Hello everyone, I'm here to give a little bit of an update. I've been using the computer quite a bit since yesterday, and last night I did start to notice a little bit of strain...either that or I was just really thinking about eye strain and making myself think that it was an issue. It was probably a little of both. Anyway, I adjusted the display settings by changing the gamma to 2.6 and setting the white point at D50, and I also dimmed the screen. It become much more comfortable.
With the 2011 Pro (which I returned after a week) I also changed the settings, but I still found the machine to be too uncomfortable for use. Even when I walked away, I was left with a pulsing headache and pain behind the eyes. When I walked away from the Retina Pro after several hours of use, I found that the bit of strain went away quickly.
In short, I do think that this computer will be usable to me. It's not a perfectly comfortable display, but it seems to me to be much better than the regular Pros. I think I'm still going to buy an external Nec monitor for when I'm at home on the computer for an extended period of time. However, I also think that I'll be able to use this computer when I'm on the go without much of an issue. I still have a soft spot for CCFL technology, as I feel that it is really easy to look at for long periods of time. I can see why professionals like the bright, crisp colors of LED. Still, I do think that there are many people who might prefer a more comfortable display for their computer use. It does seem that LED is the way of the future though; I use an LED TV without any trouble, but I sit fairly far from it, and I think that there are fewer points in a TV program where a lot of white is shown. White seems to be the most bothersome LED color. Anyhow, if you want to stick with Macs and are sensitive to LED, I do think that this computer could work for you. I'll report back as I use it more to see if I still feel this way.
These Retina models do seem difficult to find. I had to go to several Apple stores, and I was actually really surprised when I found them in stock yesterday, as I had kind of given up on getting one this soon.
So I have a 2007 mbp model A1211 and recently tried a mbp 2011 glossy and matte screens, and had to send both back because of migraines, eye strain and motion sickness after 15 mins on the glossy screens and about an hour on the matte one. I had hoped the retina display would be the answer to my prayers as I finally got to have a go today, and sorry to be the bearer of bad news for anyone in a similar position but I was getting the eye strain symptoms after just 20 mins, and really sporadic head pains. What a pity...
StefanD13 - I'm really surprised at that, though not disputing your experience at all. For myself, I can't use LCD/ LED displays (Apple or otherwise), but I've got a Super AMOLED display on my Samsung Galaxy Note, and I find it totally comfortable to use for extended periods. I guess, as LCD-averse types, that our differing responses to AMOLED might mean that other similar users could expect similarly differing experiences (which doesn't help you, I appreciate, but does mean that it doesn't necessarily follow that people who can't use LCD will automatically also have problems with all OLED options).
I have to agree with FNP7. OLED is a completely different display technology from standard LED. The fact that it has the letters LED in it notwithstanding...
I personally have no problems with OLED of any type, including Super AMOLED. That doesn't mean you don't, but I think that it's relatively unrelated to the issues you have with standard LCD+LED screens.
Although, it could be some kind of sensitivity to the backlight? Maybe the blue light issues?
Honestly I think that every terrible thing about displays comes together in the Macbook displays lately, but that it's a confluence of otherwise unrelated issues. When you combine LED (to which some people are sensitive) with ultra-high resomolutions (to which other people are sensitive) with PWM (to which other people are sensitive) you start getting some whackiness happening.
Whilst it is clear that everyone seems to have some differences in their experiences I'm not convinced that there is no connection between the symptoms from LED backlighting in MBPs and OLED screens - simply on the basis that the syomtoms I 'personally' experience are exactly the same (just as quick and horrible).
If I was a betting man I'd wager most people who've had these symptoms with MBP LED screens will have a similar reaction with OLED (although the connection and cause both may have nothing to do with LED in the end).
The only Incentive to write this is a fear of someone purchasing as I did an OLED device thinking it would be different when it MAY not be.
Check before buying!
There are CCFL backlit screens which I can use, as there are also ones which I cannot stand. The same with LED backlit.
Having also the recent experience with AMOLED and also after measuring PWM at different devices, I think PWM is not the main reason, while though making it worse when present.
