Does the MBA screen strain your eyes?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Jay.237, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. Jay.237 macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2011
    Hello everyone!
    My MBA screen really strains my eyes after a while of use, I know to take regular breaks and it's not so bad when I'm just web browsing, but when I'm writing essays for college or something it just gets unbearable. I didn't have this problem with my previous laptop which was a cheap toshiba or with any other computer. It's got to the point where I'm seriously considering selling it. Does anyone else have the same problem?
  2. kodeman53 macrumors 65816

    May 4, 2012
  3. jim468 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    I am a college student and I have the same problem with my MBA (2011 model). From what I feel, it is due to the "high" resolution of the 13" screen. Therefore I avoid using it by itself and usually use it with a 24" external monitor. My old sony laptop did not have this issue, because it had lesser pixels (1200 x 800) on a 14.1" inches screen. It was very comfortable to use.

    And for this very reason I am not a big fan on hi-res displays, except for rMBP, because it is done right there. In rMBP even though the number of pixels are high, the effective resolution is still the same as the previous generation.
  4. Gustavo Carvalh macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010
    I do. I'm in the process of finishing my PhD, so I spend most of my days writing or coding. Even when I'm casually browsing the web I have eye strain. I'm trying to sell my MBA to go back to a MBP. Meanwhile, I use an external display as I couldn't identify what's the source of the problem. I tried several colour profiles and brightness settings, but none helped. A friend used my computer for a while on maximum brightness and he said it was comfortable, no strain at all.
  5. jim468 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    Did you try f.lux? It makes it little better, but not a whole lot.
  6. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    I have a 2011 13" MBA and I have not noticed any eye strain at all using it
  7. Jay.237 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2011
    Thanks for the replies! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. Just out of interest do you have an LG or Samsung display? I have a 2011 base 13” with LG. I’ve been reading some of the threads on here and some people say there’s quite a big difference between the two. I’ve tried some of calibration profiles posted on here and they do improve the colour, but it is still uncomfortable to use.
  8. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I came to Mac's, first an MBP and then MBA's since 2008, because of eyestrain I got using Window's notebooks, Dell, Lenovo and Sony's.

    My eyes burned using those machines, for different reasons, resolution too low resulting in pixelated fonts, or too high with tiny fonts, but most often it was just because of the low quality panels used, contrast, viewing angles and horrible anti-glare coating giving that 'screen door' / 'stretched panty hose effect. I bought many notebooks for my company, wasn't happy with displays until I bought a Mac. Anandtech describes it best if you search screen comparisons on their site, Apple uses better quality panels and it shows.

    Their excellent displays was a large part of the reason we switched over. I find the Air's 11 and 13" display's very good for sharpness and clarity making text easy to read, not too big, not too small. Color accuracy could no doubt be better but for a workhorse machine for writing I couldn't be happier.

    That being said, at dusk I find the display very straining on the eyes, properly lighting solves that. But, for example if I'm using my Air in bed late at night it is tiresome on the eyes, whereas my retina iPad isn't as bad.
  9. Gustavo Carvalh macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010
    LG as well.
  10. MacDawg macrumors Core


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    You might want to give f.lux a try
    I've really appreciated it once I tried it
  11. Gustavo Carvalh macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2010
    I'll try it, thanks!
  12. john g. macrumors member

    john g.

    Jul 11, 2012
    I had to return a 13" 2012 MBA for the very reason of eye fatigue. Course I am 48 and the ole eyesight is going. :)

    Even though I loved everything else about the MBA I got a 13" MBP because it is so much easier on my eyes, go figure. Oh well, I don't really need the optical but I will just toss in a SSD & 8gb of RAM and be a happy camper.
  13. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
  14. dcorban macrumors 6502a


    Oct 29, 2007
    I have to agree with you. I went from a 2008 MacBook with 1280x800 resolution and the slightly increased resolution of the Air makes things just a little too small. I find myself constantly zooming in on webpages (usually with the double two-finger tap) to avoid straining. I almost exclusively use my Air on my lap, so the screen is a little farther away than if it were on a table or desk. When it is on a table, I have no problem.

