What do the other resolutions look like? I know in OS X you can't go down (for now) to really (non retina) at 1440x900 and also in Windows (for no new bootcamp driver) you can't; but I see how in the gaming sessions you can choose the 1440x900, how does it look compared to a standard MacBook Pro display with a 1440x900 native resolution?

Because, in theory, it would look identical, without the problem about scaling to non-native resolutions (what happens, for example, when you go to 1280x800 in a display with 1440x900 native resolution), due to the fact who each 4px of retina display becomes exatly 1px at that resolution. There is any one who can try and check this?

  • Lots to read on anandtech: anandtech.com/tag/mac
    – Thilo
    Jun 14, 2012 at 12:49
  • I checked on a visit to the Apple Store - it look not that nice .. =/
    – user23986
    Jun 14, 2012 at 13:12
  • @Najum What's not that nice? Any Retina Mac in the Apple Store will be set to use scaling as there's no way to defeat it yet.
    – Cajunluke
    Jun 14, 2012 at 16:12

3 Answers 3


Images and icons look about the same because of integral scaling. But text in non-Retina apps looks clearly worse. The difference is that on a non-Retina display, text uses sub-pixel rendering. But with Retina, old apps use full-pixel anti-aliasing instead. (Those full pixels are then multiplied perfectly with integral scaling.) Not quite sure what Retina text on a Retina display uses, it's hard to eyeball.

Separately, other resolutions look pretty good. The highest is 1920x1200. The trick is they are also rendered in double-resolution (3840x2400) and then scaled down for the display (2880x1800). Because there are so many tiny pixels, the result is acceptable, but the optimal setting is definitely sharper.

So Retina apps at 1920 look pretty good, and non-Retina text at 1920 has smaller and slightly fuzzier full-pixel anti-aliasing.

  • I'm not sure I understand your answer in context of what I was seeking. I asked how the other resolutions look, for example when you use window or games. The non-native resolutions have the same problems about other display? Also 1440x900 (not 2880x1800 and not 1440x900 HiDPI and not other scaled modes on OS X).
    – user24358
    Jun 22, 2012 at 16:30
  • It sounds quite possible, what you say that all graphics are still rendered in double resolution. Is there any reference you can point to?
    – Shane Hsu
    Jun 2, 2013 at 11:07

Late 2013 13" Retina is very choppy both at native and scaled resolutions. You can notice the shuttering when resizing apps and going to full screen


There are apps that let you use a non scaled (scale = 1), non HiDPI resolutions on the retina Macbook Pros. Apps like QuickRes and RDM.

Certain non scaled resolutions like non-HiDPI (2048x1280,1920x1200,1680x1050) look nice, without too much blurring. Non-HiDPI 1440x900, in my opinion gives too much blurring and hurts my eyes.

The sharpest non-HiDPI is 2880x1800; everything looks super sharp, but it also too tiny to read. At that resolution there is no blurring.

You can even go 2 resolutions up from that 3360x2100 and 3840x2400.

My preferred resolution is 2048x1280; it still has a tiny bit of blurring but it looks really nice and gives you allot of desktop space on the retina.

Some other benefits to using non HiDPI resolutions on the rMBP are

  • Less overall memory consumption
  • Less sluggish UI

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