Macbook Pro "effective" vertical resolution, Retina vs. hi-res

My main usages are data manipulation and web (forums mostly); the best monitors i've used are 1600x1200 (which are hard to find); nobody makes laptops with this resolution any more. Widescreen can work but only with sufficient vertical resolution (on desktops I need a 24" or larger to get enough vertical resolution)

I tried the two 15" MBP screens at the Apple store. The 1440x900 will not do but the hi-res 1680x1050 is usable (not ideal but usable).

I haven't tried a Retina MBP. Can its much higher resolution be used to present more data (more rows/lines in a spreadsheet, more text lines in a web forum, etc) or is it strictly used for sharper display but of the same amount of data as the 1440x900 screen? The reviews I've seen imply the latter, which would be consistent with Safari on the new ipad versus the ipad 2.

I wish Apple made a 1600x1200 MBP... or a retina based on doubling the hi-res screen instead of the base one, But in the meantime, for my needs, is the hi-res really better (and likely to remain so) than the current Retina MBP?

I might be better off nabbing a 17" MBP while they're still around,,,

Thanks for any info,

1 Answer from the Community

  • Answer

    The resolution of the Retina MacBook Pro is 2880x1800. Content on the display runs at a 1:1 pixel ratio at 1440x900, which causes the pixel doubling, creating a sharper image. You CAN change the display to be a true 2880x1800, and maintain the 1:1 ratio, causing windows, the dock (anything on screen) to be smaller so you can fit more open windows on the display. This is good for data manipulation, as you can get a lot of data on the screen at one time, but not so suitable for web browsing, as text will also appear much smaller. It's very simple to change the resolution. Just go to
    System preferences/display and choose the resolution on the far right. (sorry, I'm not at my computer right now, so I don't remember exactly where it is) but you can find videos on YouTube on changing the display resolution. So yes, the display on the Retina MacBook Pro is (by default) used to create sharper images, but can also be used to present more data on screen. Hope this helped!

    • Answered by Patrick W from Harvest
    • Aug 20, 2012