Old fogies, 17" MBP, hi-res, and readability

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Canuckistan, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. Canuckistan macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2007
    Guelph, nr Toronto, Canada
    Hello old timer,

    My question is for seniors who use the 17" MBP and whose eyesight isn't what it used to be...

    Many praise the high resolution of the 17-incher, but does the reduced size of text bother you?

    I know that one can use a keyboard command to increase text size... Cmd plus +

    Besides, one can pay $50 and avoid the dreaded glossy (mirror) screen.

    I'm also going to get the old eyes checked and buy a pair of reading glasses to avoid using my usual bi-focals.

    Anyhow, you older fogies, please let me know what you think of readability on the 17" incher.
  2. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2009
    I've actually just spent this afternoon setting up a 15" MBP for an 83 year old lady, and she seemed surprisingly happy with the screen resolution once she had her glasses on. She struggled with the small text on websites, so after setting the default text size to be larger she was very happy indeed. This computer was bought to replace an old 12" Powerbook she had, and the increased resolution didn't bother her. So hopefully you'll be alright as well! :)
  3. xpovos macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2007
    I'm only 35 but my eyesight isn't what it used to be. I owned one of the first MBP models with 1920x1200 resolution and didn't find it overly problematic. There were a few times where everything seemed a bit too small. Most annoying were web sites with small text whose layout broke when you increased the text size. Other than that, not a huge issue but definitely something you continue to notice even after acclimation.
  4. Thomas Davie macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2004
    I've got the January/09 UMBP17 with glossy screen (I hate matte screens). I'm 48 and use reading glasses. I just switched from 1680x1050 to 1920x1200 and find it okay. Yeah, I'll bump up the text size a bit, but other than that am ok.

    I dunno if I need the higher resolution, but seem to be fine using it.

  5. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Hi, I'm 61 going on 62 and have had glasses since I was 13. Very crappy astigmatism.

    I have the 08 version of the 17 and picked up a set of computer glasses the last time I had my eyes checked. Computer glasses have a main field of vision optimized for the 18 or so inches you have a computer screen at and they really helped. The native rez of the laptop is 1680X1050. Sometimes I bump pdf and other text documents up to 150% for ease. I also have a 23 in Samsung that I use when working as a desktop. It has a 1920X1080 setting and will go to 1600X1200, but looks stretched.

  6. NovemberWhiskey macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2009
    I would not recommend the 1920 x 1200 resolution for anybody that has poor eyesight.

    I am no where near middle-aged, and I still feel that everything was too hard to read (too small) with the settings from the factory. I went through all the options, and turned up the font size any time I was able to. I installed the no-squint add-on for firefox so that all the fonts have been enlarged.

    I don't understand why Apple doesn't allow a system-wide enlargement of text/fonts like Windows does in system preferences/control panel. IMO, it should def be an option.
  7. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    I have the hi-res screen and I'm >55. As long as my glasses working distance matches where the computer is, there's no problem reading the screen. Sometimes, I'm a bit farther away, or the font displayed is smaller, then I use the control-scroll zoom to temporally enlarge the text/image. Also, in Safari, I use cmd-"+" to zoom text only.

    I would much rather deal with the sometimes-zoom than lose desktop real-estate. It's well worth it to enjoy full size, readable facing PDF pages, and multiple/larger image windows, more Safari windows, etc.
  8. phased macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I'm also interested to hear people's experiences with the hi-res screen.

    I'm not overly old (22, ha), but my eyes aren't great. I wear glasses, but not for reading.

    I'm really keen on the 17" (I used PS, CAD, etc.), but can't help but feel I should really settle with the 15".
  9. t3heford macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2009
    The pixel densities are roughly the same across all the macbook models...I wouldn't think 17" text would be any harder than 13" text.
  10. phased macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I don't think that's true.

    Isn't it closer to 110dpi on the 13/15", and like 130dpi on the 17"?

    Pretty big jump in my eyes (no pun).
  11. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    The 17-inch has 2.25 times more pixels than the 13.3-inch model, but is only 1.28 times bigger in its diagonal length.

    So the 17-inch is 1.7 more dense than the 13.3-inch MBP.

    If I calculated right of course.

    For the 15-inch model:

    17-inch has 1.7777 times more resolution and 1.3333 more diagonal length.

    So the 17-inch model is 1.3333 times more dense than the 15-inch MBP.
  12. phased macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I think you might be a little off there, but meh. It's probably easier to figure out DPI and work from there.

