Highres eye strain?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bdinger, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. bdinger macrumors member


    Jan 22, 2012
    Lincoln, NE
    Hi All,
    I'm a newbie here, but not to Macs (or machines in general). I recently, as in Friday, finally purchased a new 15in MBP. Friday's machine was a highres matte model with the 2.5 i7 that the store thankfully stocked, as was the model I was dead set on. Then I brought it home and used it.

    I found myself straining quite a bit to see text on the display with it on my lap, so generally it ended up on my chest or belly. That annoyed me pretty quickly, so yesterday I drove back and swapped it with a normal res glossy 2.4 15. My reasoning was based on a test I did, wherein I found my eyes seem to be the most comfortable with displays in the 110 ppi and less range. My external monitors are all 1920x1080 24's, and my white MacBook hits right in the range with it's 1280x800 panel.

    Another factor was that I previously had a laptop that I wanted to love, a old Dell Inspiron 8600, that had a 1680x1050 panel. Despite how high end of a PC at the time it was, I never could love it because the display left my eyes tired, strained, and watery.

    So, my question is, how do you handle it? I'm still on the fence about keeping my second MBP, which I love, but I need to do some more testing with the glossy display. Generally, 90-95% of the time it will be plugged into an external monitor, but the 5-10% that it won't I won't be able to tolerate it annoying me. Hence, my reasoning behind going back to the standard res, but now having reservations of the reflections.

    And, ironically enough, I do find myself missing the brilliance of the antiglare that I had for a day. The colors were, in a word, phenomenal. I'm pretty particular about things like that and I really couldn't believe it, it's what sealed the deal for me when I was trying it in my brief trial at the Apple Store.

    Thoughts? I'm specifically looking for those who had the same thoughts or trouble that I did.
  2. toothache macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2011
    personal preferences I guess.

    I actually had the glossy std res at first which gave me crazy eye strain trying to see through the glare.

    I ended up changing it to a high rez anti glare which solved the issue.

    I'm not sure if "high res" will give you high strains unless you have a bad eye sight. That being said, it may be something that you prefer.

    Don't focus on the issues and do things that matter.
  3. bdinger thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 22, 2012
    Lincoln, NE
    I suppose I'm a bit jaded thanks to that !#!#$@#$ Dell, and also remembering the machine that preceded it which I loved so much that I didn't even use a external monitor with - an IBM A30p with a 1440x1050 15in panel.

    I did find some big eye strain with the standard res glossy right away, but also realized how insanely bright it is. Turning the brightness down to half last night really helped, but now I'm wondering if some tweaks such as that could make the highres "perfect".

    I really want to love that specific config as I really did want the 2.5, and the 7200rpm 750GB as a secondary drive would be fantastic.

    Decisions, Decisions.
  4. toothache macrumors member

    Dec 18, 2011

    the brightness is never at its highest for me. When you put it to the highest, it will give you strains no matter which screen. (or if you have it too low)

    I love the high res. Looking at texts are just fine. UNLESS you are old or just have bad eye sight.

    Go get your highres with the specs back. TURN the brightness down. BRIGHT does not equal NICE screen.
  5. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    I don' think anyone can help you here. This is all personal preference.

    It's not like one is 'better' than another and your going to get the scoop.

    Just give it time, as only time will tell.

    It's unfortunate that when there's questions unresolved and a lot of money involved.

    Older folks have it easier as they use reading glasses so the HR thing is moot. (Odd that there's an upside to this :D )
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That's me on both counts :eek:

    As I debate a new MBP and the merits of the hi-res, I echo the OP's concern about eye strain. I guess I shouldn't be too concerned only because I'm on a 13" MBP right now.

    Does the apple store stock hi-res MBPs for the consumer to compare, that will help the OP (and myself) make an educated decision
  7. bdinger thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 22, 2012
    Lincoln, NE
    Mine - Village Point in Omaha, NE - does, and it's a wonderful config. Has the 2.5 and the 7200rpm 750GB drive so it's really a rockstar. They were more than happy to put them side by side - literally - and show it off. I'll admit, again, that the highres in my eyes looks better than the glass. It's just an amazing panel, frankly, very good looking. From a few feet away it looks the opposite, but when you actually use them side by side it's something to behold.

    Now I type this, and I realize that the laptop I use for my side job and consulting - which I'm typing on right now - has a 14in 1600x900 panel, and it stopped bothering me after the first couple weeks I had it. It's, of course, running Windows 7 but I've had nary a problem with it and I use it a good 3-5 hours a day (my days are very unfortunately long). And it's also a rather dim LED, for whatever reason when it was replaced under warranty after a month of ownership the replacement has always been

    My wife dropped the not-so-subtle hint that I haven't had an eye exam in three years and just maybe a new set of specs might help. Gee, no idea there... :D

    Anyway, I used my white MacBook last night for an extended period by itself (I generally use it clamshell with an external 24) and lo and behold - tired eyes even though the PPI matches what I've found to be "good".

    Today a co-worker and I are going back to the Apple Store to meet our new Business team, I am going to be taking the glass MBP with me and will likely be going back to the antiglare. Simply because I really like the config for what I'll be doing, and the longevity I want to get out of it (4-6 years).

    Now what's the most odd about all of this? I can read for hours - literally - on my iPad or iPhone 4, and zero eye strain, nor can I remember ever having any. And I look at both, and the brightness is pretty low on them as well.

  8. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    The problem could be the LED backlighting, the high resolution or a combination of the two...