    I have the 2012 Air with Samsung display.

    I have seriously considered upgrading to a 15" Pro due to this. I'm actually hoping that the rumoured 13" Retina Pro will be based on 1280x800 instead of 1440x900, so text isn't so small.
  15. Fattytail macrumors 6502a

    Apr 11, 2012
    I have this issue too. Text often just needs to be a smidge bigger. On some websites, I'll enlarge the font by one size to make things easier to read.

    Text on the iPad is small too, but the difference is the retina display and the fact that tablets can be held closer to the eyes.
  16. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    No eye strain here on MBA 13, which I sometimes use for hours at a time.
  17. Riles31 macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2011
    F.lux works, but not on MacBook Air

    F.lux not only reduces eye strain, but at night the muted color of the screen makes it easier to fall asleep. It was great on previous computers (MacBook, MacBook Pro 15") but not really on the MacBook Air. Finding this thread was an "ah-hah" moment - this never occurred to me.

    My eyes constantly hurt from straining and I can't stop rubbing them. Things appear a bit too small or askew and I actually spent an hour trying to fix the font on my Gmail account! Sometimes I realize I have moved inches from the screen while reading.

    Now I know why F.lux hasn't helped, my glasses weren't working, etc. If there isn't a fix, at least I now know what's up and I can stop fiddling with the settings.

    Thanks to all!
  18. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    My strain comes from the little fonts of the 11" ! :) so am using the pinch-zoom a lot now.

    Don't forget to make use of the brightness control (free), I do take it down a couple of notches at night and my eyes do feel better.
  19. Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    I have the 11" air and use it 6-8 hours a day. No strain at all.
  20. DrumApple macrumors 6502a

    Jan 30, 2009
    Everyone's eyes are different, but I know I cannot use glossy screens for a long time otherwise I start getting eye strain. I MUST use an anti-reflective matte screen. It's a well known fact that glossy screens cause more eye strain and other health issues than matte displays. That's why most companies always give their employees laptops/computers with matte screens. Also, if you're a professional designer (of any kind), staring at a screen heavily- matte is a must. The main problems with glossy is that it gives a lot of reflection, so you're eye is trying to focus on two images at once and constantly trying to "see through" the image you're looking at. This causes strain. Also, matte screens diffuse light, rather than project it directly. So, when using a glossy screen it's like staring into a bright light bulb directly, with a matte screen it's like staring at a lamp shade that has a bright light bulb underneath (less eye strain since you have the lamp shade protection).

    It's a terrible shame that Apple used to offer more models with matte displays, they only offer it on the 15 inch MBP as an upgrade, which is very costly. Unfortunately, I cannot get another Mac mainly because of this. Apple's solution is to buy a matte film accessory, which I refuse to do. Not spending that kind of money to not even get what I really want from the start. I went Mac, and am going back. :D
  21. Obi Wan Kenobi macrumors 6502

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    Mar 9, 2011
    London, UK
    I use my 11" MBA for 4-5 hours at a time, every day and I have not noticed any problem.
  22. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    Yep, I use an 11'' 2010 MBA here, the screen has a harsh, blue-ish colour that feels hard on my eyes. I use F.lux too, which does make a noticable improvement.
  23. plucky duck macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2012
    I am on the screen 3-4 hours, switching between the Air, iMac, and iPad and have not noticed any eye strain. I guess it's a good thing my eyes aren't as sensitive as others to things as the type of screen I am on.
  24. mertyz macrumors regular


    Sep 21, 2011
    No it doesn't. But I had to use my MBA without an external display for 2 days. When I finally started using it with an external display, my eyes hurt because the pixels on my external display are not as dense as the ones on my MBA's display. My eyes quickly got used to it, but the difference is obvious :)

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