Usability of Retina screens vs 13" Air's 1440x900 screen

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hipnetic, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. hipnetic, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013

    hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    #1
    I have a 2011 MacBook Air 13" w/1440x900 display which I'm very happy with. Except for one thing: The resolution is a little too low for some of my work duties. More specifically, I use Parallels to then Remote Desktop into a remote Windows machine where I then use a GUI-based programming/database tool. The tool has lots of little widgets all over the screen, and my current setup requires that I have to scroll around a bit more than I'd like. I also sometimes want to have a couple of windows up and in view at the same time.

    I'm contemplating upgrading to an rMBP and giving my 13" Air to my daughter for Xmas, but I'm worried that a 13" rMBP screen could actually be a step down in some ways. The native resolution of the 13" rMBP is 2560x1600, which sounds impressive, but I'm worried that for using the Parallels/RDP/Windows environment, I'll have to either use it in native res mode, where 2560x1600 will probably have pixels way too small on a 13" screen for it to be usable, or that I'll have to use it in pixel-doubled mode of 1280x800, which will give me a lower resolution than what I've currently got on my 13" Air.

    I know that Apple supports intermediate resolutions, including 1680x1050, but: a) Will the Parallels/RDP/Windows config even support that?, and b) How well will it really scale?

    Another possibility would be to go up to a 15" rMBP, which would offer me a pixel-doubled mode of the same 1440x900 resolution my 13" Air offers.

    Yet another option would be to track down a 15.4" non-Retina MBP w/native resolution of 1680x1050, but I really don't want the added size, weight, or DVD drive, and I really do want SSD.

    I appreciate any help here, especially from anyone who has used Parallels/Windows in one of the "in-between" resolutions on either the 13" or 15" rMBP. If you can provide any photos which clearly show how good/bad that looks, that would be even better.

    One last point: I'm on Parallels 7 right now, and have been a little upset with their lack of a low-cost upgrade to Parallels 9 (which has kept me from upgrading my Air to Mavericks), so I'm also open to switching to an alternate Parallels-like program in case that makes a difference (if a Parallels-competitor offers better quality "in-between" resolution support).
     
  2. Fzang macrumors 65816

    Fzang

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    #2
    Even the scaled resolutions have super crisp text. While they're slightly more... "blurry", they're still way ahead of the conventional low dpi.
     
  3. Stunned Monkey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
    #3
    This subject interests me also as I'm waiting on a 13 in rMBP and fear that the 1280x800 might seem limiting. Specifically, how does running in alternative resolutions affect non-retina apps? Specifically, Windows apps run in VMware Unity mode? Do these scale correctly as well?
     
  4. Fzang macrumors 65816

    Fzang

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2013
    #4
    Unfortunately I can't give you a proper answer before in a couple of weeks, when I will get my rMBP. So far, I've only played around with them in stores, and tested hiDPI on my MBA to check app compatibility (with an effective resolution of 720x400).

    But it seems like Windows apps will be stretched to whatever your "effective resolution" is (so they will look scaled and jaggy), and not appear as super tiny 1:1 pixel mapped non-Retina apps.
     
  5. priitv8 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #5
    Why do you need Parallels for simple RDP session? I used the Mac native version of MS RDC without any problems. And I had to run it over Juniper VPN.
    I know, this has nothing to do with screen real estate, sorry!
     
  6. mankymanning macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #6
    I second this, the official MS remote Desktop app available through the app store is really good.

    I tend to switch between native retina 1440x900 and scaled 1680x1050 on my 15" and it's fine. It took me quite a while to try the scaled option as my brain rebelled (it's not native!!! that's bad!) but it is actually fine.
     
  7. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    #7
    Regarding why I need Parallels for RDP...I support a few different clients and each has their own flavor of VPN and how the remote desktop connectivity works. Unfortunately, only one of them works on the Mac side. One, in particular, involves me connecting to their VPN via a web interface, which then gives me a choice of remote computers to connect to. I click on a link and it launches a remote desktop session. The web interface seems to work fine on the Mac side for establishing the VPN connection, but when I then click on a link to connect to one of their computers, I get an error indicating that it's not compatible with the Mac or Safari, or something along those lines.

    Thanks for the replies so far. I was debating starting up a new thread for a more general discussion on whether there are any other things I might not like about upgrading to a rMBP, but let me try it here and see if I get enough responses. So, other than the potential concern about going from a real 1440x900 resolution to a retina 1280x800 resolution, are there any other potential negatives I should be aware of if I was to move up to a 13" rMBP? I see some posts talking about yellow tint and screen burn-in. Are those potential issues I need to be concerned about? Do those affect the latest rMBP models and, if so, do they affect both the 13" and 15" models, or just one of them?
     
