The Curse of Retina

Back in the day when Apple released the iPhone 4 I made my first experience with what I now call ‘The Curse of Retina’. The iPhone 4 was the first iPhone with a retina display. It was crisp, it was detailed, it was amazing. Shorty after I got my iPhone 4 I had the need to use 2 phones for a short period of time. So obviously I used my old iPhone 3G as the second phone and quickly realized how ugly things look on its display after I gotten used to the iPhone 4’s retina display.

Now I am struggling with a serious case of The Curse of Retina. As you might know from a previous post, I use a MacBook Pro 15” with Retina display as my main machine. It’s connected to two 27” DELL displays running at 2560×1440 each and another 24” in portrait mode running at 1080×1920. It’s a great setup I should enjoy a lot, but lately I don’t.

Those DELL displays are top-notch, no question about it. But when I switch between the magnificent retina display on the MacBook Pro and any of the normal displays, I find the lack of “retina crispness” very annoying.

I don’t have a problem working on the iMac, the PC or the Mac Pro that are connected to normal displays, because there I work consistently on the same display quality. On the MacBook Pro however I am looking back and forth between retina and non-retina displays up to 15 times a minute and I find the difference between crisp and not so crisp more and more annoying. As I said before: The Curse of Retina…

One got to love those first world problems, right? I guess there is no other option left for me than go 4K, except the MacBook Pro 15 Late-2013 isn’t able to drive two 4K displays at 60Hz. One 4K at 60Hz and another 4K at 30Hz are possible, but 30Hz are unbearable.

The mouse moves like laced with honey, moving windows around feels extremely sluggish etc. At least that’s what everyone thinks. For most part, they are right. When I got my hands on the first 4k TN display from DELL for a weekend a couple of months back, it did only run at 30Hz and it was bad, really bad.

That being said, I recently hooked up a Samsung 4K display (U28D590) to my MacBook Pro 15” Retina and it did run properly at 60Hz via DisplayPort while also offering a satisfactory experience while connected via HDMI and running at 30Hz. Imagine my surprise.  Yes, things are smoother when running it at 60Hz, but even at 30Hz the mouse did not feel like glued to the desktop and moving things around was fine – not great, but fine. Since I mostly work with lots of documents and massive spreadsheets, the 30Hz experience on the Samsung was absolutely fine for me.

I guess what I’m saying here is: expect yet another change to my setup soon(TM). While at it, I will find out if a 15” MacBook Pro Retina can drive an insane 22 millions pixels…4K here I come!


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