Retina Screen Remorse!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Apples Everywhere, Dec 17, 2016.

  1. Apples Everywhere macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    #1
    Hi, I'm new to this forum. I am an admitted Apple fanatic--I've been hooked on Apple products for years. iPads, iPhones, iMacs, MacBooks, Apple TVs--we have 'em all over the house.

    When the new 12-inch MacBooks were released, I was hit with upgrade fever, so I recently purchased one to replace my 2009 MacBook Pro. I loved the weight and size of the new MacBook, and that Retina screen was gorgeous! This being my first-ever Retina, I marveled at the crisp clear text and sharp images. I fell in love with this machine, despite its flaws.

    If you read the previous paragraph closely, you will see that I referred to the MacBook in the past tense. That's because I no longer own it. Shortly after using it, I noticed headaches and eye pressure. I Googled it and discovered that I am not alone--hundreds of other poor saps like me cannot tolerate a Retina screen. Millions of people the world over are happily hunched in front of their Retina screens with nary a blink. The unlucky few like me develop headaches and eye problems. Nobody can really say why. Some say it is screen glare; others say it is the low refresh rate which causes flicker. The best way I can describe it for me is that the text has a 3-d kind of look--like the text is so sharp that it looks like it is set forward on the screen as in a 3D movie. After using these Retina screens for a couple of hours, I feel as though my eyes have "burn in". There is no clear explanation, but there is a LOT of anecdotal evidence. I am not alone.

    I did try--I used that beautiful space gray machine for a couple of weeks, hoping I would get used to it. But my headaches did not abate so I finally surrendered and sold the MacBook (made a $100 profit, at least).

    But my upgrade fever was not satisfied, so I set my sights on a MacBook Air, which is similar to my Pro but much less beastly. Searching eBay for an Air one day, I came across an auction for an iMac. We have a 21.5 inch 2011 iMac; it is a perfectly fine machine, and I was not looking to upgrade that. But this auction was such a good deal that I could not pass it up--a late 2015 Retina iMac, 21.5 inches, with 2 years remaining on Apple Care, for $825 shipped (it was a very poorly-written auction, thus it escaped notice; I just happened upon it and nabbed it). Factor in the 8% off eBay coupon I had, and I picked up that machine for about $760 total.

    Well, I thought, maybe the bigger screen will be more forgiving. About a week later, the iMac arrived. I set it up and have been using it for about 2 weeks now. Same problem--headaches and eye pressure.

    The thing is, I have absolutely fallen in love with the crisp clear colorful gorgeous Retina screen, and I'm having a hard time going back to my old iMac and MacBook Pro (curiously enough, I have been using iPhones & iPads with Retina screens for years and never had any problems...)

    So, here are my questions: For the desktop--If I purchase a 27-inch non-Retina iMac, will that screen be a significant upgrade in resolution and clarity, since it has more pixels than my 21.5 incher? I'm looking for a compromise--if I can't use Retina, perhaps a bigger screen will be sharper.

    And how about a late model MacBook Air? Will its screen be a significant upgrade over the MBP 2009 that I have?

    Also, I want to buy a separate monitor to use with the eventual Air I will have--one that is better than my current iMac but not as sharp as a Retina? If so, which monitor would you recommend?

    Any thoughts (and condolences) are welcome; thanks!
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    My only recommendation is to see for yourself. You seem to have some issues with a retina screen, though I wonder if it was because of the small display and struggling to focus on the tiny text. The advantage of the 27" over the 21" is you can scale the display up and still have great text. I also think you get more bang for your buck, but I guess that may be a discussion for a different thread.

    I'd not touch the Air at all, your 2009 MBP is upgradeable its performance is good and overall I think its a better computer then the Air - just my $.02
     
  3. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #3
    I'd get a booking with the opticians and see if there's anything they can help you with.
     
  4. theatremusician macrumors member

    theatremusician

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    #4
    Give those yellow tinted, computer screen glasses a try. Some people find they work quite well. Could be a $10-50 fix rather than buying new computers every week.
     
  5. Apples Everywhere thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    #5
    Yes, I am getting weary of this process. I'd not heard of those glasses, I'll look into them, thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Dec 17, 2016 ---
    My MBP has performed very well over the years, but it is so heavy, at 5.5 lbs. I can feel the weight when I carry it. What kind of monitor would it support?
     
  6. pjfan macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Location:
    Columbus OH
    #6
    Very interesting. I use to have similar issues with CRTs, and would require raising the refresh rate so I couldn't see the lines rolling on the screen. Your situation seems very different --- have you tried raising text size? Using other resolutions? What apps are you in when the pain occurs? Web browsing, photo work, word? Many apps display poorly on retina, in my opinion -- Microsoft was very late to updating office apps for instance.
     
