I have font rendering issues with Ubuntu and 14 inches laptops. I have tried the following models: Lenovo T490s (whisky lake, certified by Ubuntu hardware) and Lenovo 13s (comet lake) both with Intel UHD Graphics.

I tried 16.04 LTS, 18.04 LTS, 20.04 LTS with downgrading and upgrading libfreetype and none of the solutions worked.

I also tried setting up sub pixel hitning, antialiasing, font scaling, changing resolutions (native + non-native) and none of this worked. The fonts are always blurry.

Below are two screenhots:

I am wondering if this issue is related to:

  • 14 inches screens and Ubuntu hardware support
  • 14 inches screens and Intel's integrated graphics

Any advices are more than welcomed.


If you haven't already tried GNOME Tweaks...

enter image description here

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  • I already tried this approach but the 'fuzzy' look is still present. It doesn't get better. Here's a screenshot: i.postimg.cc/npV3ZKxc/fuzzy-gnome-tweaks.png – groag Jul 19 at 20:22
  • @groag You have scaling set at 1.35. (Fractional) scaling will always worsen your problem. Better to set scaling at 1.00 and use a larger font size, and/or zoom the page in Chrome/Firefox. Did you try different Hinting and Antialiasing settings? – heynnema Jul 19 at 20:30
  • Well it is not only the text in Chrome/Firefox. All texts in menus/windows are also blurred/fuzzy. Also it is a total mess without the gnome tweaks and the scaling factor. – groag Jul 19 at 21:50
  • Did you try scaling=1.00, and larger Ubuntu fonts, like in my image? It may just have to do with whether the LCD display itself is glossy, or flat, or matte. – heynnema Jul 19 at 22:05
  • @groag Status please... – heynnema Jul 21 at 9:20

I don't think this is a font rendering or software issue, but a matter of screen resolution and pixel density.

It seems you're running both laptop displays at native resolution, and that these are screenshots from the respective laptops.

If so, both images that you've uploaded appear to have rendered the fonts in the same way, but they've each rendered at two different screen resolution sizes.

The image that looks "fuzzy" to you has a 1600 x 900 resolution. The one that looks clearer to you has a 3200 x 1800 resolution.

Text may look "fuzzy" on the 14" displays compared to the 15" laptop due to pixel density (or ppi pixels per inch)

1600x900 resolution is less accurate than 1080p or "Full HD". On a 14" display this results in a fairly low 131 ppi which can make things look fuzzy, because you can see the individual pixels.

3200 x 1800 resolution is closer to 4K or "Ultra HD". On a 15" display this results in a relatively high 244 ppi where you can't really tell apart each pixel, which makes text look clearer.

PPI calculator from calculatorsoup

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  • Thanks for the info. I am searching for a solution but couldn't find it so far. Do you know a solution that will fix the "fuzzy" look? – groag Jul 19 at 20:03
  • For a comparison, I also have another 15 inch laptop with the same native resolution (1920x1080) as the 14 inch and it renders everything just fine. In a nutshell: #1: 14 inch Lenovo ThinkPad T490s - 1920x1080 - fuzzy, doesn't render as expected #2: 14 inch Lenovo IdeaPad 13s - 1920x1080 - fuzzy, doesn't render as expected #3: 15 inch Lenovo ThinkPad T590 - 1920x1080 - fonts are perfect, not fuzzy #4: 15 inch 4k 3200x1800 - fonts are perfect, not fuzzy – groag Jul 19 at 20:28
  • If the 14" displays are truly 1920x1080p and your screen resolution is set to 1600 x 900, it will look very bad. You should always set a LCD/LED panel to the native resolution. If the native resolution and screen resolution are both 1600x900, there's nothing more you can do. Low pixel density makes everything appear "fuzzy": software cannot make a display look better than it is. – Nmath Jul 19 at 20:54
  • Okay, just can't realize why my 14 inch laptop (ThinkPad T490s) with 1920x1080 native resolution is not displaying this correct compared to the 15 inch laptop (Thinkpad T590) with the same native resolution (1920x1080) that is working just fine. Let's leave the screenshots aside, talking about 14 inch (1920x1080) vs 15 inch (1920vs1080). Does this make senes to you? – groag Jul 19 at 21:45
  • re: "Comments are not for extended discussion but our channel to you"... I know where you got this from... and I disagreed with the original author... so I guess that I'll have to do the same here :-) Comments are a two-way dialog between the OP and those who are helping the OP. Extended comments should move to chat. (And I'm even guilty of not doing that quickly enough). – heynnema Jul 19 at 22:14

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