Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Would having a retina computer display (or another high DPI display) allow lower non-native resolutions to appear better than typical non-native resolutions would on a non-retina LCD display? Or does the problem just scale, regardless of the fact of wheather or not you can see the physical pixels or not?

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Mokubai, Not Kyle stop stalking me, Breakthrough, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Nifle May 2 '12 at 17:47

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

If I understand your question, it would depend on the dithering and anti aliasing used to scale the lower-resolution image to the display resolution. – Flimzy May 1 '12 at 20:36
@MrDaniel you can't "add" detail back into an image. The image would appear the exact same on both displays (so long as you're far away enough that you can't physically see a discrete pixel's boundaries), given it's scaled the same amount (relative to actual displayed size, not pixels). If anything, it might look more blurry on the retina display, due to the size increase (which would require interpolating pixels in the expanded areas). – Breakthrough May 1 '12 at 21:37
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Retina branding aside, a significantly higher resolution display would improve interpolation of lower 'non native' resolutions when they are scaled.

When lower pixel resolutions aren't divisible by the native resolution (half/quarter exactly) then the pixels must be distributed as best fit over the native width of the screen. This results in some being wider than others, some incurring blur and other artifacts.

A higher native resolution goes a long way towards hiding these artifacts as a higher density allows for more even approximations and smaller artifacts relative to the pixel size. This is why resolutions that sit a little below the native resolution often look far worse than those significantly below it.

share|improve this answer
That is clearly evident if you scale pixel art by non-integer values. It is also the reason that the iPad 3 designers chose the pixel dimensions of the screen to be 2 times the pixel dimensions of the screen on the iPad 2. (Note 2 is an integer) – Dan D. May 2 '12 at 5:23

"Retina Display" just simply a marketing term that Apple has applied to the specific resolution of their iPhone and iPad. The iPhone4 has a resolution of 960x640, at 300ppi, which at 12 inches is considered (arguably) the most detail the human eye can distinguish... thus why they call it the Retina Display.

It is still an LCD display. It does nothing different from any other LCD display. So, no. It does not make non-native resolutions better. In fact...

if you have [better than 20/20] eyesight, then at one foot away the iPhone 4's pixels are resolved. The picture will look pixellated. If you have average eyesight, the picture will look just fine

That's from the same Wikipedia article you linked to.

SO yes... the problems do just scale. It's just an LCD display with a better than average resolution.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.