  7. Apples Everywhere thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    #7
    --- Post Merged, Dec 17, 2016 ---
    I use the computer for very basic tasks--email, web surfing, and Microsoft Office (mostly Word & PowerPoint). I have tried softening the screen color with f.lux. I have used an app called Display Menu, which gives me a lot more resolution choices. I have made the text bigger, the resolution lower, the screen dimmer. I still get this dull headache behind my eyes, which I don't get with my non-retina iMac; nor do I get it using my iPhone 6s Plus or iPad Air. I don't know why, but I am surrendering to the fact that there is something about the larger Retina screen which is too much for my eyes. Which is too bad because I absolutely love the clarity of the text on the Retina.

    As far as checking out a 27-inch non-Retina to see the difference, I'm not certain where to do that, since Apple no longer offers a non-Retina 27-inch model. But after researching computer screens, I am getting that it is PPI that affects text clarity, not resolution. If I am correct in that, then a bigger screen with higher resolution isn't going to increase the text sharpness, which is what I love about the Retina iMac and MacBook.

    Unless anyone has any other ideas, I think I will go to the local Micro Center by my house and see if I can find an external display with more text sharpness than my non-Retina iMac, but one that doesn't bun my retinas! Maybe I should look into a Mac Mini with an external display. Any suggestions there?
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    "Maybe I should look into a Mac Mini with an external display. Any suggestions there?"

    IF you buy a Mac Mini (2014 release), buy ONLY one with the following features:
    1. Midrange model with 1tb fusion drive upgrade (or internal SSD)
    or
    2. High-end model with either the 1tb fusion drive (standard) or SSD upgrade.

    DO NOT buy ANY Mini that has only a platter-based hard drive inside. You will be VERY disappointed in its performance.

    For a display, you might consider a "mid-resolution" 27" monitor with a resolution of 1920x1080. Because the pixel size is larger (.31mm) text will be larger at native resolution. Others will complain that this resolution on a 27" display "looks grainy" to them, but for old eyes (like mine) it's just fine.

    Here's an example of what I mean:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...D=552179&SID=V0Zhd0hBb0tNcXNBQUNAM3JCQUFBQUNA

    Perhaps you'd be satisfied with a "full resolution" (non-retina) 27" display.
    Only your eyes can tell you this.
     
  9. Tech198 macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #9
    Personally when i look at a 1920x1080 windows display vs a Retina i can see the difference, not just in sharpness, but even my eyes can tell the difference, as they do strain more on a Retina, so much so.. I'm looking for my next Mac a MBA..

    If Apple wants to go for Retina screens that's fine, but i'll always find out better what's more suited to me,, and a filter is not the solution... It's a work-around.

    Whatever works best for you...

    Retina screens are great and sharp, but they are not for everyone.
     
  10. Apples Everywhere thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2016
    #10
    Very true; thanks for your input!
     
  11. VTPete macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    #11
    For what it's worth, I get those same symptoms when I'm using any high glare screen. The reflections from windows (in particular) seem to be the worse as my eyes are constantly changing focus to the screen and then the reflection. I believe it's the constant refocusing on near and far objects that causes my eye strain.

    I did a test of sorts. One day I was in my office with my 15" retina Macbook Pro and asked people what they saw when they looked at the screen. Almost no one saw that it was almost 50% reflections from my office. Then I showed them a PHOTO of my screen and they all saw the reflections. I won't give up my 17" Macbook Pro with anti-glare screen for this reason. Of course I'm not saying that this is your issue, but since it causes me the same symptoms I thought I'd mention it. (They do make antiglare screen stick-ons, but I've never tried them.)

    -Pete
     
  12. Investor27 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    #12
    Try using your Retina Macs in different environment, and lower the brightness. I concur with others that you need to go see an Ophthalmologist.
     
  13. Beachguy macrumors 6502a

    Beachguy

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #13
    Have you tried dropping the resolution on your retina screen?

    I have a 2012 MBP with a 1680x1050 screen and it looks great to me.
     
  14. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #14
    That's what I do with my iMac. I scale it so the text is a bit larger and it works well.
     
  15. Tech198 macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #15
    Isn't that's like saying ... work at a scaled resolution, but you are now working on a scaled down Mac display and this it's no longer 'native' your no longer getting the best that u could be getting ?

    That's how i always feel when scaling down. trade off me thinks. if i'll get used to, because i bough the Retina for one purpose.. to be a great display...
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #16
    Yes, I have the resolution scaled
    Capto_Capture 2016-12-23_07-59-31_AM.png

    Correct

    I'm getting a resolution that provides excellent clarity and I avoid eye strain and headaches.
     
  17. smellalot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    #17
    I think you should try a retina screen made by another brand - which basically narrows down your choices to a 4K screen in the range of 21" to 24" screen size.
    I also love the retina screens of my Apple devices - using a regular 1080p screen at work often reminds me of that.
     
  18. bryan.cfii macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    #18
    I almost immediately buy one of these for my new macs. https://www.photodon.com/c/LCD-Protective-Films.html

    The anti glare properties and f.lux do wonders for my eyes. The gloss looks great in the short term, but depending on where the light source is, the glare can really cause eye issues.
     

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