rMBP Newbie Questions about Display Resolution

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by richard13, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. richard13 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    First, I am not a newbie to Macs, or to retina really (I have a iPhone 5), just to the rMBP. This is my 3rd MBP and on the 2nd day of actually using it. I noticed right off the bat that the color saturation and clarity of the screen is great! I don't really regret upgrading. But I am a little confused here.

    The display defaults to some low resolution which is "best for retina" (I think it's 1440x900). This resolution is fine for just surfing the web but doing anything more involved makes things feel pretty crowded.

    Why is retina "best" at this low resolution? Is retina on MBP just a gimmick?

    Are we supposed to keep using this resolution? Usability wise this seems like a downgrade from the 1680x1050 on my Early 2011 CTO MBP.

    I see I can change the resolution but won't this end up becoming looking bad due to interpolation? Is this still even a problem with modern notebooks?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. AllergyDoc macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2013
    Utah, USA
    I've been running mine on the next resolution up (I forget the numbers) for a few weeks and it's been great. No problems.
  3. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2010
    Prior to the retina models, the 15.4" MBP had a resolution of 1440x900, and the 13.3" MBP was 1280x800.

    The retina models doubled the resolution in both horizontal and vertical directions, so the 15.4" retina MBP has a resolution of 2880x1800 and the 1.3" retina MBP is 2560x1600.

    However, Apple also uses 2x interface scaling on retina screens, so that everything "looks the same size" as it did on the classic MBP, just much sharper. So the 15.4" runs, by default, in "Best for retina mode" which has an effective resolution of 1440x900, only much sharper because it actually has 2880x1800 pixels. Similarly, the 13.3" runs at an effective 1280x800, but again much sharper.

    The higher-res scaled options available in System Preferences on the 15.4" have effective resolutions of 1680x1050 (rendered at 3360x2100 for sharpness, then scaled to the 2880x1800 physical pixels) and 1920x1200 (rendered at 3840x2400, then scaled to 2800x1800.)

    The corresponding options for the 13.3" are 1440x900 (rendered at 2880x1800 then scaled to the 2560x1600 physical pixels) and 1680x1050 (rendered at 3360x2100 and scaled to 2560x1600.)

    The reason those higher resolutions are not referred to as "best" is because of that downscaling step at the end. It should be noted, however, that, for example, 1680x1050 on a retina screen looks, in many cases, as sharp or even sharper than the native 1680x1050 of the old "high res" 15.4" MBP.

    I recommend you select whichever resolution feels most comfortable and useful to you. They all look very sharp, so you should decide based on how much usable space you want and how large you want things to appear on screen.

    It is also possible, through 3rd party programs like QuickRes or RDM, to use other resolutions, including the full native 2880x1800 on the 15.4", which makes everything super small and extremely sharp.
  4. Jack Sun macrumors member

    Oct 30, 2013

    I agree with the guy above. I run at 1680 and it's fine, looks great. But I would also agree with you that no matter how you slice it, it's a bit gimmicky, because the 1680 and 1920 are ever so slightly soft/blurry compared to 1440. That's NOT true "Retina," because Apple's definition of Retina is that it is imperceptible to the naked eye. Well, the softness/blurriness difference between 1440 and 1680 is very perceptible, slight but real.
  5. richard13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2008
    Mill Creek, WA
    Thanks for the in-depth info! This is very useful!

    I will, as you and others suggest, try out the different resolutions to see what works best. I'm hoping that any potential blurry or fuzziness won't be an issue at the higher resolutions. I know that changing resolutions on an LCD screen doesn't always provide a good experience. This is why I ordered the Hi-Res screen on my previous MBP (so I could have the higher native resolution) and have it look good.
  6. macjake22 macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2013
    QuickRes is the best option

    QuickRes is definitely your best bet if you want to play around with the resolution power on your rMBP. Here's a link: www.quickresapp.com
  7. melburstein macrumors regular


    Jul 3, 2012
    That app is just what I was looking for. :)
  8. SomeGuyDude macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2011
    I've been using it at 1680x1050 for the last little while. It's great. Might snap back to 1440x900 just because it's a bit sharper, even if it is bigger.
  9. Burnsey macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2007
    You can up the simulated resolution to 1680x1050 or use 3rd party apps to up it to the full native resolution of the display.
  10. jcmpdo macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2013
    If I increase the resolution, can I see diferences in the battery duration?

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