Went to Apple store to buy Air 13 and there is a problem.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by JakeUK, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. JakeUK macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Hi Everyone again,

    I have pretty much decided to get the new Macbook Air 13 as a first mac computer.

    So I drove to apple store in London, have chosen the 256 SSD i5 version (about £1450) and was ready to pay. I found one, really only one problem:
    The system text was too small for me to read comfortably.
    Now, I know that there is no system wide DPI setting in OS X. Lowering resolution solution (apple genius in that shop idea) is plain silly – flat panels should be run at native resolution to give a sharp image.
    Zooming all the time is not really a solution.
    I know that I can change the Finder and Applications fonts – but most of the menus (CS5) are too small for me. Calendar and Outlook would be a pain too.

    So I am stuck:
    - Love the Air and could run Win 7 for CS5 (will install for CorelDraw anyway) but this is not a real solution

    - Get the 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch with the base display (low res). But the Pro with even the smallest SSD is over £1700, and the version with good graphic card is almost £2000.
    And also is it true that Pro 15” will be replaced with a ‘thin’ version this year?

    What would you do?
  2. reclusive46 macrumors 65816


    Apr 14, 2011
    Where the other machines in the store just as bad? It might have been a different panel in the machine. If they were I'd get a MacBook Pro if you need it now. If not wait till the refresh.
  3. Vanillian macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2011
    New York
    I'd imagine I would find a pair of glasses, or perhaps contacts if you'd prefer.
  4. pmr1 macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    If it were me with the same problem i'd get something I want.
    If the text being too small was that large an issue, I wouldn't buy it.

    However, what about using an external monitor? Maybe that'd give you the kind of system font size you're after.
  5. Psilocybin macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    That doesn't solve the portability feature of the MBA. What's be going to do carry a monitor around with him?
  6. JakeUK thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Well, yes I am wearing contacts :/

    All the 13inch displays were a good if not brilliant quality; It is just the font size.

    External monitor may be good but I need a laptop.

    I know it is impossible to do it that way, but really If Apple would sell a DPI setting for OS X for £200 I will buy without even thinking LOL
  7. pmr1 macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    On the portable issue, obviously an external monitor doesn't help.

    I just figured for most of your work regarding saying, CS5, having an external monitor would be handy. If you're not doing your work on the fly, why not? At least then you won't have your issues while you work.

    If you are doing all of your work while moving around, then yes, it doesn't help.
  8. rowley macrumors 6502


    Dec 16, 2008
    London, UK
    I've been told before tinkertool can adjust this.

    and of course cmd shift + can increase text sizes, rather than using the zoom with trackpad.
  9. JakeUK thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Thanks Guys,

    Regarding the Thinker tool and while it is a nice tool it does not work for my problem – apparently will mess up windows, buttons and so on.

    Ok at the moment seems that the Pro 15 with low res screen is the only way to go for me. Do we know something about the thin Air-like version coming?
  10. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Stinks getting old, donnit? As a new initiate of the bifocals and reading glasses crowd, I can safely say that.

    If it's text in web pages that's a bit small, you can always double tap the column you're reading to zoom in like the iOS devices.
  11. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    At first glance coming from a 15" I felt the same way... however, give it a week and you will very quickly adjust..especially if you wear contacts already and they are a current prescription. It may not be a limitation as it first seems, but rather an acclimation or preference to the familiar. I can now read at arms length.

