Was the old Macbook Air screen THAT bad?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by otherguy5, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. otherguy5 macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2015
    I'm currently using the early 2014 model. I think it works fine for my needs (although I am planning to upgrade). All I do is surf the net, read, write docs, watch and listen to content. But watching some of these tech reviews on YouTube, one would think that the screen resolution was horrible on this lol. I personally don't notice the pixels. No doubt the new screens are better on the new one, but is there really that much of a huge difference? Are the screen really that terrible on this old thing?
  2. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    For someone used to Retina displays, it's pretty bad. Not just the resolution, but the colors aren't as vibrant, and the viewing angles are poor by comparison as well.

    Unsurprising given the age of the display in the pre-Retina Air. Hasn't been updated since Steve Jobs introduced the fourth release of the MacBook Air in 2010.
  3. otherguy5 thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2015
    I guess I'm just used to it for my needs, but I'm looking forward to getting the updated one (still undecided whether I should go for the new Air or the Macbook Pro 2017 - no TP).
  4. raqball macrumors 68000

    Sep 11, 2016
    If you are use to the old Air screen then it won't bother you but after using a Retina display for a short period of time, it will....

    To my eyes, the old Air screen is terrible....
  5. blairh macrumors 68040


    Dec 11, 2007
    Compared to a Retina display? Absolutely.
  6. Howard2k macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2016

    I use an old MBA style screen for my work laptop. Yeah my retina screen is way better, but the non-retina screens are completely usable. I know some people complain that their "eyes hurt" etc., but computers used to have screens like this, and people were able to use them without coming to web forums and complaining about sore eyes.

  7. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    It’s all relative. Millions of people use them every day with no problem. All of us used worse screens than that not all that long ago (CRTs and such). But compared to a good Retina display, the difference is pretty striking.
  8. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    Of course the old screens are entirely usable and unless you're sat next to a better screen, won't be noticeable. Today however better screens are available at no penalty to the computer. As in if you put say a 4K OLED then you'd expect a significant hit to the battery, I'd take the older screen over that as it's a computer not a TV to me. However, if you can put something better without sacrificing performance or battery then it's a win-win.

    For the price point however, $999 is tough to fork out for the lower screen, but the Airs were meant for very light portable work such as writing or general document editing, not creating content. So they are fine...
  9. maerz001 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2010
    Yes but just because at this time internet did not exist :p
  10. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    Honestly, if that's all you're using your Mac for, you might want to consider just moving to an iPad. The only reason I still have my Mac is because I manage a few websites that I can't control from iOS.
  11. Audit13 macrumors 68030


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I use both my Late 2013 13" MBP at home and Air when travelling. The screen on the Air is fine for short-term use. If I'm going to be staring at it for hours, I use my MBP.
  12. Y So Jelly macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2013
    I think the MBA with Samsung TN panel is fine. The LG one looks washed out.
  13. Pugly macrumors regular

    Jun 7, 2016
    Yes... but it doesn't matter. Retina isn't a big deal, but it really could have used a nice IPS at the same resolution... at the least to get better viewing angles. It's functional and only looks terrible if you compare it to retina screens.

    It gets much better with the right calibration.

    I have an 11" with an LG panel.
  14. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    If you're not used to a Retina display, it's fine. Great, even. My wife loves her 2014 MacBook Air.

    But once you've used a Retina display, there is no going back.

    One slightly worrying thing is that the "default effective resolution" has gone down. The old MBA (still sold as the $999 option) has a resolution of 1440 by 900. The new one is 2560-by-1600, which at standard 2x Retina resolution, "looks like" 1280 by 800. So if you use the default Retina resolution, you "lose screen real estate" compared to the non-Retina MBA. Yes, you can run it at "looks like 1440 by 900," but there will be a performance penalty, and it won't look quite as nice as a real 2880 by 1800 operating at "looks like 1440 by 900" would.
  15. ckeck macrumors 6502a


    Jul 29, 2005
    No, it's not that bad at all.

    Surprisingly, I enjoy going back and working on my older Air sometimes. The machine is fast, light and the battery life is/was amazing.

    Technically, the retina screens are "better", but as someone who is usually nitpicky about these things, I was very surprised at how much it never bothered me.
  16. Bazza1 macrumors member


    May 16, 2017
    Toronto, Canada
    Remember when Steve pulled the Air out of an envelope? And Apple bragged about their screens? And the fanboys oohed and ahhh'd about them? Yeah, like worse than the ones on last year's Air? It's like that - but it's now time to encourage everyone to pay a premium price for a screen - which, while lovely - will be supplanted soon enough by something Even Better!
    Sure the retina is nice - and there will always be the Macolytes who *need* the Next Big Thing, but for 98% of the stuff I (most?) do on an Air, the screen is just fine - and it's not worth the hike in price. Gonna suggest the same for that army of coffee shop Air users out there, too.
  17. torana355 macrumors 68030

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    I have a 2011 MBA, the resolution isn't great but its not the biggest issue, its the washed out colours and **** contrast ratio along with horrible viewing angles. The rest of the machine is awesome and has been so reliable, to bad Apple can't even make a reliable laptop anymore :(
  18. oldmacs macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2010
    I have a 2012 non Retina Pro - unsure if the screen is the same or not. It honestly doesn't bother me. I have a retina iPad and iPhone + regularly use Retina Macs, but always fine to go back to this screen.

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