screen resolution.. can you go back?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by islanders, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. islanders macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2006
    Charleston, SC
    I had a chance to stop in the Apple Store today to get a hands on comparison between the MBA and MBP. All of them were very impressive. It was between the 13'' MBA and MBP.. and the MBP 15''.

    So for those of you that have used the 13'' MBA could you go back to a lower resolution like the MBP 13'' or MBP 15''? Is the screen resolution an important factor for you mostly for day to day stuff.

    Before I purchase one I want to make sure I'm not blowing something out of proportion. For example I've been using a G3 powerbook and the first thing I would want to improve is the screen.

    If you had both the MBP and MBA would you use the MBA for the screen whenever possible or would it not make that much difference?
  2. basher macrumors 6502


    May 27, 2011
    Glendale, AZ USA
    Per Apple's web site:

    Supported resolutions: 1440 by 900 (native), 1280 by 800, 1152 by 720, 1024 by 640, and 800 by 500 pixels at 16:10 aspect ratio; 1024 by 768, 800 by 600, and 640 by 480 pixels at 4:3 aspect ratio; 720 by 480 pixels at 3:2 aspect ratio​

    Hope this helps!
  3. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    Everyone's eyes, and therefore, everyone is different. The only way to truly know for yourself is to use both models for an extensive period of time--difficult thing to do at the store unless you really sit down with it. You can try to buy one or the other, and see how well your eyes feel, and make a final decision within the 14-day return period.

    Personally, I thought the resolution for the 13" Pro was too low, and it strained my eyes. It doesn't seem like much of a difference at first glance, but the slightly blurrier screen eventually made my eyes hurt from prolong use. Another thing that bothered me was the screen real-estate. You obviously get less, and on a 13" laptop, screen estate is so valuable when multitasking, IMO. Some people manage to get by this by using Spaces (and soon, with Lion, Mission Control should help things stay organized too).

    I haven't purchased the Air yet, but after returning my 13" Pro, I sat down for as long as I could with the Air at the Apple store, and found no eye strain. I predict it's due to the higher and crisper screen resolution. Others will have the opposite experience, saying the higher resolution of the Air screen means things look smaller (fonts, icons, etc), and that this can cause them eye strain. This is why it's different for everybody.

    You'll probably have to weigh in on other factors too between the Pro and the Air (like, do you feel you need an optical drive, or do you feel you will benefit more from a lighter laptop if you have more traveling needs?).

    Personally, I like the higher resolution screen.

    Good luck.
  4. islanders thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2006
    Charleston, SC
    Thanks for pointing out that everyone is different and will have a different experience. Also appreciate your experience with the MBP. The eye fatigue after hours of use is what I'm concerned about. The MBP has more features and is very compelling but most of the stuff I do isn't power intensive. I guess you never know, though. Both would be an improvement for me. I may have to try them both out but thought I would ask first. Everyone knows the MBA has a better resolution. Just wondering how much they appreciate it after owning one and if it's one of those things like HD TV where you can't go back once you've had it.
  5. Ungibbed macrumors 6502


    Dec 13, 2010
    It's situations like this that make me love the extra features of my 13" MBP, but when I'm home, I connect it to my 27" ACD. The major jump in work space is wonderful and on the road, I can accept the lower 1280x800 resolution.

    Overall, it's great to have nearly the best of both worlds in displays but I still wish the 13" Pro would have gotten a resolution bump like the Air did. Next revision I imagine the changes will take place.
  6. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    Spoiled forever by the higher resolution of the Air.

    the only other option I'd consider in a notebook at present would be the hi-res optioned 15" MBPro.

    as already noted, the next revision of the MBPro line will probably come either standard with higher resolution screen or at least as an option across all models.

    if the MBPro has a new form factor as has been hinted on this site and elsewhere, then I'd seriously look at the MBPro as my next Mac - but for now, the Air flies and is more that sufficient for my needs
  7. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    I've used 15" MBPs, 13" MBPs, 13" MBAs and 11" MBAs extensively.

