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  1. #1
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    Surface Pro 3 resolution/scaling

    I purchased a Surface Pro 3 and immediately upgraded to Win10 and am now in the process of exploring it. My old computer is Win7 so I've never spent time with Win8. My main reason for getting the SP3 was to see if a hybrid could be used as both a general purpose computer as well as a tablet.

    The main issue I have run into is that at only 12", the display is rather small. I've been testing changing both the resolution and the scaling (DPI) to see if that would help and have had mixed results. It seems as if some programs, particularly the UMM (Universal/Modern/Metro) apps look better than others, particularly in tablet mode. Older, pure Windows, applications tend to be the hardest to read and work with, even when maximized.

    I should perhaps add that, at age 65, my eyes aren't as good as they were when I was in my 20's - but they aren't that bad either. I can work with the resolution at the default resolution (2160x1440) and scale/DPI (150%), but it's tough. Adding an external monitor is a good alternative, but it's only useful at the desk.

    What I was wondering is if others had already dealt with this and could recommend a resolution/scale that works well. With all the choices for resolution and scale, it could take a few hours to test out all the combinations.

  2. #2
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    I have an SP3 which I run at the default resolution and scaling of 125%. I never change the resolution on any LCD/LED display. All that seems to do is make the characters less sharp. Unfortunately, I don't have any specific recommendation. I'd say stick with what you have and possibly check in to some reading glasses (if a doc approves).

    Joe

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    The default scaling on mine is 150%. As to reading glasses, I had cataract surgery last year and do have prescription reading glasses, but it still appears to me that the fonts are too tiny. I can work with them if I have to but it's bit of a strain.

    Increasing the scaling beyond 150% does seem to make things less sharp - I am really not sure what the scaling is doing but it seems to be decreasing the number of DPI. I may play around with a lower resolution and a lower DPI.

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    Good luck with that. Let us know the results.

    Joe

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    I was fairly certain going into this that the screen size was going to be the limiting factor with this. And the 3:2 display ratio adds a twist since most resolutions available are 16:9 and/or 4:3 so picking ones that have minimal distortion on 3:2 takes a bit of math.

    BTW... I have found that the recommended DPI changes with the resolution. So, 150% may be correct for some resolutions while 125% is correct for others.

    This has a curious effect in that shifting to a lower resolution may not increase the size of things because the scaling may change to a lower setting at the same time.

    This gets me back to wondering just what scaling does and how it should best be used.
    Last edited by gsmith-plm; 2015-09-07 at 08:52.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    G.,

    Scaling in windows is a very hit & miss thing. Sometimes it's pretty smooth like in Browsers w/Ctrl Scroll Wheel but it will push things off the screen. Trying to scale things in programs like Access menus can drive you to drink. Personally, I'm surprised MS hasn't put more resources into this area. With large screens, relatively inexpensive, improved builtin-graphics and powerful processors it would seem that they should be able to read the screen resolution, you can do this with PowerShell, and automatically adjust things to fit and then allow the Ctrl+Scroll Wheel to smoothly adjust things up/down to suit the user adding/removing scroll bars as necessary. To quote a 1970's tv show
    "We have the technology!"
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  7. #7
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    I suspect that scaling could be a lot better than it is IF it were extended to individual applications. Granted, each application is an entity unto itself, but it still runs within a shell of some kind with a variety of properties - even the old 640x480 mode exists.

    From what little I've been able to observe, scaling only effects system objects and dialog boxes. It's tough to tell unless you have two machines side by side to compare. Not sure if universal apps are impacted or not.

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    I tried the Win 10 upgrade to my desktop with 23" flat screen and found most desktop applications to be not only too small but also blurry. No amount of experimenting with resolutions other than the defaults, or font size, or clear fonts, etc. would allow me to read any Office 365 document without eyestrain. Never did find a way to pick a different system font, either. Online complaints mirrored mine, with no fixes. So - gave it up and reverted to Win 8.1 Business Premium and got back to to using my PC for actual work rather than troubleshooting.
    Win 10 Pro 64bit on Dell XPS12 w/ Intel Core I5, 256gb mSATA, 4gb RAM. Also self-built Asus Z97 Desktop PC, Core I3, Kingston 96gb SSD, Toshiba 128 SSD, 8gb Corsair DDR4 1600, CM 692II Case, Radeon R7 250X, Samsung 23" Mon w/HDTV tuner.

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    @haybarn,

    Sounds more like a video driver problem. Have you checked the video card vendor for a driver update?

    Joe

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by haybarn View Post
    I tried the Win 10 upgrade to my desktop with 23" flat screen and found most desktop applications to be not only too small but also blurry.
    With an older computer, the drivers are probably at issue. But this thread is about the Surface Pro 3 which is completely different and should not have the same driver issues.

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    Just an update on this, I've tried a few different resolutions and have let the DPI/Scale adjust itself to what it wants to be. One thing I discovered too late is to not judge the result by just looking at the Display dialog box and the desktop. It's best to look at one or two programs that you routinely use because the type faces they use can tend to look a bit "muddy" at some resolutions.

    Way too many older Windows programs use some horribly outmoded Windows fonts that just don't look very good on modern screens. And I've got a few fairly new programs that are build on an older version that have never updated the screen fonts they use.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    You may want to adjust Cleartype. Type type in the Controlpanel search box it will be an option under display. Well maybe different in W8.
    David

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    Same in w8

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    I hadn't thought about ClearType. It's on by default and is probably optimized for the default resolution. Might be worth playing with once I find a combination of resolution and scale that works best for me on a 12" screen.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

  16. #15
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    Yes I did- during and after installing a new XFX R7 250X. No improvement.
    Win 10 Pro 64bit on Dell XPS12 w/ Intel Core I5, 256gb mSATA, 4gb RAM. Also self-built Asus Z97 Desktop PC, Core I3, Kingston 96gb SSD, Toshiba 128 SSD, 8gb Corsair DDR4 1600, CM 692II Case, Radeon R7 250X, Samsung 23" Mon w/HDTV tuner.

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