    Anyway, back to the old fogies - does it bother you?
  13. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    im not old. only 26. but the first 3 weeks, it gave me eyestrain from using it for about a hour, but im all okay now because my eyes have adapted very well. i was about to sell it because of the eyestrain it gave me. luckily i holded off and gave a little more time to adapt.
  14. phased macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    ^ Well, here we go:

    So, as suspected, quite significant..

    Geez, my heart says buy the 17" but my head has a different model in mind..
  15. DFTU101 macrumors member

    May 16, 2008
    Not old yet (but getting there)

    Not quite old but I am getting there. I have had the 15 inch MBP and now have a 17 inch MBP matte screen (which I prefer). In my opinion, the default resolution on the 15 inch is easier on the eyes (larger). Yes, the 17 inch screen is beautiful but I found the icons and fonts harder to read. That said, I use several things to increase the icons and fonts in the programs I use the most namely Apple mail, Firefox browser, Calendar, and Word.

    With Firefox, you can get an addon call "Nosquint" that automatically increases the font on webpages (you can even set the default magnification level for different websites individually-this is great since every website has different font sizes)

    With Apple Mail you can press the enlarge font button every time you are reading a message but this is a pain. If you go to terminal, you can enter in a line that automatically increases the message font to be no smaller than a certain size. I can email you the instructions if you like (it's easy)

    You can do the same tweak with Calendar

    My goal was to automate as much as possible the larger fonts and icons.

    Long message, but I am happy with my 17 inch after I tweaked everything for easier viewing. If you don't want to do all that, the 15 inch default resolution screen is easier to read without all the tweaks. I have found changing the default resolution on the screen as a whole (i.e. going into system preferences and setting the resolution from 1920 X 1200 to a lower level) makes everything blurry.
  16. DewGuy1999 macrumors 68040


    Jan 25, 2009
  17. Harmless Abuse macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2008
    I don't know if I count, but my vision is rated at 20/400.

    I have glasses that put me at a reasonable level, suitable for driving at least, I'm finding the 13in screen to be the most comfortable.

    Even then, I'm someone who needs to make text larger on that as well.

    So for me, with horrible vision, I wouldn't even consider a 17" option, I think maybe for you the 15" would be most worth it. I might be wrong here, but I don't think you're going to need the intense screen for some professional photo editing or anything.
  18. tim100 macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2009
    did you get the 17 and if so how do you like it?
  19. Z06jerry macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    I'd like to point out that the image shown in this link above is incorrect, and misleading.

    The browser image size of the 13 & 15 is virtually identical (110 & 113 dpi), (not larger for the 13" as shown). It is only the 17" that has a much smaller image due to its higher 133 dpi.

    The image should've also shown the difference in screen size instead of scaling the screens to the same size.
  20. tim100 macrumors 65816

    May 25, 2009

    Interesting. I never had a problem with a 15 or 13 inch macbook but have trouble with the 17.
  21. Canuckistan thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2007
    Guelph, nr Toronto, Canada
    OP on hold


    I'm the OP (original poster). Somebody asked if I had bought yet. No, as I'm prepared to wait 6 months to see iif the rumored matte (non-gloss) screeens for the 13 and 15 MBP materialize.

    Besides, the flickering problem may be solved and SSDs may be lower in price and higher in capacity.
  22. theJamie macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2009
    You can also hold Control and do a two finger scroll up to zoom in. (This zooms the WHOLE screen.) You then can just use one finger and move around the screen. When your are done, to zoom out, hold the control key and do a two finger scroll down.

    Two other ways to zoom in

    If you have questions let me know.
  23. Z06jerry macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    That's because @ the native resolution the text on the 17" is 17.7 % smaller than the 13" and 20.9% smaller than the 15"

    17" = 133 dpi
    15" = 110 dpi - 133 dpi = 23/110 = 20.9 % (17" smaller than 15")
    13" = 113 dpi - 133 dpi = 20/113 = 17.7 % (17" smaller than 13")


    15" = 110 dpi - 113 dpi = 3/110 = 2.7% (13" smaller than 15")

    You can zoom in to make the text bigger but it's always the clearest at the screens native resolution, kind of like focusing your camera perfectly.
  24. mainomega macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2007
    Im getting the new 17 umbp next week... does the screen look decent if i go into the properties and select 1680*1050 resolution ? or does it become all fuzzy. We've been used to the 1680*1050 on our 20" and 17" MBPs so just wondering how big of a change this will be.

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