Text Rendering on MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rickeames, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. rickeames macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    So here is an issue, and perhaps I'm being really picky, but text on 10.5.2 on a MacBook Pro does not look very good compared to my other Macs (like my 30" monitor where it's really nice and crisp). (this is the new LED MBP...15")

    I'm set to "automatic" but the text is still just not crisp. Even Vista renders text better than this.

    Is it the LCD and pixel density that is causing it? My last MBP was a 17" high density and it was crisp as crisp can get.
  2. dops7107 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2005
    Perth, Oztrailya
    Mine seems fine (got it yesterday, can't say it looks any different from my Mini G4 on a 17" LG TFT monitor). Can you post a screen shot of what you like vs. what you dislike?
  3. alfogator macrumors member

    Nov 3, 2005
    Florence, Italy
    Higher pixel densities will make text appear sharper.

    Depending on your settings and your display the rendering will make text look blurry. You can try different rendering settings, they are in the Appearance applet in system settings:


    Standard employs antialiasing, Light and Medium subpixel rendering while Strong applies both algorithms. You should try them and see which one renders better. You need to logout to see the new setting, it's not applied immediately.

    Changing display gamma will affect the appearance of Standard and Strong settings, so you might want to consider this as well.
  4. rickeames thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    Yeah, they all do not look great. Why does Vista look better with text on the exact same screen? That's the part I don't get -- it's the same pixels. I just tried each of the settings there, and the text still isn't what I would consider "crisp." There have to be some specific fonts Apple recommends as the 'good ones' as the ones I'm choosing, which are still TT, are not working to my expectations.
  5. yippy macrumors 68020


    Mar 14, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    First, make sure that your are running the display at the maximum (native) resolution. Anything else will make the text blurry no matter what you do.

    Mac OS X renders fonts a bit more smoothly than Windows but if you have other Macs then this isn't the case as you are used to it already. Not sure what the problem would be other than the above as all of the MacBook Pro screens I have seen are perfectly clear.
  6. dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    Maybe try going to System Preferences > Appearance and setting "Turn off text smoothing for font sizes 12 and smaller". See if you find that more satisfactory.
  7. scott9s macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2008
  8. gloves macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2008
    It's another thing that falls under personal preference. Some people prefer the way the Mac renders its fonts. I know I do - but that isn't to say that Windows clear type fonts are not clear, it's just that I appear to have a preference for the way Mac renders its fonts. :)
  9. simaomm macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2008
  10. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
  11. yaemes macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2008
    actually i see what you mean, the linux one is a bit different. the mac one renders the text like it was intended to by the font face maker and the linux and vista ones lock the text to the nearest pixel producing a clearer result but at the loss of accuracy. to me, though, the mac display looks tons *better*
  12. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

    May 14, 2006
    Roskilde, DK
    If it's not acceptable I hardly see the reason to complain about it. Get a refund, sell your mac or stay with Vista.
    I unfortunately don't see Apple doing anything about this tomorrow nor the day after!
    "Apple" and "consumer settings" do not go well hand in hand... :(
  13. dops7107 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2005
    Perth, Oztrailya
    Are those browser shots? The same browser I assume? They look like different fonts, never mind different renderings.
  14. doug in albq Suspended

    doug in albq

    Oct 12, 2007

    They look like different fonts because os X actually shows the font as the font designer intended it to look and Windows perverts the font's shape to such extremes that no font under 18 point size looks anything like it was intended to look. Most people have become so accustomed to looking at Microsoft's perversions of fonts, that they do not know what helvetica or times is even suppose to look like. Thanks to Microsoft we now have a generation of people used to looking at "computer type" i.e. some mono-spaced, ascii-character, two-color crap...............
  15. yaemes macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2008
    i could not have put it any better than what doug said
  16. simaomm macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2008
    Here's another shot, this time it's a mac mini.


    How do you explain this then? Much more crisp and less bold.
    Macbook's font rendering is just bad.

    Besides, the shot I posted earlier isn't from windows.
  17. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Yes, there's a noticeable difference, but since those are apparently screenshots, it's the browser itself that's displaying them differently. There must be something different in how each browser is rendering.

    Are you using the same browser in each?

    How about a comparison of Finder windows?

    Windows font display is indeed "crisper" but I find the Mac font rendering is easier on the eye. (I use Windows at work)
  18. Runt888 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2008
    Here's a good article that describes the differences between font rendering on OSX and Windows.


    It basically comes down to personal preference. Despite what a lot of people on this board say, there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.
  19. macbook123 macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2006
    I have the same problem, the font looks blotchy under OS X imho. When you switch to "light smoothing" and turn off smoothing for font sizes 12 and smaller, is it at least a bit better? I can't check right now as I can't log out (have several codes running).
  20. wo0f macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2009
    fonts bold on macbookpro and not on g5

    @rickeames yeah I aggree totally. Ive just recently purchased a macbookpro 15inch, and have been trying to figure out whats going on with the fonts all being bolder.

    Note - the thing that interests me is that the difference between safari / firefox rendering of type on the lappy is not the same as the font rendering on my g5. Being an art director small things like font width are really very important. Its no small issue.

    Having read the above posts it makes sense why a certain amount of boldening is occurring - thats fair enough.... but why the fonts look so different on my g5 to the macbookpro frustrated me... I guess it is what it is... we need accept it. :)

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