Does ambient lighting affect screen clarity?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Fattytail, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. Fattytail macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    2013 MBA here. I've noticed that my eyes strain a little bit when I'm indoors in a room with one window and no artificial lighting (regardless of the brightness settings). But, if I'm sitting in a coffee shop with large windows and a lot of natural daylight, I don't get the same eyestrain. In fact, the screen seems a lot clearer. Is there something about these screens that makes them perform better when ambient light is brighter?
  2. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    There are many factors am sure.

    In one room, with plenty of daylight and overhead fluorescents, if I face a wall, the screen doesn't look as crisp, but if I turn around 180 facing some windows, it looks better to me.
  3. Fattytail thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    Right. Seems like the screens have some sort of reflective property.
  4. luisito macrumors regular


    Nov 15, 2012
    All current Apple displays are glossy, so thats is why. Reason why, a big heard of the Apple community was dissapointed when Apple stopped producting the matte display option years ago.
  5. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    The reflective screen would be worse when there is a lot of ambient light around. You seem to be getting the opposite.

    My optician told me I should have the area around my display lit to the same brightness as the screen. I do find a lot less eyestrain if I do that. I have a halogen uplighter with a dimmer next to my desk. It makes it easy to maintain the right brightness, and does not produce glare or reflections as the light is rebounding off the ceiling above.
  6. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    I think by reflective OP just meant that somehow ambient lighting increases the clarity of the screen. So something must be happening with the light that hits the screen. It doesn't just get absorbed. I don't think he's talking about the glossiness of the screens (OP, correct me if I'm wrong). I've actually experienced something similar as well. The screen just looks clearer and text is sharper when I'm in a really brightly lit area.

    For night usage, I've found that f.lux works wonders.
  7. Stealth777 macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Same exact problem

    Oddly enough the Air screen is easier to read with more ambient daylight. At night, when I have lights on in the house I find the Air causes a bit of eye strain. The same applies to the 13" retina I have although to a less degree. Both of the screens on these laptops are easier on my eye during daylight conditions and at night with house lighting they are more difficult to read on. I've tried adjusting the brightness of the screens, the rooms, the type of light bulbs etc.

    The retina is definitely easier on the eyes at night but it's even better during the day, as is the Air.

    A lot of people in the retina forum have complained about how bad the screen is in the Air, but I don't really notice it until it's nightime and I'm using it under artificial lighting. That's the only time I think the screen is subpar.
  8. Fattytail thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    Good to hear someone actually understands what I'm talking about!

    At night, I've started using f.lux. So long as you can get past the reddish hues, it's actually way, way easier on the eyes. I have no idea of the science behind why, but my eyes do not strain with f.lux on at night.
  9. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    That's exactly my experience with the Air's display. In the evening the display definately strains and tires the eyes.

    It's why I like my rMBP so much ... I don't get near as much eye strain under articial light. In natural light the Air's display is great. Wish Apple had improved the display, didn't have to be retina but the display could have and should have been improved.
  10. Stealth777 macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2013
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Ahh cool. I'll give f.lux a try tonight.


    Yup, I guess a few of us have noticed the same thing..:)

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