Question about resolution / eye strain

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by onthecouchagain, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    So excuse my ignorance, but I was in Best Buy testing the retina MBP. I have some interest in purchasing it, but I noticed in the resolution preference settings, I couldn't get the machine to go to 2880 x 1800. It was only you know, Large Text, Recommended Setting, or More Space. And the resolutions they showed didn't seem to show an option for 2880 x 1800. The "More Space" gave I think 1920 x 1200 or something?

    How do you make it 2880 x 1800?

    Also, did anyone switch over from a Macbook Air 13"? That's what I currently have, and honestly, my eyes strain to see the text when I'm writing for a long time in MS Word or when I'm reading a lot off the internet. I can enlarge the text, sure, but then they seem a bit blurry and they strain my eyes that way. So retina sounds like it might be the answer? Maybe even the 13" retina when/if it's released?

    So would the retina-ness of the MBP line help my eye strain? I already have had my eyes checked out and wear glasses. So it's not me, per se.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    I don't believe OSX allows you to select 2880x1800 without some tweaking.

    If you're experiencing eye strain, why would you want to make the text smaller? Just use it at the "best for retina" resolution.
  3. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    If it can't be used at the advertised 2880x1800 then what's the point of retina?

    I wouldn't make it smaller but when tinkering with it I just noticed there was no 2880x1800 option and found that odd. It's odder still that I'm learning it can't run in 2880x1800. Am I understanding this correctly? What is the tweaking one has to do?

    Please enlighten.
  4. mankar4 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2007
    Think of it this way: The iPhone 4 debuted the retina display, and there was no increase in effective screen real estate compared to the 3GS. Simply, the icons, text, and everything had an increase in resolution while occupying the same screen real estate. That's Apple's goal with the rMBP- everything sits in the same place, but everything has many more pixels than it did before.

    Honestly, using my friend's rMBP at work makes it hard to switch back to my MBA.
  5. twietee macrumors 603


    Jan 24, 2012
    Haven't done it myself, but there is a thread about that here too. Should be really easy though via SwitchX (think it's called like this). Meaning that of course you can use it with's just a little bit tiny.
  6. eron macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    There are a few solutions for eye strain. Though eye strain means your eyes are strained, meaning you need to take more breaks (every 20-30mins), and blink more.

    Hardware that can help:
    Gunnar computer glasses

    Flux - orange rather than blue light is easier on the eyes.

    Most importantly, it's how you read. Our eyes are made to focus on small spots, not read huge text. Meaning, it's easier to read smaller text than large ones. It takes re-learning.
    Bates method:
    Using your eyes correctly means to read the smallest text possible comfortably. The bigger sized font will strain your eyes. Read letters by letters, rather than whole sentences at a time. Yes, speed reading kills your eyesight and cause strain.

    Setting to 2880X1800 would only help if you are using your eyes properly. Meaning, able to read tiny text.

    Software to toggle reso:
  7. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    As another poster has already said, Apples goal with retina hasn't been tiny icons and text. Instead they're trying to take existing UI elements, keep them the same size but increase the detail but quadrupling the amount of pixels they're drawn with. The "best for retina" option is basically 1440x900 in terms of screen real estate, the higher resolution options are nice and from what I've seen there isn't really a "penalty" for running non-native resolutions because the pixels are so small.
  8. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    Ah, I see. Thanks for the explanation. I guess it doesn't mean it literally must be in 2880x1800, just that there are now more pixels than ever before so things are sharper. I'm reading more about it online, and it's saying there are 4x the pixels versus before?

    Are there any predictions for what the 13" resolution will be? Or I guess the more important question is, how many more times pixel will be squeezed in?
  9. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    I would be more concerned with the LED-backlit displays burning your retinas. Since I started using Macs with LED-backlit displays, about 3 years ago...I have been diagnosed with less than 20/20 vision for the first time in my life. I never had trouble with my eyesight using CRT or CCFL displays....but the new iMacs and MacBooks use a different kind of backlighting which is very harsh on the eyes. I spend a majority of the day on a computer, and I am almost positive that the LED-backlit displays have had something to do with my decline in eyesight.
  10. foodle macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2008
    Pennsylvania, USA
    13" rMBP is rumored to be 2560x1600, doubling the resolution in each dimension of the current 1280x800 13" MBP display.
  11. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    As far as I know, LED backlit displays should cause less eyestrain than standard LCDs. I actually notice a slight flicker on standard LCDs that drives me nuts so I very much prefer LED displays.

    What does your optometrist have to say about your theory?


    The resolution doubled on the horizontal and vertical specs. If you do the math, you 'll see that the retina display has over 5 million pixels where as the standard display only has about 1.25 million.

