Damn you fancy LCD screen!!!
September 11, 2006 4:33 PM   Subscribe

My laptop LCD "native" resolution is killing my eyes...

I can't lower the resolution or everything gets all funky and fuzzy...

If I raise the DPI or use large fonts (Windows XP), it helps, but a lot of apps start looking weird. Being that I develop apps, I need to see what most users will see.

I have an external monitor I plug into sometimes that has a lower native res, but again I have to lower the laptop's res to get it to work with the monitor. Everything about the situation is kludgey.

I'm at a loss... any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
posted by blahtsk to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Don't use "Large fonts", use the Appearance->Advanced button to specify the custom fonts you want. In your web browser, just specify a minimum font size (I like 16px/12pt) instead of increasing font size on a regular basis. Bring your LCD closer to your eyes and maybe use an external keyboard.

Also make sure ClearType is enabled and use ClearTweak to fine-tune the settings.

For application testing, in the Display->Themes tab you can create a custom Theme for standard use (large fonts) and for application testing (small fonts).

If your laptop is still new, you could also check if the manufacturer has a lower-DPI screen available at the same size.
posted by aye at 4:42 PM on September 11, 2006

Also, changing the DPI to something other than 96dpi is a complete mess. I would never bother with that because applications start scaling things that are not meant to be scaled.
posted by aye at 4:45 PM on September 11, 2006

Opera's page resizing works better than the other browsers.
posted by Leon at 5:00 PM on September 11, 2006

Have you tried adjusting the brightness at all? I found that a too-bright screen can somtimes contribute to my eyestrain, especially if you're moving from one that isn't nearly so bright.
posted by advil at 5:50 PM on September 11, 2006

Big Shot is software that magnifies your screen up to 200%. Not everyone likes it since it only shows a portion of the screen, but it follows your mouse so it easy to move around. And you can turn it on and off with a keystroke.
posted by rsclark at 8:12 PM on September 11, 2006

Of course, the right thing to do with a 133 dpi screen is to set the Windows dpi setting to match. Then everything is supposed to Just Work.

In fact, many things do - though not as well as they do in, for example, Ubuntu Linux (which I've recently installed on my 1600x1200 Dell laptop and am really enjoying).

But, as you've found out, most Windows apps are still stuck in a rapidly-becoming-bygone era where screens are just assumed to be 96 dpi, and increasing the Windows dpi settings causes random app UI breakage. Sometimes even increasing font sizes will mess things up. Sometimes system font size settings are simply ignored.

In fact, most users don't even know that the DPI setting exists; many don't even know about large fonts. The most common user response to text that's too small is to reduce the display resolution and just put up with funky fuzzy text. If you want to see what most users will see, you should do likewise.

Of course, as an app developer with this problem, you are going to pay attention to it and make sure all your apps behave sanely when users wind up the dpi, aren't you? :-)
posted by flabdablet at 8:56 PM on September 11, 2006

I have a widescreen laptop which came set up to use large fonts, as it has a fairly high native resolution. I actually think that testing apps in large font settings is a good thing - many Windows features (pop up balloons, etc.) looked weird because no one at Microsoft had apparently ever tested them on a system running large fonts.

Using normal settings makes the screen to tiny to read; I leave it set at large. I also plug in an external monitor when I can, and extend my desktop onto the extra screen. If you do that, you can usually set different resolution settings for the second monitor. Just drag specific apps to that screen when needed.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:48 PM on September 11, 2006

What resolution are you running at?

I had a 15" HP notebook that ran at 1600x1200 and every time i used it, my gf would drop the rez down to 800x600.

No blurrying, pixels were exactly 4x bigger
posted by mphuie at 11:34 AM on September 12, 2006

For your particular purpose, which is "what will it look like" not "I have to use it" just make sure the res-changer is in your tray, and switch over and see how it looks when you need to. For the short periods of time you'll need, it shouldn't be *that* bad. Lots of people run LCD's down-rezzed permanently, and never even notice.
posted by baylink at 2:07 PM on September 12, 2006

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