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comparing "usable" pixels

 
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My trusty old 17" MBP has 1920 x 1200 pixels. (I'm an absolute fiend when it comes to pixels.)

The newer MBP 15" retina has 2880 x 1800 pixels. I know that for things like photo-editing all of those pixels come into play. But how about for stuff that programmers do? Looking at several code listings at once, looking at your terminal, a spreadsheet or two... do all of those 2880 x 1800 pixels really count? Or are they dithered? Or is it optional, but un-dithered too tiny to be readable?
 
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To my eyes, at least, the display is flawless. But I'd still like bigger screens.
 
Bert Bates
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Hey Bear!

So, what viewing mode do you use when you're programming? In other words, how many effective pixels?
 
Bear Bibeault
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Bert Bates
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Ok, so based on your screen shot, you use the second-most detailed (or fine grained), resolution when you're coding. As luck would have it, according to the docs, that resolution is 1920x1200 - the same as on my 17".

So if I got all of this correct, you're saying that your eyes (which are about as old as mine), are comfortable reading 1920x1200 on a 15" screen, which is good news! Have you tried the most fine grained, 2560x1600 setting? It's gotta be pretty tiny text!
 
Bear Bibeault
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Yeah, the highest setting is too small for me. The second-highest is a good compromise between real-estate and 57-year-old eyes.
 
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