Pixel densities

In case you are thinking about buying a MacBook Pro… I calculated the LCD screen pixel density for each new model. How convenient! How nerdy!

I did this because I wanted to find out whether the high-resolution upgrade for the 15.4″ model would make objects on the screen appear truly tiny. Here are the results:

  • 13.3″ laptop: 113 dpi
  • 15.4″ laptop: 110 dpi
  • 15.4″ high-resolution upgrade: 129 dpi
  • 17.0″ laptop: 133 dpi

In summary, the pixel density on the high-resolution 15.4″ display is still slightly less than on the standard 17″ display. I’d seen the 17″ laptop in an Apple store before and it seemed reasonable. So I went with the high-resolution 15.4″ model. I now have the computer in hand, and I’m happy to report that its display is indeed not too squint-worthy.

For reference, the iPad screen is very similar at 132 dpi. The iPhone screen (all existing models) is 163 dpi. Rumors have it that the next iPhone will double that density to 326 dpi. [Update: the rumors were true.]

Update 2: The new MacBook Air models released today are 128 dpi (13.3″ model) and 135 dpi (11.6″ model).

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