Qs-First MBA upgrade from a late 2007 Macbook

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cosmo3, May 28, 2015.

  1. cosmo3 macrumors member

    May 28, 2015
    Thats right, up until about 5 days ago I've been rocking an old white late 2007 Macbook running 10.6.8. I've just upgraded to a MBA and I have plenty-o questions for you guys. In advance I thank you for you input cause I do have an issue to deal with that Im sure you guys could help with.


    My old 2007 macbook is a 2.2ghz core 2 which I upgraded to 4GB of ram a few years ago to extend its life.

    The computer has been giving me the pinwheel of death for a long time and I just dealt with it waiting till I got a new one.

    Here's where the problems start....

    I got a brand new 13inch 1.6ghz i5 256GB MBA with upgraded 8gbs of RAM. When it came I noticed that I had 10.10 and frankly, I could not deal with it at all. The flatness of it, along with what I thought was tiny system fonts really depressed me. I had used a 10.9 from time to time and liked the feel of that so tried to get the new one installed with 10.9 (I never remember the names of the OSX). Since it was a new one, the genius people said 10.9 wasn't possible and the only way was to find an older one that had 10.9 installed at some point.

    By my luck, I found a mid-2013 13inch 1.7ghz i7 256GB with the 8gbs I wanted at that exact moment on the refurb site. I ordered and waited till it came to make sure it could run 10.9. The genius installed it and I returned the 2015 model (I am not certain it was 2015 model or 2014 as I think new ones were just put out. This was literally a 1.5-2 weeks ago.)

    So now Im working on the 2013 and it still hasn't looked right to me. I keep thinking its the fonts. Have dropped the res to a lower setting and while that increases things the fonts turn fuzzy. I just learned the hard way that the Appearance set font size option in my old 10.6 isn't an option with these new OS.

    After some discussion with AppleCare and trying to find a work around, I came to the conclusion that while the fonts are small (and the ability to change them from app to app or across the whole system is, to put it very kindly, limited (Control+ is not a solution - its a workaround)), the problem might lie with the actual screen.

    It seems like this model has a glossy screen which is causing fits with my eyes and my head. I've looked around this site and have seen many people discuss this issue and the preference for a matte screen but those discussions were on the MBP. I'm waiting for an power support anti-glare screen to ship to test that with the 2013MBA.

    My question, is it possible to get a non-glossy and/or a matte MBA or MBP either through the refurb or new? I don't seem to find them on the site. Am I wasting my time searching for one that will have the specs I want or at least the ability to upgrade the RAM I want?

    Im sort of out of sorts on what to do with this computer. If there is a better MAC option out there, I'd probably take it. I'd hate to have this one with the glossy screen and in a month or two apple releases a better looking non-glossy/matte screens. I can't shell out the cost for two macs. What I get needs to last a min of 3 years.

    Im hoping to get to a store in the next day or two to see whats available there in terms of a better screen mac. But I don't see the fuss for the retina at the cost difference.

    (one positive of this is that I found out that the specs on this 2013 refurb are pretty in tune with the new MBAs so if a new OSX comes out that gives more user functionality in terms of font size system wide and app to app, this MBA should be able to handle the upgrades for at least a few generations.)

    apologies for the long post, and thanks for any input you may have. much appreciated.


    I absolutely love my old 2007 Macbook. And OS X 10.6 was/is superb. I wish I could have 10.6 on this new sooped up MBA. But the screen... its burning my eyes!
  2. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Sorry, you lost me here.

    The fonts, button shapes, etc. are just arbitrary design decisions. I'm sure that once you start doing actual work with your computer, you will quickly ignore the small visual differences of the things in the corners of your screen.
  3. cosmo3 thread starter macrumors member

    May 28, 2015
    yeah, I thought so too. but there were issues with 10.10 that I couldn't get around, lack of contrast and everything being a light shade of gray, thin fonts that made words look just shy of black. I really couldn't use the computer.

    could that have been partially about the screen, possibly. On the current refurb, while 10.9 is much easier for me, the glossiness of the screen is still too much. I currently have the screen at a quarter brightness, and even that is bothering to my eyes. it also seems like a waste of a good computer and good money to have use this MBA in this fashion.
  4. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    The 15" MacBookPro6,2; MacBookPro8,2; and MacBookPro9,1 all came with the option of a higher res 1680x1050 (1440x900 on glossy) anti-glare matte screen.

