Macbook – Smaller text looks "corrupt".

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ovs, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. Ovs macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2006
    The reason I'm asking is that, on mine the smaller, darker coloured fonts look a bit screwed up. Hard to explain, but something not quite right! It's slightly blurred, broken looking, and inconsistent colour - most notable on Safari with small bold text.

    I've got a 17" LCD on my desktop PC, and in comparison, even tough anti aliasing is on, the output is pin sharp. To be honest, it’s a relief on my eyes to go back to using the PC.

    I've only used PCs laptops before, so I'm not sure what to expect. Is this a known issue with mac Laptop screens? Anyone else have this problem?
  2. Fedge macrumors regular


    Aug 9, 2006
    This is likely a font smoothing issue.

    Launch System preferences and go to Appearance. At the bottom, you should see options for font smoothing. Fiddle with the settings to make sure you're getting the desired effect.
  3. Ovs thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2006
    Cheers Fedge,
    Unfortunately, I've tried it already. Thought it could be due to font smoothing, but the problem is present on all the available options.

    Maybe it’s a case of getting used to a new system, but it definitely looks odd. I'll try and find a store with macs – could be a problem with my particular model
  4. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

    May 14, 2006
    Roskilde, DK
    Take a screenshot... :p

    No seriously, use a digital camera to show us?
  5. Ovs thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2006
    I'm only got a digital camera on my phone, doubt it could pick up the detail though.

    It’s almost like the font smoothing is ghosting. It makes it uncomfortable to view, especially websites with a lot of text.

    For example the letter E is drawn in black (how you would expect), except for the middle bar of the E, which is light blurry grey, not black. This is only noticeable on the smaller text, like the fonts used in this thread.
  6. Fedge macrumors regular


    Aug 9, 2006
    Your description is not very . . . descriptive. It sounds like it's not an easy thing to explain. Perhaps a screenshot would be easier?

    EDIT: Tried the cameraphone. OK. Launch Grab and get a screenshot perhaps.
  7. oscarfrancis macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2006
    I have a feeling he might just be talking about the normal way that text is drawn in Mac OS X. It's nowhere near as sharp as ClearType under Windows XP, alas (though it is more typographically accurate). The 'E' character in the font used here is indeed drawn with two grey lines of pixels, rather than a single black one as it would be with ClearType.
  8. klaus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 4, 2004
    There is indeed a difference in font rendering between os x and xp. It's no bug, just a design decision. Personally I like the os x type aliasing better than the hard text on xp.

    But I use both, and have absolutely no problems when going from mac to pc and vice versa, I don't even notice it.
  9. Ovs thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2006
    o.k here goes, I get the feeling I'm going to get mocked for this. :>

    It doesn't look like much, but reading screenfulls of haphazardly smoothed text starts to get tiring.

    It seems as if the mac attempts to “smooth” the actual text lines and not just the edges. This seems absurd to me - why doesn’t it just print the text clearly and smooth out the edges?!

    In comparison, the display on my PC seems like quality magazine print. It’s smoothed, but the actual lines for the text are consistent and perfectly clear.
  10. Fedge macrumors regular


    Aug 9, 2006
    Well, after seeing your picture, this is just the way font-smoothing works on the mac. I thought there was a way you could turn it off, but if not, there's no defect. I'll research the ability to turn font smoothing off.
  11. Ovs thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2006
    Thanks again Fedge.

    I feel like I've made a big fuss about nothing. It seemed like a defect for a while, but if that’s how it is, I'll probably get used to it.
  12. CoMpX macrumors 65816


    Jun 29, 2005
    New Jersey
    Thank you, I had the same problem and that fixed it.
  13. Fedge macrumors regular


    Aug 9, 2006
    I've been using OS X since 10.0 (long enough that I couldn't remember that this was ever a problem for me). My guess is the more you use Tiger, the more you'll get used to it. I prefer the OS X smoothing to the blocky XP text.

    I know that's a lame answer, you should be able to make your computer bend to YOUR will, not the other way around. I'm still looking for a work-around.
  14. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    For larger sizes, OSX's smoothing is vastly superior in my opinion, but I feel that XP handles smaller fonts better. (and cleartype is far more flexible)

    I've been without my Powerbook for about two months (in repair :() but I believe if you change it to light, then it should look better. (note: with many apps/windows, you might have to actually close/open/reload them before you see the difference)
  15. CubeHacker macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I tend to keep my font smoothing to "standard" under OSX - even when using an LCD, as it just seems every so slightly less "blurry" or "mushy". Yes, it does take some getting used to, but believe me when I say that the font smoothing in Tiger and Panther was VASTLY superior to the one found in Jaguar and before (so you can imagine just how bad those were). Remember you must restart the OS (or at least the app) for the font smoothing effects to take place.

    A good comparison between the font rendering of OSX and XP can be found here:

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