To Retina or Not to Retina

Discussion in 'iMac' started by ivanwi11iams, May 18, 2016.

  1. ivanwi11iams Contributor


    Nov 30, 2014
    Somewhere on Earth
    Based on my recent posts, I'm starting to broaden my view on units. From a MacBook, to possibly an iMac (I've always been more of a Desktop user).

    The question now, is an iMac non-Retina as good as a Retina unit? And, more to the point, for us that are use to everyday monitors, without Retina (not watching movies and the likes), is it worth it?

    Thanks in advance for your input...
  2. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    IMHO Retina is worth it, for the crisp text, images, and UI elements (although not everything is optimized for it). Nicer to look at and helps reduce eye strain.
  3. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    I have a non-retina secondary monitor next to my retina iMac. there is no comparison. Get retina. enough said.
  4. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
    People love to talk about 4K as if it's limited to movies. But truth be told, it takes a lot of effort when filming a picture to preserve that 4K edge. You have to use the right film, the right sensors, the right lenses, the right sort of lighting techniques, the right sort of focus, the right sort of makeup and scenery and costumes to preserve the level of clarity that people have come to expect from "4K." So, when displayed on a retina imac, sometimes it makes a big difference. Sometimes it doesn't.

    On the other hand, if a computer is rendering text, it has four subpixels to render the text with all the extra clarity it deserves. The viewer doesn't have to imagine that the grey parts of a letterform are indicitive of more detail. Instead, the viewer sees a more detailed letterform, and all the distracting grey forms that distracted from the ideal of crisp back ink on a crisp white paper have suddenly become a lot smaller, and hard to pick out.

    The retina advantage is most apparent when rendering text and simple line drawings. Sure, if you are reading National Geographic, and it's been optimized for the retina display, it looks like freaking National Geographic. It is really nice to look a museum website and see all the additional detail that coarser displays miss out on. But those are professionally photographed using the best technologies available.

    In most cases, what you will notice is the text--san serif fonts look clean. serif fonts look elegant. And it will all be easier to read.
  5. joema2 macrumors 68000


    Sep 3, 2013
    This is a good point and gets too little attention. On an iMac retina screen, text looks like it has been painted on with a perfect tiny brush, or somehow inked with a perfect printing process. It is a major difference.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Retina, as others have said mainly for how much nicer text is, everything else is a bonus.
  7. varian55zx, May 19, 2016
    Last edited: May 19, 2016

    varian55zx macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2012
    San Francisco
    You'll be spoiled by retina.

    Once you become used to the 5K's screen nothing else will compare ever again.

    Why? Because it's the highest resolution available right now.

    But beyond that, everything will seem pixely when you're shifting away from the 5K iMac.

    Obviously our MacBooks and iPhones have had retina for some time but it is simply different when experienced on a desktop.

    As an example, even other resolutions which are considered "ultra-hd" nowadays (is that all of them?) simply just don't measure up at all.

    The screen alone on this computer has vastly improved my user experience in a way that I didn't even ask for.

    In addition, the screen size is just superior.

    Big screens are in, small is well out.

    I'm coming from a 24, and 27 seems to be the sweet spot.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    All the other points in this thread are valid, but also consider this point. Buyers remorse, will you be kicking yourself a week, month or even a couple of months after the purpose because you chose the non-retina.

    I do believe the screen is the major component that you will be face to face every day, and if there's an opportunity to have a vastly superior screen, then why not.
  9. Strider64 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 1, 2015
    Suburb of Detroit
    I was a Windows/DOS user for 30+ years and one of the deciding factors in switching over to Apple was the Retina Screen on the iMac. I couldn't see paying $5000 for a retina monitor (at the time) and then having to buy the computer. I haven't regretted the decision at all, best move I have made.
  10. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA

    Movies would be the last reason you buy the Retina. The reason to purchase it is for everything else, to be honest. The improved color gamut and sharper text make working with every application more pleasant.
  11. GlenK macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2013
    St. Augustine, FL
    I just got a Retina MBP about 2 months ago. Absolutely love it and have zero regrets. Would strongly suggest one!!!
  12. BeefCake 15 macrumors 65816

    BeefCake 15

    May 15, 2015
    near Boston, MA
    My eyes thank me everyday when I use the retina screen versus the piece of crap PC at work with non-retina
  13. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    You don't "need" retina until you've used it. Once you've tried it, it makes no sense to go back to that horrible non-retina display!

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