Retina or non-retina iMac for low-vision user

Hardware & Accessories


Are retina Mac displays and the 5k iMac display better for a low sighted user? I have very poor vision and I mainly use VoiceOver and JAWS when I use a computer or my iOS devices. I have some vision on my other eye and I am able to see and read text if the text is large enough and the text is white on a black background. My iPad Air 2 is great because I can use it in white on black, zoom and use VoiceOver all at the same time. I also like that the contrast seems very good. Good contrast is important to me. I only use my sight to read short texts. For anything longer VoiceOver is nicer.

I am buying a new Mac. I have Mid 2010 MacBook Pro that does not have a retina display. It is a great computer but the display is not as good as on my iPad. I'm thinking of getting a 27 inch iMac. However for someone like me is the retina display on a Mac a good investment? I have heard that some low sighted users who use zoom prefer the retina display. Certainly on my retina IPad the zoom works very well. Money is not a huge factor here. If the retina 5k IMac is superior for someone with poor sight and uses zoom and white on black and I will certainly get that one. As I mentioned earlier good contrast is important also.

I understand that the answer to this question depends largely on the level of my sight. However I would appreciate all comments from other users who have low vision or knows anything about this subject.

PS. This is my first post here. Thank you very much for any feedback.



Submitted by Laurent on Monday, April 27, 2015

I'm quite in the same condition in term of disability and I just bought a MacBook Pro 15" Retina... The contrast is so wonderful ; white is white but most of all, black is actually black! It's far more comfortable than my previous Windows PC screen. The very high screen resolution also brings a crisp and clear magnification.
I first bought a MacBook Air 13" to my daughter (which is not a Retina screen), and I do see a difference between the 2 displays, definitively in favour of the Retina screen!
Now, of course, this post corresponds to my experience only and I know that in this matter, opinions are personal.

Thank you for your response!
I wanted to add that I use the built in zoom in OS X Yosemite. I press and hold down the Ctrl key and swipe up and down on the trackpad with two fingers. I've enabled this from the Accessibility settings under System preferences. With this nethod at least my Mid 2010 non-retina MacBook Pro 15 inches the text gets quite blurry.
Nice to hear that you have been pleased with your retina Mac. Good contrast is a must. I'll have to go to my local store that sells Apple products and spend some time with the iMac 5k.
All comments are extremely appreciated. Thank you!

Submitted by Heysee on Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I just got the air because it was light and easy to take to university, however, I am debating in between change it or not for the retina display. I am a low vision but i read a lot, still black on white and do not use voice over but i do zoom quite a lot for everything!

Should i exchange and the retina actually worth the price difference? I also have a cataract so my vision is bleurred a bit and i m not sure if the retina would really be so different in sharpness