    Additionally the screen becomes much more difficult to read with the brightness cranked up.
  12. supersalo macrumors 6502


    May 14, 2010

    I can also attest to this. At first the 11" text seems small, but if you put it side by side with a 15" MBP, it's just a *tad* smaller. The smaller screen plays tricks with my mind and makes the text look smaller than it is ;-)
  13. altecXP macrumors 65816

    Aug 3, 2009
    If you want 13in portability and its powerful enough for you, why not get the 13in Pro? It's faster than the Air, lighter/cheaper than the 15in Pro and has a lower res display.
  14. Dominus Mortem macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2011
    How far away are you when you normally read? I'm always slightly closer than arm's length (about 22" for me) and my eyes aren't very good (I wear glasses) and I can read the 13" and the 11" text just fine. Are you habitually reading at more than arm's length? That would put you in the greater than 24" range and all but the lowest res Apple (13" mbp comes to mind) laptops will have fonts large enough at distances over 24"

    Also, are you wearing single focus or bi-focus lenses? If the latter you may want to find out the focal distance the closeup lens is set for as it may not be the right distance for your computer activities.
  15. adnoh macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    So the choice is between MBA13 and MBP15?

    Why is the MBP13 out of contention?

    Text will appear the same size on the 13 and 15" due to screen size and res.

    Also I would highly recommend buying and installing your own SSD in the MBP. It will be cheaper than getting apple to do it and DOES NOT affect your warranty. The intel 320 128GB is available here for £164

    I installed a SSD in my macbook and it took 10 mins.
  16. Meever macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2009
    why not consider the 13" Pro? Better CPU, better battery life, lower dpi, faster overall minus hard drive performance.
  17. Driver8 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2011
    anyone else find the text a little small on the mba? I find myself doing a lot of zooming and leaning in on websites...
  18. johnc22 macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2010
    I have the 13", and while wearing contacts and regular glasses for nearsightedness, I find that I'm approaching the point in life where I need bifocals or reading glasses. Likely the OP is nearsighted as well, and with standard vision correction going for distance, it makes reading small text more difficult (I read a book or Kindle better without glasses or contacts).

    So, my long-winded point is that with proper reading glasses I doubt the DPI would be a problem.

    I do find photo processing on a 13" screen difficult (trialing Aperture 3 and Lightroom 3).
  19. OSMac macrumors 65816

    Jun 14, 2010
    Same issue here with the 13" Air, disappointing. Found I was zooming all the time and some apps just don't offer that.

    Like you I considered the 15" standard res or the 13" Pro as its similar DPI,
    but those are far from the light weight Air that appealed to me.

    10.6.8 apparently had a terminal command to increase the DPI but it no longer works in Lion.

    So simple in Windows 7, Apple needs to address this.
  20. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    My eyes aren't great but I found higher resolution small text much easier on the eyes compared to reading the 'pixelated' text on the low res 15" mbp...
  21. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    It's great to post feedback here -but- always a good idea to share your feedback directly with Apple, if they get enough call for anything it's more likely to happen sooner rather than later ....

  22. JakeUK thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    Thanks for all the answers. What a really helpful place this forum is.

    Now, I know that Macbook Pro 13 is a cheaper alternative, but it lacks the Air’s wow factor. It will give me a bigger font for price of the resolution of course. Fair trade. But every time I would look at it I would think – it is not an air lol. The 15inch one will give me a BIG, nice screen as compensation.

    I like the SSD upgrade idea: buy a base Pro 15 now and swap 500HDD for SSD. And do RAM upgrade later on.
    OS X Lion will come preinstalled on the HDD. How can I install it on the new SSD. Do I have to buy it (again lol)?

  23. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Get an external 2.5 enclosure, and clone the hard drive onto the ssd. Swap the 2 drives, and use your original HDD as media storage or a backup.
  24. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    I think you could run it at 1280x800. It's the same resolution that the 13" MacBook Pro runs at, so it should be sharp.

    That's the current rumor, but we don't know many details.
  25. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    For close up work, I recommend separate reading glasses. Bi-focals are never as good as they have to balance distance with near, and one range will be the loser.

    In fact, I no longer use bi-focal glasses as they are more of a pain then they are worth.

    Contacts can be a bit better as the multi-focal perscriptions are more smoothly blended. But close up reading is never going to be good without a separate pair of reading glasses. I use a low perscription reader overtop of my contacts...works well for closeup.

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