  8. majkom macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #8
    Yellow tinting is only 15incher issue as it is samsung lcd issue and 13incher uses lg only.. Retention is issue on both as it is (mainly) lg lcd issue.. Hiw often and bad it is - no one will tell you as this forum is usually used when sb has problem so the sample here is too biased
     
  9. Pheo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    #9
    Scaled mode on my 15" is phenomenal for content production. I wouldn't expect you to have too many problems with the 13" to be honest. And you can switch back and forwards easily as well.
     
  10. Quu macrumors 68020

    Quu

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #10
    I had yellowing on both LG and Samsung 15" panels. LG is not immune from the yellowing where the 15" Retina MBP is concerned.

    The 13" does also suffer from the problem as there are users who have purchased the 13" model and had yellowing but it isn't as prevalent as it is on the 15" rMBP. You can view Apples own support forums for the 13" yellowing reports.

    In my opinion the yellowing isn't actually the display panels fault but it is due to the way the front panel glass is being bonded to the LCD's polariser which is the sheet directly bonded to the glass. This means it doesn't matter who manufactured the display panel, only how good the build process was when that panel was put in to the top shell Apple uses.
     
  11. majkom macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #11
    To be honest, yellowing is not rmbp related issue, imacs had/has it as well, but, i think majority of users wont notice it - had some yellowing on my 2012 imac, never noticed it till i had seen some forum threads...
     
  12. michelg1970 macrumors regular

    michelg1970

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Location:
    Gouda - The Netherlands
    #12
    I always wanted an Air because of the better resolution but bought the retina 13 inch instead. It is a huge improvement over my MBP 13 inch. Am running my retina on 1400 x 900 (very sharp) but 1650 is also doable. Screen is crisp white.

    Parallels 9 is a must (if u use 7 now). It scales to the OS X resolution. Otherwise it either looks like sh#t or things are too small to read. 9 works like a charm. Use it (the VM) to replace my company issued laptop.

    Good luck!
     
  13. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #13
    I recently went through a decision process similar to that which the OP described. I have had a 2010 13 inch MBA, which I bought shortly after they were released. Although it has always performed well the resolution of its display left something to be desired by the standards of the MBPr. Yesterday I went to the Apple Store and bought a 13 inch MBPr with an i7 chip, 8GB of ram, and 512GB of flash storage. Not only is the resolution of the MBPr dramatically superior to that of the MBA, it is much, much faster.

    I have been particularly pleased with how much faster and smoother Windows loads in a VMware Fusion virtual machine. The MBA often gave me the Windows version of beachballs, both when I loaded the OS and, later, when I loaded Quicken for Windows. Now both operations are exponentially faster with nary a beachball in sight. By the way, the display in the Windows VM is just as dramatically superior to the MBA as it is on the OS X side.
     
  14. michelg1970 macrumors regular

    michelg1970

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Location:
    Gouda - The Netherlands
    #14
    100% off-topic. I saw you are from Tulsa. I bought my rMBP in Tulsa (actually - since 2008 I bought all my MacBooks in Tulsa lol).... I am from The Netherlands (Europe). Come to Tulsa 1-2 times per year :)
     
  15. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #15
    It's a small world. I just moved to Tulsa from OKC in early September so yesterday marked my first trip to the Woodland Hills Apple store. My other Apple gear mostly came from the Penn Square Apple Store in OKC. Fortunately, Apple stores seem to be pretty much the same everywhere.
     
  16. michelg1970 macrumors regular

    michelg1970

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Location:
    Gouda - The Netherlands
    #16
    Yup that's true - only, Apple stores in Europe use the Euro as a base currency at even higher prices and the US uses Dollars. And that's the big difference :) Even taking the state and city taxes into account :) And then again, the city taxes in Tulsa are being used to make the riverfront area nicer (if even possible) hahaha. OK is great place! (at least when u come from Europe). And I loved to see the big game at Stillwater OSU... (but now I am 1000% off topic).
     
  17. Quinoky macrumors regular

    Quinoky

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Location:
    Groningen, Netherlands
    #17
    If you're thinking about going for the 13" retina - my experience is that it handles 1680 x 1050 HiDPI resolution quite poorly. Scrolling at this res lags very badly and the UI response is choppy all over. The other HiDPI resolutions are fine.

    Might be just my unit, though. I'm having it looked at ASAP by an Apple rep, probably I'll RMA it.
     
  18. qawsed macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    #18
    Just switched to 1680x1050 for a look on my 13". Works fine. Maybe I just don't understand "lag" because I have not really ever seen it....
     

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