The retina myth

While we are still waiting for other computer brands to come to par with Apple, I think it’s time to put some things straight about the so called Retina displays the new Macbook pro currently sports. On the technical sheet it states that is has a 2880 x 1800 display resolution. For starters this is not a lie. The panel does consist of all these 5.184 M pixels and that is great. Also the pixel density is 220 Pixels Per Inch. So far the facts.
But that is not the whole picture because when you buy a Macbook Pro with this display panel you will not be able to use all this pixels you’d hope to. By default the display will show a resolution of 1440×900 pixels and up-scale that by a factor 4. Just enough to make it into our LW900+ category, that is, if it wasn’t so heavy. The Macbook pro has four other display settings, of which two give you more view on the screen: 1680×1050 and 1920×1200. (see: Anandtech: How retina display macbook pro handles scaling)
That’s it and there you have it. This is why this laptop makes it into our 1200+ category. Alas there is no option to select a scaling of 0 on this laptop so you’d never be able to use all of the 1800 pixels of height unless you’re willing to write your own driver/software to unleash that power.
Believe me I love this new Macbook, and it’s high on my list of computers that qualify to replace my slowly dying Dell latitude e6500 but it will only give me back the same resolution as i currently have, not some outerspace new megascreen. And I’m curious how the scaling will look when the setting is 1920×1200 since it will be 1.5 pixels per pixel, and on common panels this is only sub-optimal.


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