iMac 27" - Cannot work with it. Any suggestions please?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by d82k, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. d82k macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Dear All,
    5 days ago I got a new iMac 27" i7. My first apple product. The apple store experience was really pleasant. I think that the machine is great, nothing to say about that.
    But unfortunately I'm considering returning it. The screen is big and system fonts are so small, from the top menu to the "get info" window.. I already was able to increase finder fonts, and using tinkertool some other but it is not enought.
    I lowered the resolution of the screen but the best i was able to find is anyway a bit blurry.
    As a result I have to stay really close to the monitor (which is huge) and after two hrs working my eyes actually hurts. Thing that was not happening untill last week when working with my old pc and 24" monitor.

    Do you have any suggestion? Any ideas and suggestion please?

    Do you think I eventually can go to the apple store and ask to change it with a 21,5"? I don't know this will be better...

    Thank you for your kind reply and suggestions,
  2. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    I am not a big fan of these screens for anyone without perfect eyesight and perfect lighting conditions.

    Its one of the reasons users buy Minis and Mac Pros.

    That way you can use your own monitor setup.

    In my case a couple of cheap Dell 19" which are 4:3 so I can change resolution if necessary to 1024 x 768.

    Its a much more productive way of working.

    I would suggest exchanging for a Mini and perhaps getting another of the monitors you already have and have them side by side.

    Your productivity will increase significantly.

    Moving from 1 to 2 screens is something everyone I know who has tried it has been so happy with.
  3. d82k thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Thank you for your reply.
    Yes, actually with my 24" at 1680×1050 I have no eyes problem.

    The 27" is great but since font are small I have to stay really close..
    Am I the only one with this issue? How does other people deal with that? Actually I have no eyes problem I can see really good.

    Thank you,
  4. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    I think its very personal and individual.

    Its clear though that a Mini might suit you better with your 24" or even 2 of them! You will have alot more screen estate.

    There are many posts on these forums with people who don't get on with the 27" iMac screen.

    Its a usability issue that has not been fixed and is tricky due to fonts made of pixels.

    Make sure you take back within 7 days!
  5. ExnomenDei macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2010
    For the record, though - the screen in de iMac 27" is not the problem here. If anything is the problem (apart from one existing between said screen and chair - us) it's that resolution independence is non-existant. Lowering resolutions - as you discovered - makes things more blurry.

    One thing that I really like is zooming in Safari. It works fluently, quickly, and logically, and it makes my reading a lot easier when I lean back. I don't have issues with the pixel density (which is your problem here) when I sit normally, though.
  6. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    I think the point is though that non iMac screens can be easier to read due to pixel size.

    There have been many complaints about pixel size in Apple products not just the iMac.
  7. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    I have poor eyesight and I am dyslexic. That means that it is difficult for me to write for any length of time without having eye strain from writing then reviewing everything I've written for errors. There is a way to zoom on an iMac if you really need it occasionally: Go to systems preferences, click universal access, and enable zoom. Note that there is an option for smoothing, so up to a point both text and pictures are not pixelated.

    Also, I am not trying to be condescending, but adults should have their eyes checked yearly and any prescription glasses they wear. Even small degradations in focusing can have a big effect over a long work day.
  8. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    For what it's worth, the dpi on the 27" iMac is 109dpi vs. 133dpi for my hires 17". So, 12pt fonts are about 20% bigger on the iMac than the 17" (the default Finder font size). An iPad is about 132dpi. (I love specs... ;) )

    Anyway, my point is that going to a smaller display in itself might not be the answer. It's always the combination of size and number of pixels that has to be considered (handy dpi calculator:

    Even though you feel you have good eyesight, you might still benefit from a pair of "computer" reading glasses. You can get a diopter that works at whatever your comfortable viewing distance is. I've been needing them for quite a while now and don't have any problem with the default fonts on my hires 17" (Early 2009 UB). Even younger people find that a pair of "computer" glasses can reduce eye strain (Presbyopia doesn't start until around 40-ish, where reading glasses become more of a necessity than a nicety. I'm well past the "-ish" point, so I know whereof I speak. ;) ).