    Everyones eyes and tolerances are different. For me the size choices here make more of a difference than resolution. In my case, I choose an 11" for mobile use, augmented with a larger and higher resolution monitor for extended sessions in one place.

    The 11" is great when sessions are short and or intermittent but I could not use that screen all day without interruption without eye strain. Either of the 13" models I could use all day and are mobile enough. The 15" is easily usable all day but I don't find mobile enough for my needs.

    My productivity at a longer fixed session is always enhanced by a bigger higher resolution external monitor regardless of the size and resolution of my laptop screen. I actually find Apples 27" ACD a bit too high a pixel density for me but it sure offers a lot of real estate. The 24" monitors are the sweet spot for me at the moment.
  8. islanders thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2006
    Charleston, SC
    good info

    Thanks for the replies. It's very helpful to hear from those with experience with them. They all looked so good in the store. Even the 11'' would be great if you were going from meeting to meeting. I probably don't need that much portability. I like to get some work done at a coffee shops so any of them will probably do fine. The 13 MBA really hits a sweet spot with the price, portability, and screen resolution quality. The price might or best value might be the deciding factor from me. If I'm not satisfied the two week return policy is a nice option. I haven't checked on that... used to have a 10% restocking fee.

    I'm not holding my breath either for Apple to offer a higher resolution on the 13 MBP. They always try to up sell to the more expensive model. Lets hope they changed.
  9. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    Once you've used a 13" MBA, it's tough to go back to a 15" MBP ... if for no other reason than the lack of portability. My i5 15" MBP feels like the aluminum equivalent of a dinosaur - it's just too heavy to lug around comfortably and the footprint seems much bigger than when I bought it a year ago.

    I must admit I feel spoiled by the resolution of the 13" MBA. I'm finding it difficult to justify hanging onto my 15" MBP ... the MBA screen is the equal of the Pro. My only regret is that I bought my MBA before the "ultimate" models appeared in the stores. Following the refresh, I'll be buying a 13" "ultimate" and - reluctantly - saying goodbye to my MacBook Pro.
  10. fyrefly macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2004

    If you're deciding between the 13" MBA and the 15" MBP - then you need to consider the HR 15" screen. It's just as amazing as the 13" MBA screen (I know 'cause I have both!).

    The 15" also gives you the option of "Anti-glare" - which I find invaluable. I could not stand the glossy screen of the current stock 15" MBP. Even the MBA is a bit too glossy for my taste (when seated in a coffee shop of all windows on a sunny day - whew!).

    The Apple store should have at least a 15" Anti-Glare (which is always high-res) model on display. See if you can play with that for a while and compare it to the 13" MBA.
  11. optmi macrumors member

    Jun 19, 2011
    Couldn't go back

    I personally couldn't go back to a lower res than my 13 MBA. I actually tried to use my wife's machine a few days ago for some windows based editing I had to do for work. I set the pc to work and went back to browsing on my MBA pretty quickly. I don't think I'll ever go back.
  12. onthecouchagain macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    BTW... glossy vs. anti-glare makes a difference on the eyes too. I find the glossy screen stresses the eye a little more; I notice it slightly on my iMac too. The anti-glare screen, however, is easier to actually see, since you're not looking through a glass panel.
  13. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Of course, everyone has their own preferences, but I have the 13" MBP, and I actually prefer its screen to the MBA's, because I like the glossy, bezel-less look. I use the computer morning to night without any eye-strain. The resolution is just fine. I considered the 15" MBP, but for the document work I am doing (no gaming, no movie editing, etc.) there wasn't a big enough difference to justify spending 50%+ more for the computer.

    I wouldn't mind more resolution, but as a priority it ranks somewhere below the backlit keyboard, which is nice, but not really a factor in any purchasing decision.

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