Does the 13" have larger text on screen then the 11"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Gonky, May 15, 2011.

  1. Gonky macrumors regular


    Oct 8, 2010
    My 11" is starting to give me headaches, I wondered if the text size is larger (assuming both are on defaults) on the 13". I am not bothered about the real estate/space, it's literally just text size I am referring to. I know it seems like the 13" would do, but I am aware that the resolution is increased which may negate the larger screen size.
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Yes, because it has lower PPI:

    11.6" - 135 PPI
    13.3" - 128 PPI

    Not a huge difference though.
  3. AdrianK, May 15, 2011
    Last edited: May 15, 2011

    AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    11.1" 135
    13.3" 128

    Since the PPI is less on the 13" text size will be bigger. That's only a 5% reduction in PPI.

    I highly doubt it make any noticeable difference.
  4. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    The fonts seem a little larger but definitely more clear because of the higher resolution, so yes it is a little easier on the eyes than the 11".
  5. nebulos, May 15, 2011
    Last edited: May 15, 2011

    nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    overkill; i got carried away, but for future reference:

    Pixel Density

    PPI = pixels per inch

    PPI is a pixel density. it depends on the resolution and screen size.

    Example: a 16" by 10" screen with a resolution of 1440x900 has a PPI of 90. (1440/16 = 90 = 900/10!)

    (Note: remember screen sizes are measured diagonally! 16" x 10" is a 18.8" screen; (Use Pythagorean Theorem!))

    the iphone 4 has a lower resolution than an imac, but the number of pixels it displays per unit area is (much) higher, so it has a (much) smoother looking screen. it has a much higher ppi.

    list of displays by pixel density

    Size and Smoothness of Text


    let's say a webpage is designed with 100-pixel-tall font. on a 100 PPI screen, that font will be 1 inch tall. on a 200 PPI screen the font will be 0.5 inches tall.

    so, the higher the PPI, the smaller the font.

    however, if you zoom in on the 200 PPI screen to double size (200%), the font is now 1-inch tall. but because there are twice as many pixels, font-smoothing can show smoother curves and sharper edges.

    ... Zooming

    In Safari, for example, you can zoom in/out by pressing [apple] + [+/-], or simply by two-finger pinching on the current multi-touch trackpads.

    In Safari, there are two ways to zoom; You can zoom the whole page, or opt to 'zoom text only'. If you zoom only the text, it can change the arrangement of the page elements and make things look awkward. If you zoom the whole page, you'll be zooming in on the images too, which are typically saved with compression for the web and will often reveal their low quality when resized. Either way, its a compromise.

    Zooming is definitely very useful, and maybe necessary on some of the recent screens, but it does have its drawbacks.

    11" Air vs 13" Air

    as HH and AK pointed out, the pixel density is higher on the 11" (highest of any mac ever, it seems).

    that means smaller text at 100% zoom, but zooming so that text is the same size on both, the 11 will be more smooth and crisp.

    the difference between PPI on the 13" Pro (113) and the 13" Air is noticeable in person, and that's about 7%. but it's true i've never noticed much of a difference between the Air screens, so i don't know;

    i haven't done too many side by sides, i just know i like the ppi on the airs and hate it on the 13 pro.
  6. gimmi80, May 15, 2011
    Last edited: May 15, 2011

    gimmi80 macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2010
    keep that beauty of MBA 11' and just hit
    command +
    when you are on the web

    this is how this thread looks on my mba 11'
    not small at all

    Attached Files:

  7. Henry Spencer macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2011
  8. Help Please macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    And this is how the thread looks on my MBA 13" - just for comparison.

  9. SR71 macrumors 68000

    Jan 12, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Mine is slightly larger than yours, Help Please. This is on my 13" MBA.

  10. Kungshi macrumors member

    May 11, 2011
    Great idea!

    To the OP, you can also use your multitouch pinching gesture to adjust the text as well. I did that today while looking at which MBA to buy at Best Buy. It really makes the two screens size differences much less noticeable.
  11. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    Have either of your done the + trick frequently, or extensively?

    I had an 11" MBA for a while and had to return it, as everything (UI elements, text, etc...) was way too small for my liking.

    I know lots of people who love their little 11" Monsters ( ;) ) but not me.

    And having to do the + trick on (almost) every webpage, and/or running at a non-native resolution is not the answer. The UI elements and text on the 11" are SMALL. Some people are fine with that, but I'm just posting to show that it's not unanimous.
  12. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    The 11" and 13" MBA, the 15" MBP with 1680 x 1050 resolution screen, and the 17" MBP all have the same ppi, essentially. You'd find their screens equally difficult, or easy, to read on.

    I have slight astigmatism (i.e. imperfect eyesight), I don't wear my glasses, and I can read on my 15" MBP's screen just fine. I expect to be able to read just as well on an 11" MBA, and plan on purchasing one. ;)
  13. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004
    I have a 15" HR MBP and when I went to the 11" I found it too small.

    I have astigmatism too and I always use my glasses. The 13" 2010 I find okay, but the 11" I find to small.

    To each their own, obviously!

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