Best Looking Images on Any Screen
If you want to see (by far) the most gorgeous display of images on any screen that I’ve ever seen, get yourself a MacBook Pro with Retina display (see my in-depth review of the MacBook Pro Retina), and then enable display of retina images for this site. (Note that a 13" MacBook Pro Retina is apparently imminent).
A properly displayed Retina-grade image makes even the best conventional screen look quite inferior. The sense of 3D realism, the contrast, the detail level will make you forget that it’s a computer screen. It is surely The Future.
I have made it a point for the majority of content on this site to display in high-res Retina mode when enabled, especially my subscriber areas. It looks fabulous, though it nearly quadruples the bandwidth requirement— but I think long term on such things and I have committed to it by developing my own site technology for it (e.g., I wrote code on the server side).
Don’t enable Retina images for conventional displays— they look worse, blurred.
Now what I really want is a 5120 X 3200 30" display...
James W writes:
I think that the reason for this improvement (contrary to your experience), despite my traditional display, is that I'm not using my screen as I believe that you expect. To help my old eyes (especially when blurred by eyedrops) as well as for dramatic effect, I typically view websites, including yours, using Safari 5.1.5 with the text size greatly increased so that a column of text is expanded to about 80-95% of the width of the screen, which also enlarges the images. I also sometimes additionally scale the screen with Universal Access Zoom if it works to better fit what I'm looking at on a web page to the full size of the screen, or even more dramatically enlarged for a quick look at a detail, if I sense that I'm not seeing the full available image resolution.
I'm guessing that your advice is predicated instead on images being displayed at native screen resolution, unscaled, which is almost never the way I'm actually looking at them.
DIGLLOYD: yes, this approach can also benefit, because instead of blowing up a relatively small number of pixels, an enlarged view that uses retina grade images will not have to blow them up.
For example, a display running twice as large will show an 850-wide image as 1700-wide; it will look strongly pixellated, rather poor. But the retina image is 1700 wide, so it will look as sharp as the 850 on a non-enlarged screen.