The most striking is the difference between iPad 1 and 2. While iPad 1 is my main eBook reader, the iPad 2 I cannot even use for reading news. Having the devices side by side I see little difference, maybe the iPad 2 white looks a bit warmer (which theoretically should help) otherwise nothing. So cannot blame font rendering, resolution, font size, etc...
This is really random, and I don't want to go off on a tangent, but does anyone else who has the LED sensitivity described across this thread ever experience any trouble sleeping at night?
I do, and I'm wondering if it might be linked to my usage of the Mac, and my sensitivity to its display, because for me the timing of the issue coincides precisely - ie the issue first arose at a point in time when I bought my first LED Macbook, and I believe is worse now after days where I've used my LED MBP.
Obviously, correlation is not causation, and this is a complex area where simplistic speculation is unhelpful and unfair, so I'm not saying it must be the Mac, because I can't know that to be the case - more than likely, it isn't, but I'd just be interested to hear if anyone else with LED sensitivity has experienced similar issues (ie if they sometimes experience insomnia with no other obvious cause, and they are also acutely sensitive to LED displays, Mac or otherwise).
The effect of LED computer screens on sleep has actually been documented:
Cajochen, et al. 2011. Evening exposure to a light-emitting diodes (LED)-backlit computer screen affects circadian physiology and cognitive performance. J Appl Physiol 110: 1432–1438.
"A 5-h evening exposure to a white LED backlit screen with more than twice as much 464 nm light emission ... than a white non-LED-backlit screen ... elicited a significant suppression of the evening rise in endogenous melatonin and subjective as well as objective sleepiness, as indexed by a reduced incidence of slow eye movements and EEG low-frequency activity (1–7 Hz) in frontal brain regions."
MauiTechnoGeek2. Thanks very much for this – it’s really interesting, and in line with other stuff I’ve read.
The weird thing is that I don’t use any electronic displays at all in the evenings, eg after 5pm, and I use my Mac in the day, all day, with a CCFL display (so never LED directly). But, having read this and other research, I’m now thinking that the type of the display is less important than the amount of blue light emitted (and length of exposure to it). I’m also pretty convinced that even daytime exposure to artificially high levels of blue light, ie higher than in normal daylight, might somehow be resetting or disturbing my sleep patterns. I’m going to try keeping the colour temperature permanently lower, by using f.lux
If anyone is interested/ affected, there are more academic papers here: http://stereopsis.com/flux/research.html
I've been using f.lux since February or so and it has easily been the biggest improvement in my issues, besides finding a flickerless/pwm-free matte display. Prior to that I had gone a few months hardly touching a computer. I keep it at the point where the display doesn't start to look jaundiced, but is warm as possible while retaining good whites and something like good color accuracy. The detail I noticed the most is the reduction in the tell-tale eerie blue glow typically cast on the walls and blinds when people watch TV in a dimly lit room. Speaking of, I also try to keep a balance of warm incandescent lighting.
I've been reading the archives of this discussion, because I had a recent experience which made me realize that I'm one of the LED-sensitive. It was a Google Nexus 7 tablet that caused me horrible eyestrain, but I see the same problem with iPads, recent Macbooks, IMacs, and most recent monitors (though curiously, not with my iPhone 3GS). It seems like almost any LED-backlit monitor (other than the iPhone) causes me problems, and almost no CCFL-backlit monitor does. Here is a really interesting video that may shed some light (no pun intended) on the issue:
You look at that, and you wonder how LED backlighting ever got popular. It's just an inferior technology. Fortunately, it's inferior in other ways as well: LED backlit monitors do not have as good a spectrum of colors as CCFL-backlit monitors (at least, the typical white LED backlit monitors don't; RGB LED-backlit monitors are probably just as good, but they are extremely expensive and extremely rare).
For now, the solution is simple: use an external monitor, and make sure that it is CCFL backlit. There are still CCFL-backlit monitors being made. Dell makes some good ones, e.g. the U2410 (about $500) and the U2711 (about $1000). There are also cheaper ones if you aren't worried about extremely accurate colors. For me, $500 is a small price for preserving my vision. Also, a new CCFL monitor should be good for at least 5 years, maybe more, and by then hopefully we'll have better alternatives.