    The 17" also came with the option, but the 13" did not.
  5. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    If you're looking at documents or editing web pages or so forth, all of that stuff is going to look identical to what you were used to (whites, blacks, contrast, fonts, etc.). Sorry if this sounds insulting but I would suggest trying to use your computer to do something instead of focusing on looking at the UI elements.
  6. cosmo3 thread starter macrumors member

    May 28, 2015
    what does the 6.2, 8.2, and 9.1 mean? Im assuming those aren't OSX versions?

    also, it sounds like your suggesting there are no current MB pro or air that come with an anti-glare matte screen? I also assume those don't turn up on the refurb list often.

    any other suggestions? I found another MBP air with my specs on the refurb and a MBP with the necessary RAM and SSD on the refurb site. If these anti glare protectors don't work, I'm leaning to returning the MBA and waiting to see what happens at the conference. By the time that starts my MBA will be out of the 14 day return window.
  7. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Those are Apple's designations for MacBook pro models. You can use them to search for more information in the models; handy if you plan on buying used or refurb. IRC, 9,1 was Late 2012. You are correct that no current Apple laptop has a matte screen, but previous pre-retina ones do.
  8. cosmo3 thread starter macrumors member

    May 28, 2015
    looking over my initial post I probably made things overly complicated and I have some new info and new questions so I'd really like to get some input.

    I've figured out the issue I had with the new and returned MBA, and the currently in use mid 2013 MBA came down to three things.

    1. Don't like 10.10.
    2. The size of the font system wide.
    3. The glossiness of the screens.

    I ended up returning the 2014/15 MBA for the refurbished mid 13 version and downgraded it to 10.9 so that issue was resolved. Changing the display resolution from 1440x900 to 1280x800 made things bigger but less legible due to the fuzziness of the font. And Im currently testing one of the anti-glare screens and that reduces the glossiness a bit.

    I just came back from apple to see what other solutions I had and I played with the rMBP 13 inch. I initially didn't think it was worth it, and while playing with it I did find that a lot of programs don't have the option to change the font or the type size, but when I changed the display scale, at every level the fonts are crisp and clear, no blurriness as I'm currently dealing with.

    So, what I may end up doing is returning this one and waiting to see what happens at the conference while keeping an eye on the refurb list. I found a July 2014 rMBP 2.6 i5 at what I think is a good price, but does anyone know if that year model would have 10.9 pre-installed on it?

    if it did then I'd resolve the first 2 issues and either adapt to the slightly less glossy rMBP or just use an anti-gloss screen.

    Can anyone comment on the power and speed of the july 2014 rMBP?

  9. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Yes, what you're seeing with the font size is that MBAs have higher resolution screens than the older MBs.

    Older MBs are 113 PPI.
    The 13" MBA is 127 PPI.
    The 11" MBA is 135 PPI.

    So, your 13" MBA has 12% more pixel density than your old MB. So if you display the same exact thing on both screens (same configuration of pixels) it will be about 11% smaller on the MBA.

    Really, an 11% difference is not that big. What I think is likely happening is that you're not used to seeing all the extra information on the screen and it's sort of an optical illusion that everything looks much smaller than it really is. If you use the computer for long enough to get used to it, and just focus on the information that you really need at any given time, I'm sure you'll be fine.
  10. cosmo3 thread starter macrumors member

    May 28, 2015
    I hear what your saying motrek but one key difference between the MBA I'm using now and a rMBP is that I can change the display resolution to a level more comfortable with my eyes and font won't be noticeably blurry if I were to do that with the MBA. I had no idea the rMBP made that much of a difference, I always thought the retina displays were one of those marketing tricks to get someone to spend more for not much of a difference. But if your looking to step up in the font type size system wide, then I don't think you have an option other than rMBP.

    I only played with the rMBP at apple for about 30 min and Im sure the setting is set just so, but the retina display is a big improvement on clarity of fonts at a higher scale, and while that sort of reduces the strain of the glare, there is still a level of glare that I'd like to figure out how to eliminate.

