Retina = less screen space?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mildredop, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2013
    I've just moved from a 13" Air to a 13" hi-res MacBook Pro. I'm getting quite annoyed that there's actually less screen to play with.

    See the attached - the same website on each computer, with the MacBook Pro clearly displaying less.

    I thought higher resolution would make everything smaller and give me more screen, not less.

    Attached Files:

  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Could it be formatting with the page itself?

    Native resolution of the rMBP 2560 by 1600 where as the MBA's resolution is 1440 by 900. You should get more screen real estate.

    What's the display preference pane set too?
  3. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    It gives you the same as the old 13" rMBP, but in much higher quality.

    You can choose a scaled mode under system preferences- > displays. I use scaled mode (1920*1200) on my 15" and it's been fine.
  4. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Change the scaling in display presences to whatever you would prefer.
  5. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
  6. nkawal macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2011
    I recently noticed the same thing. I upgraded from a 2010 13" Air to a Late 2013 Pro Retina 13". Instantly, i noticed the difference, expecially in itunes, everything looked so big. I switched it from Best(Retina) to the More Space settings.
  7. TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    The default best for retina setting on the 13" rMBP gives a scaled screen real estate of 1280x800, like resolution of the old non-retina 13". The 13" MBA has a 1440x900 display, thus the MBA will have a higher effective real estate. However, this is instantly solved by simply using the scaling feature to show more space, which looks like either 1440x900 or even 1680x1050 on the highest setting.
  8. NathanA macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2008
    That's not how Retina/HiDPI works. As others have already pointed out, the native res of the original 13" MBP screen is 1280x800, while the native res of 13" MBA is 1440x900. Retina screens do not give you more real estate...they instead use 4x (2x in each dimension) more pixels to give you the same amount of physical real estate that you had on the non-Retina screen. If you do the math, 2560/2 == 1280 and 1600/2 == 800, so the 13" rMBP screen is only going to give you the same amount of real estate as the 13" cMBP (1280x800) LCD did, not the same amount as the 13" MBA (1440x900).

    You can ask OS X to give you real estate equivalent to 1440x900 in the Displays system preference panel, but doing so means that there is no longer an exact 4:1 pixel ratio...there will be some scaling involved (the image will be rendered in memory as 2880x1800 and then scaled down to fit into 2560x1600 pixels). The pixels on the Retina panel are so small, though, that you probably won't notice the ever-so-slight decrease in display quality.

    -- Nathan
  9. Z3man macrumors 6502a

    Feb 19, 2012
    All this explains why text is so small on the MBA, whereas it is the same size on the MBP and the rMBP. I returned my MBA because of the small text and poor screen quality.
  10. chrise2 macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2012
    I think there's 3rd party software you can install to give you more resolution options. If you're really adventurous, you could run at native resolution. If you have good eyes and don't want to keep them good for very long. :)
  11. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    Yep. And it is literally unusable. I posted my 15" screenshot some time ago:

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10 October 27, 2014