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Lower Display Resolution on iMac?

 
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MetalManiac
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 3:17 pm    Post subject: Lower Display Resolution on iMac? Reply with quote

My father in law has poor eyesight (he drives and so forth so he's not legally blind or anything like that, just standard age-related degredation). He wants a 24" iMac, thinking the big screen would help. However, at native resolution doesn't the 24" just offer more room for the same tiny letters and icons as the 20" or even, say, a laptop?

Would he be able to drop the resolution on the 24" without too much loss of quality? Is going for bigger actually better for him?
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hackersmovie
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AFAIK, it's not a relation to screen size as much as it is to resolution. The higher the resolution, the "smaller" the fonts will look. Your best bet is to probably find a used Mini and a low resolution screen. My ibook G3 is a perfect example. The resolution is 800x600 on a 12" screen, fonts are easy to read. My Macbook has a 1280x800 13.3" screen and fonts are much, much smaller. (comparing the same webpage side by side and making the web browser window as big as possible)
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Pleiades
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just wrote up a huge reply to this and the campus wifi went down right when I submitted it! So I'll try to recreate it.

You can calculate the pixels per inch on a monitor if you know the resolution and size. Geometry works, but I prefer a javascript calculator. Pixels per inch (PPI) is basically the density of the displayed image. High PPI will mean the individual pixels will be less noticeable, but static elements (like the text on screen, menu bar, pictures, etc), will be smaller (hence more difficult for those with poor eyesight). Also, any of these calculations/concepts can be extended to any monitor, not just iMacs.

Using this calculator we can figure out the pixels per inch of the iMacs at their native (i.e. best) resolution:
20" iMac - 1680x1050 resolution - 99.06ppi
24" iMac - 1920x1200 resolution - 94.34ppi

They're pretty close. Unless they were side by side, most people probably couldn't tell the difference.

Both displays can be run at a lower resolution, which can assist in making things larger and easier for some to see. The display will be a slight bit blurrier, but if someone has bad eyesight, it may be worth the tradeoff.

Here's one step lower resolution for both iMacs:
20" iMac - 1344x840 resolution - 79.25ppi
24" iMac - 1600x1000 resolution - 78.62ppi

There's a lot more resolution choices, I just picked the next lower ones from the native resolution. As you can see, even at lower resolutions, they're pretty close.

What this all boils down to is in terms of pixels per inch, density of the image, or "viewability" for those with bad eyesight, the 20" and 24" iMacs are nearly identical. Where they differ is in overall screen real estate. The choice between the two is not as much one of ppi, but of the amount of information you can display on the screen at once.

To answer your question, bigger is not necessarily better (or worse) when considering viewability.
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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