    Go into a pharmacy or wherever they sell "readers" and try a pair at your display viewing distance while looking at a font on the eye chart that's closest to what you find uncomfortable. You might be surprised at the result. If you like it, buy a good quality off-the-shelf pair and give them a trial run. Ifnthat works out, then it's probably worthwhile getting a prescription pair with better optics and special coatings. They'll work with you to get them set to "your" distance.

    Hopefully, you will find a way to coexist with the 27" iMac. I hear it's a great display.
  9. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Are you talking on the internet? Or in general? If you are talking internet since some pages use small font there is a setting in Safari to allow for a "minimum font size" and it can't go below that size. Its found under:

    Safari -> Preferences -> Advanced

    And check "Never use font sizes smaller than: " and choose a number. I have 14.
  10. Daud, Aug 24, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011

    Daud macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2008
    Maybe, but when and at what cost ?

    I have the same problem as OP, which keeps me from considering the 27" iMac or display, not to speak about the 30" models.

    You possibly will find best eye comfort with a "classical" 19" monitor with 4:3 ratio (difficult to find in these days), or with a 22" monitor with 1680x1050 resolution (so the exchange for a smaller iMac would work for you).

    The biggest resolution I find tolerable for me is 24" with 1920x1200 settings.
  11. d82k, Aug 24, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011

    d82k thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Dear All,

    thank you so much for all your replies.

    At the end I called the apple care and asked for more information, they just suggested me the same things I already tried to do.

    Anyway right now I'm at 60cm from the monitor, the top bar with menus is high 5mm and the letter "a" of the text "MacRumors Forums - Reply to Topic" of Safari window is between 2 and 3mm :|

    I tried to activate the 1280x720 HiDPI, and actually it is good. The text above mentioned is doubled in size and readable. But on the other hand i got these issues: Pages browsed (safari or firefox) are blurry and some pages are not rendered correctly ( or just to name a couple). Application (icon and title) showed clicking the application folder on the dock are blurry, as well as ones showed in the launchpad. When rebooting finder adequate itself to the new resolution while the top menu bar font becomes worst (squared off and somehow cut, while before rebook it is perfect). Other programs like mail, open office, and photoshop seems to be ok.
    I tried it really quick with a HD movie (VLC), and it seems no big difference between native and HiDPI resolution.
    So it is good for some things certainly not for web browsing.

    Beside this I have tries to put the safari option as suggested "minimum font size" which works ok but maybe the better option is to put a default style sheet under "Preferences > Advanced > Style Sheet - Other the following:
    body {
    zoom: 140%;

    Yes, the zoom ctrl+mouse scroll up/down works but it has to be used only for emergencies, not for norma use from my point of view.

    Anyway at work I use a 24" with 1920x1200 and no problem. Maybe iMac 27" it is too big for me.

    On top of this, tomorrow I'll go and have an eyes test, as someone of you suggested, and just to be sure.. :)

    Thank you, and if you have any further advice or consideration please feel free to post them.

    EDIT: oh, I forgot, using 1280x720 HiDPI the App Store it's a mess text and images mixed together all over.
  12. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2011
    I tried the 27" and sent it back for many of the same reasons i.e. the screen is just to large, it gave me a headache and the fonts were to small. Got the 21.5" and found this much the better option, simply a nice compromise. Many many people especially younger buyers get the larger screen simply for bragging rights.
  13. Daud macrumors regular


    Oct 23, 2008
    I am wondering why Apple is not offering a 27" monitor with smaller resolution, there would be a market for it. Maybe if the 24" iMac would come back ?
  14. d82k thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2011
    I think that 24" would have been the best choice for me...
    I have one more day to evaluate all the options and than decide...

    Anyway another strange thing that happened to me is that when I called the Apple Care today, after giving my serial number three times, the guy at the phone said: "strange this iMac is not registered at your name but to another one (not even close to mine)" ... I'm wondering what happened... :confused:
  15. zarathu macrumors regular


    May 14, 2003
    The don't actually care who its registered to. When I took my macbook pro in for service, they said, "You bought it used." its the machine that gets the service, the applecare etc, not the guy or gal who is owning it at the time.

