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Displays Graphics Windows Hardware

Windows 8 Has Scaling Issues On High-PPI Displays 171

Posted by timothy
from the to-be-fair-there's-not-much-room-there dept.
crookedvulture writes "High-PPI displays are becoming increasingly popular on tablets and notebooks, but Windows 8 may not be ready for them. On a 13" notebook display with a 1080p resolution, the RTM version of Win8 scales up some desktop UI elements nicely. However, there are serious issues with Metro, which produces tiles and text that are either too small or too large depending on the PPI setting used. That setting, by the way, is a simple on/off switch that tells the OS to 'make everything bigger.' Web browsing is particularly problematic, with Internet Explorer 10 introducing ugly rendering artifacts when scaling pages in both Metro and desktop modes. Clearly, there's work to be done on the OS side to properly support higher pixel densities."
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Windows 8 Has Scaling Issues On High-PPI Displays

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  • I find it funny... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @02:38PM (#41467005)
    ...that MS has been one of the first to do the "device-independent drawing stuff" with GDI, and yet twenty years later, there's still no working device-independent UI from them.
  • Re:Wha...? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Sri (199544) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @02:49PM (#41467125)

    1080p is just 1920x1080 - that part almost certainly works fine. It's that pixel density has, for years, been within a fairly narrow range (22-27 inch displays all maxing out at 1920x1200 or 1920x1080). The problem is pixel density is now increasing, think apple retina displays, and that's a problem most of us on the software side were never expecting and aren't used to having to cope with. At least not for desktops/laptops (phones is another matter because they are a rapidly maturing product used in a completely different way).

    Besides that, different groups will have people who are more or less aware of this problem and trying to deal with it. Microsoft *should* have testing labs for all of these different things, and feedback about a very uneven experience should have moved up and down the chain. But as someone who writes games for a living, most of the stuff I have done in the last 5 or 6 years would look like shit on a 13 inch display at 1920x1080. Everything would be too small unless the screen is 10cm from your face. That's the catch here, we've designed for a single pixel to take up a certain fraction of your personal field of view, suddenly higher density displays come along, to which we initially ask, why, was there something wrong with the old pixel densities? Is this technology actually better or is it just going to be a method to sell expensive video cards. These new displays people are physically positioning the way their old setups were, but well, all of the assumptions about field of view get tossed.

  • Re:Wha...? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @03:01PM (#41467295)

    Yes. There is something VERY wrong with old pixel densities.
    Aside from the idea that I had a 1600x1200 display TWENTY YEARS AGO and since then WE'VE GONE BACKWARDS, I can offer a lot of very good reasons.

    1. Clearer pictures. My phone can snap images many times larger than the effective res of my monitor. My monitor should not be the bottleneck.

    2. Font smoothing - Subpixel rendering is an ugly hack and makes things look like garbage (If it looks good to you, you need glasses. Yes. You do.) You really need "retina" level pixel densities before font smoothing should even be considered.

    3. Truely scalable UIs - Until you reach a certain pixel density you can't scale small UI elements without looking like complete garbage. Think about it. If you have pixels many times smaller than you can see, then your UI should scale to any aspect ratio or any size and still look ok.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @03:23PM (#41467593)

    I think it's crazy that Windows still does not support vector icons (SVG or a similar format). Instead, Windows icon files contain about a half dozen different sizes of raster images (each at multiple color depths!), maxing out at 256x256, and then scales these bitmaps as needed if there isn't an exact match.

    256x256 is good enough for icons even on high-DPI displays, but this is still an incredibly clumsy and inelegant way of doing things. I can understand why you'd want a custom 16x16 icon because at that small size, scaling down a vector image usually won't work, and you need a hand-drawn substitute. But there is no good reason why two different bitmaps should be needed to render the same icon at 48x48 and 256x256. A single SVG could handle both quite nicely, and could handle even higher resolutions than that if needed.

  • by nschubach (922175) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @03:30PM (#41467789) Journal

    Meanwhile, let the anti-MS bashfest continue.

    You'd think that a company with billions of dollars in revenue could test the product or at least re-use some old perfectly functional scaling code in prior products that performed the same task. /snark

  • Sadness (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @03:42PM (#41468039)

    Aside from the idea that I had a 1600x1200 display TWENTY YEARS AGO and since then WE'VE GONE BACKWARDS

    You are so right there... I would not have believed 10 years ago that newer large monitors I bought would feature worse resolution. Yet that has been the case for years with monitors that align to 1080p...

    Thankfully we are finally starting to break free and actually get more resolution at last, as with the Korean displays people have mentioned here... going to get one of those soon I think.

  • by Nemyst (1383049) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @05:02PM (#41469377) Homepage

    So hold on, super-high resolution displays should only be used so that the rounded corners are more rounded?

    Thanks, but no thanks. The entire point of higher resolution displays is displaying more information on the same space. Apple's way of just doubling the resolution for each length is good for backwards compatibility, but it shouldn't be the standard for new applications: they should be designed to take advantage of the high resolution displays, and I don't just mean better text rendering.

  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @05:20PM (#41469637) Homepage

    On a retina display you have the exact same real estate than on a regular (equivalent) display. You just have the ability to have more precise drawings, that's all.

    How the developer want to use it is really the developer concern. Apple doesn't dictate anything in this regard.

    However, just having the same per-pixel ratio for apps would have rendered pretty much everything useless. Apple's approach (pixel doubling) was just the sensible one.

    But to be honest, for most applications, retina means sharper display and nothing more.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @05:27PM (#41469711) Journal

    Do you think it's crazy that the same thing goes for OS X?

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Wednesday September 26, 2012 @07:31PM (#41471115)

    So there is the Apple approach that take shortcuts that work well, and the MS approach which tries to accommodate for every fucking screen on the planet.

    That's the advantage of being vertically integrated, you control the hardware and the software.

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