Isn't the resolution on the 15" low?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tofagerl, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. tofagerl macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    I've been planning to get a MBP over christmas, and today I went to the local Reseller to get a USB-hub, and I played around with the 15" and 17" after since they were out, and I wanted to see if any other local stores had them. I've been planning on a 15" for a while, but when I looked at them right next to each other, it struck me that the resolution on the 15" is TINY compared to the 17". I realize that it's smalled because the screen is smalled, but it's SO MY SMALLER that the menubar took up so much physical space it became a problem for me. The 13" on the other hand, looked fine. The resolution is small, but the screen is small too so it fits.

    Now I've been using a whitebook with 1280x800 for a while now, and the resolution is one of the primary reasons I'm not going to upgrade to a 13" MBP, but there is no way in hell I am getting the 15" with a fisher-price resolution!

    Is there any chance Apple could use a 1680x1050 panel instead of the 1440xwhatever?

    Oh, and slightly related, does anyone know why the refurbs on the UK store are all 17"? There is not a single 13" or 15" there, and hasn't been for a while. Are there known problems on the 17" that I'm not aware of?
  2. shambo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 4, 2009
    The 15" does not have "a fisher-price resolution". :rolleyes:
  3. tofagerl thread starter macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    Yeah, that's helpful - thanks!

    Seriously, let's look at the resolutions:

    13": 1280x800 - Exactly one MiB (1024000 pixels)
    15": 1440x900 - Just 30 % more (1296000 px)
    17" 1920x1200 - Up 130% from the 13", and 85% up from the 15" (2304000 px)

    It's like they're not even trying to sell the 15"
  4. seh macrumors newbie


    Oct 1, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Pixel density

    More important to me is pixel density.

    By habit I'm spreadsheet averse, so I was toying around with figuring out by programming. We know these screens share proportions of rational numbers, but I prefer the trigonometry just to be sure:

    (defun pixels-by-dimensions (width height)
      (* width height))
    (defun area-by-proportion (hypoteneuse width height)
      (let* ((angle (atan height width))
             (w (* hypoteneuse (cos angle)))
             (h (* hypoteneuse (sin angle))))
        (* w h)))
    (defun pixels-per-unit-area (hypoteneuse pixel-width pixel-height)
      (/ (pixels-by-dimensions pixel-width pixel-height)
         (area-by-proportion hypoteneuse pixel-width pixel-height)))
    (defun unit-area-per-pixel (hypoteneuse pixel-width pixel-height)
      (/ (area-by-proportion hypoteneuse pixel-width pixel-height)
         (pixels-by-dimensions pixel-width pixel-height)))
    Now, put into action, comparing the current Apple laptops to my Thinkpad T40p, let's look at how many pixels one gets per inch:
    ;; 13.3" diagonal
    > (pixels-per-unit-area 13.3 1280 800)
    ;; 14.1" diagonal T40p display
    > (pixels-per-unit-area 14.1 1400 1050)
    ;; 15.4" diagonal
    > (pixels-per-unit-area 15.4 1440 900)
    ;; 17" diagonal
    > (pixels-per-unit-area 17 1920 1200)
    Next, how many inches does each pixel consume? This is the inverse of the above relationship:
    ;; 13.3" diagonal
    > (unit-area-per-pixel 13.3 1280 800)
    ;; 14.1" diagonal T40p display
    > (unit-area-per-pixel 14.1 1400 1050)
    ;; 15.4" diagonal
    > (unit-area-per-pixel 15.4 1440 900)
    ;; 17" diagonal
    > (unit-area-per-pixel 17 1920 1200)
    Look at the relative jumps in pixels per square inch, in terms of percentage from former to latter:
    > (defun percent-difference (first second)
        (* 100 (1- (/ first second))))
    ;; 13.3" to 15.4" diagonal
    > (percent-difference 12158.882 12880.321)
    ;; 15.4" to 17" diagonal
    > (percent-difference 17738.408 12158.882)
    ;; 13.3" to 17" diagonal
    > (percent-difference 17738.408 12880.321)
    Wow. You lose 5.6% of your pixel density going from 13.3" to 15.4", but gain 45.88% going up from 15.4" to 17".

    The 15.4" model is positioned in the middle of the product lineup, but it's a vastly inferior monitor -- if density matters to you.
  5. Onay macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2009
    It entirely depends on what you're using it for. I bought the 17" for college because I thought I needed raw processing power and tons of real estate.

    Turns out its more than I needed. I'm not saying I'm unhappy; I love the real estate and being able to have a ton of programs running and easily accessing them. But honestly, bringing it around everywhere, taking notes, and even reading fonts at it's pixel density can be a bit annoying. But viewing photos and video, FANTASTIC! So it just depends what you're using it for.

    If you need portability, get a 13" MBP and get a display for it at home or just get a desktop for at home.
  6. firesong macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2007
    I agree with this. It's one of my gripes right now... I was actually hoping they'd move to 1680x1050 when they moved the 17" to 1920-whatever.

    The Macs used to have one of the best resolutions in the market, especially in the PowerPC era. But right now, if you notice, many other laptops at the same price point (usually lower) typically come with excellent higher-resolution screens.

    For once, it's quite behind. And those extra pixels would make a huge difference.

