Don't purchase the 1440x900, even if you like larger fonts.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by miketwo, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. miketwo macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2010
    Here's some background to start:

    I'm a programmer, so I spend 90% of my time looking at text. Prior to the 15" i7, I had a 2006 MacBook Pro with a 1440x900 screen. I loved it. The text renders clean and it's considerably large, as I prefer it to be.

    I ordered the 15" i7 with the standard display, figuring I'd save $100 and save myself the frustration of having to enlarge everything with the hi-res screen. I made a mistake. The quality of the 1440x900 on the 2010 model is considerably worse than the 2006 1440x900. The text is pixelated, and when bold goes so far as being muddy. Given my dissatisfaction, I took a ride down to the Apple store to see the hi-res screen, and they do not have these issues. The text is crisp and clean, even when enlarged to a size that's equivalent with the 1440x900. I'm returning my new mac in order to purchase it again, but with the hi-res.

    In my opinion, there's no reason to go with the 1440x900 unless you want to save a hundred and pixelated fonts don't bother you. If you look at text all day, you'll want the cleaner fonts of the 1680x1050. If you do photos or video, you'll want the higher resolution of the 1680x1050.
  2. recKz macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2010
    I disagree, my text is fine and not pixelated. There is no need for me to have bought the higher resolution screen and am extremely happy with the 1440x900.
  3. Gorilla Power macrumors 6502

    Gorilla Power

    Mar 19, 2010
    Text is pixelated ? Maybe you need an eye check up :p because it most certainly is not. Sorry.
  4. Cali3350 macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2009
    There would be no reason for Apple to switch LCD manufacturers. You can actually check yourself though - just look at system information. If anything, you likely got a lemon.
  5. miketwo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2010
    I wonder if there are inconsistencies within the production of the panels. There is a noticeable difference between this screen and my old screen. The letters on the new 1440x900 are blurry and unbalanced. It looks like they're poorly compressed, but I think it just has to do with the PPI and the quality of the screen.
  6. modular macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2009
    while you probably got a lemon, i'll agree for anyone getting a 15" to spring for the hi-res screen. I first I was worried everything would be too tiny on the hi-res screen, but everything surprisingly feel really natural at that resolution. If you can spring the extra money, go for the hi-res i doubt you'll be disappointed.
  7. ozreth macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2009
    lol they wouldn't put out a machine with pixelated text. at least not on purpose.
  8. miketwo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2010
    The 2006 was CFL-backed, whereas the new ones are all LED, so the panel is different.
  9. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    As two 15.4" displays with a resolution of 1440x900 will have the same PPI, that shouldn't matter in your comparison.

    The *BIG* difference between the 2006 (which I also have,) and the current MBP is the higher contrast and glossy screen. Those two, independent of backlight, make a HUGE difference on text readability to me.

    For movies, glossy is great. For text, matte is where it's at. (Rhyme really not intentional, I swear!)

    The problem is that in order to get non-gloss now, you have to go with higher-res, too.
  10. PAC88 macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2009
    actually, I think you're right.. I noticed the text is pixelated also.. I saw the new 13" and 15" standard res glossy models at the apple store a few days ago and they look a lot different from the ones they replaced..

    word documents and stuff is not very clear.. the text used to be very sharp on the glossy screens and I noticed it right away that they now looked kinda fuzzy and less sharp (pixelated) compared to before.

    It's hard to describe but I noticed it almost immediately when testing them both out at the store.. 13" and 15" were like this.

    edit: When you think about it.. I bet they do this purposely. First they make glare and reflections standard so you upgrade to "antiglare" matte.. now the screens are less sharp to make you upgrade to high res...
  11. miketwo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2010
    So the main problem I have with the text is that it has this blur/glimmer, where it is noticeable that the letters are composed of not just black pixels, but quite a bit of red and green. I know they do this to approximate a smooth font on a lower resolution, but I'm surprised at how noticeable it is to the naked eye.

    Now here's what's interesting. If I zoom in with CTRL-two-finger-swipe, you can still see what I'm talking about:

  12. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    I wouldn't get the 1440 display regardless; paying as much as you are for a MBP then getting such a laughable resolution on a professional product is very patronizing.
  13. nikhsub1 macrumors 68020


    Jun 19, 2007
    mmmm... jessica.'s beer...
    That looks more like a jacked up video card... I would have it looked at before you spend money on restocking fees etc.