    What I don't know is, provided I get put the equivalent RAM and SSD, are the mid 2014 rMBP fast and comparable to the 2015 versions?

    besides the desire to go down to 10.9, I have a hard time justifying the cost of a new rMBP, so I'm limited to the refurb site.
  11. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    Try anti-glare screen protector?

    I have the exact same computer as you just bought. I love it.

    You should consider that when switching to any new screen, especially after you have been using another since 2007! your eyes will need a chance to adjust. In particular switching from a 1280 x 800 to a 1440 x 900 resolution will take a bit. You're eyes will get used to the smaller sizes soon. (I have terrible vision and hate reading small text but i adjusted)

    With regards to glossiness I got an antiglare screen protector from photodon which is only slightly matte which I love. I've bought 3 seperate screen protector from them and been happy every time. It is basically a required purchase for me but it makes me feel like I bought a computer with a semi-matte screen which is perfect. Not too expensive either (< $15).
  12. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012

    Sorry you're annoyed by the glare and the font size. I know what it's like to be annoyed by one aspect of a product to the point where you obsess about it. But realize that tens of millions of regular people have these products that you consider unsatisfactory and are able to use them just fine and are perfectly happy with them. Surely there's nothing that's physically or mentally preventing you from doing the same? I suspect you just aren't giving yourself enough time to adjust to the new computer or you're obsessing about the things you think you don't like.

    Another factor to consider is that the lights at an Apple Store are extremely bright and you're going to see reflections of them off the screens very easily. Using these laptops day-to-day, you almost certainly won't see that level of glare/reflection.

    (Also, if you use a smartphone or a tablet, its screen is almost certainly much more reflective than an Air's. But you're able to use that okay, right?)

    Yes, they are more or less the same. The graphics logic in the 2015 model is somewhat faster and the entire CPU uses about 30% less power, which really only matters if you're stressing out the CPU and you're on battery power.
  13. cosmo3 thread starter macrumors member

    May 28, 2015
    I get that many others use these products just fine and I am trying to not be obsessed with it but I am constantly changing the font Control+/- and adjusting the brightness as my eyes feel extremely strained when I use the computer for a fraction of the time I'm expecting to use it on a day to day basis.

    I know OS's constantly change and there is a necessity to adjust but for a product thats not cheap, Im much more interested in getting the product that eliminates the main issues while still under the 14 day window. I won't be able to do anything once that passes.

    I've solved the issue with system wide font size and blurriness... requires the need for a rMBP. while the rMBP does reduce the glossiness to a degree, I think I'll need an anti-glare screen protector for the rMBP. I won't know if that does the trick until it get it them.

    The one thing I haven't been able to figure out is the font setting from safari. On my old 07 white MB, there was a safari pref for appearance where I could set the default font size. No such option on the 10.9. I started another thread on OS X 10.9 thread about inquiring if it is possible to fine tune the Control+/- for fonts. I know option shift fine tunes the brightness settings. Hoping to find something for font size.

    Im still hoping someone can clear up my question on the July 2014 rMBP, is the option to change the display resolution the same as the 2015 rMBP? the 2015 model shows the resolutions horizontally and had no blurriness when I increased the resolution size so fonts were bigger. There were no 2014 rMBPs at apple for me to test it out.

    Motrek, I do appreciate all your input. Your input on this thread and on my others I've read has been really helpful. thanks
  14. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I don't know about the Safari settings, I use Chrome, sorry.

    As a quick anecdote, I bought a new monitor last year. Much bigger than my old one with much more screen real estate. Superior to the old one in every way. But its dimensions and resolution confused my brain somehow and my eyes weren't used to focusing on whatever they had to focus on. Everything seemed impossibly small and it was very unpleasant to use for at least a week. I was seriously considering returning the monitor. But after maybe a week I was more or less used to it, and now (several months later) I'm completely comfortable with it and can't imagine using anything else.

    I see that you used your last computer since 2007 (?) so your eyes and brain have had 8 years to get used to its screen. It might be a bit much to ask to immediately like something different.

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