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My laptop screen is capable of 1440 x 900, which is what it is set to right now. If I set it lower than that, it becomes horribly blurred; why is that? Is it a screen problem or a video card problem or what?

EDIT: I'm buying a 22" monitor soon. Does that mean it would be better to choose a lower res. screen for reading purposes?

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LCD screens have fixed pixel resolutions, unlike CRT screens. – paradroid Mar 6 '11 at 15:42
What you should do is take a higher resolution screen and increase DPI settings in your operating system. This way, all text will appear larger to compensate for higher resolution. 1440x900 is a bit problematic because it's too low for high DPI setting used on 1920x1200 and similar and too high for DPI settings of 1024x768 or 1280x720. – AndrejaKo Mar 6 '11 at 22:48

Simply put, if 1440x900 is the natural resolution, anything less will be non native and have to be stretched.

Imagine a 10x10 grid (100 pixels) and forcing 6x6 in to it. Some pixels will have to take two rows/columns, and some only one. This causes various distortions.

It is normal and does not actually mean there is a problem.

Lastly, check your graphics settings. Some, but not many (and I haven't seen it in years), allow you to choose lower resolutions and have a black border around the edge instead of scaling/stretching.

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That's totally normal.

Your screen has a fixed resolution (1440x900). If you want it to display less pixels (e.g. 800x600) the image has to be resized to fix into the display's resolution. The upscaling usually comes with blurring.

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