Antiglare 15" MBP and... eyestrain?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by gurm42, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. gurm42 macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2010

    I have been having a heck of a time lately. I used a 17" antiglare MBP for a while (it was for my wife) and loved the living daylights out of it. Screen was so gorgeous. So I bought one for myself, in 15". And... it was TERRIBLE. The screen literally gave me eyestrain after just a minute or two of use, consistently. I polled a bunch of other people at the office, and at least one other guy had the same reaction - after a couple minutes of reading text on it he had a headache.

    I've only found one or two people online who have reported this, although I've hardly done an exhaustive search.

    Is this ringing a bell for anyone? Maybe I just need new glasses (although a couple months ago I got a full Ophthalmological workup and was told my current pair are just fine)? I wanted to love this machine so much but ended up hating it and selling it. Now I'm in the market for another...

    I'm sort of holding out hope that the new mythical 15" air/pro that is coming out this fall will have the polycarbonate screen from the air which is neither glass nor AG but a low-gloss plastic.

    Thoughts? I don't want this to be an AG vs. Glossy battle, because that's been rehashed 100 times. I just want to know if I'm alone in the "eyes hurt on 15" AG but not 17" AG for some reason" and what if anything you or others did to fix it?
  2. jamisonbaines macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2007
    I have the 15" HR AG and it does bother my eyes sometimes. From what I read online it may be the LED backlighting that is the issue rather than the resolution or the antiglare coating. I bought a pair of Gunnar glasses which are designed to reduce eye strain and I wear those when I'm at the computer for long stretches. Also use an external monitor a lot of the time.

    I have a netbook that uses LED backlighting and has similar pixel density so I feel as though it's just a symptom of the amount of my field of vision the 15" screen fills that tires my eyes. I notice it most at say dusk when there's low light and my eyes just feel tired and have more trouble focussing than they should.

    It sounds stupid to make compromises but I didn't notice it bothering me until I'd had the laptop for about 2 months and outside of trying the HR glossy there isn't another computer I'd rather have so I adapt and live with it.
  3. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    It is odd. I heard people get eyestrain because they unconsiously focus on glare on the glossy stuff, or that the res is just too high on the HR screens but if AG got you eyestrain maybe you should have reduced the brightness a bit, 400 nits at night is not exactly recommended.

    If it really is the backlight maybe set a warmer color profile. I once heard an interview with an eye doctor/scientist who said that the high portion of blue in modern day TFT screens is not good for us in the long term. In my own experience almost all screens come way too cold and I feel that warmer light is generally more comfortable.
  4. gurm42 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2010
    Work just ordered me a 17" Hi-Res Glossy. We'll see how I like it. I think I will save my personal $$ for the fall when the new models are out and see what is available then.

    I don't think it can be the LED lighting, since the 17" AG was fine with me, as was the 15" glossy low-res I used to use. I also tried changing up the color warmth, didn't seem to help. Did a whole calibration and all.

    - G
  5. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
    It sounds to me like a brightness issue or maybe the text got blurry from the AG and you strained trying to make out letters? The latter has happened to me on an old anti-glare ACD.
  6. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Yes, the 15" Antiglare display on the new(er) Macbook Pro is VERY VERY bright....I also have been recently diagnosed with a slight astigmatism and the smaller text on websites can be hard for me to see....

    I wish Apple still offered a 1440x900 antiglare option on the 15" and a 1680x1050 option on the 17" -- for the 17", I think that 1680x1050 is the perfect resolution for the size of display. This was the "High Resolution" configuration that was formally offered on the 17" PowerBook G4. THe "lower" resolution 17" models used 1440x900, which I think is too low and doesn't give you enough screen real estate.

    If I get another 15" I am going with the 1440x900 glossy next time...

    Right now using a 13" 2010 MacBook Air to post this, no problem with the 1440x900 resolution on the 13" and the screen is 4 notches down from bright in a fully lit room. It is just fine.

    So, I am kinda bummed about the lack of resolution options as well as Apple's discontinuation of their 24" and 30" displays. I hope they can get their act together and start offering consumers more options for their displays again....not EVERYONE gets an iMac and lots of people with laptops want an external display, and a $999 single-offering 27" isn't always the most appealing choice.
  7. gurm42 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2010
    This might be the problem. There might just be a white-balance issue going on here. The 17", even when up all the way, isn't as tough on me as the 15" is when calibrated.

    While I find 1440x900 to be too little for the 15, I hear you on the 17". I'd love that dot pitch, I think.

    I borrowed a 13" air and ... it's amazing. MUCH more readable than either of the Pro screens. I'll be getting my 17" Hi-Res Glossy in the next couple days so we'll see how it feels, but I'm not super optimistic.


    I've also been theorizing that it might just have to do with the polarization on the AG screen and the dot pitch. The 15" has 128DPI, while the 17" has 135DPI. That doesn't seem like a big difference but if you're putting them through the same polarizer it CAN be a big deal!

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