    2880x1800 = 5184000 pixels
    1440x900 = 1296000 pixels

    5184000/1296000 = 4

    What that means is a what used to be a single pixel on a standard MBP is now made up of 4 pixels on a rMBP.

    As another poster has said, it's pretty likely that the 13" rMBP will have 2560x1600 resolution.
  12. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Many people have reported eyestrain problems when using portable Macs. In most cases it has nothing to do with the display resolution; it seems to be caused by the LED backlighting. There is a lengthy 38 page and growing thread about the problem on the official Apple forum:

    I didn't have any computer-related eyestrain problems until I used an 11" MacBook Air. Within 15 minutes I developed a headache; severe eyestrain symptoms lasted over eight hours after I stopped using the MBA. Changing the size of the font and other adjustments did nothing to alleviate the problem. It became apparent to me that my problem was with the back lighting, not the display resolution.

    Ironically, I was under the care of an ophthalmologist at the time for an unrelated matter. He did not find anything wrong with my eyes that could have contributed to the problem. I wear reading glasses with a prescription tailored for use with computer displays.

    The early 2011 13" MBP also caused me some problems but I was able to make it usable when I tried some of the suggestions in the Apple forum thread.

    The problems apparently started with the introduction of the first unibody MBPs. I owned the last pre-unibody LED backlit 15" MBP and its display was great. No problems with my CCFL backlit 2006 iMac and CCFL backlit 24" NEC display either.

    The eyestrain symptoms don't affect everybody and there are a number of theories about possible causes. (There is more information about LED display-related problems online that is not specific to Apple products.) If you aren't affected you are fortunate; if you are sensitive then it can be a very uncomfortable experience.

    People often think that they must have a problem with their eyes. Some of them wind up spending time and money going to an eye doctor only to discover that their eyes are normal.

    So you should be aware that your eyestrain problem could continue with a Retina display. Give one a thorough test drive if that is possible. If not, I suggest buying directly from Apple so you have 14 days to return the MBP if you have any problems with it. Two weeks is plenty of time to find out if the display is a problem for you.
  13. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    13" will have 2560 x 1600, exactly 4x the pixel count.

    In my opinions, if you have eyestrain reading on the 13" MBA, it might be due to the backlight rather than the pixel count.

    I had the same eyestrain as well, until I reduced the backlight under some conditions, and my eyes no longer get watery. I work as a computer programmer so my work requires me to stare at the screen pretty much all day long. There was no avoiding it.
  14. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    Thanks, everyone. Really appreciate it.

    Don't the retina MBPs have brighter displays too?
  15. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2011
    No. I don't find my Retina much brighter than my old 2011 Pro.

    I think the brightness is offset by the fact that there are more pixels on the screen, so less light can slip through even though the backlight is brighter.
  16. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Fortunately, there are still external displays that use CCFL back lighting. NEC has over 25 models starting at around $300 MSRP.

    The NEC 2490 WUXi2 that I purchased last December has CCFL back lighting, a very nice anti-glare panel and it offers height, swivel and tilt adjustments. And it has a free four-year warranty instead of the standard one-year Apple warranty. No Apple display even comes close in offering the advantages of the NEC.
  17. mgipe macrumors demi-god


    Oct 6, 2009
    Odd comments about the backlight. Having used LCDs for many years, I was pleased when manufacturers started switching over to LED backlights, which, for me, reduced eyestrain compared to CCFL.

    CCFL can flicker at high frequency when dimmed, and has an odd color balance.
  18. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    You can see it this way: the real resolution is indeed 2880x1800, but the 'logical' resolution is 1440x900 (or something else). The key notion here is 'resolution independence'. For instance, a text chunk which would take 100x100 pixels on a standard MBP display would take 200x200 pixels on the retina. This means that the size of the UI elements is the same, but the actual resolution is much higher. The resolution slider in the system settings simply controls the way the logical pixels are mapped to real pixels (e.g. 1920x1200 makes the UI size just as if the native res were 1920x1200, even thoug its actually rendered at 3840x2400 and then downsampled to 2880x1800)

    Few years from now the notion of resolution itself will become obsolete — 'resolution' is just an artefact of technological limitation anyway. We will just have 'larger UI' vs 'more screen estate'; for games it would be 'sharper picture' vs 'better performance'.
  19. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    Some inexpensive CCFL back-lit displays may have those problems, but quality displays don't.
  20. stuaz macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2012

    You know having the incorrect environment for viewing computer screens can damage your eyesight far more than the screen ever will.

    The vision levels can sometimes dip and then stay at that level for years still. I myself have had the same prescription for the past 6 years, so its not unusual to see changes in eye sight regardless of screen backlit type.

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