    Their motto is: LOVE THE PERSON THE MAC IS WITH.
  16. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    I only bought my 27" iMac because I want to get the best CPU and GPU.

    If Apple makes a 21.5" with 3.4GHz i7 CPU and 6970M GPU .. well I'd definitely go for that one.

    Why Apple don't want to make that? Alienware can use the same GPU on M17x .. no reason that 21.5" body is not huge enough to dissipate heat coming from GPU.

    Too scared to make iMac compete with itself, I guess? :D
  17. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    Buy used on Ebay - millions of these about £50 in UK as they are corporate standard monitors.

    Everything new is widescreen (eeuch) these days for TV/Film watching not real work.
  18. miniConvert macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2006
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    How about hooking up a second monitor with a more comfortable res to use for all the things you don't like on the iMac screen?

    Then you can still use the iMac for niceness such as video or apps that resize more comfortably.
  19. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    I never really found the small fonts an issue, save for the first 2 weeks, where the large glaring screen gave my headaches if I used it for too long.

    Now that my eyes are more or less accustomed, I can more or less read the fonts with ease, and for web browsers, who even bothers to read the headings anyways. You more or less know where everything is and what they do. :)

    For me, one plus is really when I am working on large spreadsheets. Previously, I had to keep scrolling in all directions on my laptop. Now, I can view the entire document on the screen and still make it large enough to not strain my eyes. :D
  20. cdcastillo macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2007
    The cesspit of civilization
    Change it!

    If at the end you're still dissatisfied with your iMac (for all the reasons you already listed), you have 14 days to return it (minus a small penalization, around 15% of the price paid) and then you can change it for a new 21.5" one. Maybe if you inform the sales person that you do not want to return it but to exchange it and explain the reasons for this, they will waive the return fee.

    Good luck. And hurry, it's been already a week.
  21. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Do you have any suggestion? Any ideas and suggestion please?
    Do you think I eventually can go to the apple store and ask to change it with a 21,5"? I don't know this will be better..."

    I, too, have "vision problems" with the 27" monitor.

    Most of the posters to this forum are younger, with better vision, and simply cannot understand the importance of a having a screen with standard font sizes large enough for we less-than-perfect-eyesighted folks to read. After 30 to 40 more years of life, they will begin "to see things as WE see them!"

    The problem is pixel size. The pixels on the Apple 27" displays are far too small (for me, at least).

    I'm not sure the 21" will be much better.

    What I -WOULD- recommend is that you consider this:
    - return the iMac for a Mac mini. If I was going to buy a Mini I'd buy the "server" edition. It's more expensive than the other minis, but has -two- 7200rpm drives and an i7 quad-core processor. A pretty powerful little "box", considering its size.
    - I would then shop for a 3rd-party 27" display with a resolution of 1920x1080. Here's an example:

    There are numerous others available. The IMPORTANT feature of these monitors is the fact that they are "medium resolution" with the same pixel count as a standard 24" display. What this means is that each pixel will be slightly larger, making "standard size" text (as used by the Mac OS) -EASILY READABLE- for folks with vision issues.

    Now some are going to say, who wants a display with "grainy" text like that? Well, for an older guy like me, it's NOT "grainy" -- instead, it's _readable_!

    To the original poster:
    I'll bet that after trying one of the 27" 1920x1080 displays, your problems will be pretty much resolved. Most (all?) of these are "TN" panels, but properly set up and calibrated (using the "Displays" system preference pane) will look pretty good.
  22. d82k thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Glad to see so many replies!

    Yes, tonight I will decide if keep it or return it and get something else (mac mini maybe).

    Anyway just for info my eyes test went good, I don't have to wear glasses. It could be the fact that the screen is big, close and my eyes are tired in the evening.. :)
  23. englishman macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2006
    One adjustment I hope you tried was to reduce the brightness/contrast - most have it too bright.

    Also should be a certain distance away from you.

    Also you should not have bright light behind it.
  24. d82k thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2011
    Apple told me that I have 14 days to test my iMac before returning it. I will use this weekend to make all the tests and see how is it going. :)

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