    *edit - do you have an external monitor you can hook up?
  14. PAC88 macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2009
    I zoomed in on the text at the store also to see if it was just my eyes or something but it turned out to actually be the screen.. It's really weird how the text seems to have changed so much..
    I remembered the previous glossy screens had extremely sharp text but it's not like that anymore.. It was really noticeable and kind of annoying to me that it looks so different, it's a big defect in my opinion.. am I crazy?
  15. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    Looks like a problem with the way the font smoothing (or whatever Apple calls their version) is being done. Font smoothing makes the fonts look smoother by only lighting up certain colour pixels around each letter's edges.
  16. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    Not had that issue on mine, everything looks crisp and great. Would have loved to have got the res bump however it would have cost me too much. I work for a reseller and get 10% discount, but they only sell stock configs. My i7 15" cost £1619, to get the hi res I'd have to buy from Apple and forsake the discount.

    That would have cost me £1879, so a difference of £260/$431. Can't justify that for a res bump.
  17. miketwo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2010
    I'll have access to an external tomorrow. Interesting point made about the video card. It could be mine, or it could be how the new vid handles text rendering on all of the standard res units, which means it could be fixed in a software update. I did notice that the 1440x900's at the store was similar, though I wasn't paying close enough attention to notice if it was precisely as bad as my machine. It might be worth taking the laptop to the store to compare.
  18. miketwo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2010
    Maybe it's only a defect for those of us who know how nice the old ones used to be.
  19. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    As far as I know the panels are the same as the last years model. The only new one is the 15" high-res.
  20. handheldgames macrumors 68000


    Apr 4, 2009
    Pacific NW, USA
    The high-res anti-glare display is wonderful. I've been running high-DPI displays since the SGI 1600sw display(1600x1024 @ 17"), have a couple of 3007wfp's(2560x1600 @30") and even a Samsung 2343bwx display (2048x1152 @ 23"). This is a GREAT display and is far superior to the glossy lower DPI options out there.

    My favorite laptop display WAS on a Compaq Presario 2800T with a 1600x1200 display (1.8Hgz P4m). While I felt the prior 1440x900 was not enough screen real estate for the 15", the higher DPI definitely hits the sweet spot for quality with my eyes.

    I just received a replacement for an early 2009 15" MBP with a 1440x900 glossy and LOVE this new display.
  21. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    There could be a couple of differences you're seeing there, but I doubt it is related to the resolution of the panel, or that the fonts are "more pixelated".

    1: Snow Leopard changed the font options. You only have sup-pixel font rendering or greyscale font rendering now, there is no option to choose between CRT (greyscale) / Light / Medium / Strong text any more. (there may be a hidden preference somewhere, I'm not sure)

    If you are running an older version of OSX, perhaps you are using the light or heavy setting on your display. Alternatively, perhaps you're using the greyscale rendering on your Mac. If you change the option in system preferences > appearance, font rendering should look the same.

    2: The new panels are both brighter, and wider gamut than the old ones. This is probably emphasising the sub-pixel font rendering and making it more obvious. Personally I hate subpixel font rendering. I can see some of the benefits from it, but I find the colour fringing to be distracting.

    For this reason, I hope we start seeing even higher PPI screens from Apple. The higher resolution they get, the better text will look, and the better the subpixel font rendering 'trick' will work.
  22. JamesGorman macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    Agreed, that price is ridiculous for a resolution that should be standard.
  23. Cali3350 macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2009
    A pixel is a pixel is a pixel.

    For font to be "blurry" the engine powering those pixels needs to erring out. Panels vary in terms of color contrast, saturation, viewing angles and color reproduction. They do not vary in terms of displaying information in pixel-based terms. "Muddy" text makes NO sense when using the same hardware unless a issue is somewhere else.

    Im more inclined to believe it is a text-smoothing option in OSX somewhere causing this issue. Boot into your OSX DVD and see if the issue persists there.
  24. FRiC macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2009
    Make sure your font smoothing option is set for LCD and not CRT. Snow Leopard changed the font smoothing options, so you might want to play with that too.
  25. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    What OS did your old Macbook Pro run? Had you upgraded it to 10.6?

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