Please help: Blurred text on new 2011 MBA 11"

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by ToTo Man, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. ToTo Man macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    #1
    I just bought a new 11" 128GB MBA and have just set it up next to my existing 2010 13" MBP, and am somewhat shocked/disappointed to find a significant difference in quality in text rendering. Sadly I didn't pay much attention to the text rendering of the display models in-store because the store was so busy, so I don't know if this is just how all MBA's are, or if mine has a display problem.

    There are 3 problems I've noticed:

    1. Overall, the MBA displays blurred and somewhat greyish text compared to the MBP.

    2. The sharpness and greyness varies across different letters and words on the same horizontal plane of text.

    3. The sharpness and greyness varies across different horizontal bands. E.g. when viewing a webpage that has 3 lines of text, say for simplicity, 'X', 'Y' & 'Z'. Line 'Y' appears sharper than Lines 'X' and 'Z'. But with a single press of the down arrow on the keyboard to scroll down the webpage slightly, Lines 'X' and 'Z' now appear sharper than Line 'Y'.

    Has anyone else noticed this problem, and are there any software settings I can change to improve things? Thanks! :)
     
  2. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    #2
    That is because the display panel on the Air is not as good as that on the MBP!
     
  3. ArmCortexA8 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Location:
    Terra Australis
    #3
    Additionally, look at the screen thickness difference between the MBA and MBP - common sense the MBP will have a better display - despite both using LED technology.
     
  4. ToTo Man thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    #4
    Problem solved :). Strangely the screen res was set to 1344 x 756. Setting it to its proper 1366 x 768 has taken away 99 percent of the blurriness.
     
  5. Azathoth macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    #5
    Check that Display resolution is set to native panel resolution
    System Prefs -> Displays (1366x768 for MBA 11? 1440x900 for MBA 13?)

    Then:
    System Prefs -> Appearance (Font smoothing for LCD, turn of text smoothing for font sizes X and smaller) - see if making changes to those helps.
     
  6. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    OK, that makes sense...I was gonna say...no way! I have the 11" MBA and its clear as day! The screen is tiny yet I can read everything from several feet away!
     
  7. ToTo Man thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    #7
    Thanks, it turns out it was the display resolution that was set incorrectly.

    I also tried the two settings in Appearance:
    "Use LCD font smoothing when available" - Turning this on/off does not have any effect. What is it supposed to do?
    "Turn off smoothing for font sizes X and smaller" - This makes text even thinner/sharper (possibly even too sharp! :D ), but is only effective on small text (i.e. VERY small text on the MBA display).
     
  8. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #8
    As for people saying the MBA display is worse/cheaper than the MBP...you are incorrect. The pixel density is actually higher than its larger cousins! While the larger screens have higher resolution the MBA 11" has the highest PPI of all the MacBook displays....more akin to the iPhone Retina Display.
     
  9. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    #9
    Yes, Airs have a higher pixel density, and low black level.

    I'd take a 15" Pro display over the Airs any day.
     

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