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Thanks for your very nice write-up! I wasn't familiar with what you call native 1:1 resolution, is it the software SwitchResX that lets you set that? I finally got a chance to drop by a store and look at both the Air and Pro and I only found the Apple descriptions of resolution. (Best for retina, 1920x scaled and so on.)
Yes, SwitchResX (and I'm sure others) let you get the "real" resolution of the screen on the retina. Windows of course also allows this.
Apple hides the true 1:1 scaling because frankly it's an insane resolution "Retina" resolution on the Macbook is actually a scaled 1440x900 resolution, which if you notice is 1/2 the native 2880x1800.
Some details on the resolutions here:
In addition they were running in demo-mode (all programs running got killed when the screensaver turned on, for instance), so I didn't really get a feel for their performance. The Air was simply very slow, and exhibited some "stuttering" when scrolling, switching windows and so on, which I haven't really seen on Macs before, so I attribute that to the demo-mode. The Retina Pro was slightly faster, but still exhibited this stuttering.
There is a slight amount of stuttering on my rMBP and I typically only really notice it when I'm scrolling quickly. I believe it's from the laptop typically using the on-chip Intel 4000 GPU instead of the nVidia GPU. I have a utility that will let me force the nvidia GPU and the stuttering is barely perceptible, but still there (so perhaps it's also an artifact of the screen scaling also?). I noticed this too when I started using it, but for the most part I really don't notice it now. About the only time I really see it is when I open a program (light Lightroom) that is dedicated to one of my desktops -- so it opens and switches desktops all at once, and there is slight jerk. Still, it's faster than my iMac 2010 (12GB ram, 1TB 7200rpm HDD) doing then same thing.
The last image you posted, everything was so tiny! How can you work with that? I tested switching to 1920x scaled and that was plenty small enough for me. But for sure, it is nice to have the option. I've noted the application and will be sure to try it should I go for the Pro. I will need a little more time with them though, to see if it's really worth it to me.
It's tiny but it's a bit better one you're actually seeing it on the screen The screen is so sharp that really I can read the native 1:1 text, but yes it IS small. Sometimes I'll just keep it at 1680 scaled or 1920x scaled.
And a bit more information -- I know you didn't ask about gaming, but let me say, running Skyrim on my bootcamp partition in native 2880x1800 resolution is absolutely amazing. I'm averaging about 25-35 FPS, which isn't the smoothest, but the look of everything is stunning. Yay wasting time I'm 37-years-old but I'm not sure I'll grow up quite yet!