    Many people are experiencing serious eyestrain symptoms when using Apple displays. I demoed an 11" MacBook Air for 1.5 hours. Within the first fifteen minutes I developed a headache; I suffered from eyestrain symptoms for over eight hours.

    My 2011 13" MBP also causes me some problems, albeit not as severe as the MBA. Calibration and brightness adjustments suggested in a thread I reference below helped somewhat. I also refrain from staring at the display any longer than necessary, particularly when it is a light-color image such as a webpage.

    I wear reading glasses that are fine-tuned for use with computer displays; I don't need them for reading. In 15+ years of using CRT and LCD displays I have never had this kind of problem. Years ago when I used Sony CRTs my eyes would become tired and sore after 8+ hours of continual use, but nothing close to using the MacBook Air for an hour and a half. On a scale of 1-10 the Sony would be a 2; the MBA a 10.

    There is a lengthy thread on the Apple forums about problems associated with LED backlit displays. The thread begins in August 2008, after Apple introduced the unibody portables. My early 2008 15" MBP with an LED backlit anti-glare screen never caused me any problems; it was a terrific display.


    A Google search will turn up information about differences in LED backlighting that supports the idea that Apple is using displays that are problematic for many people.

    Unfortunately, LED displays are becoming the norm in portable computers and external monitors. I recently purchased a high-end external display and I made sure that it used CCFL backlighting.
  9. bdinger thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 22, 2012
    Lincoln, NE
    I think it's the brightness. As a test I used my late-2009 MacBook extensively today, and my eyes got sore and watery pretty quickly. I turn the brightness down? Literally - I was just testing this - I'm already feeling relief.

    What's interesting is that CCFL displays in laptops have always bothered me, regardless of the PPI/resolution. The two that never did were my old A30p and my original dual-usb iBook G3. Even my TiBook caused me the same feeling.

    Oddly? Desktop displays don't bother me - for the most part. At work I have a 23in 1920x1080 ASUS that I can - literally - stare at all day without issue. I have a similar 24 at home that I can only stand in bursts, both are CCFL.

    I have a HP EliteBook 8440p that I use for consulting work that requires a PC (and I'm pretty hard on it.. :)), and it has a LED lit 1600x900 14.1 panel that I can stare at all day without issue. Oddly it's a rather dim panel, but I think that's what helps.

    In summary I decided today to go back to the Highres AG, and am glad I did. It's a absolutely gorgeous display, in my opinion it looks better than the glass. It also doesn't have the reflections which quickly annoyed me. It's too bad Apple went that route instead of keeping the coating like on my whitebook, it's glossy and looks great but has a distinct lack of reflections.

  10. punchwalk macrumors regular

    May 16, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    I have the high-res glossy 15" and while I don't get too much eye strain from it, I REALLY wish I had bought the AG. I think the AG filters on the current batch are good enough that the color "pop" isn't much better on the glossy anymore.
  11. Mojo1, Jan 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012

    Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Try the Power Support anti-glare film for $35. I am using it on a 13" MBP and an iPad. The film doesn't introduce artifacts nor affect the color. I compared it to my early 2008 15" MBP with a matte display and they were comparable in appearance. Reflections disappear and the MBP is fine in any lighting.

    The Power Support film isn't the cheapest but I think that it is the best.
  12. bdinger thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 22, 2012
    Lincoln, NE
    I agree 100%. In fact, I compared the two side by side and I actually prefer the AG. It seemed to pop just as much while maintaining a very nice balance of colors.

    Granted that was a comparison of AG to the standard res 15 glassy, but it was still impressive. I'd have to say the two displays are almost imperceptible in their differences.

    Which is part of the reason why I went home (again) with the AG and will be keeping it. It's a fantastic panel, so good that I may use my 24 at work as a secondary now instead of a primary.
  13. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Eh? Every MBP since at least 2007 has been LED, not CCFL??
  14. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    Try flux!

    Try installing this free software which adjusts the brightness and color temperature automatically for you based on time of day. I did it a few weeks ago, and it made a HUGE difference in eye strain. It may seem rather subtle, or when it first does the change you may think "ewww, I don't like how this looks." But, do this experiment, just leave it on for like 10 or 15 minutes in the evening to give yourself time to adjust. Then turn it off and see how eye scorching your display is with it off.

  15. bdinger thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 22, 2012
    Lincoln, NE
    Yeah I was about as clear as mud. What I was referring to is that it seems as though every CCFL laptop panel bothers me, but LED (my white Macbook, this Pro, my EliteBook) do not. And oddly enough, CCFL desktop panels do not either - for the most part.

    All I know is that I've given my eyes time to adjust and I love it. I like the more natural saturation of the AG panel than the glassy, oddly my white MacBook is very similar to the AG MBP, whereas the glass MBP sitting next to my MacBook was like night and day different. Weird.

    Anyway, summary is that I'm a happy camper thanks to giving my eyes time to adjust and brightness settings.


    I'm giving it a whirl again, but the downside is that I do regularly do color sensitive work on my computer, so what I found before was that it really threw me off when I had to switch it back "on".

    For my home PC, however, I'm a believer.
  16. motorazr macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2006
    The Frozen Waste...wait. Duluth, Minnesota.
    Personally, I really like the super high-res displays. I find that if something is too small I can double tap to zoom in (as opposed to squinting or leaning in way too much), and otherwise it's nice and sharp (as opposed to some older low-resolution LCDs which look like they're a weird, soft fuzzy resolution).

    Like others have said though, its all personal preference.
  17. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Full brightness on hi-res glossy never gave me eyestrain...

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