    It's time to move the 13" to 1440, the 15" to 1680 and the 17" to remain 1920. That should be the sweet spot for everyone, and would really help users in the long run.
  7. 7even macrumors 6502a

    Jan 11, 2008
    By straining their eyes? :p In all seriousness, 15" + 1440 is the sweet spot for me, so don't assume everyone wants ultra tiny pixels... On the other hand, if the OS was resolution-independent, I would agree completely.
  8. rhinosrcool macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2009
    For me, the 1440 x 900 display is low resolution. So, just like the matte option, I would love the option for higher resolution.
  9. AAPLaday Guest


    Aug 6, 2008
    Manchester UK
    OP your question about why is there only 17" models on uk refurb store. Well I'm guessing it's the size of it that put a lot of people off. Maybe they didn't realise how big it was till they started carrying it and so on. But trust me it's not just the 17s that show up on the refurb store. Problem is you have to get there early. On Monday and Tuesday morning there were iMacs, 13" 15" and 17" MBP's. From the first refresh last October and the update a few months later. They always sell out quick though. I checked at 7am. By 8.30 they had gone.
    The demands for the 13" 15", mini and iMacs on the refurb store is very high it seems.
  10. santos79 macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2009
    But why? What do you need the higher resolution for? Do you want to have to use a magnifying glass to be able to read whatever is on your screen?

    I have the feeling that most of the people whining that the 15-inch MBP doesn't have a higher resolution, just want it because it exists. More is not always better, though.

    I agree with the others that 1440x900 is the sweet spot for a 15-inch monitor. 1920x1200 is great - if you have a 24-inch monitor. But it's to much for a 15-inch laptop.
  11. tofagerl thread starter macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    Fortunately I'm out of school, so I don't need to drag the laptop to lectures. I mostly need the laptop for traveling, but most of the time it will be on my desk. As such, the 13" is out because of the small screen.
    17" it is, I guess :)
  12. Badradio macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2004
    I'm reading this on my work laptop - a Dell Precision M4400 - and I'm having to lean in to read on the 1920x1200 screen. It's a complete joke; I have perfect eyesight and this screen is unusable for anything other than Word files or PDFs where you can zoom. Application menus are unreadable from a comfortable distance, and if you reduce the res from the native, the fonts blur. I got a 24" monitor with it, at the same resolution, and it's comfortable to view at the same distance.

    There are only two reasons to want a higher resolution on the MBP 15": gaming (a good reason) and chasing numbers provided by marketing departments (not such a good reason).
  13. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    While many people wished the 15" MBP had higher resolution, I think there's many more people that don't want that. I'm in that camp. The current resolution of the MBP is such that is readable w/o producing too much eye strain. Anything smaller would not be good for me and I'd stop buying the 15" MBP.

    Need more screen real estate, get the 17"
  14. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
  15. tofagerl thread starter macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    I did look through the replacement-screen thread, but I can't imagine I'll find a 1680 15.4" screen which is as good as the 1440 one :(
    I've been reading(/viewing on youtube) reviews of the 17" now, and I've pretty much decided that the best solution will be to simply save up even more money and go for the big one. Seeing as the refurbs seem to be more common on the 17" than the 15", I can get a 17" 2.66 from the last generation for 1450 GBP, which is a very decent price.
  16. polaris20 macrumors 68020

    Jul 13, 2008
    Ideally the 13" should be 1440x900 (as many other 13 and 14 laptops are) and the 15 should be 1680x1050 (as many other 15 laptops are). The resolutions are just too low as they stand right now.

    If you can't see 1680x1050 on a 15", please see an eye doctor. I've used 1920x1200 on a 15", and that was just beginning to be strained.
  17. tilstip macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2008
    I agree with polaris20. This configuration would be perfect.
  18. tofagerl thread starter macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    I don't necessarily agree on the 13". I have a whitebook atm, and while it certainly shouldn't have a LOWER resolution, I think 1280x800 is pretty much poifec' for the size.
    But the 15" should at least have an optional higher res. display. Maybe make it available only on the ones with discrete graphics card, and make it cost about 100 GBP? Something like that...
  19. rhinosrcool macrumors 65816


    Sep 5, 2009
    1680 X 1050 is not too small for a 15" screen. On my 14" Thinkpad, it has this resolution and isn't too tiny. In fact, some 15" Thinkpads have 1920 x 1200 and are highly praised.

    As for why would it be desirable for the higher resolution, there are several reasons such as screen real estate, higher quality images, and crisper text.
  20. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Totally for one size up optional screens on the 13" and 15"... 1440x900 on 13" and 1680x1050" on 15".
  21. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    May 29, 2007
    I think the 17" resolution is overdone. It's too hard for me to read anything on it since the text is so small. The previous 17" is 1680x1050. That was perfect for me. When I went to replace my old 17 MBP I just couldn't take having 1920x1200 on a 17" screen so I waited for the 15" to come out with anti-glare. The 1440x900 resolution is just about right. When I want more desktop real estate I use an external monitor. I have a 24" Samsung 1920x1200 at work, and a ACD 23" at home (and a 30" Dell 2560x1600 on order to replace it).
  22. polaris20 macrumors 68020

    Jul 13, 2008
    I like screen real estate and corrective contact lenses. This combination works fine for me. ;)

    If they ever offered 1920x1200 on the 15", I'd buy one and deal with the extra size over the 13".
  23. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    May 29, 2007
    Yeah, well wait 'till you're 50. :(
  24. prodigee macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Well if that were the case, then the 13" would get a 1440x900 display which would be sweet, but, I don't really see this happening for a while unless Apple realizes that this is what people want.
  25. poematik14 macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2009
    the 15" late 2008 mbp screen is the most beautiful laptop screen I have ever used. The PC's dont even come close..their viewing angles are abysmal

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