

    Like most apps, iCal hasn't been designed for resolution-independent display yet. You can change 1.1 to a larger scale factor, but any larger than this and the pop-up edit fields for events overflow the popup balloon.

    Also, if you use Firefox, there is an addon called "nosquint" that allows you not only to set a default magnification but you can set the magnification individually at different websites (for example the text at CNN may be best at 115% instead of 120% of default value). Once you set the magnification you want, it remembers that value for the next time you visit that site.
  10. chipmonkey macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2009
    Halifax, Canada
    I was worried about the same thing, but it never became an issue for me. I did bump up the font size in Firefox, just because there are so many badly designed sites that use microscopic text.

    I couldn't live without this screen now. I use Final Cut Pro and it's SO nice to have all that screen real estate. Now I can focus on work instead of constantly scrolling around and adjusting window sizes. Much nicer for PhotoShop and After Effects, too.

    I LOVE my 17".
  11. isaaclimdc macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Yeah I really like the design and power of the 17", but find that resolution a little ridiculous. Why can't they keep the resolution at 1440x900? The old 17" iMacs were also at 1440x900 and looked fantastic!
  12. NeoCracer macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2009
    Maybe Apple just wanted that the screens of 17" were Full HD ?
  13. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Laptops and desktops NEVER have the same DPI. You can't put 1440x900 on a 17" laptop and expect to be taken seriously anymore.
  14. Onay thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2009
    Thanks for the tips. I've gone into all of my iLife apps and in Firefox and bumped up the text size in them, which helps a pretty good amount now. I could never lower the resolution because I can't live without so much real estate.

    Anyway I just think that with more and more laptops with DPIs that are 120+, I would think that OS's would start developing technology that automatically makes the text size the same size physically on the screen, just using more detailed fonts at a higher resolution, so that people don't have to lean in so much to read them. I'm going into college and I still find myself leaning in all the time to read text. It's just something I'll have to get used to.
  15. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    This would make me want to strangle Steve Jobs to death.
  16. Z06jerry macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    I like 1920 x 1200 on a 24" but I also find text too small to read with 1920 x 1200 on a 17"er.

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